Peeling the Onion: Revelation 16:12-21

We end the week with the last 2 of the ‘bowls of wrath’:Dry up the Euphrates – and you’ve cleared the deck, for the ‘kings of the east’, an arena for battle. You are supposed to remember Genesis, the battle of the kings in the valley, Lot’s Sodom and Gomorrah buddies, but also Melchizedek and Abraham.

As an a-millenialist,I refuse to tie this to one time and place – but compare and contrast with every one. Currently, I wonder that multilateral trade agreements are drying up,the boundaries and barriers shifting, forces realigning, the mythological figures of dragon and frogs are great – what comes from the mouth of the beast and false prophet – John surely meant Roman mouthpieces, or eastern potentates known to his Syrian/Turkish audience but the emotional and moral opinion is clear – this is not objective empirical reasoning!

The message of encouragement, and of exhortation, Is not to pick a side as allies for the religious but to clothe oneself in righteousness for the day, Lest we be revealed as naked (go back to the letters to the churches…) Armageddon – but it’s as much a force of nature as a human war – Hailstones the size of humans – destruction of a third of Babylon .The city shaken – but not by insurrection or invasion (unless those are among the tools or weapons of the divine)

Yet the day, and the week ends with people cursing God.

NJB
Emptying the 4th, 5th, 6th Bowls

8 The fourth angel emptied his bowl over the sun and it was made to scorch people with its flames;

9 but though people were scorched by the fierce heat of it, they cursed the name of God who had the power to cause such plagues, and they would not repent and glorify him.

10 The fifth angel emptied his bowl over the throne of the beast and its whole empire was plunged into darkness. People were biting their tongues for pain,

11 but instead of repenting for what they had done, they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores.

12 The sixth angel emptied his bowl over the great river Euphrates; all the water dried up so that a way was made for the kings of the East to come in.

13 Then from the jaws of dragon & beast & false prophet I saw three foul spirits come; they looked like frogs

14 and in fact were demon spirits, able to work miracles, going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty.-

15 Look, I shall come like a thief. Blessed is anyone who has kept watch, and has kept his clothes on, so that he does not go out naked and expose his shame.-

16 They called the kings together at the place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon. Chapter 16:17-17:2 7th Bowl Poured Out

17 The seventh angel emptied his bowl into the air, and a great voice boomed out from the sanctuary, 'The end has come.'

18 Then there were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder and a violent earthquake, unparalleled since humanity first came into existence.

19 The Great City was split into three parts and the cities of the world collapsed; Babylon the Great was not forgotten: God made her drink the full winecup of his retribution.

20 Every island vanished and the mountains disappeared;

21 and hail, with great hailstones weighing a talent each, fell from the sky on the people. They cursed God for sending a plague of hail; it was the most terrible plague.

NSRV
6th and 7th of 7 Bowls of Wrath

12 The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, And its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.

13And I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet.

14These are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

15(‘See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.’)

16And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.

17 The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’

18And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake.

19The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. God remembered great Babylon and gave her the wine-cup of the fury of his wrath.

20And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found;

21and huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until they cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.