This is the fifth post in a seven-part series. The rest of the series can be reached from this post.
By Revelation’s chapter 16, the scene has been set. We’ve seen
- The church gathered away from earth to be with Jesus
- Warnings to those who remain, that are mostly ignored
- The rise of a culture (“Babylon”) and a leader (“Anti-Christ“) totally antagonistic to God
- Special attention to the Jews, hatred from Satan and protection from God
In chapter 14, we also saw the 144,000 servants from chapter 7 returned, apparently having successfully completed their mission. This mission is usually interpreted as special evangelization to the Jews, calling them to accept their Messiah. This would be in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy:
I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.Zechariah 12:10
There were also angels with final messages:
- “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come”
- “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
- “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God”
Finally, there are Reapers with sickles gathering from the Earth. Part of what was gathered is said to be grapes thrown into “the great wine press of the wrath of God” followed by “the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles“.
Bowls of Wrath
Everything is ready for the crashing finale. Just as we’ve seen seven Seals and seven Trumpets, each introducing the next step toward the end, we now have seven Bowls that pour out wrath onto the earth.
- Malignant sores
- Sea into blood, and every creature in the sea killed
- Freshwater rivers and springs into blood
- Scorching sun, heat with no relief
- Darkness and pain in the kingdom of the Anti-Christ
- The Euphrates River dried up to clear the way for the Anti-Christ’s armies
As with the earlier Seals and Trumpets, there is an interlude before the seventh Bowl. This one is a BATTLE, in all bold caps. First, some background on the Anti-Christ and his relationship with Israel. Daniel 9:27 says that he “will make a firm covenant with the many” for one “week” (seven years) but will break his word halfway through. Ezekiel 38 tells of a coalition led by one major king who thinks that he has an easy target: “the land of unwalled villages“, “those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates“, “living securely” (Ezekiel 38:10-16).
Zechariah 12:1-3 repeats that “all the nations of the earth” will be gathered against Israel. Along with Revelation 16:13-16, all four prophecies tell of a huge army coming from all directions to attack Jerusalem during a time when the Jews are especially vulnerable, thinking that a treaty makes them safe. There should be no way the tiny nation of Israel could survive.
The location of the battle is called “Har-Magedon”, from which we get “Armageddon”. “Har” means hill or city; Megiddo is a particular ancient city of Canaan located on the southern rim of the plain of Esdraelon, 6 miles (10 km) from Mount Carmel and 11 miles (18 km) from Nazareth. It is no stranger to battles: one of Judah’s better kings, Josiah, was killed there when he went (against God’s command) to fight against king Neco of Egypt (2 Chronicles 35:20-24).
Ezekiel names the nations who comprise these armies: Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Put, Gomer, Beth-togarmah “from the remote parts of the north”, all led by “Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh” (Ezekiel 38:1-6). Most of these names match grandsons of Noah after the Flood. Noah’s son Japheth had sons Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras; Japheth’s son Gomer had Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. Noah’s son Ham had sons Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. (Genesis 10:1-6) Dr. David Jeremiah has traced these and their descendants to likely modern areas, all surrounding Israel 1.
Final Bowl of Wrath
So, it seems that Israel is doomed. But God has other ideas: Now is time for the seventh and final Bowl of wrath.
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.Revelation 16:17-21
Ezekiel’s version, prophesied 500 years earlier, is strikingly similar (Ezekiel 38:19-23). This Bowl seems to also correspond with the fall of Babylon, the center of the Godless world empire and all its commerce, described in Revelation 18.
Bottom line: Armageddon is a battle started by the Anti-Christ but it will be decisively finished by God.
Footnotes and Scripture References
- BTW, Dr. Jeremiah’s “Book of Signs” makes for some very interesting reading.