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FINAL JUDGMENT COMMENCES
Intro: There is no denying the fact that the book of Revelation is a book of judgment. It was written to people in the first century who were smiting under the angry whip of Roman persecution. It was given to them to let them know that God has a plan for the judgment of all those who have rejected Him.
While there are passages that allow for rejoicing in the chapters of this book, it is, for the most part, a chronicle of God’s final judgment of sin, sinners and Satan. In Revelation there is a series of three judgments which are executed in seven stages each. There are the seven seal judgments, the seven trumpet judgments and finally the seven bowl judgments. As the judgments progress, the intensity and severity of the judgments increase.
We have arrived at the final set of judgments. In Rev. 15:7 shows one of the four beasts giving to seven angels seven bowls “full of the wrath of God. Just as a reminder, the word full means to swell. It is the image of a dam, under pressure, nearing its bursting point. This is a good description of the wrath of God.
Ever since Adam sinned in Eden, the wrath of God against sin and sinners has been building. The grace and mercy of God have served as a powerful dam, which has held that wrath in check. In the judgments of the Revelation, the dam of God’s wrath bursts and a Christ rejecting world is swept away in the wave of judgment that issues forth.
Up to this point, God has always tempered His wrath. God has been faithful to honor the request of the prophet Habakkuk. In Hab. 3:2, the prophet prayed, “in wrath remember mercy. But, now the time for judgment has come. There will be no mercy any longer. The wrath of God is about to be poured out. God is preparing to commence His final judgment of the earth.
In Rev. 14:10, John writes, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. In these verses, the world is about to experience the undiluted wrath of an offended God.
In verse 1 God issues the command for the angels to begin pouring out the bowls filled with His wrath upon the earth. This message and the next will consider the seven bowl judgments in detail. Let’s examine these verses together as I preach on the subject “Final Judgment Commences.
I. v. 2 PLAGUES IN THE
A. When the first bowl is poured out, all those who have worshiped the beast and who have received his mark are afflicted with sores in the bodies. The word “sore literally means an ulcer. It has the idea of an open, running, ulcerated place on the skin. It probably refers to an oozing boil.
These sores are called “noisome. This word means of a bad nature, troublesome, injurious. They are also described as grievous. This word refers to something that is annoying, painful, or bad. These two words reveal that these sores will be extremely painful, festering and incurable.
No doubt the greatest medical minds of the age will do their best to find a cure, but they will fail. There will be no cream, no poultice, or no drug that will bring relief to the people suffering from these boils.
B. A sore on the outside is a sign of rottenness on the inside. God is clearly revealing the condition of these lost sinners. He is putting on display the corruption of their hearts through the corruption in the bodies.
These people have rejected God and His Christ. And they must face Him in judgment!
C. These festering ulcers bring to mind the ancient plagues in Egypt. The sixth of those plagues is found in Ex. 9:8-12. In that plague, the people of Egypt suffered from incurable, painful boils all over their bodies. This seems to be the same kind of physical problem Job experienced, Job 2:7.
D. Just as it was in ancient Egypt, these boils only afflict the enemies of God. Those who are trusting the Lord are spared this judgment.
I. Plagues In The Sinner
II. v. 3 PLAGUES IN THE SEA
A. When the second bowl is poured out, the waters of earth’s oceans are corrupted and become like the putrid, fetid blood of a corpse. Back in Rev. 8:8-9, when the second trumpet judgment was administered, one-third of the ocean was affected. Here, the cataclysm is worldwide.
When this plague is poured out, every creature in the sea will die. The seas will become vast cemeteries. Beaches will no longer attract the sun worshipers and the pleasure seekers. The beaches will reek with the stench of death. Instead of being thronged with crowds of sunbathers, the word’s beaches will be choked with the rotting carcasses of billions of dead sea creatures.
(Ill. This kind of plague has been seen in miniature in our world. Occasionally, something call a “red tide will occur. John Phillips vividly describes this phenomenon in his commentary on the Revelation. From time to time, off the coast of California and elsewhere, a phenomenon known as "the red tide" occurs. These red tides kill millions of fish and poison those who eat contaminated shellfish. In 1949, one of these red tides hit the coast of Florida. First the water turned yellow, but by midsummer it was thick and viscous with countless billions of dinoflagellates, tiny one-celled organisms. Sixty-mile windrows of stinking fish fouled the beaches. Much marine life was wiped out, even bait used by fishermen died upon the hooks. Eventually the red tide subsided, only to appear again the following year. Eating fish contaminated by the tide produced severe symptoms caused by a potent nerve poison, a few grams of which, distributed aright, could easily kill everyone in the world. An unchecked population explosion of toxic dinoflagellates would kill all the fish in the sea. (Exploring Revelation, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux, 1991], 190–91)
Only when this occurs, the entire world will be affected. When you consider the fact that 70% of the surface of this planet is covered in ocean, you can see how great of a plague this will be.)
B. Imagine the impact this will have on the environment. Most of the rain water the earth receives comes from moisture that evaporates from the oceans of the world. No more evaporation means greatly diminished rainfall on the earth. This will cause a drought of worldwide proportions.
Consider the fact that this world is largely dependent on the oceans for its food supply. Billions of people receive the abundance their daily food supply the ocean. Without this source of food, millions will face starvation.
Not only will food supplies be drastically affected, but so will commerce and shipping. The socio-economic impact of this plague will devastate the earth.
C. One by one, God is tearing down all the things men take for granted. First, their health is destroyed. Then, the oceans are destroyed. The coastal regions of every nation in the world will become abandoned wastelands as the oceans are transformed into vast seas of death.
I. Plagues In The Sinner
II. Plagues In The Sea
III. v. 4-7 PLAGUES IN THE
A. When the third bowl is poured out, the fresh water sources of this world are stricken. Again, we saw this in miniature back in Rev. 8:10-11, when one-third of the world’s fresh water supplies were poisoned when a comet, a meteor, or some other heavenly body fell in to them.
Here, they are turned to blood. By the time this plague is poured out on the earth, the world has become absolutely blood thirsty. Millions of martyrs have been slain by the Antichrist and his forces. Millions of saints have had their blood shed by the enemies of God. He honors their desire for blood by giving them blood to drink. When Jesus was here, His first miracle was to turn water into wine. That miracle was designed to draw men to Him. Here He turns the water into blood to remind men of Him. One by one, the Lord is removing every prop, every comfort, everything mankind leans on for support and takes for granted.
B. This plkague reminds us of the first of the ten plagues in Egypt. In Ex. 7:20-24, the fresh water in the land of Egypt was turned to blood and men searched in vain for water to quench their thirst.
C. In this judgment, every source of fresh water in the world is turned to blood. Whether it is a spring, a well or a municipal water system, the world’s fresh water supply will be taken away.
Our bodies can survive several weeks without food, but only about three days without water. Imagine a world with no water! A faucet is turned an instead of cool, clean, thirst-quenching water, out pours putrid, foul, deadly blood. No doubt death from disease and thirst will skyrocket during these horrible, evil days.
(Note: When this plague comes, the angels praise God for His wisdom in sending this judgment. The world is merely reaping what it has sown. (Ill. Gal. 6:7-9) The world has been guilty of murdering God’s people and God’s preachers and they are given blood to drink in return.
Another angel declares the righteous nature of God’s judgments. Our human minds cannot comprehend the judgments of these verses. We shrink back from them and think that they are horrible. We recoil when we think about people having to suffer like people will suffer during the Tribulation. We might even fell that there must be a better way.
One day, when we are home in glory, and our minds have been transformed and glorified, we will see things from God’s perspective. Then we will understand just how hateful and horrible sin truly is. We will feel as God feels; we will think as He thinks, and we will understand. In fact, I am 100% sure that we will voice our own “Amens as He judges the world that has denied Him and defiled His creation.
We will understand that the time for judgment has come. We will know that the only thing that has held judgment off for this long has been the pure grace of God.
When judgment comes, we can rest assured that God will judge the right individuals in the right amount in the right way. He can do nothing but the right thing. As Genesis 18:25 says, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?)
I. Plagues In The Sinner
II. Plagues In The Sea
III. Plagues In The Streams
IV. v. 8-9 PLAGUES IN THE SUN
A. The fourth plague touches the sun. Its heat is allowed to burn the bodies of men. The word “scorch means to be burned with heat; to be tortured with intense heat. By some means, God will allow the heat of the sun to be intensified and the bodies of men will be burned.
B. This universe is an amazing place. God created everything and placed it exactly where it needed to be. The sun is some 93 million miles away from the earth. It sits at exactly the precise distance to allow life to exist on this planet. If the sun were any closer, we would be burned up. If the sun were any farther away, we would freeze to death. God placed it exactly where it needs to be.
The sun is a giant nuclear reactor. It is so large that 1.3 million of our earths could fit inside of it. It is hot too. The surface of the sun is nearly 10,000 degrees. If that heat were to hit the earth full force, the planet would burn up instantly. Surrounding the earth is a band of radiation called the magnetosphere. This radiation band filters out the rays of the sun, allowing exactly the right amount of heat and light to enter our atmosphere.
During this plague, God will either turn up the heat of the sun or allow more of its heat to enter the earth’s atmosphere. As a result, men will experience intense burns in the bodies.
(Ill. The pain of sunburn is an intense, nagging pain. Imagine having that pain intensified many times over. Imagine the agony that will result from this plague.)
C. Another of mankind’s crutches is kicked out from under him. Since the dawn of time the sun has risen every morning and sat every evening. It has yielded life-giving, dependable heat and light for thousands of years. One day, mankind will awaken to a sun that will blaze down in flaming heat. It will scorch their bodies. But, it will be nothing compared to the pain they will feel when they are cast into Hell’s fire. This is just a warning of something far more terrible and final!
Conc: We read the Bible and we understand that these plagues are God’s judgment on sinners who refuse to come to Him for salvation. These plagues are designed to judge those who have defied a holy God at every turn. We read it and we understand the source and the solution.
What strikes me as amazing is the fact that these people understand what is happening too. They understand that God is behind these plagues. Instead of repenting in the face of His wrath, they stand in continued defiance to Him and His will. The Bible tells us in verse 9 that they “blaspheme the name of God. That word means to revile; to speak evil of. They shake their puny fists toward God and revile His holy name!
They have the audacity to blame Him for their troubles and suffering. Of course, that has been the human way since the dawn of time. Even in Eden, Adam and Eve sought to blame their problems on others, Gen. 3:11-13. That trend continues today.
Grown men and women are running around blaming their parents for the problems they have in life. If they are angry; if they are substance abusers; if they have other problems in their adult lives, they lay the blame at their parent’s feet. Homosexuals blame God for their perversion. They claim God made them the way they are. That is foolish! Homosexuals are not born! That lifestyle is a choice! Husbands blame wives; wives blame husbands; and everybody blames everybody else for their problems. Even under judgment men will blame God for what they are suffering.
But the problem is not with God. The problem is clearly stated in verse 9, “and they repented not to give him glory. They refused to repent of their sins to the glory of God and they are paying a heavy price for their choice. They have no one to blame but themselves!
If you fool around and die and go to Hell, you will have no one to blame but yourself. You could stop anywhere and call on the name of God and trust Him for salvation, if you would. If you do not, you will have nothing but judgment to look forward to!
The time for repentance is now. If you are not saved, you need to come to Jesus today. You need to be saved today! If you carry a burden for those who are headed to this horrible time called the Tribulation, the time to pray for them, the time to tell them is now. If you are saved and want to praise Him for delivering your soul from death, Hell and judgment, today would be a good time to do just that. Listen to His voice and come as He calls you.