REVELATION CHAPTER 16:
The 7 Chalices are Poured Out;
Succession Arrangements continued
The time of waiting is over; at the time when the seventh angel is heard sounding his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled, just as he announced in the gospel to his servants the prophets. "Revelation 10:6
The seventh angel emptied his bowl into the air, and a great voice boomed out from the sanctuary, The end has come!' "Revelation 16:17
Listen! An uproar from the City! A voice from the Temple! The voice of Yahweh bringing retribution on his enemies. "Isaiah 66:6
Compare the last 7 plagues with the Trumpet Judgments of Revelation and the plagues of Egypt in the Book of Exodus:
SYMBOLISM IN SACRED SCRIPTURE:
CHALICE & TRUMPET JUDGMENTS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION COMPARED TO THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT
The Chalice Judgments are repeats, with variation, of the Trumpet Judgments. Since the Trumpet Judgments were essentially warnings they took only a third of the Land; with the Chalices, however, the destruction is total. The similarities between the Chalice and Trumpet Judgments and the Plagues of Egypt cannot be casual coincidence. The similarities should make us ask Why is the vision (or the plague) repeated "what is the connection? Notice the order of Chalice and Trumpet judgments compared with each other and how these judgments are reminiscent of the Egyptian plagues.
Judgments in Revelation
Judgments in Revelation
PLAGUES ON EGYPT
In the book of Exodus
|1st Chalice: On the Land; people disfigured with sores (16:1-2)||1st Trumpet: On the Land; 1/3 earth, trees, grass burned (8:7)||
(6th plague: Exodus 9:8-12)
|2nd Chalice: On the sea, becoming blood (16:3)||
2nd Trumpet: On
1/3 of sea becomes blood,
1/3 sea creatures die,
1/3 ships destroyed (8:8-9)
Waters become blood
(1st plague: Exodus 7:17-21)
|3rd Chalice: On rivers and springs, becoming blood (16:8-9)||
3rd Trumpet: On
rivers and springs;
1/3 waters become wormwood (8:10-11)
Waters become blood
(1st plague: Exodus 7:17-21)
|4th Chalice: On the sun, causing it to scorch = darkened (16:8-9)||4th Trumpet: 1/3 of sun, moon, & stars darkened (8:12)||
(9th plague: Exodus 10:21-23)
|5th Chalice: On the throne of the Beast, causing darkness; pain and sores on people (16:10-11)||5th Trumpet: Demonic locusts tormenting men (9:13-21)||
(8th plague: Exodus 10: 4-20)
|6th Chalice: On the river [Euphrates], drying it up to make way for kings of the east; invasion of frog-demons; Armageddon (16:12-16)||6th Trumpet: Invasion of army from the river [Euphrates] kills 1/3 of mankind (9:13-21)||
Invasion of frogs from the
(2nd plague: Exodus 8:2-4)
|7th Chalice: On the air, causing storm, earthquake, hail & the Great City splits into 3 parts (16:17-21)||7th Trumpet: Voices, storm, earthquake, hail (11:15-19)||
(7th plague: Exodus 9:18-26)
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.
From now on John will no longer use the imagery of warning but will concentrate on the message of Jerusalem's destruction. In Revelation 16:19 John will once again mention the Great City that he identified in Revelation 11:8 as the city where Jesus was crucified. In that passage he symbolically connected that city with Sodom and Egypt. Jerusalem is symbolically imaged with Sodom because like Sodom Jerusalem will be condemned to a total destruction as a whole burnt sacrifice on the altar of judgment (Genesis 19:24-25; Deuteronomy 13:12-18). But in chapter 16 John extends and intensifies the imagery of the judgment on Egypt in Exodus. As you will remember this is imagery that has been so pervasive throughout the 7 Seals and 7 Trumpets chapters, but now the 7 Chalice judgments will correspond to the 10 Plagues of Egypt. These final, terrifying judgments will be poured out on The Great City. As we study chapter 16 please be award of how the Trumpet judgments (which were essentially warnings because they took only 1/3 of the Land) are related to the Chalice judgments and to the Plagues of Egypt. Do not miss the fact that the Chalice judgments are the end of God's wrath, this time the destruction will be total. Please look up the chart entitled The Chalice and Trumpets Judgments vs. the Plagues of Egypt in the chart section. We will be referring to this chart throughout this chapter.
Please read Revelation
16:1-9 The First Four Chalices
Revelation 16: 1-2 Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary calling to the seven angels, Go, and empty the seven bowls of God's anger over the earth.' The first angel went and emptied his bowl over the earth; at once, on all the people who had been branded with the mark of the beast and had worshipped its statue, there came disgusting and virulent sores.
Question: In verse 1, where does the command authorizing the
judgment come from and what is the significance and connection to
Answer: This scene is the continuation of the action in the heavenly Temple, and the command from the Temple emphasizes both the divine and ecclesiastical origin of the plagues/judgments.
The command from Temple reminds me of Isaiah chapter 66 when Isaiah prophesizes judgment on Jerusalem: Listen! An uproar from the City! A voice from the Temple! The voice of Yahweh bringing retribution on his enemies. Is. 66:6.
Question: What does the voice command?
Answer: Go and pour out the 7 bowls of God's wrath over the earth.
Question: What is unique about these judgments? See 15:1.
Answer: These are the last.
The Greek verb used in Rev. 16 verse 1 is very significant. The New Jerusalem translates the Greek word ekcheo as empty ( and empty the 7 bowls of God's anger over the earth ) but I prefer the English words pour out or pour as a better, more literal expression of the Greek verb ekcheo. I support this interpretation by pointing to the use of ekcheo in the Old and New Testaments.
The Use of ekcheo in the Old Testament
In the New Testament this verb is used in contexts that are similar to the major themes in Revelation:
The Use of ekcheo in the New Testament
The point is all these references are liturgical and point to the imperfect sacrificial system of the Old Covenant made perfect in Christ's sacrifice on the cross! This is important in understanding the significance of this pouring out of plagues into the Land (Israel) that has poured out the blood of Jesus Christ and His disciples on to the people who have resisted the Holy Spirit and who have rejected the Messiah: It is the parable of the wine skins that Jesus told using ekcheo in Matthew 9:17. The wine-blood of the New Covenant cannot be poured into the imperfect skins of the Old Covenant. The old wineskins of Israel are about to be split open!
Looking at verse 2 of Revelation chapter 16: Now those who follow the Beast instead of only carrying the Beast's mark will be marked with a loathsome and hideous mark. It is as though this imagery suggests that the Beast's mark (on the souls of his followers) has broken open in a deadly infection!
Question: What connection do you make with an Old Testament
event? See Exodus 9:8-11 or look at the Chart comparing the Chalice &
Trumpet judgments with the Egyptian plagues.
Answer: The Egyptian plague of boils when God poured out boils on the pagan state who worshiped their king as god and who persecuted God's holy people. The parallel is that Israel was also guilty of rejecting God (Jesus Christ) in favor of the god-Emperor of the Romans ( We have not king but Caesar ), and who persecuted God's holy people.
Question: What is the connection to Moses' list of curses that
will fall on Israel if they fail in the Covenant obligations? See Deut.
Answer: Moses specifically mentions the plague of boils in his list of the curses of the Covenant for idolatry and apostasy, which is precisely what Judea is guilty of committing.
Revelation 16:3 The second angel emptied (ekcheo " poured out) his bowel into the rivers and springs of water and they turned to blood, like the blood of a corpse, and every living creature in the sea died.
The more literal translation of this passage reads: and every soul living died in the sea. Soul, Greek = psyche, is more generally, but not always, used for human beings. Every soul, Greek = pasa psyche, can mean everyone or, in the plural, persons.
Question: Where does the second angel/minister pour out his
chalice and what is the result?
Answer: He pours it into the sea, which becomes like the blood of a dead man, and every loving soul in the sea died. This may reference human life in a historical context that I will explain shortly.
Question: What is the connection to the plagues of Egypt and what
is the significance of the description of the blood of dead men?
Answer: Plague #1 but instead of the blood flowing like a river it is clotted and coagulated.
Question: Looking at verses 3-6, how many times is blood
mentioned and in what context?
Answer: Four times: v.3 = blood covering or pouring out over every living soul in the sea; v.4 = blood poured out in rivers and springs; v.6 pouring out of the blood of saints and prophets and v6 (again), the blood of the saints and prophets given to Israel to drink.
Question: Do you recall the purity restrictions under the
Noachide Law and under the Sinai Covenant concerning blood and death? See
Genesis 9:4-5; Leviticus 3:17; 7:26-27; 15:19-33; 17:10-16; 21:1; Num 5:2;
19:11-19; Deut 12:16.
Answer: to consume either flesh or blood was strictly forbidden with the penalty of being excommunicated from the community. To come in contact with either blood or death caused ritual impurity. Therefore, with all of Israel (Judea, Samaria, and the Galilee) covered in blood, Israel is unclean, defiled and cast out!
Question: From what you know now (from the passages prohibiting
the consumption of blood or flesh can you understand the horror of the Jews
listening to Jesus' Bread of life discourse in John chapter 6? Reading
that passage, why did many of His disciples turn and leave when He told them
In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and
drink his blood, you have no life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and
drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last
day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever
eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person.
Did they believe He meant this literally or symbolically?
Answer: they clearly believed He said this literally or they would not have left (v.66). That He did not stop them proves He did mean this literally!
There is a literal historical fulfillment of this disaster
of the blood in the sea that is recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus during
the events of the Jewish Revolt against Rome. During the fierce battle of
Tarichaeae, thousands of Jewish rebels fled to the area of the Sea of Galilee
(also called the Sea of Tiberius by the Romans). Hoping to escape the
Romans, the Jews launched boats and rafts out onto the Sea where they were
pursued by the Romans who overtook them. Josephus records their slaughter
by the Romans:
As for those that endeavored to come to an actual fight, the Romans ran many of them through with their long poles. Sometimes the Romans leaped into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water they were either killed by darts or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands; and indeed they were destroyed after various manners everywhere, till the rest, being put to flight, were forced to get upon the land...but as many of these where repulsed when they were getting ashore, they were killed by the darts upon the lake; and the Romans leaped out of their vessels, and destroyed a great many more upon the land: one might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped.....The number of the slain, including those that were killed in the city before, was six thousand and five hundred. Flavius Josephus, The Jewish Wars, 3.10.9
The reference to every soul dying in the sea in verse 3 can be explained in this disaster or the corpses strewn on the Sea of Galilee could lead to the assumption that most of the drinking water became unsafe which contributed to the death of every living thing through drinking bloody water.
Revelation16:4-7: The third angel emptied (ekcheo- poured out) his bowl into the rivers and streams of water and they turned into blood. Then I heard the angel of water say, You are the Upright One, He who is, He who was, the Holy One, for giving this verdict: they spilt the blood of the saints and the prophets, and blood is what you have given them to drink; it is what they deserve.' And I heard the altar itself say, Truly, Lord God Almighty, the punishments you give are true and just.'
Question: By what title does the 3rd angel address
Answer: the Upright One, He who is, He who was, the Holy One.
Question: Of what does the reference to God as He who is, He who
was remind you? See Exodus 3:11-14.
Answer: God's holy Covenant name, Yahweh, which we usually translate as I am who am but Jews translate His name as I was, I am, and I will be.
Question: This 3rd chalice resembles what Trumpet
judgment and what Egyptian plague?
Answer: the 3rd in Rev. 8:10-11 and the 1st Egyptian plague since it affects the rivers and streams, turning all the drinking water to blood and bringing death.
Question: This is a reversal of the positive symbolism of the
water imagery used throughout the Old and New Testaments. How was water
used as a positive symbol?
Answer: Water is often used as a symbol of life and blessings from God beginning with the story of creation and the Garden of Eden (seen as a symbol of heaven) to Jesus' statements that He is the water of eternal life. In this plague the blessings of Paradise are reversed into a curse.
Question: How does the Angel of the Waters respond?
Answer: Praising God for His righteous judgment. He is not one of the Chalice angels.
Question: Who is this angel?
Answer: It is possible that he is the 4th Living Creature/cherubim with the face of a man who corresponds to the constellation of Aquarius the Water Pourer (?)
Question: The angel announces that this punishment fits
the crime. What was Israel's crime? Perhaps you can recall Jesus'
condemnation of Jerusalem for the same offense? Revelation 16:5-6 You are
the Upright One, He who is, he who was, the Holy One, for giving this verdict:
they split the blood of the saints and the prophets, and blood is what you have
given them to drink; it is what they deserve. read Matthew 23:31-36 (v
31-2 Jesus speaking: You are the children of those who murdered the
prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your ancestors began .
(36) In truth I tell you, it will all recoil on this generation. ).
Answer: As we have seen the murder of the Saints and Prophets has been a continual crime of Israel/ Jerusalem.
The Angel of the Waters concluded with an interesting statement when he said that the blood God has given them to drink is what they deserve. This is a parallel to the message of the New Song or Hymn of chapter 5:9 You are worthy to take the scroll and to break its seals, because you were sacrificed, and with your blood you bought people for God... The Lamb received His reward on the basis of the blood He shed and now these followers of the beast who persecuted and killed the saints have now received the just reward for the blood they shed! Isaiah 49:26 I shall make your oppressors eat their own flesh, they will be as drunk on their own blood as on new wine. And all humanity will know that I am Yahweh, your Savior, your redeemer, the Might One of Jacob.
Question: How is this judgment a reversal of the Eucharist and
was this prophesized?
Answer: This judgment was prophesized in the Covenant Curses of Deuteronomy 28:53-57 and was fulfilled during the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD as reported by Josephus when the Jews actually became cannibals and mothers literally ate their own children (Josephus, The Jewish Wars 6.3.3-4). Because they shed the blood of the Saints and rejected the blood of the Messiah, God gives them their own blood to drink.
Question: Joining the Angel of the Waters is another voice.
Whose voice joins in agreement?
Answer: The voice of the Altar where the blood of the sacrifice had been poured out, the blood of the Saints and Prophets given as a pure and holy sacrifice to God. This recalls the scene John witnessed in Rev. 6:9-11. Please re-read that passage.
Question: What is the connection to Rev. 6:9-11?
Answer: This liturgy is the answer to the prayer of the souls of the Saints gathered around the base of the altar who cried out for justice and what else??
Answer: vengeance! How much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth (literal = those who dwell on the land. This is one of the 12 times this expression those who dwell on the land or earth is used in Revelation to refer to Israel. In the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD that prayer is answered.
It is not a coincidence that the prayers in Revelation 15:3-4 and chapter 16 verses 5-7 are actually based on the song sung by the priests and the Levites during the interval between the preparation and the offering of the sacrifice at the liturgical service of the daily sacrifice in the Temple. It is ironic that just as God Himself is preparing for the Whole Burnt Sacrifice of Jerusalem in 70AD, the very angels of heaven were singing apostate Israel's own liturgy against her! (see Massyngberde Ford, Revelation p. 266).
Revelation 16:8-9 The fourth angel emptied (ekcheo - poured out) his bowl over the sun and it was made to scorch people with its flames; 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.
Question: How is this plague related to the 4th
Trumpet judgment and the plagues of the Exodus? Please consult your chart.
Answer: The 4th Trumpet judgment resulted in a plague of darkness (8:12) like the 9th plague of Egypt but now the heat of the sun in increased so that it scorches with its great heat. This is a reversal of the Covenantal blessing of the Exodus when Israel was protected from the sun's heat by the Glory-Cloud, the Shadow of the Almighty (Exodus 13:21-22; Psalms 91:1-6). This is a Covenantal promise that would be repeated again and again throughout the books of the Prophets. Now that protection is withdrawn.
The last line they would not repent and glorify him. reminds us that the whole purpose of suffering and judgment is meant to be redemptive "turning the transgressor to rejection of sin, to sincere repentance and to restored fellowship with God.
Question: What is the result of this plague?
Answer: the people are stubborn and do not repent.
Please read Revelation 16:10-21 The Last Three Chalices.
Question: Looking back over the first 4 Chalice judgments what
were the targets of those judgments and what do they reflect? There are
Answer: Land, sea, waters, and the sun = physical creation.
Revelation 16:10-11 The fifth angel emptied (ekcheo " poured out) his bowl over the throne of the beast and its whole empire was plunged into darkness. People were biting their tongues for pain, but instead of repenting for what they had done, they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores.
With the first four plagues the judgment fell on the elements of nature but with the last three the consequences of the judgments are more political in nature. They will include the Beast's political center (his throne); the war of the great Day of God; and the fall of Babylon.
Question: What is the result of the pouring out of the 5th
Answer: it is poured out upon the Beast's throne (the Roman Empire) and even though the sun's heat is scorching those who worship the Beast, the lights are now dark on his kingdom. Darkness is a familiar Biblical symbol for political chaos and the fall of kingdoms (Isaiah 13:9-10; Amos 8:9; Ezek. 32:7-8). This chaos of the Roman Empire was a historic reality. At the time of the Jewish Revolt there was war and rebellion all across the Empire. In addition to this instability in the Empire, Nero's forced suicide in June of 68AD was followed by the murders of three Emperors all in the year 69. Finally Vespasian regained control but that same year the great Temple of the Capitoline Jupiter burned to the ground in December 19, 69AD. It is interesting that 7 months later the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, resulting in the destruction of the two most important holy sites of the ancient world "the Temple of Jerusalem and the Temple of the chief of the Roman gods.
In verse 11 the people are biting their tongues and cursing God because of their sores. These would be the sores of the First chalice judgment. The judgments are being poured out so quickly that there is no relief; each successive plague builds on the last.
Question: Do the people repent and turn to God?
Answer: no they curse Him.
Revelation 16:12-16 The sixth angel emptied (ekcheo " poured out) his bowl over the great Euphrates; all the water dried up so that a way was made for the kings of the East to come in. Then from the jaws of the dragon and beast and false prophet I saw three foul spirits come; they looked like frogs and in fact were demon spirits, able to work miracles (semeion " signs), going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty. 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. They called the kings together at the place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Question: What is the connection between this Chalice judgment,
the 6th Trumpet (Rev. 9:13-21), and one of the Egyptian plagues (Ex
8:2-4)? See the chart comparing the chalice judgments to the trumpet
judgments and the Egyptian plagues in the appendix to this lesson.
Answer: The 6th angel's Chalice or bowl announces the invasion of kings , or the armed forces of kings from the East who cross the Euphrates River followed by demon spirits that looked like frogs. In the 6th Trumpet judgment an army from across the Euphrates River invades and kills 1/3 of the people (Rev. 9:13-21), and in the Egyptian plagues the 2nd plague is the invasion of frogs from the great river (which in that case was the Nile).
|Chalice judgment||Trumpet judgment:||Egyptian plague:|
On the Euphrates, drying it up to make way for kings of the east; invasion of frog-demons; Armageddon (16:12-16)
6th Trumpet judgment:
Army from Euphrates kills 1/3 of mankind (9:13-21)
Invasion of frogs from the river (Ex 8:2-4)
Question: What is the connection between the plague of frogs and
the invasion of armies?
Answer: The frogs invaded Egypt from the Nile River like an invading army but there are other connections that will become clear later. The Euphrates was beyond Israel's northern frontier and the direction from which most invading armies came to ravage and oppress God's Covenant people.
The water of the Euphrates drying up may have two historical connections. The ancient city of Babylon sat astride the Euphrates River and was encircled by canals. This natural protection made the city practically impregnable but the Persian King Cyrus solved this problem by damming up the great river and marched his army across the drained river bed (see Herodotus' Histories I, 191 ). The other historical connection is that the 1st century AD Roman Emperor Vespasian sent his son Titus and the Roman Legions on the Euphrates to launch their invasion of Judah.
Question: Do you see any connection to the invasion of the
frog/demons across the dried up river and Exodus experience?
Answer: The reference to the drying up of the River to allow the enemy to advance may be a symbolic reversal of the miracle of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21-22) flooding and destroying Israel's enemy in the Exodus experience. It may also be a reversal of the miracle of the Jordan River parting to allow the children of Israel to cross over and invade the Promised Land (Joshua 3:9-17; 4:22-24). This is another example of tragic irony; God saved Israel by allowing the children of Israel to pass through the waters of the Red Sea and to take possession of the Promised Land by passing over the water of the Jordan River, but in the 1st century AD judgment fell on an apostate covenant people when the Roman enemy crossed over a great river (the Euphrates) to attack the Promised Land and to destroy the old covenant people of God who rejected the Messiah (see Josephus' description of Titus' invasion in 69AD: The Jewish War 3.1.3; 3.4.2; 5.1.6; 7.1.3).
The reference to the kings of the east has no connection to the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child in Matthew chapter 2. The Magi were not kings nor are they identified as kings in that passage but as some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east... . Their importance is that these Gentiles from the East give a foretaste of Jesus' mission to offer salvation to the Gentile nations whose wise men are attracted to His light. The only kings in the drama of Jesus' birth are Jesus and Herod. The erroneous tradition that these men were kings came about in the Middle Ages probably as flattery to the Christian kings of Europe who saw themselves embodied in this part of the nativity story and as a fulfillment of Isaiah 49:23. It is at that time that 3 names were assigned to these gentile travelers and other myths were attached to them like the story of the 4th King who was too late to leave with the other travelers and spent his life looking for Christ only to find Him at the crucifixion. The Magi were learned men who studied the stars. They were noble in birth (probably the sons of the ruling class of Persia) and highly educated. It was common in ancient times to associate the appearance of a new star of a comet with the birth or death of kings. In Revelation 16:12, 14 & 16 two different Greek words are used: basileus is used in verses 12 & 14 and literally means king or ruler and autos in verse 16 which should be literally translated as them or their. The four Roman legions and the auxiliary forces composed of men from client kingdoms were men gathered together from across the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire and came as kings or rulers to bring judgment on Judea.
Then from the jaws of the dragon and beast and false prophet I saw three foul spirits come; they looked like frogs and in fact were demon spirits, able to work miracles (semeion " signs), going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty.
Question: In verses 13-14 what does John see proceeding from the
mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet?
Answer: 3 unclean spirits. The connection is to the judgment of the 2nd Egyptian plague. The multitude of frogs that invaded Egypt came from the Nile River (Ex. 8:1-7) and John has combined these images:b
Here is the imagery of the unholy trinity of the Dragon the Beast and the False Prophet with the Dragon being imitated by the Beast and False Prophet and the triple use of the word mouth which is reminiscent of the sixth Trumpet judgment (9:17-19) In my vision I saw the horses, and the riders with their breastplates of flame color, hyacinth-blue and sulfur-yellow; the horses had lions' heads, and fire, smoke and sulfur were coming from their mouths. It was by these three plagues, the fire, the smoke and the sulfur coming from their mouths, that the one third of the human race was killed. All the horses; power was in their mouths and their tails...
However, the Dragon is not in charge; God is in charge and He will use the work of error performed by these lying spirits in order to bring about the destruction of His enemies in the War of that great Day of God. This is a biblical term which refers to a Day of Judgment against the wicked (Isaiah 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1-2, 11, 31; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph 1:14-18). This is to be Israel's day of judgment that Jesus foretold in His parable in Matthew 22:7 when the King would send his armies to destroy the murderers and set their City on fire because they had refused his invitation to attend the Banquet (Eucharist) and had killed his servants (Jesus, the Apostles and disciples who carried the Gospel message of salvation first to the Jews and then to the world).
Revelation 16:15 has the Book of Revelation's 3rd of the 5 Beatitudes: Blessed is anyone who has kept watch, and has kept his clothes on, so that he does not go out naked..
Question: Does this passage remind you of any passages of
warnings or promises from Jesus' letters to the 7 churches?
Answer: Jesus told the church of Sardis in 3:3 that He would come like a thief in the night and they wouldn't know the day or hour. He also told the church of Laodicea to purchase for Him white garments that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed. Nakedness in Scripture is a euphemism for sinfulness, as opposed to being clothed which is to be in a state of grace [you will remember when Adam and Eve fell from grace they feared God I was afraid because I was naked in Genesis 3:9-10]. St. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:3: And in this earthly state we do indeed groan, longing to put on our heavenly home over the present one; if indeed we are to be found clothed rather than naked.
Question: Do you see a similar connection between being the
symbolic imagery of being clothed and being naked or improperly clothed in
Jesus' parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14?
Answer: In verses 12-13 the man was thrown out of the feast because he was not dressed in a wedding garment. He was not in a state of grace and therefore not eligible to partake in the feast. When we come to the Lord's Eucharistic feast we must be certain that we are wearing the proper wedding garment! (Note: nakedness originally in Scripture was symbolic of innocence, i.e. the Garden of Eden. Biblical images of nakedness also include defenselessness and vulnerability; humiliation and shame; guilt and judgment; and sexual impropriety and exploitation but nakedness opposed to clothed is symbolic of a sin-filled life opposed to redemption which is being clothed in God's gift of grace).
Revelation 16:16: The demon spirits ...called the kings together at the place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon.
In Revelation 21:16 the demons gather the kings of the earth together at a place called Armageddon. This is the only passage in the entire Bible that the word Armageddon is found. The literal spelling in the Greek is Har-Magedon, which means Mount Megiddo.
The identification of this site is a problem, especially for those who want to take Revelation literally. Megiddo is not a mountain. The hill that is the ruined city of Megiddo it is located at a pass that leads to the fertile plain of the Jezreel valley. The mountain that is closest to the plain of Megiddo is Mt. Carmel, a site which figured prominently in the history of the covenant people. Is John referring to the mound or tell that covers the 25-30 levels of what remains of a city that existed from the Chalcolithic period until 350 BC, or does he want his audience to think of the historical significance of both Mt. Carmel and Megiddo?
Question: What great Old Testament events happened at or near Mt.
Carmel? See Joshua 12:21-22; 1Kings 18:19-42; 2 Kings 2:25; 4:25.
The city of Megiddo was one of the most important cities of the Levant during the historical periods of the Old Testament. It was located not far from the Mediterranean Sea on a fertile plain near the major trade routes leading from Egypt to Mesopotamia. One such major route was the Via Maris (Roman name of the ancient road), the major international military and trade route that linked Egypt in the south with Syrian, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia in the north and east. Its strategic position gave the city of Megiddo control of a bottleneck where the Via Maris emerged from the narrow Aruna Pass into the fertile Jezreel valley. Megiddo is the only ancient site in Israel mentioned in the archives of every great power in the ancient Near East.
Because of its strategic location the city on the plain of Megiddo (also called the plain of Esdraelon) , which is located 75 miles northwest of Jerusalem, became a stage for bloodshed since the 15th century BC. The oldest surviving written record of a battle took place at Megiddo in 1468BC between the Egyptians and the armies of Canaanite city-states, a battle the victorious Egyptians recorded in detail. Megiddo became a major administrative center during the first millennium BC and despite its violent history, was rebuilt approximately 26 times (some archaeologists say 30 times).
The place name Megiddo is mentioned eleven times in Scripture, the twelfth would be the allusion to Megiddo as Armageddon (Har-Magedon) in Revelation 16:16 (see Josh 12:21; 17:11; Judg 1:27; 5:19; 1 Kgs 4:12; 9:15; 2 Kgs 9:27; 23:29; 23:30; 1Chr 7:29; and 2 Chr 35:22).
Question: What significant Old Testament events happened at
Megiddo? See Joshua 12:21; Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 9:22-29; 23:29-30; 2
According to the records discovered in the Assyrian archives, the plain of Megiddo was also the site where the Assyrians assembled the 10 Northern tribes of Israel, after the defeat of the Northern Kingdom in 722BC, to send the Israelites into exile into the Assyrian lands to the east (2 Kings 17:5-6). These tribes never experienced a return to their ancestral lands and are referred to as the lost tribes of Israel. The same Assyrian archives documented the capture of Megiddo in 732BC and the establishment of Megiddo as Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III's provincial headquarters.
Writing circa 480BC, the prophet Zechariah associates the plain of Megiddo with death and mourning (Zech 12:1-14), remembering the exile of the 10 Northern tribes and prophesizing that the messianic age will come about through a mysterious death when the inhabitants of Jerusalem will mourn for the one they have pierced during a future siege of the city: They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced as though for an only child, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child. When that day comes, the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad Rimmon in the Plain of Megiddo (Zech 12:11). John 19:37 interprets this passage as a prophecy of Jesus' Passion.
The town of Megiddo was abandoned in the Persian period circa 350 BC and was never rebuilt. For the generation of St. John the Apostle, Mt. Carmel was a symbol of victory while Megiddo was a symbol of defeat and desolation for those who set themselves against the Word of God, and it would become the site of the rendezvous of the forces that would inflict the greatest defeat the Jews would ever suffer as a people. In 69AD while the Roman Emperor Flavius Titus set up his headquarters at Caesarea, he assembled his Roman legions and auxiliary forces on the plain of Megiddo. It was from this site that Titus would launch the assault on Judea that would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the summer of 70AD.
The men who comprised Titus' fighting force were from the various provinces and client nations across the Roman Empire who provided the fighting men of the Roman legions and the allied nation's auxiliary forces "men of the kings of the earth. A fourth legion from Syria which had been stationed on the banks of the Euphrates River joined Titus on March/April the 14th outside the gates of Jerusalem. The Jewish historian/old covenant priest Joseph ben Matthias, who adopted the Roman name Flavius Josephus, described the force Titus assembled: Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Caesarea. He had with him those three legions that had accompanied his father when he had laid Judea waste, together with that twelfth legion which had been formerly beaten with Cestius; which legion, as it was otherwise remarkable for its valor, so did it march on now with greater alacrity to avenge themselves on the Jews, remembering what they had formerly suffered from them. Of these legions he ordered the fifth to meet him, by going through Emmaus, and the tenth to go up by Jericho; he also moved himself, together with the rest; besides whom marched those auxiliaries that came from the kings, being now more in number than before, together with considerable number that came to his assistance from Syria (The Wars of the Jews, 5.1.6[40-42]).
It was in the spring when the Roman legions marched on Jerusalem. It was the time of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread and since it was a pilgrim feast (Ex 23:14-17; 34:18-24; Deut 16:16) the city was backed with Jews from across the Roman Empire. When the city fell to the Romans, the total number of deaths according Josephus, who was an eyewitness to the destruction, came to 1,100,000 Jews and the enslavement and disbursement of surviving Jews into the Gentile nations of the Roman Empire totaled 97,000, with only 40,000 permitted to remain free (from Jerusalem; unknown number from the rest of the province) "it was the literal end of the world for Judea and the Old Covenant people of God (Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 6.9.3 (420-21; 6.8.2 ).
Revelation 16:17-21: The seventh angel emptied (ekcheo " poured out) his bowl into the air, and a great voice boomed out from the sanctuary, The end has come.' Then there were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder and a violent earthquake, unparalleled since humanity first came into existence. 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 wine cup of his retribution. Every island vanished and the mountains disappeared; 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.
Suddenly the scene changes and an announcement is made.
Question: From where does John hear the announcement and what is
Answer: John hears a great voice from the heavenly Sanctuary. The voice says The End Has Come! In Greek this is a single word: ghegonen. This single word can mean it is finished , it is fulfilled (the translation I prefer), it is completed or even the end has come. It is finished or fulfilled would be the words of the host at the ceremonial close of the Passover Feast and is similar to Jesus' last (or next to the last) words from the cross as recorded in the Gospel of St. John (John 19:30) = Tetelestai.
This phrase is the central theme of the Book of Revelation as it was announced by Christ's warnings to the 7 churches in Rev. 2-3. See Rev. 2:5, 16; 25, 3:3 11. The Old Covenant is fulfilled as Jesus promised in Matthew 5:17 Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. It is also the fulfillment of Hebrews 9:8 that the New Covenant could not be fully implemented until the Old Covenant passed away ...as long as the old tent stands the way into the Holy Place is not opened up.
Question: How many times did Christ warn the 7 churches the end
was coming soon? What did Jesus prophesize concerning the destruction of
Jerusalem in Matthew 24:15-22 and what is the connection to Daniel's prophecies
of the appalling abomination repeated three times in Daniel 9:27; 11:31 and
Answer: In the letters to the 7 churches there were 5 warnings of the coming judgment. The coming of the vengeful Roman legions will be, in reality, Christ's coming in wrath against His enemies. This is the Wrath of the Lamb! In Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus foretold that Daniel's judgment prophecies in 9:23-27, 11:31-35 and 12:5-13 would be fulfilled: the appalling abomination (Matt 24:15 Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) would be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem "the final stronghold against the Roman army in 70AD. Jesus prophesized that many would die but there would be those who would escape. Jesus cannot be speaking of the Final Judgment since none will escape that event. Daniel's prophecy must be referring to the events of 70AD as well, since the end of the perpetual Tamid sacrifice, associated with the prophecy of the great judgment in Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, did not take place until the destruction of the Temple by the Roman army in 70AD.
Read the prophetic message to Daniel from the man dressed in white linen with a belt of pure gold round his waist (see Daniel 10:6).
Note: It is very difficult to determine the significance of these numbers in Daniel 12:11-12; scholars are not in agreement over the symbolic meaning. The period of time from the Patriarchs to the Israelites' liberation from enslavement in Egypt was reckoned as 430 years (Ex 12:40). Three times 430 is 1,290 (Dan 12:11). It could be that the suffering of the old covenant people will be shorter than (days instead of years), but three times as intense as, the Egyptian enslavement of 430 years. Those who persevere in faith will, however, attain the 1, 335th day (Dan 12:12). The difference between 1,335 and 1,290 is 45. The Tamid sacrifice mentioned in Daniel 12:11 was instituted as the singly most important sacrifice for the covenant people from the time before the Golden Calf to the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. Even during the Babylonian captivity the people remembered the Tamid in their hours of prayer and it was the first sacrifice established after the return (Ezra 3:1-6). The entire prayer life of the covenant people revolved around this sacrifice and all other sacrifices, even the Passover sacrifice, did not take precedence over this sacrifice but were offered in addition to the perpetual sacrifice (Num 28:16-25). From the time the Tamid was offered the first year at Sinai until the subjugation of the Promise Land by Joshua and the twelve tribes of Israel was 45 years. Could the difference between the two numbers in Daniel 12:12 be related to the number of years from Sinai to the conquest of the Promised Land (with 40 of those years spend in the desert wandering)? During those 45 years from Sinai to the settlement of the tribes in Canaan, Israel completely relied on God for everything. The covenant people considered those years to be a time of special blessings and miracles, even if there were trials. Could it be that those who remain faithful and survive the prophesized disaster will enter into the same kind of relationship with God in their salvation journey that Israel enjoyed in her wilderness journey, and that the spiritual journey of the faithful will end, hopefully, in taking possession of the Promised Land of heaven?
Question: Do you see any connection between the man dressed in
white linen with a belt of pure gold round his waist in Daniel 10:6 and John's
description of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:13?
Answer: It appears that Daniel's man in white linen may be the Pre-Incarnate Christ.b
Question: Is there a time in the Book of Revelation when John is
told now is the time to reveal the secret/ mystery and to unseal the scroll
which Daniel is told to keep secret in Daniel 12:9?
Answer: In Revelation 10:7-8 a powerful angel tells John: The time of waiting is over; at the time when the seventh angel is heard sounding his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled, just as he announced in the gospel to his servants the prophets.' Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven speaking to me again. Go', it said, and take that open scroll from the hand of the angel standing on the sea and land.'
Question: Read the quote from Daniel 12:13 above; for how
long will Daniel have to rest or sleep before he rises for his reward?
See 1 Peter 3:18-19; 4:6; and Hebrews 2:14.
Answer: The reference is not to the end of time but to the end of the Temple sacrifices and the old covenant. Daniel will rest in Sheol, the abode of the dead (also called in Jesus' time Abraham's Bosom ; see Luke 16:22), until Jesus gives up His life on the cross. At that time Jesus, like all humans who die, will descend to Sheol to preach the Gospel of Salvation to all who reside there, the good and the wicked. Those who believe in Him and accept His gift of salvation, like Daniel, will be taken by Him into the gates of heaven. See CCC# 536; 632-37; 1026.
The prophecy Daniel received concerning the appalling abomination (Dan 11:31 & 12:11) and the prophecy Jesus repeats in Matthew 24:15 is fulfilled on the 9th of Ab, 70AD (this is the same day and month Solomon's Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587/6BC). After the Romans burned the Temple and the city of Jerusalem was subdued, the Legions of Titus set up their military standards (depicting pagan gods) in the ruined Temple and offer pagan sacrifice within the sacred precincts of the Temple of Yahweh. This is surely the appalling abomination : And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them... (Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 6.6.1 ). Daniel 7:23 identifies those who bring judgment as the fourth kingdom, a kingdom which is different from all other kingdom. It will devour the whole world...(Dan 7:23). Earlier in Daniel 2:31-45, four historical kingdoms can be identified which will in turn conquer and dominate the Holy Land: Babylon, Persian, Alexander the Great and the Greek kingdoms which succeed Alexander upon his death, and the Roman Empire, which is the fourth kingdom. See the chart on Daniel's vision of the kingdoms in the appendix to this lesson.
Returning to Revelation
Then there were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder and a violent earthquake, unparalleled since humanity first came into existence. 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 wine cup of his retribution. Every island vanished and the mountains disappeared; 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.
Question: What is the connection in this passage to the 7th
Trumpet judgment in Revelation 11:15-19 and to one of the judgment plagues that
afflicted the Egyptians? What about the connection to the revelation of
God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:16-25?
Answer: The Trumpet judgment had voices, storm, earthquake and hail (Rev 11:15, 19) like this judgment (16:17), and it is reminiscent of the hail of the 7th Egyptian plague. These manifestations of nature are also similar to the Theophany of God at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:16-19 where there were peals of thunder, flashes of lightening, trumpet blasts (voices), and the mountain shaking in an earthquake.
While the lightening, thunder and violent earthquake of Revelation 16:18 are all reminiscent of the Theophany of God at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:15-20, the next phrase, unparalleled since humanity first came into existence, is a parallel to the disaster Jesus prophesized for the city of Jerusalem. In Matthew 23:36 Jesus tells the people of Jerusalem that judgment for the murder of God's prophets will fall on this generation and then he continues to detail the tribulation that Jerusalem will face and in Matthew 24:21-22 Jesus says: For then there will be great distress, unparalleled since the world began, and such as will never be again. And if that time had not been shortened no human being would have survived; but shortened that time shall be for the sake of those who are chosen.
Revelation 16:19's Great City is the same Great City where the Lord was crucified (11:8; 14:8). It was intended to be a the light of the world, a City set on a hill, but she is now denigrated to an apostate, harlot murderess and is condemned to perish under the Law. Under this final Chalice judgment she is condemned to be split into 3 parts. The imagery is from the 5th chapter of our friend the prophet Ezekiel in which God instructs the prophet to act out the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Read Ezekiel 5:1-12.
During the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD the city of Jerusalem was torn apart by 3 Jewish factions all working and fighting against each other. The Roman general Titus (son of the Emperor) was besieging the city from the outside but 3 leaders of the Jewish were destroying Jerusalem from within. See Josephus, The Jewish War,5.5.1-5.
Revelation 16:19 is another irony. In Deuteronomy 6 Israel is to remember God's covenant and kindness in general in regards to the deliverance from Egypt. But in this final judgment there is no place to hide. The great hailstorm is another reference to Ezekiel. See 13:1-16. The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel; prophesy and say to those who make up prophecies out of their own heads, Hear what Yahweh says: The Lord Yahweh says this: Disaster is in store for the foolish prophets....(11) it will rain hard, it will hail, it will blow a gale and down will come the wall:.. It didn't hail snow pellets in 586BC when the Babylonians broke through the walls of Jerusalem. It hailed rocks from siege engines. The weight of the hailstone in the Revelation passage is about 88lbs. It not only recalls the plague of hail on Egypt but also the large stones from heaven that God threw down upon the Canaanites when Joshua was conquering the Promised land (Josh 10:11) and as Deborah sang in Judges the very stars of heaven make war against the enemies of God. Deborah's song isn't any more literal than the Revelation passage. It is symbolic just as the Revelation passage and Ezekiel's prophecy against Jerusalem in 586BC was symbolic. There might also be a historical connection to the huge boulders the Roman siege engines threw against the walls of Jerusalem as recorded by Josephus (The Wars of the Jews, 5.6.3 [269-70]) The engines that all the legions had ready prepared for them, were admirably contrived; but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the tenth legion: those that threw darts and those that threw stones, were more forcible and larger than the rest... Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent... (note: a talent is about 88 lbs)
The Chalices containing the last of the plagues of God's wrath have been poured out on Jerusalem but this is not the end. The next chapters will deal with the destruction of the great Harlot-City and her allies. The final chapters will conclude with the revelation of the glorious Bride of Christ: the true and Holy New Jerusalem, the Catholic Church, and the Final Judgment to come at the end of time as we know it!
CHALICE & TRUMPET JUDGMENTS of the BOOK OF REVELATION VERSUS THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT
The Chalice Judgments are repeats, with variation, of the Trumpet Judgments. Since the Trumpet Judgments were essentially warnings they took only a third of the Land; with the Chalices, however, the destruction is total. The similarities between the Chalice and Trumpet Judgments and the Plagues of Egypt cannot be casual coincidence. The similarities should make us ask Why is the vision (or the plague) repeated "what is the connection?
Judgments in Revelation
Judgments in Revelation
PLAGUES ON EGYPT
In the book of Exodus
On the Land,
becoming Sores (16:2)
On the Land;
1/3 earth, trees, grass burned (8:7)
(6th plague: Ex. 9:8-12)
On the sea,
becoming blood (16:3)
On the sea;
1/3 sea becomes blood, 1/3 sea creatures die, 1/3 ships destroyed (8:8-9)
Waters become blood
(1st plague: Ex 7:17-21)
On rivers and springs,
becoming blood (16:8-9)
On rivers and springs;
1/3 waters become wormwood (8:10-11)
Waters become blood
(1st plague; Ex 7:17-21)
On the sun,
causing it to scorch (16:8-9)
|1/3 of sun, moon, & stars darkened (8:12)||
(9th plague: Ex. 10:21-23)
On the throne of
causing darkness (16:10-11)
|Demonic locusts tormenting men (9:13-21)||
(8th plague: Ex. 10:4-20)
On the Euphrates,
drying it up to make way for kings of the east; invasion of frog-demons; Armageddon (16:12-16)
|Army from Euphrates kills 1/3 of mankind (9:13-21)||Invasion of frogs from the river (2nd plague: Ex. 8:2-4)|
On the air,
causing storm, earthquake, hail & the Great City splits into 3 parts (16:17-21)
|Voices, storm, earthquake, hail (11:15-19)||
(7th plague: Ex. 9:18-26)
|Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2003 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.|
THREE VISIONS OF THE PROPHET DANIEL
The Prophet Daniel received
these prophecies from the late 7th century to the mid 6th century BC. The
3 Visions concern 4 historical empires that succeeded each other.
Vision of Daniel chapter 2: the Statue: "to take place in the final days" [2:28] circa 604BC
Vision of Daniel 2:31-45
|Head of fine gold||Babylon [vs. 38 Daniel to Babylonian king "you are the golden head"] Babylon destroyed by Persians 539BC|
|Chest and arms of silver||Persian Empire. Alexander the Great begins the conquest of the Medo-Persian Empire in 335BC. Persians defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 at the Battle of Issus|
|Belly and thighs of bronze||Greeks of Alexander the Great. Greeks split into 4 different kingdoms. Two of those kingdoms: Greek Egypt and Greek Syria fought for control of Judah. The 4 Greek kingdoms were conquered by Rome in campaigns from 197-63BC|
|Legs of iron, feet part iron , part clay||Rome: and her province of Judea. In the 4th century Rome split into the Western Empire centered in Rome and the Eastern Empire centered in Constantinople [2 legs]. Rome will be conquered by a 5th kingdom|
|The stone that struck the statue - Jesus "the cornerstone"||"..the God of heaven will set up a kingdom it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last forever" [2:44-45]. The Kingdom of Heaven on earth = the New Covenant Church|
Vision of Daniel 7: the 4 Beasts: [vision circa 555BC]
|Lion with wings||Babylon [Lion with wings was the royal symbol of Babylon]|
|Bear with 3 ribs in its mouth||Persians conquer the 3 provinces of Babylon: Lydia in 546BC; Babylon in 539BC; and Egypt in 525BC.|
|Leopard with 4 wings and 4 heads||Alexander the Great and his 4 generals who won his victories and who will divide his empire|
|4th beast with 10 horns||Rome with her 10 client kings who rule her 10 provinces [or 10 Caesars from Augustus Caesar and the birth of Christ to Vespasian and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant]|
Daniel chapter 8: The Ram and the He-Goat: [vision circa 553BC]
|Ram with 2 horns||The Persian empire was formed from the Medes and the Persians|
|He-goat with one horn||Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire (invasion 336BC; victory at Arbela in 331 BC)|
|He-goat's one horn becomes 4||Alexander the Great's empire is divided among his 4 generals (323 BC)|
|The little horn that grows toward the "Land of Splendor"||The Seleucid Greeks expanded the empire from Syria to Asia Minor to the Indus River and became the largest of the 4 Greek empires dominating even the Promised Land of the Jews 200-142BC.|
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.