Newell: Romans, Revelation
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go ye, and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.
Out of the heavenly sanctuary-where the redeemed multitude (Revelation 7:15) serve their God day and night-comes this awful command! God’s house, meant to be “a house of prayer for all nations” now becomes the court of judgment upon God’s enemies: for it is evidently God’s voice which we hear in this verse.
And the first went, [“The first departed (apelthen): each angel, as his turn comes, leaves the heavenly scene, and, from the space between heaven and earth, empties his vial upon the appointed object” (Alford). It is astonishing to mark, in The Revelation, the direct control God gives His angels over the powers of “nature,” and the power to execute “the judgment written.”] and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a noisome and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and that worshipped his image.
Compare Exodus 9:9, where Moses and Aaron sprinkled ashes of the furnace upward in the sight of Pharaoh, “and it became small dust over all the land of Egypt, and became a boil breaking forth with Mains (or blisters) upon man and upon beast.” Since we believe Exodus, we believe Revelation. God creates evil as well as good, as He says: “I make peace, and create evil; I am Jehovah that doeth all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). We will do well to arm ourselves with this thought. God is constantly creating judgments, as well as saving the lost Right in this world, new diseases which baffle boasted science spring forth, and men take no thought of God in the matter! The judgment of the influenza killed more people than the great war. But even in Christian circles, where is there a solemn asking of God as to the cause of either the war or of the influenza? Just as truly as the Egyptians in Pharaoh’s day turned to their magicians, so does Christendom turn to “science” to solve all its troubles. We thank God for every alleviation of misery that it pleases Him to grant. But we must not forget that He has declared in countless places in His Word that His government involves the infliction of calamity upon persistent evil doing.
Note that it is the time of the Beast, the Antichrist, all through these seven bowl-judgments. Also note that they are crowded into a relatively brief space: for the sores of the first bowl are still upon men in the darkness of the fifth bowl. The sixth bowl, involving the gathering of the hosts to Armageddon will not need more than a few months to bring to pass. It will be as in Egypt, one plague crowding upon another.
Now when this first angel pours out his bowl, sores, or ulcers, break out upon those who have the mark of the Beast, and those who worship his image. It is this infinitely hateful thing that makes God’s jealousy burn like fire. Not upon the animals also, as in Egypt under the sixth plague, but upon men only-men who have allied themselves with Satan, does this universal and horrid thing come. “A noisome and grievous sore”: “Evil-in itself; painful to the sufferers” (Alford). One feels that the words involve hideousness, and incurability (Deuteronomy 28:27; Deuteronomy 28:35). These Beast worshippers are final rebels; they are shortly to be with the damned. Now they taste of hell on earth. Read Revelation 15:8 again: this will not be a time of mercy. And on their part, as we shall see, they hate God more and more, and are “still stricken.”
And the second poured out his bowl into the sea; and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living soul died, even the things that were in the sea.
Blood is the vivid, terrible mark of death-the wages of sin. This was the first plague in Egypt-the Nile turned to blood.
Now the sea covers far the greater portion of this globe. God, who made it, now turns it to blood-“as of a corpse lying in its own gore.” So the billions, trillions, shoals, of sea-creatures die; and come floating to the surface in horrible, rotting witness of the wickedness of men! There is no escaping these words of God: “every living soul died.” What a frightful stench! What fearful possibilities of disease! Yet remember that this is exactly what God is doing. “Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste … and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof… Therefore … few men left … For thus shall it be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, as the shaking of an olive-tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done” (Isaiah 24:1-13). “I will make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the pure gold of Ophir As the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches of a fruitful tree, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel” (Isaiah 13:12; Isaiah 17:6). When God cleared off this race in the days of Noah, He left eight persons. It will be “as it was in the days of Noah” again, shortly: and, although God will yet suffer the human race to have another thousand years on earth (Revelation 20:4-6); nevertheless, He will so reduce earth’s population, that “few men will be left” to start that thousand years. And this will be so whether you believe it or not: for God cannot lie!
And the third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of the waters: and it became blood.
I stood some time ago at De Leon Springs in Florida, where a great volume of wondrous water poured like a crystal river from-whence no one knows: but it will be a fountain of blood in that day, and all the rivers of earth and all the fountains of water! (You need not be worried over God’s own elect in that time: for He called water out of the flinty rock through forty years for His people, and He will not let His elect suffer from His hand!)
And I heard the angel of the waters saying, Righteous art thou, who art and who wast, thou Holy One, because thou didst thus judge: for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and blood hast thou given them to drink; they are worthy. And I heard the altar saying, Yea, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Here we see that angelic being in charge of the waters that supply the earth,-a beneficent being certainly; and also the altar itself, which should have spoken for men’s forgiveness: both bowing to God’s judgments as just and true! For men had poured out the blood of those messengers of God who warned and pleaded with them: and underneath the altar were thousands upon thousands of martyrs, whose prayers for divine vengeance must now be fully answered. So the angel bows, as the beautiful rivers and fountains he had administered are now turned to blood! All sympathy of heaven is with God: note that, sinner, or world-bordering Christian! Let this speaking altar make you tremble! Flee to Christ and be safe: for the breakers of judgment show just ahead for this whole world! Oh may we be among those that “only with our eyes shall behold, and see the reward of the wicked”!
I cannot leave this third awful visitation of avenging the blood of God’s saints and prophets, without a word of earnest warning to all Christians to beware of the false security of these days! “Blood, it polluteth the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:33). Very many known man-killers are abroad in America today. God will yet remember it. And especially will He remember and avenge the blood of His martyrs.
I shall quote here from a really great man of God, already almost forgotten, but who will shine in Christ’s swift-coming day! In prison over and over for the Word of God in England, hear one of the experiences narrated in his “Journal”. (This occurred in 1651):
“Being at liberty (from prison) I went on, as before, in the work of the Lord, passing through the country into Leicestershire, having meetings as I went; and the Lord’s Spirit and power accompanied me. As I was walking with several friends, I lifted up my head, and saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life. I asked them what place that was. They said, Lichfield. Immediately the Word of the Lord came to me, that I must go thither. Being come to the house we were going to, I wished friends to walk into the house, saying nothing to them whither I was to go. As soon as they were gone I stepped away, and went by my eye over hedge and ditch, till I came within a mile of Lichfield; where, in a great field, shepherds were keeping their sheep. Then was I commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes. I stood still, for it was winter; and the Word of the Lord was like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes, and left them with the shepherds; and the poor shepherds trembled, and were astonished. Then I walked on about a mile, and as soon as I was got within the city, the Word of the Lord came to me again, saying: ‘Cry, Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!’ So I went up and down the streets, crying with a loud voice, Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!’ It being market-day, I went into the market-place, and to and fro in the several parts of it, crying as before, Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!’ And no one laid hands on me. As I went thus crying through the streets, there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market-place appeared like a pool of blood. When I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went out of the town in peace; and returning to the shepherds, gave them money, and took my shoes of them again. But the fire of the Lord was so in my feet, and all over me, that I did not matter to put on my shoes again, and was at a stand whether I should or no, till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do: then, after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again.
“After this deep consideration came upon me, for what reason I should be sent to cry against that city, and call it, THE BLOODY CITY! … But afterwards I came to understand, that in the Emperor Diocletian’s time, a thousand Christians were martyred in Lichfield. So I was to go, without my shoes, through the channel of their blood, and into the pool of their blood in the market-place, that I might raise up the memorial of the blood of those martyrs which had been shed above a thousand years before, and lay cold in their streets. So the sense of this blood was upon me, and I obeyed the word of the Lord. Ancient records testify how many of the Christian Britons suffered there. Much I could write of the sense I had of the blood of the martyrs, that hath been shed in this nation for the name of Christ, both under the ten persecutions and since; but I leave it to the Lord, and to His book, out of which all shall be judged; for His book is a most certain record, and His Spirit a true recorder” (Geo. Fox’s Journal, page 98).
Alas, how many faithful preachers of this our own day have died of broken hearts and starvation wages, at the hands of self-righteous professors, wicked spirit-resisting church officials, and purse-proud “influential” people: who do not dream that they, too, have shed the blood of the martyrs!
And the fourth poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given unto it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat: and they blasphemed the name of God who hath the power over these plagues; and they repented not to give him glory.
First, note the absolute power of God over His creation. The Beast, whom the earth has chosen, has no power at all to direct creation, or to deliver his votaries from these troubles.
Second, our Lord said there would be signs in sun and moon and stars: and here they are!
Third, “science” says the sun is “cooling off” which proves afresh God’s words, that “the wisdom of men is foolishness with God.” And the reason is, they leave God out!
Fourth, since “there is nothing hid from the heat of the sun” (Psalm 19:1-14), there will be no refuge from this plague: nor does God intend there shall be (except for His own, for whose sake He even “shortens” these fearful times).
Fifth, men know well-ineradicably, that the true God (whom they have abandoned and hate) has “power over these plagues.” Even Russia today cries she will drag down God from His heaven: thus advertising that she knows He is there!
Sixth, they “repented not to give him glory.” These are true God-haters. And we see anew the folly of those who claim that the fires of hell will “purify” any one! Every one who goes into judgment goes in sin’s awful hatred and resentment against God. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:1-29). Men not won by grace will never be won.
Seventh, they blaspheme. Settle this, that men will increase in this fearful sin till the Lord comes. Do not look for human nature to mend: it never will! Only the restraining power of God keeps under the flaming out of “the wrath of man” from the most hideous blasphemies, this hour. And God’s restraint will by and by be fully “taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17). Ah, the wickedness that will then be loosed!
And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works.
First, the Beast is a man (Revelation 13:18); therefore his throne is in a definite place: rebuilt Babylon on the Euphrates, we believe,-Satan’s ancient capital, in the “land of Shinar,” where “wickedness” is to be set on its base in the end-time (Zechariah 5:5-10).
Second, darkness, like that of Egypt in the ninth plague in Exodus, suddenly falls upon the throne and capital and kingdom of the Beast. Satan cannot relieve it. How long it lasts, we know not. “Thick darkness,” that could be felt was on Egypt three days; while God’s people had “light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:21-23).
Third, men are shut in with their horrid sores and pains: there is no alleviation. What must the “outer dark- ness for ever” be, and that with the Almighty’s wrath following them on!
Fourth, still the consciousness that “the God of heaven” is doing this, is upon them! The dragon cannot efface that consciousness, even when he is worshipped!
Fifth, these lost wretches are set in their evil ways and works: “they repented not.” If there is no repentance under God’s hand here, when men still breathe the breath of earth, how infinitely less in hell! Yet fools hope for “repentance beyond the grave.”
Sixth, it should be carefully noticed that this darkness is not that darkening of the sun and moon just before our Lord’s arrival in the Great Day of Wrath, of Revelation 19:11-15. This is merely one of the “signs” connected with The Great Tribulation, as spoken of in Luke 21:1-38 and Mark 13:1-37. For the sixth bowl, which follows this, must cover time for the nations to gather to Armageddon, whereas, immediately after the sun’s final darkening, the Lord, as “Son of man” comes as lightning upon a black heaven.
And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sun rising.
This is the literal Euphrates. There can be no other real interpretation of this passage. [“This is the only understanding of these words which will suit the context, or the requirements of this series of prophecies” (Alford). “This must mean the literal river” (Seiss). “This means the literal river Euphrates” (Larkin). Darby (Synopsis) and Kelly (Lectures) both so state. Govett (Apocalypse Expounded) 1813-1901. who wrote, as Spurgeon quaintly says, “a hundred years before his time,] and whom Seiss largely follows, says with his usual common sense: “Against anyone traveling from the East to the West, the Euphrates interposes its broad barrier, difficult to be surmounted even by individuals; and much more by kings and their armies.”] Imagination has very often substituted for exposition, even in such a plain passage as this.
Let us note regarding the Euphrates and its “drying up”:
1. It is mentioned twenty-one times in Scripture; and called “the great river” five times, as the Mediterranean was called “the great sea”: for the Euphrates was the eastern, as the Mediterranean was the western boundary of God’s own people’s inheritance.
2. It was a protection to Israel, both because of the difficulty of its passage, and because of the fact that God had placed a wilderness west of it, between it and Canaan. Only at the upper or northern part was it practically passable (so that Babylon is called by the prophets, the enemy “from the north country”). Even the Roman Empire had its eastern bound here.
3. It is nearly two thousand miles long (1,780). It rises in the Armenian Mountains, flowing at first toward Palestine, to within less than 100 miles of the Mediterranean, then turning away southeast to the Persian Gulf, winding upon itself constantly. It is navigable for 1200 miles. It flowed through old Babylon, which was (and may yet be) the commercial center of the whole world (Revelation 18:1-24).
4. It was first seen just outside Eden in Genesis 2:1-25, where human sin begins, and is last seen here in Revelation 16:12, where sin reaches its height. Twice in The Revelation does it appear: in Revelation 9:13-15, where “at the great river Euphrates” we saw four angels bound, the loosing of which issued in killing the third of the earth’s population. Here in Revelation 16:12, it's drying up permits countless thousands to rush forward to their doom at Armageddon.
5. The solemnity of the crossing of the Euphrates to invade God’s land, by these eastern hosts, is very awful indeed. That the western nations, under the Beast, the last Emperor of the fourth world-power, should invade Palestine does not startle us so much: (the Roman Empire often persecuted the Jews, and ruled them many centuries). But that these recently pagan hosts from the East, who have now heard the gospel of Christ from thousands of faithful missionaries and rejected it, choose the Antichrist and march to Armageddon to help destroy the Jews (since the Church has been taken up out of their reach) is appalling! That dry bed of Euphrates will be an eastern Rubicon: for all will know whither they are bound, and why, as the sequel shows.
6. Now it is well to reflect that the greater part of mankind is east, not west, of the Euphrates: witness in millions, China’s 440; India’s 330; Japan’s 80; then Siam, Indo-China; the wild hordes of Afghanistan, of Turkestan, of Tibet; not to mention old Persia. I omit purposely Siberia and Asiatic Russia, which prophecy assigns to an entirely different invasion of Palestine than that of Revelation 16:1-21 -see Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29. These vast peoples of the East have ever marched overland, in hordes like those of Genghis Khan (who conquered the earth, from China to Poland). They are not accustomed to travel as Westerners do. They come on foot and horseback. So that the drying up of the great military barrier, the Euphrates, will “open their way” to Palestine. (Otherwise, through Russia-impossible! or a long ocean voyage-likewise.)
But they must be stirred up by a mighty movement, if they are to leave their homes and their lands, and go on a vast “crusade” to a far off goal; and that with Westerners! For there is an almost unaccountable, but terribly real, enmity of jealousy, between Orientals and Occidentals. As Kipling sang,
“Oh East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till earth and sky stand presently at God’s great judgment Seat.”
But Kipling perhaps did not know what the word of prophecy plainly tells us, that East and West, like Herod and Pilate, will come together in a great meeting to oppose God and His Christ, over a thousand years before the last Judgment! All the earth will be friends in a common cause, when the hour for Armageddon strikes. [Prophecy after prophecy tells of the united rush of the nations into Palestine, just before the Great Day of Wrath of Revelation 19:11-15 (See Joel 33-14; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 12:3; Zechariah 12:9; Isaiah 24:1-2; Isaiah 24:8; Obadiah 1:15, etc.). Tens of millions, probably hundreds of millions will gather to that slaughter I The weak, those too old or feeble to go to war, will cry, “I am strong,” says the word of the Lord in Joel 3:1-21. The blood will be “to the bridles,” remember. That word will be fulfilled!]
And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as it were frogs: for they are spirits of demons, working signs; which go forth unto (literally upon) the kings of the whole inhabited earth, to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.
Now comes the gathering unto the most fell war, fallen man, under Satan, has ever yet rushed into.
1. Note, that it is a war for which they gather: the battle is never joined: for the Lamb has but to come forth, and the Beast is taken, and the False Prophet, and hurled into the lake of fire; and the Devil cast into the abyss. But the gathering unto this war becomes the business of this world for weeks, months: what a scene!
2. Note the source of this earth-wide movement:-three special evil spirits, doubtless leading millions of others who help them, from hell’s trinity, the Dragon, the Beast, the False Prophet.
3. Note the means of persuasion: miracle-working, before the rulers of all the earth. Jannes and Jambres, Egypt’s magicians, thus blinded Pharaoh. They also brought up frogs! (Exodus 8:7). Scripture’s constant testimony is that “great signs and wonders” will be performed in that time by Satan’s agency.
Seiss well says: “These demon-spirits are the elect agents to awaken the world to attempt to abolish God from the earth; and they are frog-like in that they come forth out of the pestiferous quagmires of the universe, do their work amid the world’s evening shadows, and creep, and croak, and defile the ears of the nations with noisy demonstrations, till they set all the kings and armies of the whole earth in enthusiastic commotion for the final crushing out of the Lamb and all His powers.” Alford’s phrase is, “The uncleanness and the pertinacious noise of the frog.” Go by a marsh some Spring evening, when the slimy filthy unseen frogs are fully squawking. You can hear nothing else!
And now comes a solemn, direct word of warning from the Lord’s own mouth, to such saints as may be here in those days. We read in Revelation 16:15 :
(Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth,
and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.)
1. Note the aspect of His coming here emphasized by the Lord: it is as a thief-to surprise and to despoil. This is His coming to the world. It is “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). But we are not looking for that day but for the day of Christ; as the Spirit tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 : “We beseech you brethren in behalf of (huper) the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him”-that is, the rapture-“be not quickly shaken from your mind,” (into which I brought you) by feelings, or false preaching, or pretended epistle from me-into believing that the day of the Lord is just at hand: for the apostasy must come before that, etc. In 1 Thessalonians 5:4, Paul contrasts absolutely the state of the Church with that darkened state of carnal security, in which the Lord’s coming catches the world as a snare. Paul says, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: for ye are all sons of light,” etc.
2. Note again, that the Lord faithfully keeps His saints posted as to where they are, in His dealings, (if only they will hear!).
3. Note that watchfulness (the hardest of all tasks) is necessary at all times, by all saints, since the Lord ascended.
4. Note that blessedness is connected with watching; shame, with carelessness.
5. And lastly, that there is here no promise of rapture to be waited for; but a danger of having to walk (here on earth) exposed to the gaze of angels and a godless world-naked, that is, publicly bereft of evident divine direction and protection. I know this passage is difficult, in view of the warning to Sardis (3:3), and the counsel to Laodicea (3:18). But both watchless Sardians, and naked Laodiceans share (as it seems to us) the doom of the world; with the added shame of having had a place and a name and through carelessness, lost all.
And now proceeds the vision of the great gathering of the nations by the foul spirits from hell’s trinity.
And they gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon.
We cannot emphasize too strongly that in the three series of divine judgments-first the seals, second the trumpets, third the vials (or bowls) of wrath-we have those preliminary hardening actions of God upon an impenitent world, by which He prepares that world for the Great Day of Wrath-at Christ’s coming as King of kings, as seen in Revelation 19:11-15. From the advent of the Antichrist in chapter 13 there is no mingling of mercy with wrath. Read again 14:9-11. The purpose of God in bringing the ten plagues upon Egypt was “to show in Pharaoh his power, that his name might be published to all the earth.” Pharaoh had said, “My river is mine own and I have made it for myself” (Ezekiel 29:3). This is the exact spirit of the world today and it is intensifying hourly.
Now the effect of the judgments of the plagues was so to harden, by mighty miracle after miracle, the hearts of Pharaoh and his host, that they rushed madly upon “the thick bosses of his (the Almighty’s) buckler” into the most stupendous scene human eyes had ever witnessed: the waves of the sea piled like a wall on each side: and ahead, the hosts of Israel, marvelously lighted in their march by a vast pillar of fire.
Such a scene comes before us under the sixth seal. Then the overwhelming was of the armies of one nation, Egypt. Now, we behold the hosts of all the nations of earth gather for an indescribably vast overthrow at Armageddon.
We have seen the first bowl become a horrid sore upon the Beast-worshippers: the second turn the waters of the sea into blood; the third, the rivers and the fountains of the waters, so that all the earth had blood to drink; while the fourth bowl is the signal for power, such as has never been known, to be given to the sun (which the scientists had told them was “cooling off”!) The result of all being blasphemy against the God whom they knew had power over all these plagues. Now, under the fifth bowl, utter darkness enthralls the throne of the Beast and his kingdom-that is, all the earth, except, doubtless, the dwelling places of God’s people then on earth (Exodus 10:23).
Now out of this darkness, instead of repentance, comes only increased blasphemy and utter impenitence (Revelation 16:11). At the darkness under the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-17) there was exhibited great terror: “they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand?” That men under these divine judgments will be increasingly hardened is doubtless the truth: but when the most hardened of all come to the Great Day of Wrath itself, there will be no blaspheming, but sheer blasting terror (Isaiah 2:12-22). Remember the text of the Book of Revelation (1:7): “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him.”
Here, then, by divine appointment, but by Satanic agency, are gathered the hosts of earth; as Ahab, by God’s counsel and command, was deceived by an evil, lying spirit, to go to battle to his death (1 Kings 22:1-53).
1. What is Armageddon, or, more accurately, Har-Magedon? Its name means, “Mountain of Megiddo.” (See Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, chapter 9; or Thomson’s Land and the Book on “Megiddo.”) It was here the Lord so marvelously helped Barak overthrow the Canaanites (Jdg 5:19). The region is named from Megiddo, a royal Canaanite city (Joshua 12:21). To the northwest is Mount Carmel where, at the mouth of the Kishon River, Elijah killed the hundreds of Baal’s prophets. Mount Gilboa, where King Saul, the persecutor of God’s king-David-fell, is southeast. And on the north or northwest, overlooking all, is Mount Tabor, where Barak assembled the hosts of the Lord against the enemy. From Jdg 4:6; Jdg 4:12; Jdg 4:14, and Jeremiah 46:18, I feel that the “mountain” (Hebrew Har) in Har-Magedon is Tabor. “Megiddo” is named twelve times, the governmental number, in Scripture; and the last time in almost the form we have it here: Megiddon, in Zechariah 12:11 -a reference to the mourning for poor Josiah who fell in the same region, trying to defend Babylon against Egypt (2 Chronicles 35:22-25). (Oh that he had been the only saint to fall meddling in world-quarrels!)
2. Why does God bring this host here? For destruction. God will yet deal with this earth according to His offended majesty, until a man shall be “more rare than fine gold,” until the land is “drunken with blood.”
God has no apologies for slaying the Canaanites; or giving Jerusalem over to Babylonian captivity, and then to Roman slaughter; or letting famine waste millions; or the plague, ten millions. We desire to offend this adulterous generation’s apologists for God.
3. Christians should arm their minds with this outlook as to “the rulers of this age, who are coming to nought” (1 Corinthians 2:6); so that when they “hear of wars and rumors of wars,” they may obey their Lord, and “see that they be not troubled”; knowing that whatever marchings to and fro, in this war or that, may occur, they can be only some preliminary to the earth wide crusade against God and His Christ that will gather in that great plain of Esdraelon, in Palestine-not many miles from the very town where the Christ they hate grew up before the Father as a tender plant, and of that dry ground, Israel.
Yea, they will rush as Egypt after Israel, over the Euphrates’ bed and over the “tongue of the Egyptian sea” (also dried up) in pursuit of the remnant of God’s chosen nation, to “the mountain of destruction”-Armageddon (Isaiah 11:15-16).
So in the sixth and seventh bowls of wrath we have these two most awful things: the gathering of all earth’s nations to Palestine into actual warfare against Almighty God-this is the sixth bowl; and that fearful shaking of this earth in divine retributive anger so long prophesied, which divides Jerusalem into three, reduces all Gentile cities to ruins, engulfs in the earth restored Babylon, the last great world capital, banishes all islands and mountains, and casts those terrible hailstones over this earth, which had been reserved “against the day of battle and war” in Jehovah’s “treasuries of the hail” (Job 38:22-23).
“It is done!” is the great voice from the throne, when this seventh bowl is poured out. Men would not have the Savior’s “It is finished!” on Calvary; so they must have the awful “It is done!” from the Judge! Alas! Alas! Oh, that men today would hear and be warned to flee from the coming storm!
And the seventh poured out his bowl upon the air; and there came forth a great voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and mountains were not found. And great hail, every stone about the weight of a talent, cometh down out of heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof is exceeding great.
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.