The end times will not be a fun time to be alive on Earth. Many unpleasant things will transpire all over the world during the end times. The bowl judgments (or vial judgments) of Revelation 16 are a series of end time events that will make life miserable for those directly impacted by them. In this article, I will give you an overview of the bowl judgments.
The Purpose of the Bowl Judgments
The bowl judgments are introduced in Revelation 15. Revelation 15 tells us that the bowl judgments are the seven final end time plagues, and that these plagues will finish God’s (thumos) wrath.
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” (Revelation 15:1)
This description of the seven bowl judgments indicates that they will transpire late in the end times as these plagues are the “last” and will finish God’s (thumos) wrath.
Revelation 16:1-21: The Target
The bowl judgments will be aimed at those who have the Mark of the Beast. Revelation 16:2, 9-10 describe the bowl judgments recipients as those who are part of the kingdom of the beast (Antichrist), had the Mark of the Beast, and/or refused to repent. The following figure summarizes the plagues that those with the Mark of the Beast will receive:
Impacts of the Bowl Judgments
First (Revelation 16:2): Sores shall appear on those who have the Mark of the Beast & worship his image.
Second (Revelation 16:3): Every living soul in the sea will die & the sea will become like blood.
Third (Revelation 16:4-7): Rivers and fountains of water will turn into blood.
Fourth (Revelation 16:8-9): The sun will scorch men with extreme heat.
Fifth (Revelation 16:10-11): The kingdom of the Antichrist will be full of darkness, and people will experience severe pain.
Sixth (Revelation 16:12-16): The Euphrates River will dry up. Leaders and armies across the world will assemble at Armageddon.
Seventh (Revelation 16:17-21): Babylon the Great will be destroyed, the greatest earthquake of all time, the wicked destroyed by plagues.
The Plagues of Egypt
I equate the bowl judgments to the plagues of Egypt described in the Book of Exodus. Pharaoh was given many opportunities to repent while plagues wreaked havoc on his kingdom. He refused to repent, so he and his kingdom suffered severe consequences. Meanwhile, God protected those who were not the target of those plagues, especially when the firstborn of Egypt were appointed to die (Exodus 11:4-7). Revelation 14 tells us that an angel will call on people to repent before the start of the bowl judgments.
“(6) And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (7) Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)
Like Pharaoh, the people who will be harmed by the bowl judgments will refuse to repent.
“(8) And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. (9) 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.” (Revelation 16:8-9)
“(10) 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, (11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10-11)
Eventually, God will destroy the wicked with the seventh bowl judgment (Revelation 16:17-21). It’s important to recognize that not everyone alive at that time will have the Mark of the Beast. Therefore, there will be some survivors who will have quite interesting stories to tell.
You can learn more about the bowl judgments and other end time events in my comprehensive end time book Prophecy Proof Insights of the End Times.
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- Thumos and orge are the main words used for “wrath” in the New Testament. Thumos in an end time context is the wrath that God will exhibit against the wicked as they refuse to respond to efforts encouraging them to repent. Meanwhile, orge is God’s longstanding wrath against the wicked, who He will punish with lasting consequences. ↩