The Seventh Bowl

Revelation 16:17-21
The End Times

In my last post, we considered Revelation 16:12-16 ~ The Sixth Bowl. In this post, we continue with Revelation 16:17-21 to explore The Seventh Bowl.

“The seventh one poured out his bowl on the air, and a loud voice came out of the Temple from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’18 There were flashes of lightning, voices, and peals of thunder; and there was a massive earthquake, such as has never occurred since mankind has been on earth, so violent was the earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Bavel the Great and made her drink the wine from the cup of His raging fury. 20 Every island fled, and no mountains were to be found. 21 And huge seventy-pound [1] hailstones fell on people from the sky. But the people cursed God for the plague of hail, that it was such a terrible plague.~ Revelation 16:17-21 (CJB)

The stage is set for the great Battle of Har Meggido, but God preempts the actual battle with this seventh bowl poured out on the air. With the pounding of 75-pound hailstones and the greatest earthquake in all of history, Bavel falls. I find it interesting that God uses hailstones as the final judgment?  Stoning was the Tanakh punishment for one who committed blasphemy! (see Leviticus 24:16).

The seventh one poured out his bowl on the air, and a loud voice came out of the Temple from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ Oliver Greene adds this comment: [2]

From the seat of the Judge of all, we have the announcement that it is done. This is the climax! When Jesus paid the supreme price for the redemption of sinners, just before He died, He cried “IT IS FINISHED!” On the cross, He finished redemption for the soul. Nothing more can be added. Redemption of the soul is complete in Jesus. And now, the judgment of the earth is done. It, too, is finished! Jesus Christ is about to rid the earth of the dragon, the Beast, and the false prophet. The contents of the little seven-sealed book are completed. Every minute detail has been carried out, and the whole creation, at last, will stop “groaning and travailing in pain” (Romans 8:22). IT IS DONE! HALLELUJAH!

What follows the pouring out of this seven bowl judgment is unequaled in human history.

There were flashes of lightning, voices, and peals of thunder; and there was a massive earthquake, such as has never occurred since mankind has been on earth, so violent was the earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Bavel the Great and made her drink the wine from the cup of His raging fury. 20 Every island fled, and no mountains were to be found. 21 And huge seventy-pound hailstones fell on people from the sky. But the people cursed God for the plague of hail, that it was such a terrible plague. The verses following the pouring out of the seventh bowl judgment give us the final wrap-up of the Tribulation, which will culminate in the Battle of Har Meggido. The seventh bowl is poured out into the atmosphere, resulting in weather patterns being completely altered. Thunder and lightning circles the globe and rain comes down in sheets. And then the earth shakes with an earthquake of incomparable intensity. No Richter Scale would be able to measure its magnitude, as it divides the great city of Jerusalem into three parts. The cities of the world are destroyed. The islands disappear, and the mountains are leveled, and out of the atmosphere are hurled hailstones weighing over 75-pounds. This aerial bombardment will draw the curtain on the Tribulation drama. Finis Dake adds these comments: [3]

The result of this earthquake will be that the great city (Jerusalem) will be divided into three parts. Many of the large cities of the nations will be destroyed as well as “great Babylon.” Besides the total and partial destruction of many cities, the moving of mountains and islands and great changes in the surface of the earth in certain places, there will be “great hail” out of heaven upon men. Each hail will weigh 56 to 114 pounds, according to the weight of different talents in the New Testament. This last plague will be so terrible that men will again blaspheme God because of it. The hail will perhaps be the same as that mentioned in Ezek. 38:21-23 in connection with Armageddon.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 16:10-11 [4]

 Historicist Approach:

Historicists like Futurists believe that the fulfillment of this bowl judgment is yet to come. They differ from the Futurists literal explanation of the events and see them as symbolic of several issues associated with the papacy.

Preterist Approach:

Preterists interpret ‘It is done!’ as the long-anticipated culmination of what seemed an endless stream of judgments. They understand the great city as Bavel. Some believe it is symbolic as Rome; while others opt for Jerusalem. The city split into three parts seems to support the Jerusalem view given it echoes Ezekiel 5:1-12.

Futurist Approach:

Most Futurists take this vision literally.  Lindsey and Stedman continue to push the nuclear option. Some Futurists would agree with the Preterits’ interpretation of the great city as Rome or Jerusalem or both OR a rebuilt Bavel on the Euphrates.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists concur with the Preterists’ interpretation of ‘It is done!’  Wilcock states: “the Sixth Bowl brought wholesale destruction; the Seventh Bowl brings total erasure.”  He considers the Seventh Bowl to be the shaking predicted in Haggai 2:6 and expounded in Hebrews 12:26-27.

In my next post, we ‘ll summarize the Four Views of Chapters 14-16 and explore an introduction to the Four Views of Chapters 17-19.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Several other English translations say 100-pounds.  Either way, I wouldn’t want to be hit by either one.

[2] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

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