The Last Seven Plagues Part 2

Revelation 16:10-21
Dr. David Harrell | Bio
October, 11 2009

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After a review of the overall chronology of major prophetic events, this exposition examines the three final bowl judgments that will target the kingdom of the antichrist and the topography of the earth in preparation for God’s final confrontation with man at the battle of Armageddon.

The Last Seven Plagues Part 2

Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.

Will you join me this morning by taking your Bibles and turning to Revelation chapter 16 as we continue to make our way, verse by verse, through the Lord's wonderful Revelation, the consummation of all things and the establishment of his glorious kingdom. 

It is sad that there is so much ignorance as well as indifference these days when it comes to Bible prophecy. I am thankful that you are here and others are listening who are not only intrigued with these things, but have a sincere desire to understand what the Lord has revealed. The apostle Paul tells us that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work in 2 Thessalonians two.  And, certainly it is at work right now in our culture, in our world. But, dear friends, it is gaining pace. It is increasing and we see that this momentum to oppose God is going to increase until the Lord comes again. 

This morning is the second in a two part series on the last seven plagues that we have here in Revelation 16.  May I remind you that the first four that we studied last week targeted men directly through malignant sores that came upon them as well as plagues that came upon the ecosystems of the world?  We know that not only did men have these loathsome and malignant sores, but also the oceans, we are told, will be turned into a toxic, putrid pool of death. All the marine life will die and also the same fate will befall the fresh waters of the world.  And men will also be scorched with fierce heat from the sun, which, you might say, proves that it is God not man that causes global warming.

But now in verses 10 through 21 the Lord is going to reveal to us the last three judgments that will fall upon this world, that will fall upon the kingdom of the antichrist and change, literally, the topography of the earth in preparation for God's final confrontation with man at the Battle of Armageddon.

So let me read the text to you this morning beginning in Revelation 16 verse 10. 

And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. 

And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the  Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east.   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 like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.  "Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.")

And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. 

And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." 

And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.  And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.  And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.1 

Now, keep in mind the context of these final plagues based upon the chronology of the prophetic Scriptures.  By this time the Church has been translated into heaven in what we would call the rapture. The Russian Arab alliance of nations has been miraculously destroyed on the mountains of Israel, the battle of Gog and Magog as we read in Ezekiel 38 and 39. 

At that time the world will recognize the power of the God of Israel and the Jews will finally be able to build their temple on the temple mount that is currently occupied by the satanic Islamic Dome of the Rock, the most disputed piece of real estate in all of the earth.

During this time the most diabolical leader in the history of the world will arise and he will offer the world a temporary and pseudo peace to bring order out of the chaos that has occurred because of the rapturing of the Church as well as the defeat of the great red army and the vast forces of Islam. He will, on behalf of a massive European confederacy negotiate a covenant or a peace type treaty with Israel. 

Bear in mind that the world is being prepared for this leader. The prophet Daniel tells us that this antichrist will be the most intellectually brilliant politician in history.  He will be unmatched in his oratory and military skills. The prophet tells us that he will be shrewd and manipulative. He will be deceptive and the most deceitful and convincing religious charlatan ever.  In fact, the apostle Paul tells in 2 Thessalonians chapter two and verse four he will be the one, “Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”2

Now, during the first half of the tribulation the seal and the trumpet judgments will rain down upon the earth and cause catastrophic destruction and death.  And it will be during this season of divine judgment that the antichrist will coexist with his compadre, the false prophet who will lead a monolithic false religious system and use his alleged miracle working abilities to deceive the world into worshipping the antichrist and wearing his mark. And because of these catastrophic judgments which will make life on planet earth very, very difficult, people will demand some kind of a supernatural explanation. And the antichrist will be there to give them one. 

So initially, bear in mind, the antichrist will use the false religious system that he along with the false prophet creates in order to unify the world and give them some understanding of what is going on.  And ultimately he will use this to advance his political agenda.

During this time many people will be saved because of the testimony of the 144,000 thousand, because of the two witnesses, because of the angelic preachers that will exist during that time and many saints both Jew and Gentile who will maintain the testimony of Jesus.  But also during that time many, if not most believers will be martyred. 

Towards the end of the first half of the tribulation the antichrist will fake his death as well as his resurrection and he will desecrate the temple that the Jews have been allowed to build and he will then establish himself as God and at that point he will turn against the false prophet and the false religious system and reinvent that religious system whereby people will be expected, indeed, demanded to worship him and him alone. I believe that in many cases even as we look around the world today, deification seems to be the primary motivation of most politicians.

Now, during this period, during the last half of the tribulation the final seven bowl judgments that we are studying will plague the beast worshippers and wreak havoc upon the ecosystems of the world. And this will cause men to blaspheme God.  In fact, in Revelation 17 we read that during these final days of human suffering the antichrist will expand his empire to include 10 other regions, each having a ruler or an administrator who will serve under him. And their ultimate goal will be to eradicate the Jews who by this time will be, for the most part worshippers of Christ, as well as Gentile believers and wage war against the Lamb at the battle of Armageddon.

Keep in mind that Satan's obsession down through redemptive history has been to thwart the purposes of God, to eliminate the covenant people of God, to eliminate believers in the church and certainly to prevent the Messiah king from coming back to earth and establishing his glorious kingdom as he has promised.

Demonic powers will also be able to deceive the kings of the east, the kings of the Orient, causing them to bring their massive armies across the land. Keep in mind that by this time oceans are unable to be navigated because of the pool of death that is in them. The land mass has been diminished by a third, maybe as much as by a half because of the scorching heat of the sixth bowl, the melting of the polar ice caps, the melting of the glaciers in the mountains. All of that would result in an enormous rise in sea level.

So these kings of the east will be deceived to march across the evaporated Euphrates River as we read about here in the sixth bowl. They will come into the land of Israel where they, along with the forces of the antichrist, will war against the Lamb.  It really won't be a war. It will be a slaughter because God will kill them there. In fact, in Revelation 17:14 we read, “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”3

So, beloved, this is a succinct overview of the eschatological truths that we find in the Word of God.  So the setting now of the last three bowl judgments encompasses the last few weeks and days and even hours before the Lord returns.  So let's examine the fifth bowl beginning in verse 10.  “And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened.”4

Now, the “throne” of the beast is a reference to the center or headquarters of his operations, of his authority, the capital seat of his rule that will include an actual city, but also the entire kingdom over which he rules. But certainly there will be a center, a city that will be the headquarters for his political, economic and religious empire.

Now the name “Babylon” is fitting given its vile and blasphemous history that we have studied in the past in chapter 14.  But ultimately as we see here this plague extends throughout is kingdom which will basically be the entirety of the globe.

Now the details found in Revelation do not fit any historical city of Babylon which, by the way still existed in John's day when he received this revelation. Nor do these details fit any historical city. The actual place of this city remains a mystery.  We simply do not know.

There are those who argue—and I think compellingly so—that it may be Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.  Certainly today it is the world's fastest growing city. It is unrivaled in its opulence, in its wealth. It boasts the biggest and the best of everything from malls to theme parks. And this is just getting started. It boasts the biggest and best of skyscrapers. It is the only place in the world where there is a seven star hotel. 

Zechariah five speaks of the wickedness of this place, of the materialism and secular commercialism that will dominate the final world system described in Revelation 17 and 18.  And it is interesting that in Zechariah five the system is personified by a wicked woman restrained in a basket with a lead cover waiting to burst forth. And then suddenly in the prophecy she bursts forth, it is opened and these demons in the form of other women take her—according to verse nine—“to build a temple for her in the land of Shinar. And when it is prepared she will be se there on her own pedestal.” 

Now Shinar is a broad designation applied to the regions of ancient Babylonia of which Dubai is on the southern most fringe. And, certainly, its people and rulers are descendants of ancient Babylon.

And in Revelation 17:1 we read of, “The great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality.”5 And, again, harlot, harlotry in the Word of God symbolizes idolatry or religious apostasy. And very often it was associated with various cities such as Nineveh, even Jerusalem. And in Revelation 17:5 there is a description of, quote, “A mystery, ‘BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.'”6

So we see that this will be not only a system, but also a location that is characterized by commerce, by materialism, by idolatry, by fabulous wealth, by religious apostasy and political power. In fact, in Revelation 18:2 there is a mention of an actual location called “Babylon the Great” which, again, will be the capital of the antichrist's empire, a great commercial center where the kings and merchants of the earth will do business and, according to verse three of Revelation 18, they will, “become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”7

So this city, wherever it is, will be a place of great wealth, a place that glorifies itself, a place of sensuality, of opulence, as well as a great shipping port whose destruction will be seen—according to verse 17 of Revelation 18—by every “every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea.”8

So we don't know where this city will be.  Certainly there is no city on earth compared to Dubai. There is no other city so attractive to the kings and to the merchants, nor is there any other place that is so seductive. If you get on the internet and look at this place from the sky you will see very quickly what I am referring to. Well, could this be the city, the empire city of the antichrist? We don't know. So we can't be dogmatic.  But, beloved, wherever it will be, God will destroy it. 

Verse 10.  “And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened.”9 You see, because the kingdom of the antichrist will be worldwide, this darkness will also encompass the world. The prophet Isaiah speaks of this in chapter 13 verse nine. He says:

Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.  For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.  Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity.10

The prophet Joel, likewise, in Joel three describes this coming day of the Lord. In verse 15 he says, “The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars lose their brightness.”11 The prophet Zephaniah described this in chapter one verse 15 as, “A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness.”12 Then, of course, the Lord Jesus also described this in his Olivet Discourse.  In Matthew chapter 24 and verse 29 he said, “THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”13 And what the Lord said in that passage is precisely consistent with the final three bowls. 

Now, beloved, imagine the scene, a world that is literally filled with evil and demonic deception. Beast worshippers are actively and aggressively at war with the triune God, and all who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ who by now is considered to be enemy number one because they have bought into the lies of the evil one.

Men at this time will be plagued with ulcerous boils.  All of the oceans, the salt water as well as the fresh water will be nothing more than a toxic, rancid pool of death. The entire earth by this time is being scorched by intense heat that has produced massive flooding. Imagine the melting of glaciers and the rising of the level of the oceans.  Also think about the permafrost that exists on so much of the globe. There are many cities that are built upon permafrost. All of this will melt. This will destroy pipelines and railroads and industrial faculties. They will all collapse. This will destroy population centers, natural gas production faculties, nuclear power plants and on it goes.

Because of the heat of the sun fires will break out and there will be no water to extinguish them.  The intense heat will destroy satellites in the sky. And without our satellites we have no communication.  The dramatic disruption in the laws of physics as a result of this darkness that God will pour out upon the atmosphere will undoubtedly destroy the earth's power grid, eliminating electricity as well. So, truly, as the Lord says, “his kingdom will be darkened.” All of the celestial bodies grow dark. No wonder the text says, “They gnawed their tongues because of pain.”14

So, having rejected every opportunity to repent in the first five bowls, we read something for the final time in verse 11. “And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.”15

You see, by now their stubborn refusal to “fear God and give him glory” seals them eternally to hell.  And what they are experiencing on earth will merely be a sample of that.  The remaining beast worshippers they have now been fully confirmed and judicially sealed in their arrogant rebellion and unbelief.  Imagine to be so deceived that you actually think you can not only defy God, but overpower him.  So the offering of grace by this time, dear friends, is over. The time for forgiveness is past.  Only judgment remains. But as horrific as these first six bowls have been, the final two are even worse.

Notice the sixth bowl, verse 12.  “And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east.”16

Think about this.  Even as God parted the Red Sea and with the dry land lured the Egyptian charioteers into a watery tomb, beloved, a day is coming when, once again, God will go forth and defend his covenant people Israel and he will lay another trap for the enemies of Israel by drying up the Euphrates River.

By now because of the intense heat of the sun in the fourth bowl, the snow filled peaks of Mount Ararat, which is the source of the Euphrates, have all melted, producing massive flooding along the Euphrates basin, preventing the only passageway for the kings of the east to join forces with the antichrist to do battle with God and his people at Armageddon. 

Now, bear in mind, by this time military forces of the world will be limited to ground maneuvers only.  Navigation in the ocean is out of the question. Navigation by planes out of the question.  All the satellites, all the communication is out.  Airports will have been destroyed by this time.  This would also eliminate air strikes and missile strike along with any kind of air transportation.  So the only way to get to the theater of operations will be by land as God provides the way.

Now, the question arises, “Why do they come to the land of Israel to do battle?” Well, the answer is not explicit here, but when we piece together other passages of Scripture we begin to get an understanding. First of all, notice what this text says in verse 13.  “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 like frogs.”17 He goes on to tell us, “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”18

So here we learn that three frog like demons emerge from the mouths of the unholy trinity, from each member.  Now, the term mouth is emblematic of some kind of propaganda campaign, some kind of deceptive lie that will go forth from their mouths that will irresistibly compel the forces of the orient to join in with the antichrist, as the text says, “For the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”19

So these powerful demons convince all of the nations to ally themselves with the antichrist as they attempt to capture the Temple Mount. This is important for you to understand. Keep in mind that the Temple Mount, this most disputed piece of real estate in all of the earth is the place where Satan has currently staked out his claim.  It is the place today, through the Islamic Dome of the Rock, where Satan deceives the world.  And this will be the place where the antichrist will also later demand to be worshipped.

We know that by now, according to Daniel 11:45, the antichrist has “pitched the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain, yet he will come to his end and no one will help him.” So, in other words, he will be between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea. That will be his headquarters of battle during this time. 

And it is interesting that according to Micah chapter four verse 11 through chapter five and verse one as well as Zechariah 12 and Zechariah 14, the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem by this time will be occupied by the remnant of Jews. Many Jews are in the wilderness being safely protected, but many others are still in Jerusalem. And they are being supernaturally empowered to defend this Temple Mount area.  And, of course, they will be despised by all of the people of the world because, after all, they are worshipping the very God who is bringing all of this death and destruction to the world. 

And it is fascinating. The Hebrew language of Zechariah chapter 14 verse three suggests that this Jewish remnant will be literally rescued from the Temple Mount. There we read, “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.”20 But then the text reveals something else that is very, very interesting. It reveals something in the next verse that every Hebrew reader would quickly understand.  He goes on to say, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be.”21

Now, there is the key word.  The Hebrew word baqa, split. It is the same verb that was used to describe the time when the Lord “split” the Red Sea as you will recall in Exodus 14. 

He goes on to say that:

The Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!22

That is a reference to us, dear friends. You are thinking, “boy, wouldn't that be amazing to see.” Hang on.  You will.  You will have the best seat in the house to see these incredible truths. 

Dear Christian, don't you see this?  Pharaoh was a type of the antichrist. And here the antichrist is the antitype. Don't you see that even as the Lord once split the Red Sea to deliver his people through the valley of the waters, so will he once again split the Mount of Olives and provide safe passageway for his people from the temple mount as they are besieged by the forces of the antichrist?   This is so exceedingly exciting to think about. 

And what is even more precious is that the implication in Zechariah 14 is that the Messiah himself will rescue his chosen remnant and literally escort them through the Kidron Valley and on to the Mount of Olives.  This will also prevent the enemies of God from being able to retreat. They will not be able to escape from the North or the South and, instead, they will be trapped in the Kidron Valley between the temple mount and the Mount of Olives.

The Kidron Valley, beloved, think about it.  This is the valley that Jesus crossed over at Passover where millions of people had gathered and thousands of animals were being sacrificed. And if you have ever been there you know that on the Temple Mount where the animals were sacrificed the blood would run down through the rock gutter system into brook Kidron, down in the Kidron Valley.  And we know as we read the gospels that this was the very valley, the very brook that our Lord crossed over as he went up to the Garden of Gethsemane to sweat great drops of blood.

Imagine walking through that bloody brook reminding him of the blood that was about to be shed.  That valley that received the drainage of thousands of animals reminding him of the blood that must be offered in order for the sins of all who would believe on him to be forgiven.  That same valley is also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat and that means “God will judge.”  This will become the grave of his enemies.

In Joel chapter three and verse two and also in verses nine through 13 we read:

I will gather all the nations, And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.23

As I was meditating upon this great truth I was reminded of our Lord's lament when he once looked over Jerusalem. Do you remember in Matthew 23 he said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”24 And then he said this.

Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until [a very important word] you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'

Dear Christian, on that day when the Lord rescues his people they will say, “Blessed his he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  On that great and final splitting that process will be fulfilled.

According to Revelation 17 verses 12 through 14 we read that this final invasion will also include 10 kings or subordinate rulers of the antichrist and there in verse 14 we learn that, “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”25 So obviously, these people will be duped into believing that they can defeat the God of Israel, the God whom they blasphemed. Now we are not told the nature of the demonic logic, but whatever it is, the nations of the world will believe them, especially given the miraculous signs that God allows them to perform.

You will recall that earlier in chapter 13 the false prophet was able to perform, according to verse 13, “Great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform”26 So my point here is in the sixth bowl we will witness something similar, some similar deception.

Now, naturally, those who remain faithful to the Lord during this time of unparalleled judgments upon the earth as well as the persecution that they are experiencing from the beast worshippers, will be greatly afraid.   And knowing this I find it interesting how the Lord comforts them in verse 15.  In fact, I would imagine this would be a text that they have memorized and that they will be quoting very often during this time.

He says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief,”27 meaning I am going to come unexpectedly.  “Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.”28

Here we have the imagery of a soldier staying prepared for combat.  And it is as if the Lord is saying, “Hang in there.  Hang in there.  It won't be long now. Don't give up hope. I have taught you to pray, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'  It is about to happen. That prayer is about to be fulfilled.  The moment of truth is almost here. So stay vigilant and I will bless you.”

So we see the demons assemble all the forces of the nation in verse 16.  “And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.”29 In Hebrew that really is a reference to Mount Megiddo, also a reference to the hill country around the plain of Megiddo and even the Plain of Esdraelon that will be the command center of the antichrist. It is an area oh, about 60 or 65 miles north of Jerusalem.

But also bear in mind that the forces of the antichrist, all of these nations that will come together will virtually surround Jerusalem. And we are told in other texts that these armies will fill basically the whole land of Israel, all the way to the edge, the southern edge, the ancient city of Bazrah which is the capital or was the capital of the Edomites the great enemies of God's people as we read in Isaiah 63:1.

And then suddenly the long anticipated climax of divine wrath is poured out here in the seventh bowl. Notice verse 17.  “And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, ‘It is done.'”30

In the original language the grammar would indicate that what is being said here is simply this: “It is finished and it will remain so.” That is reminiscent of another time when the Lord said upon the cross, “It is finished,”31 in John 19:30. And you will recall that when God judged sin at Calvary Matthew tells us that darkness fell upon the land and also that the earth shook. And, dear friends, once again, in these final judgments darkness is going to cover the globe and the entire earth will shake.

In verse 18 we read, “And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.”32 So here the storm and the earthquake signal the end of Satan's long reign on earth.  This signals the end of man's long battle with God, his long rebellion.

I find it interesting that the Lord spoke through Haggai the prophet and predicted this in chapter two verse six. And there we read, “Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations.”33

And it is interesting that the writer of Hebrews quoted this very text in chapter 12 verse 26.  And he added this important commentary. He said, “And this expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”34

Literally what he is saying is, “All physical things are going to be shaken. All of those things are going to be destroyed so that the eternal things, those things that cannot be shaken, will be able to remain.” And then in verse 28 he adds this marvelous statement that gives us even more insight into the context of what is occurring here. He gives this promise:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.35

Verse 19. “And the great city was split into three parts.”36 This is a reference to Jerusalem and this is consistent with the geo physical and topographical improvements that are described in Zechariah chapter 14 verses four through 10.  And then the Lord goes on to tell us, “And the cities of the nations fell.”37 Unlike Jerusalem that is going to be enhanced, the cities of the nations are going to fall. The word in the original language means “to fall utterly to the ground,” “to collapse completely.” 

But it is interesting. Notice what he says. “And Babylon the great...”38 This is, again, now referring to the capital city of the empire of the antichrist.  “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.”39 In other words, the capital city of the antichrist's great empire, that symbol of blasphemy, that symbol of idolatry is going to be singled out as a special object of divine wrath.  And we will see its demise come in stages in chapters seven and 18 with its final collapse in chapter 19 verses 18 through 21.

And then verse 20, “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”40

Beloved, here we have a reminder of the inconceivable power of almighty God as he prepares the earth for the renovation that is about to occur as the Messiah king, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Consummator of all things prepares to restore the earth once again to Edenic splendor when he establishes his throne on Mount Zion.

I find it interesting that as we study the Word of God we see that Jerusalem will be the highest point in all of the earth when the Lord establishes his kingdom.  According to Micah 4:1 we read, “The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills.”41

So the Lord is preparing all of this even in this judgment.

And then in verse 21 we read that “huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.”42

What unimaginable horror. Think about it. Those who love darkness rather than light are now standing in the presence of almighty God in pitch blackness. They stand there to do battle with God in their inconceivable arrogance.  The earth is quaking and in the darkness something is coming down from the sky, 100 pound hailstones smashing people.

So what do you do?  Repent?  No, the time of repentance is past.  God has judicially sealed them in their unbelief.   What you do is blaspheme God because of the plague of the hail because its plague was extremely severe.  Dear friends, who could possibly deny the depravity of man?  This level of rebellion and defiance exceeds the limits of imagination.  And were it not for grace we would be standing in their midst. 

Charles Spurgeon spoke to this scene and I wanted to quote it for you.

“All men are within the reach of the divine judgments yet they proudly fancy that they can escape from God. Many a little Pharaoh says in the hardness of his heart, ‘Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?' Boastful worldlings dream that they at any rate are beyond punishment for their careful forethought will secure them against the calamities which others bring upon themselves. They are godly, but still they take good care of themselves and keep clear of vice and prodigality. They are far too prudent to involve themselves in the perils of the gangster or the profligate. They prefer safer sins. And so they fancy that they are out of harm's reach, though they do not acknowledge God. Poverty cannot reach them for they have filled their houses with hidden treasures. Sickness cannot hurt them for they have a vigorous constitution. They defy dangers which have thrown down to others. They boast themselves in the glory of their strength and in the hardness of their hearts. 

“These are the men who sit aloft beyond the of the arrows of Jehovah. What folly.  No man is at any moment beyond the reach of vengeance.  The Lord has but to remember the callous and secure and straightway the joints of their loins shall be loosed and fearfulness shall take hold upon them. Their proud hearts can fail them in a moment even though no outward sorrow afflict them. In providence the detectives of God never fail to find out the guilty,” end quote.

Oh, dear friends, the awful terrors of the wrath of God, only the most hard hearted fool would deny the accusing voice of their conscience and the compelling truths of the Word of God and deliberately run into the arms of his wrath. 

Dear sinner, please hear me this morning.  Unless you repent of your sins and trust Christ as Savior, what I have just read and far worse will be your fate for eternity.  Dear hearer, his love and his grace is still available today.  But if you die in your rebellion, you will perish in your sin.  Don't let you heart become hardened to the point where God judicially seals you in your unbelief.  Won't you, instead, yield to the convicting work of the Spirit of God perhaps as he is speaking to you right now, and bow before his mercy and before his grace and cry out, “Oh, Lord, I believe.  Save me from my sin”? 

Let's pray together.

Father, these sobering truths cause us to tremble in your presence because we realize that once again were it not for grace we might be among the number of the deceived and the damned.  Lord, how we pray that you would penetrate the hearts of those who really don't know you.  I pray, Lord, that even today will be the day of their salvation.  Lord, cause all of us who know and love you to be vigilant about the task of the gospel. May we preach it with boldness and with authority and with love that many might be saved, that they may might fear you and give you glory.  I ask in Jesus' name and for his sake. Amen.

1 Revelation 16:10-21.

2 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

3 Revelation 17:14.

4 Revelation 16:10.

5 Revelation 17:1-2.

6 Revelation 17:5.

7 Revelation 18:3.

8 Revelation 18:17.

9 Revelation 16:10.

10 Isaiah 13:9-11.

11 Joel 3:15.

12 Zephaniah 1:15.

13 Matthew 24:29.

14 Revelation 16:10.

15 Revelation 16:11.

16 Revelation 16:12.

17 Revelation 16:13.

18 Revelation 16:14.

19 Revelation 16:14.

20 Zechariah 14:3.

21 Zechariah 14:4.

22 Zechariah 14:4-5.

23 Joel 3:9.

24 Matthew 23:37.

25 Revelation 17:14.

26 Revelation 13:13-14

27 Revelation 16:15.

28 Ibid.

29 Revelation 16:16.

30 Revelation 16:17.

31 John 19:30.

32 Revelation 16:18.

33 Haggai 2:6-7.

34 Hebrews 12:27.

35 Hebrews 12:28-29.

36 Revelation 16:19.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.

40 Revelation 16:20.

41 Micah 4:1.

42 Revelation 16:21.