The Bowls of God’s Wrath
Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 11: The Book of Revelation
Revelation 15:1 – 16:21
Rubel Shelly, teaching

1. The seven trumpets of Rev 8:1 – 11:19 were partial judgments against Rome and carried the possibility of repentance and redemption. How are the seven bowls different? Why are they called the “seven last plagues” (15:1)?

2. Who carries and pours out the bowls of wrath? Why are the bowls “golden”? As unsettling and horrible as the consequences of sin are, how does this scene fit the old saying about how punishment should fit the crime?

3. The video makes the claim that “God’s wrath against sin is as pure as his love for all that is holy.” Do you agree? Explain your answer.

4. What was affected by the first four bowls? What was the result of their judgments?

5. What changes with the fifth bowl? What result came from emptying it on the throne of the beast?

6. Some approaches to reading Revelation make a great deal of a pending battle in the Middle East at a place called Armageddon (16:16) or “Mount Megiddo.” There was a city and plain called Megiddo that had been the scene of some decisive battles in ancient times (Jdg 5:19- 21; 2 Kgs 9:27; 23:29) but there is no such place on the map as “Mount Megiddo.” Consistent with the language of Revelation, what does such symbolic language mean?

7. What is the warning of Rev 16:15? The flood of Noah’s day, the overthrow of Rome promised here, and the Final Judgment to come all have this in common: No special sign allowed (or will allow) people to make last-minute preparation for the overthrow of evil. Cf. Matt 24:36. What is the obvious message to us from the imagery of a “thief in the night”?

In this scene, John sees divine wrath being poured out on the enemies and persecutors of his people. “John also sees those [Rev 15:2] who had obtained the victory which he spells out as ‘over the beast and his image and over the number of his name.’ Nothing evil can triumph over God’s people. In the early days of the church the day of a person’s martyrdom was often called the day of his victory. Barclay comments, ‘the real victory is not to live in safety, to evade trouble, cautiously and prudently to preserve life; the real victory is to face the worst that evil can do, and if need be to be faithful unto death.’ . . . Notice that, though [the Song of Moses and the Lamb] is sung by the victors, there is no word in it about themselves or the way they overcame. Those who triumph in Christ fix all their attention on him.” (Leon Morris)