Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #354 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Revelation 16 today and our focus is on How Does the World End? (Redux) Are God’s Judgments Too Harsh? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in New South Wales, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, Seoul, South Korea, Telangana, India, Utrecht, Netherlands, London, England, British Columbia, Canada, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Parts unknown Singapore, Salinas and San Jose, California, Birmingham, Alabama, Duluth, Minnesota, Honolulu, Hawaii, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Salt Lake City, Utah, Gainesville, Florida and El Paso, Texas. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
The end of the world – what does the Bible have to say about it? A lot, it turns out – maybe more about the end of the world, in total, than there is about the beginning of the world, though I will confess that I’ve never added up all of the Scriptures on either side. Revelation 16 is not a good chapter of the Bible – let me rephrase that – when the events of Revelation 16 unfold, the world will not be in a good place. A literal darkest before the dawn situation – the judgments of God are going to be poured out on the Earth, one after the other – and it will be terrible. Here is a brief summary of each of the bowls of Revelation 16:
First bowl: An outbreak of painful sores on those who worship the beast.
Second bowl: The waters turn to a blood like substance and the sea creatures die.
Third bowl: The rivers and springs turn to blood or a blood like substance
Fourth bowl: the sun heats up and the people on Earth are scorched
Fifth bowl: The kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness
Sixth bowl: The river Euphrates dries up and the kings of the earth prepare to battle the Lamb.
Seventh bowl: The worst earthquake in history happens and a terrible hail storm falls, with some hailstones weighing over 100 pounds.
Yes – this sounds terrible. Why is God judging the Earth in this way – is this not too harsh?
Well, this is most certainly a series of terrible judgments that will be horrifying to live through – and yet God is a God of perfect holiness and perfect justice, and I completely concur with the angel who seems to anticipate objections to these judgments and says:
You are just,
the Holy One, who is and who was,
because you have passed judgment on these things.
6 Because they poured out
the blood of the saints and the prophets,
you have given them blood to drink;
they deserve it! 7 I heard the altar say,
Yes, Lord God, the Almighty,
true and just are your judgments. Revelation 16:5-7
All of God’s judgments are true and just. They are not overreactions – they are not based on false information, they are not mis-targetted. Have you ever heard somebody say something that could be taken the wrong way, and you jokingly move away from them just in case a lightning bolt comes from the sky? That is done in jest sometimes, but God’s judgments are no laughing matter, and His aim is absolutely perfect and unerring. Spurgeon’s comments on this shudder-inducing passage are worth our hearing:
IN reading this chapter, dear friends—this very terrible chapter—you must have been struck, I think, with the forces of God. How great are the armies of the Lord of hosts! As the mighty Jehovah smote Pharaoh with overwhelming plagues, so doth the Lord in this awful portion of the Apocalypse deal with the ungodly. Seven angels stood forth, each one with his vial full of the wrath of God, to be poured out upon the earth. Seven executioners were needed, and seven were present: a perfect number for the accomplishment of the divine purpose….
Note yet again, how all men are within the reach of the divine judgments. 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 ungodly, 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 gamester 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 hid treasure; sickness cannot hurt them, for they have a vigorous constitution. They defy dangers which have thrown down 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 reach 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. This angel, you perceive, poured his vial on the sun, and by way of the sun, with his scorching heat, the proudest sons of men were visited. The noble and the great, the rich and the healthy, could not bear the increased solar heat, for the day burned as an oven. We know not by how many doors God can come at the guilty, but come at them he will when once his arm is bared for war. When he saith, “Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries,” who shall withstand him?….
Now, what I have to say to you is this. Oh, that God would lead you to repent now, before any of his judgments fall upon you! Why should we not repent at once? Surely we ought to repent of doing wrong when we perceive that we are wronging so good a God. He has not cut you down; he has not taken away your wife: is this a reason for being hard-hearted? It ought to tell the other way. He has spared that fair-haired child to you; he has not allowed your business to be ruined by your neglect; he has helped you although you have been hurting yourself. Well, then, turn to him. Drawn by his love, turn to him. Say in your heart, “I cannot offend any more. I cannot sin against so good, so kind a God as this.”
C. H. Spurgeon, “Judgments and No Repentance: Repentance and No Salvation,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 34 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1888), 647.
Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Happy by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite
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