Revelation 16 provides the replay of the wrath of God being poured out on the earth that was first revealed in Revelation 8. It’s no coincidence that both of these visions of God’s wrath come AFTER the corresponding visions of the rapture (Rev. 14 & Rev. 7). For Jesus has delivered us, His Bride, from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10, 5:9).
To recap, the first six bowl judgments: (1) bring brimstone from Heaven that burns the vegetation and brings sores on those with the mark; (2) destroy part of the seas; (3) poison part of the fresh waters; (4) impact part of the sun, moon, stars (heavenlies); (5) bring a locust invasion that have incredibly painful stingers; and (6) dry up the Euphrates River and release Satanic spirits that stir up war.
Revelation 16:4 records the counterfeit kingdom’s last ditch effort. “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
The nature of the 7th trumpet/bowl judgment isn’t even named. Instead, the heavens and earth are shaken by noises, lightnings, thunderings, and an earthquake, all released from God’s Temple in Heaven.
Rev. 16:16 says that these warring spirits gather the enemy forces in a large plain. The Old Testament prophets described it as being between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Most Bibles translate the place name as Armageddon. In Hebrew it means to pour upon and hold, include, and contain. It literally translates as the “mount of assembly.”
Then the 7th Trumpet/Bowl judgment comes as described in Rev. 16:17-21. It simply explains the outcome. To see how this judgment comes, we turn to Rev. 19:11-21 - in short, Christ and His heavenly court speaking the ruling judgments. John records this warfare as Christ riding through the heavens on a white horse, striking the Gentile nations with a two-edged sword—the heavenly declarations. As spoken in Heaven, so it is on earth.
The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is eternal damnation. Satan is temporarily sealed in the Pit in Hades. More on that later. All that is left now is the mop-up operation. So the court calls in the birds of prey to devour all the bodies of the enemy forces. It’s called the Supper of the Great God. Gruesome, I know, but fitting.
We hinted in an earlier blog that the end of the 3½-year war for Jerusalem doesn’t come as most people think it does. You see, it doesn’t end with a single conflict called the Battle of Armageddon. That is a misinterpretation that comes from several mistranslations, including the reference here in Revelation 16 and Daniel’s 70th Week prophecy.
Instead, Scripture calls it the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty, and it encompasses the first 3½ years of Christ’s millennial reign on the 7th Day. In case you’re interested, Ezekiel 39:9-19 describes the rest of the clean-up operation.
We know this may rattle some of your preconceived ideas from what you’ve been told about the final, singular so-called Battle of Armageddon. However, we have to let Scripture interpret Scripture. And when there are multiple man-made interpretations of a passage with no agreement, we have to be honest with ourselves and God’s Word. Nowhere in Scripture is there a direct, specific reference to a 7-year tribulation. But there are at least 8 specific references to a 3½-year war.
The Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty is fought from above, from the position of heavenly authority (Eph. 1:21). By the end of Christ’s 7th Day reign, Christ’s exalted position shall be completely fulfilled. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Phil. 2:9-10).