“And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”
A few years ago, I had the privilege of standing on Tel Megiddo, the ruins of the ancient city of Megiddo. It overlooks, what is often referred to as, the valley of Armageddon. The experience was almost surreal. As I stood there, contemplating the events described in Revelation 16, I could see smoke rising in the distance, from tires being burned in protest to the fighting in Gaza and southern Israel. The silence of the moment was suddenly interrupted as the entire valley was filled with the roar of an Israeli fighter jet flying past. It was not difficult to imagine what the scene will be like when men gather in one last effort to eradicate God. Hundreds of years before Revelation was written, the Bible prophesied of this event.
“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
I have always looked at this as the epitome of folly. Men, in rebellious pride, gather to do battle with God, who loves them so much He gave His own Son to save them. Up to this point in Revelation, judgment has been poured out in measures. We read of a fraction of the population being judged, allowing for the remainder to respond to the mercy of God. Yet, we also read time and again, that the inhabitants of the earth refuse to repent. Instead of being drawn to God, many become hardened toward Him. That hardness ultimately reveals itself in mobilizing for battle, to rid themselves of the influence of God, once and for all. In light of this, the second Psalm closes with some valuable advice.
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
Instead of hardening our hearts to God, because of the things that we do not understand, or the raw deal we feel life has dealt us, we should accept His merciful plea and draw near to Him. Much of the difficulty we ascribe to God, is actually an extension of His loving kindness, seeking to draw us into relationship with Him.
Will you draw near to Him today?
Questions for Revelation 16
Up until this point in the tribulation, we have seen seven seals and seven trumpets. Now we will see the final set of judgments before the end of the tribulation and the return of Jesus: the seven bowl judgments.
1. Look at verse 1. What is in these bowls?
2. As you read through the chapter the seven bowl judgments are poured out. Here’s a list of the effects of each one.
a. The first bowl produces a rash/skin sore that will fall on almost all of mankind, everyone who accepted the mark of the beast.
b. The second and third bowls completely pollute the natural water sources on the earth, to the extent that sea life is wiped out.
c. The fourth plague brings out atmospheric conditions that result in a true global warming, with painful consequences upon the people of the earth.
d. The fifth plague brings darkness. Perhaps this is clouds, and may be related to whatever is causing the temperature change
e. The sixth causes a river to dry up to make way for a massive invading force against Israel
f. The seventh causes the greatest earthquake the world has ever seen.
3. Notice verses 5 and 6. What elements of God’s character are revealed in these verses? As harsh as these bowl judgments are, it is good to remember that He has saved these judgments until the very end, giving man every opportunity to repent. Read 2Peter 3:8-10.
4. God does want men to repent and get right with Him. Notice how men’s hearts respond to these judgments in verses 9, 11, and 21. The very things that God is allowing are intended to produce heart change, but instead simply serve to reveal hearts.
5. Observe that the demons of the sixth plague seek to unite men…against God.
6. Look at verse 15. Where does the blessing come from?
Ezekiel 43- Dedication Day
Ezekiel 44- Service