The 15th chapter of Revelation was a chapter of ominous proportions. The latter parts of that chapter described the boiling energy emanating from the temple of God. The smoke and glory of his power was so strong that no one could enter. It is as though God was saying don’t watch me, but watch my response. The temper of God was about to be fully expressed and the temple of his presence was roiling with his intentions.
The rebellion of man is a thing long decried by God through his prophets, the scriptures and the consciences of men. The era of rebellion will not be forever. Chapter 16 unpacks God’s wrath on the people and places of the earth–the places where rebellion has been the theme of man.
The temple voice is God’s voice
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 16:1–ESV)
From the glory and power, the smoke and rumbling of the temple came the voice of God. It required a loud voice to rise above the temple tempest, but the voice was just part and parcel of his majesty. The smoke, the glory, the trembling were all part of the God’s majesty and power.
Energy on display is one thing, but energy does not tell of intentions. Words, however, do. Jesus Christ was called the word, logos. Jesus was the embodiment of the intentions of God conveying desires to mankind. In Revelation 16:1 God speaks putting intention to the storm on display in the temple.
Sin of man has been completed and the bowls of God’s response are filled and delivered. God’s displeasure having risen to its peak is spoken to his ministers and these 7 angels are told to deliver God’s response. The verdict was long in, the appeals were finished, and the executioner was sent to do his deeds.
The first bowl: Sores
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. (Revelation 16:2–ESV)
We want to feel good. Part of happiness is physical comfort. When good health is replaced with pain, beauty and strength with disfigurement what happens to your psyche? What happens to your mood? These things falter, they stumble and fall.
Can you recall the Snickers commercials where that candy bar is billed as the solution for being “hangry?” To be hangry is to be so hungry that one’s anger pops out. When my morning clinic runs into the afternoon clinic it sometimes seems like I should skip lunch. One of my techs said, “Doc, you go eat.” What she knew is that I could power through into the early part of the afternoon clinic but slowly, surely the hunger would start to get expressed.
So the sense of well being and normalcy in health is taken away from all of the beast followers, the dragon-allied.
Health is God’s blessing
Maybe you can recall the following verse from James 1: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17–ESV) Health is a good gift, a perfect gift. Health is not the divine right of man, but many presume it is.
The first thing taken from humanity is the blessing of good health.
How does this relate to the bowl of sores? Well, internal needs from hunger to health are crucial to external responses. Health, like it or not, is a God given blessing, and with bowl number one God says, “Enough!” The pleasure, the daily experience of good health was being abused by people and God in his wrath took it back.
On September 20th, 2017 Hurricane Maria smashed Puerto Rico. In reading the stories about this event the journalists spoke of people being in “survival mode.” Survival mode is all about the now, the next moment. It is intense and normal rules will often be suspended as the brain tries to keep itself alive. No medium-term or long-term goals are in play. The whole world will be launched into this mode after bowl number one is poured.