We are in the middle of our lessons on the bowls of wrath. In our last lesson we saw God dismantle a number of creations. He destroyed the health of humanity, the oceans, the fresh water and boosted the temperature of the earth. There are three more bowls before God will declare his wrath finished, and that is the substance of this lesson.
Let us first recap the Dragon, Beast 1, and Beast 2 for they are more direct recipients of God’s final three wrath events. The Dragon is Satan’s attempt to be God. Beast One is an extension of Satan and is his mimic of a Messiah figure, but is not a man. Beast Two, however, is a man; one in cahoots with the Dragon. Beast Two has essentially sold his soul in exchange for worldwide power, worldwide domination. He gets these things in exchange for exalting Beast One. Beast Two likely wants independence and self-rule, but needs Satan’s power to make it happen.
Since Satan’s kingdom has emanated from Babylon, Beast Two, the man, the false prophet, has set up his center of global direction and dominance there. Babylon is where the fifth angel pours his bowl of wrath.
Bowl five: Technology is tripped
10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:10-11–ESV)
The effect of this bowl was darkness, and I think this is physical darkness, not metaphoric or symbolic darkness. The first four bowls have all been dumped upon things which enhance the human experience. The sixth and the seventh, too, will be on earth bound features. So when the kingdom of Babylon is hit with the effects of bowl five I think that the power grids and all things managed by it are brought down.
Think of where technology is even at this point. Communication is global and near instant. Electricity works our heaters and our air conditioners. It heats our stoves and brews our coffee. We have light from the energy flowing out of the sockets in our house. What about the internet? Google? We get around by the use of these things. We understand our world from what we learn in these areas. Steadily our world is moving toward self-driven cars, airplanes for a long time can go from place to place and essentially don’t need pilots for the routine activities of flying. The “internet of things” is rolling out more and more. Amazon has its Alexa who sits around your house waiting for you to tell it to do something. Amazon soon will be delivering your packages by automated flying vehicles, and Dominoes, too, is thinking about pizza flights. Robots vacuum our floors and our pools, they are building many things. Almost assuredly this is but a drop in the bucket of where technology will be when bowl 5 is tipped and poured.
It is this, that I think, gets blacked out, darkened from bowl 5. Global inter-connectivity is replaced and isolation of communities takes over. The little comforts that may have been happening were pulled out from under them and people are back down to their little environments. Their personal notions of their sores, the oceans, the rivers, the scorching heat all rapidly rise to the surface of each person, each community.
Bowl six: Marching to Zion
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16–ESV)
The Euphrates: let’s set some context around this river.
The Euphrates river is the longest river in Western Asia flowing from northern Turkey merging with the Tigris as the two make their approach to the Persian Gulf. This river is not only long, but also historical; many colonies and civilizations have risen and fell alongside of it. Long before God brought the nation of Israel onto the scene great wars were fought around it. Those deadly serious international squabbles continued through the various empires, to the Islamic conquests of the 7th Century AD and beyond.
Let’s fast forward into an era we can at least grasp. After the conclusion of World War 1 the boundaries of the area around the Euphrates were redrawn. The Treaty of Lausanne1 established rules specifically effecting Turkey, Syria & Iraq in many areas2. This river was an important thing that would effect these three nations going forward. One section3 of this treaty addressed water use and hydroelectric power generation. Even with this treaty significant geopolitical battles still flared, e.g. the 1975 Iraqi threat to bomb one of Syria’s dams over water rights and the electrical supply.