Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
The first 4 Plagues (16:1-9):
God calls the natural elements of creation (earth, sea, rivers, sun) to pass judgment on human beings who have abused their position as God’s image bearers within creation.
o In the Trumpet judgments the destruction was partial, one third of earth, sea, fresh waters and the light. How are the Bowl judgments different?
o The Exodus plagues were directed toward specific idols (the Nile god, the frog goddess,…). How might the Bowl plagues be directed toward things human worship instead of the Creator God?
o How might the punishments fit humanities crimes?
o How are people’s reactions to the Bowl plagues like Pharoah’s reaction to the plagues of Egypt?
The last 3 Plagues (16:10-21):
Euphrates River = the eastern border of the land God granted to Abraham, the enemies of Assyria and Babylon came from beyond the Euphrates; the eastern border of the Roman Empire.
Armageddon = Greek for the Hebrew word Har-Mediggo, meaning mountain of Mediggo. There is no actual Mount Mediggo, so it likely symbolizes an area where Israel’s greatest battles were fought, and therefore the final battle against evil.
Hailstones = a symbol of judgment in the Old Testament, also associated with the punishment of stoning for those who worship other gods or lead others into idolatry (Dt.13:10, 17:5).
o What are the evil spirits that look like frogs, and what do they do?
o The third Beatitude of Revelation is in verse 15. What does it mean in the context of the evil spirits? How is it relevant to your life? (see also Luke 12:35-48)
“This long, powerful sequence [of judgment] tells us as clearly as anything could that what we are faced with is neither a capricious or ill-tempered divine being nor a careless, laissez-faire world ruler. What we are faced with the God who made the world and whose generous love is seen most clearly in the sacrifice of his own son, the lamb, the one who shares his very throne. If this God (to look no further than our own recent history) does not hate the wickedness of the communist and fascist systems that devastated so much of Europe, he is not a good or loving God. If he does not hate Apartheid, with its systematic dehumanization of half the human race, he is not a good God. And if he does not finally do something about these and similar systems, he is not a loving God.” N.T. Wright
What one truth from this passage stands out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Navpress, A life-changing encounter with God’s Word from the book of Revelation, 2011
N.T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 2011