The Seven Bowls of the Wrath of God.[a] 1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple say to the seven angels, “Go forth and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2 The first angel went forth and poured out his bowl on the earth. Immediately, foul and malignant sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image.[b]
3 [c]The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. It turned to blood, like the blood of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and the springs of water, and they turned to blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
“You are just, O Holy One,
who are and who were,
in these your judgments.
6 For they have shed the blood
of the saints and the Prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink,
as they deserve.”
7 And I heard the altar respond:
“Yes, Lord God Almighty,
true and just are your judgments.”
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to burn people with its flames. 9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had the power to inflict those plagues, but they refused to repent and pay him homage.
10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness.[d] People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores, instead of repenting for what they had done.
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 I saw three unclean spirits like frogs[e] come forth from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet.
14 These are demonic spirits with the power to work miracles. They were sent to the kings of the entire world to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
15 [f]“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes close by so that he will not have to go naked and be exposed to shame.” 16 These spirits then assembled the kings at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.[g]
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there followed flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake—so violent that there has never been one like it since the human race has inhabited the earth.
19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed in ruin. Babylon the Great was also remembered by God, as he made her drink the cup filled with the wine of his fury and wrath. 20 Every island vanished, and no mountains were to be found. 21 Huge hailstones, each weighing about one hundred pounds, fell from the sky on the people, and they cursed God on account of the plague of hail that turned out to be so terrible.
- Revelation 16:1 The story of the plagues in Egypt (Ex 7–12) remained deeply inscribed in the imagination of the Jews; once again, as in chapters 8–10 (vision of the trumpets), that story here inspires the description of the final cataclysm of the universe and of the lives of its peoples and nations. The desolating picture shows all the hostile forces united at Armageddon (the Megiddo of the Bible, where King Josiah died with his troops); it became a place of sinister memory, and an omen and symbol of military defeat and even annihilation (see 2 Ki 23:29-30; Zec 12:11). The great city Babylon, i.e., Rome, is collapsing.
- Revelation 16:2 Similar to the sixth plague of Egypt (see Ex 9:8-11).
- Revelation 16:3 Similar to the first plague of Egypt (see Ex 7:20f).
- Revelation 16:10 Similar to the ninth plague of Egypt (see Ex 10:21-23).
- Revelation 16:13 Frogs: an allusion to the second plague of Egypt (see Ex 7:26—8:11).
- Revelation 16:15 This verse interrupts the text. It fits in better in the literary atmosphere of the letters to the Churches, especially Rev 3:3-4, 18. Blessed: the third beatitude (see note on Rev 1:3).
- Revelation 16:16 Armageddon: i.e., the “mountain of Megiddo,” the site of many battles in antiquity (see Jdg 5:19f; 2 Ki 9:27; 2 Chr 35:20-24); it symbolized the final defeat of the powers of evil.