Good afternoon, friends. We’re going to be in Revelation chapter 16. You can turn there and your Bible is with me. We’re getting close to the end. No pun intended. But it gets a little more bleak from here, but then it gets really good. So we have a lot to look forward to in reality and in the proclamation of what will be reality. So we’re going to be in Revelation 16. Actually, I’m sorry, we’re going to start in verse 5 of 15. We’re just going to wrap that chapter up and then we’ll be in 16.

So here’s what John says through the Spirit. After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened. This is going to be a large swath of text. Try to pay attention. Keep yourself awake. Listen. After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened. And the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power. And no one was able to enter the temple. And to the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God. So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his image. The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man. And every living thing in the sea died. Then the third angel poured. He poured out His bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the water saying, Righteous are you who are and who were, O Holy One, because you judged these things. For they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve it. And I heard the altar saying, Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments. The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power of these plagues. And they did not repent so as to give Him glory. Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened. And they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. And they did not repent of their deeds. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. 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. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the world to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. Behold, I am coming like a thief, blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked, and men will not see his shame. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmageddon. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were flashes of lightning, and sounds, and peals of thunder. And there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been, since man came to be upon the earth. So great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of his fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men, and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Saturday, Friday evening, from the Lord, I had a little illustration in my own life that I’ll share with you that kind of paints the picture of the point that I want to make today.

Every fall, you know, the leaves fall off the trees. I have a few, three, four, five trees around my house, and they’re pretty close. Well, when these trees fall, I have a few, three, four, five trees around my house, and they’re pretty close. When these leaves fall, they fall into my gutters, and they clog them up. And I have put it off to this point to clean my gutters out. I’ve done it, you know, in years past. I typically take care of it, but for some reason this year, whether due to laziness or a busyness or indifference, I have not done it. Well, we all know that in the springtime, rains are heavy, and maybe a little heavier than typical. I know that. That’s common knowledge. But it didn’t really move me to clean out my gutters. And I’ve seen a few times over the past months the rain falling, and there’s a particular spot where the water was dripping over the edge of the gutter, indicating that they were stopped up. There was a problem. And I saw Friday morning as we were praying, toward the end, we looked at the weather forecast, and sure enough, some good storms were going to be rolling through that afternoon. But I didn’t choose to address it in that moment. And I’m at the house, and I’m looking through the back door of my house, it faces west, toward the evening hours, and there’s the sun peeking through the clouds. They’d sort of parted, and it was just, ah, what a beautiful ending to this day. It had drizzled. It had drizzled on and off throughout the day. Nothing serious. And then 15 minutes later, I come back by the door, and the sky is dark and terrible looking. And just a few moments after that, it’s pouring rain. And me, aware of my problem, I start going around to all the windows and doors to check, and there’s water pouring from every edge of my gutters you can see.

For some time now, I put off doing what I know I needed to do. So many warning signs that were happening, but it didn’t move me to act on them. And there I was, and I had to eat it. Water flowing into my soffit, washing away my mulch, potentially causing damage to my house. Here it is. It’s pouring rain. Here it is. It’s pouring rain. I want to title this sermon, The Realized Wrath of God. In the opening verse of chapter 15, we were introduced to the idea of these seven last plagues in which the wrath of God would be finished. Pastor Fitley titled the sermon on that verse, The Finished Wrath of God. And immediately following this introduction in the text, John tells us of something like a fiery sea of glass where the saints who had been victorious over the beast were standing, holding harps of God, and they sang songs of victory, the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, worshiping God Almighty, righteous and true, King of the nations. And then after this, John describes what he sees following this heavenly scene of worship. The temple of the tabernacle of testimony is opened. This is imagery familiar to the Jewish mind, one that pointed them back to the tablets that were given to Moses, on Mount Sinai, and how they were placed in the Ark of the Covenant, and they dwelled in what was known as the holiest of holies. This is the very presence of God that John is seeing. And then he sees seven angels come from His presence, clothed appropriately to carry out holy business, ready to obey the charge of their God. They’re handed golden bowls that are full of His wrath, and then the temple fills with smoke. From His glory and from His power. And all creatures are barred from His presence until these judgments are completed. This is a really majestic imagery. It’s powerful to consider. But isn’t it a wonder that these things really have little impact on us? How far were we in reading the text before your mind began to say, begin to wander?

Is it the language that’s just so grand and it’s foreign to the way we communicate? Or is it that we really are indifferent to the content? And I’m not merely looking for something like an emotional response to these things, although I think maybe the shedding of a tear might be appropriate. Maybe in your prayer time you have sudden outbursts as you confess your sins before God because you just find yourself overwhelmed by the weight of them. Possibly a shout of praise to this God of glory.

I know that not all of us are so prone to express ourselves outwardly like that. But even I think the most reserved person would be moved by something like the forewarning of the wrath of God being exhausted on the earth. But more than that, shouldn’t we be impacted in our being and in our doing? Would not a right response to be to remove those tendencies of laziness toward kingdom work, carve out time in our busy schedules that block out our availability for kingdom work, and deal in our hearts with the indifference that we have to put our hands to the plow to do that kingdom work?

Shame on us if we’ve gotten this far in the book of Revelation and we haven’t had some change in our lives.

Are we taking it serious? Just a single change in the way we live and in the way we confess our sin and the way we engage a lost and dying person. We’re 16 chapters in and we’ve seen really bizarre things, really mighty things, terrifying things. Are we not affected in some degree by them? If not, to this point, please listen closely because we’ve come to the place in the text where God, being roused to put into action these great and marvelous plagues, commands the angels with a loud voice to go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God. We’ve been warned and told over and again that now those warnings and announcements become a reality. They actually happen in real life. Our God is not a God of idle words. If He says it, He’s going to do it. His promises stand whether it be to bless the faithful or to punish the wicked because God cannot lie. So to sum up the text as simply as I can, God will execute His judgments on His enemies and the experience of them will be destruction. These last judgments are peculiar in that they stand above all the previous ones. They are the final outpouring of the wrath of God against this sinful world. Not the judgment seat where we find ourselves in the courtroom of God Almighty to give account for all our deeds but in the aspect of war that destroys the kingdoms of this world who are running in opposition to His will. I want to draw out four attributes of these judgments. One, they are settled.

First, my reason for using that term, Leon Morris notes in his book, in his commentary on the Revelation earlier in chapter 14, verse 10, where two separate terms for wrath are used. That though the definitions are nearly identical, they do have slightly different tones. One, thumas, is only used once outside of the book of Revelation to denote divine wrath. I believe that’s in Romans 2, 8. And this term carries with it the idea of passion. God’s wrath is passionate against sin. It burns, it burns with fury like a raging fire consuming what it touches. The other is arge. It has the idea of being settled. God’s wrath is settled in its disposition against sin. It’s not a sudden outburst of uncontrolled anger like you and I would have. Rather, it’s constant and purposed. So I don’t want to confuse the words and I want to note the distinction. Although they’re both used in chapter 16. Passionate wrath in verse 1, and settled wrath in verse 19. I want to draw out three features of the settled nature of these judgments. They are the timing, the character, and the purpose of God’s bowls. The timing of these events are fixed. God is certainly not bound by time, but as created finite beings we are. And so there will come a point in time where these bowls will be experienced by rebel creatures. I’ll point you to verse 14 where we’re told of the war of the great day of God. We don’t know the exact hour of it as Jesus told us no one does except the Father. Mark chapter 13 verse 33 says it is an appointed time. It could be 10,000 years from now or it could be tomorrow. But the point is that God will have his day. Today is the day to repent of your sins and believe God if you hear his voice. As the prophet says, today is the day to enter into God’s rest. Enter into that rest or you will remain under this wrath. These are not ideas and dreams talked over but never finding any substance to them. These last days are marked on the calendar of God. These days are coming. Are we ready? The character and the nature of these judgments are altogether righteous and true because they come from the one who is righteous and true. This is the testimony of the angel who has a proper reverence for his God whose judgments these are as opposed to man who blasphemes the name of God not once but three times and does not give him the glory due. Sinful man lives on this earth. He eats of its fruit. He gathers its food. He makes a living on its seas. He drinks and is refreshed from its springs. He feels the warmth of its sun and refuses to bless God who causes its fruitfulness. And then when God in righteous judgment chokes off the supply of those things instead of pleading for mercy especially given that it is God who is in control of these judgments and bowing to him as the creator of them all he points his dirty little finger and he wags his haughty head and he flaps that filthy tongue to speak words against the almighty that only prove his worthiness to bear the punishment that he is receiving. I can’t think of a commentary that I’ve read this past week that didn’t draw out the point that God’s punishing does not move sinners to repentance unless it carries with it the grace necessary to affect that. So would we dare say that God is unjust or unrighteous in that? Does he owe to any rebel the ability the gift of grace that enables them to turn from their love of their wickedness? That would be no grace at all. We need to think long and hard on why it is that God would deal with man as he does in the outpouring of these bowls in the first place. And if we do it without fooling ourselves I think we’ll quickly be forced to admit that we’re not that these bowls are deserved. And at that point the thing to marvel at and be perplexed over is the fact that he would give just one of us grace so to be saved from his wrath.

These judgments are settled in their purpose and that they intend to accomplish. His wrath by its very nature is settled in opposition to sin and it’s going to burn hot until its opponent is dealt with. Not only will he deal this way with man in general but he’s going to conquer the kingdom of the beast that organized kingdom who opposes God and all kingdoms who imitate it and all powers and all thrones and all dominions that would come against his majesty he’ll destroy all creatures who are in opposition to him. And his judgments are settled to that aim. Secondly these judgments are sudden in the section describing the gathering of kings for the great battle of Armageddon Jesus interjects a statement he will be coming like a thief in the night be ready be alert he says be faithful or else you might be caught naked and ashamed. What does he mean? The prophecy says that the dragon the beast and the false prophet all spew out demon spirits that will go out in order to get and gather the kings of the nations for war against God on his great day. He specifies gathering kings but I think it’s safe to say that kingdoms follow their kings. And so I would take a more general approach. They’ll be doing miraculous things providing accommodations that may appear appetizing to you. At first this interjection it seems sort of strange in the text but the more I’ve thought on it the clearer it has become. And even more than just making logical sense I’ve come to see it as yet another grace of God. Because consider the times of these things. They’re dreadful. God has cut off man’s resources and knowing that we’d be quick to run to the government to solve our calamities he destroys the kingdom of secular power. And now the evil forces are going to make themselves out to be the provision you need in these desperate times. It’s right here. That Jesus gives words that command our attention and remind us to keep our eyes fixed on him and to not forget that he’s coming even if at the time all hope seems lost. Don’t resort to carnal and worldly means to comfort and provide in times of suffering. Don’t be enticed by the Turkish delight to borrow from C.S. Lewis and then all of a sudden you’re caught serving behind enemy lines. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus says it like this. Turn there quickly. I only had three markers in my Bible. Matthew 24 48 through 51 he says this but if that evil slave says in his heart my master’s not coming for a long time and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour when he does not know and he’ll cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It’s at an unknown time that Jesus is going to crack through the skies with a shout and there’s no negotiations to be had at this point. The trumpet that blasts is not an announcement of his coming it’s an announcement of his arrival. Be diligent then to be found on the right side don’t be playing around who’s your master? Are you going about his business in your life? Or is he going to come back and find you sleeping working for somebody else playing around on the clock?

Any moment Jesus could return so be ready and be found faithful. Thirdly I’ve got four thirdly God’s judgments are sovereign. The angels come from the presence of God emphasis on presence of God with their marching orders the voice of God gives the command to pour out his bowls God is the one who controls these plagues and ensures their intended purposes are accomplished. All the men of the earth and all the kingdoms of it united together all the demonic spirits sent out from the dragon and the beast and the false prophet and those three tyrants themselves cannot stop the sovereign hand of God from destroying them. With God’s sovereignty in mind now think about the sixth bowl. It is by God’s hand that both opportunity and possibility are provided for the actors that move into position that they desire to move in to do evil. The Euphrates is God’s river. It flows full when he wants it to providing protective barrier even for a nation that opposes him. And he dries it up when he determines that the time is right for that nation to be judged. God has ultimate purposes and perfect standards. He is the sovereign one. And so his judgments are. If he allows these United States to remain in peace intact and operating in some reasonable form he ought to be praised as merciful and long-suffering. But if we would just take a brief quick survey of who we are as a people it shouldn’t surprise us and it shouldn’t offend us. If we were to if he were to open up passage for kings from some other land even a heathen land to plunder us and destroy us we ought to view the world as a whole that way because this is God’s world and he will do with it as he pleases. No angel who would rebel no kingdom that could be built no alliance that could be formed no matter the numbers and regardless of the passion that they burn against God with God Almighty will not be stopped. Psalm 2 Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed saying let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs the Lord scoffs at them and then he’ll speak to them in his anger and terrify them in his fury saying but as for me I have installed my king upon Zion my holy mountain.

God’s judgments are sovereign. Lastly God’s judgments are severe certainly in this last series of plagues.

While the bowl is described they certainly have similarities to the plagues in Egypt and the trumpets previously discussed they exceed the limit in both scope and severity. Not to diminish or minimize events in Egypt when Israel was delivered from slavery but I think I’m safe in saying that they typify what is being dealt out in the bowls of wrath. In Egypt we have a localized pharaoh and his armies were slaughtered. Here we have the completed wrath on a global scale. The trumpets as severe as they are they only cover a third of what the bowls do. These plagues are catastrophic and nothing is left untouched by them. Revelation chapter 19 gives us a little more detail on the description of the battle of Armageddon that we have here and I’ll just read a couple verses of it. I don’t want to spoil Pastor Chad’s sermon in a few weeks but it says this starting in verse 17 I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried out with a loud voice saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven come assemble for the great supper of God so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men both free men and slaves and small and great and I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army that is Jesus and the beast was seized and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone and the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of him who sat on the horse and all the birds were filled with their flesh

Mounts in this commentary says that’s about when the the gory ordeal is over and the curtain descends on the history of humanity

when that sixth bowl is poured out and a way is made for all the kings along with the beast and the false prophet to gather against God just like they intend to do there will be nothing less than utter destruction brought upon them and an everlasting torment in the lake of fire to follow when the last bowl is poured out and the last bowl is poured out there are eruptions in heaven and an earthquake so powerful that no one has ever seen or experienced there is complete destruction of the alliance of man against God its headquarters all remote offices broken and they fall this last plague is extremely severe one commentator notes that the word there is used nowhere else in revelation for severe and when it’s poured out this last bowl when it’s poured out God himself says it’s done

to start wrapping up in Genesis 15 God tells Abraham that his descendants would be slaves for 400 years when he falls under a dark sleep and he’s given him establishing the covenant with him God tells Abraham that his descendants would be slaves for 400 years and then after coming out they would not possess the land until the iniquity of the Amorites and the people was completed he meant that at some point the Amorites would be judged and removed from the land that they were living in not before he demonstrated that he was slow to anger and long-suffering patient towards sinners Calvin in his commentary on this passage says this it appears that he does not without reason so frequently declare how slow he is to anger but listen to this but the more graciously he waits for men if at length instead of repenting they remain obstinate the more severely does he avenge such great ingratitude

in Romans chapter 2 verses 4 and 5 he says do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance not knowing but because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart you’re storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God in some sense you could say it would be better for you to die today than to remain on obstinate for the rest of your life because God’s wrath will be greater for you then

God granted men 120 years in the days of Noah 400 years in the days from Abraham to Moses

we’ve been carrying this New Testament for coming up on 2000 years

when God in time makes a righteous decision to no longer bear with our sin the flood that destroyed all souls but eight and the slaughter of Pharaoh and the slaughter and his armies will prove to be but shadows when the fullness of the wrath of God is satisfied in its burning against this world

how will you escape the coming wrath there is only one way turn from your sin and plead the mercy of God in the face of Jesus who spilled his innocent blood and bore the fullness of the wrath of God in our place that’s the only way out

so what do we do how can we use a text like this I’ve got three simple applications or uses one don’t be wasting time that you don’t know you have be diligent to be an ambassador and plead with people to repent or they’re going to face the wrath that we’ve just learned of be moved in your heart be moved with compassion for sinners preach the gospel

two condition your heart reading the word prayer and meditation condition your heart to praise God for his ways even though at times they’re hard they’re hard to bear but he always does what’s right in the right time and for the good of those who are in Christ those who love him thank him for how long he’s waited patiently with us think about your own life how patient God has been with you in dealing with particular sins that you might struggle with

ask him to work in you and to once and for all deal with those sins and to lastly be diligent to keep your faith fit there’s no room for leisure in these last days what are you doing to grow in your knowledge of Christ how are you feeding your faith what are you doing so that you’re not going to be deceived by the false prophets the false gospels

friends repent or you’re going to be the one to realize the wrath of God the wrath of God that you’ve been graciously warned of would you pray with me Father I’m considering

your wrath something

I think it lost on us today in the church even

help us Lord help us to take our sins seriously

move in us Lord give us your grace that we might repent and find forgiveness help us Lord embolden us to go out and to preach your wrath and your mercy

help us to to be bold enough to proclaim the fullness of your revealed word Lord would you make us effective Lord as your church would you help us to to win souls that they wouldn’t perish that they could join us in fellowship with you we ask it in Christ’s name we ask it in Christ’s name

Preacher: Chase Comeaux

Passage: Revelation 16