Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 16

The first bowl: judgement against the land

Revelation 16:2

The first in this series of judgements, as in Revelation 8:7, is against the earth, that is, the land.

That earlier judgement affected part of the earth and some of its plants. This one is different because it is against the people on the earth. That seems right. It is the people who have chosen to serve the antichrist (the powerful ruler who is the enemy of Christ). Their wicked decisions have caused Godís anger to be against them. Now, the judgement is clearly against them.

The manner of the punishment matches their evil act. They chose to accept the antichristís mark on the skin of their bodies, on the right hand or the head (13:16). The purpose of that mark was to show that they accepted the antichristís (and therefore the devilís) rule over their lives. Now boils (sore parts) appear on the skin of every part of their bodies.

The people served the image of the antichrist because they believed his lies. He spoke evil words against God (13:6) and he claimed to be greater than any God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Now the anger of the real God is against the people, and the antichrist is completely unable to protect them. It is interesting to contrast his weakness now with the peopleís words in Revelation 13:4. Clearly, the safety and power that he offered were completely false.

Something very strange seems to happen in this judgement. This angel (special servant of God) is holy and good, and he is carrying out a very holy act.

However, the result of that act seems to be something awful and evil. So something holy seems to have produced something evil. Actually, however, that is not so. It is the people, by their evil acts, who have caused themselves to suffer in this evil manner. Godís anger does not cause anyone who is obeying him to suffer. God never does any evil thing.

Next part: Judgement against the sea (Revelation 16:3)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.