Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 16

Judgement against the sea

Revelation 16:3

The second in this series of judgements shows that these are the final series of judgements. In the previous judgement against the sea, only a third of the things that were living there died (8:8-9). This time, the punishment is total: everything dies. Nothing remains to suffer any further punishment. The sea is completely dead.

In the previous judgement, a third of the sea became blood. Now, it is all like blood. John adds an interesting description. It is like the blood of a dead man. It is not like blood from a living person, which flows easily. Instead, the sea no longer flows. Perhaps it is not completely dry, but it is sticky and stiff. Probably, as in Exodus 7:21, the smell is awful.

We may ask why God acts against the sea. In Psalm 93:3-4, the sea is a word picture for the nations that fight against God. In Revelation 13:1, the antichrist (the great ruler who is Christís enemy) comes from the sea. The sea, with its dangerous animals and waves that nobody can control, is often a word-picture for powerful evil forces. However, really, Godís anger here is not against the sea. He acts against the sea to show that the whole world, both land and sea, belongs to him (10:6). His anger is against the people of this world. It is they who have chosen on purpose to oppose him.

Perhaps John also intends, by his reference to the blood of a dead man, to remind us of their crime. They are guilty of very many murders (9:21), including the murders of many of Godís people (6:9-11). Godís law says that there must be a proper punishment for murder. He declares that the guilty person should die (Numbers 35:31-34). God can forgive even a murderer who turns to him; but these people have not turned to him. They are doing these wicked things on purpose and they are proud of it.

Next part: Punishment for murder (Revelation 16:4-7)

 

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© 2016, Keith Simons.