Revealing Revelation – The Third Bowl


This relatively quick look at the third bowl is based somewhat on it’s historical connection to the second bowl and to the events surrounding the third trumpet. Again we have a similar plague impacting the fresh water supply of the city and surrounding areas.

Rev. 16:4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.

This is how it was presented in the third trumpet judgment.

Rev. 8:10-11 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. [11] The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

In the post on the third trumpet you will find a detailed look at the Old Testament reference of Wormwood and the spiritual and covenantal implications. Again, we also see a similar picture represented in the plagues of Egypt and the exodus.

This is a “reversal” of covenantal status for Israel. Where in the exodus God turns the bitter water to sweet for Israel, here God makes the sweet water bitter and undrinkable. This is done as the result of Covenantal Unfaithfulness. This is made even more clear in the following verses within the context in question.

Rev 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!”

This is clearly related to Israel. No other nation can this be said about. Rome may be guilty of persecuting and martyring the early Church, but the reference to “saints and prophets” gives this a much more historical and Old Testament revelation. In fact, it is nearly a quote from Jesus Himself related to the first century Jewish religious leaders in His diatribe against them known as the Seven Woes.

Matt 23:34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth… 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!

This is the sin of Israel. This is nothing new. It can only be attributed to Israel, especially in a Covenantal document. So, the placement and target of this judgment plague is without a doubt Israel.

Rome, though, like the previous plague is impacted as well since their fresh water supply would be impacted in the same manner, so here the plague is expanded to include many nations represented by the Roman army and citizens in the Judean area.


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