Revealing Revelation – The Second Bowl


Where the first trumpet and first bowl were both poured out on and impacted the “land,” with this second bowl we see the waters once again impacted, just like what was seen with the second trumpet.

Rev. 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

Compare the above to the second trumpet…

Rev. 8:8-9 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. [9] A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The primary difference between the two has to do with the magnitude of the results. From one-third to total destruction.

The difference may have more to do with the impact of the original judgment of the trumpet as time passed. What was initially a portion of the sea was impacted as time passed it became more horrific. This is possible but not definite.

It is also possible that the trumpets dealt with events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem while the bowls deal with the final and ultimate destruction of the city and the Temple. This would make sense given the totality of the destruction described in difference to the previous partial destruction impact.

Finally it could also mean that the judgments of the trumpets expand to now include the citizens of Rome who may have been impacted in the Judean area as well. This would most necessarily impact the soldiers who were also dependant upon the water supply of the area.

It should be again noted that this plague is also quite similar to the plague of Egypt in which the Nile was turned to blood. As stated previously, Jerusalem has now Covenantally and symbolically become Egypt and is being impacted just as God declared would take place under the Old Covenant for Covenant Breakers.

Others have argued that this picture is representative of how the entire Judean area had become Covenantally “unclean” as the blood is described as being like the blood of a corpse. This unclean picture may simply represent the Judean area and people as unclean in the eyes of God.

So, just like the previous bowl there are certain and specific potential symbolic and spiritual implications to the judgment of the bowl. They include as mentioned above; the similarity to the hated nation of Egypt and the picture of an unclean people and land.

But there is also a quite literal picture here as well. As noted in our discussion of the trumpets, during the siege a large number of Jews attempted to escape to the Sea of Galilee. In doing so the entire multitude was cut down and killed in the sea by the spears and arrows of the Roman army. What followed, though, is noted by Josephus in that the area was not cleaned up and the bodies were not given proper burial or cremation. They were simply left to rot.

The rotting corpses over time left the sea desolate and destroyed. It no longer served as a useful water source or food source. This continued for a great length of time and impacted the Romans as well. Even the fresh water source feeding in and out of the sea were contaminated by the stench and results of death.


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