Revealing Revelation – The Seven Bowls Introduced

26Jan11

With what many see as a transitional Chapter in chapter 14 behind us, we now turn our attention to the infamous seven bowl or vial judgments. It is important to note from the outset that how many interprets these judgments is directly tied to how one views the outline and emphasis of the book. That is why throughout the discussion we will consider both views.

Those two differing Preterist interpretations center around whether one believes the bowls are judgments about Rome exclusively or whether they are simply the same judgments as the trumpets, directed at Jerusalem, but from a different point of view or reference. This author finds himself leaning toward a subset of the second view in that that the judgments poured out impact both Jerusalem and Rome, with the impact of those judgments on Rome being the primary focus.

It should be stated that there is little doubt that from the 10th and 11th Chapters there has been a focus shift to Rome within the confines of the book. This doesn’t mean that the focus has shifted away from Jerusalem, but rather, that the book’s judgments have “expanded” to include the nation of Rome. This is seen in the “eating for the little book” in Chapter 10.

Rev 10:11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

With the direction John is told to prophesy again, and this time about many nation, kings, peoples, etc. This leads many, the writer included, to conclude that the following section introduce Rome as the many nations. This is confirmed in the description of the Beast of Chapter 13 and will be reconfirmed in Chapter 17. But we also find the Harlot, representing Jerusalem, still present and active in the latter chapters.

So, what that means to the student of this book, is that there are many difficulties the lie ahead based on ones presuppositional view of the books outline. That is why, for the sake og\f this work, that both views will be represented.

It should be noted that though they are called “vials” in the King James the terms “bowls” or “chalices” are much better representative of the word and of the results which are much “larger” impacting judgments than what has been seen previous.

Also, before dealing directly with the bowls themselves as poured out in Chapter 16, let’s first consider their introduction in Chapter 15.

Rev. 15:6-8 and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. [7] And 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, [8] and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

These plague judgments are listed as the final ones to be delivered. The image is similar to what was seen previously with the trumpets with the throne room, the smoke and seven angels whose job it is to deliver these judgments. Once again we also note that the number of judgments is seven. This fulfills the Old testament promise of seven fold judgments against God’s covenantal breakers.

Lev 26:21 “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins.

This repetitive number of sevens fulfills God’s promise to punish those who walk contrary to the covenant with a seven times or seven fold judgment. This is also directed at a nation, not an individual. The nation ultimately broke covenant with God in an irreparable way when they took the Lord Jesus Christ and placed Him on a wooden cross!

Next we will look at the historical implication of each of the seven judgments and note how the two different preterist interpretation explain them.

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