God’s Last Plagues before the End of the Age: Revelation 16

John the Evangelist (6 AD – 100 AD), one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, received a vision while exiled on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. That vision resulted in the only apocalyptic book in the New Testament canon — The Revelation to John (or Book of Revelation). This last book of the Bible is filled with visions, symbols, and allegory, in connection with end time events. It concerns coming victories over evil and God’s triumph at the end of days.1

As punishment for mankind’s sins, God will pour out his wrath during a seven-year tribulation period, in which humanity will be called to repentance and worship him. This judgment is largely composed of three series of sevens: the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls. God’s wrath is described in Revelation 16:1-21 through seven bowls (or vials) of judgements and they are what this article is all about.2

The previous chapter, Revelation 15, is short of length (only eight verses) and acts as a prelude and sets the tone for God’s wrath of the seven last plagues, a litany of dreadful judgments against those who are responsible for the world’s suffering.3 These bowls of judgements are poured out by seven angels, after which the days of tribulation end.

These plagues are reminiscent of God’s plagues upon Egypt during the time of Moses. And the ‘Song of Moses’ is sung by those who conquered the beast, which alludes to both songs mentioned in the Pentateuch records — a song of victory following the Exodus (Exodus 15:1-18) and his swan song (Deuteronomy 32:1-43).4 These actions begin in chapter 16 and they cause the complete and utter destruction to those who refuse to repent.5

The first bowl causes foul and loathsome sores (or boils) to break out on those who worshiped the beast and his image (Revelation 16, verse 2). The second bowl turns the waters of the oceans to blood, and all marine life dies (v. 3). And the third bowl turns all other waters (streams, rivers, lakes, etc.) to blood. “They had shed blood in abundance; now they are rewarded with blood to drink instead of water” (vv. 4-7).6 They won’t repent.

The fourth angel pours the judgement of the next bowl which causes the sun to scorch and burn people with fire. But instead of crying out for mercy, their response is to blaspheme the Lord, indicating they rejected the preaching of the Gospel (vv. 8-9). The next angel, with the fifth bowl, brings total darkness (from sun, moon, and stars) upon the kingdom and they gnaw their tongues because of the pain. Maybe this is from the cold brought on by the darkness (vv.10-11).7 Again, they don’t repent.

“The sixth bowl of wrath (vv. 12-16) is the preparation for the battle of Armageddon.8 First the waters of the great Euphrates River are dried up so there is no obstruction within the battleground. Evil spirit creatures perform Satan’s (the dragon’s) will through deceptive signs to influence the kings of the world.9 Still, no repentance.

Included in this sixth bowl description, is a side-note warning from Jesus Christ,10 echoing his parable in Matthew 24:43-44, when he says, “See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame.”11

Many people question the meaning of that verse. The allusion to keeping one’s garments on — that he may not go about naked and exposed — “draws upon the custom of the day when men wore loose-fitting robes. When a man walked quickly or ran or climbed stairs, the robe could become untied and fall open. Men wearing robes needed to be alert and careful about their behavior so their robes would not slip open. An unclothed person inside their house, also, is not prepared for a sudden visitor or to rush out in an emergency. Staying clothed, in a spiritual sense, means believers need to be careful about their behavior (Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 2:28).”12

The last angel poured the seventh bowl into the atmosphere which includes thunder and lightening, storms with hail, earthquakes and, probably, volcano eruptions. The time for repentance has now passed.13

The great city, the capital and seat of the apostate Church (maybe Jerusalem or Rome) and other cities in the league with spiritual Babylon, receives God’s wrath. Still, like Pharaoh in the time of Moses, the people would not repent. This seventh bowl represents the climax of everything (seals, trumpets and bowls). These final plagues sent to afflict humanity are over; even God himself proclaims, “It is done” (Revelation 16:17), which is similar to Jesus’ last statement upon the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). As part of this last plague (v. 19), an editorial link by John indicates that the seventh bowl includes the judgment of Babylon (Revelation 17:1–19:10).

While there is some debate about whether these events are all symbolic, or if some lean to being more literal, the above ideas are the most accepted thoughts concerning John’s message. There are other ideas, though, especially concerning angels, Satan, and the frogs in Revelation 16:13–14. So, since I am a strange kind of guy, and there is enough weirdness involved, I feel justified to include some bizarre ideas in this study, if only for their conversation value. You never know when you may want to express your own weirdness to a group at the pub or a dinner party.


Strange Ideas about Satan & Revelation 16

Concerning Satan, he is not even mentioned in the earliest Hebrew scriptures, because the concept of the devil took awhile to become established within the young growing human population. In the Garden of Eden, it does not say that Satan deceived Eve; it only states that she was deceived by a serpent, and it is only by interpretation that the serpent is specifically called a snake. (For more information on this snake creature, see “Nachash: the Snake in Genesis 3: was it Satan or Not?” listed in References & Notes.)14

It was only during the post-Babylonian exile period, that this concept of the devil appeared15 and it took the form of ‘the satan’, which was not a name but a description. ‘The satan’ in Hebrew means ‘the adversary’, and it was not until near the Gospel age that Satan became an accepted personal name for this accuser or adversary of God.

Controversial aerospace and computer industry CEO, and Christian author and Bible teacher, Chuck Missler,16 had other thoughts about Revelation 16. He, like many scientists, including very prominent ones — such as Francis Crick, a Nobel prizewinner for his role in deciphering the helical structure of the DNA molecule — believed that life on Earth was directly seeded by extraterrestrials.17 My thought is that this is very true, and already biblically proven, for whether you are speaking of God, Jesus, or angelic helpers, they are all from places other than earth. And so are Satan and his fallen angel cohorts. (See “Angels from Heaven or Aliens from Outer Space?” listed in References & Notes.)18

Also, some few academic researchers and preachers believe the serpent in Genesis was really an intelligent reptilian humanoid creature, either Satan or a fallen angel taking on that persona or some alien entity under Satan’s control. Remember that Satan’s influence is cosmic in scope. “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh [human], but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 6:12).

In one of Missler’s books, he suggested “when we compare the attributes and abilities of aliens with those of angels, we find some startling parallels. To begin with, they both have the ability to manifest physically within our space-time domain in a humanoid form (Genesis 19:1-11; Luke 1:26; John 20:12; Acts 12:19). In fact, while there are many different descriptions of alien entities, the vast majority assume some variation of the humanoid body form.”19

“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). This word ‘disguise’ is the Greek mĕtaschēmatizō which means to transfigure, disguise, transfer, or transform one self.20

Revelation 16:13-14 states, “And I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.”

Specific to this scripture, Missler wrote that just like a scene out of the science fiction movie ‘V’, these ‘foul spirits’ “convince the world that they are our benevolent creator-saviors by performing lying signs and wonders for the kings of the earth.”21

“Once the kings of the earth are fully convinced of their deity, these fallen angels, masquerading as Reptilian ‘aliens’, begin to describe the coming of a ‘bad ET’ who will come in the clouds with ten thousands of his followers. With their awesome power and the persuasive leadership of the Antichrist, they will draw the kings of the earth into a battle against Jesus Christ, whom they will have portrayed as that ‘bad ET’ who must be stopped at all costs!”22

So, could the foul spirits “like frogs” in Revelation 16 be a reptilian race of humanoid creatures sent forth by the command of Satan (the dragon) and the beast (evil governments, nations, and/or religious organizations)? It’s something interesting to think about, even if only for conjecture or amusement. This scenario does demonstrate a different area of speculation among biblical teachers and preachers trying to connect Bible prophecy with modern thought and concerns.


Something Good is Coming

No matter what you think or believe about how these end days turn out, we can be assured that they will follow the outline of God’s divine plan. The promises he made will come true and those who believe in, pray to, and faithfully follow Jesus’ teachings, will have a blissful future after evil is removed from this world. It’s time to choose correctly. Let us all get ourselves ready, because something good is going to happen.

With that in mind, the song chosen to accompany this article is “I Just Feel Like Something Good is About to Happen” by the Gaither Vocal Band. Selected lyrics are below and the music video is listed in References & Notes.23

When God’s people humble themselves and call on Jesus
And they look to heaven expecting as they pray
I just feel like something good is about to happen
And brother, this could be that very day

Yes, I’ve noticed all the bad news in the paper
And it seems like things get bleaker every day
But for this child of God it makes no difference
For it’s bound to get much better either way

He has promised eye nor ear can hardly fathom
All the things He has in store for those who pray
I just feel like something good is about to happen
And brother, this could be that very day

Copyright © 2022, Dr. Ray Hermann

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References & Notes

  1. Petruzzello, Melissa, “Revelation to John”, (Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 July 1998), https://www.britannica.com/topic/Revelation-to-John
  2. Dy, Glory, “What Are the Seven Bowls of Wrath in Revelation?” (Christianity, 28 October 2021), https://www.christianity.com/wiki/end-times/what-are-the-seven-bowls-of-wrath-in-revelation.html
  3. Fee, Gordon D., Revelation, New Covenant Commentary Series, (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011), p. 213.
  4. Mays, James Luther, (Ed.), Harper’s Bible Commentary, (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 1314.
  5. Knowles, Andrew, The Bible Guide, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), p. 705.
  6. MacDonald, William, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, (Ed.) Arthur Farstad, (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson, 1995), p. 2373.
  7. Blum, Edwin, et al., (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes, (Nashville TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), p. 2038.
  8. Armageddon (mountain of Megiddo): the site of the final battle of this age in which God intervenes to destroy the armies of Satan and to cast Satan into the bottomless pit (Rev. 16:16).
    Youngblood, Ronald, et al., (Eds.), Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995).
  9. Blum, Edwin, et al., (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes, (see above).
  10. side-note: This verse is sometimes printed in parentheses, or in red letters, making it clear that it’s a side-note referring to the words of Jesus Christ.
    “What does Revelation 16:15 mean?” (Bible Ref, retrieved 18 January 2022), https://www.bibleref.com/Revelation/16/Revelation-16-15.html
  11. Unless otherwise indicated, all biblical quotes are from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989). Used with permission.
  12. “What does Revelation 16:15 mean?” (See above: #10 link.)
  13. Barry, John D., et al. (Eds.), Faithlife Study Bible, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Rev. 16:17.
  14. Hermann, Ray, “Nachash: the Snake in Genesis 3 — was it Satan or Not?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 11 December 2019), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/nachash-the-snake-in-genesis-3-was-it-satan-or-not/
  15. Whitehouse, Owen C., in A Dictionary of the Bible: Dealing with Its Language, Literature, and Contents Including the Biblical Theology, (Ed.) James Hastings, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911–1912), vol. 4, p. 407.
  16. Chuck Missler (1934-2018): engineer and missile chief (TWA, U.S. Air Force), businessman (CEO/senior management, Western Digital, Helionetics, Ford Motor Co., Resdel Industries, etc.), Bible teacher (Koinonia House in NZ and US lecturer), and author (The Magog Invasion, Alien Encounters, Cosmic Codes, etc.).
    “Chuck Missler”, (Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 December 2021), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Missler
  17. Crick, F. H. C., and Orgel, L. E., “Directed Panspermia”, (Scientific Design, 20 December 1972), http://scientificdesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/crick1973.pdf
  18. Hermann, Ray, “Angels from Heaven or Aliens from Outer Space?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 12 November 2020), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/angels-from-heaven-or-aliens-from-outer-space/
  19. Missler, Chuck, and Eastman, Mark, Alien Encounters, (Minneapolis, MN: Koechel Peterson & Assoc. [for Koinonia House], 1997), p. 244.
  20. Strong’s Greek #3345: μετασχηματίζω.
    Strong, James, The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996).
  21. Missler, Chuck, and Eastman, Mark, Alien Encounters, (see above), p. 301.
  22. Ibid.
  23. “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen”, Artist: Gaither Vocal Band; Venue: recorded live at Gaither Studios, Alexandria, IN, 2020, (licensed to YouTube by Capitol CMG Publishing, BMI, and others), used under ‘fair use’ copyright for teaching under Section 107 of Copyright Act of 1976, – MUSIC VIDEO: https://youtu.be/zK9odwKlGTs
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