The Bowl Judgments
Part 3 in Judgments series
part 1 | part 2
There has been discussion among Trib Force members in the first seven books about the ominous "Mark," particularly through the teaching of Bruce Barnes and Tsion Ben-Judah. Now, we find the time has come for everyone to claim loyalty to Antichrist or Christ.
1. Foul and loathsome sores (Revelation 16:2)
When men choose to worship Antichrist rather than Christ and demonstrate their allegiance by accepting the mark of the Beast, God responds by sending on them a plague of "foul and loathesome" sores. The Greek word for these sores is the very term the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) used to translate the Hebrew term for "boils" in the story of the Egyptian plagues in Exodus 9. John makes it clear that these awful sores afflict only those who worship the Antichrist and who have accepted the mark of the Beast; no Tribulation saint suffers from the least hint of them. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 206-7)
The first evidence of this judgment is when Leon Fortunato appears before Carpathia (Desecration, p 34-38). Leon is obviously in considerable discomfort, from what he assumes is an insect bite, but Carpathia wobbles between sympathy and amusement as he sees Leon "wriggling like a schoolboy at his first dance!"
The world is about to see the execution of "Micah" (Chaim) at the Temple Mount. What starts as a demonstration of Carpathia's power turns into chaos as GC guards begin scratching themselves, some falling to the ground.
Buck would never forget a detail of this macabre meeting, and the entire world was watching.
"So, Micah," Carpathia said, shifting his weight, "what will it take for you to lift this magic spell that has incapacitated my people?"
"There is no magic here," Chaim said, in a voice that sounded as far from his own as Buck could imagine. "This is the judgment of almighty God." (Desecration pp. 128-129)
As people begin to flee the Temple Mount, those who have already taken Carpathia's loyalty mark begin to fall to the ground, writing in pain from the sores. The judgment of the sores continues as Carpathia plunges ahead with his desecration of the temple. Upset at the mocking reaction, he renounces the seven-year peace with Israel and declares himself as God, alone to be worshiped. Meanwhile, Chaim, in his new found courage, is proclaiming Messiah, turning many away from Carpathia and then urging them to flee to Petra or Masada. Like Moses before Pharaoh, Chaim tells Carpathia that relief from this plague will only come if safe passage is allowed those who wish to flee. "But should you attempt to lay a hand on one of the chosen, the second judgment will rain down." (p. 181)
Chaim goes to Masada, where he addresses a huge crowd. His message of salvation, to Carpathia's consternation, is broadcast around the world. Many come to faith in Jesus. Carpathia orders the insurrectionists destroyed, bringing on the second plague.
2. The sea turns to blood (Revelation 16:2)
Earlier in the Tribulation God had turned a third of the sea into blood; now he commands that the entire sea become "blood as of a dead man"—that is, corrupt, decaying, stinking, putrid. No wonder "every living creature in the sea died"! How is it possible to imagine a disaster this enormous, this all-encompassing? Dead sea creatures rise to the surface, spreading their corruption to the four winds. Think of an ocean full of such filth! It staggers the imagination. And this is only the second of the seven bowls of judgment! (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 207)
The first evidence comes at the end of chapter 13 of Desecration as Carpathia rages about the insurrection. Fortunato tries to calm Carpathia, then says "The water! The ice!" Blood.
Intelligence reports show that "the blood problem is international" (p. 260). The results are catastrophic.
Ships that counted on processes that made the waters of the ocean drinkable found it impossible to convert the blood. Rotting carcasses of all species of aquatic life rose to the surface, and crews of ships fell deathly ill as many boats radioed their inability to get back to land. (Desecration, p 263)
It becomes obvious that Petra will be the only safe location for believers, but there is some fear of that as Carpathia's troops mass for an attack to wipe it out. But, in a picture recalling the flight of the Israelites across the Red Sea, the land splits open, swallowing the troops, then "the walls of the chasm came back together as the Red Sea must have millennia before, and the loose, rocky topsoil was suddenly new. (Desecration, p. 289)
3. Rivers turn to blood (Revelation 16:4-7)
By this point in the Tribulation the Antichrist and his forces have martyred millions of believers. Therefore God seems to say to him, "You like blood? Very well. Then you may have it to drink!" Is this literal blood? Who knows for sure? But if Jesus could turn water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana, surely he would have no problem turning water into blood. Whatever the case, because of its rebellious, murderous ways, the world will find itself without drinking water. And so the prayer of the martyred saints in Revelation 6:10 will be abundantly answered. They asked, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" This plague of blood is God's answer. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 207-8)
Awareness of this plague comes in The Remnant (p. 193), as Suhail Akbar is briefing Carpathia. He relates how "our ancient text experts say that the next curse could be that the lakes and rivers of the world fall into the same predicament as the seas." Carpathia says that is impossible, since everyone, including the enemy, would die.
Later, Chloe and Rayford discuss the nature of the judgments. (The Remnant, p. 279) The effects of the second bowl judgment are still present. "The cleanup alone would take a hundred years." Will there be relief—the ability to generate fresh water if the seas return to salt water—before the world's fresh water turns to blood?
While in India to collect a shipment of bottled water, Mac, Albie, and Abdullah are asked to go past a dam. The next curse has come, says the man known only as Bihari. "I cannot imagine what blood looks like, being forced through the control doors of a dam." (The Remnant, p. 349).
How believers would survive this plague is demonstrated by the sudden appearance of Michael, who tells Mac to fill a bottle with the liquid. Not only do his clothes show none of the blood that splashed him, but the bottle comes out crystal clear—drinkable water. "God takes care of the ones he's sealed, amen?" (p. 356). For Carpathia, the protection around Petra is compared to the Bermuda Triangle, while his own reputation is in shambles.
"… all over the globe came evidence that even the millions of citizens who bore marks of loyalty to [Carpathia] now knew that the risen god of the world had become a despot king. Hundreds of thousands were dying everywhere for want of drinkable water." (The Remnant, p. 366)
One morning, the oceans spontaneously turn from blood to salt water again. Carpathia takes credit.
He announces, "My people created a formula that has healed the waters. The plant and animal life of the oceans will surge back to life before long. And now that oceans are clear again, all our beautiful lakes and river waterways will soon be restored as well."
He was wrong, of course, and the blunder of his bluster cost him even more credibility. God had chosen, in his own time, to lift the plague from the seas, but the lakes and rivers remained blood. (The Remnant, p. 373)
4. Sun scorches men (Revelation 16:8-9)
Their mouths already parched from lack of water, those who are unrepentant suffer even more intense thirst when God causes the sun to "scorch" them with "great heat." But even this does not drive the rebels to their knees in repentance. Instead, they blaspheme the name of God "who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory." How right the angel was who said to God, "true and righteous are Your judgments!" (16:7). (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 207-8)
We're now five years into the tribulation. Carpathia's efforts to drill, then use a missile to tap into a source of drinkable water he believes lies to east of Petra, have failed. Chang is eavesdropping on a meeting, when he hears a knock and Krystall's voice, "Begging your pardon, sir, but we are getting strange reports … some kind of heat wave. The lines are jammed. #133;" (The Remnant, pp. 383-4)
Car tires exploded. People leaped from their cars, then tried to get back in, burning their hands on the door handles. Windshields melted, greenery turned brown, withered, then became torches. A dog yanked loose from its leash, raced in circles, then dropped, panting, before being incinerated.
… Tsion was informing his cyberaudience around the world that the terrible fourth Bowl Judgement had struck, as prophesied in the Bible, and would affect every time zone on the earth as the sun rose. "Here in Petra," he wrote, "by ten in the morning, people out in the sun without the seal of God were burned alive. This may seem an unparalleled opportunity to plead once again for the souls of men and women, because millions will lose loved ones. But the Scriptures also indicate that this may come so late in the hearts of the undecided that they will have already been hardened." (The Remnant, pp. 384-6)
To survive, everyone must stay out of the sun during the daytime. About a year later, the rivers return to water and temperatures to their normal range. Chang thinks, "Uh-oh. Show's over." Indeed, Carpathia is in his glory as a noonday meal in New Babylon is served picnic style, outside. (The Remnant, p. 399) But, it doesn't last long.
5. Darkness descends on the Beast's kingdom (Revelation 16:10-11)
Is it God's mercy that causes Him to follow the plague of scorching heat with cooling darkness? Perhaps, but even this does not cause rebellious mankind to repent, for verse 11 says: "They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds." This verse reveals that the sores of the first bowl still afflict the people, and verse 10 appears to indicate that the darkness exacerbates their pain: "And they gnawed their tongues because of the pain." This is a special judgment focused particularly on the "throne of the beast" and on his "kingdom," thus demonstrating to the whole world where the source of its trouble lies. When the Antichrist proclaimed himself God, he made himself the focus of God's wrath. And now the world will see without question who the real God is. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 208-9)
As The Remnant draws to a close, we read
The new mood lasted three days. Then the lights went out. Literally. Everything went dark. Not just the sun, but the moon also, the stars, streetlamps, electric lights, car lights. Anything anywhere that emitted light was now dark. No keypads on telephones, no flashlights, nothing iridescent, nothing glow-in-the-dark. Emergency lights, exit signs, fire signs, alarm signs—everything. Pitch-black.
… People screamed in terror, finding this the worst nightmare of their lives—and they had many to choose from.
Chang … wished he could tell everyone everywhere that once again God had meted out a curse, a judgment upon the earth that affected only those who bore the mark of the beast. Change could see. It was different. He didn't see light either. He simply saw everything in sepia tone, as if someone turned down the wattage on a chandelier."
… Within hours, though, something even stranger happened. People were not starving or dying of thirst. They were able to feel their way to food and drink. But they could not work. . . And for some reason, they also began to feel pain." (The Remnant, pp. 400-02)
At the beginning of Armageddon, we find Rayford and Abdullah are flying into New Babylon.
The darkness enveloping only New Babylon, but visible for more than a hundred miles, was unlike anything Rayford had ever seen.…
Normally the magnificent structures of the new world capital gleamed stunningly in the noonday sun. Now a stark and isolated column of blackness rose from New Babylon's expansive borders into the cloudless heavens as high as the eye could see.
… "Why is it dark only here?" Naomi said. "It's so strange."
"I don't' know," Rayford said. "The prophecy says it affects 'the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness.' That's all we know." (Armageddon, pp. 1-2)
6. The Euphrates dries up (Revelation 16:12)
The sixth bowl judgment comes in two stages:
1. The drying up of the Euphrates River, in preparation for the armies of the kings from the east (verse 12);
2. The activity of demonic forces in bringing the armies of the world to the valley of Megiddo, where they will try vainly to oppose the Lord Jesus (verses 13-14).
It is likely that when the Euphrates River-the natural boundary between east and west for sixteen hundred miles—is "dried up," the "kings from the east" will march a sizable army across to battle with the King of kings. That army will probably be three to five million strong. These forces will be joined in the valley of Megiddo by huge armies from all over the world, and while that valley is vast (as Napoleon has said, "the most ideal, natural battlefield in the world"), even it has a limit to how many people it can hold.
These "kings from the east" have befuddled Bible prophecy scholars for many years, for few scholars mentioned anything about them. That is, until the communist takeover of China after World War II. Since then it has become apparent that this largest of all countries (by population) has a prophetic role, however minor it may be, in end-time events. While China had been content to stay within its vast borders for thousands of years and keep largely to itself, its communist dictators have changed all that. They seem to have the same obsession that characterized Communists before them—world conquest.
One hundred eighty years ago Napoleon Bonaparte said, "When China awakens, the world will tremble." You don't have to be a prophet to recognize that time of trembling has already come to Asia and soon will probably come to the whole world. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 209-10)
Carpathia reveals his plans to destroy Israel at a gathering of the ten potentates. He assumes he can use the Bible account against them. "Total control of the earth" will be theirs.
"We rally everyone—all our tanks and planes and weapons and armies—in the Plain of Megiddo. This area in northern Israel, also known as the Plain of Esdraelon or the Plain of Jezreel, is about thirty kilometers north of Jerusalem. At the appointed time we will dispatch one-third of our forces to overrun the stronghold at Petra, and I shall do it this time without so much as one nuclear device. We shall overcome them with sheer numbers, perhaps even on horseback. (Armageddon, p. 299)
In one his lessons, Tsion makes a good point.
— calling this final conflict the Battle of Armageddon is really a misnomer, as this is just the staging area of the world's armies. The actual conflicts will take place here in Petra, or near here, as God has proved this city is impenetrable, and at Jerusalem. To be precise, this should be called the War of the Great Day of God the Almighty."
(Armageddon, p. 309. See the rest of Tsion's lesson for eight events that he says will take place after the Sixth Bowl. Tsion's teaching, of course, is an extension of coauthor Dr. Tim LaHaye's views on the subject.)
Chang had concluded that Carpathia believed the prophecy about the drying up of the Euphrates, because he had sanctioned sensitive devices in the river that recorded information that was fed into and evaluated by the GC mainframe computer. Chang, of course, was monitoring that from Petra. Nearly four weeks later, he knew when the event occurred before the GC did.
"It's happened!" he shouted, standing at his computer. Everyone nearby jumped and stated, and Naomi came running. "There was water in the Euphrates a minute ago, and now it is as dry as a bone. You can bet tomorrow it will be on the news—someone standing in the dry, cracking riverbed, showing that you can walk across without fear of mud or quicksand."
"That is amazing," Naomi said. "I mean, I knew it was coming, but isn't it just like God to do it all at once? And isn't that a fifteen-hundred-mile river?"
"It used to be." (Armageddon, p. 316)
The instantaneous drying up of the Euphrates proved good news to only the kings of the East, who transported their weapons into Israel across dry land. The rest of the Fertile Crescent was no longer fertile. Irrigation dried up, hydroelectric plants shut down, factories closed. In short, everything that depended on the massive power of the great river was immediately diagnosed as terminal.
7. The greatest earthquake in history (Revelation 16:17-21)
With the pouring out of this final bowl judgment, a voice from the heavenly temple cries out, "It is done!" But what a finish it is! The most severe earthquake the world has ever known "since men were on the earth" shakes the planet to its foundations, crumbling Babylon into three parts and leveling the cities of the world. Babylon is struck particularly hard, for it is "remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath" (verse 19). And that is not all! Enormous hailstones weighing about 135 pounds each rain out of the sky, striking men all over the planet. But do they repent? No. They "blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great" (verse 21).
And with that, the bowl judgments are over. With the cessation of this plague, only one significant event remains before the kingdom of Christ can be established. The most famous battle in history is about to be fought. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 218-19)
How will this be portrayed in the Glorious Appearing? Stay tuned!
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