In the previous installment of this series, some nasty beasts came on the scene, and lots of people started worshiping them. Those who resisted the beasts got to play harps and sing.
Also, seven angels were given bowls filled with God’s wrath.
—– Chapter 16
The angels are now commanded to empty their bowls onto the earth. Here is what happens with the emptying of each bowl:
1. Festering sores break out on all people who have the mark of the beast (God is not one for immediate forgiveness, apparently. A little torture is always fun first.)
2. The contents of the second bowl turn into blood, and kill every living thing in the sea. (What the poor dolphins did to deserve this is unclear.)
3. The rivers turned to blood. (One thing I am learning from the end times scenarios in this book is that there will be lots and lots of blood.)
4. The sun scorches the people with intense heat. (Global warming, perhaps?)
5. The kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness. The people “gnaw their tongues” at the pain they’re experiencing. Lovely.
6. The Euphrates river dries up, and frogs emerge from the mouths of the two beasts and the dragon (see Chapter 13). These frogs are demonic spirits that “perform signs” and gather the kings for battle in a place called Armageddon.
7. The pouring of the seventh bowl leads to much the same thing as the blowing of the seventh trumpet: lightning, thunder, hail, and an earthquake. The hailstones weigh 100 pounds each!
—– Chapter 17
One of the seven angels takes John to see the Great Prostitute, with whom the kings have slept. She’s dressed up like a real Jezebel, and bears the following name on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of Prostitutes, and of the Abominations of the Earth”.
Now that’s a really subtle way of calling a nation a whore.
The prostitute is sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns. The heads represent kings: five have gone, one is current, and the other is yet to come. The beast itself also represents a king, who “belongs” to the other seven.
The ten horns represent kings who have yet to reign, and who will do so for only one hour. They will fight with the beast, against the Lamb, but will be vanquished.
Furthermore, a river passes near the beast, and this represents peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The beast and its ten horns (future kings) will apparently turn on the prostitute, who represents a great city that rules over the kings (Babylon, presumably, since that is what is written on her forehead).
—– Chapter 18
A great angel then comes by, and bemoans the fall of Babylon into sin. Another voice exhorts God’s people to reject Babylon. It then tells John that three different groups of people will mourn the burning of Babylon: the kings, merchants, and all those who travel by sea (I thought the kinds were supposed to turn on Babylon, not mourn it…). Finally, an angel throws an enormous boulder into the sea to illustrate how bad the destruction of Babylon will be.
—– Chapter 19
John then hears great rejoicing in heaven at the destruction of Babylon, which now appears to be in the past. Then, a white horse called The Name of God appears, wearing a robe dipped in blood, and carrying a sword in his mouth. The horse will rule with an iron scepter, and will tread the wine press “of the fury of the wrath” of God. Heaven’s army is close behind him.
An angel then summons all the birds in the air to feast on the flesh of the kings and “all the people”.
The two beasts are slain, and thrown into a lake of burning sulfur. The rest of the baddies are killed, and eaten by the birds.
—– Chapter 20
An angel now appears with the key to the Abyss, and locks the dragon (Satan) inside for a thousand years, after which he must be set free for a short time. Then, John sees the First Resurrection, namely the resurrection of all those who were beheaded because of their steadfast belief in God. These people reign with Christ for a thousand years.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from the Abyss, and he will deceive Gog and Magog (the nations of the earth) and gather them for battle. They gather around God’s city, but fire comes down from heaven and devours them. Satan is then thrown into the same lake of burning sulfur that the two beasts were thrown into, and the three are to be tormented day and night, forever.
Finally, all people (including the dead) are judged according to their actions, and thrown into the lake of burning sulfur if found lacking. Note how people are not judged for the strength of their faith.