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The Scriptorium

Wrath and History

The wrath of God is current news.

Revelation 16-20: The Sixth Facet

Week 8, Monday: The wrath of God revealed

My sense is that chapter 16, which begins our examination of the sixth facet of the book of Revelation, provides an overview of the course of human history since at least the time of the New Testament (Rev. 16.1, cf. Rom. 1.18-32). We’ve seen such overviews already, for example, in chapters 6, 11, and 12. This chapter describes more graphically and fearfully what Paul outlines in his overview of God’s wrath, and seems to cover the period of human history from John’s writing to the end of time. The images are terrifying in order to encourage believers (a) to keep themselves pure from sin and (b) to love the lost and seek them as our Lord does (Lk. 19.10).

Read Revelation 16

Meditate on Revelation 16.1-21
1.      We note that these bowls “pour out” “the wrath of God.” Meditate on Romans 1.18-32, where Paul uses this same language. Summarize Paul’s understanding of this process:

2.      Look at verses 2-4. How far-reaching is God’s wrath against sin? Can you see how these verses are giving us another view of what we saw in chapter 8? How does this help us in understanding our “faceted” approach to Revelation?

3.      Verses 5-7 seem a bit out of place in the midst of this litany of judgment. The same with verse 15. Or are they? Why do you suppose these are included here?

4.      Notice in verses 8 and 9, as in verses 2-4, the wrath of God reaches people through what today we would refer to as “the environment.” Should we attach any significance to this? What does it suggest about the effects of human sin in the world? In verses 10 and 11 (keep Paul in mind) what kind of “darkness” do you suppose is suggested here?

5.      Verses 12-16 clearly show the spiritual connection between events on earth and the wrath of God. Explain. Verse 16 foreshadows chapter 19, and verses 17-21 look ahead to the end, just as we saw in previous “facets” of Revelation. Should believers allow the conditions revealed in chapter 16 to keep us from “riding out” with the Rider on the white horse? Explain.

My Reflection
Keep in mind that each of these “facets” of the book of Revelation is both timeless and in-time. What evidence can you see around you that the wrath of God is being poured out in our day? Can you see evidence of this within reach of your own Personal Mission Field?

The Glory of God
God is righteous and just even amid the sufferings of the world. How can this be?

Glory to Glory
Given that the wrath of God is being poured out, perhaps even on people in your Personal Mission Field, how should knowing this affect your witness for the Lord? What do you need in order to become more consistent and effective in bearing witness for Christ?

Our memory verses for this week are Revelation 19.7-9. Write these verses on an index card, using your preferred translation of the Bible. Carry this with you throughout the week, and spend some time each day working to memorize this passage. How should these verses encourage you in your walk with and work for the Lord?

Closing Prayer
The LORDreigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
Clouds and darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
A fire goes before Him,
And burns up His enemies round about.
His lightnings light the world;
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory.

Psalm 97.1-6

T. M. Moore

Download free copies of each week’s study in the book of Revelation by clicking here.

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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