Gamma 16 – The Persevering Disciple (Study 14)

Study 14

The 7 Bowls


John Goh012 207
Dr Lee Fook Sin019 230
Moh Ee Lin019 273
Ng Cho Hoo012 878
Susanah Ng012



Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions The answers will be posted on the web the next day.

The word last could mean
A. Last in terms of the sequence of judgements
B. Last in terms of history
C. Last in terms of how the seals, trumpets and bowls have reached their goal
D. Last in terms of how the wrath of God is finished

It is probably last in sequence as well as in terms of how the wrath of God is finished.

The focus of the worship is on
A. Who God is
B. What He had done
C. Our response to the revelation of A and B

This principle should guide us in our own worship rather than modern trends of worship which mainly focus on how we feel or other man-centered focus.

The tabernacle especially the holy of holies contain the 10 commandments which Moses received from God directly and form God’s testimony to us. They form His requirements on us if God is to be our God and we His people. The testimony of God is not an optional extra bit of information for our idle interest, they represent His desire for how His world is to be lived in if we are to be in His image. We are created for that purpose and our lives must conform to that end. The flip side of God’s testimony is that because they are mandatory for us, failure to conform or to live according to our design will necessarily entail judgements and these judgements appropriately come from the sanctuary of the tabernacle.

There is the execution of God’s judgement and wrath which is sure and cannot be averted and we need to know that it is indeed terrible to fall into the judgement of God.

The bowls focus more on the effects on unbelievers and form a wider picture of the scale of judgements.

There is a continued recalcitrance on the part of the unbelievers as they are instead of being remorseful and frightened of God they instead react belligerently and curse God in their impenitence.

The parable of the rich man and the beggar also underscores that what is really needed is the gospel , that is us sharing the truth with them and nothing else will change their minds if they are going to be changed. The Word of God is enough.

Hence we are not to be discouraged that we have not done it well enough or dressed up the gospel better in more appealing terms for them to accept. Even in the face of something as dramatic and miraculous of someone coming back from the dead or in this case in Revelations of horrifying pain and suffering unbelievers will not repent. Hence the point is that it is not the scale or dimension of the miracle of suffering or clever arguments that are necessary, it is the Word of God empowered by the Spirit. The response of unbelief is common however disheartening but expected.

The first bowl is poured out on those with the mark of the beast and they are marked with sores in their body. The third bowl is poured out on those who have shed the blood of saints and they reap the harvest of blood in kind. That is they too will suffer and die as they persecuted God’s people in similarly grotesque manner. God’s judgment is just and proportionate

Notice the language of the passage. The evil spirits come from the mouths of the unholy trinity of the dragon, beast and false prophet. They are like frogs croaking loudly and incessantly to symbolise that their main use here is to use their sound, their voices to sow confusion and plant conspiracy theories to the people. There is similarity to the Exodus plaque and the use of the frogs there was to show the impotence of their own goddess Heqt who was the goddess of resurrection who could not save them as the Egyptians died in that plague as well.

We can see the main threat to civil society to day comes from deception and disinformation. From totalitarian regimes we have propaganda and the truth is what the dictator of government tells us that it is. There may be rebellion and opposition but these like in Hong Kong are easily quelled.

From democracies, their very freedoms particularly freedom of speech is used by these spirits to sow disinformation and lies that change people’s mindsets. There is no longer any unbiased news media the left will listen to left wing media and the right to their own right wing media and the social media will micro target each person sending them news that suits their listening pleasure to keep them on line because they can make money from them.

The ultimate tragic consequence of these lies is the mass open rebellion against God as seen in them gathering for war at Armageddon. Right now we can see world opinion has changed so much so like on the same sex marriage issue in the West that if one holds a biblical world view on it immediately society will turn on them. The biblical stance is now thought to be be bigoted stand and the same sex marriage view is the loving righteous stand. Once the church is cast in such light we are not given a chance to be heard as it is always the frogs that do all the talking.

The bowls are the last of the judgments and they tell of of God’s true character. For much of today’s society including the church have only thought of God as only a God of love and hence they will interpret the bible in terms of love and love alone. Any talk of sin and judgement or the wrath of God is instantly frowned upon and thought to come from a very unloving place not characteristic of God.

God’s justice is precious to the saints because

1. It shows us how we should live. We know His character and His will and the most important imperative for us today as His saints already washed in the precious blood of the lamb is to walk in holy righteous lives. The aspect of holiness and good works in evangelical circles is often down played in our efforts to focus on justification by faith. True faith results in good works and righteousness in living. We are to love justice as God is holy and just and we often don’t want to think of God in such terms as sinners. In our efforts to focus merely on his love we often bring God down to our level. We lower His standards and think that His love will mitigate His justice as if He is that divine celestial policeman who because He is jolly and a nice guy will let us off with a nod and a wink but will punish the other guy.

2. It shows us what it really means to fear God. The knowledge of His holiness and justice and our sinfulness will aid us in how we approach Him. Not flippantly and casually but with increasing reverence and care as He deserves. We have lost the aspect of the sacredness of God.

3. We can rest easy when it comes to the wrongs people have done against us, not only persecution but ridicule and discrimination at the work place because no matter what the atrocities committed against the church whether it be blowing up church buildings in China or disappearing people like Pastor Koh in our own nation, one day the perpetrators will be brought to His justice. We need not therefore be consumed by anger and desire for revenge because we have a God who will repay on our behalf.

4. We can look forward to our reward when we sacrifice and work for Him because He is just and will repay us with eternal glory and reward on the last day. Nothing will be overlooked and nothing belittled. God notices everything.

The metaphor about Jesus coming like a thief in the night is not that he will not be noticed but that he comes suddenly , when you least expect it, when you feel secure and not even anticipate His return.

Nakedness is a symbol of God’s judgement on sin. The imagery is of spiritual adultery like physical adultery it is shameful as the picture of nakedness is supposed to convey. We are to be vigilant all the time, we are not to be lulled into the false complacency the His coming is too far in the future for us to bother with and we can just live our lives without any regard to sin and compromise in our lives. The judgement will not affect us we think.

We need to disavow ourselves of any such notions and live each day expectantly with one eye towards the heavens for His return it is this hope that will enable us to persevere and triumph in the end.