Fifth Bowl of Wrath

The first four “bowls” destroyed the economic structure of the World-Power; the fifth “bowl” targets its political dimension  Revelation 16:10-11

Roman Ruins - Photo by Stefan Gogov on Unsplash
The first “
four bowls of wrath” attacked the economic infrastructure of the empire used by the “beast” to dominate the “inhabitants of the earth,” and to wage war “against the saints.” Afterwards, the global commerce on which the World-Power depended was destroyed. Now, the “fifth bowl” targets the political power and prestige of the beastly system - [Photo by Stefan Gogov on Unsplash].

The destruction of the economic and political power structures of the “beast” sets the stage for the final “war” between the earthly forces of the “Dragon” and of the “Lamb,” the “battle of the day of God Almighty” at Armageddon. That will occur when the sixth “bowl of wrath” is emptied - (Revelation 16:12-16).
  • (Revelation 16:10-11) – “And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works.
Previously, the “beast” received its “throne and power and great authority” from the “Dragon.” It is the agent and vassal of the Devil. The real battle is between the “Dragon” and the “Lamb.” The “beast from the sea” rules from Satan’s throne and does his bidding – (Revelation 13:2).

Satan’s throne” was referred to in the letter to the church at Pergamos, and Revelation wants the reader to make this connection. That city was the administrative center of the provincial government and the regional center of the Roman imperial cult dedicated to the veneration of the emperor and the goddess Roma, the patron deity of the city of Rome:
  • I know where you dwell, even where Satan's throne is; and you are holding fast my name, and did not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells - (Revelation 2:13).
Darkness.” The plague of “darkness” targets the political authority of the “beast” – his “throne.” The term provides a literary link to the sounding of the “fifth trumpet” when the sun was “darkened” by the “smoke from the Abyss.” The imagery is drawn from the ninth plague of Egypt:
  • (Exodus 10:21-22) – “And Yahweh said to Moses: Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.
Likewise, the “pain” that caused men to “gnaw their tongues echoes the earlier plague of “locusts,” where the followers of the “beast” were “tormented five months.” So here, also, the “inhabitants of the earth” who gave allegiance to the “beast” are tormented by “their pains and sores.” The plague affected both the “beast” and the “inhabitants of the earth” who worshiped its image - (Exodus 10:21-29, Revelation 9:1-3).

As with the “sixth trumpet,” despite the torment, the men who took the “mark of the Beast” refused to repent. Instead, they “blasphemed the God of heaven.

In Revelation, “blaspheme” denotes “slander,” false accusations and charges made against the “saints.” The behavior is another link between the “beast” and the “inhabitants of the earth,” for the “beast” also slandered the name of God, and his tabernacle, even them that tabernacle in heaven” - (Revelation 2:8-9, 13:6-7).

Especially under attack in the “fifth bowl of wrath” is the political power center and structures of the “beast,” the authority necessary for the maintenance of its power. With the destruction of the economic and political means, the final downfall of the World-Power becomes inevitable and imminent.




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