The Seven Bowls.* 1I heard a loud voice speaking from the temple to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s fury upon the earth.”
2The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Festering and ugly sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast or worshiped its image.*
3* The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. The sea turned to blood like that from a corpse; every creature living in the sea died.
4The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water. These also turned to blood.a 5Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
“You are just, O Holy One,
who are and who were,
in passing this sentence.b
6For they have shed the blood of the holy ones and the prophets,
and you [have] given them blood to drink;
it is what they deserve.”c
7Then I heard the altar cry out,
“Yes, Lord God almighty,
your judgments are true and just.”d
8The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun. It was given the power to burn people with fire. 9People were burned by the scorching heat and blasphemed the name of God who had power over these plagues, but they did not repent or give him glory.e
10f The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast.* Its kingdom was plunged into darkness, and people bit their tongues in pain 11and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their works.g
12The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East.* 13I saw three unclean spirits like frogs* come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet.h 14These were demonic spirits who performed signs. They went out to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God the almighty.i 15(“Behold, I am coming like a thief.”* Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes ready, so that he may not go naked and people see him exposed.)j 16They then assembled the kings in the place that is named Armageddon* in Hebrew.
17The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”k 18Then there were lightning flashes, rumblings, and peals of thunder, and a great earthquake. It was such a violent earthquake that there has never been one like it since the human race began on earth.l 19The great city* was split into three parts, and the gentile cities fell. But God remembered great Babylon, giving it the cup filled with the wine of his fury and wrath. 20* Every island fled, and mountains disappeared. 21Large hailstones like huge weights came down from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because this plague was so severe.m
* [16:1–21] These seven bowls, like the seven seals (Rev 6:1–17; 8:1) and the seven trumpets (Rev 8:2–9:21; 11:15–19), bring on a succession of disasters modeled in part on the plagues of Egypt (Ex 7–12). See note on Rev 6:12–14.
* [16:2] Like the sixth Egyptian plague (Ex 9:8–11).
* [16:3–4] Like the first Egyptian plague (Ex 7:20–21). The same woe followed the blowing of the second trumpet (Rev 8:8–9).
* [16:10] The throne of the beast: symbol of the forces of evil. Darkness: like the ninth Egyptian plague (Ex 10:21–23); cf. Rev 9:2.
* [16:12] The kings of the East: Parthians; see notes on Rev 6:2 and Rev 17:12–13. East: literally, “rising of the sun,” as in Rev 7:2.
* [16:13] Frogs: possibly an allusion to the second Egyptian plague (Ex 7:26–8:11). The false prophet: identified with the two-horned second beast (Rev 13:11–18 and the note there).
* [16:15] Like a thief: as in Rev 3:3 (cf. Mt 24:42–44; 1 Thes 5:2). Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3.
* [16:16] Armageddon: in Hebrew, this means “Mountain of Megiddo.” Since Megiddo was the scene of many decisive battles in antiquity (Jgs 5:19–20; 2 Kgs 9:27; 2 Chr 35:20–24), the town became the symbol of the final disastrous rout of the forces of evil.
* [16:19] The great city: Rome and the empire.
* [16:20–21] See note on Rev 6:12–14. Hailstones: as in the seventh Egyptian plague (Ex 9:23–24); cf. Rev 8:7. Like huge weights: literally, “weighing a talent,” about one hundred pounds.
c. [16:6] Ez 35:6; Mt 23:34–35.
g. [16:11] Ex 9:8–11 / Jer 5:3.
j. [16:15] Mt 24:42–44 / 3:17.