Revelation 16.2-11

So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the Earth, and foul & evil sores came upon the men who bore the mark of the beast and worshipped its image.

The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of water, and they became blood. And I heard the Angel of Water say, “Just art Thou in these Thy judgements, Thou who art and wast, o Holy One! For men have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink! It is their due.”

And I heard the altar cry, “Yea, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are Thy judgments!”

The fourth angel poured his bowl on the Sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire; men were scorched by the fierce heat; and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues–but they did not repent and give Him glory.

The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was in darkness; men gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of Heaven for their pain and sores, but did not repent of their deeds.

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One response

  1. Angel 1)?–Symbolic of all the generic physical & mental ‘occupational ills’ that go with accepting “this filthy, rotten system” and fitting oneself into it too well for too long?Angel 2)?–re the damage we are now actually doing to the literal, actual oceans? Or symbolic of the destruction of our “wild” nature, our freedom, our human integrity?Angel 3) Not just “saints and prophets”, but lots & lots of bystanders! But such bystanders, of course, are also suffering via the ongoing corruption of the Earth. Is there really a sharp line possible between saints, bystanders, and miscreants?And even if we could see this as “poetic justice”, that is not as high a value as mercy, nor would we expect it to do much toward reforming the recipients.angel 4)… “God is doing all this Awful Stuff to us! He must be a Really Nice Guy! Yay, God!” It seems to me that God must know people better than that! Is this passage implying that God thumps on us so we can like Him better?How about… When we are happy in the World, putting all our attention into an enjoyable animal existence, our interest in God diminishes. “God have mercy!” is probably the sincerest and most common human prayer. So trouble, to some degree, must be a gift God uses to turn us toward our spiritual needs! But when it fails that purpose, when people are too beaten down and confused and fearful to do anything but turn further away? How long can people practice ‘turning away’ before they look for another approach? Long, it seems!and is darkness supposed to help? True, this is said to affect the kingdom of “the beast,” ie people who are ruled in thought and deed by the Powers of the World, in rebellion against God. Best, then, to regard this “plague” as simply descriptive. To worship “the beast” is to be in darkness, ignorant of the source of one’s troubles and of how to have them remedied.I remain convinced that God does know how to bring us all into our rightful place as His “children”. And that what we see happening in the world, gnarly as it looks, is that process in operation. But if this cornecopia of plagues is supposed to explain the process, it isn’t working for me. Can we score this passage to “peculiar notions of 1st Century seers”?

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