Unveiling the Symbolism in Revelation

Chapter 16

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

As we look into the spiritual meaning of this chapter, we need to keep the purpose of this book in mind. It is to bring us a revelation of Jesus Christ and how He is revealed in His body! If we fail to see His love, majesty and power, we have not understood the message. Jesus Christ is love, and therefore everything He does comes out of a heart of love. This also applies to His bowls of wrath - correctly translated bowls of passion. They are motivated by pure love. This message is not just an end-time message; it is for all times! It was just as applicable in the first century AD as it is now!

"Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, `Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.'" (v.1) This is a continuation of the vision we discussed in chapter 15. The seven angels are the same messengers who came out of the NAOS temple  the spiritual temple. They had received the golden (divine) bowls of the wrath (passion) of God. A loud voice indicates a voice of authority. This voice came to John spiritually in the same manner that the voice of the Holy Spirit speaks to us.

The angels are to pour out God's passion into the earth. Some translations read on the earth, but the older NASV and the Concordant Literal, have correctly translated it into. Since we are made of the dust of the earth, we understand that these bowls of passion are poured into the lives of people!

As we continue reading we notice that there is a similarity of these plagues with the ones that came upon the land of Egypt in the time of Moses. The plagues that were against the gods of the Egyptians, afflicted the Egyptians - not the Israelites. As we seek to understand this message, we must keep in mind that these plagues are against our worldly thinking. They are to awaken in us a recognition of those areas in our lives that need changing.

"So the first angel went and poured out his bowl in the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image." (v.2) Just as the plagues that came upon the Egyptians were ordered by God, so these plagues are ordered by God. Notice that the devil is not involved in this. If he were, he would be working against his own kingdom. This is God's work! He loves us so much that he does not want us to be polluted with carnal thinking. So God spoke a word, and it became a sore spot to them. He gave us the commandments, but when they are received in the carnal mind, they become sore spots to us.

The loathsome and malignant sores are vivid reminders of the impurities of carnal thinking. Malignancy is hard to cure, and even with the aid of modern medicine it usually leads to death. The thinking that carries the mark of the beast is in the death realm. Only those who worship the beast and his image are afflicted.

This message, coded in symbolism, is constantly going forth. The loathsome and malignant sores represent spiritual abnormalities that bring death. The message of this symbolism does not mean that all sickness is due to the judgment of God. We know that sickness came as the result of sin - if we disregard the laws God has given us, sickness will result. Immoral living is the cause of many diseases. But that is not the message of this symbolism. Neither is it our business to try to determine the cause of people's illnesses by our philosophies and judgments. The Holy Spirit knows what needs to be changed in each of us. This message cuts across the grain of people's natural legalistic thinking and their idea that God is always ready to punish people for their errors and omissions.

All those who do not understand the spiritual message of the Bible carry the mark of the beast. The Greek word for beast is THERION, and it means a wild beast; it has an untamed nature. This is God's description of the carnal nature that resides in the Adamic man. For example, King Nebuchadnezzar was given a beast's heart. (Daniel 4:16) Paul said that he fought with wild beasts in Ephesus. These beasts were not animals that roam the wilds; they were people who opposed him because they did not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any thoughts about God that are devised by the mind of man carry the mark of the beast, and anything that is made to image these thoughts carries the mark of the beast.

All the speculations and imaginations of the natural mind have to be destroyed because they are against the true knowledge of God. These thoughts need to be taken "captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5) Everyone who has not received revelation in the knowledge of Christ, is creating an image of God in the natural mind. Every image has to be thrown down so that true worship of God can take place.

"The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died." (v.3) This bowl was poured into the sea of natural humanity. When Moses was sent to free the Israelites, he turned the water that was to give life to the Egyptians, into blood. The Egyptians were to understand that their belief system was in the death realm. They were drinking water that had its source in the god of their own creation. The god they worshiped could not change their sense of being. It had no power!

God wants us to know that everything in the natural realm is in death. A vivid description of natural man is found in Romans 3:9-18. God said that there is none righteous, no not one. Everyone has sinned, and all fall short of the glory of God. But this is not to be a permanent condition. By the grace of God we can be justified in Christ! It is important to know our lost condition, for if we are blind to it, we won't receive His redemption!

"Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, ` Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.'" (vv. 4-6)

The "third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood." Those who drink the water of life, drink from the one river that flows from the throne of God. Therefore we know that these rivers and springs of waters represent man's numerous philosophies. Here we see God's judgment on all the philosophies that originate in the carnal or natural mind. They are all in the death realm. This world has many "great" philosophers, and humanity drinks their ideas, but none of them can bring life to their adherents. God wants us to drink of His water, for only His water can give us life!

"Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things." The messenger of the waters declares God's judgments to be righteous! Our God never changes; He is always the same! His judgments are always righteous because they are truth! Since He never changes, His judgment on carnal thinking is continuous. He has already declared man's natural thinking about spiritual realities to be false. He always declares it to be false, full of lies and deception. The mindset that we have inherited from the devil is always being judged by God's life and His righteousness. God's judgment is not reserved for the future; it is constantly taking place. Jesus said that there is no truth in man's mindset! We need to agree with Christ, and also judge our natural mindset to be void of truth, and therefore false!

"For they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink." Those who live in their carnal thinking will persecute and kill those who can see spiritually. They pour out the blood of saints and prophets. Cain killed Abel, and the Jews and Gentiles crucified Jesus - and the list goes on! Unless they are stopped in their tracks, those who will not repent of their wrong attitude will continue to persecute the saints. God needs to show them that they are drinking water that comes from the wrong source. God turned the Nile River into blood, and this was to show the Egyptians that their god was not able to sustain life.

"They deserve it." This sounds like the law, doesn't it? We don't see any grace in this statement. They have been killing the saints and the prophets, so let's give them blood to drink! Notice however, that this statement comes from the mouth of Him who is righteous! It does not come out of a desire to get even, but out of love and a desire for them to change. It is a statement from Him who knows what their rebellion produces. Those who rebel against God will continue to drink in the philosophies of men and thus continue in their downward spiral into greater darkness. God wants to get their attention, and He does this by turning their water into blood.

"And I heard the altar saying, `Yes, O lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.'" (v. 7) We wonder where this voice came from, for we know that an altar cannot speak. In Chapter 6 we learned that there were souls under the brazen altar. This altar was in the outer court of the tabernacle, and on it animals were killed and sacrificed. These Christians had been slain or sacrificed because of their faith. Those who preach truth will become a sacrifice. People will say evil things about them and slay them with words and demeaning attitudes. They are laying down their lives, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (6:10) The fact that these people are under the altar, yet crying out with a loud voice, tells us that they have presented their bodies to God as a living sacrifice. The voice from the altar encompasses all who have been, and are being sacrificed  all who give their bodies as a living sacrifice!

The emphatic agreement John had with these judgments showed his deep understanding of this situation because he too had experienced tribulation. Historical records state that he had even been boiled in oil! He was included in the number of those who had laid their lives on the altar of sacrifice! He understood that God is in control of every situation! Those who are being persecuted are satisfied with God's judgments. His judgments are always perfect because He judges with truth and righteousness!

A judgment (KRISIS) primarily denotes a separation. In Matthew 3, John prophesied of Jesus saying, "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." In threshing grain, a separation has to take place. The grain is garnered, but the chaff is burned. An unquenchable fire is one that cannot be extinguished until it has finished burning everything that is combustible. God's judgments bring a separation between truth and the lie. He will continue this separation until all the lies have been eradicated.

"Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty." This is our agreement with God! Our recognition of God's truthfulness and sovereignty will change our lifestyle! It will keep us from trying to solve our problems and helping God do His work! So often we hear people say, "Well, God it's in Your hands." As soon as they have said it, it's back in their hands and they are filled with worry. Maybe we also find ourselves in that category. If we do, we need to receive a revelation of the greatness of our God and the beauty of His judgments! Our agreement with God brings us into a oneness of purpose with Him and with His processing.

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory." (vv.8-9)

This angel poured out his bowl upon the sun. The sun represents natural light or knowledge of spiritual things. When humanity walks in the light of its own knowledge, it will suffer the consequences of that deceptive knowledge. The world would not be in the mess it is in today if it would hear the voice of the Son of God. The purpose of fire is to refine or purify. Pharaoh walked in the light of his natural knowledge and refused to listen to the voice of God. Therefore he had to suffer from all the plagues that came upon Egypt. The plagues increased in severity, but he refused to repent. Living in rebellion against God blasphemes His name. Rebellion carries the message that we think we know better than God. Obedience honors His name, for by it we acknowledge that He is right.

"Men were scorched with fierce heat." People flounder in their misery, but they do not see their need to change. Instead, they blame God or others for their misery. Instead of repenting, they live in the hell they have created. Instead of seeing what God wants to remove, they cling to their rubbish! Those who love truth will welcome the heat, even though the flesh cries out in pain!

Repentance brings glory to God. Only the humble can repent, for in repentance we admit that we are in the wrong; it also implies that we are willing to change the direction of our course. . Pride breeds rebellion - rebellion against God and His authority. It cannot submit itself to God's authority, and therefore God is against the proud. Rebellion never brings glory to authority. Our thinking has to come into conformity with God's thinking, for He alone is truth! Conformity with truth brings glory to God!

"Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds." (vv. 10-11)

God's passion is against the throne or government of the beast  and that throne is situated in our carnal thinking. God is against the beast's government in us. He wants that to be removed! The kingdom of the beast is one of darkness and ignorance. Ignorance causes pain. For example, when our one-year-old son saw his birthday candle, he wanted to put his finger in the flame. He wouldn't listen to our negatives, so we let him burn his finger just enough to let him know that fire is hot. His ignorance of fire caused him pain. But he was a fast learner. After that we had no problem keeping his fingers out of the fire.

Unfortunately, not all of us are fast learners in regard to spiritual things. Our ignorance of God's great salvation causes us a lot of pain. Our own will is imbedded in ignorance, yet our ignorance seems so logical and reasonable to us! We think we are in control, and that we must remain in control, even when we fumble around in the darkness of our human thinking. If we refuse to repent, and refuse to admit our ignorance and pride, we will blame God and others for our difficulties. This reveals the beast's government within us, and we will continue to do the things that bring pain and trouble to us and to those we love. We want to stop our bungling, but we can't. It's easier to blame God and others instead of recognizing our own need to repent.

Repentance is a bad word for those who are under the beast's government. Why should they repent when they are convinced that they are within their own rights? To repent means that they have to admit they were wrong! Heaven forbid! They would rather endure the pain of their rebellion, wrong choices and actions! "They gnawed their tongues because of the pain!" Have you ever bitten your tongue? That's painful! How foolish to try to drive out one pain by inflicting another! Their ignorance and pride are so great that they would rather endure pain than repent. They think it is more satisfying to blame God for their problems, so they blaspheme His name. This is worship of self; this is idolatry! God's passion is against a government that keeps its people in darkness, ignorance, lies and deception!

"The sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east." (v.12)

The river Euphrates marked the boundary between Israel and Babylon. This river originates in Armenia, flows south, and empties into the Persian Gulf. Its name means the good and abounding river. The kings from the east would have to cross this river before they could invade Israel. The Euphrates River was an obstacle in their path to Israel, but when it dried up, it was easy for the kings to cross over! What a glorious opportunity for the anti-Israeli forces to attack Israel! The drying up of this river would lure the kings of Babylon (confusion) to go and battle against Israel (God's chosen people). We'll discuss the symbolism of this verse in connection with the following verses.

"And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty." (vv.13-14)

These verses bring us a vivid picture of the uncleanness of demonic spirits. They are compared to frogs, and frogs were included in the unclean animals that the Israelites were forbidden to eat. These demonic spirits came out of the mouth of the dragon (the mind of humanity), out of the mouth of the beast (the beastly nature of humanity), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (the religiosity that is in the natural mind). False prophets teach lies and deceit under the guise of truth. Demonic spirits are unclean, united in their utterance of lies, and void of the truth; therefore they need to be driven out! Only the acceptance of truth can do away with our wrong thinking.

In Is. 9:14-15 we read, "So the Lord cuts off head and tail from Israel. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail." Elders and prophets were highly regarded leaders by the populace. But God says that He will cut them off! Pharisees were the elite religious leaders in the time of Jesus. They were men who knew the Old Testament scriptures forwards and backwards, yet they missed the truth of God's message! They did not recognize that Jesus is the truth, so they led the people astray by their legalism and their religiosity. Religiosity is the trademark of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. They target everyone who does not accept their doctrines and views because they want complete control over everyone. The thing that surprises us is that they can work miracles, just as we were astonished when we read that the Egyptian magicians could work miracles, but we notice that their power was limited. These spirits control the mind of natural humanity.

Not all the miracles that claim to be done in the name of Jesus are actually done in His name. Jesus said, "Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" (Matt. 7:22-23)

The demonic spirits that are in the mind of humanity go out "to the kings of the whole inhabited earth to mobilize them for the battle of the day of God Almighty." (Concordant Literal) Their work is limited to those who live on earth (in their carnal mind)  this includes those who are in the church but are still living in their carnal mind, as well as those who are of the world. Demonic spirits have no authority over those who are seated with Christ in heavenly places even while they are living on planet earth! The woes are for the inhabitants of the earth.

The purpose of these demons is to gather the kings (rulers) of the whole world together to war against God. This war takes place in our mind. Our big wars are fought within us - against those imaginations and speculations that form strongholds against the work of God in our lives. They create images that supplant God. If we yield to these imaginations, they become our rulers. They grow in strength until they think they can make war on God, and win. Paul told us to cast down every lofty thought that is against God! "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:4-5) It's great to know that the demonic host cannot win the war!

("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.") (v.15) Christ's coming like a thief seems like a negative to us, yet Paul seems to be in agreement with this thought. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2 Paul writes, "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." Christ comes like a thief, and the day of the Lord comes as a thief. How does a thief come? He comes unexpectedly, and he takes whatever he wants. He does not ask our permission. Christ came to Saul of Tarsus unexpectedly, and He took his religiosity and darkness away.

What does Christ want to take away from us? Since He wants to change our lives, He has to take away all the lies and deception that have been lurking in our darkness, and which we have accepted as truth. He comes to us unexpectedly, takes away our darkness, and exposes our wrong thinking. When our darkness is gone we can receive truth and understanding! We may wonder how Christ can come as a thief when it also says that every eye will see Him. The carnal mind of man has caused us to believe that Christ only comes two times. This causes some problems. It is impossible to fit everything the scriptures say about His coming again, into one future coming, because they just don't fit together! A close look at the scriptures shows us that they do not speak of a second coming; they say He is coming again. Jesus came again in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, for the scriptures declare that the Lord is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:17 He took up residence in the disciples at that time, and He comes again in the Holy Spirit to take up residence in us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us, so how does He come again? He comes to us (to our awareness) in every new revelation we receive of Him! He comes again in the overcomers, for they are expressions of the very nature of Christ - even as Jesus Christ was the exact representation of the invisible God! Jesus Christ came to show us the invisible nature of God, and now Christ comes in the overcomers to reveal His nature of life and love to the world.

"Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes." Blessed is the one who does not go to sleep again after he has been awakened. Those who sleep are not conscious of their surroundings or of the darkness they are in. Here physical sleep is a picture of a spiritual condition that does not discern the difference between light and darkness - between truth and deception. We need to be awake to discern the difference.

Our garments are also spiritual. There are numerous references to garments of praise, humility, and righteousness in the scriptures. Righteousness, praise and humility portray an inward condition of our heart, and they determine our outward actions. These garments are lost when we fall back into legalism, pride and religiosity. As long as we excuse our wrong attitudes, we won't change, for. excuses don't produce repentance. This emphasizes our need to walk in the Spirit continually.

"Lest he walk about naked and men see his shame." Those who are blind are unable to see their nakedness. The Laodicean church in Rev. 3:17 was blind, and therefore ignorant of its nakedness. In the scriptures, nakedness symbolizes an absence of truth and righteousness, and thus exposes our shame and guilt. When Christ clothes us with His righteousness, He takes away our shame and guilt. Our Christian prerogative is to help those who have exposed their own unrighteousness. When Noah got drunk and lay exposed in his tent, two of his sons walked in backwards and covered him. This illustrates a beautiful truth, showing us how to restore the wayward in the grace of God. We let them know that they are loved and that Christ's salvation is great enough to do away with every sin, and that repentance brings change. We do not initiate a gossip and slander campaign.

"And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon." (v. 16) Armageddon is the city of Megiddo, and Har-Magedon is the hill. Megiddo was situated on the southern rim of the plain of Esdraelon, 6 miles from Mt. Carmel and 11 from Nazareth. It commanded an important pass, so it was the scene of many wars. It was famous for two great victories for the Israelites: of Deborah and Barak over Sisera, and of Gideon over the Midianites. It was also the scene of two great disasters: the death of Saul in his battle against the Philistines and the death of Josiah after he joined the king of Assyria against Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt.

"And they gathered them together." Who do they and them refer to? The word they refers to the seven messengers, and them refers to the unclean spirits. Since Har-Magedon represents a strategic military site where decisive battles were fought, it symbolizes a decisive battle between the vain imaginations that are resident in the carnal mind and the truth that is in the mind of Christ.

Common concerns, fears or desires, unite kings and nations, and lure them into battle. When the River Euphrates (the barrier between Israel and the king of Babylon) dried up, the removal of this barrier would entice the kings of the East to battle against Israel. Pharaoh was lured by his greed to try to recapture the Israelites, and this led to his own destruction. Even so certain events form a "come-on" for the unclean spirits, and they are lured out to do battle against the truth, and subsequently are vanquished.

The battle, popularly known as the battle of Armageddon, does not refer to the destruction of people. Jesus came to save people - not to destroy them. He came to destroy the works of the devil. (1 Jn. 3:8) These works originate in the thoughts of the natural carnal mind. The devil wants control, and does not give up easily in his fight against the truth. This important battle takes place in the mind. Since it is so strategically located, it is known as the battle of Armageddon. If the devil can control the mind, he has won the battle. How can we be victorious when we don't know who the enemy is, and the strategy he uses? God wants us to know that the devil only has power in deception, and that there is no truth in what he says, for he is a liar and the father of lies. . God knows how to get our attention. He puts circumstances in our lives to help us recognize our enemy. This is our God-given opportunity to overcome him.

"Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, `It is done.'" (v.17) Why was the bowl poured upon the air? Because the air needed cleansing. Foul air displaces the good air and carries disease germs. We need oxygen for healthy living. This also applies to us spiritually. If we don't breathe in the words of Christ, we are breathing foul air (thoughts induced by the devil's mindset) and this affects our spiritual life. This shows that our air needs cleansing, and this bowl brings cleansing into our thought life.

This cleansing caused a voice from the spiritual temple (NAOS) within us to cry out loudly saying, `It is done.' It came from the throne  from the very heart or center of our being. Every time truth triumphs over the lie, a song of victory floods our hearts and we cry out joyfully, "I'm done with that lie! I thought it was truth, but now I see it for what it really is. The lie is finished; it's vanquished!"

"And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder: and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be on the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe." (vv.18-21)

"And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder: and there was a great earthquake." God often makes His presence known by lightning, thunder and earthquakes. The Israelites experienced this when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai in preparation for receiving the Law. Spiritually speaking, the illumination of God's word comes to us instantaneously, as a flash of lightning, and we joyfully cry out, "Now I understand." Just as an earthquake changes the earth's surface, so God's words bring life-changing results! They are often accompanied by many after-shocks. The spiritual earthquakes God gives us also change our lives!

The illumination of God's word takes us out of the lie and brings us into truth. It brings us out of Babylon (confusion). Because of the confusion of tongues that took place at Babel, Babylon symbolizes confusion in spiritual imagery. Jerusalem represents the city of God, and Babylon represents the religious system and community. Religiosity judges the external behavior of people according to its man-made laws, and persecutes those who do not adhere to its doctrines. Truth does away with confusion, and therefore upsets Babylon and brings about its fall.

"And the great city was split into three parts." The illumination of truth divided Babylon into the following three parts: 1) Those who did not accept truth and therefore continued to live according to their own understanding and imaginations. 2) Those who received Christ Jesus but continued to depend on their own good works for their sanctification. Since they were only receiving spiritual truth in their natural mind, it did not bring about an internal change; it only changed their behavior for the benefit of being accepted. 3) Those who received Christ Jesus and recognized that His words are spirit and truth were receiving His words in their spiritual mind. This produced an internal change.

Our obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit brings us into a higher realm  into a heavenly realm. To be seated with Christ means that we are resting from our self-effort and depending on the salvation Christ has achieved for us. We no longer depend on good works for our sanctification. Christ has become our righteousness and our sanctification, and the source of everything we do. In order to live in the fullness of the heavenly realm, we need to be freed from everything that belongs to the earthly realm  for no dust can enter that realm!

"Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath." Babylon was remembered before God! God has not forgotten about those who are in ignorance, confusion, and religiosity! He remembers the awful plight they are in. God's love reaches out to every particle of our being! Every area that is not under His government has to fall!

"To give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath." This sounds very ominous! However, a very literal translation of this reads, "to give her the cup (drinking vessel) of the wine (revelation) of the wrath (passion) of his desire." Wine symbolizes revelation, and a cup symbolizes a measure. A measure of revelation shall be given to them. A revelation of what? A revelation of the passion of God's desire! "Fierce wrath" is a wrong translation. Both Strong's dictionary and Thayer's Greek lexicon say that the Greek THUMOS means passion. According to the Oxford dictionary, ORGE means an intense enthusiasm for something. Strong's dictionary describes it as a desire (a reaching forth or excitement of the mind) i.e., violent passion.

Babylon is to understand that its government has come to an end. This does not refer to the city of Babylon that has been lying in ruins for hundreds of years. This is not an end-time message. It would not make any sense to relegate to the future, events that happen to a city that is no more. So we know that Babylon symbolizes something spiritual. It represents our religiosity and the religious systems that evolve out of it. They are a counterfeit of the reality that is ours in Christ. Their good works are not Spirit-directed; they are humanity-oriented. But humanity does not know the difference. Because it is in darkness, it is content with its religiosity. Religiosity is ever warring against the Christ in us, trying to displace Him! God has to expose our religiosity so we can get rid of it!

"And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." An island is an isolated piece of land, and a mountain is a high place  a stronghold. The revelation of Jesus Christ in us takes away our feelings of isolation; it also does away with our high places  our pride and our ego. When we see Him as He is, we are overwhelmed with His love, mercy, grace and truth! In stark contrast to God's love, we see our selfishness, pride and vain belief in our lies. We cannot embrace this revelation without humbling ourselves and letting go of our lies and pride.

"And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds (one talent) each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because it was extremely severe." Hail is frozen water  water that has left its impurities and risen to a higher realm. Hail symbolizes a hard word from God. The weight of the hailstones (about one talent) tells us that it is very severe and very destructive. It will destroy everything that lies in its path.

This message in symbolism tells us that the pet theories of the religious systems will be destroyed. People love their traditions! Just as the Ephesians cried, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians," so humanity and the Christians that live in the earthy realm cry out, "Great are our traditions and our beliefs." Those who do not want to receive the destruction of their wrong thinking will be very angry with those who preach truth. They are so sure they are right that they will even blaspheme or speak contemptuously of God! Pride does not want to surrender to anything, but in humility there is no place for pride.

There is a story about a man who was very humble. Everyone recognized and admired this humble man. After some time the elders of that town thought his humility should be recognized and rewarded. So one day he was presented with an award for his humility. The man received his award and put it away. One day he decided to wear it. That day an angel came and took it away from him, for he no longer deserved it.

Revelation shows us the areas that need to be destroyed in us, so that the image of Christ will be revealed in us! May God give us the ability to understand the symbolism contained in this book, and to see that all these things need to be worked out within us!

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