The Seventh Bowl – Earth is Shaken (Revelation 16:17-21)

This last bowl, interestingly, is poured out into the air. What does that mean? We will get to that in a minute. But first we read here that a loud voice from heaven, the voice of God, says, “It is done.” This could only mean one thing: that this plague is the last one. And when it is done, that will be the end of the Tribulation.

The second thing I want to mention is that when this bowl begins, and all during its devastation, the great battle of Armageddon is raging. The event that sets this plague off is, presumably, a great earthquake. However, there is one scholar, Hal Lindsey who seems to think that it is not really an earthquake, that it is a nuclear exchange. In his book, There’s a New World Coming, he writes,

The [Greek word for earthquake] simply means ‘a great shaking of the earth.’ The earth could be shaken either by a literal earthquake or by a full-scale nuclear exchange of all remaining missiles. I lean toward the nuclear conflict; I believe that when these powers lock forces here, there will be a full-scale exchange of nuclear weapons, and it’s at this time that ‘the cities of the nations fall.’8

I want to return now to my “interesting” comment about this bowl being poured out into the air. If you side with the nuclear exchange idea this makes sense, because nuclear bombs always affect the air. According to an article I read, “Basic Effects of Nuclear Weapons,” the writer said,

Most damage comes from the explosive blast. The shock wave of air radiates outward, producing sudden changes in air pressure that can crush objects, and high winds that can knock objects down. In general, large buildings are destroyed by the change in air pressure, while people and objects such as trees and utility poles are destroyed by the wind.9

This nuclear description goes along well with what is written in verse 19—that “the cities of the nations fell.” That certainly makes sense—that if a full nuclear exchange occurs, the tall buildings in all of the world’s cities (all buildings really) will crumble to the ground. Of course, a very large world-wide earthquake could do this too. Or perhaps both will occur together, the nuclear exchange causing the other.

Now whatever this “great shaking of the earth” will be, there will be six results.

1. Lightning and thunder. To be fair, we don’t know that the cause of this will be due to the great shaking; nonetheless, it will occur. And I’m guessing that it will be dark, except for the lightning flashes, accompanied by loud, terrible thunder.

2. The great city will be split into three parts. Some suggest that the great city is the rebuilt Babylon. Others say that it is Jerusalem—which I happen to agree with. John MacArthur suggests that the splitting of Jerusalem is written about in Zechariah 14:1-8, and that it is not a judgment, but an improvement, preparing the city for its millennial kingdom.10

I agree with that comment. The only uncertainty I have is that in the Zachariah passage the city will be split through the Mount of Olives dividing the city into a northern section and a southern section. Hence that is two parts, not three, as Revelation indicates.

3. The cities of the nations fall. Here is what I talked about earlier. A great earthquake, or possibly a full-scale nuclear exchange will level the great cities of the world. London, Rome, Paris, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and all the others will crumble to the ground. In just a few minutes we will see a great judgment of God on the world.

4. Babylon the great falls. We will look at this in detail in the next chapter, so we won’t say much here; except that it will be God’s wrath on the Antichrist’s evil empire.

5. The islands and mountains disappear. Along with the crumbling of the cities, the earth will shift so much that the islands as well as the mountains disappear. Revelation 6:14 seems to describe this same occurrence, except in the sixth chapter the mountains and island only move out of their places. But here they disappear completely. Hence what began in the sixth seal is completed in this seventh bowl. I presume that they will plunge into the earth, as if they are plowed under by God’s great plow when He levels the earth. This again will be God’s preparation for His millennial kingdom.

I invite you to read Isaiah 40:3-5 and Jeremiah 4:23-27. Could this be a prophetical description of what will happen in Revelation 16:19-20?

6. One-hundred-pound hail stones! It is hard to imagine hail this big. As far as we know, the largest hailstone on record fell in South Dakota in 2010, weighing nearly two pounds and measured eight inches in diameter.11 If we calculate how large a 100-pound hailstone would be compared to this one in South Dakota, I come up with one about three or four feet in diameter. That’s pretty big. And I’m sure one stone will kill any human or animal if it falls directly on his head. If you can picture what it will be like when all the city buildings fall and all the islands and mountains disappear into the earth, I imagine that this barrage of hail will level anything that is left.

But since we know that there will be survivors, apparently the hail will be far enough apart that it will miss some people, or perhaps some will be hiding underground.

But will they be thankful to God for their safety? No. Verse twenty-one tells us that they will blaspheme God because of the hail. This tells us that they will know that it was meant for them—to punish them for their wickedness. Hence they will remain unrepentant until the end.

8 Hal Lindsey, p. 214.

9 Basic Effects of Nuclear Weapons, at,are%20destroyed%20by%20the%20wind.

10 John MacArthur, John MacArthur’s notes on Revelation 16:19.

11 Kyle Mounce, at

The Sixth Bowl – Euphrates Dried Up (Revelation 16:12-16)

Here is the plague in which we see the beginning of the end of things. It encompasses the preparing of the way for all the armies of the world to come into the holy land for war against God. Hence this plague is not a plague that will immediately produce any more suffering, as was the case in all the other plagues. It is a plague that opens the way for the final judgment. It comes in two parts.

First, this sixth bowl is poured out on the great river Euphrates, causing it to be died up, so that armies from the east will be able to cross over with ease into the holy land for war.

The second part of the plague will come on the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, by way of unclean spirits of demons. These spirits we must believe will be directed by God to carry a message through the three to all of the kings of the world (the kings of the east who will cross over the dried-up Euphrates, and also the kings of the north, south, and west), instructing them to gather together for war against God in Israel. And verse sixteen says that “they [the demons] gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon” (or Armageddon). Warren Wiersbe comments on this place:

The name Armageddon comes from two Hebrew words, har Megiddo, the hill of Megiddo. The word Megiddo means ‘place of troops’ or ‘place of slaughter.’ It is also called the Plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel. The area is about fourteen miles wide and twenty miles long, and forms what Napoleon called ‘the most natural battlefield of the whole earth.’ Standing on Mount Carmel and overlooking the great plain, you can well understand why it would be used for gathering the armies of the nations.

It was on this plain that Barak defeated the armies of Canaan (Jud. 5:19). Gideon met the Midianites there (Jud. 7) and it was there that King Saul lost his life (1 Sam. 31). Titus and the Roman army used this natural corridor, as did the Crusaders in the Middle ages. British General Allenby used it when he defeated the Turkish armies in 1917.7

Verse fifteen, which is parenthetical, is written to believers to be faithful and vigilant, constantly ready for His return. Hence this verse assures us that there will be faithful believers during the Tribulation—believers that will survive and go into Christ’s Kingdom.

Last, I want to pose two questions: First, when does the sixth bowl end? Does it end with the gathering, or does it include the battle of Armageddon? It seems to me that it stops with the gathering, but I’m not sure.

Secondly, we have said all along that all the plagues will be accumulative and ongoing. Is that true here? Does this sixth bowl, and also the seventh bowl, contain an accumulation of all the previous plagues? Should we assume in these last plagues that this is a climax and the greatest of the suffering? I’m not sure, but part of me feels that it is; that people are still suffering from all the pervious plagues: from famine and pestilence and wild beasts, and from martyrdom, and from natural/cosmic disturbances, and from demonic activity, and from boils and bloody water and scorching heat, and darkness.

7 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Victorious (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books) 1985. pp. 117-118.

The Fifth Bowl — Darkness (Revelation 16:10-11)

After about six months of burning heat (from the fourth bowl), this plague will begin without warning; the sun will suddenly be completely blocked out, leaving the earth, or at least part of the earth, in thick darkness. We don’t know, but I suspect that, though there will be a relief from the scorching sunburn, the heat will still remain—like being trapped inside of an oven.

Now the Scriptures say that this plague will be poured out on the throne of the beast—on his kingdom. But where exactly is that? Some say that it will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, which is in Iraq. Others insist that it will be in the city of Rome. But I wonder if it will not extend further that just the city where he resides. How far is considered his kingdom?

Another question I have is: how long will this darkness last? I don’t think it will last to the end of the Tribulation, when the war of Armageddon if commencing, because they will need some light to fight. But I think it will be at least a few months, which I’m sure will feel like a long time.

One author suggested that people won’t even be able to produce electrical power to see in their homes, because most electricity is produced from rivers and bodies of water, and God will have shut that off (as you may have deduced from the second and third judgments). But I suspect that they will at least be able to light candles or use a flashlight. I don’t know. We don’t know how much God will allow.

One thing we do know is that the darkness will be felt and will produce pain—so much that people will gnaw their tongues in pain. That sounds to me like some kind of a nervous disorder. In Exodus 10:21, in the nineth Egyptian plague, it is written that the people felt the darkness. Also, in the prophetical book Zephaniah (Zeph. 1:15), it is written that in the coming day of the Lord it will be “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” I’m not sure if there has ever been this kind of darkness on the earth. I’m sure that it will be terrible.

Surprisingly, it will not cause people to repent of sins. They, I suppose, will love their sins too much to repent. And, as in the previous bowl-plague, they will curse God because of their pains and sores.

The Fourth Bowl – Scorching by the Sun (Revelation 16:8-9)

Assuming that the bowl judgments will last about three-and one-half years, we may conclude that each plague will last about six months. Thus, we may figure that this fourth bowl will begin about one-and one-half years from the midpoint of the Tribulation (or from the beginning of the bowl judgments). We also should keep in perspective the fact that, as we said from the beginning, the judgments, all of them are ongoing. Therefore, we need to keep in mind that at this point (the beginning of the fourth bowl) people are still suffering from malignant sores, from bloody seas that are causing people to be sick, and from having to drink bloody water. And this is just from the bowl-plagues. The seal and the trumpet plagues are also still causing trouble.

So, with this in mind, we will look now at the fourth bowl. It is a judgment that is poured out upon the sun in order to scorch people with fire and to inflict them with fierce heart. Direct rays of the sun will be only two-thirds of the day, because, as we recall, a third of the sun will be darkened (at the fourth trumpet). Nonetheless, even the dark hours will still be as hot as an oven—no relief in sight! Even the bloody oceans and rivers will probably be warm.

Now what will be the consequences of this plague? As we can see from the text, men (people) will be scorched with fire of the sun and will suffer from the sun’s fierce heat. The word “scorch” seems to imply the burning of the skin—so much that there will be significant damage; a severe sunburn. When I think of scorching I usually think of black marks to a white shirt by a hot iron that was held too long on the shirt. Anyway, the days will certainly be a scorcher! And very hot! Probably over 150 degrees every day. And it will last many months, for the rest of the Tribulation.

But we can also surmise that there will be disastrous changes to the earth, caused by the melting of the polar ice caps, which will result in catastrophic loss of life. Some estimate that the sea level will rise as much as 200 feet. Scientist are also saying that the melting ice will cause the shifting of the earth’s crust horizontally.6

And since we may regard that this fourth plague will continue for some time, it is highly likely that the events of the seventh bowl (verse 20) will have something to do with this melting of the ice caps—besides, of course the great earthquake (verse 18).

I think the most shocking thing about this plague is how the people will react to it. They will not be humbled and repent; instead, they will curse God. And this reaction tells us that they definitely will know that God exists and that He is the One that brought this plague on them.

Hence, even though they may declare themselves as atheists, in their blasphemy they will reveal that they all along knew God in their heart, but refused to honor Him. Thus, in their foolishness they, without knowing it, will be declaring Romans 1:21 to be true: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give [Him] thanks…”

6 Clea Simon, “Melting of polar ice shifting Earth itself, not just sea levels,” at

The Third Bowl – Judgment on the Fresh Water (Revelation 16:4-7)

This third bowl-plague will come after the second bowl-plague of death to the sea; probably after it has affected human kind to its fullest extent. We don’t really know when this plague will begin; but I don’t think there will be any time between these bowl-plagues to relax.

This plague is another plague on water, but this time it will come on the rivers and the springs—on all the fresh water; water that is for drinking. It will all become blood. I suppose it will be much like the first plague of Egypt (Ex. 7:14-25), the blood in the water coming from the death of all the fish in the river (the Nile). But in this third bowl judgment all the fish and all that is living in all the rivers and the springs on the earth will die.

I am wondering how wide-ranging it will be? That is, in Egypt they were able to dig anywhere around the Nile and find fresh water; but I have a feeling that in the Tribulation even the underground water will be polluted. I don’t know. I am wondering also if they will be able to rely on fresh fruit for a source of water. Or will that be polluted too—since fruit trees have to be nourished from fresh water?

How will people survive without water? They may have to rely on bottled water or coke that they have stored away. But what will they do when that is used up? Perhaps they will be able to purify the water or somehow sanitize it.

As we ponder these questions let’s hear what an angel, “the angel of the waters” has to say. He says,

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.

Here, this angel, who apparently has been charged with guarding the waters of the earth, praises God for His righteousness and holiness in respect to what He has done: for His judgment on the rivers and the springs in polluting it with death and blood, so that the people will have to drink it. It is well deserved, he said, because of what they have done in “pouring out the blood of saints and prophets.”

I’m not sure if we can be certain of who “they” (in verse 6) is referring to. Most directly, I think, it would be the leaders: the Antichrist, the false prophet, and the false church (the harlot) during the seven-year Tribulation. But it seems that this guilt, the guilt of the blood of the saints and prophets is also on all those who worship the Antichrist and Satan—all unbelievers. Hence, it seems that they all are guilty by association; for all will be given blood to drink. Yes, the angel of water says that they deserve it. Hence, they all will drink the bloody water. Yuck!

But indirectly, and for many years, the Catholic inquisition as well as the corrupt Roman government, corrupted by Babylonialism, has barbarically persecuted and killed many Christians, as we know; and God, I’m sure will deal with them justly in eternity.

Those in the seven-year Tribulation, however, may top that murder-rate and barbarism. During the first part of the Tribulation, the false church (or the Great Harlot) will be most guilty; for in Revelation 17:6 John sees her as “the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.” This false church is pictured in Revelation 17:4-5 as a woman…

clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

Hal Lindsey writes of this woman,

When the angel told John that he would tell him the mystery of the woman, he meant that this Harlot, the false religious system, would have as its main teachings the same occultic practices as ancient Babylon. It would include black magic, demon contact, seances, miraculous materializations, witchcraft, astrology, and sorcery. Her luxurious external appearances of jewels and royal clothes meant that she would have a great appeal to the sensual nature of men, but her gold cup filled with abominations represented her corrupt and perverse teachings. Her drunkenness with the saint’s blood shows how she had successfully eliminated all who opposed her.3

Then also, after the Antichrist destroys the Harlot (Rev. 17:16), he, with his armies, will make war with the saints and overcome them (Rev. 13:7; Dan. 7:21). We don’t know to what extent he will kill and persecute them. John MacArthur writes that “the Antichrist will be allowed to massacre those who are God’s children.”4

Now in verse seven a very strange thing occurs. John hears the altar speak, saying that indeed God’s judgments are true and righteous. The altar here is probably the same as in Revelation 6:9, the altar of incense in heaven. And, I think, just as in chapter 6, in the fifth seal, the speaking of the altar is actually the voices of martyrs expressing their approval of God and His judgments. According to Barnes in his Barnes Notes, on Revelation 6:9,

This is one of the incidental proofs in the Bible that the soul does not cease to exist at death, and also that it does not cease to be conscious, or does not sleep until the resurrection. These souls of the martyrs are represented as still in existence; as remembering what had occurred on the earth; as interested in what was now taking place; as engaged in prayer; and as manifesting earnest desires for the divine interposition to avenge the wrongs which they had suffered.5

We also have a familiar occurrence in Genesis 4:10, when God says to Cain after he had slain his brother Abel, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” Hence, this is yet another proof that the soul does not die after the body dies. It lives on, and the believer’s soul naturally cries out to God for vengeance, and also praises and approves of God’s good judgments.

3 Ibid., p. 224.

4 John MacArthur, John MacArthur’s notes on Revelation 13:7.

5 Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database, 1997, Biblesoft.

The Second Bowl – Judgment on the Sea (Revelation 16:3)

After the first bowl judgment of the sores, the second angel will pour out his plague into the sea (large bodies of water; the oceans and all the bodies called seas).

We don’t know if there will be much of a break of time between each plague, but I imagine that there won’t be. Each plague will take a significant amount of time to affect the people and to spread out into the whole earth; but I don’t think there will be much of a break after each plague. In other words, every day of the seven-year Tribulation will be full of suffering and terror. Just when you think a plague has run its course, so that things are seeming to relax, another plague will start.

This second bowl-plague is a plague on the sea, so that it will be polluted with blood and death. It will be similar to the second trumpet, but much worse; for in the second trumpet only a third of the sea creatures die; here all living things will die—both plants and animals.

Imagine it! Imagine the stench of it! We know that there are about one million species of animals in the oceans. There are invertebrates (without a backbone) and vertebrates; there are very large animals like whales, sharks, and dolphins; and then there are smaller fish of many varieties. The oceans are also teeming with many varieties of plant life, and some microscopic in size. All will die and probably float to the top of the water with much blood. And the stench of it will permeate and pollute the air for miles.

We don’t know how God will kill all ocean life. I suppose He will either use the devastation of war (nuclear bombs, etc.), or He will just make it happen by a word. But the fact is, we know He will do it at the time of His choosing.

And we should know that this plague will not be meant for the oceans alone. In fact, it will be primarily a plague on humans. For the survival and health of humans will depend on water, even the ocean water. And isn’t it ironic that for years we have been polluting its waters with our dumping and poor sanitation; and soon, by this deadly plague it will bring disease and even death to those in the Tribulation.

People don’t drink from the salt water of the oceans, but we eat so much of what lives in the ocean. All that will be gone from man’s diet. But one thing I am thinking about most, is the pollution and the destruction of the air we breathe.  Did you know that about half of the oxygen we humans breathe comes from the process of photosynthesis? This will all be destroyed, gone; because photosynthesis is produced by living microscopic plants called phytoplankton as it receives light from the sun.

So, this marvelous God-created process in nature will suddenly stop. And so, we can imagine what effect that will have on humans. There will be a lot of coughing and gaging going on, with an almost inability to breathe. And this plague I imagine will continue for the entire length of the rest of the Tribulation period.

First Bowl: Malignant Sores (Revelation 16:2)

This first bowl describes the plague in only one verse. It is a plague of a “loathsome and malignant sore on [all] the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his image.” We can’t be exactly sure what this plague will be like, but we can get a good idea of its nature from three sources: from Job (Job 2:7), from the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:9-11), and from the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lu. 16:20-21).

First of all, we know that in these three cases, the word for “sore” is the same as in this bowl judgment. In the New Testament case with Lazarus, it is the same Greek word helkos; and in the two Old Testament references, the same Greek word from the Septuagint is used.

In the earliest case of Job, the plague is described as “sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” It was a terrible infection of the skin directly caused by Satan, to test his loyalty to God. In this particular case, Job found some relief from his suffering by scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery, perhaps to break the boils open and release the infection.

In the case of the sixth plague on Egypt, it is said to be “boils breaking out with sores on man and beast.” Here it seems to be the same as in Job’s case and in the Tribulation, except here the animals will be infected too.

Putting these together, we may conclude that in the Tribulation the sores will be similar, but I can’t help thinking that it may be worse. And though it will be a punishment by the Lord, He may use a man-made means to cause the boils like radioactivity in the air. Hal Lindsey writes,

This rash of malignant sores could easily be caused by the tremendous radioactive pollution in the atmosphere. After the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima thousands of people developed hideous sores because of the radioactivity.

As to the duration of this first bowl-plague, we can’t be sure that it will last for the entire length of the Great Tribulation (for three and a half years); however, it seems clear from verse eleven, that during the fifth bowl, people will still be suffering from their sores.

But there is one thing we can be sure of; the plague will affect only those unbelievers that took the mark of the beast and who worship his image. All true believers will be supernaturally protected as were the Jews in Egypt in the days of Moses.

Introduction To The Bowls (Revelation 15:5-16:1)

After John takes in the glad and victorious vision of the saints in heaven, rejoicing in their victory over the beast (Rev. 15:1-4), he then looked and saw the heavenly temple—where God dwells. And the door to the temple was open, so he could see inside, even into the Holy of Holies. And he saw the seven angels (referred to in verse 1). They came out of the temple clothed in clean linen, and they were girded around their chest with golden sashes. The clean and bright linen represents their holiness and purity, and the golden sashes denotes their royalty.

Then one of the four living creatures (God’s cherubim) gave to each of the seven angels, golden bowls full of the wrath of God. Take note that it is not the wrath of the Antichrist, but the wrath of God. Hence, all the terrible tribulation during the next period of time (approximately three- and one-half years) will come from the wrath of God as He pours out His anger on the sins of the world.

Suddenly, after the angels were out of the temple and had received the bowls of wrath, there came into the temple a cloud of smoke. It was not any ordinary smoke; it was smoke from the glory and power of God. And it was impenetrable, so that no one was able to pass through it to enter the temple until after the seven plagues were finished.

Now we don’t know exactly what this cloud of smoke was like, but I imagine that it was the same smoke as in the Old Testament, the smoke of God’s presence preventing Moses or the priests from entering the temple. Now I don’t think that its impenetrability had anything to do with its physical make-up. I think it has more to do with its spiritual make-up, with the holiness of God, mainly His wrath and judgment.

I dare not say too much—more that I am sure of, but I need to say something about this situation of not being able to enter the temple. The temple here is not the physical, Tribulation temple. Verse five tells us that it is the temple in heaven. So, I take it that it is the place of God’s presence, the place where we now go to draw near God when we pray. It is the throne of grace where we go to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). Hence, during this Great Tribulation, I take it that the time of grace is over, that for unbelievers as well as believers, it is too late to call out to Him. For believers during that time, I believe that God will take care of them. But for unbelievers that suddenly want God’s help, I think it may be too late for them.

Suddenly, John was disturbed by a loud voice from inside the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

Timeline Of Events Leading To The Bowl Judgments

I don’t know if we can be exact about when all the judgments will occur; but, according to most bible prophecy scholars, the seal judgments will occur roughly during the first twenty-one months of the Tribulation, the trumpet judgments during the second twenty-one months, and the bowl judgments during the entire second half of the Tribulation, for forty-two months or three and a half years. In the first half of the Tribulation (with the seals and trumpets) the earth will experience the wrath of the Antichrist, along with the harlot (or the false church); and in the second half of the Tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation, the earth and its people will experience the wrath of the Almighty God.

I don’t think it is super important to try to fit everything exactly into its proper place—nor can we; but, I think, to at least guess at it, we may get a better understanding of how things will fit together, especially during the time of the middle of the Tribulation and leading up to the bowl judgments.

The way I see it, there are two categories of time; events at the mid-Trib, and events a little later, leading up to the bowl judgments.

Events at the Middle of the Tribulation

1. The Antichrist is resurrected (Rev. 13:3). After this seemingly miraculous event, the Scripture says, “The whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.”

2. The Antichrist breaks his peace covenant with Israel and puts a stop to animal sacrifices and grain offerings in the Jewish temple (Dan. 9:27). Notice that he does this in the middle of the week (meaning the seven-year covenant).

3. He exalts himself, and others exalt him, as God (2 Thess. 2:3b-4; Rev. 13:3b-4). In 2 Thessalonians we read, “The man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” Then in Revelation it is written, “And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to war with him?’”

These three points will mark the exact time at the middle of the Tribulation. And this is the time when scholars believe that Satan fills and empowers the Antichrist so that he believes himself to be God and the resurrected Christ. Hence, it is at this time that he begins to speak so arrogantly against God and against believers and makes war with them (Rev. 13:5-7).

A Few Days or Weeks Later

We cannot be sure how long it will take the following events to transpire, but it seems logical that it will take at least a few days to a few weeks—but probably not longer than that.

4. The Antichrist destroys the harlot (Rev. 17:16-17). The harlot (the false church) will reign together with the Antichrist during the first half of the Tribulation (Rev. 17). But when he is fully controlled by Satan and thinks that he alone is God, he no longer will tolerate the harlot; and he, along with his ten kings will hate her and make her “desolate.” Now we don’t know how long it will take to destroy her, but I imagine that with just a strike of the pen, with an executive order, he will do it.

5. He will make war with all true believers (Rev. 13:7). Besides the false believers of the false church, He will also, and more, go against the true believers. In fact, he will hunt them down and kill them—all who are destined to be martyred (read Rev. 13:10).

6. The image of the Antichrist is made and set up (Rev. 13:14-15). We don’t know how long it will take for those “who dwell on the earth” to make this image and to make it speak, but I am guessing that it will take some time. However, the way advanced technology will be, it may not be long.

7. Many Jews flee to safety into the wilderness (Rev. 12:14; Matt. 24:15-21). We know exactly when these Jews—as many as decide to go—will begin fleeing for safety into the wilderness. It will be, as Matthew 24:15 indicates, when they see the Abomination of Desolation standing in the temple. This, I think, is the image of the beast (I won’t go into more details as I have already written on it on pages 155-157).

8. All people are required to take the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16-18). These verses (vs. 16-18) explain it quite well. Everyone, no matter how old, how wealthy, or what status, will be required to take the mark; which is a mark representing the Antichrist. It will be the government’s system to control people. And if you want to buy or sell anything you must have the mark.

But we know that there will be many who refuse to take the mark. All true believers will not take the mark; for it is a sign of the Antichrist and for those who worship Him (Rev. 14:9-10). And since all who take the mark will suffer the wrath of God (hell), we can be certain that believers will not receive it, nor will they be force to get it, or be tricked into getting it. However, we know that God will somehow provide for them; He will provide for any believer that is destined to live during that time.

Now one of the reasons I decided to do this timeline is to give us an idea as to when the bowl judgments will begin; because the first bowl is a judgment on those who received the mark and who worship his image. For that reason, the first bowl will not commence until after the image is set up.

However, in saying that, I think we can be certain that even though there is a gap of time between the mid-Trib and the first bowl, there still will be plenty of Tribulation-suffering going on in that short gap of time.