Revelation Chapters 14 through 19, Part 3
by Karl Kemp
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We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Rev. 14:6-19:21 here in Part 3, starting with Rev. 15:5.
(5) After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened [[See Rev. 11:19. Exodus 38:21 and Num. 1:50 speak of "the tabernacle of the testimony" (cf., e.g., Num. 17:7; 18:2); it was called the tabernacle of the testimony because "the testimony" was placed in the tabernacle. Many verses speak of the ark of the covenant as "the ark of the testimony"; it was called "the ark of the testimony" because into the ark was placed "the testimony" (cf., e.g., Ex. 25:16, 21). "The testimony" refers to the two tablets on which were written the ten commandments (cf., e.g., Ex. 31:18; 32:15; and 34:28, 29).
The ten commandments were the heart and foundation of the covenant God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai. All the promises God made in the old covenant, including those contained in the song God gave to Moses, will ultimately be fulfilled. The words of this verse about the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven being opened (also for Rev. 11:19) include the idea that God will now bring to pass His covenant promises that deal with His end-time works of saving and judging. Along this line, also see Rev. 10:7. I should also mention that the tabernacle built under the leadership of Moses, which also served as the pattern for the later earthly temple(s), was built after the pattern of the heavenly temple (Ex. 25:9, 40; Acts 7:44; and Heb. 8:5).]], (6) and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles [cf. Rev. 1:13]. (7) And one of the four living creatures [cf. Rev. 4:6-9; 6:1, 3, 5, 7] gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. (8) And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.' " [On not being able to enter the temple because of the glory of God, cf. Ex. 40:34, 35; 1 Kings 8:10, 11; and 2 Chron. 5:13, 14. As I mentioned, this last verse rather strongly supports the idea that the seventh plague/bowl of wrath will be finished by the end of Daniel's 70th week. It doesn't seem tenable that this scene pictured in Rev. 15:8, with its great intensity, could extend throughout the millennium.]
REVELATION CHAPTER 16
"And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.' [Compare Psalm 79:6, 7; Jer. 10:25; Zeph. 3:8-10; and Rev. 15:1, 5-8.] (2) And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. [[Compare Ex. 9:8-11; Rev. 16:11. On the mark of the beast (Antichrist) and the worship of his image, see Rev. 13:14-18; 14:9-11. Note that the contents of the first bowl of wrath just fall upon those who worship Antichrist. Also, it is specifically mentioned that "the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast [Antichrist]," and the sixth bowl is concerned with those who are gathered to Har-Magedon by Satan, Antichrist, the false prophet, and the "three unclean spirits like frogs," who came out of their mouths (Rev. 16:12-16). And, as we'll discuss, the apparent purpose of the seventh bowl of wrath is to destroy all those gathered to Har-Magedon under the sixth bowl (very much including Antichrist and the false prophet). (See under Rev. 16:12, 13, 16, 17, 21; and 19:19-21.)
We can probably say that all seven bowls of wrath are directed against Antichrist and his followers. Antichrist's super-evil reign (which involves the "ten horns/kings" [17:12-14, 16, 17] and the false prophet [Rev. 13:11-18; 16:13; 19:20]) will constitute the dominant center of evil on the earth from the middle of Daniel's 70th week. For example, Antichrist will kill the two prophets/witnesses (Rev. 11:7) in the (approximate) middle of this seven-year period (apparently three and one-half days before the rapture takes place in the actual middle); the devil will give Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2) in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (right after the rapture); Antichrist will blaspheme God (Rev. 13:6); he will make war with the saints and (in some ways) overcome them (Rev. 13:7); he will have authority over, and be worshiped by, all but the elect (Rev. 13:3-8, 12-18); he, with the ten horns/rulers, will hate the great harlot and make her desolate (Rev. 17:16, 17); and we can probably say that he is the one behind the pouring out of at least most of "the blood of saints and prophets" mentioned in Rev. 16:6 (see under Rev. 16:6), which would confirm that the third bowl of wrath (Rev. 16:4-7) is also directed against Antichrist and his followers.]] (3) And 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. [[Compare Ex. 7:17-21; Rev. 8:8, 9 (the second trumpet); and 11:6. There is some correspondence with the second trumpet of Revelation (Rev. 8:8, 9), but there only a third of the sea became blood, and only a third of the living things in the sea died. What is meant by "the sea" is a major question. I can't be dogmatic, but I assume the Mediterranean Sea is referred to with the second bowl, and with the second trumpet.]] (4) And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. [Compare Ex. 7:17-25; Psalm 78:44; Rev. 8:10, 11; and 11:6.] (5) And I heard the angel of the waters saying, 'Righteous art Thou, who art and who wast [[Cf. Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8; and 11:17. It should be noted that the last part of God the Father's name from Rev. 1:4, 8; and 4:8 (the words "and who is to come") have been dropped in Rev. 11:17, and here in 16:5, because He comes at the sounding of the seventh trumpet of the book of Revelation (in the middle of Daniel's 70th week). Apparently He comes at first only in the sending of His Son.]], O Holy One [cf. Rev. 15:4], because Thou didst judge these things [cf. Rev. 6:10]; (6) for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets [[Compare Rev. 6:11; 11:7, 8; 13:7, 10, 15; 14:12, 13; 17:6; 18:20, 24; and 20:4. The references from chapters 17 and 18 refer to Babylon's shedding the blood of God's people, not Antichrist and his followers. Most of the blood of the saints shed on the earth during the second half of Daniel's 70th week will be shed by Antichrist and his followers (also see Rev. 13:2-5; 17:12-14, 16, and 17), not by Babylon the great. Most of the blood of the saints shed by Babylon is shed before Antichrist takes over in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, throughout the history of man on the earth.
See under Rev. 14:8, 16-18 on the identity of Babylon and on her destruction, and we will further discuss these topics as we continue (see Rev. 16:18-20 and 17:1-19:3).
Throughout the history of the Bible, until the time of the split between Antichrist (who is the last of the leaders of the world kingdoms of the Bible) and Babylon the great harlot, the two (the leaders of the world kingdoms with their kingdoms and Babylon) are typically united (cf. Rev. 17:3, 7, 9), with both being motivated by the god of this world (cf., e.g., Rev. 12:3; 13:2, 4, 11; 17:5, 6; 18:3, 23, 24). The split comes, as Rev. 17:16, 17 demonstrate, because God has planned to use Antichrist and his followers to judge and destroy Babylon. In the book of Revelation, God uses the devil, evil angels, demons, Antichrist, and the false prophet along with His righteous forces in His end-time judgment of the world.]], and Thou hast given them blood to drink. They deserve it.' (7) And I heard the altar [undoubtedly referring to the sacrificial altar (cf. Rev. 6:9-11; 14:18)] saying, 'Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments [cf. Rev. 15:3, 4; 19:2].' (8) And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun [cf. Rev. 8:12 (the fourth trumpet)]; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. (9) And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God [cf. 13:5, 6; 16:11, 21] who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent [cf. Rev. 9:20, 21; 16:11], so as to give Him glory [cf. Rev. 11:13; 14:7]. (10) And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened [cf. Ex. 10:21-23 (the ninth of the ten plagues at the time of the exodus from Egypt); Rev. 8:12]; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, (11) and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores [cf. Rev. 16:2]; and they did not repent of their deeds [cf. Rev. 16:9]. (12) And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates [cf. Rev. 9:14]; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east. [These "kings from the east" will cross the Euphrates River on their way to Har-Magedon, as the following verses show. It may prove to be relevant that Turkey has built a dam that would enable drying up the Euphrates.] (13) And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon [Satan (cf. Rev. 12:9)] and out of the mouth of the beast [Antichrist (cf. Rev. 13:1-8)] and out of the mouth of the false prophet [cf. Rev. 13:11-17; 19:20], three unclean spirits like frogs; (14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs [cf. Rev. 13:13-15; 19:20; and 2 Thess. 2:8-12], 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. [Compare 1 Kings 22:19-23; Rev. 19:19; and see the references in the third paragraph under Rev. 16:16.] (15) ('Behold, I am coming like a thief [cf. Rev. 3:3]. Blessed [cf. Luke 12:37] is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame [cf. Rev. 3:18].') [[On the need for Christians to always be awake, alert, ready, and watchful, and living in the truth and righteousness of God, so that Christ will have no need to come against them in judgment as a thief, see under Matt. 24:42-51 in my paper on Matthew chapter 24. These words are apparently directed at those saints who will be living on the earth during the second half of Daniel's 70th week, but they are applicable to all Christians of all generations.]] (16) And they gathered them together [cf. Rev. 19:19] to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. [[In the margin the NASB says, "Some ancient authorities read Armageddon." The KJV, NKJV, NIV and the Amplified Bible all have Armageddon. In Hebrew "Har" means mountain, or hill, or hill country. Apparently there is some reference to the ancient city of Megiddo, which was on the edge of a large plain [cf. 2 Chron. 35:22], the plain of Esdraelon. The site of the ancient city is located on a hill/mound some seventy feet high. Many excavations have been done at this site. The site is about fifty-five miles north of Jerusalem.
There is widespread agreement that the territory around Megiddo is probably referred to in Rev. 16:16. One primary reason is that the plain of Esdraelon, which is some twenty miles long and some fourteen miles wide at its widest point, would be a good place to gather forces. In ancient times, and in modern times, there have been many battles fought in the area around Megiddo. The battle where Deborah and Barak, by the intervention of God, defeated a large Caananite army with chariots (Judges 4:1-5:31; note 5:19) is probably the most important battle at that location mentioned in the Old Testament.
There are quite a few verses in the Old Testament that speak of God's end-time gathering of the armies of the nations to Israel in order to destroy them in judgment (cf., e.g., Isa. 66:18; Ezekiel chapters 38, 39; Joel 3:2, 9-17; Mic. 4:11-13; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:2-9; and 14:2-4, 12-15). The references in Zechariah, for example, make it clear that Jerusalem will be attacked in the last days. The forces that gather at Har-Magedon won't necessarily be destroyed there (at that particular location).
What motivates Antichrist and his followers to gather at Har-Magedon? Ultimately it traces back to the plan of God to judge His enemies and then to the work of the three demons who come out of the mouths of the dragon (the devil), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet in Rev. 16:13. The devil is motivated by a hatred of God/Christ, and it is clear that Antichrist and those who worship him are motivated by a hatred of God/Christ and His people throughout his three and one-half year super-evil reign (cf. Rev. 13:5-7; 15:2; 16:6, 9, 11; 17:14; and 19:19). Revelation 17:14 speaks of Antichrist and the ten horns/kings "[waging] war against the Lamb," and it goes on to mention that the raptured saints are with Christ at that time. This verse speaks of their waging war throughout their three and one-half year reign (cf. Rev. 17:12, 13).
Revelation 19:19 is the most important verse to show what the primary motivation is behind the gathering to Har-Magedon. It says, "And I saw the beast [Antichrist] and the kings of the earth assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse [the Lord Jesus Christ] and His army [which at least includes the raptured saints]." It would be better to translate "gathered," or "gathered together" instead of "assembled" in Rev. 19:19 to show the tie to the gathering of Rev. 16:16. (In the Greek the same verb is used in Rev. 16:16 [also 16:14] and 19:19. The NIV, KJV, and NKJV have "gathered together" in Rev. 19:19 and in 16:16.
Apparently it will be clear that Christ is associated with the city of Jerusalem and with the people of Jerusalem from the time of His mid-week return. For some details on this topic, see the section titled "The Lord Jesus Christ Will Claim Jerusalem as His City" on page 70 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture" and the Biblical references cited there (which are all discussed in that book). I'm speaking of Christ claiming Jerusalem as His city from the time of His mid-week return.
In conclusion, it seems clear that Antichrist and his followers are gathering to attack the followers of Christ in Jerusalem/Israel, and Christ Himself (and His army), and ultimately God the Father. To gather gigantic armies to fight opponents like this will undoubtedly require some extra motivation, like that provided by the three demon spirits of Rev. 16:13, 14. Apparently the primary motivation traces back to Satan's hatred of God, which he also imparts to his followers, including Antichrist. God, however, will have the last word. For one thing, Rev. 11:18 (which builds on Psalm 2) shows that the end-time rage of the nations (being led by Antichrist) will be countered and silenced by the wrath of God.]] (17) And 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.' [[When the events associated with the seventh plague/bowl of wrath are completed, "the wrath of God [will be] finished" (Rev. 15:1). All the judgments associated with the day of judgment, which begins when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation, is included in the seventh trumpet, including the judgments associated with the seven bowls of wrath. See Rev. 10:6, 7 (discussed in "The Mid-Week Rapture" on pages 169, 170, including endnote 7, and in my article on this site on Revelation chapter 10.).
But what is included in the seventh bowl? For a start, see the lengthy discussion under Rev. 15:1. Commentators typically include the judgment and removal of Babylon the great in this bowl; Rev. 16:18, 19 (which speak of the destruction of Babylon), coming right after 16:17, fit this viewpoint well. The more I study the details, however, the more I'm convinced that the seventh bowl doesn't include God's destruction of Babylon. It's possible that there could be a climactic end to the destruction of Babylon under the seventh bowl.
We'll get into more details under Rev. 16:18-21, and in the following chapters that deal with the judgment of Babylon, but I'll mention here two key reasons for my viewpoint. I believe (in agreement with quite a few commentators) that "the great city" spoken of in Rev. 16:19 is Jerusalem, the capital city of the nation of Israel. It seems that most of God's end-time judgment/shaking of the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (which will leave a substantial remnant, the often-mentioned end-time remnant of the nation Israel) will take place during the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of Christ, which is too early to be a judgment/shaking associated with the seventh bowl of wrath. And, second, as I mentioned under Rev. 15:1, Antichrist's attacks against Babylon the great (which apparently embraces all false religion, along with the other things the devil uses to seduce people from God) will start early, not near the end of Daniel's 70th week. The viewpoint of the book of Revelation seems to be that Babylon has already been destroyed before the seventh bowl is poured out. It probably is destroyed (at least to some significant extent) before any of the seven last bowls are poured out.
First God uses Antichrist and the ten horns to destroy Babylon (Rev. 17:16, 17), then He destroys Antichrist and his followers. Three other passages which show that God will use Antichrist in His end-time judgment of the world (much of this judgment will fall on Babylon) are Dan. 8:19, 23-25; 11:36-45; and Zechariah chapter 11, especially verses 15-17. (See chapters 7, 9, and 14 of "The Mid-Week Rapture" on these passages.)
It seems to me, as I mentioned, that the seventh bowl is probably limited to the destruction of Antichrist and his forces that have been gathered to Har-Magedon (Armageddon). This fits perfectly with the first six of the seven last bowls of wrath, which are aimed (at least for the most part) at Antichrist and his followers. (See under Rev. 16:2, 6.) After the gathering to Armageddon under the sixth bowl, we expect the judgment of the gathered forces, and that's (apparently) just what the seventh bowl contains.
I assume that we see the results of the pouring out of the seventh bowl of wrath "upon the air" (where hailstones come from) of Rev. 16:17 in the plague of huge hailstones pictured in Rev. 16:21. Note that the outpoured bowls typically affect the objects on which they are poured out: The second bowl "into the sea" (16:3); the third bowl "into the rivers and the springs of waters" (16:4); the fourth bowl "upon the sun" (16:8); the fifth bowl "upon the throne of the beast" (16:10); and the sixth bowl "upon the great river, the Euphrates" (16:11).
The gathered forces are judged and (apparently) totally destroyed by "the plague of the hail" (Rev. 16:21), which is the seventh plague of the seven last plagues spoken of in Rev. 15:1-8. Although literal huge hailstones may well be falling during the seventh last plague, this language (like the language of the great earthquake/shaking that destroyed Babylon the great of Rev. 16:19) probably symbolizes God's judgment going forth against Antichrist and his gathered followers.
The same judgment and removal of these enemies of God is pictured with very different, but equally graphic and powerful, symbolic language in Rev. 14:20 and in Rev. 19:20, 21. (Revelation 14:20 speaks of the judgment of the enemies of God, undoubtedly referring to Antichrist and his followers, as gathered grapes being trodden in the wine press of the wrath of God. Revelation 19:20 speaks of Antichrist and the false prophet being seized and thrown into the lake of fire, and 19:21 says "the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh." Also, whereas Rev. 16:18, 19 speak of Babylon the great being destroyed by a great earthquake/shaking [cf. Rev. 14:8], Rev. 17:16, 17 speak of her being burned up with fire [compare "the smoke of her burning" (Rev. 18:9, 18); and "her smoke rises up forever" (19:3)]. And Rev. 14:14-16 apparently speak of the judgment of Babylon as a reaping with a sharp sickle.) See under 16:21 for more details.
After mentioning here in 16:17 that God's end-time wrath is finished with the seventh bowl of wrath ("It is done"), the book of Revelation apparently goes on in 16:18-21 to give a brief summarizing account of God's end-time day of judgment (not just of the judgment associated with the seventh bowl of wrath). The two primary judgments of the day of wrath are the destruction and total removal of Babylon the great harlot (Rev. 14:8, 14-16; 16:18, 19; and 17:1-19:3) and then the destruction and total removal of Antichrist and his followers under the judgment of the seven bowls of wrath, especially under the seventh bowl (Rev. 16:21; 19:19-21; and 14:17-20; cf. 14:9-11). When these judgments are finished (about the end of Daniel's 70th week), we are able to see the end result of God's end-time judgments - His enemies have been judged and totally removed from God's kingdom: "It is done."
Revelation 11:19 is a very important cross-reference for Rev. 16:17-21; it says, "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple [These words have much correspondence with Rev. 15:5-8]; and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder [These same manifestations of God's power going forth are mentioned in Rev. 16:18] and an earthquake [or, shaking. This earthquake/shaking corresponds, at least to some significant extent, with the great earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18, 19] and a great hailstorm [which undoubtedly equates with the great hailstorm of Rev. 16:21]."
Revelation 11:19, which is tied to the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation (Rev. 11:15), apparently pictures, in symbolic language, all the judgments of the day of judgment (which starts at the sounding of the seventh trumpet) going forth. (The seventh trumpet includes all the judgments of the day of judgment, including the judgments of the seven last bowls of wrath.) Two other passages that have some correspondence with Rev. 11:19 and 16:17-21 are Rev. 6:12-17 and 8:5.]] (18) And there were flashes of lightning and sounds [The BAGD Greek Lexicon shows that we could think, for example, of the sounds/noise of "the roar of the storm."] and peals of thunder [cf. Rev. 4:5; 8:5; and 11:19]; and there was a great earthquake [or, shaking], such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake [or, shaking] was it, and so mighty. [[Revelation 6:12 and 11:13 also mention a great earthquake/shaking, and Rev. 8:5 and 11:19 mention an earthquake/shaking. All these earthquakes/shakings (not that they are all separate and distinct from one another) can probably be considered part of the great earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18. It seems clear that the purpose of the great earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18 is to totally bring down Babylon the great.
We must understand that there is more being spoken of here than literal earthquakes, though it's clear there will be literal earthquakes in the last days (e.g., Zech 14:4, 5, which apparently correlates with the great earthquake at Jerusalem mentioned in Rev. 11:13). God's end-time judgment can be symbolized by His shakings (cf., e.g., Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; 24:1, 19, 20; Hag. 2:6, 7, 21; and Heb. 12:26-29). Revelation 17:16, 17, verses that also use language that has a strong symbolic component, speak of Babylon being burned up with fire (cf. Rev. 18:9, 18; 19:3).
I believe the "great earthquake [shaking]" of Rev. 6:12, which is spoken of just before mentioning that "the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood," at least includes the shaking of the short great tribulation, that time of very intense warfare (the warfare of the sixth trumpet) that will take place in the one-month period just preceding the mid-week return of Christ. The shaking of the short great tribulation is important here in the context of Rev. 16:17-21 because, for one thing, it is (apparently) during this shaking that "the great city [will be] split into three parts" (Rev. 16:19). We'll discuss this point as we continue.
If the shaking of the short great tribulation is included in the great earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18, as I assume it is, this serves as a strong confirmation that the great earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18 can't be limited to events associated with the seventh bowl of wrath, which will be poured out near the end of Daniel's 70th week. As I mentioned, I don't believe this great earthquake/shaking of 16:18 (God's judgment/shaking of Babylon the great) is even included in the seventh bowl of wrath. (On the great tribulation of Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; and Mark 13:19, see number 8 on page 14 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"; see under Dan. 12:1 in that book (pages 149-155); see under Matt. 24:21, 22 in paper on Matthew chapters 24, 25; and see under Rev. 9:13-21 in my article on Revelation chapters 8 and 9 on this Christian article site.)]] (19) And the great city was split into three parts [[Most commentators say these words refer to Babylon the great, which is called the "great city" in Rev. 17:18; 18:16, 18, 19, and 21. I agree with those (and there are quite a few) who say the "great city" here is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called "the great city" in Rev. 11:8. The city of Jerusalem (and the nation of Israel) will experience intense judgment/shaking in the last days, but, unlike the cities of the nations, it won't be totally destroyed.
Zechariah 13:8 apparently enables us to understand what is meant by Jerusalem's being split into three parts: This verse shows that "two parts in it [apparently referring to the land of Israel, of which Jerusalem is the capital] will be cut off and perish; But the third [the end-time remnant of Israel] will be left in it." Apparently two thirds of the people of Israel will be cut off (by death or by exile [cf. Zech. 14:2]) through God's judgment in the last days. This two thirds that is cut off can probably be considered to be part of, or at least closely aligned with, Babylon the great. The one third are part of God's elect, part of God's true Israel; they will be left as a remnant, and they will receive Christ, starting at the time of His mid-week return (cf., e.g., Zech. 13:8, 9; 12:10-13:1; 14:1-8; Rev. 11:13; and 12:6-13:18).
The time during which the two thirds will be cut off (at least for the most part) will be during the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of Christ. In other words, it will take place during the days of the short great tribulation, which we just briefly discussed under Rev. 16:18. This serves as a strong confirmation that the earthquake/shaking of Rev. 16:18 includes the shaking of the short great tribulation]], and the cities of the nations fell. [[Unlike Jerusalem, the cities of the nations, which are pictured as being part of, or at least closely aligned with, Babylon the great, totally fall in God's end-time judgment of the world. God's end-time judgment starts in earnest by the time of the shaking/judgment of the sixth trumpet (under which the short great tribulation takes place). I think of the day of judgment officially beginning when Christ returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation.
I'll quote a few sentences from G. K. Beale under Rev. 16:19 ("Book of Revelation" [Eerdmans, 1999]): "That 'the cities of the nations fell' describes the universal extent of the last judgment. It is not just Rome or some later great capital of evil that is decimated but all the world's cultural, political, economic, and sociological centers. They fall because they are part of the Babylonian world system."]] And Babylon the great was remembered before God [cf. Rev. 18:5], to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Rev. 14:6-19:21 in Part 4, continuing with what I said under Rev. 16:19.
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