It feels like it’s getting very repetitive! And that’s the point. John is telling the story of the end, leading to the judgement, from different perspectives, rather than giving us a linear timeline of events. After all how many last battles can there be? (6:16-17; 15:1; 16:14)
The first bowls are similar to the first trumpets and again echo the Exodus plagues. There’s relief for the saints that the enemies of God are being judged. Oh, how I want enemies of God to turn to the love of God and be made friends of God before the end. Sadly, in the final crisis it looks like, instead of turning to God, many will curse Him.
Armageddon is the Mount of Megiddo. That used to be a key city on the trade route between Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was the site of many battles, including decisive ones for the people of God (Judges 5:19 and 2 Chronicles 35:20-22). It is thus a fitting symbol for the location of a climactic battle. The description of demonic spirits inciting it shows us it is a spiritual battle. To imagine it is between Russia and Israel or Syria, or wherever, is missing the point. The battle is between the servants of God and the enemies of God, not between nations.
The seventh bowl brings the cycle of judgements to an end – an earthquake, overturning of mountains and hail, just like Ezekiel 38:19-23.
Verse 7 tells us “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgements!”. One day God will judge everyone – those who have put their trust in Jesus can look forward to it, just like going to court to find out how much compensation you will get for some issue. Fear of punishment has been replaced by confidence, the fear lost in God’s perfect love (1 John 4:17-18). For those who have rejected Christ, it will be their worst nightmare.
As we gather in families or with friends, celebrate that Jesus came in the flesh, born of the Virgin Mary to die for us. Trust Him! He is a sweet Saviour.