What does Revelation 16:8 mean?
ESV: The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.
NIV: The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire.
NASB: And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given power to scorch people with fire.
CSB: The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun. It was allowed to scorch people with fire,
NLT: Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire.
KJV: And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
The fourth angel pours his bowl onto the sun with the result that the sun's temperature becomes so high that the sun's rays scorch people. There is an area in California in the United States with such high temperatures that it is called Death Valley. It's not uncommon for sunlit rocks and paved surfaces around the world to become hot enough to cause serious burns. But when the fourth angel delivers his bowl judgment, striking the sun, temperatures everywhere on earth may far exceed those of Death Valley.
This verse uses the Greek root word didōmi, which implies something that is "allowed" or "granted." This might mean that the sun, itself, is not going to be changed so much as earth will be more susceptible to it. In other words, this bowl judgment might mean something previously restraining the sun's potency—such as the ozone layer—will be crippled, "allowing" the sun to scorch the earth.
Looking at all these environmental judgments together, one can see how they could combine to create extreme conditions. Death and decay from earlier judgments can interfere with earth's natural defenses against solar radiation and temperature change. In this judgment, life-threatening sunburn and perhaps skin cancer may become common. What's described here might be thought of as an extreme form of global warming. Glaciers may melt and become raging floods. Drought and heat may contribute to crop loss, causing further famine and starvation. Grasslands would become deserts, wildfires would rage out of control. Pushed too hard, air conditioners and other machines would break down, causing massive deaths from heat exhaustion and sun stroke.
As a worldwide problem, even believers will suffer from the furnace-like heat of the sun. Revelation 7:16 holds God's promise that the believers that come out of the great tribulation will never experience the sun's scorching heat again.
Revelation 16:8–16 reports what happens when the fourth, fifth, and sixth angels emptied their bowls of God's wrath. It continues the apostle John's description of the bowl judgments which began in Revelation 16:1–7. The fourth and fifth bowl judgments resemble some of the events of the trumpet judgments, but are much more intense. These events occur just prior to the return of Christ to subdue His enemies and establish His kingdom on earth (Revelation 17—19).
This chapter explains the bowl judgments, which are the last and most severe of God's outpouring of wrath on earth. The first three bowls bring sores, seas of blood, and rivers of blood. After a declaration of God's justice come the next three bowl judgments, involving scorching sunlight, darkness, and a drying of the Euphrates to clear the way for an invading army. In the final, seventh bowl judgment, an earthquake tears Jerusalem into three parts, levels cities worldwide, and displaces islands and mountains. Hundred-pound hailstones fall, but unbelievers refuse to repent and instead continue to curse God.
Revelation 16 resumes the account of God's judgments on the wicked. It describes the bowl judgments, the third and final series of judgments. The seven seal judgments of Revelation 6:1–17 and 8:1 are the first series of judgments. The trumpet judgments of Revelation 8:1—9:21 and 11:15 are next. All of these judgments vent God's wrath and are recognized as the day of his wrath and the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:17). Chapters 17 and 18 further describe the destruction caused by the judgments. Revelation 19 and 20 will describe the culmination of God's wrath and the final events of the end times.
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:50:16 AM
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