What Goes Around – Revelations 16:1-13

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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After a lad was rescued from drowning in a muddy bog, a Scottish nobleman arrived to thank and reward the farmer for saving his son. When a reward was declined, the nobleman asked permission to take the farmer’s boy and give him the finest education available. The farmer granted his request. His son went on to graduate medical school and later to become known as Sir Walter Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin. Years later the nobleman’s son was stricken with pneumonia, but Penicillin saved him. The name of the nobleman’s son was Winston Churchill.1 Many believe, “What goes around, comes around.” By that they mean, “A person’s actions, whether good or bad, will have consequences for that person.”2

Revelation 16 describes seven vials of God’s wrath that will be poured out in the last half of the Tribulation. These are clearly to be seen as just consequences for sins that the lost commit during these seven years of God’s judgment. The first vile judgment will produce a “grievous sore” upon those who take the mark of the beast (vs. 2). This represents their spiritual disease of false worship that is putrid to the Lord. The second vile causes the sea to become “as the blood of a dead man” (vs. 3). Their purposeful waywardness will be a stench in the nostrils of God. Therefore, they will smell this stench in the sea. The third vile makes all the rivers and fountains of fresh water to become “blood” (vs. 3). The angel’s unmistakable explanation is that this happens because they have “shed the blood of saints and prophets” (vs. 6). The fourth vile produces a scorching “great heat” from the sun that will burn mankind, food supplies, and homes. The response of those suffering this judgment will not be humble repentance, nor turning to God in faith. Instead, they “blasphemed the name of God” (vs. 9), which indicates this unprecedented heat from the sun is the consequence of the hot words of defiance and blasphemy against the only Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The fifth vial produces darkness and intense pain, indicating the pain inflicted on the heart of God by their worship in spiritual darkness. The sixth vial dries up the Euphrates, to prepare for more judgment to come.

God’s Word teaches the principle that people reap what they sow, either in this life, or in eternity (please compare: Galatians 6:7; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-12). What kind of seed are you planting for a future harvest? Trust in Christ alone for eternal life.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."