Revelation 15-19: The Bowls, Babylon and Armageddon

Laying Out Revelation – Part 7

Here we restart the chronological order that was broken in Revelation 11, when the Seventh Trumpet was blown. In this section, we see the wrath of God poured out of bowls, the identity and fall of Babylon, Armageddon and our goal – the First Resurrection and the Rapture.

As always, there is a lot to get wrong, so we’ll try not to do that as we attempt to correct the errors that have afflicted our interpretation of this book for almost 2000 years.

So, let’s dig in…


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Revelation 15-19: The Bowls, Babylon and Armageddon

Laying Out Revelation – Part 7

Here are the five chapters that further the timeline of Revelation, picking up where Revelation 11 stopped:

  • Revelation 15 – Prelude to the Bowls of Wrath
  • Revelation 16 – Seven Angels pour out the Seven Bowls
  • Revelation 17 – Description and Identity of the Beast Rider
  • Revelation 18 – The Fall of Babylon
  • Revelation 19 – The Battle of Armageddon

All of that is in chronological order, and a lot to talk about. Probably too much. But, there’s some interesting stuff in here.

Just remember that we’ve already been dealt with the hardest part to understand. Unlocking the mystery of Seal Six has already allowed us to identify who the Woman is, when the Beast and the Antichrist arrive, and the timing of the First Resurrection which closely precedes the Rapture. Everything else that follows is quite easy to figure out, if we are willing to do so.

Revelation 15 – Prelude to the Bowls of Wrath

As we take up where Revelation 11 left off, remember that Trumpet Seven has sounded, and the Kingdom has been proclaimed. The 24 elders fall down in worship and praise of Jesus and proclaiming the judgment and reward of His people. The Temple in heaven has opened and the ark in the holiest of holies is revealed. All of that immediately precedes the beginning chapter 15.

Our first image is that of seven glorious angels that will pour out the Wrath of God upon the Earth. And that appearance precedes our next conundrum.

A Picture Of What Happens After We Die

It’s this verse:

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

 – Revelation 15:2 (NKJV)

These are those Christians who died during the reign of terror by the Antichrist. They were murdered for their faith, and we now see them in heaven.


Did we miss the Resurrection?

No, we did not.

So, how could these tribulation saints be in heaven?

Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything that happens when we die. And some of what the Bible says appears to contradict other descriptions of life after death. Jesus spoke of Abraham’s bosom. Daniel 12 speaks of ‘those who sleep in the dust’. And here we have a sea of glass where those in Christ are gathered after they had been murdered by the Antichrist.

Have they received their reward?

Nope. They haven’t. But, they ARE in a place of peace and tranquility while they await their final reward.

That place of waiting seems to be the one thing that we can claim to be true about what happens immediately after we die. We go to a place of waiting. And, I’m not sure that we would feel the same passage of times as we do now. Or, maybe that we won’t care very much about that passage of time.

It will certainly be a place of rest, at least for those who died while in a covenant relationship with God. Those who die without being members of The Kingdom, will exist in a place that is supremely unpleasant. See the description of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.

The Temple Opens – Redux

Next we either see a retelling of the Temple opening in heaven, or maybe it’s another part that opens. And again, we see the seven angels in verse 1, reintroduced as they exit the Temple. These angels are described as ‘having the seven plagues’ before they are given the bowls of the wrath of God.

Do they have the plagues and use the Wrath of God to rain their plagues down upon those who follow the Antichrist?

Sounds like it, but it looks like we don’t have a completely clear picture.

Once the Seven Angels are given the Seven Bowls of the Wrath of God, by one of the four creatures that stand before the Throne of God… The Temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God, and no one will enter the Temple until the bowls are poured out, which is Chapter 16.

Revelation 16 – Seven Angels Pour Out The Seven Bowls

Here is where the Seven Plagues afflict the followers of The Beast:

Bowl One – Foul and Loathsome Sores.

Bowl Two – The Sea Turns to Blood and everything living in it, dies.

Bowl Three – Rivers and Springs turn to blood.

Bowl Four – The Sun scorches men with fire.

Bowl Five – Darkness and Pain for the Kingdom of the Beast.

Bowl Six – Euphrates dries up, and the Kings of the earth are gathered.

Bowl Seven – The Greatest Earthquake, massive hail and Babylon to be judged.

All of these bowls seem to be  poured out in relatively quick order. There is enough time between each bowl for the followers of the Antichrist to feel and respond to each of these plagues. But seemingly, not more than a few days each. Enough time for them to blaspheme God instead of repenting.

Has the Resurrection and Rapture happened yet?

Nope. These bowls are being poured out while many of us are still on earth. But, you can bet that we are being completely protected from this time of suffering and wrath. Yes, I know that we don’t like the idea of being around when the bowls are poured out, but we do not set the script. God does.

Here’s the verse that shows us that we are still on earth:

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

 – Revelation 16:15 (NKJV)

That is Jesus speaking. Even though the Sixth Bowl has been poured out, and we’re almost to the end, Our Lord stills warns those of us still alive to hold on to righteousness. You can imagine them struggling on with the last of their strength almost ready to give up, because it has all been so hard. But, God tells us to persevere for the final bit of time that is left on the clock.

The Great City

One thing that puzzles me a bit is the reference to The Great City. It’s mentioned here, after the Seventh Bowl is poured out:

Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

 – Revelation 16:19 (NKJV)

Normally, when there are two descriptions like this, you should assume that they are two different entities. If that assumption is true, then our further assumption would be that this ‘great city’ is Jerusalem, and that would appear to be when these two verses occur in Zechariah 14:

4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.

5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.

 – Zechariah 14:4-5 (NKJV)

If you’ve ever been to Jerusalem, you’ll know that the Mount of Olives is right up against the Old City. If it splits in two like that, Jerusalem would easily break into three parts. That is not hard to see at all. But, if Zechariah 14 is connected to Revelation 16 in this way, it’s more proof that the Resurrection and Rapture still hasn’t happened in the timeline that God has laid out in Revelation.

It means that we are still here, in Jerusalem, and still needing to flee.

When does the Rapture and Resurrection happen?

Well, remember Resurrection and Rapture happens when Jesus reaps the earth in Revelation 14:14-16. This does not happen until AFTER Babylon has fallen. We still need to move forward in the timeline before we see the Resurrection and Rapture.

The other question is about the ‘greatness’ of Jerusalem. I love Jerusalem more than any other place on this planet. It’s an amazing place, but I would never call it ‘the great city’ – since it really isn’t all that big. But, there are many things that must happen before the Antichrist takes the stage, and it does look like Jerusalem could become a Great City before the Antichrist rises.

TRANSLATION NOTE: Most translations get Zechariah 14:2 wrong, which distorts our view of what is happening here. Half the city of Jerusalem goes into EXILE not CAPTIVITY. There is gigantic difference, and I am puzzled by why so many translators have such a poor understanding of Hebrew.

Revelation 17 – Description and Identity of the Beast Rider

Since the fall of Babylon happens when Bowl Seven is poured out, the vision of Revelation switches to a look at who and what Babylon is. She is referred to as a ‘great harlot’ who sits on many waters, and has committed fornication with the kings of the earth, and how the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with her fornication.

It’s NOT The Jewish People

A rather vile person decided that it would be clever to offer me some ‘food for thought’, trying to claim that this Harlot was the Woman of Revelation 12 who fled into the wilderness. Trying to claim that the Jews were the Harlot is a foul, evil and vile thing to say.

There is no way that the Jews could be this Harlot. First of all, this whore is represented by an ancient city, and the Jews have not had one of those before 1967. Nor do the Jews have this on their collective forehead:


Nor are the Jews drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

Does Jerusalem reign over the Kings of the Earth?

Absolutely not. I lived there for 15 years. There’s no way that Jerusalem reigns over ANYONE, let alone the Kings of the Earth. Seriously, take a good hard look at Israeli politics and then think about how Jerusalem has been pushed around for more than 55 years.

Israel is the punching bag of the world. Everyone loves to take a whack at the Jewish state, and I’ve had to sit an watch it happen. For anyone to add insult to the injury suffered by the Jewish people, I would have to look at such hardness of heart and doubt their salvation.

How can you be so evil and so deluded and still be saved?

Mystery, Babylon – The Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church would love for you to believe that the Jews are at the heart of every problem. The RCC has been trying to pin the blame on them for 2000 years and have been at the root of the pogroms that murdered so many Jews – along with so many Christians.

Rome has drunk the blood of Christians that they have murdered. Millions upon millions of Christ followers have been tortured to death. And Rome’s harlot daughters took up this foul practice in the name of ‘righteousness’. The Lutherans were some of the worst, but they had competition from the Anglicans, Presbyterians, and the myriad versions of the Greek Orthodox church.

The only thing more vile than the Roman Catholic Church, is The Beast that she rides. There is literally nothing that Rome has not done to gain favor and power all over the world. And, in her final and greatest betrayal, she will participate with the Antichrist in the massacre of those who follow Christ.

The ironic part of this lies in the word ‘harlot’. Prostitutes are not born that way. It is something that they become. They were once pure young women, who – one day – chose darkness. And that is a perfect picture of the Roman Catholic Church.

At one time, Rome was home to one of the early churches. Paul wrote the Book of Romans to the church there. Paul did evangelism in Rome. But, Paul was murdered at or before AD 67, by Nero – who committed suicide later that year.

By the time that AD 96 came, the Roman church was no longer considered one of the early churches. You will notice that Rome is not mentioned by Jesus, as one of the Seven Churches in Revelation 1, 2 and 3. There’s a reason for that.

Again, think about why Rome is not mentioned in chapters one, two or three of Revelation.

Rome had a great beginning, but she corrupted herself. She became a harlot and a murderer. She allied herself with Satan and The Beast. And her vileness is so much worse because she had such a good beginning.

Please remember that there is a curse upon all who seek to change the meaning of the Book of Revelation. That curse is especially true for those who seek to deflect the blame that the Roman Catholic Church so richly deserves. If you have done this, now is the time to repent of that.

Can Roman Catholics Be Saved?

As vile and evil as the Roman Catholic Church is, the Bible appears to indicate that some members of that foul monstrosity have salvation. It is hard to believe that this is possible, but since God said it… I will believe it.

In the next chapter we’ll see the cry of a voice that says, “Come out of her, my people…”, so I will never say that there cannot be Christians within the Roman Catholic Church. But, at the same time, it is also true to say that the Roman Catholic Church is not Christian.

They do not follow Christ. Their teachings are against the Bible. They twisted the Bible itself and added heresy upon heresy to their system of belief. Their idolatry is obscene. Their greed, beyond compare. Their lust for power, unending. And, their foul teachings are at the heart of many errors taught in our churches, today.

But again, if God says that He has people inside the Roman Catholic Church, I will not speak against that.

However, don’t expect me to accept you as Christian, if you choose to join Babylon.

The Beast That Rome Rides

I have speculated that there are three seven-headed creatures described in Revelation:

  • The fiery red Dragon that falls from heaven.
  • The leopard/bear/lion Beast that rises from the sea.
  • The scarlet Beast that rises from the Bottomless Pit.

That third one is ridden by the Roman Catholic Church, and its description is an awful lot like that of the Beast that rises out of the sea – Revelation 13. That second beast was not given a color when it was described, and it might be possible for this beast to rise out of the sea AND out of the Bottomless Pit.

Is the Second Beast also the Scarlet Beast?

However, this question is more perplexing than important. It really doesn’t matter if there are two or three beasts. It’s what they symbolize that matters. And, there’s a specific challenge related to understanding this scarlet beast:

9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

 – Revelation 17:9-14 (NKJV)

That sounds like the Beast System that we’ve been looking for, and it looks a lot like that beast rising out the sea in Revelation 13. But, notice that phrase in verse 9:

Here is the mind which has wisdom

There’s an ironic twist to this story that I find interesting:

The Scarlet Beast and The Harlot both have roots in the same place – Rome.

Yes, I know that Daniel spoke of the Leopard (Greece), the Bear (Persia) and the Lion (Babylonia). But, that fourth beast – the one with ten horns – that’s definitely Rome. And all who sprouted from Rome, have carried on the Roman tradition – all the while, hating the Roman Catholic Church.

Revelation 17 ends with a description of how much those ten horns hate the harlot. They will be driven by God to take everything from her, eat her flesh and then burn her with fire.

How Does The Rome Ride The Beast?

Since we have a 2000 year perspective on this story, we can ask how Rome has been so successful. So, I have a few thoughts:

Intelligence Networks – The Roman Catholic Church has been described as having better intelligence gathering than the CIA. Many point the finger at the Jesuits, but this would have been true long before that ‘order’ was created. For centuries, Rome sat at the center of a web of information coming in from every diocese, from all over the world.

Soft Power – When you command the belief and obedience of all the peasants and most of the nobility, you can push around the king. There’s a limit to how far you can go, and Rome overstepped those limits often. But, the amount of ‘soft power’ in the hands of the RCC was truly incredible.

Money – All those tithes flowing into Rome could buy a lot. Civil wars. Revolutions. Crusades. Disinformation campaigns. All of that and more were easily bought by the Pope.

The historical fact of Roman treachery is beyond obvious. They helped get the Nazis out of Europe when Germany lost World War II. They fomented rebellions throughout the world. They made common cause with the Chinese Communist Party, Islam, the Mafia and a host of foul entities. Rome is the author of the Pretrib Rapture Theory, Preterism and every kind of heresy.

We could go on and on, but it would be a distraction from the point. We know how evil the Roman Catholic Church is. This passage in Revelation is just making it extra clear.

Rome rides The Beast, and they will help the Antichrist murder as many Christians as they can.

And then… the Antichrist will murder Rome. How ironic.

Revelation 18 – The Fall of Babylon

The destruction of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church is emphasized in Revelation 18. And, it happens after bowl seven is poured out and before the Battle of Armageddon.

Think about that timing.

The Roman Catholic Church is alive and well throughout the reign of the Antichrist. They aid the Antichrist in the murder of those who will not take The Mark. They prostitute themselves to the Antichrist, and the Antichrist kills her. And, the description of it is like the use of nuclear weapons.

Does Rome get nuked?

It certainly sounds like it. But, it’s also true that there are many ways to destroy a city in this way. The fire bombing of Dresden during World War II would be one of many examples.

Revelation 19 – The Battle of Armageddon

TRANSLATION NOTE – Now, before going on, I have a beef with Bible Translators of Revelation 19. They keep saying ‘Alleluia’ instead of Halleluyah. Yes, I know that Ancient Greek doesn’t have a good ‘h’ sound, but we still know what the word that the angels are saying. It’s not Greek. It’s Hebrew. And, It’s Halleluyah – or, Praise Yehovah.

(And yes, I’m writing ‘halleluyah’ and not ‘hallelujah’. I argue with dictionaries, too.)

For those of you who have been waiting for the moment in the Revelation timeline, when the Rapture happens, Revelation 19 is when it happens. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the Resurrection and Rapture are indicated in Revelation. We saw the Resurrection and Rapture, here:

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

 – Revelation 14:14-16 (NKJV)

But, Revelation 14 is not a timeline chapter. It merely introduces the events that will occur in the timeline chapters that follow. But, one thing that Revelation 14 helps us see, is that the reaping of the righteous – the Resurrection and Rapture – happens BEFORE the reaping of the unrighteous when the Battle of Armageddon occurs.

Furthermore, Paul speaks in 1 Thessalonians about the physical characteristics of the Resurrection and Rapture – meeting the Lord in the air:

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

 – 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NKJV)

So, when do we see this in Revelation 19?

Just before verse 11.

Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves. The first part of chapter 19 describes the preparation of something that we also look forward to:

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

So, let’s go to the beginning.

The first five verses describe the great joy and the praises towards God for the complete obliteration of the Roman Catholic Church – the Great Harlot. The smoke of her burning will rise forever, and you can bet that it will be a permanent fixture even during the millennium. It will be like a smoking volcano, where the smoke never ends and just rises into the air, forever.

The Marriage and Marriage Supper

After that joyous occasion, verses six through nine praise God and describe the preparations for the marriage supper of the Lamb, along with the Lamb’s wife who has made herself ready. All of this is a description of preparation. Not the event itself. Let’s be careful about that.

Another thing that we need to be careful about is taking this ‘marriage’ out of context. I have seen people produce imagery about this that verges on the obscene and blasphemous. Jesus will not have a sexual relationship with this bride. That is not what is being communicated here, so people need to back off from some of the imagery that they are encouraging.

When Jesus spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, was He being literal?


The same thing applies here. Stop adding sexuality to the symbolism in this chapter. You’re welcome.

Then, in verse 10, we see the Resurrection and Rapture. Oh wait… no it doesn’t. It’s where we would expect it to be, and it’s where we think that it happens. But instead, we see a shocked yelp from the person explaining things, when John falls to the ground and worships him.

Apparently, the person talking to John is a ‘fellow servant’ who has the testimony of Jesus Christ. This leads me to wonder at who this could be. Very curious.

From verse eleven onward, we have the Battle of Armageddon and that second ‘reaping of the earth’ described in Revelation 14 – the Grapes of Wrath. Everyone who took the Mark of the Beast and who worshiped the Beast, gets killed.

Who is left?

There are those who cannot take the Mark and are unable to worship the Beast. For instance, the children of those who fled into the Wilderness in Revelation 12. Many will not accept Christ, but will not have opportunity to take the Mark or worship the Beast.

When you read Daniel 11, you see that the Antichrist has resistance. Egypt attacks him, and Revelation 12 indicates that others will continue to resist him. And, we cannot claim that all who resist the Antichrist are Christians. And, all of that is what we know.

We could speculate further that there could be pockets of humanity throughout the world that are cut off from civilization, that might not even know that the Antichrist has arisen. I’m not willing to do too much speculation here other than to help illustrate why there will be unsaved, un-Raptured people who remain on earth.

There are foolish theologians who have written painfully awful commentaries on the Bible, claiming that no one survives Armageddon and that the Millennium is populated only by the Resurrected and Raptured. That is complete and utter nonsense, and all who say such should be shouted down and have their commentaries burned.

The time for foolishness is over.

Christians who do not know the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, should not be allowed to influence our conversations on eschatology. As important as the Book of Revelation is, the revelations of the prophets are equally important. They provide vital context to what Revelation cannot talk about. And, I am truly disgusted by those who refuse to learn from the Hebrew Scriptures.

It verges on heresy, and that needs to stop.

Okay, in next week’s finale – Lord Willing – we’ll talk about the Millennium, the Final Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth and the curse upon all who mishandle the Book of Revelation.


I truly hope that you’ll be ready for this

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.Proverbs 22:3


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4 thoughts on “Revelation 15-19: The Bowls, Babylon and Armageddon”

    • With as much love, care and concern as possible. Remember how Paul writes to the churches – always praising that which is good in them, before telling them how awful they are. I’m better at this in person than say… on Twitter. With those who are sincere, be sincere and appreciative. With those who aren’t, walk away. I hope that helps. – JL

  1. After going to church service this morning, the pro-abolition slip is STILL underneath the wrapped-up TP after three weeks.
    People don’t use the stall very often.
    I just hope it gets lifted and Pastor sees to it soon. I’ve actually heard, according to, that churches in Oklahoma are finally calling for the abolition of abortion.
    Praise God! Now we just need every church in the country to call for it in unison. Oh, how I wish my baptism and the abolition of abortion – among all else – were immediate.

    • Well, your baptism should come first. Abolishing abortion will take longer. Remember that sins outside of Christ are less damaging. (Although, still very important.) I believe that God will destroy America because our churches have become corrupt. – JL


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