“Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse. And everything in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs, and they became blood.”
Revelation 16:3-4 NLT
This is a disgusting thought. The blood inside a decomposing corpse decomposes and rots too. And that is how John saw the oceans of the world. Vast extents of rotting bodily fluids. The smell must have been atrocious. John also discerned that everything in the sea died as well. No more fish and plant life. The ways of commerce and fishing for food would have been destroyed at a stroke. The beast’s economy would have been destroyed. The world’s food supply eliminated. Oxygen required to sustain life much reduced, and reducing.
Earlier in our journey through Revelation, we found, “Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and a great mountain of fire was thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea became blood, one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:8-9 NLT). It is almost as though this plague was finishing the job started by the angel with the trumpet. Desperate times for the remaining people on Planet Earth.
Similarly, with the rivers and springs also turning to blood, the process started in Revelation 8:10-11 is completed. We read, “Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star was Bitterness. It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water.” The bitterness of one third of the fresh water supplies was replaced by nothing but blood. For “water” read “blood”. Can you imagine it? Raining blood. Red snow and ice. What did people drink, being surrounded only by rotting, stinking, clotting, decomposing, blood?
Do we take the references to blood literally, or do they instead have another meaning? Does the water everywhere really become like “the blood of a corpse” or blood itself, or is there some other meaning? We don’t know. Suffice to say, that the peoples on earth were at the end. That is, of course, unless they repented of their wickedness and sin, and turned to God.
In Exodus 7 we read about how Moses turned the Nile and all the water supplies in Egypt into blood, but even this miraculous sign failed to change Pharaoh’s resolve. The Egyptians were able to find fresh water by digging holes alongside the banks of the Nile. But in these End Times, that option would have been unavailable. Digging holes would have just exposed more blood.
In our society today, in 21st Century UK, or wherever we are, there is much to mourn. Not just the passing of our Queen, but also the rising cost of living. The sky-high energy prices. And we mourn the deterioration of the social values that we have enjoyed for so long. We mourn the breakdown of family life, the waiting lists for our medical facilities, the lack of dentists – the list seems to be endless. But all these things are trivial compared to what it would have been like living in the times of the beast. Faced with a catastrophic economic melt down, lack of food and acute difficulties finding water to drink, the remaining populations in these last days would have been gripped by fear, driven by panic, with scenes too desperate and graphic to imagine.
In our times, many of us have a tendency to do a lot of moaning. When life seems hard, when depression seems to be just round the corner. When we lack the means to pay bills, or the car breaks down or whatever challenge we are facing into, we need to remind ourselves of what life will be like in the Last Days. In Philippians 4:12-13, we read about the Apostle Paul’s attitudes to life. “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength“. In this season of grace, God is holding the world order together. Yes, there are wars and economic problems. Yes, diseases and medical challenges abound. But in the Last Days, His grace will have run its course and He will loosen His grip on the world, allowing the forces of darkness to be unleashed on whoever is still alive on earth. The beast has emerged, preceding a time of an outpouring of God’s final judgements. Like Paul, in this life we must learn “the secret of living in every situation”, grateful for God’s love and grace, and all that He has done for us. And in our work-a-day lives, we continually express our thanks to our wonderful Heavenly Dad, regardless of our circumstances.
Dear Father God. How wonderful You are. We are so grateful for Your mercy and grace. Please help us to keep a balanced and thankful attitude for all You have done, and will still do, in our lives. Amen.