16:2, note b
The first plague, a sore for the marked
"And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." (Rev. 16:2)
Although the plagues have
symbolic significance, the texts lead us to believe they will be real curses
as well — the wages of sin earned by the end-time wicked. Isaiah
1:4-6. See the overview
for perspective. Satan was permitted to inflict righteous Job with boils,
a source of great misery (Job 2:6-8). And He has allowed evil to show its
ugly nature throughout the many years since that time. Now the sores are
for the wicked.
The sea cursed
"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." (Rev. 16:3)
When we studied the beast
from the sea 1301b,
we concluded that the sea represents masses of people (17:15). In the divine
lament against the Prince of Tyre, we may see the plague of bloody waters.
The lament includes Isaiah's description of Satan and of the apostate religious
power who will follow Satan's course of absolute defiance of God's authority
as expressed in His law, 1315d.
Also see 1817.
| You, son of man, take up
a lamentation over Tyre; and tell Tyre, you who dwell at the entry of the
sea, who are the merchant of the peoples to many islands, thus says the
Lord Yahweh: You, Tyre, have said, I am perfect in beauty. Your borders
are in the heart of the seas; your builders have perfected your beauty...
Son of man, tell the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because
your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a god, I sit in the seat
of God, in the midst of the seas; yet you are man, and not God, though
you did set your heart as the heart of God therefore thus says the Lord
Yahweh: Because you have set your heart as the heart of God, therefore,
behold, I will bring strangers on you, the terrible of the nations; and
they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and they
shall defile your brightness. They shall bring you down to the pit; and
you shall die the death of those who are slain, in the heart of the seas.(Ezek.
27: 2-4; 28:2, 6, 8, WEB)
Satan is the one who considered himself beautiful. He is here pictured in symbols of the king of Tyre.
Sea turned to
We must be cautious about taking situations which impress us and see prophetic symbols in them. In this case, we can understand how sea turning to blood might be fulfilled. The microorganism dinoflagellates is already a serious problem in many places. If God allows it to spread to significant parts of the oceans after the general chaos begins, we could see it as the outpouring of the the second plague.
Bloody water sources
"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains
of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say,
Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because
thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard
another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous
are thy judgments." (Rev. 16:4-7).
Photo of red water and dead fish. © by Michael S. Henry, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL 34236 Used here by permission. http://www.mote.org/~mhenry/rtupdate.phtml
As the plagues of Egypt increased in intensity, so will those at the end of time. This third plague is more serious than the second one because water for drinking and all the other purposes so vital to human life will be turned to blood. This will likely mean pollution of the aquafers, the porous rock layers under the ground from which we pump water.
In the overview chart, I suggested that the water sources represent God's word to us, with punishment for those who have caused people to totally discredit it. Atheism, which has its modern roots in the French Revolution, does this. Unfortunately, many modern theologians have done the same thing by what they call the historical-critical method of interpretation of Scripture. In it, they hold that the Bible must be tested as any uninspired, historical document. Motives of Bible writers are said to have caused them to make up part of what they wrote, and for them nothing is new so miracles are fiction unless we see them today. Thus God did not open the Red Sea and the Jordan. Jesus did not rise from death, and so on.
We continue with the third plague on the next page.
Praise God for the certainty of His word. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." (Isa. 40:8)