Dear church,

The plagues of Chapter 16, emerging from bowls from temple in heaven, are the worst of the “sevens” in Revelation. Rather than afflicting just a portion of the earth or only a fraction of the people on it, these plagues tore at the entirety of God’s creation on earth.

I found it interesting that the people of God were just seen in Chapter 15 singing the song of Moses beside the sea – similar to what they did after their exodus from Egypt. In Revelation, the song preceded a collection of plagues that were poured out on earth. In Exodus, the song came after those plagues.  

The contents of the fifth bowl landed on the throne of the beast. We must like this. The antichrist’s kingdom was plunged into darkness!

And yet, the people of that kingdom “gnawed their tongues in anguish.” Those people cursed God, and they refused to repent of their sins.

A moment later, after the sixth bowl was poured out, strange spirits like frogs came out of the mouths of Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet. Frogs are a familiar plague (Exodus 8:1).

Back in Egypt, the result of the frog plague was this: “The land stank” (Exodus 8:14).

In reading Revelation 16, I was reminded what is in our mouths and what comes out of our mouths matters a great deal. The people of the land gnawed their tongues in their mouths. We’re given a picture of people chewing on the very thing they use to speak, to express themselves.

Satan and the forces of evil then released from their own mouths a trinity of unclean spirits. Perhaps the affliction was not a physical one but one that altered atmosphere in the world. The spirit of evil – which we see so often in our social media and in the communication we receive from the world – tends to stink. The voices of the world try to convince us to curse God.

We need to look around us and identify the way the atmosphere we inhabit is infected by evil. And we need to pay attention to our tongues.

Our mouths are not meant to do anything other than give glory to God – our Creator. When we don’t give him glory, when we continue to curse him, we live in rebellion. And, like the people in Revelation 16, we end up destroying ourselves. If we don’t use our tongues properly, we’ll end up destroying them. We ought to praise him.

“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5-6, 11).

Chris

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