We’ve had the seven
Now we come to the last of the “sevens”. The seven plagues released when the seven bowls of God’s wrath is poured out, this is covered in Chapters 15-16.
Note that John himself refers to them as the last (15:1), “because with them God’s wrath is completed.”
Note also that “bowls” containing wrath is patently metaphorical. I leave it to you to decide if the “harps” held by those victorious over the beast are literal.
Interestingly, “what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire” could easily be the aftermath of a nuclear explosion in the desert.
The angel poured out this first bowl on the land resulting in ugly, festering sores breaking out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped its image.
Those who worshiped evil would be punished.
The next angel poured out his bowl on the sea turning it into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.
The life of a thing is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). It’s as if the world has been stabbed, with pollution and neglect by man and now lies dying, bleeding.
With all the sea creatures dead those who make their living from the sea would be devastated (cf Revelation 18:17).
Next a bowl is poured out on the rivers and springs of water causing them to become blood.
The fourth bowl is poured out on the sun. The sun was then allowed to scorch the people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
The key point to note is that God’s punishment did not cause people to turn to Him in repentance. But it caused them to curse Him instead.
The third last bowl was poured on the throne of the beast causing that kingdom to plunge into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
Again, people failed to repent and instead cursed God.
The penultimate bowl / plague was actually not a punishment but preparation for the final battle to be held at Armageddon.
It was poured out on the great river Euphrates causing the waters to dry up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.
In addition, three evil spirits performed miraculous signs to gather the kings of the world for the final battle.
The final bowl is poured into the air. There’s flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and the severest earthquake in history causing the Great City to split into three parts and the cities of the nations to collapse.
Babylon the Great was given the cup of God’s wrath. Island fled away, mountains could not be found. Huge 100 pound hailstones fell on people, and people cursed God for the hail.
The final “plague” is basically God dealing with Babylon the Great / the woman on the beast / the Great City that rules over the kings of the world (Revelation 17:18).
Babylon is split into three parts by an earthquake, the beast and the 10 horns will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
Addendum: The Final Battle (Armageddon)
The final battle is actually pretty anti-climatic as the Beast and the False Prophet were simply captured and thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Revelation 19:20).
The rest of the amassed armies were simply killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the Rider (Faithful and True, the Word of God) of the White Horse.
Rather gruesomely, all the birds gorged themselves on the flesh of the slain.