The seven bowls of God’s wrath release seven devastating plagues on the earth. They are very similar to each of the seven trumpets from chapters 8 and 9 but are more extensive in effect. Many see the trumpets as warnings and these bowls as judgments, which bring utter and total ruin. Notice in verse two that the first bowl was poured only on those that had the mark of the beast and in verse nine that people still refused to repent and glorify God.
In verse 16 we see the only place in the bible were Armageddon is mentioned. It literally refers to a place in Israel that has been the scene of many battles. Comments in The NIV Student Bible say, “Some historians estimate more wars have been fought here than any other location in the world.” Armageddon symbolically refers to where “the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (verse 14) will be fought. John’s use of “great day of God Almighty” means that God will be victorious in battle. In the coming chapters we’ll catch glimpses of this conflict.
-Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman