In Revelation chapter 16, we are given a vivid picture of the hell that's going to be unleashed on this earth after Jesus Christ has taken the believers, those who have accepted Him as their Savior, up to that wonderful wedding supper in Heaven. While that event is happening, God releases His final judgments upon the Antichrist's empire. In Revelation 15, the introductory chapter to this event, we see that these final judgments will be delivered by "seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete" (Revelation 15:1).
The destruction of Babylon the Great occurs at the end of the Tribulation, either shortly before or after the Rapture. This destruction, as referred to in Revelation 17 and 18, sounds very much like a nuclear attack. How widespread an attack it will be, we don't know, but it seems the events that are described now are happening in a post-nuclear-war world.
Much is heard today of weapons of mass destruction, which not only include nuclear weapons but also biological and chemical weapons. In a total war situation that would arise from a nuclear strike as devastating as described in the destruction of Babylon, we can assume that every weapon available in a reprisal arsenal would be utilized. The horrors unleashed would be unprecedented, almost unimaginable, and totally unpredictable.
Keep that in mind as we examine the Scriptures on the Wrath of God. Even though the source of the last seven plagues is spiritual, it seems that the actual physical delivery system, so to speak, could perhaps be the fallout from this nuclear attack and/or continued nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare between the Antichrist forces and their enemies.
John observes, "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.' So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the Mark of the Beast and those who worshiped his image" (Revelation 16:1–2). This first plague is poured out upon the earth and the people who have followed the Beast. The followers of the Antichrist who accepted his Mark and worshiped his Image develop horrible sores!
"Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died" (Revelation 16:3). Some of these plagues had already occurred to a degree during the judgments of God on the empire of the Antichrist during the Tribulation, as recounted in Revelation chapters 8 and 9. They were only partial at that time: A third of the waters became blood, a third of fish in the sea died, a third of the ships were destroyed, a third of the trees were burned up, and so on. But this time, due to these final seven bowls of wrath, the destruction seems to be total! It says the sea became blood—apparently the entire sea—and everything that lived in the sea died!
The third angel will pour out his bowl upon the rivers and fountains and they'll become blood! There'll be no way for the wicked to get a drink of water, there'll be nothing to drink but blood! The angel says they're worthy of it because they shed the blood of God's prophets and His people, so they deserve to drink blood!—How the blood of the martyrs is avenged; those martyrs who cried out from under the altar in Heaven in Revelation chapter 6, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10). Well, here is the somber answer to their prayers!
The fifth bowl is a direct hit on the Antichrist and his forces. While the first four seemed to generally afflict the entire world, this particular one lands right on the Antichrist and his kingdom. The curses and plagues and horrors will be so bad that men shall gnaw their tongues because of the pain. Yet in spite of all this, they curse God and don't repent!—Think of that! It's going to be hell here and hell hereafter for those who insist on being unrepentant and rebellious against God.
Isaiah, when prophesying against the ancient city of Babylon, seemed to also foresee this time of wrath and prophesied:
The whole earth will become a disaster area under these awful judgments of God!
The sixth angel dries up the great Euphrates River to prepare the way for the armies of the east. In fact, the kings and armies of the entire earth will be summoned together for one last great battle. The Antichrist and his forces, even in their anger and their torment and their pain and their torture, are planning one last decisive battle for world domination. They are still reviling and cursing God and creating even more destruction in a final horrible war called "the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty."
The passage continues: "And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon" (Revelation 16:16).