The Seven Bowls of Revelation

The sixth major section of Revelation is the OATH / SANCTIONS step of the Covenant pattern. In the Bible Matrix, this corresponds to the book of Joshua and the Day of Atonement. Here, however, the inheritance of earthly Israel is made void.

Just as Adam was intended to fulfill the Triune Office on behalf of Eve and against the serpent on Day 6, so this sixth section can be “split into three parts” (16:19):

WORD: The End of the Priesthood
Plagues upon the Creation (16)

SACRAMENT: The End of the Kingdom
Judgment of the Harlot and the Beast (17)

GOVERNMENT: The End of the Prophecy
The microcosmic Temple destroyed (18-19)

These three steps revoke Israel’s dominion, presenting her as an idolater in Egypt, then as an adulteress undergoing the Levitical “jealous inspection” in the wilderness, and finally as Jezebel, the Canaanite queen.


GENESIS: Plagues upon Pharaoh’s house
(Creation / Initiation / Sabbath)

EXODUS: Massacre of the firstborn
(Division / Delegation / Passover)

LEVITICUS: Moses’ commission
(Ascension / Presentation / Firstfruits)

4) A SCORCHING SUN (16:8-9)
NUMBERS: The wrath of Pharaoh
(Testing / Purification / Pentecost)

5) THE BEAST’S THRONE (16:10-11)
DEUTERONOMY: Egypt plagued and plundered
(Maturity / Transformation / Trumpets)

6) TWO ARMIES (16:12-16)
JOSHUA: Joshua battles Amalek at Sinai
(Conquest / Vindication / Atonement)

JUDGES: The Law is given at Sinai
(Glorification / Representation / Booths)

Notes on the cycle (16:2-16:21)

  • The Atonement theme of this major section sees the seven sprinklings of blood by the High Priest in the Most Holy Place (“heaven” Leviticus 16:14) and upon the Altar (“earth” Leviticus 16:19) expressed in the pouring out of the seven bowls. This explains the repeated mentions of a lack of repentance. On this final Day of Coverings, all those who had rejected the Gospel would atone for their own sins. Moreover, rather than safeguarding the Abrahamic promises, the bowls repossess the fruit of the land and the womb forever from the self-styled sons of Abraham, the Edomite (Esau) rulers of Jerusalem.
  • Each of the three cycles follows the Dominion pattern but together are an ironic ascension offering, moving from Egypt (the “waters below”) via the wilderness (a pillar of fire/cloud in “the air”) to Canaan (the “waters above”). It should be noted that the first set of three plagues upon Egypt came from below, the second set of three from “beside” and the third set of three from “above,” relating to the prohibition upon idolatry in Exodus 20:4 (see Plunder and Plagues).

CANAAN (Cycle 3)
(“rain”: waters above / Sarah / Jerusalem above)


(“the air”: pillar of fire and cloud / Abraham / blazing torch and smoking firepot)


EGYPT (Cycle 1)
(Nile: waters below / Hagar / Jerusalem below)

  • The first cycle takes images from Israel’s history with Egypt, beginning with the first bowl which alludes to the plagues upon Pharaoh’s house for seizing Sarai from Abram. That episode was a recapitulation of the attack on Eve by the serpent, but Abram outsmarted Pharaoh. The Herods would be plagued for their attempt to hijack the spiritual seed of Christ, the Firstfruits Church.
  • The second bowl alludes to the throwing of Hebrew boys into the Nile and the turning of the waters into blood 80 years later as a sign of blood-guilt. At Division, this speaks of the revoking of the Circumcision, the end of the Jew-Gentile divide. Now there were only believers and unbelievers.
  • The third bowl is the subsequent anger of the Lord from the mountain of God. Like Jeroboam’s altar, corpses would defile the Temple (2 Kings 23:16), and rivers of blood flow in the streets. The Altar itself speaks as a witness like the blood of Abel.
  • The fourth bowl is the sun god worshiped by the rulers of Israel (Ezekiel 8:16). The king whom the Jews chose over Jesus (John 19:15) had now turned against them, yet they did not turn to Christ.
  • The self-destructive delusion of the Jews (2 Thessalonians 2:11) would spread to Rome, a plague of darkness which would bring confusion like that which caused the Midianites to slay each other (Judges 7:22). A spate of assassinations led to the end of the dynasty.
  • The sixth bowl pits the hosts of light (the sunrising) against the hosts of darkness (the frogs). These “creeping things” from below which croak at night are the dark counterparts of doves. Appearing at Oath / Sanctions (Day 6), they are a lie which binds the devil (the dragon), the beast (Rome) and the false prophet (Jerusalem) together against the Church. The thief, garments and nakedness reveal Jesus to be an Adam who will steal His inheritance from the Edomites in the way Jacob stole the Covenant blessing from Esau. In Hebrew, “Har” means mountain and “Maged” means festival assembly, so this conflict between Jacob and Esau, Jesus and Herod, is not only a struggle in the womb, “birthpangs” of the new order (Matthew 24:8) but a holy war for Succession between the true son of Jacob and Amalek the son of Esau (Genesis 36:12).
  • This “Egyptian” cycle ends at Mount Sinai. The Glorification cup pictures kingdom on earth seized without priestly submission to heaven (bread), a theme which began with the two trees in Eden. This also reveals the Herods’ perversion of the Aaronic priesthood which was forbidden from drinking wine in God’s presence. Only the Noahic priest-kings like Melchizedek could serve God (bread) and bear the sword (wine: Genesis 9:6, 20; 14:18). Jesus is the true Priest-King (Psalm 110:4; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 5:6-10). The cup of wine (taken from Jeremiah 51:6-8) also applies the condemnation of kingly Babylon to the “prophetic” Babylon of Jerusalem, just as Jesus quoted Isaiah against her (Isaiah 13:10; Matthew 24:29). The islands and mountains (the idolatrous “high places” of both the Gentiles and the Jews) were now redundant since true worship had been established and vindicated (John 4:21-24). Melchizedek was a holy priest-king of Jerusalem, but at the end of the Dominion sequence Adonizedek was its unholy priest-king (Joshua 10). Thus, the hail stones which defeated his army also fall in condemnation upon Herodian Jerusalem. Relating to the Laver and Mediators, this also alludes to the collapse of the Old Covenant “firmament,” the sea of glass and fire (15:2).

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming Moses and the Revelation, which combines observations from the lectures of James B. Jordan with the Bible Matrix structure to provide a succinct (and eye-opening) overview of the internal logic of the prophecy. Available February-March 2017.

If you are new to this method of interpretation, please visit the Welcome page for some help to get you up to speed.

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked