1) Modern Syrian Church commentary
2) Traditional Late 1940's Catholic
3) Traditional Orthodox Church notes
[Editor's Note: For this study, the author uses easy to understand Contemporary English Version (CEV) of Bible that has been created by the American Bible Society. His insights are given in capital letters. This include explanations and historical background information for the words you have just read in order to make the startling predictions made in this important and fascinating book comprehensible. Occasionally make changes will be made in the CEV words if a variance is detected from the meaning found in the King James Bible.]
1 From the temple I heard a voice shout to the seven angels, "Go and empty the seven bowls (REFERS TO PLAGUES) of God's anger on the earth."
2 The first angel emptied his bowl on the earth. At once ugly and painful sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast (SHOWING LOYALTY TO THE ANTI-CHRIST) and worshiped the idol. (REFERS TO A STATUE DEPICTING THE ANTI-CHRIST)
3 The second angel emptied his bowl on the sea. (THOUGHT TO BE THE MEDITERRANEAN OCEAN) Immediately the sea turned into blood like that of a dead person, (BLOOD IN THE DECEASED BECOMES VERY THICK AND CHANGES TO A BLACK COLOR) and every living thing in the sea died.
4 The third angel emptied his bowl into the rivers and streams. At once they turned into blood. (THERE IS NO REASON TO INTERPRET THIS WORD AS A SYMBOL)
5 Then I heard the angel, who has power over water, (HEY LOOK, IT'S THE WATER ANGEL! THIS BOOK MORE THAN ANY OTHER IN THE BIBLE GIVES US DETAILS ABOUT THE ACTIVITIES AND ROLES OF ANGELS) say, "You have always been, and you always will be (GOD DOESN'T CHANGE. SCARY FOR OUR SOCIETY ISN'T IT?) the holy God because you judged them. (THIS IMPLIES THAT GOD WOULD NOT REMAIN HOLY IF HE DID NOT JUDGE AND PUNISH THE PERVERSION THAT EXISTS ON THE EARTH WHICH IS THE NECESSARY EXPLANATION FOR THOSE WHO WILL KEEP CRYING OUT "WHY IS GOD DOING ALL OF THIS TO US " INSTEAD OF THE MORE RELEVANT QUESTION, "OH LORD HOW COULD WE POSSIBLY SIN SO MUCH?") 6 They (REFERS TO THE FOLLOWERS OF THE ANTI-CHRIST) poured out the blood (MURDERED) of saints and prophets. So you (GOD) gave them blood to drink, as they deserve!"
7 After this, I heard (THOSE AT) the altar shout, "Yes, Lord God All-Powerful, your judgments are honest and fair." (THIS STATEMENT COMES FROM THOSE WHO WERE MURDERED BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO ABANDON THEIR CHRISTIAN BELIEFS DURING THE TRIBULATION)
8 The fourth angel emptied his bowl on the sun, and it began to scorch people like fire. (THIS HEAT WILL ALSO DRAMATICALLY WORSEN THE ALREADY CRITICAL WATER SHORTAGE PROBLEM) 9 People were scorched by its great heat, and all of them cursed the name of God who had power over these horrendous troubles. (WOW IMPROVEMENT AT LONG LAST! THEY ARE FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGING GOD!!) But no one turned to God and worshiped Him. (IT LOOKS LIKE THEY NEED STILL MORE PUNISHMENT DOESN'T IT?)
10 The fifth angel emptied his bowl on the throne of the beast. (THE LOCATION OF THE ANTI-CHRIST ) At once darkness covered its (ANTI-CHRIST'S) kingdom, and its people began biting their tongues in pain. 11 And because of their painful sores, (BOILS) they cursed the God who rules in heaven. But still they did not stop doing evil things. (CAN YOU SPELL P E R V E R T E D ?)
12 The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it completely dried up to make a road ( THE ARMIES OF THE ANTI-CHRIST WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS PLAGUE AND USE THE DRIED UP RIVER BED TO TRANSPORT TROOPS TO ENGAGE IN THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON) for the kings from the East. (THE GREEK TRANSLATION STATES "KINGS OF THE SUN RISING" WHICH INDICATES THAT ARMIES FROM CHINA WILL BE SENT TO WAR IN THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON) 13 An evil spirit that looked like a frog came out of the mouth of the dragon. (SATAN) One also came out of the mouth of the beast, (ANTI-CHRIST) and another out of the mouth of the false prophet. (RELIGIOUS LEADER WHOM MANY BELIEVE WILL BE THE HEAD OF A CHURCH DENOMINATION) 14 These evil spirits had the power to work miracles. They went to every king (HEAD OF STATE OR POLITICAL LEADER) on earth, to bring them together (THIS SHOWS THAT THE ANTI-CHRIST WILL NOT CONTROL ALL OF THE NATIONS IN THE WORLD. INFLUENCE YES BUT CONTROL NO) for a war against God All-Powerful. (THE ANTI-CHRIST AND THE FALSE PROPHET, BOTH OF THEM DEMON POSSESSED , WILL CREATE A WORLD WAR USING ARMIES FROM MANY NATIONS) But that will be the day of God's great victory. (GOD WILL END THE WAR AND DEFEAT SATAN BY DESTROYING HIS ARMIES)
15 Remember that Christ says, "When I come, it will surprise you like a thief! (HERE IS ANOTHER DESCRIPTION: 1 THESSALONIANS 5:2-3 You surely know that the Lord's return will be as a thief coming at night. 3 People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won't escape. ) But God will bless you, if you are awake (MORALLY CONSCIOUS, UNLIKELY TO ACCEPT SATANIC DECEPTION) and ready. (FOR SALVATION) Then you won't have to walk naked (UNPROTECTED FROM CONDEMNATION) and be ashamed." (THOUGHT TO REFER TO THE JUDGMENT)
3 … Scripture reference –
4 … Scripture reference – Exod.: 7:20!
5 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 4:8!; Ps.: 118:137!
6 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 18:24; Mt.: 23:35!; Wisd.: 11:7
7 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 15;3!; 19:2; Ps.: 118:137!
8 … Scripture reference –
9 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 16:21; 9:20!
10 … Scripture reference –
11 … Scripture reference – Isaiah: 8:21!; Rev.: 2:21; 9:20, 21!
12 … Scripture reference – Isaiah: 50:2!
13 … Scripture reference –
14 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 19:19
15 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pt.: 3:10; Rev.: 3:18
16 … Scripture reference –
17 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 19:5; 21:3
18 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 8:5!; 11:19; 6:12; 11:13!; Mt.: 24:21; Mk.:13:19
19 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 14:10!
20 … Scripture reference – Rev.: 6:14
21 … Scripture reference – Josue: 10:11!; Rev.: 16:9
2. The First Six Bowls
The First Three Bowls
1 ¶ And I heard a great voice  out of the temple, saying to the seven angels: Go and pour out the seven vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. … Scripture reference – Ps.: 68:25!
2 And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth. And there fell a sore and grievous wound upon men who had the character of the beast:  and upon them that adored the image thereof. … Scripture reference – Exod.: 9:10; Rev.: 14:9, 11!; 19:20
3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea. And there came blood as it were of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
4 And the third poured out his vial upon the rivers and the fountains of waters. And there was made blood. … Scripture reference – Exod.: 7:20!
5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: Thou art just, O Lord, who art and who wast, the Holy One, because thou hast judged these things. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 4:8!; Ps.: 118:137!
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets: and thou hast given them blood to drink. For they are worthy. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 18:24; Mt.: 23:35!; Wisd.: 11:7
7 And I heard another, from the altar, saying: Yea, O Lord God Almighty, true and just are thy judgments. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 15;3!; 19:2; Ps.: 118:137!
The Second Three Bowls
8 ¶ And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun. And it was given unto him to afflict men with heat and fire.
9 And men were scorched with great heat: and they blasphemed the name of God, who hath power over these plagues. Neither did they penance to give him glory. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 16:21; 9:20!
10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast. And his kingdom became dark: and they gnawed their tongues for pain. … Scripture reference –
11 And they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and wounds: and did not penance for their works. … Scripture reference – Isaiah: 8:21!; Rev.: 2:21; 9:20, 21!
12 ¶ And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon that great river Euphrates and dried up the water thereof, that a way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun. … Scripture reference – Isaiah: 50:2!
3. An Intermediate Vision and the Seventh Bowl
The Unclean Spirits
13 And I saw from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. … Scripture reference –
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working signs: and they go forth unto the kings of the whole earth, to gather them to battle against the great day of the Almighty God. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 19:19
15 Behold, I come  as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pt.: 3:10; Rev.: 3:18
16 And he shall gather them together into a place which in Hebrew is called Armagedon.  … Scripture reference –
The Seventh Bowl
17 ¶ And the seventh angel poured out his vial upon the air. And there came a great voice out of the temple from the throne, saying: It is done. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 19:5; 21:3
18 And there were lightnings and voices and thunders: and there was a great earthquake, such an one as never had been since men were upon the earth, such an earthquake, so great. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 8:5!; 11:19; 6:12; 11:13!; Mt.: 24:21; Mk.:13:19
19 And the great city was divided into three parts: and the cities of the Gentiles fell. And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the indignation of his wrath. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 14:10!
20 And every island fled away: and the mountains were not found. … Scripture reference – Rev.: 6:14
21 And great hail, like a talent, came down from heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God, for the plague of the hail: because it was exceeding great. … Scripture reference – Josue: 10:11!; Rev.: 16:9
 -Ver. 1. Great (loud) voice: the divine voice from the throne itself.
 -Ver. 2. The plague falls on those who carry the character (mark) of the beast; it resembles the sixth Egyptian plague, the plague of boils. Cf. Ex. 9, 8-12.
 -Ver. 15. Behold, I come: the voice of Christ.
 -Ver. 16. Armagedon: or, as in Hebrew, “Har-Megiddo,” i.e., the mountain of Megiddo. The place indicated here is the plain of Esdraelon, the great battlefield of Palestine; here the fortunes of kings have been decided, here, rulers fought and fell. This battleground becomes the symbol of the divine struggle.
(text from Bible Gateway NKJV )
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls[a] of the wrath of God on the earth.”
First Bowl: Loathsome Sores
2 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.
Second Bowl: The Sea Turns to Blood
3 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.
Third Bowl: The Waters Turn to Blood
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying:
“ You are righteous, O Lord,[b]
The One who is and who was and who is to be,[c]
Because You have judged these things.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
And You have given them blood to drink.
For[d] it is their just due.”
7 And I heard another from[e] the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
Fourth Bowl: Men Are Scorched
8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and[f] of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.[g]
Seventh Bowl: The Earth Utterly Shaken
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
16:2—4 The first ... bowl is poured out and the mark of the beast breaks out upon those who received it in foul and loathsome sores (see Wisd. 11:16), like the sixth plague of Ex. 9:8—11. The second (v. 3) and third (v. 4) bowls are like the first plague (Ex. 7:20, 21; see Rev. 8:8—11).
16:5—7 This judgment becomes the occasion for a doxology to God from the angel of the waters, the element just affected by God’s wrath (vv. 3, 4). In biblical thought, spiritual or angelic powers have charge of the physical realm; all elements of the material world have angelic guardians. In response, a voice from the altar (possibly the voice of the martyrs— see 6:9; 8:3—5; 9:13) proclaims God’s judgments are true and righteous (v. 7).
There is a parallel here with “the song of Moses” (15:3, 4). Indeed, there is a parallel here with the hymnodic interlude in the
16:8, 9 The spiritually hardened followers of the beast cannot repent, but only blaspheme at the judgments of God, in contrast to Dan. 3:22, 27, where the holy youths who refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image are not even singed by the furnace’s heat, here those who worship the beast and its image are scorched with great heat (v. 9).
16:10 The plague of darkness is similar to the ninth Egyptian plague (Ex. 10:21—29). Here the throne is
16:12 As in 9:13—21, the Roman Empire is threatened by peoples from beyond the
16:13 This is an allusion to the second Egyptian plague (Ex. 8:1—11). The unclean spirits (see 1 Tim. 4:1) are like frogs (included in the unclean animals of Lev. 11:10).
16:14 Spirits of demons, performing signs are predicted by our Lord (Mark 13:22 see also Acts 13:6; 2 Thess. 2:9). The great day of God Almighty (6:17; foreshadowed in Joel 2:11 and Zeph. 1:14; graphically described in 2 Pet. 3:12) is the eschatological Day of the Lord.
16:15 In a parenthetical comment, we are told that this Day of the Lord will see Him coming unexpectedly like a thief (see 3:3; Matt. 24:42—44; 1 Thess. 5:2). Like the wise virgins who stand in readiness for the Bridegroom who comes at midnight (Matt. 25:1—13), the blessed faithful are here exhorted to remain vigilant as well. It is said that the officer on duty at the
16:16 Decisive battles in
16:17—21 The last bowl is a conclusive act of judgment; a loud voice from God's throne declares, “It is done!” (repeated at 21:6; see John 19:30). Cosmic signs of God's presence are manifest which evoke His appearance on