“Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood…”(Rev. 16:4-7)
This is very much like the third trumpet in Revelation 8:10-11 where the waters simply became bitter, but here, they all turned to blood. In verse 5, “And I heard the angel of the waters saying,…” – it’s a very rabbinical way of talking about the angel of the waters. They saw angels involved involved with most of the activities of the regular world. In Revelation 7:1 we saw an angel controlling the wind. In Revelation 14:8 we saw an angel controlling fire. So it’s not unusual here to have an over the water, and he simply says that what God is doing is justified because of what the evil people have done; they’ve spilled the blood of the saints. Now God has given them blood to drink, notice as it says in verse 5, “…who are and who were,…” – there’s no future, because the future has already arrived. The ‘eschaton’ is here. It’s much like Revelation 11:11 where there is no future there. Now, when it says, “…O Holy One,…” – this goes back again to chapter 15, you might want to see that. “…for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink”. There’s blood in the ocean, there’s blood on the fresh water, there’s blood everywhere. “And I heard the altar saying,…” – now back in chapter 9:13, the horns of the altar spoke; this may be an allusion to the souls of the martyrs that are under the altar, because in rabbinical Judaism that was a very significant place to be. You might want to see Revelation 6:9. But others say it’s the idea of the prayer of the saints from the altar of incense back in chapter 8:3-5; and that may be true. “O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.” – there is those three titles again from the Old Testament. In a time of persecution, God’s justice is very important to be affirmed (cf. Revelation 19:2).
(TO BE CONTINUED)