In this chapter, John watches seven chosen angels pour out the seven last bowls of judgment filled with the full wrath of God onto the earth during the last half of Tribulation.
v.1 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.”
This marks the beginning of what will be the most horrific period in the history of man. Regarding this time, Jesus said, “For then will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt.24:21). Other prophets call it the “day of the Lord”— when God’s wrath and fierce anger shall come as destruction, with darkness and gloominess, causing devastation, desolation, and distress upon men.
“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it” (Isa.13:9)
“Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand: it shall come as destruction from the Almighty…a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness…” (Joel 1:15; 2:2)
“That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse” (Zeph.1:15-17)
As we read the judgments, pay close attention to the striking resemblance many bear to those God imposed on Egypt in the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh (Ex.8-11). Moreover, not unlike those judgments in Egypt, which broke an oppressive kingdom and delivered Israel from slavery, by these judgments the kingdom of Satan will be destroyed; Satan himself will be immobilized; and the nation of Israel will once again be delivered from bondage forever.
“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion” (Isa.34:8)
Also, keep in mind that the period covered by these plagues is three and a half years. So I would assume at least some of the judgments evolve in intensity during that time and therefore don’t reach their absolute and deadliest worst until the end, just before the Second Coming of Christ.
v.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.
This “first judgment” is appropriately poured upon the earth (which is the kingdom of Satan).
As a result, those who had taken the mark of the beast and worshiped his image break out in a “foul and loathsome” sore. But this is no mere skin blemish; the thought conveyed is a “diseased and malignant” sore that is both highly repulsive and agonizingly painful to those who are afflicted by it. The cause is unknown, though one commentator speculates that the sore could be the result of a lithium leak from the computer chip implanted under ones skin, and another, that it might be form of cancer resulting from the fourth judgment upon the sun (vs. 8-9).
Still, it does bring to mind what the prophet warned when he said, “Your own wickedness will correct you” (Jer.2:19). Namely, it is not God tracking us down, but our sin that brings about repercussions.