Bowl 3, Rivers and Fountains become Blood, Revelation Chapter 16 Verse 4-7 (NASB)

    And the THIRD ANGEL poured out his bowl into the RIVERS and the SPRINGS of WATERS;

The second bowl (previous verse) affected the salt water bodies. This one attacks the fresh water. Man uses fresh water for cooking, drinking, and bathing. Now the remaining "666 marked" people are trying to recover from their sores (1st bowl) and are forced to search for fresh water just like the Egyptians did (Exodus 7:20-24).

So complete is this judgment that the reward Jesus talks about in Matthew 10:40-42 is not likely. Note the contrast between "receiving Me" and "receiving the mark of the beast (verse 2)".

Believers in heaven, if they even are aware of earth events, truly can be grateful for the river of the water of life (Revelation 22:1).

    and they became BLOOD.

Recall that the two witnesses had this power too. This confirms that the two witnesses were prior to this bowl judgment inasmuch there would be no need to use their power when this bowl takes care of the whole earth.  Interestingly, if the Antichrist could see into the future (which he cannot), then the demonstrations of the two witnesses should have convinced him to prepare for this BOWL plague.

From a spiritual standpoint, as 1 John 5:6-12 points out, this conversion between water, blood, and spirit also is a "witness".

Symbolically, scholars who subscribe to the non literal interpretation have a difficult time with this bowl. Some indicate this is a destructive war but this BOWL is global, and a global war here would negate Harmagedon (verses 14-16).

Economic impact: The need for water will cause major riots. As a commodity, pure water produced via technology will be very expensive. This will force most people to drink BLOOD (verse 6) just to survive. It's not clear whether animals balk at drinking blood. If they do, livestock, poultry, and pets are disappearing just as seafood did in verse 3.
    And I heard the ANGEL of the WATERS saying,

It is not unusual for angels to be in charge of physical phenomena:

Revelation 7:1
Revelation 14:18
Revelation 16:5

However, if one agrees that water is the "container of spirits", then this one is especially significant. Particularly as a witness during this last half of the tribulation, this is a testimony to the spirit, blood, and water (1 John 5:6-12).

This angel probably was the one who purified the waters at Jericho at the word of Elisha (2 Kings 2:19-22).

    "RIGHTEOUS art THOU, who ART and who WAST, O HOLY ONE, because Thou didst JUDGE these things;

This angel affirms how RIGHTEOUS Jesus Christ is. Prior to Jesus' blood being shed on Calvary, God exhibited this same RIGHTEOUSNESS as we find in the discussion of Sodom (Genesis 18:22-25-33). Son like Father in this instance. Clearly, from John 5:17-22-24, the HOLY ONE, who is the JUDGE of these things is Jesus Himself.

Watchman Nee points out that the phrase "who is to come" (Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 4:8) is missing here (as well as in Revelation 11:17), so he concludes the return-of-Christ event takes place sometime between chapter 4 and the 7th trumpet. "Who is to come" has already come.
    for they poured out the BLOOD of SAINTS and PROPHETS, and

It is interesting that PROPHETS are included here. Probably this refers specifically to the two witnesses who were recently slain (Revelation 11:10).

In a broader sense, this may be the "severer punishment" referred to in Hebrews 10:26-29-31.

    THOU hast given them BLOOD to drink.

It is on purpose that those who took the mark of the beast are "forced" into drinking blood to keep alive. We, as believers, have celebrated Christ's BLOOD all these years in Holy Communion. Now this other kind of BLOOD must be drunk. And those with the mark of the beast must have drunk (see Revelation 17:6). This must have been especially difficult for practicing Jews who had the mark for they are not to drink BLOOD (Leviticus 3:12-17).

This is group vengeance. That is, individually a person may not have shed a SAINT's or PROPHET's BLOOD, but by virtue of the mark of the beast that they wear, they are forced to take God's vengeance. The rules of Deuteronomy 19:15-21 are in effect again.

Note that the request of the first half tribulation martyrs finally is fulfilled (Revelation 6:11). With the alter itself confirming that the wait is over (next verse).


Isn't it interesting that in the selfish society we live in today, people feel they DESERVE or have RIGHTS to such and such. This will be one time they wished they weren't so demanding......I can hear them now, "What did we do to DESERVE this?"

Well, you took the MARK OF THE BEAST, and the period of GRACE has ended. You now are experiencing the retribution and judgment created by your decision to take the MARK OF THE BEAST.
    And I heard the altar saying,

John indicates the altar is speaking, but other translations indicate it is another angel or the collective voices of the multitudes underneath the ALTAR (Revelation 6:9-11).

This is the second "witness" to the true and righteous judgments of the ALMIGHTY. The first witness was the "angel of the waters" (verse 5). Thus the Matthew 18:16 requirement to establish the truth is fulfilled.

    "Yes, O LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, true and righteous are THY JUDGMENTS."

The phrase "THE ALMIGHTY" is used often in the Revelation. See the list in Revelation 1:8.

Later, in Revelation 19:2, the GREAT MULTITUDE of heaven confirm once more that GOD'S JUDGMENTS are true and righteous. This principle is recognized in the Old Testament in Psalm 19:7-9-14 and Psalm 145:17-21.

Do not think these judgments end when the fourth bowl is poured out. This judgment goes on forever just as the fire on the altar was commanded to burn continually (Leviticus 6:8-13).
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only