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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 83

The Sea Turned to Blood

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Let’s pray before beginning this lesson:

Our Father in heaven,

We humbly ask You to continue to guide us, as we go on with the study of the seven vials, so that our understanding of this subject may be clear enough to share it with those around us.

In Jesus Christ we pray.


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Revelation 15:1; 16:1

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. (...)

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels,

«Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God on the earth.»


After the close of probation, the wrath of God will show itself through the pouring out of seven vials, each one containing a plague which will strike unrepentant men.

In this lesson, we will study the second vial.

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Revelation 16:3

And the second angel poured out his vial on the sea.

And it became as the blood of a dead man.

And every living soul died in the sea.


While those who have the mark of the beast are still suffering from the malignant sore brought by the first vial, a second angel pours out the content of his vial.

The sea then turns into a vast stretch of putrid blood, like the blood of a dead man.

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Habakkuk 3:2,3,5,6,8

O Lord, revive Your work in the middle of the years, in the middle of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. (...)

Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations. (...)

Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? Was Your anger against the rivers? Was Your wrath against the sea?


Interestingly enough, a prophecy found in the book of Habakkuk confirms that, after striking the earth with «pestilence» (the malignant sore), the Lord will strike the sea and rivers.

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Revelation 8:6,8,9

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (...)

And the second angel sounded.

And as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood.

And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.


Just as the first vial and the first trumpet both struck the earth, the second vial and the second trumpet both strike the sea and turn it into blood.

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Revelation 8:8,9

The third part of the sea became blood. And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.


Revelation 16:3

And the second angel poured out his vial on the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.


Here again, the extent of the vial’s impact is greater than that of the trumpet.

Whereas the trumpet struck only «the third of the sea» and marine creatures, the second vial strikes «the sea» and kills «every living soul» in it.

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Revelation 15:2,3

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God.


As we have seen in our last lesson, the seven vials call to mind the plagues which struck Egypt, in the time of Moses.

This link between the two series of divine punishments was already visible in the scene introducing the vials.

In fact, this scene presents the redeemed singing the song of Moses, to praise God for having saved them from the enemy.

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One of the ten plagues in Egypt also turned the waters into blood:

«And the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuses to let the people go. (...)

You shall say to him, (...) Thus said the Lord: In this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in My hand on the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river.” (...)

And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river.

And there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. (...) And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he listen to them, as the Lord had said.» (Exodus 7:14,16-18,20-22)

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Psalm 105:4,5,29

Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face ever more.

Remember His marvelous works that He has done; His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth. (...)

He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.


To comfort God’s people through their distress, the Bible reminds them of the plague in which the Nile was turned into blood, and all its fish were killed.

Indeed, this indicates to them that, at the right time, God will pour out His judgments on impenitent men, and save His faithful people from the hands of the wicked.

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Exodus 14:27,28,30

And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it.

And the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.

And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. (...)

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea shore.


Another meaningful event took place in the days of Moses, also reminding us of the judgment of the second vial.

This event was the watery destruction of the Egyptians, as they were attacking the Hebrew people.

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Exodus 15:1,4

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying,

«I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. (...)

Pharaoh’s chariots and his host has He cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.»


This divine judgment upon the oppressors of God’s people reminds us of the second vial, turning the sea into a large stretch of corpses.

Even the name of this expanse of water is evocative: «the Red Sea».

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Deuteronomy 11:1,2,4

Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, and His statutes, and His judgments, and His commandments, always.

And know you this day (...) what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses, and to their chariots; how He made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day.


By calling to mind this miraculous deliverance, as it did by calling to mind the plague of the malignant sore, the Word of God reminds us of the importance of loving God and keeping all His commandments.

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Psalm 106:9-12

[The Lord] rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up: so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

Then believed they His words; they sang His praise.


Hebrews 11:29

By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.


The miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea also reminds us to always keep our faith in God.

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Revelation 12:12

Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them!

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.


Revelation 13:1 [NRSV]

Then the dragon took his stand on the sand of the seashore.


Besides, just like the earth (the target of the first vial), the sea (the target of the second vial) is often depicted as being an element under the control of Satan.

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Revelation 13:1

And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy.


Daniel 7:2,3

Daniel spoke and said,

«I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea.

And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.»


In fact, the powers which made war against God and His faithful people came out of the sea, that is, an evil source controlled by Satan.

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Isaiah 26:20,21; 27:1

Come, my people, enter you into your chambers, and shut your doors about you: hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over.

For, behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.


The sea also serves as a lair for Leviathan, a serpent symbolizing Satan.

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Isaiah 57:20,21

«But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace,» said my God, «to the wicked.»


Jude verses 11-13

Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.

These are (...) raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.


Likewise, the troubled sea characterizes the frenzy of the wicked who pursue superficial and empty things, and whose heart cannot find peace.

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Revelation 20:13

The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.


Revelation 21:1

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

And there was no more sea.


After giving up the dead in it, at the Day of the Last Judgment, the sea, marked with all that gloomy symbolism, will then disappear forever.

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Jeremiah 51:41,42

How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

The sea is come up on Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.


Revelation 18:21

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying,

«Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.»


Ironically enough, the sea will play a part in the fall of Babylon: in a symbolic way, as we will see in the sixth vial, but also in a literal way.

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Revelation 18:17,18

And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying,

«What city is like to this great city!»


Indeed, let’s remember that, in the last days, there will be a coalition between Babylon and the kings of the earth (political powers), thus creating a religio-political, as well as an economic superpower.

Now, the sea plays a crucial role in the successful running of commercial exchanges.

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Revelation 18:19

And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying,

«Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate.»


When the second vial is poured out, turning the sea into putrid blood «as the blood of a dead man» (Revelation 16:3), it will no longer be possible to use this major commercial route.

Moreover, every living creature in the sea will be killed by the second vial, thus further increasing the economic loss.

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Ezekiel 26:17,18

How are you destroyed, that were inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which were strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!

Now shall the isles tremble in the day of your fall.

Yes, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at your departure.


The negative impact of the second vial upon the commerce and economy of Babylon is well illustrated by this prophecy which, although pronounced against ancient Tyre, perfectly fits the situation of the last days.

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Ezekiel 27:25,26

The ships of Tarshish did sing of you in your market: and you were replenished, and made very glorious in the middle of the seas.

Your rowers have brought you into great waters.


This prophecy describes a power which rules over the seas.

These seas symbolize «peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues» (Revelation 17:15), as we have seen several times thus far.

However, in the context of the seven vials, the seas are literal seas.

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Ezekiel 27:26,27

Your rowers have brought you into great waters: the east wind has broken you in the middle of the seas.

Your riches, and your fairs, your merchandise, your mariners, and your pilots, your caulkers, and the occupiers of your merchandise, and all your men of war, that are in you, and in all your company which is in the middle of you, shall fall into the middle of the seas in the day of your ruin.


The prophecy then describes the coming of an «east wind», thus indicating a divine intervention, as we have seen in the lesson «The King Coming From the East».

This wind makes the sea hostile to commerce, causing the fall of Babylon.

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Ezekiel 27:29-31

And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand on the land.

And they shall cause their voice to be heard against you, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust on their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes.

And they shall make themselves utterly bald for you, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for you with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.


The sea will be so hostile to commerce that all the navigators will «stand on the land», being greatly affected by this terrible calamity.

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Ezekiel 27:33-35

When your wares went forth out of the seas, you filled many people; you did enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of your riches and of your merchandise.

In the time when you shall be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters your merchandise and all your company in the middle of you shall fall.

All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at you, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.


Ultimately, the whole earth will suffer from this great calamity striking the sea.

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The death of all the fish is also linked with a worldwide calamity:

«“I will utterly consume all things from off the land,” said the Lord. “I will consume (...) the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land,” said the Lord.» (Zephaniah 1:2,3)

«The Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells therein shall languish (...); yes, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.» (Hosea 4:1-3)

«And the second angel poured out his vial on the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.» (Revelation 16:3)

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Revelation 13:16,17

And [the beast coming up out of the earth] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.


By paralyzing commercial exchanges, the second vial will be a scathing reply to all those who, in order to ensure their material security here on earth, will have preferred to receive the mark of the beast rather than courageously persevere in the way of God.

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Revelation 7:1

After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.


Let’s end this lesson on a positive note: God’s offer of salvation to each one of us still stands.

The destructive powers which threaten the earth and the sea are still held back, for the moment.

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Revelation 7:2,3

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God.

And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,

«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»


Let’s accept Jesus Christ right now as our Savior and Lord, and, through the work of His Spirit within us, let’s keep the commandments of God.

This is how we will receive the seal of God, and be protected from His wrath.

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Let’s thank God:

Lord Almighty,

When the opposition gets organized against those who want to faithfully follow You and keep all Your commandments, it will be tempting to choose the easy way and forsake You.

But the sea turned into blood tells us that we must remain faithful to You until the end, and that, at the right time, You will deliver us, just as You delivered Your people from the hand of the Egyptians.

May Your peace come and stay within us. In the precious name of Jesus Christ we pray.


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