“Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs, and they became blood. And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying, “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was, because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward.” And I heard a voice from the altar, saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just.” Revelation 16:4-7
When the third bowl of God’s wrath is poured out, the rivers and freshwater springs also turn into blood. The angel in charge of the water says, “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve”. The altar in heaven responds, “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments”. God is punishing those who persecuted the prophets and the believers throughout the ages. This verse draws a connection between prophets and believers. Wise believers are those who understand prophetic revelation when these things happen, the wise believer will not be confused, bewildered or have a crises of faith. They are prepared for what is to come.
God sets before everyone blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 28). Revelation 16 reveals to us the outcome of the curse. What is the origin of the curse? It comes out of the law. The law has two components – It can be used to bless, or it can be used to curse. It depends on the response of the people. Do we approach the Word of God in faith or with a rebellious spirit?
The saints are worthy of rest and reward, so the wicked are worthy of divine chastening and judgment. The bloodletting during the great tribulation, as saints are slaughtered by the thousands, is without parallel in the history of the race. Christ Himself declares it will be a time of trouble without precedent. “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.” (Matt. 24:21). Combining the judgment of the second and third vials, it appears that all water is turned into blood, constituting a universal testimony to all men that God will avenge his martyred saints.