Revelation 16:9

and men were scorched with great heat
Isaiah was given a glimpse of this time upon the earth:

Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. And it shall be: as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the LORD has spoken this word. The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. The new wine fails, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of the tambourine ceases, the noise of the jubilant ends, the joy of the harp ceases. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. The city of confusion is broken down; every house is shut up, so that none may go in. There is a cry for wine in the streets, all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction. When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, it shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done. (Isa. Isa. 24:1-13 cf. Mal. Mal. 4:1) [emphasis added]

The conditions experienced by those beneath the bowl judgments is uniform. Position and status will be no refuge from desolate conditions. Although “burned” in these passages may refer to God’s consuming wrath,1 given the context of the time of the end, it may also refer to the effects of the great heat upon agriculture: “The new wine fails, the vine languishes.”

they blasphemed the name of God . . . and they did not repent
Here again is recorded the unrepentant nature of the earth dwellers of the time of the end. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence of the reality and power of God, their hearts are so set against Him in hatred that all they can do is continue their pattern of cursing in response to His intervention in their lives (Rev. Rev. 16:9+, Rev. 16:11+, Rev. 16:21+). Those who have taken the mark are irredeemable (Rev. Rev. 14:9-11+) for God knows that they, like Jezebel in the church of Thyatira (Rev. Rev. 2:21+) will not repent (Rev. Rev. 9:20-21+). Instead, they follow in the ways of the one whom they worship (Rev. Rev. 13:5-6+; Rev. 17:3+).

God’s testing is not always to elicit a repentant response. When those being tested have passed the point of return, God continues to test them to provide abundant witness of their unwillingness and inability to return (Rom. Rom. 1:26, Rom. 1:28). This is one purpose for this “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. Rev. 3:10+). In the same way the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to show Who He was , so now God tests those who have already taken the mark and are beyond redemption (Rev. Rev. 14:9-10+). Like Pharaoh, their consistent response is not to change their mind but to harden their heart (Ex. Ex. 8:15; Ex. 9:34-35). Each time they respond in blasphemy, they unwittingly underwrite and testify of the justice of God’s judgment. See Beast Worshipers are Unique.

Long ago, an angel described these at the time of the end:

And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. Dan. 12:9-10) [emphasis added]

A similar theme is expressed to John by an angel at the end of this book. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Rev. Rev. 22:11+). God’s judgments will not result in repentance for these: “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him” (Pr. Pr. 27:22).


1 Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), Isa. 24:6.