We have now come to the final bowl of wrath as considered in Revelation 16. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air (cp. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Corinthians 4:4; 1John5:19). The **air** doesn’t seem to mean atmosphere, but is, rather, a symbol of “the course of the world” or the “spirit that works in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). I mentioned this Scripture in the previous study concerning the three unclean spirits like frogs. In this study I intend to consider Ephesians 2:2 once more, giving it a slightly different nuance.
The Greek word aer (G190) is always translated “air” in the Scriptures, whether in the Septuagint (Greek Old Covenant) or in the texts of the New Covenant. The term **air** can be literal (1Corinthians 9:26), whereby an athlete in training might box or punch the air, and as he does so nothing changes. Another place where aer (G190) is used is in Acts 22:23. Here the Jews cast dust into the air, and whenever they might do this, the dust always came back down to the earth, no exceptions. Nevertheless, the idea had a subtle significance. It was meant to show the air had become dirty, and it called for repentance. So, once again, the air is literal, but this time it had a subtle metaphorical meaning, which expressed the need of repentance or, perhaps, judgment.
In the Septuagint aer (G190) is used at 2Samuel 22:12 and Psalm 8:11. In both cases it described the dark thick clouds of aer (G190) that concealed the Lord. So, aer can be used to hide something, which in the case of the Old Covenant text was the Lord. In other words, aer (G190) is often used to depict something literal, and that may mean nothing changes (1Corinthians 9:26) or it may have a subtle meaning of its own (Acts 22:23), or it could even point to concealing something or someone from view (2Samuel 22:12; Psalm 8:11).
How should we, then, interpret the idea that the seventh bowl of the Lord’s wrath was poured out into the air (G190; Revelation 16:17)? What happens when one speaks into the air (1Corinthians 14:9)? Sometimes one uses the word, air, metaphorically, saying something like “the tension so thickened the air, one could cut it with a knife!” At times, when one speaks into the air, it would take courage, as when speaking the Gospel into the air of an unfriendly environment. One might even be afraid to speak into the air to identify a criminal during a trial in a court of law, because that criminal’s “friends” could retaliate. At other times one could draw a sense of encouragement by speaking into the air of a friendly environment. I used to belong to a speaking club that encouraged me to speak out my ideas and overcome my shy behavior. So, **air** is not necessarily the same everywhere when one chooses to “speak into it” (1Corinthians 14:9).
Such things may put Ephesians 2:2 in a different light:
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:(Ephesians 2:2 KJV – emphasis mine)
Here, air (G190) is a metaphor for the course of this world, and is called that **spirit** that works in the children of disobedience. Both Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6 tell us that “the wrath of God” comes upon the children of disobedience. Revelation 16 describes how the wrath of God came upon Babylon, which we know is a term that points to Jerusalem, and that occurred cir. 70 AD. This would mean that the children of disobedience were the children of God according to the flesh or the Jews. If this is logically sound and true, then who might be the god of the air (G190) who is mentioned in Ephesians 2:2?
All the commentaries I’ve read conclude this is Satan, the Devil, but according to Psalm 82, a god is an authority figure, or someone who rules the land. This god (Ephesians 2:2) could very well be a human ruler, perhaps, the high priest at Jerusalem, or the False Prophet of Revelation 16:13 (cp. Revelation 19:20; 20:10). If all these things are truly connected and logically true, then, when the seventh angel poured out the wrath of God upon the air (G190), he was judging the Jews’ persecution of the elect of God (cp. Matthew 23:29-36). First century AD, unbelieving Jews created a dangerous environment (or air G190) for believers. One needed courage to speak out into the air in the name of Christ during the first century AD, and often some were too afraid to do so. It was this air (G190) that warranted the wrath of God
Finally, the term air (aer – G190) is mentioned only one other time outside of the Apocalypse, and this is at 1Thessalonians 4:17, and it concerns the coming of the Lord. Notice:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1Thessalonians 4:17 KJV – emphasis mine)
In the context of this study the word air (G190) embraces a different understanding in 1Thessalonians 4:17, Here, the believer was forcefully taken out of the aer (G190) of persecution and wickedness and rose into the air into which the Lord had come. Something similar occurred in Acts 2:2 with the “rushing mighty (violent) wind”. The disciples were somehow forcefully taken out of the world of the flesh and into the realm of the Spirit of God. Somehow, they had become different from what they had been moments before. In 1Thessalonians 4:17 the Lord descended and believers were forcefully snatched into a different realm, a different air (G190), if you will, whereby we (believers) act under a different power or a different law than those not in Christ.