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What are the seven bowls?

The Seven Bowl wraths appear in Revelation 16.  They are:
  1. Painful sores
  2. Oceans turn to blood
  3. Rivers turn to blood
  4. Sun gets hot
  5. Darkness
  6. Euphrates dries up, three frog-like evil spirits emerge doing miracles
  7. Earthquake & hail
Could all of these really happen?  If all the oceans/rivers literally turned to blood people on earth would die in 3 days.  The impending heat would guarantee that.  Why would the Euphrates drying up make a difference after all of this and who would be left for the earthquake to really matter?  Plus, the earth was already pounded with 7 Seals and 7 Trumpets.
Many of the bowl descriptions allude to Old Testament plagues and punishments, especially Moses with the sores, water turning to blood, darkness, frogs and hail.  John wants the reader to recall the power of what God was able to do.
The concept of a "bowl of wrath" is found in other places where God was angry at Jerusalem.

Awake, awake!
       Rise up, O Jerusalem,
       you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD 

       the cup of his wrath,
       you who have drained to its dregs
       the goblet that makes men stagger.
Of all the sons she bore
       there was none to guide her;
       of all the sons she reared
       there was none to take her by the hand.

These double calamities have come upon you
       who can comfort you?—
       ruin and destruction, famine and sword—
       who can console you?

Your sons have fainted;
       they lie at the head of every street,
       like antelope caught in a net.
       They are filled with the wrath of the LORD
       and the rebuke of your God.

Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
       made drunk, but not with wine.

This is what your Sovereign LORD says,
       your God, who defends his people:
       "See, I have taken out of your hand
       the cup that made you stagger;
       from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
       you will never drink again.

I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
       who said to you,
       'Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.'
       And you made your back like the ground,
       like a street to be walked over."  Isaiah 51:17-23


This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.  When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.”
So I took the cup from the LORD’s hand and made all the nations to whom he sent me drink it: Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn and cursing, as they are today...“Then tell them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you.’ But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, tell them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: You must drink it!  See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears my Name, and will you indeed go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword upon all who live on the earth, declares the LORD Almighty.’  Jeremiah 25:15-18, 27-29

John reminded his readers of the bowls of God's wrath poured on the city of Jerusalem before.  Are these bowls pointing to a new pouring of wrath out on Jerusalem?

Figuratively these 7 bowls express the extent of God’s wrath on Jerusalem in 70 AD.  He’s willing to readdress old punishments on the same old sins.