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 Revelation chapter 16

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PostSubject: Revelation chapter 16   Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 pm



The Seven Vials and the Three Unclean Spirits

Rev. 16:2-21

The seven vials and their contents are just as literal as the seals and trumpets and their contents. They will be poured out only upon the kingdom of the beast during the last half of the Week, and will complete the wrath of God upon men for their persecution of Israel. They are not to be confused with any historical event or with the seals and trumpets in any respect. They cannot begin until after the seals and trumpets are finished. They will be the last events of the “things shortly to come to pass” before the second coming of Christ. Just such plagues as these are promised upon Israel's enemies in the last days, Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 51:23. Four of these plagues in a lesser degree have been poured out upon Egypt. The very language describing them proves that they will be literal and fulfilled in the order in which they are given. This forms the only true basis of understanding.
How long any one of them lasts is not revealed, but judging from the length of those in Egypt, and the seals and the trumpets, most of them are not to long in duration. If they last over the whole last three and one-half years, then smoke will fill the temple in heaven and no man will be able to enter it that long, Rev. 15:8. These plagues are for the purpose of punishing men for their worship of the beast and hardness against God, and those things must become well established before the plagues begin so that men will realize the purpose of them. All in Rev. 13:1-14:13 takes place between the middle of the Week to the time the plagues begin.

The First Vial: Boils

“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Rev. 16:2).

This first vial is a repitition of the pleague of boils sent upon the Egyptians, Ex. 9:8-12. It is clear that this pleague falls upon only those people who have the mark of the beast and who worship him. As this is true of this pleague, it is also true of all the others, for the purpose is the same. It is clear that these seven pleagues will be from heaven, directly sent from God, and that they will have a supernatural cause, just like the ones sent upon the land of Egypt. It will be divine judgment, not nature's judgment. We cannot help but recognizing the supernatural in these plagues, for the vials contain the completion of the wrath of God.
When the angel pours out his vial, boils will immediately break out on the followers of the Antichrist. This humiliating  and torturing malady will be upon the highest, as well as the lowest. They, no doubt, like Pharoah's magicians, will be unable to maintain an erect posture  owing to the unbearable pains in the joints and limbs, and thus will be forced to lick the dust of the earth. Instead of their haunty pleasures and pursuits of evil they will seek incurable remedies for their motifying sores and corruption. This will be a great hindrance in their bowing the knee to worship the Antichrist.
The word "fell" refers to anything suddenly falling and shows that the plague is a sudden one causing men, before they can hardly realize it, to break out with sores and ulcers. The word "sore" is used only here and in Rev. 16:11 and Lk. 16:21. The words "noisome" and "grievous" are from two Greek words meaning "depraved, bad in nature" and "full of labours and pains in working mischief," and are used here to show that the ulcers will be very painful and corrupt. The expression "them which worship his image" literally is "those worshiping his image." Perhaps it means that, while in the act of prostration to the image, the sores will suddenly break out upon them as a sign of God's displeasure of their willful image worship and as punishment for their rejection of plain light concerning the will and worship of the true God, who is to heralded by angels as well as by men during this time.

The Second Vial: The Sea to Blood

"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea” (Rev. 16:3).

At the blowing of the second trumpet, one-third of the sea will become blood (Rev. 8:8-9), but here under the second vial all the sea will become blood. This does not mean that all the oceans will become blood for “the sea,” which is a definite sea, as mentioned in the Bible many times, is the reference. It is the Mediterranean, around which is the kingdom of the Antichrist that is to receive all these plagues. This does not mean that the sea will become the actual blood of dead men, but “as the blood of a dead man,” such as came through supernatural power in the land of Egypt and under the second trumpet in the first part of the Week. As the waters are changed and corrupted, all the creatures of the sea will die and the surface of the sea will be strewn with dead bodies of the finny family.
This will perhaps result in a pestilential odor that will make it impossible for human life to be near, and the waters will perhaps become so clogged that ships will remain immovable, as if icebound. It is impossible to imagine such foul conditions. One could only expect disease and starvation if caught out on the sea at that time. Previously, in the second trumpet, one-third of the ships will have been destroyed, and here all the ships are likely to be destroyed, for judgment will be over all and not over one-third of it.

The Third Vial: The Rivers to Blood

“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (Rev. 16:4-7).

The third vial will be a repetition of the first plague upon Egypt, Ex. 7:19-24. When the waters of Egypt and the sea in the second trumpet and second vial are turned to blood, the fish will die but here there is no statement that the fish will die. Still it is reasonable to think that they will die, for they cannot live in impure waters. Not only will the rivers be turned to blood, but also the fountains of waters and the drinking places of both man and beast. What a terrible plague when men and beasts will be made to drink bloody water!
After seeing the rivers and fountains turned to blood, John heard the angel of the waters; i.e., the angel that has the third vial which turns the waters to blood, give thanks to God and ascribe to Him righteousness because He had thus judged. Then the angel of the alter in heaven sanctioned the judgment of God and the praise to Him given by the angel of the waters. God always has been, is, and always will be just to all His creation. Any judgment He sends is just and has not been sent before His mercy and longsuffering have been futile. The men who will drink these bloody waters will have shed the blood of saints and prophets and unmercifully tortured God's own people in the earth, and He will be causing them to reap what they have sown. They have shed blood so they deserve blood!
But what a difference between the two classes of sufferers! One will suffer for Christ's sake and be given sufficient grace from God to do so. After the suffering those of that class will enter into eternal rewards and bliss, while those of the other class will suffer for their own sins and have no grace from God to make the suffering lite. After this particular suffering they will suffer through all eternity in the Lake of Fire. God rewards all men for their deeds, whether they be good or bad.

The Fourth Vial: Great Heat

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory” (Rev. 16:8,9).

Under the fourth trumpet, one-third of the sun, moon, and stars will be stricken with darkness so that one-third part will be darkened (Rev. 8:12), while here, under the fourth vial, the heat of the sun will be increased to such an extent that men will actually be scorched by it, until, in misery and torment, they will blaspheme God whom they recognize as the cause of the heat.
This plague is called “great heat.” Men fret and groan under heat from the sun when it is 90 to 110 degrees, but what will they do under such intense scorching heat at this future time? This passage shows God has power over “these plagues” and that men recognize it. In Egypt, when the plagues became so great as to unbearable, the magicians could not imitate them, so they told Pharaoh that they were the “finger of God.” Thus we have in these first four vials, the earth, the sea, the rivers and fountains, and the planets all adding their quota of torment to men. Yet these same men will be so degraded and degenerated that they will not repent. The plagues upon Egypt had the effect of hardening the hearts of evil men; even so, these plagues will harden the followers of the Antichrist and make men rather wish to die than to serve God. The Greek word for “repent”  here means “to change one's mind,” always for the better and morally, Mt. 3:2; Acts 2:38; 3:19. It means not merely to forsake sin, but to change one's attitude regarding it. This, men will not be willing to do, so they will receive judgment for their sins until the judgment becomes unbearable, so they will blaspheme God for such treatment.

The Fifth Vial: Darkness

“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:10,11).

The fifth vial is a repetition of the ninth Egyptian plague, Ex. 10:21,22. All these plagues  that are similar to those which have been poured out before, seem to much more intense than those of Egypt. After the sun has been beaming it rays of intense heat in torrents of torment upon the followers of the Antichrist, it will undergo a sudden change in that part of the earth. The change will be from one extreme to another – from fiery, piercing, blinding brightness and heat to impenetrable darkness. The beast and his followers will be overwhelmed with fresh horror to such an extent that they will gnaw their tongues in pain. Such a condition cannot be pictured with words. One has only to look upon a person who may be suffering convulsions and gnawing the tongue to have some idea of what this suffering will be.
The beast and his followers will have been tormenting God's people and in their hideous unmerciful attitude will have laughed at the cries and pains of the saints, so God will reward them doubly for their sins. This plague will be poured out upon the “seat” or throne of the beast and “his kingdom will be full of darkness.” This further indicates the extent of these plagues. All kingdoms outside of his kingdom will escape these plagues just as all peoples outside of Egypt did. Further than that, there seems to be no doubt but what God's people (Jews and Gentiles) in this kingdom will escape these plagues as they did in Egypt. That is plainly stated in the first vial, as well as in this one.
It is not known how long the plagues last, but when this vial comes men will still have their ulcers received in the first vial. They will also have their pains, or the effects of the other vials. They will not repent even under such a plague as this, but will blaspheme “the God of heaven.” Men will have deepened in their wickedness and rebellion and will likely continue to do so more and more with each additional plague, as was the case of Pharaoh and his servants in Egypt. The main purpose of these plagues is punishment for their continued rebellion against God and “their deeds” which have become as unbearable to God as in the days of Noah and Sodom.

The Sixth Vial: The Euphrates Dried Up

“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” (Rev. 16:12).

This is just as literal as any one of the other plagues. It will take place at the very last of the great tribulation, just before Armageddon, and after the Antichrist has been successful in conquering the countries of the North and East. Then he will gather these newly conquered nations and those which he will have conquered in the first three and one-half years, together with others which will cooperate with him, to fight against Christ at Armageddon. The drying up of the Euphrates will prepare the way for those who will come from the East.
The wrath is not upon the river, for it is harmless, but it is for the purpose of preparing the way for the kings of the East to come to the determined and predestined wrath of God upon the nations at Armageddon, upon whom God desires to take vengeance for their part in the persecution of His people during the last days.

The Three Unclean Spirits

(Parenthetical, Rev. 16:13-16)

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:13-16).


This parenthetical passage is inserted between the sixth and seventh vials and has its fulfillment in the part of the Week in which it is given.This tells how the kings of the earth, who are not under the control of the Antichrist and who do not form a part of his kingdom, will be gathered to the Battle of Armageddon. These three unclean spirits will have shapes like frogs and come out of the mouths of the dragon, beast, and false prophet. They are to be demon spirits who will go forth working miracles, inspiring the nations, and mobilizing them into vast armies which will march from all directions and from all countries for the purpose of preventing the establishment of the kingdom of Christ upon the earth.
These lying spirits, speaking and working through the medium of false prophets, will enable them to do miraculous wonders and cause the nations to cooperate with the Antichrist at Armageddon. They will inspire the nations with the faith that by a united effort they can defeat the armies of heaven and dethrone God and reign supreme forever. This is the attitude of certain nations today, as pictured in Psm. 2. Just as the crusaders of the middle ages were allured to their destruction at Jerusalem and just as Ahab was incited to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead (2 Chron. 18:18-22), so the nations at this time will be lead in vain hope that with one great united effort they can defeat Christ and His armies, but the end will be utter destruction. The false prophets who will be used in this false deception are referred to in Mt. 24:24-26; 1 Tim. 4:1.
The source of these spirits is clear. They will come out of the dragon and the two beasts, which are symbols of the three leaders against Christ at His comimg. In this vision John saw them come out of the mouths of these symbols, but in the fulfillment it could be that these spirits will go from these three persons according to word of command. The beasts symbolize two earthly men who will be possessed with demons by the legions and these demons could come out of them, but whether we can say that Satan is possessed with demons is another question. He is prince of demons (Mt. 12:24) and not controlled by them, so the thought seems to be that these demons go from these three persons By word of command.
The purpose of their going forth unto the kings of the earth is to "gather" them to the battle of "that great day of God almighty." This gathering of the nations is the same as the gathering mentioned in Mt. 24:40-42. This passage (Rev. 16:13-16) shows what part other nations , outside of Antichrist's kingdom, will have in the affairs of the last days in the fulfillment of prophecy and in connection with Antichrist and Israel.
These nations will be gathered into one place called Armageddon, which is the same as the valley of Jehoshaphat near Jerusalem. Therefore, Armageddon will be fought in Palestine and not in Europe, Joel 3; Zech. 14. It is the time when Christ will come "as a thief" to bring sudden destruction upon the world of the ungodly, 1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:7-10. There is a blessing pronounced upon all those living at the time who are faithful to Christ, eagerly watching for Him, and taking heed as to their walk before the ungodly, Rev. 16:15.

The Seventh Vial: A Great Earthquake and Hail

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (Rev.16:17-21).

This passage is by no means all that is pictured under the seventh vial, for what happens under it is continued in Rev. 18:1-24 after the parenthetical section, Rev. 17, on “Mystical Babylon.” However, we shall limit our remarks on the seventh vial to this passage until we first consider the parenthetical passage. After that we shall resume our study of the destruction of the Babylon that is scheduled to be destroyed under the seventh vial as fully elaborated upon in Rev. 18. Under the seventh vial, the wrath of God will be completed, and therefore, must also, for this reason, include the coming of Christ to earth. It will be fulfilled at that time, thus ending the Seventieth Week of Daniel and beginning “the day of the Lord.” When the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air, the first thing John heard was a “great voice (perhaps God's) out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying, It is done.” This has reference to the completion of God's wrath during the seventh vial, Rev. 15:1; 16:1.
The result of this earthquake will be that “the great city” (Jerusalem, Rev. 11:Cool will be divided into three parts. Many of the large cities of the nations will be destroyed, as well as “great Babylon.” Besides the total and partial destruction of many cities, the moving of mountains and islands and great changes in the surface of the earth in certain places, there will be “great hail” out of heaven upon men. Each hail will weigh 56 to 114 pounds, according to the weight of different talents in the New Testament. This last plague will be so terrible that men will again blaspheme God because of it. The hail will perhaps be the same as that mentioned in Ezek. 38:21-23 in connection with Armageddon. This is a repetition of the seventh Egyptian plague, but on a much larger scale. Cf. Ex. 9:13-35; Josh. 10:11. Thus, God will complete His wrath begun under the sixth seal in the first part of the Week, Rev. 6:12-17.
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