Revelation 16:1-9

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

THE VISION OF THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

INTRODUCTION:

Revelation of Jesus Christ 15-16 concludes the chronological events leading up to the Second Coming of Christ.

Whereas Revelation of Jesus Christ 15 leads up to the seven vials or bowls, Revelation of Jesus Christ 16 lists the seven vials or bowls.

I remind you that the chronological order of events in Revelation is presented basically in the seven seals (6:1-17; 8:1).

Remember that the seventh seal is the seven trumpets (8:1 - 9:21; 11:15-19), and remember also that the seventh trumpet is the seven vials or bowls.

The Second Coming of Christ follows immediately after the seventh vial or bowl judgment, which also concludes the seventh trumpet and the seventh seal.

We see -

I. THE COMMAND TO POUR OUT THE VIALS - 16:1

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:1 (1) And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

The word great occurs frequently in this chapter.

Great voice - v. 1, 17

Great heat - v. 9

Great river Euphrates - v. 12

Great day of God Almighty - v. 14

Great Earthquake - v. 18

Great city - v. 19

Great Babylon - v. 19

Great hail - v. 21

Great plague - v. 21

I heard refers to John.

What John heard was a great voice out of the temple. It is not revealed whose voice this was, but it was certainly a voice of authority. In view of the fact that the reader was informed in Revelation of Jesus Christ 15:8 that no one was able to enter the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled, it must be the voice of God.

The voice is described as being great, which suggests that it was very loud and commanding.

Out of the temple indicates the source of this voice. It came from within the temple and was heard by John outside the temple.

The word for temple indicates the inner sanctuary, the holy of holies, the place where God dwells.

Saying indicates what the voice John heard was doing.

To the seven angels indicates the group to whom this voice which John heard was speaking. These are the seven angels who have been given the seven bowls of wrath.

What the voice was saying is Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Go your ways is understood in the sense of be going, continue going, or keep going.

Pour out is a command whose tense indicates that it is to be done at once and without delay.

What they were to pour out was the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

The vials is the bowls, and of the wrath of God indicates the contents of these bowls. They contained God's wrath.

Upon the earth indicates where the vials or bowls of God's wrath were to be poured out.

Next, we see -

II. THE FIRST VIAL - 16:2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:2 (2) 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.

The first refers to the first angel. He is one of the seven angels holding the seven bowls filled with the wrath of God.

Went or went away is the same word translated go in verse 1.

This first angel also poured out his vial or poured out his bowl.

A vial is a shallow bowl or saucer.

Upon the earth indicates where this first angel poured out his bowl or vial.

As a result, there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

There fell is came to pass, took place, happened, or came about.

A noisome . . . sore is an evil (i.e. an injurious, dangerous, or pernicious) abscess (or ulcer); and a grievous sore is a painful (or serious) abscess (or ulcer).

Upon the men indicates the ones on whom these sores were found.

The men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males. The use of the before men indicates that this is the sum total of a particular group of men who are being treated as a class or group.

They are particularly the people which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

Which had is the ones having or the ones who had.

The mark of the beast is the particular mark or stamp engraved, etched, branded, cut, imprinted, or implanted on the right hand or forehead. This mark represented the beast or the antichrist.

And upon them which worshipped is and upon the ones worshiping or upon the ones who were worshiping.

By worshipped is meant that these people fell down and worshiped, prostrated themselves before, or did reverence to.

What they were worshiping was his image, i.e. the image (or likeness) of the beast or antichrist. Saved people still alive on the earth during this time of tribulation will not be affected by these sores, abscesses, or ulcers because they will not have received the mark of the beast or worshiped his image.

Then, we see -

III. THE SECOND VIAL - 16:3

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:3 (3) 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.

The second angel is the second of seven angels holding the seven bowls filled with the wrath of God.

Poured out his vial is poured out his bowl.

Upon the sea is literally into the sea and indicates where this second angel poured out his vial or bowl. It is a reference to the vast bodies of water known as oceans and seas.

As a result, it [i.e. the sea] became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

Became is the same word translated there fell in verse 2. It indicates that a change took place.

As the blood of a dead man indicates the change which happened to the sea. The blood of a dead man would be dark and thick, and it would coagulate, rot, and stink.

As a result of the sea becoming blood as of a dead person, every living soul died in the sea.

Every living soul died implies that none were excluded. It apparently refers to all marine life. It means every living thing died. None survived.

In the sea does not tell where every living thing died but is used to limit the meaning of every living soul or of every living thing. Those living beings in the sea all died; whereas, those living beings on land were not directly affected by this plague.

Is as the blood of a dead man to be taken literally, or is it the language of appearance? It is possible that it does not become literal human blood but that it merely appears to be. In either case, however, it cannot support life.

Furthermore, we see -

IV. THE THIRD VIAL - 16:4-7

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:4-7 - (4) And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. (5) 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. (6) For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. (7) And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

In verse 4 the third angel pours out his bowl of wrath upon the rivers and fountains of waters with the result that they become blood.

The third angel is the third of seven angels holding the seven bowls filled with the wrath of God.

Poured out his vial is poured out his bowl (or saucer).

Upon the rivers and fountains of waters is literally into the rivers and into the fountains of the waters.

The rivers or the streams are the larger tributaries which ultimately empty their waters into the seas or oceans.

The fountains of waters refers to the springs or sources of the waters of the rivers and streams which ultimately flow into the seas and oceans.

As a result, they became blood. As a result of the water becoming blood, nothing would be able to survive in these rivers and fountains of waters. This would disastrously affect the supplies of drinking water for much of the earth. This is not merely the language of appearance because the text does not state that they became as blood. The rivers actually became blood. Verse 6 indicates that these people were worthy of drinking blood because they had shed the blood of the saints.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:5 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.

In verse 5 the angel of the waters declares the Lord to be righteous in His judgment upon the rivers and waters.

I heard refers to John.

What John heard was the angel of the waters saying something. The angel of the waters is apparently an angel who had some authority over the waters. Inasmuch as this statement is connected with the bowl judgment upon the rivers and fountains of waters in verse 4, this angel apparently has some relation to these waters.

What this angel was heard to say is, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

Thou is you (singular) and refers to the Lord.

Art is are and implies that this is something which is always true.

Righteous means just or upright.

O Lord is simply Lord and is used in direct address. It indicates that this angel of the waters is speaking directly to the Lord.

Which art, and wast, and shalt be indicates His eternality.

Which art is literally the One Who is. He always is. There is never a time when He is not.

Furthermore, He always was. (Which) wast is the One Who was. There has never been a time when the Lord did not exist. He has always existed throughout eternity past.

In addition, (which) shalt be is the One Who shall be. He is the eternal One. There never will be a time in the future throughout all eternity when the Lord will not exist. Coupled with His omnipotence and omniscience, how better could the future of believers be guaranteed! It is apparently a reference to God the Father rather than to Christ.

Because thou hast judged thus is literally because with reference to these things you have administered justice (or you have judged). Hast judged has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. Because of what has been stated in this verse and in the next verse, these things refers to the turning of the rivers and fountains of waters into blood.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Verse 6 gives the reason that the Lord is righteous in His judgment in pouring out His bowl of wrath upon the rivers and waters. It is because those who drink of them have murdered the saints and prophets and deserve this judgment.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is to be understood in this sense here as well.

They seems to refer to the beast, the false prophet, and unsaved humanity who worship the beast and his image; but it may have reference to the cumulative sins of all unsaved humanity who have set themselves in opposition to God and His work throughout the centuries.

Have shed is have poured out. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

What they have shed or poured out is the blood of saints and prophets. In other words, they have murdered saints, i.e. saved people, people set apart for the Lord. They have also murdered prophets, and these murders occurred throughout Old and New Testament history. God's cumulative judgment for sins against His people through the centuries falls upon those guilty of the same sins in this generation.

As a result, thou hast given them blood to drink.

Thou is the Lord and apparently refers to God the Father.

Hast given is simply You gave or You have given. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Them is to them and refers to the ones who have shed the blood of saints and prophets.

What the Lord has given them is blood to drink. They have shed blood; and now they can drink blood as a result.

For introduces an explanation regarding why they are given blood to drink: they are worthy. It suggests that they deserve it.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

In verse 7 another voice out of the heavenly altar praises the Lord God Almighty for His true and righteous judgments.

I heard refers to John.

Another is another of the same sort. This time it is a different voice. In verse 5 John hears the angel of the waters speaking. Here, inasmuch as it is another voice of the same sort, it must be an angel who is speaking.

Out of the altar indicates where this speaker was located. It is the altar in the temple in heaven.

The tense of say indicates action going on at the same time as the action of I heard.

What John heard being said is, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

Even so is the word ordinarily translated yes. Here, its use is emphatic and emphasizes agreement with the action taken by the Lord in judging the people who have received the mark of the beast and who worship his image.

In Revelation of Jesus Christ 14:13 the same word was translated yea in the phrase, Yea, saith the Spirit.

Even so is understood in the sense of certainly, indeed, or quite so.

Lord God Almighty refers to God the Father. It is used numerous times in Revelation. Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:22 distinguishes between the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:22 - And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

Almighty is All-Powerful or Omnipotent (One). The appears in the Greek text before Almighty in order to particularize Him as the one and only Almighty One.

True and righteous are thy judgments continues the words which were being said or spoken by this angel.

True suggests that they are always in accordance with truth. There is never anything untrue or deceptive about His ways.

Righteous is just. In Revelation of Jesus Christ 15:3 the same words were used regarding the Lord's ways.

Are thy judgments speaks of the Lord God Almighty's wrath which is being poured out on unsaved humanity in these bowl judgments.

Finally, we see -

V. THE FOURTH VIAL - 16:8-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:8-9 - (8) And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him [i.e. unto the sun] to scorch men with fire. (9) 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.

In verse 8 the fourth angel pours out his vial or bowl filled with the wrath of God upon the sun with the result that the intensity of the sun is increased and the sun now scorches people with fire.

The fourth angel is the fourth of seven angels holding vials or bowls filled with the wrath of God.

Poured out his vial is poured out his bowl.

Upon the sun indicates where this fourth angel poured out his vial or bowl.

As a result, power was given unto him [i.e. unto the sun] to scorch men with fire.

Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males. The appears before men in the Greek text in order to indicate that it is the sum total of unsaved humanity which is in view. They are hereby treated as a group or class.

With fire indicates how the sun is going to burn or scorch people. Somehow, the sun is going to be hotter than it normally is; and it will have a disastrous affect on unsaved humanity.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:9 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.

In verse 9 when men are scorched with great heat from the sun, rather than repenting and giving God glory, they blaspheme the name of God, recognizing that He has authority over these plagues.

Men were scorched with great heat. Although it made them miserable, it apparently did not kill them. It suggests that someday there may indeed be some real global warming!

Once again the term for men is the generic term for human beings and indicates that this group includes females as well as males. The appears before men in the Greek text indicating that it is the sum total of unsaved humanity which is in view.

Were scorched with great heat (or were burned with great burning) comes as a result of the sun's being given power or ability to scorch men in this verse.

In reaction to their being scorched with great heat, unsaved humanity blasphemed the name of God. They were guilty of slandering or defaming the name of God rather than of turning to Him in repentance for their sins.

The name of God suggests all that God is and all that God represents.

Which hath power over these plagues is literally the One Who has power over these plagues and refers to God the Father. They apparently recognized that God had power over these plagues, and they blasphemed Him.

Power is used in the sense of authority or absolute power. It means that God was completely in control of these plagues.

These plagues refers to the disasters which are brought about by the pouring out of the vials or bowls containing the wrath of God.

Furthermore, they repented not to give him glory.

They refers to the men who were blaspheming the name of God as a result of their misery in being scorched with a great heat by the sun.

Repented not is did not change their minds. Inasmuch as they did not change their minds, it did not result in a change of their actions.

They continued blaspheming God for their miseries and did not give him [i.e. give God] glory. To give Him glory suggests ascribing the fame or honor that properly belongs to God and further suggests that they did not submit themselves to His rule over their lives or place their trust in Christ as their Savior from sin and its consequences.