Revelation 16:10-21

Sunday, August 9th, 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 have already seen -

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.

We mentioned that 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

We have also already seen -

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.

In addition, we have already seen -

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.

Furthermore, we have already seen -

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.

Finally, we have already seen -

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.

We move on to -

VI. THE FIFTH VIAL - 16:10-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:10-11 - (10) 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, (11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

In verse 10 the fifth angel pours out his vial or bowl upon the throne of the beast with the result that the beast's kingdom is full of darkness and men gnaw their tongues for pain.

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

Poured out his vial [i.e. bowl] upon the seat of the beast i.e. upon the throne of the beast. It suggests the governmental rule of the antichrist and the territory over which he ruled.

As a result, 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.

His kingdom is the beast's (or the antichrist's) kingdom.

Was full of darkness is became darkened or was darkened. It indicates that it had not been dark previously but that something had changed and that now it was dark.

In reaction to the darkness and their misery they gnawed their tongues for pain.

They refers to those who were part of the kingdom of the beast (or antichrist) and refers to unsaved humanity.

They gnawed their tongues is they were gnawing (or biting) their tongues.

For pain is out of (i.e. because of or as a result of) pain (i.e. distress or affliction). It is not indicated where their pains have come from, but the next phrase suggests that some of their pain comes from their sores. Their sores have come as a result of the first bowl judgment in verse 2 where sores were inflicted on them which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. Some of their pains might also come from their burns from having been scorched by the sun.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

In verse 11 rather than repenting of their deeds, people not only gnawed their tongues, but they also blasphemed the God of heaven. They slandered or defamed the God Who dwells in heaven. This is the God of the Bible, Whom they chose to reject. What they should have done is submit in humility to the God of heaven by trusting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as their personal Savior; but now it was too late for them to change their minds because they had worshiped the beast and his image and had received his mark in their right hands or foreheads. They had made their choice.

Because of their pains and sores is the same construction as the phrase translated for pain in the previous verse.

Because of is understood in the sense of on account of or as a result of.

Their pains may have come from their sores or from their having been scorched by the sun.

(Their) sores are their ulcers or their abscesses and came according to verse 2 from the first bowl judgment upon all those which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

Instead of their blaspheming God, they should have repented of their deeds; but they repented not of their deeds.

They repented not means that they did not change their minds.

Of their deeds suggests of the things they had done and likely refers to their having received the mark of the beast and having worshiped his image and also to their having shed the blood of many saints and prophets.

Next, we see -

VII. THE SIXTH VIAL - 16:12-16

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:12-16 - (12) 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. (13) 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. (14) 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. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

In verse 12 the sixth angel pours out his bowl of wrath upon the Euphrates River. As a result the water of the Euphrates dries up preparing the way for the kings of the east.

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

Poured out his vial is poured out his bowl.

Upon the great river Euphrates, the same river which the Medes and Persians had diverted when they captured Babylon the night Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall.

As a result, the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

The water thereof is literally the water of it and means the water of the Euphrates River.

Was dried up means became dry and indicates that the water was gone and the river's bed was dry. Thus, it would no longer be a hindrance to an advancing army to cross.

That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared provides the reason the river was dried up. That is, therefore, to be understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

The way is the path or the road and suggests the way or path that the kings of the east and their armies must travel in order to reach their destination in Palestine.

The fact that the kings of the east is plural suggests that this will be a coalition of kings and their armies coming from the east. They are Oriental rulers who will descend upon the Middle East in connection with the final world conflict. The Euphrates would provide a natural land barrier which would hinder their advancing troops and equipment.

Might be prepared is might be made ready. The drying up of the Euphrates River will facilitate the movement of their troops and equipment toward their ultimate destination at the battle of Armageddon.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:13 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.

I saw indicates that John saw.

Three unclean spirits are three demons.

Like frogs is similar to frogs and suggests that they appeared to John as if they were frogs but that they were not actually frogs.

Out of the mouth indicates that these unclean spirits had been in the mouth and had come out of the mouth when John saw them. It is used to indicate the source of the three unclean spirits. Why is the mouth mentioned? Might it imply that this has to do with things said by the dragon, by the beast, and by the false prophet which are intended to deceive people? It suggests that these three unclean spirits are deceiving spirits who convince people to believe the lies told by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. They are commissioned to gather the kings of the entire earth to the battle described as the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

The dragon is Satan according to Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:9 .

The beast is the beast out of the sea, i.e. the antichrist, introduced in Revelation of Jesus Christ 13:1-8 .

The false prophet is the beast out of the earth introduced in Revelation of Jesus Christ 13:11-17 who did great wonders and caused those who dwelt on the earth to worship the beast out of the sea and to receive the mark of the beast out of the sea.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:14 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.

For introduces an explanation of the three unclean spirits introduced in verse 13.

They refers to the three unclean spirits.

What they are is indicated by the spirits of devils, i.e. spirits of demons.

Working miracles means doing (or performing) signs (or wonders). Although Satan's power is limited, he, as well as his demons, is able to do some things which are miraculous or which at least appear to be miraculous.

Which go forth is which are going out and refers to these demonic spirits.

They are going out unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world.

The kings represent the sum total of the rulers of the earth and of the whole world, which suggests of the whole inhabited world. None will be left out.

To gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty indicates the purpose for these unclean spirits going out unto all the kings of the earth.

To gather suggests to bring together or to call together.

Them refers to the kings of the earth and of the whole world.

To the battle indicates where they will be gathered together.

Of the great day of God Almighty indicates which battle this will be. The great day of God Almighty speaks of the battle of Armageddon where these kings and their armies will be annihilated by the Lord Jesus Christ at the second coming, which will climax the battle of Armageddon.

God Almighty is the all-powerful God or the omnipotent God.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Verse 15 is parenthetical and interrupts the flow of thought from verses 14 and 16. In the Greek text, parentheses appear around verse 15, which suggests that some editor recognized its parenthetical nature.

Behold is used to gain or to heighten the reader's attention.

I come is I am coming and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a thief indicates the manner of Christ's coming. It will be sudden and unexpected at a time when people will not be expecting it.

Blessed means that the individual is happy or to be envied.

The one who is blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.

He that watcheth is the one who is on the alert, the one who is watchful, the one who keeps awake spiritually, or the one who keeps his spiritual eyes open. He is a saved person.

Furthermore, the blessed person also keepeth his garments. He that watcheth and keepeth is the same person.

Keepeth in this context probably means maintains.

What he keeps are his garments, which may well refer to his deeds as a believer. In other words, he continues to live for the Lord and maintain a good testimony throughout the tribulation period, no matter what happens.

Lest he walk naked, and they see his shame indicates why the believer watches and keeps his garments. He will never walk around naked or unclothed, and people will never see his shame for being naked.

By contrast the unsaved have no garments signifying righteous deeds to keep and will, therefore, walk naked for others to see their shame when they see them as they really are.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

In verse 16 the thought reverts to what was being stated in verse 14. Verse 15 forms a parenthesis between verses 14 and 16.

I remind you that in verse 14 the three unclean spirits are identified as the spirits of demons who work miracles and go forth unto all the kings of the earth to gather them to the battle of Armageddon.

In verse 16 the kings of the earth are seen to be gathered into Armageddon.

He is God Almighty from verse 14.

Gathered is brought together or called together. It is so certain of fulfillment that it has been put into a past tense as though it had already occurred although it is actually still future.

Them is the kings of the earth and of the whole world as mentioned in verse 14. It includes their armies as well.

Into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon is into the place, the one called in Hebrew Armageddon, which means Mount Megiddo.

Finally, we see -

VIII. THE SEVENTH VIAL - 16:17-21

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:17-21 - (17) 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. (18) 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. (19) 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. (20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (21) 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.

The seventh vial or bowl is poured out into the air. It is accompanied by voices, thunderings, lightnings, and a great earthquake. This seventh bowl of wrath extends through Revelation of Jesus Christ 19:21 .

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

Poured out his vial into the air is poured out his bowl into the air.

As a result, there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. It is not stated whose voice this was, but it was certainly one of authority.

This voice is described as great, which suggests that it was loud and commanding. The voice came out of the temple of heaven which suggests that it was spoken inside the temple of heaven and was heard outside of it.

The temple is the place where God dwells and speaks of the holy of holies within the inner veil.

Of heaven distinguishes this temple from an earthly temple.

The voice also came from the throne which appears to be the throne on which God the Father reigns and on which Christ co-reigns over the entire creation. This clearly seems to be the voice of God the Father, especially in view of the fact that no one was able to enter the temple until the seven vial (or bowl) judgments were completed.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 15:8 - And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

What the voice was saying is, It is done. It is literally it has come to pass or it has happened. With the seventh bowl judgment, the bowl judgments as well as the trumpet judgments and the seal judgments are now complete or finished. It is done indicates that the final act of God preceding the second coming of Christ has been accomplished. It is done has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:18 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.

There were voices, and thunders, and lightnings is literally voices, and thunders, and lightnings occurred.

Voices can mean sounds or noises. What kind of voices, sounds, or noises these were is not stated. However, when combined with thunders, voices likely means crashes of thunder. It must have been some spectacular display of thunder and lightning. It can be spoken of as if it had already happened because it is so certain of fulfillment.

Also, there was a great earthquake. It is literally a great earthquake happened, a great earthquake came to pass, or a great earthquake occurred.

Just how great this earthquake was is made clear by such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

Such as was not is such as had not occurred, such as had not come to pass, or such as had not happened.

Since men were upon the earth, where men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males, is from the time when men were upon the earth. It is equivalent in meaning to saying since men were created.

So mighty an earthquake is so great an earthquake. John uses different words to say the same thing a second time regarding this earthquake: it was so great. The idea is repeated for emphasis. It will be the greatest earthquake the earth has ever seen.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:19 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.

The great city is the city, the great (one) and suggests Jerusalem although some believe it to be a rebuilt Babylon. What makes it likely that the great city is not referring to great Babylon is that great Babylon is mentioned separately in the last half of this verse, and there is no reason given in this verse for equating the two cities.

Was divided into three parts indicates what happened to the great city as a result of this great earthquake.

As a result of this great earthquake, the cities of the nations fell. The destruction seems to be worldwide and the phrase seems to be all-inclusive. Buildings fall all over the world.

And great Babylon came in remembrance before God. There may be times when it would be to one's advantage to be forgotten, but God does not forget what Babylon is or what Babylon has done.

Great Babylon is Babylon the great (one) and refers to political and commercial Babylon because, according to chapter 17, religious Babylon will have already been destroyed in the middle of the tribulation. In this context the time is at the end of the tribulation immediately prior to the second coming of Christ.

Came in remembrance is was remembered.

Before God is in the presence of God or in the sight of God, where God is God the Father.

To give unto her [i.e. to give unto Babylon] the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath indicates the purpose for which Babylon was remembered before God. It was to give unto Babylon what she deserved.

The cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath refers to the fierceness of God's wrath which He would symbolically give to Babylon to drink but which He would literally pour out upon her.

The fierceness of his wrath is literally the passion (or rage) of His wrath.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Verse 20 continues the results of this great earthquake.

Every island fled away suggests that the islands of the sea disappeared.

Another phenomenon occurred: the mountains were not found suggests that the mountains were all gone. The great earthquake apparently toppled them.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 16:21 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.

There fell upon men a great hail out of heaven is literally great hail came down out of heaven upon men.

One frequently hears about hail that is the size of golf balls, and one occasionally hears about hail that is the size of softballs. This hail, however, is said to be great; and its greatness is described by the phrase which follows: every stone about the weight of a talent.

A talent is slightly less than one hundred pounds although some estimates run as high as one hundred thirty pounds. One can only imagine the size of one of these hailstones. It would take about 12-15 gallons of water to weigh a talent. Imagine the size of a hailstone containing 12-15 gallons of frozen water, the equivalent of 2 1/2 - 3 five gallon buckets of water! Furthermore, this says nothing of its velocity as it accelerates in its fall toward the earth. One such hailstone would be more than enough to crush a man's skull or to come crashing through someone's roof, possibly killing the occupants within the building.

Fell is came down, and upon men is upon the men.

That not everyone was hit by one of these hailstones is evident because some were still alive and able to blaspheme God.

The term for men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

Out of heaven suggests that the hail fell out of the atmospheric heaven.

In response to the hail falling down out of heaven, men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail.

Also men is the generic term for humanity and includes females as well as males.

Blasphemed God is slandered or defamed where God refers to God the Father. Men blaspheme God because of the plague of hail. The utter perversity of human nature, which will reject the sovereignty of God in the face of such overwhelming evidence, confirms that even the lake of fire will not produce repentance on the part of those who have hardened their hearts against the grace of God.

The reason men blasphemed God is because of the plague of the hail.

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

For the plague thereof is because of the plague of it, i.e. because of the plague of the hail.

Was very great is was exceedingly great or was extremely great.

CONCLUSION:

Chronologically, the next event is the one prophesied in Rev. 19:11 where Christ Himself descends from heaven to take over His kingdom on earth.