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Revelation 16:10-21 “The Pouring Out Of Bowls 5-7

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THE TEXT:

 

Rev 16:10-21 KJV

(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.
(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.
(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 INTRODUCTION:

In the previous chapter, we have been presented to us the truth that the Lord will deliver His people from this fallen earth just prior to the falling of His wrath upon sinful mankind. This was symbolized by two differing reapings of the earth.  Now we continue looking at God’s wrath that will fall at His second coming by looking at the final stages of His wrath.  The last part of His wrath is called the seventh trumpet.  The contents of this trumpet will be shown to us in seven symbols.  These symbols are vials (bowls) of wrath that are poured out upon the lost.

In chapter 16, we will see the contents of trumpet 7, in other words bowls 1-7, being poured out upon Satan’s kingdoms…

I.  Revelation 16:1-21

A.  Command To Pour Out Vials (16:1)

B.  Vial One (16:2)

C.  Vial Two (16:3)

D.  Vial Three (16:4-7)

E.  Vial Four (16:8-9)

F.  Vial Five (16:10-11)

G.  Vial Six (16:12-16)

H.  Vial Seven (16:17-21)

 

Please notice, there is a similarity (with clear differences) between these vial judgments and the 7 trumpet judgments that we have previously looked at:

 

# Trumpets (Rev 8:, 9:, 10:) Vials  (Rev 16:) Exodus Plague
1 Hail, Fire , Blood Sores On Men 9: – Boils
2 Burning Mountain, Sea To Blood Sea To Blood 7: – Water To Blood
3 Star From Heaven , Rivers and Founts To Blood Rivers and Founts To Blood 7: – Water To Blood
4 Darkness Sun Scorching Men 10: – Darkness
5 Locusts Upon Men Darkness and Pain 10: – Locusts
6 4 Angels / 200,000,000 Army 4 Kings / 3 Spirits 12: – Death Angel
7 The 7 Vials Thunder, Lightning, Earhquake, Hail 9: – Hail

Please note that all the symbolic vials can find their source among the 10 Egyptian Plagues.

As we can see that are several similar judgments (2, 3, 6), one opposite judgment (4), and two totally different (1, 5,), and one trumpet is inclusive of all the vials (7).

From this we can see that the 7 trumpets are NOT the same judgments as the 7 vials (bowls).   However, the 7th trumpet is made up of all seven of the vial judgments.

Also, please remember, the first 6 trumpet judgments affect lost mankind, while several of the 7 vials affect Satan and his kingdoms,  this is another very important difference that must be recognized.

One final difference between the trumpets and the vials is found in their severity.  While the trumpets affected large portions of the lost, the 7 vials seem to affect all of the members of the kingdom of Satan resulting their final physical destruction.

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

In the previous 4 vials we saw God’s wrath being poured out against individuals who are members of the kingdom of Satan.  Now, we will begin to see God’s wrath being poured out upon Satan’s kingdom itself.

Rev 16:10-21 KJV 

(10)  And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast;

This vial is sent out against the “throne” (political authority) of the kingdom of Satan.  This would be referring to the beast from the sea, the political aspect of Satan’s kingdom.  

The wrath that will fall at Christ’s second coming will punish, and bring an end to, the political powers of this world.

 

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.

 

One part of this wrath is darkness falling upon the kingdom.  This darkness symbolizes a void, emptiness, an absence, or a silence (1 Sam 2:9).   The kingdom is being brought down to desolation, its lights have been put out, symbolizing its final end.

Those in the kingdom chew their tongues do to the great pain involved with their defeat.  Once again, we see the great suffering and loss of this judgment does not bring men to Christ but hardens their hearts against the Lord, blaspheming Him and refusing to repent of their sins which would, by theory, alleviate their judgment.

The symbolism of this judgment comes from the plague of darkness that was placed upon Egypt (Exo 10:21-23) 

 

(12)  And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up,

The sixth angel pours his vial upon the river Euphrates.   The word “Euphrates”, although of foreign origin, is closely related to a Hebrew word that means “to break forth” (as the water breaking forth over a barrier, or seed ready to spring forth from the ground in the field.)   The river Euphrates is used in Revelation to picture the holding place for wicked powers and the beginning point of various judgments of God (Rev 9:14).

The pouring of the vial now dries up the Euphrates.  This allows the judgment of God to break forth and proceed.  This reminds us of the splitting of the Nile which allowed the Jews to proceed to the other side with the Egyptians in close pursuit.

The symbolism of this vial is rich indeed.  God’s sixth vial judgment now begins as it is poured out upon the Euphrates, which will cause the judgment to spring forth.  In this case, Euphrates is like a plowed field awaiting seed to be sown.  The pouring out of the vial is like the seed being sown in the field.  This is all done to bring forth the judgment that awaits the Satanic Kingdoms…

 

that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

God’s judgment against the kingdom of Satan begins…

The literal translation of this phrase can also be “that the way of the authorities of the rising sun might be made ready” (see Youngs Literal Translation, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, and American Standard Version).  This is speaking of Christ and His people coming to fight the final battle against Satan’s kingdom… the Battle of Armageddon (this battle in great detail – Rev 19:11-21 and summarized in Rev 16:17-21).

(Please note: Both Christ and His people are described as kings (or “authorities”) because His people will reign with Christ during His kingdom – Rev 20:4.  Christ is the King that is described as “a rising sun” coming from the east in several places in the Bible: [Isa 41:2, Ezek 43:1-4, 44:1-4, Malachi 4:2 “Sun of Righteousness” , Matt 24:27, Luke 1:78 “Dayspring” – Rising Sun, Rev 7:2])

This part of John’s vision is teaching us that the judgment that falls at Christ’s second coming will prepare the way for Christ to enter the world, with His people, to personally fight at the Battle Of Armageddon. The fortresses and holding places of the wicked will be done away (Euphrates being dried up) in preparation for His coming and the battle to be fought.  The wicked in that battle, will have no place to flee, no place to run to, no place to find refuge from His wrath. 

This symbolism is found in Isaiah 11:15-16. 

This is the Lord’s preparation for the Battle of Armageddon…. In the next verse, we will see Satan and his kingdoms preparation for this Battle affecting the kingdoms of Satan

 

(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.

John now sees three demonic spirits come from the mouth of Satan, His political kingdom, and His religious kingdom.  These three spirits appear like frogs to John.  Biblically, the number three is the number for the trinity but also for completeness of manifestation.  An example of this is found in 1 Tim 5:19 & Hebs 10:28.

Just as the trinity and their work completely reveals the person and work of God, so too, the three wicked spirits from their mouths symbolizes the complete message of the powers darkness of this world.  This tells us, as Armageddon approaches, the entire forces of evil alive on the earth will be joined together to deceive and mislead mankind to go to  war against the Lord.  Their “propaganda machine” will be running full force to gather mankind to battle.

These spirits appear as frogs.  They are considered to be unclean and to be refrained from by God’s people (Lev 11:10-41).   The message of the powers of darkness are unclean, to be rejected by God’s people.  Frogs in the Bible also represent the judgments of God upon wicked authorities (Psa 105:30).  These sinful messages will end up coming back upon Satan and his kingdoms as a part of the divine judgment of God.  All of their lies, all of their deceit, will only increase the judgment that comes upon them.

These misleading messages include:

  1. “ the spirit of devils” – they are empowered and used to advance the agenda of demons and the other powers of darkness.
  2. “working miracles” – a part of the message tools that Satan uses to deceive men into following him are false signs and wonders that deceive. (Matt 24:24)
  3. “which go forth…world” – these messages and false miracles are pointed towards the authorities of the world kingdoms and all of lost mankind.

What is the ultimate purpose of these false, misleading messages?  “to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”  This is what this entire vial is all about.  It is the Lord and His people preparing for this battle to go against Satan and his kingdoms on earth.  That battle will be symbolized in summary fashion in the last vial.  It will be the final act of God’s wrath against lost mankind on earth, and will bring a complete end to the Great Tribulation which began in trumpet 1 and is now going to be brought to a close.

 

(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.

Following symbolism in which we saw Christ and His people, as well as Satan and his kingdoms, preparing for Christ’s second coming and the Battle Of Armageddon, the Lord now reminds us truths about His coming:

  1. “Behold, I come as a thief.” – The lost world will not expect His coming.  The result of His coming and the Battle will be loss and harm to those upon earth. (Luke 12:35-38, 1 Thess 5:1-2, 2 Pet 3:8-13, Matt 24:43, Luke 12:39-40)
  1. “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments,” – For those who are truly saved will be watching and keeping their garments pure (by remaining faithful in service to Christ), they will be blessed (Eph 4:24, Job 29:14). This will take place when the Lord takes them home to be with Him and they are rewarded for their faithful works.

No saint is perfectly watching nor keeping His garments… but every saint does these to a certain extent.  All who are truly saved will recognize He is coming again, just as everyone truly saved will serve Him in some ways.   No truly saved person totally forgets Christ is coming again, nor does He refrain from bearing any fruits of the spirit in his life.  These would be signs of a person’s lost condition.

  1. “lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” – For the lost who are watching or faithful to Him, they will be exposed for what they really are… rebellious rejecters of Christ and will be put to shame when Christ comes in victorious opposition to them.

In this verse, the Lord not only reminds us of His coming, but also of our need to be prepared for that coming through salvation, watchfulness and faithful service to Him (Luke 12:35-38, Mark 13:32-37).

 

(16)  And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

We pick up with the narrative in verse 14.  The lost on the world are now being assembled to do battle against the coming Christ.

Who is the “he” that is gathering the lost?   There is dispute about this by commentators on this verse.   This same Greek word is translated “they” in most of the other versions of the Bible.  This is because this verse uses a singular verb with a plural noun.  We cannot be certain which was John’s intent.  But really, in the big picture of things, it makes very little difference and no need for any dispute…

“They” would refer back to Satan, the Beast (political kingdoms of world), and the False Prophet (religious kingdoms of the world).

However, if the proper translation is “he”, then it could be referring back to Satan as the ruler of all the powers of darkness.

In either case, it is saying that the lost of this world will be gathered by the powers of darkness, who are under the leadership of Satan.

The place of this final battle is called Armageddon which means, the “mountain of Megiddo”, or “mountain of rendezvous, meeting, or congregation”.   This is the perfect name for it to possess, as all of lost mankind will “rendezvous” in an effort to oppose Christ and His people at their coming.

The area of Armageddon includes the valley where this battle is fought.  This valley is given several titles:

  1. “the valley of Jehoshaphat”… “the valley where the Lord judges” (Joel 3:2, 12)
  2. “the valley of Hinnon”… “the valley of sorrow and weeping” (Jer 19:1-15)
  3. “the valley of Kidron”… “the valley full of blackness and confusion” (Zech 14:2-5)

 

All of these titles helps us to understand different truths about this great battle that will find Christ victorious over all.

 

(17)  And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air;

This seventh vial is speaking of the Battle of Armageddon in summary fashion.  With the completion of this vial we come to the completion of Christ’s wrath falling upon lost mankind and the kingdoms of Satan.    The vial is said to be poured out in the air, a symbolic picture of the wrath of God being spread by the winds throughout the earth.  All of the living lost, Satan and his kingdoms will be affected by this judgment.  There will be no place to find refuge, the wrath of God will miss none.

 

and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

Immediately, following the sending of the final portion of His wrath, John hears the voice of God stating “It is done”.  In other words, my wrath against Satan, his kingdoms, and the lost is now complete.

Just as when Christ stated “it is finished” on the cross, announcing His defeat of death, sin and Satan…. So too, now He is announcing the completion of the manifestation of that same victory that He has won for us on the cross.   What He accomplished on the cross is now being brought to full fruition at the completion of the Battle of Armageddon.

 

(18)  And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings;

At the announcement of His completed wrath John sees and hears a great display of God’s presence, power and anger on display.  Just as in prior portions of Revelation these displays reveal God’s greatness as Ultimate Victor and Judge over all.

This is what we have seen throughout the falling wrath of God.  We have seen His presence on display through His strength, authority, and dominating control over the powers of darkness and lost mankind. 

 

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

Several times in the Bible, earthquakes are directly linked to the falling of God’s wrath and anger (Haggai 12:6-7, Ezek 38:19, Isa 2:19, Isa 29:6).     Never has there been a greater display of God’s wrath and overcoming Sovereignty on the earth as when the Battle of Armageddon takes place.

This great earthquake severs “the great city”, Babylon, into three distinct parts.  Babylon is a picture of the headquarters, or the capital city, of the powers of darkness.   Three is the number for complete manifestation (see vs 14).  When the Battle of Armageddon takes place and Babylon is destroyed, it will be a complete, clearly seen destruction that will bring the powers of darkness to an end.

Not only will the capital of Satan’s kingdom be destroyed, but also all the other cities are brought to defeat.  Once again, we can see the totality of the lost worlds defeat and their complete physical destruction.  No city is left standing, no area is left unaffected.  It is an absolute, total defeat of darkness at the hand of our Almighty Lord.

Remember, it was at the Tower of Babel that the first public display of lost mankind’s united rebellion against the Lord.  Now the Battle of Armageddon is bringing into completion the punishment that was sent upon the members of Satan’s kingdoms for their unified rebellion against Him.

 

to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

This battle is bringing to an end Satan’s kingdom and lost mankind’s “dose” of God’s wrath, by battling them at Armageddon.   It is as if He is giving her a cup of wine that is filled with the “fierceness”,  the most intense part of His wrath.  This will bring her “dose” to completion.  

 

(20)  And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Even the most isolated spots on the globe, the islands, will be brought to destruction.  Likewise, the highest and most firm parts of the globe, the mountains, cannot give refuge or hiding to the lost.  They, too, will be touched by God’s wrath as it is brought to completion.

 

(21)  And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent:

The hail falling from heaven symbolizes the wrath that proceeds for God and falls upon the inhabitants of the earth.  The hail weighing “a talent” tells us it weighed approx. 114 pounds.   Once again, we have the horrid desolation of all the inhabitants of the earth being emphasized.  This is done with the symbolism of large hail that would cause total destruction as it falls.   

 

and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

Once again, we see the refusal of members of Satan’s kingdoms to repent.  Instead they speak evil of the Lord, falsely accusing Him of wrongdoing and demeaning Him.  They are doing this because of the greatness of His wrath that is bringing them to utter defeat.

It is interesting to note that God’s wrath is described as a “plague” in this verse.  The Greek word for “plague” means a wound, or a stripe.   In comparison, we are told that a part of Christ’s work on behalf of His people is to take “stripes” in their place which was the punishment for their sins.  (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24)

This entire vial is based upon Joel 3:9-17.

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In the account of vials 5-7, we see the completed work of Christ coming into view.  That which He has completed on the cross,  whether it be the salvation of His people (Phil 1:4-6) or the victory over the powers of darkness (Hebs 2:14) , we find that He will always bring to completion that which He has begun.

What a blessing for us to know…. Just as certain as His victory over sin is our redemption!  We can rest assured that if we have been saved, we will enter eternal glory with Him and escape His wrath that will fall at His second coming…

1Co 1:8 KJV – Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

May we all serve Him with assurance KNOWING without doubt that, if we are saved, we are secure in Him.   This assurance allows us to enter into His presence boldly as we serve Him and know with certainty He is with us, aidin us every step of the way ….

Heb 4:16 KJV – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Heb 13:6 KJV – “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

 

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5 Comments

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this study

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