Revelation Chapter 16

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Revelation Chapter 16

16:1 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.

16:2 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.

16:3 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.

16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

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.

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

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

16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and

 

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they repented not to give him glory.

16:10 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,

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

16:17 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

 

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I n verse 1, a great voice from heaven is heard telling the seven angels to pour out their vials upon the earth. The plagues that fell on Egypt at the time of the exodus were a type of these plagues at the end of the world. The plagues that fell on Egypt were directed against their false gods. In the same way these plagues at the end of the world are directed against the false gods of our world today. God does not do things randomly. Everything He does has a point and a purpose. The final plagues are seven in number. This indicates completeness and perfection or finality. The chiastic structure relationships of Hebrew poetry can also be seen in the seven last plagues.

The 2nd verse tells us the first plague is a medical problem described as "a noisome and grievous sore." The physical body is the platform on which is built the soul temple of the human body. Those who refuse to "fear God and give glory to Him" in their physical bodies feel the results of transgression of God’s physical laws in the form of boils that are incurable by modern medical science. Both indulgence of appetite and dependence on medical science to care for our indiscretions are false gods of our age.

Verse 3 describes the second plague. Everything in the sea dies. The sea becomes as the blood of a dead body. While the sea literally becomes as the blood of the dead, the sea is also symbolic of masses of people, and of trade and commerce. A ripple effect of the sea being as the blood of the dead is that it has an adverse effect on people and trade and commerce. Revelation 18:17 includes shipmasters, companies of ships, and sailors and as many as trade by sea, in the group bewailing the burning of great Babylon. The sea is the commercial life-line, even as the blood is the life-line in the human body. Commerce is one of the great modern idols that is struck down by the second plague.

Verses 4–7 describe the third plague that causes all the rivers and fountains of water to turn to blood. The response from the universe is praise because of the world killing the true followers of God. Mankind and the animal and vegetable kingdom cannot live without water. This plague is directed to the false god of the human fountains of life and knowledge (the false educational

 

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system based on evolution instead of creation) and the worship of life itself. The creature is worshipped rather than the Creator and Source of the water of life. In this connection we have been told:

"These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy." {FLB 340.3}

"I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus’ work was done in the sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgments of God upon them and that if they could rid the earth of us the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance."—EW 36, 37 (1851). {LDE 245.1}

Verses 8–9 tell us that the fourth plague is poured out upon the sun. This plague is directed against sun worship and Sunday worship. As we have seen on page 87 under Thyatira, the fourth church, the fourth is the center of the chiastic structure of 7. Sunday worship becomes the mark of the beast when it is enforced by law. This change in the law of God is claimed as the mark and evidence of the authority and power of the Pope of Rome. Worship of and obedience to either God or man is the central issue of the great controversy.

Verses 10–11 show us the fifth plague. It is upon the seat of the beast which is first Rome and, at the end possibly, old Jerusalem. God illustrates that they have no center of truth by causing it to be oppressively dark in those centers. The link with the third plague on the fountains of water is Rome’s assumed role as the fountain of life and truth for the whole world. But, at this false center of the world, there is seen the boils that have not yet been cured, and the profound darkness. In spite of these judgments from God, they do not repent!

 

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Verses 12–16 describe the 6th plague. The 6th plague is different in that it reveals a cascade of events—not one specific judgment—all leading up to the Battle of Armageddon (the 7th plague). War to destroy God’s loyal believers is considered, by the one world government, to be the solution to the world’s problems. It is not recognized that the world problems are caused by rebellion against the law of God. Marshalling the world for war "to end all wars" is permitted by God to show the world in the 7th plague the futility of trusting and worshipping man-made solutions. The vast world-wide call to battle by the three unclean spirits like frogs and the preparations for the Battle of Armageddon is the 6th plague. The law of God—the character of God—is the central issue in the great controversy. In Revelation 9:14, we see the 6th trumpet sounded and the four angels bound in the river Euphrates were loosed. The Euphrates river is what ancient Babylon was built on. This river contributed to the sense of security in having both an unfailing water supply and also part of the defense of the ancient city. Ancient Babylon was defeated by the army of Cyrus who diverted the water of the river, marched under the walls of the city in the river bed, and entered the city through gates left open as prophesied many years before Cyrus was born. These same symbols are used to describe the final battle between Christ and Satan on earth called the Battle of Armageddon. The Euphrates river symbolizes all the nations of the earth who give allegiance and military support to the Papacy represented by its varied and many organizations. There is a confederacy of evil spirits that joins the Papacy in the Battle of Armageddon. One evil spirit comes out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan). One spirit comes out of the mouth of the beast (the Papacy). And one evil spirit comes out of the mouth of the false prophet (any who speak falsely for God). We are told that there will be a three-fold union between spiritualism, the Papacy, and apostate Protestantism {5T 451.1}. This spiritualistic union of Satan’s kingdom goes forth to prepare the unsaved world for the Battle of Armageddon. This is the demonstration of unrelenting and continual resistance to God and His kingdom enlarged upon in Revelation 17.

 

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The link between the 2nd and 6th plagues is the sea. The second plague is poured out on the sea. The 6th plague is the Battle of Armageddon, which involves all nations, kingdoms, and peoples. In Bible symbols, the sea represents masses of people that are involved in the last great battle against God.

Verse 15 gives a warning about being surprised as by a thief. The righteousness of Christ is a righteousness that we have obtained by or through the exercise of faith. The righteous have Christ’s righteousness in reality. True believers in Christ, work the works of righteousness of Jesus motivated by love. The righteousness of Jesus is the one thing Satan would like to steal from us. A blessing is pronounced on those who watch and keep their garments (character-relationship with Jesus. Is. 61:10; Rev. 19:8) Those who have been deceived into believing that the righteousness by faith is something they do not have now, but will supernaturally receive in heaven, will be surprised to learn that this teaching of instant righteousness at the "last trump" is a deception! A thief has stolen their chances of becoming Christ-like in character. And there is no second chance!

The Battle of Armageddon is fought in different stages just as other wars are fought in stages. A critical stage in the Battle of Armageddon happens under the 6th plague with the support of the nations drying up for the Papacy. This "drying up of the Euphrates" that interrupts this phase of the Battle of Armageddon is graphically described for us by the pen of inspiration:

"With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow . . . spans the heavens, and seems to encircle each praying company. . . ." {FLB 347.4}

"Through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose brilliancy is increased fourfold in contrast with the darkness. It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to the transgressors of God’s law. Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden as in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him who died for them. A marvelous

 

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change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed to demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Psalm 46:1-3. {GC 638.2}

"While these words of holy trust ascend to God, the clouds sweep back, and the starry heavens are seen, unspeakably glorious in contrast with the black and angry firmament on either side. The glory of the celestial city streams from the gates ajar. Then there appears against the sky a hand holding two tables of stone folded together. Says the prophet: "The heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself." Psalm 50:6. That holy law, God’s righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgment. The hand opens the tables, and there are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. The words are so plain that all can read them. Memory is aroused, the darkness of superstition and heresy is swept from every mind, and God’s ten words, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, are presented to the view of all the inhabitants of the earth." {GC 639.1}

As recorded in John 7:45 "Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?" The officers who were sent to take Jesus came back empty handed. This event interrupted but this did not end the plots to kill Jesus. In the same way, the drying up of the popular support to kill God’s true children pictured in the 6th plague interrupts but does not end the plot to kill them.

Verses 17–21 describe the 7th plague as a great earthquake accompanied with hail that shakes the one world government (Babylon) into its three component parts. A talent weighs 75 lbs.Hail stones weighing 75 lbs. have the capacity of doing great damage. The link between the first and 7th plagues is that both affect the bodies of mankind. The first caused boils. The seventh

 

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causes great bodily damage and pain from the hailstones, after the greatest earthquake in the history of the world. The divine comment on the 7th plague is:

"We need to study the pouring out of the seventh vial. The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has a part to act in the battle of Armageddon. When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation eighteen, the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take the field" (MS 175, 1899). {7BC 983.2}

The chiastic structure of the seven last plagues that has been referred to could be diagrammed for clarity:

4th sun worship

3rd and 5th – false center of knowledge

2nd and 6th – sea representing people in commerce and battle

1st and 7th – bodies of men with sores and death from 75 lb. (34kg) hail stones