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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Revelation 16

 

 

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Introduction

The Seven Vials of God"s Wrath
- Revelation Sixteen -

Revelation Sixteen gives a picture of the seven vials of God"s wrath being poured out. God"s judgment, without mercy, issued forth against the Roman Empire and at the end of time similar judgment will be faced by all the ungodly. This judgment had been announced when the sixth seal was opened. (Revelation 6:12-17) The seven trumpets called the people to repentance. (Revelation 8:6-13; Revelation 9:1-21; Revelation 10:1-11; Revelation 11:1-19) Sadly, they were not willing to change. Now the judgment against Rome is final.

Evil people of all ages will face similar punishment to that received by the Roman Empire. The first vial was poured out because of the festering ulcers of sin that are everywhere and now man faces the consequences of his deeds. Moral and spiritual corruption was overwhelming in Rome and the corruptions of our day are grievous also.

As the others vials were opened we see the sea stinking with blood and death. The consequence of the corruptions of mankind is that the Roman Empire and later all the ungodly of the human race become like the Dead Sea. The cities along the rivers and streams face the consequences of sinful living as those waters are turned to blood. The great cites of the world face very server troubles today. Judgment against them proceed from a righteous and Almighty God.

Violence becomes a way of life where God is left out of the lives of people. These judgments against the unbelievers are so harsh that some wonder if they could have come from a loving God. We must remember that His judgments are "true and righteous." These severe judgments come because these people persecuted God"s people. Those who rebel against God will go down to total defeat. The great city of Rome now faces the consequences of its sins.


Verses 1-7

The first three vials of God"s wrath - Revelation 16:1-7 : This voice that speaks has to be the voice of God because no one else could enter the Temple because of the smoke. The message to "the seven angels" was "Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."

It is to be observed that these vials of God"s wrath affect the non-believers. The first vial brought terrible ulcers upon those that worshipped the beast and received his mark. The stinking ulcers that are all over the earth are hurting those that refuse true worship. These sinful things also hinder all kinds of legitimate endeavors. It is no wonder that God"s wrath is poured out on such evils!

The second vial likewise pictures the corruption brought on by sin. The beast from the sea (the civil persecuting power of Rome) will face certain destruction. The text says, "Every living soul died in the sea." This speaks of the souls of the wicked.

The reason for God's "true and righteous judgment" being poured out unmixed upon these people is stated in the words, "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets." The great cities of the earth are in trouble as never before because God has been left out! The Roman Empire will now face the consequences of persecuting God"s people.


Verses 8-11

The fourth and fifth vials of God"s wrath - Revelation 16:8-11 : The sadness of the terrible attitude of the ungodly was that they, "blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." Even the coming of God"s judgment did not lead the people to repent. These rebellious ones refused to drink the "Water of Life" so now they will be forced to drink the "blood of God"s wrath." The hardness of man"s heart in view of God"s mercy is beyond belief. How much more unbelievable is this hardness in view of His wrath? Listen again, "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."

The same failure to repent was seen with the fifth bowl of wrath. "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. (Revelation 16:10-11) Imagine being so deep in sin that not for one moment would you think of repenting. What could you expect except the wrath of God?


Verses 12-16

The sixth vial of God"s wrath - Revelation 16:12-16 : God dried up the rivers so the armies from the east would have no trouble entering to destroy Rome. As the armies come against Rome false propaganda came out of the mouths of the Emperors to lead other kings to stand by their side.

We do not see the battle but we hear God"s warning loud and clear, "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." Megiddo was where God"s people won against terrible odds. (2 Kings 9:27) Megiddo was also where Josiah died in rebellion against God. (2 Kings 23:28-29) Do you get the picture?


Verses 17-21

The seventh vial of Gods" wrath - Revelation 16:17-21 : The earth, waters and now the air is affected by God"s judgment against Rome. The great city in John"s day was Rome. The picture now is that she feels Gods" wrath unmixed. Evil was everywhere in the Roman Empire and now it is "pay day" for such wickedness. We now know for certain that evil shall not win!

The things that happened to Rome give us a brief glimpse of God"s final judgment. The expression "Babylon the Great" is no doubt "the symbol of the whole satanic structure." God can not and He will not allow the wicked to go unpunished. Just as God"s judgment came on Rome there is coming a final Day of Judgment. Are you ready for the Judgment Day? "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20:11-12)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 16:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-16.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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