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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 16

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

Out of the temple ; coming from the temple, where God dwelt. Men are apt to look no further than to second causes; but the holy Scriptures refer all the judgments which fall upon the world for its wickedness to God as their author. They come from him, and execute his holy purposes.

Pour out the vials of the wrath of God ; the seven last plagues belong to the seventh trumpet, under which, or at least, near to which, we seem to be living. To attempt the application of them to particular events in history, seems to be premature.

Upon the earth ; upon the inhabitants of the earth, especially the persecutors of God’s people. All the seven vials belong alike to the inhabitants of the earth, whatever be the particular symbols on which they are poured out.

Verse 2

Upon the earth ; signifying that some distressing judgment falls on the worshippers of the beast. Men are so entirely in the hands of God, he can in so many ways and with such perfect ease destroy them, that it is the height of folly as well as wickedness to oppose his cause, or to refuse his grace.

Verse 3

Upon the sea ; probably here, as often elsewhere, a symbol of revolutions accompanied with a terrible amount of bloodshed, and preparing the way for the overthrow of the beast.

Verse 4

The rivers and fountains-became blood ; seeming to indicate a succession of bloody wars.

Verse 5

The angel of the waters ; that had charge of the waters. Compare chap Revelation 7:1 , where four angels have charge of four winds.

Verse 6

They are worthy ; deserve their awful doom. Men often suffer calamities greater than those they have wickedly inflicted, and may read their sins in their punishment.

Verse 7

Out of the altar ; under which are the souls of the martyrs whose blood has been shed by these persecutors. Chap Revelation 6:9 .

Verse 8

Upon the sun ; not extinguishing him, but kindling in him an unnatural and scorching heat. The symbol, according to some, denotes the turning of civil power into a means of oppressing men.

Verse 9

They repented not ; they grew no better under their torment, being given up to hardness of heart and blindness of men. The elements, which ordinarily are sources of rich blessings, become, when commissioned by God, sources of exquisite anguish to his foes.

Verse 10

The seat of the beast ; the centre of his power, authority, and influence.

They ; his followers.

Verse 12

The great river Euphrates-the water thereof was dried up ; that thus the hinderance to the way of the kings of the east might be removed. Many think that the decay of the Ottoman power, as a preparation for some great movement yet in the future, is here predicted. Compare the notes on the sixth trumpet, chap Revelation 9:13-21 .

Verse 13

Like frogs ; loathsome, creeping, unclean things.

The dragon ; the devil. See note to chap Revelation 12:3 .

The beast ; the first beast that rose up out of the sea. chap Revelation 13:1 .

The false prophet ; the second beast that rose out of the earth, chap Revelation 13:11 , was in league with the first beast, chap Revelation 13:12-15 , and wrought miracles before him.

That this beast is here to be understood is certain from chap Revelation 19:20 . Here then is represented a league between the civil and ecclesiastical persecuting powers under the direction of Satan, and the three frogs seem to denote their emissaries and agents, exciting the nations to a general warfare against Christ and his people. This brings on the final decisive conflict so often foretold in the holy writ, and again set forth in chap Revelation 19:11-21 . There are times when certain forms of spiritual delusion seem contagious. Nations become morally insane. Satan and his servants, the secular and ecclesiastical persecuting powers, send out their vile agents to revive their drooping interests, increase their influence, and concentrate their powers. But the final issue will always be a new victory of the truth.

Verse 14

That great day of God ; when he will inflict full vengeance on his foes. Satan and wicked men are leagued together, and cooperate in opposing God; and often the greater their efforts the nearer they are to destruction.

Verse 15

As a thief ; suddenly, unexpectedly. A solemn intimation that the day here spoken of will come suddenly and unexpectedly, and find multitudes unprepared for its approach.

Watcheth , and keepeth his garments ; is awake and active in duty.

Lest he walk naked ; as a man would whose garments, through his carelessness, had been stolen.

Verse 16

He gathered them ; or, as the idiom of the original Greek admits, they gathered them; the three unclean spirits, namely, "which go forth"-the verb in the original is here also singular-"unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them," verse Revelation 16:14 .

Armageddon ; that is, the mount of Megiddo. The Hebrew word Megiddo seems to mean a place of troops. Megiddo was celebrated as the place of two memorable overthrows: that of the kings who oppressed Israel, Judges 5:19 ; and that of Josiah and his army, 2Ch 35:22-24 Zechariah 12:11 . Hence Armageddon, like "the valley of decision," Joel 3:14 , is a symbolic name for a place of great slaughter. Compare Revelation 19:17-21 .

Verse 17

Into the air ; the place of storms and tempests, which immediately follow, verses Revelation 16:18 ; Revelation 16:21 , and are, as well as earthquakes, symbolic of mighty commotions and overturnings among the nations.

It is done ; the destruction of the enemies of God is complete. So certain was it, that he spoke of it as already accomplished.

Verse 19

The great city ; Babylon.

The cities of the nations ; these with Babylon represent the centres of the power and influence of Satan, the beast, false prophet, and all their anti-christian associates.

Great Babylon ; see chap Revelation 17:5 .

Verse 20

Every island fled away-the mountains were not found ; representing the overthrow by mighty revolutions of all the powers opposed to Christ and his people.

Verse 21

A great hail ; a symbol of God’s awful judgments on the wicked.

The weight of a talent ; the Attic talent was equal to about fifty-seven pounds; the Hebrew talent to more than a hundred pounds. The weight of the stones represents the awful severity of the judgments. No sufferings, however great or long continued, will of themselves bring sinners to repentance, or lead them to submit to God and obey him.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 16". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/revelation-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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