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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

Revelation 16

Verses 1-21

THE SEVEN VIALS

The law of recurrence finds a further illustration here for we are still in the Tribulation period, the latter half of Daniel’s seventieth week, and are looking upon the features of that day of judgment.

The Introduction includes the whole of chapter 15, being the revelation of the “overcomers” and the seven angels. No one can read this without being struck by its likeness to the song of Moses after Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:0 ).

The Progression is set before us in the revelation of the six vials (Revelation 16:1-12 ), which are doubtless literal plagues to be visited upon the followers of the “beast” and upon his throne, and which also suggest the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 5-11).

The Parenthesis is the gathering of the Kings (Revelation 16:13-16 ). The drying up of the Euphrates may be taken literally, though it is difficult to say just who are meant by “the kings of the east.” Some regard the passage as paralleled by Ezekiel, chapters 38-39, which reveal the rising of Russia and her allies against the Roman federation sometime during the period, or approximate to the period, we are now considering. It is to be noted here that the great battle of Revelation 16:14 is not described, although its issue is announced (Revelation 16:17-21 , compare also Zechariah 14:1-3 ).

The Consummation (Revelation 16:17-21 ) synchronizes with the judgment on the city of Babylon literal Babylon, rebuilt as the seat of the beast on the plain of Shinar (Isaiah 13-14).

QUESTIONS

1. What law of rhetoric is again illustrated in this lesson?

2. What Old Testament parallel is suggested?

3. How may the six vials be interpreted?

4. What Old Testament prophecy is recalled by chapter 16:12?

5. Have you re-read the passage in Zechariah?

6. Have you reviewed our lesson on Isaiah 13-14?

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Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Revelation 16". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/revelation-16.html. 1897-1910.