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THE SEVEN VIALS, OR BOWLS
CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES
“THIS chapter describes the pouring out of the seven vials—that is to say, the extremest punishments of God—upon the throne and empire of the beast. Antichrist had promised to mankind a new, golden age under his rule; but he promised without God. Christ now wields His own sceptre, and smites with repeated blows the nations who have been led astray. It is the history of the plagues of Egypt over again. A noisome sore consumes the flesh of the subjects of the beast (first vial). The waters of the sea are corrupted, and all the inhabitants of the ocean perish (second vial, an aggravation of the second trumpet). A similar judgment smites the rivers and fountains of waters (third vial; compare the third trumpet). A burning sun scorches the inhabitants of the earth (fourth vial). These four vials constitute a first series of plagues, after which the author remarks that men only blasphemed with so much greater audacity the name of the God who had sent these plagues upon them. A thick darkness comes upon the kingdom of the beast, as before upon the kingdom of Egypt (fifth vial); men gnaw their tongues in their rage, rather than confess their faults. The Euphrates is dried up, to open the way for a new invasion of the Eastern nations, whom three unclean spirits summon to the last battle against the Eternal (sixth vial; compare the invasion described under the sixth trumpet). Lastly, an earthquake of unprecedented violence falls upon Babylon, the capital of the beast, and the other cities of that empire (seventh vial; compare the similar phenomenon described under the sixth seal) (Godet).
Revelation 16:12. Euphrates.—Here symbolical, as the natural barrier which checked the onflow of Eastern armies.
Revelation 16:16. Armageddon.—The mountain of Megiddo, the great battle-field of the Holy Land. The old battle-ground becomes the symbol of a decisive struggle. No material battle is meant; the final struggle is one of principles.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Revelation 16". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20