THE SEVEN BOWLS.
Revelation 15:1-8; Revelation 16:1-21.
NOTHING can more clearly prove that the Revelation of St John is not written upon chronological principles than the scenes to which we are introduced in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the book. We have already been taken to the end. We have seen in chap. 14 the Son of man upon the throne of judgment, the harvest of the righteous, and the vintage of the wicked. Yet we are now met by another series of visions setting before us judgments that must take place before the final issue. This is not chronology; it is apocalyptic vision, which again and again turns round the kaleidoscope of the future, and delights to behold under different aspects the same great principles of the Almighty s government, leading always to the same glorious results.
One other preliminary observation may be made. The third series of judgments does not really begin till we reach chap. 16. Chap. 15 is introductory, and we are thus reminded that the series of the Trumpets had a similar introduction in Revelation 8:1-6. It is the manner of St. John, who thus in his Gospel introduces his account of our Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus in chap. iii. by the last three verses of chap. 2, which ought to be connected with the third chapter; and who also introduces his narrative regarding the woman of Samaria by the first three verses of chap. 4.
To introduce chap. 16 is the object of chap. 15.
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, angels having seven plagues, which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God (Revelation 15:1)."
The plagues about to be spoken of are "the last," and in them the final judgments of God upon evil are contained. What they are, and who are the special objects of them, will afterwards appear. Meanwhile, another vision is presented to our view: -
"And I saw as it were a glassy sea mingled with fire; and them that come victorious out of the beast, and out of his image, and out of the number of his name, standing upon the glassy sea, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God the Almighty; righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all the nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy righteous acts have been made manifest (Revelation 15:2-4)."
It can hardly be doubted that the glassy sea spoken of in these words is the same as that already met with at Revelation 4:6. Yet again, as in the case of the hundred and forty and four thousand of Revelation 14:1, the definite article is wanting; and, in all probability, for the same reason. The aspect in which the object is viewed, though not the object itself, is different. The glassy sea is here mingled with fire, a point of which no mention was made in chap. 4. The difference may be explained if we remember that the "fire" spoken of can only be that of the judgments by which the Almighty vindicates His cause, or of the trials by which He purifies His people. As these, therefore, now stand upon the sea, delivered from every adversary, we are reminded of the troubles which by Divine grace they have been enabled to surmount. It was otherwise in chap. 4. No persons were there connected with the sea, and it stretched away, clear as crystal, before Him all whose dealings with His people are "right." The sea itself is in both cases the same, but in the latter it is beheld from the Divine point of view, in the former from the human.
The vision as a whole takes us back to the exodus of Israel from Egypt, and hence the mention of the song of Moses, the servant of God. The enemies of the Church have their type in Pharaoh and his host as they pursue Israel across the sands which had been laid bare for the passage of the chosen people; the waters, driven back for a time, return to their ancient bed; the hostile force, with its chariots and its chosen captains, "goes down into the depths like a stone;" and Israel raises its song of victory, "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea."* (*, Exodus 15:1)
The song now sung, however, is not that of Moses only, the great centre of the Old Testament Dispensation; it is also the Song of the Lamb, the centre and the sum of the New Testament. Both Dispensations are in the Seer’s thoughts, and in the number of those who sing are included the saints of each, the members of the one Universal Church. No disciple of Jesus either before or after His first coming is omitted. Everyone is there from whose hands the bonds of the world have fallen off, and who has cast in his lot with the followers of the Lamb. Hence also the song is wider in its range than that by which the thought of it appears to have been suggested. It celebrates the great and marvelous works of the Almighty in general. It speaks of Him as the King of the nations, that is, as the King who subdues the nations under Him. It rejoices in the fact that His righteous acts have been made manifest. And it anticipates the time when all the nations shall come and worship before Him, shall bow themselves at His feet, and shall acknowledge that His judgments against sin are not only just in themselves, but are allowed to be so by the very persons on whom they fall.
A second vision follows: -
"And after these things I saw, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened; and there carne out from the temple the seven angels that had the seven plagues, clothed with a precious stone pure and lustrous, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave unto the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power: and none was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished (Revelation 15:5-8)."
The temple spoken of is, as upon every occasion when the word is used, the shrine or innermost sanctuary, the Holy of holies, the peculiar dwelling-place of the Most High; so, that the seven angels with the seven last plagues come from God’s immediate presence. But this sanctuary is now beheld in a different light from that in which it was seen in Revelation 11:19. There it contained the ark of God s covenant, the symbol of His grace. Here the eye is directed to the testimony, to the two tables of the law which were kept in the ark, and were God’s witness both to the holiness of His character and the justice of His government. The giving of the law then was in the Seer’s mind, and that fact will explain the allusions to the Old Testament found in his words. The description of the seven angels, as clothed with a precious stone pure and lustrous (not with "fine linen" as in the Authorized Version) may be explained, when we attend to the second characteristic of their appearance, girt about their breasts with golden girdles. These words take us back to the vision of the Son of man in chap. 1, where the same expression occurs, and where we have already seen that it points to the priests of Israel, when engaged in the active service of the sanctuary. The angels now spoken of are thus priestly after the fashion of the Lord Himself, who is not merely the Priest but also the High Priest of His people. The high priest, however, wore a jeweled breastplate; and in correspondence with the nobler functions of the New Testament priesthood, these jewels are now extended to the whole clothing of the angels spoken of. A similar figure for the clothing of the glorified Church meets us in the prophecies of Isaiah: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness; as a bride groom decketh himself (the margin of the Revised Version calling attention to the fact that the meaning of the original is "decketh himself as a priest") with a garland, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels;"1 while the same figure, though applied to Tyre, is employed by Ezekiel: "Every precious stone was thy covering."2 The seven angels are thus about to engage in a priestly work. (1, Isaiah 61:10; 2, Ezekiel 28:13)
This work is pointed out to them by one of the four living creatures, the representatives of redeemed creation. All creation owns the propriety of the judgments now about to be fulfilled.* (*Comp. Rev. 6)
These judgments are contained, not in seven "vials," as in the Authorized Version, but in seven golden bowls, vessels probably of a saucer shape, of no great depth, and their circumference largest at the rim. They are the "basins" of the Old Testament, used for carrying into the sanctuary the incense which had been lighted by fire from the brazen altar. They were thus much better adapted than "vials" for the execution of a final judgment. Their contents could be poured out at once and suddenly.
The bowls have been delivered to the angels, and nothing remains but to pour them out. The moment is one of terror, and it is fitting that even all outward things shall correspond. Smoke, therefore, filled the sanctuary, and none was able to enter into it. Thus, when Moses reared up the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled it, "Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting:"1 thus, when Solomon dedicated the temple and the cloud filled the house of the Lord, "The priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud."2 Thus, when Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord in His temple, and heard the cry of the Seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts," "the foundations of the thresholds were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke;"3 and thus, above all, when the law was given, "Mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly."4 (1, Exodus 40:35; 2, 1 Kings 8:11; 3, Isaiah 6:4; 4, Exodus 19:18; Hebrews 12:18)
All due preparation having been made, the Seven Bowls are now poured out in rapid and uninterrupted succession. As in the case of the Seals and of the Trumpets, they are divided into two groups of four and three; and those of the first group may be taken together: -
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go ye, and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth. And the first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and which worshipped his image. And the second poured out his bowl into the sea; and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living soul died, even the things that were in the sea. And the third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of the waters; and it became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, Righteous art Thou which art and which wast, Thou holy one, because Thou didst thus judge: for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and blood hast Thou given them to drink: they are worthy. And I heard the altar saying, Yea, O Lord, God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments. And the fourth poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given unto it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat: and they blasphemed the name of the God which hath the power over these plagues; and they repented not to give Him glory (Revelation 16:1-9)."
Upon the particulars of these plagues it is unnecessary to dwell No attempt to determine the special meaning of the objects thus visited by the wrath of God - the land, the sea, the rivers and fountains of the waters, and the sun - has yet been, or is ever perhaps likely to be, successful; and the general effect alone appears to be important. The chief point claiming attention is the singular closeness of the parallelism between them and the Trumpet plagues, a parallelism which extends also to the fifth, sixth, and seventh members of the series. Close, however, as it is, there is also a marked climax in the later plagues, corresponding to the fact that they are "the last," and that in them "the wrath of God is finished."1 Thus the first Trumpet affects only the third part of the earth, and the trees, and all green grass: the first Bowl affects men.2 Under the second Trumpet the "third part" of the sea becomes blood, and the third part of the creatures which are in the sea die, and the third part of the ships are destroyed: under the second Bowl, the "third part" of the sea is exchanged for the whole; the blood assumes its most offensive form, blood as of a dead man; and not the third part only, but every living soul died, even the things that were in the sea."3 Under the third Trumpet the great star falls only upon the "third part" of the rivers and fountains, and they become wormwood: under the third Bowl all the waters are visited by the plague, and they become blood.4 Lastly, under the fourth Trumpet only the "third part" of sun and moon and stars is smitten: under the fourth Bowl the whole sun is affected, and it is given unto it to scorch men with fire.5 With this climactic character of the Bowls as compared with the Trumpets may also be connected a striking addition made to the details of the third Bowl, to which in the Trumpet series there is nothing to correspond. The angel of the waters, not an angel to whom the smiting of the waters had been entrusted, but the waters themselves speaking through their angel, and the altar, that is, the brazen altar of chap. 6:9, respond to the judgments executed. They recognize the true and righteous character of the Almighty, and they welcome this manifestation of Himself to men. (1, Revelation 15:1 2Comp. Revelation 8:7; Revelation 16:2 3Comp. Revelation 8:8-9; Revelation 16:3 4Comp. Revelation 8:10-11; Revelation 16:4 5Comp. Revelation 8:12; Revelation 16:8)
Another feature of these Bowls will at once strike the reader, - their correspondence to some of the plagues of Egypt: for in the first we see a repetition, as it were, of that sixth plague by which Pharaoh and his people were visited, when Moses sprinkled ashes of the furnace towards heaven, and they became "a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and beast,"1 and in the second and third a repetition of the first plague, when Moses lifted up his rod and smote the waters, that were in the river, "and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood."2 The fourth Bowl reminds us of the terror of the appearance of the Son of man in Revelation 1:16, when "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." (1, Exodus 9:10; 2, Exodus 7:20)
One other characteristic of these plagues ought to be noticed. It comes to view no doubt only under the fourth, yet, as we shall immediately see, it is not to be confined to it The plagues had no softening or converting power. On the contrary, as at Revelation 9:20-21, the impiety of the worshippers of the beast was only aggravated by their sufferings; and, instead of turning to Him who had power over the plagues, they blasphemed His name.
From the first group of Bowls we turn to the second, embracing the last three in the series of seven: -
"And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works (Revelation 16:10-11)."
The transition from the realm of nature to the spiritual world, already marked at the introduction of the fifth Seal and of the fifth Trumpet, is here again observable; but, as in the case of the sixth Trumpet, the spiritual world alluded to is that of the prince of darkness. With darkness he is smitten. That there is a reference to the darkness which, at the word of Moses, fell upon the land of Egypt when visited by its plagues can hardly be doubted, for the darkness of that plague was not ordinary darkness; it was "a darkness that might be felt."* More than darkness, however, is alluded to. We are told of their pains and of their sores. But pains and sores are not an effect produced by darkness. They can, therefore, be only those of the first Bowl, a conclusion confirmed by the use of the word "plagues" instead of plague. The inference to be drawn from this is important, for we thus learn that the effects of any earlier Bowl are not exhausted before the contents of one following are discharged. Each Bowl rather adds fresh punishment to that of its predecessors, and all of them go on accumulating their terrors to the end. Nothing could more clearly show how impossible it is to interpret such plagues literally, and how mistaken is any effort to apply them to the particular events of history. (*, Exodus 10:21)
The sixth Bowl follows: -
"And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sun-rising. And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as it were frogs: for they are spirits of devils, working signs, which go forth unto the kings of the whole inhabited earth, to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (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 they gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon (Revelation 16:12-16)."
Probably no part of the Apocalypse has received more varied interpretation than the first statement of this Bowl. Who are these kings that come from the sun-rising is the point to be determined; and the answer usually given is, that they are part of the anti-Christian host, part of those afterwards spoken of as the kings of the whole inhabited earth, before whom God dries up the Euphrates in order that they may pursue an uninterrupted march to the spot on which they are to be overwhelmed with a final and complete destruction. Something may certainly be said on behalf of such a view; yet it is exposed to serious objections.
1. We have already at Revelation 9:14, at the sounding of the sixth Trumpet, been made acquainted with the river Euphrates; and, so far from being a hindrance to the progress of Christ’s enemies, it is rather the symbol of their overflowing and destructive might, 2. We have also met at Revelation 7:2 with the expression "from the sun-rising," and it is there applied to the quarter from which the angel comes by whom the people of God are sealed. In a book so carefully written as the Apocalypse, it is not easy to think of anti-Christian foes coming from a quarter described in the same terms. 3. These kings "from the sun-rising" are not said to be a part of "the kings of the whole inhabited earth" immediately afterwards referred to. They are rather distinguished from them. 4. The preparing of the way "connects itself with the thought of Him whose way was prepared by the coming of the Baptist. 5. The type of drying up the waters of a river takes us back, alike in the historical and prophetic writings of the Old Testament, to the means by which the Almighty secures the deliverance of His people, not the destruction of His enemies. Thus the waters of the Red Sea were dried up, not for the overthrow of the Egyptians, but for the safety of Israel, and the bed of the river Jordan was dried up for a similar purpose. Thus, too, the prophet Isaiah speaks: "And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with His scorching wind shall He shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it into seven streams, and cause men to march over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall return, from Assyria; like as there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt."l Again the same prophet celebrates the great deeds of the arm of the Lord in the following words: "Art thou not it which dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over?"2 And, once more, to a similar effect the prophet Zechariah: "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria. . . . And He shall pass through the sea of affliction, and shall smite the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall dry up. . . . And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord."3 It is unnecessary to say more. In these "kings from the sun-rising" we have an emblem of the remnant of the Israel of God as they return from all the places whither they have been led captive, and as God makes their way plain before them. (1, Isaiah 11:15-16; 2, Isaiah 51:10; 3, Zechariah 10:10-12)
Nor is this all. In the fate of these foes a striking incident of Old Testament history is repeated, in order that they may be led to the destruction which awaits them. When Micaiah warned Ahab of his approaching fate, and told him of the lying spirit by which his own prophets were urging him to the battle, he said, "I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner; and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He said, Thou shalt entice him, and shalt prevail also; go forth and do so."* In that incident of Ahab’s reign is found the type of the three lying spirits or demons which, like frogs, unclean, noisy, and loquacious, go forth from the three great enemies of the Church, the dragon, the first beast, and the second beast, now first called the false prophet, that they may entice the "kings of the whole inhabited earth" to their overthrow. And they succeed. All unknowing of what is before them, proud of their strength, and flushed with hope of victory, these kings listen to the demons and gather themselves together unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. It is a supreme moment in the history of the Church and of the world; and. before he names the battlefield which shall, in its very name, be prophetic of the fate of the wicked, the Seer pauses to behold the assembled armies. Upon the one side is a little flock, but they are all "kings," and before them is He by whom, like David before the host of Israel and over against the Philistines, the battle shall be fought and the victory won. On the other side are the hosts of earth in all their multitudes, gathered together by the deceitful promise of success, The Seer hears the voice of the Captain of salvation, Behold I come as a thief, to break up and to destroy. He hears further the promise of blessing to all who are faithful to the Redeemer’s cause: and then, with mind at rest as to the result, he names the place where the final battle is to be fought, Har-Magedon. (*, 1 Kings 22:19-22)
Why Har-Magedon? There was, we have every reason to believe, no such place. The name is symbolical. It is a compound word derived from the Hebrew, and signifying the mountain of Megiddo. We are thus again taken back to Old Testament history, in which the great plain of Megiddo, the most extensive in Palestine, plays on more than one occasion a notable part. In particular, that plain was famous for two great slaughters, that of the Canaanitish host by Barak, celebrated in the song of Deborah,1 and that in which King Josiah fell.2 The former is probably alluded to, for the enemies of Israel were there completely routed. For a similar though still more terrible destruction the hosts of evil are assembled at Har-Magedon. The Seer thinks it enough to assemble them, and to name the place. He does not need to go further or to describe the victory. (1Judges 5; 2, 2 Chronicles 35:22)
The seventh Bowl now follows: -
"And the seventh poured out his bowl upon the air; and there came forth great voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying; It is done; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders j and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail, every stone about the weight of a talent, cometh down out of heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof is exceeding great (Revelation 16:17-21)."
The seventh or last Bowl is poured out into the air, here thought of as the realm of that prince of this world who is also "the prince of the power of the air."* All else, land and sea and waters and sun and the throne of the beast, has now been smitten so that evil has only to suffer its final blow. It has been searched out everywhere; and therefore the end may come. That end comes, and is spoken of in figures more strongly colored than those of either the sixth Seal or the seventh Trumpet. First of all a great voice is heard out of the (sanctuary of the) temple, from the throne, saying, It is done, God’s plan is executed. His last manifestation of Himself in judgment has been made. This voice is then accompanied by a more terrible shaking of the heavens and the earth than we have as yet been called to witness, the earthquake in particular being such as was not since there were men upon the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. (*, Ephesians 2:2)
Some of the effects of the earthquake are next spoken of. More especially, The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. As to the meaning of "the cities of the nations" there can be no doubt. They are the strongholds of the world’s sin, the places from which ungodliness and impiety have ruled. Under the shaking of the earthquake they fall in ruins. The first words as to "the great city" must be considered in connection with the words which follow regarding Babylon, and they are more difficult to interpret. By some it is contended that the "great city" is Jerusalem, by others that it is Babylon. The expression is one which the Apocalypse must itself explain, and in seeking the explanation .we must proceed upon the principle that in this book, as much as in any other of the New Testament, the rules of all good writing are followed, and that the meaning of the same words is not arbitrarily changed. When this rule, accordingly, is observed, we find that the epithet is, in Revelation 11:8, distinctly applied to Jerusalem, the words "the great city, where also their Lord was crucified" leaving no doubt upon the point. But, in Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:18-19; Revelation 18:21, the same epithet is not less distinctly applied to Babylon. The only legitimate conclusion is, that there is a sense in which Jerusalem and Babylon are one. This corresponds exactly to what we otherwise learn of the light in which the metropolis of Israel appeared to St John. To him as an Apostle of the Lord, and during the time that he followed Jesus in the flesh, Jerusalem presented itself in a twofold aspect. It was the city of God’s solemnities, the centre of the old Divine theocracy, the "holy city," the "beloved city [Revelation 11:2; Revelation 20:9]." But it was also the city of "the Jews," the city which scorned and rejected and crucified its rightful King. When in later life he beheld, in the picture once exhibited around him and graven upon his memory, the type of the future history and fortunes of the Church, the two Jerusalems again rose before his view, the one the emblem of all that was most precious, the other of all that was most repulsive, in the eyes both of God and of spiritually enlightened men. The first of these Jerusalems is the true Church of Christ, the faithful remnant, the little flock that knew the Good Shepherd’s voice and followed Him. The second is the degenerate Church, the mass of those who misinterpreted the aim and spirit of their calling, and who by their worldliness and sin "crucified their Lord afresh, and put Him to an open shame." In the latter aspect Jerusalem becomes Babylon. As in Revelation 11:8 it became "spiritually," that is mystically, "Sodom and Egypt," so it becomes also the mystical Babylon, partaker of that city’s sins, and doomed to its fate. This thought we shall find fully expanded in the following chapter. The question may indeed be asked, how it comes to pass that, if this representation be correct, we should read, immediately after the words now under consideration, that Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. But the answer is substantially contained in what has been said. When Jerusalem is first thought of as "the great city," it is as the city of "the Jews," as line centre and essence of those principles by which spiritual is transformed into formal religion, and all sins are permitted to hide and multiply under the cloak of a merely outward piety. When it is next thought of as Babylon, the conception is extended so as to embrace, not a false Judaism only, but a similar falseness in the bosom of the universal Church. Just as "the great city where also our Lord was crucified" widened in Revelation 11:8 to the thought of Sodom and Egypt, so here it widens to the thought of Babylon. May it not be added that we have thus in the mention of Jerusalem and Babylon a counterpart to the mention in Revelation 15:3 of "the song of Moses and the Lamb"? These two expressions, as we have seen, comprehend a song of universal victory. Thus also the two expressions, "the great city" and "Babylon," having one and the same idea at their root, comprehend all who in the professing Church of the whole world are faithless to Christian truth.
Further effects of the last judgment follow. Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Effects similar, though not so terrible, had been connected with the sixth Seal. Mountains and islands had then been simply "moved out of their places."1 Now they "flee away." Similar effects will again meet us, but in an enhanced degree.2 As yet, while mountains and islands flee away, the earth and the heavens remain. In the last description of the judgment of the wicked the heavens and the earth themselves flee away from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and no place is found for them. The climax in the different accounts of what is substantially the same event cannot be mistaken. (1, Revelation 6:14; 2, Revelation 20:11)
The same climax appears in the statement of the next effect, the great hail, every stone about the weight of a talent, that is, fully more than fifty pounds. No such weight had been spoken of at the close of the seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11:19.
Again, however, here is no repentance and no conversion. Those who suffer are the deliberate and determined followers of the beast. As under the fourth Bowl, therefore, so under the seventh they rather blaspheme God amidst their sufferings, because of the plague of the hail, for the plague thereof is exceeding great.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 16". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany