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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Revelation 16

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Ver. 1. Go your ways] A proof of the divine calling of the ministers of the gospel. This commission came out of the temple, as obtained by the prayers of the saints.

Pour out the vials] {See Trapp on "Revelation 15:7"}

Upon the earth] Upon Antichrist and his adherents, Roma facta est ex aurea ferrea, ex ferrea terrea, Rome was made from golden to iron and from iron to dirt, said one of her own favourites. It is said, Revelation 12:16, that the earth helped the woman; and yet here that the vials of God’s wrath were poured out upon the earth; to teach us, saith one, that men may be useful for the public, and yet not freed from God’s wrath. But that by-the-by only.


Verse 2

2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

Ver. 2. And the first went] They went not all at once. Note the patience of God, waiting men’s return unto him.

Upon the earth] Antichrist’s footstool, his branded slaves.

A noisome and grievous sore] The French disease, say some; the devil’s disease, say others, viz. spite and envy at the Reformation wrought in Bohemia, Germany, England, &c., upon the discovery of the Papists’ hypocrisy and filthiness.


Verse 3

3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

Ver. 3. Upon the sea] The popish council (called a sea, from the concourse thereunto from all parts), that of Trent especially, with their deadly decrees, making the traditions of the Church the rule of faith, &c. And these deadly decrees were written with the blood of heretics.

Died in the sea] As the fishes of Jordan do as soon as they fall into the Mare mortuum, Sea of Death and as the fishes in the River Nile did, when the waters thereof were turned into blood.


Verse 4

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

Ver. 4. Upon the rivers, &c.] The persecutors and impostors, the Jesuits especially, who have lately added twelve new articles (by the authority of Pope Pius IV) raised out of the Council of Trent, and added to the Nicene Creed, to be received with others as the true catholic faith, to be believed by as many as shall be saved. And those that receive them not, are not suffered to live among them. This is worse than the six articles in Henry VIII’s time, that whip with six cords, as they called it. See these twelve articles in the Epist. prefixed to Bishop Jewel’s works.


Verse 5

5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

Ver. 5. The angel of the waters] The same that poured forth his vial upon the waters, Revelation 16:4.

Thou art righteous] God’s judgments are sometimes secret, always just, and so to be acknowledged. We shall one day see the reason of all, and say as Jehu did, 2 Kings 9:36.


Verse 6

6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Ver. 6. For they have shed] As Minerius that monster, the cruel Duke of Alva, bloody Bonner, the Guises, and other of the pope’s champions. Duke d’Alva, boasted of it, that he had put 36,000 Protestants to death; but they were rescued by the goodness of God and by the prowess of Queen Elizabeth, and now they are got from under the altar, as Revelation 16:7. (Acts and Mon.; Camden.) {a}

Thou hast given them blood to drink] As Tomyris dealt by Cyrus, the Parthians by Crassus, the Romans by those Jews that cried out, "His blood be upon us," &c., as our laws do by the priests and Jesuits, and those that receive them, proceeding against such as traitors to the state. The putting out of the French king’s eyes, who promised before with his eyes to see one of God’s true servants burned; the death of Charles IX of France, author of the Parisian massacre, by exceeding bleeding at sundry parts of his body; who seeth not to be the just hand of God upon them? This Charles beholding the bloody bodies of the butchered Protestants, in that execrable massacre, and feeding his eye upon that woeful spectacle, breathed out this bloody speech, Quam bonus est odor hostis mortui! How sweet is the smell of a slain enemy! and shortly after breathed out his accursed soul, Inter horribilium blasphemiarum diras, saith a historian, tantam sanguinis vim proieciens, &c., after that Beza had forewarned him (but in vain) by that verse,

" Tu veto Herodes sanguinolente time."

So Julian, Attila, Felix of Wurtemburg, Henry III of France, stabbed in the same chamber wherein he, then being Duke of Anjou, had contrived the French massacre. So let thine enemies perish, O Lord.

" Talia quisque luat, qualia quisque facit!"

"Let everyone be paid according to his deeds."

{a} See the Mirror or Looking Glass both for Saints and Sinners, set forth by my most loving and highly honoured friend, Mr Sam. Clarke, pastor and preacher of the word at Bennett Fink, London; unto whom not only I give thanks for his help in this publication, but also all the Churches that shall get good thereby.


Verse 7

7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

Ver. 7. And I heard another] That in the mouth of two witnesses this truth might be established. Let God be justified, and every mouth stopped.

Out of the altar] Under which lie the souls of those that were slain for the testimony of Jesus, Revelation 6:9. {See Trapp on "Revelation 16:6"}


Verse 8

8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

Ver. 8. Upon the sun] The pope’s supremacy, say some, the Scriptures, say others, by the light whereof they are laid open to the world (dancing naked in a net, and yet not seeing their own nakedness, as Mr Philpot, martyr, told Chadsey), and by the dint whereof, "God smites the earth;" Isaiah 11:4, that is, the consciences of those popelings, glued to the earth. He even "hews them by his prophets, and slays them by the words of his mouth," Hosea 6:5. But this interpretation touching the Scriptures some hold to be dangerous; because upon what subject soever these vials fell, the wrath of God fell together with them upon the same, Revelation 16:1; they understand therefore by sun the house of Austria, or the highest authority that holds on Rome.


Verse 9

9 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.

Ver. 9. And men were scorched] Or parched, scalded, roasted, εκαυματισθησαν. This is by accident in regard of the Scriptures; for the Lord speaketh peace to his people; and his word is good to those that are good, Micah 2:7. But as Origen saith of devils, so may we say of Papists; there is no greater torment to them than the word of God. In hoc eorum omnis flamma est, in hoc uruntur incendio. Hence they burn up Bibles, tanquam doctrinam peregrinam, as strange doctrine. (Spec. Europ.) Hence they censure St Paul as savouring of heresy, and could find in their hearts to purge his Epistles. Eckius is not afraid to say, that Christ did never command his disciples to write, but to preach only. (Enchirid. loc. com. cap. Eccles.) Bellarmine saith, the Bible is no more than commonitorium, a kind of storehouse for advice. Hosius saith that the pope’s interpretation, though it seem never so repugnant to the Scripture, is nevertheless ipsissimum Dei verbura, the very word of God. The Council of Basil answered the Hussites (requiring Scripture proofs for such doctrines as were thrust upon them), that the Scriptures were not of the being of the Church, but of the well being only; that traditions were the touchstone of doctrine and foundation of faith.

And blasphemed the name of God] The truth of God contained in the Scriptures. What a devil made thee to meddle with the Scripture said Stephen Gardiner to Marbeck. They tell us of several that have been possessed by that means; and assure us that our condemnation is so expressly set down in our own Bibles, and is so clear to all the world, that nothing more needs hereto than that we know to read, and to have our eyes in our heads at the opening thereof. (Alex. Cook.)


Verse 10

10 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,

Ver. 10. Upon the seat of the beast] This city of Rome, which was never yet besieged (since it became the seat of Antichrist) but it was taken, and shall be again shortly to purpose. Rather, say some, by seat is meant his kingdom, the pope’s singular sole authority and monarchical frame of church government.

And his kingdom was full of darkness] εσκοτωμενη. It appeared to be so (as motes appear in the sunshine) by the clear light of truth shining upon it. A Scottish mist is here already fallen upon a piece of his kingdom, and what further service God hath for their and our armies to do against the pope in Ireland, or elsewhere, we expect and pray God grant us good agreement among ourselves, and then much may be done abroad.

And they gnawed their tongues] Being as mad with malice as Boniface VIII was of discontent, who being suddenly taken prisoner at his father’s house by Sara Columnns his mortal enemy, and brought to Rome, laid up in the castle of St Angelo, within thirty-five days after most miserably died in his madness, rending himself with his teeth, and devouring his own fingers. (Turk. Hist. i. 26.)


Verse 11

11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

Ver. 11. And blasphemed the God of heaven] As they did in 1588, when the Spaniards gave out that Christ was turned Lutheran; and as Faux the gunpowder traitor did, when he told those that took him, that not God, but the devil, had brought to light and to nought that desperate design. (Lonicer. Theatr. Histor.) Thus they set their mouths against heaven, and their tongue walketh through the earth; as if Augustus Caesar were dealing with some god Neptune; or the three sons, trying their archery at their father’s heart, to see who can shoot nearest. What an execrable blasphemy is that of John Hunt, a Roman Catholic, in his humble appeal to King James in the 6th chapter of that Pamphlet: "The God of the Protestants is the most uncivil and evil mannered God of all those who have borne the names of gods upon the earth, yea, worse than Pan, god of the clowns, which can endure no ceremonies nor good manners at all." See Dr Sheldon’s Mark of the Beast.

And rspented not] This leopard {Revelation 13:2} can never change his spots, because they are not in the skin, but in the flesh and bones, in the sinews and most inward parts. Tigers rage and tear themselves at the sound of a drum, and at the smell of sweet spices; so do these savage Papists, when called to repent.


Verse 12

12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

Ver. 12. Upon the great river Euphrates] i.e. Upon whatsoever yet hindereth the destruction of spiritual Babylon and the coming in of the Jews, as the Turkish empire.

That the way of the kings] Christians, say some, who are kings in righteousness, and come from the East, or from Christ, "That dayspring from on high," Luke 1:78. Others understand this text of the Jews, who are most of them in the East, dispersed through Turkey, Tartary (the ten tribes especially), and China. {a} Junius saith, that which is called the "land of Sinim," Isaiah 49:12, may probably be meant of China; which if it be the meaning, there may be many of the Jews, whose conversion we daily expect and pray for. See Isaiah 11:15-16, Zechariah 10:10-11.

{a} Tartars of Tothar, a remnant or residue.


Verse 13

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Ver. 13. Three unclean spirits] Spiritual fathers, as the Papists call their Jesuits, who seek to subject all to the pope, and the pope to themselves, being ultimus diaboli crepitus, as one speaketh, the last attempt of a daring devil. These are the pope’s janizaries, {a} bloodhounds, vultures, whose nest (as Aristotle saith) cannot be found, yet they will leave all game to follow an army, because they delight to feed on carrion.

Like frogs] For their filthiness, impudency, loquacity, with their continual brekekekex {b} coax {c} coax. (Aristoph.)

Come out of the mouth] That is, by the counsel and command, by virtue of that vow of mission, whereby the Jesuits are bound to the pope, to go whither he shall send them, about whatsoever attempt he shall enjoin them. Yea, if their governors command them a voyage to China or Peru, without dispute or delay they presently set forward. Hence haply they are called spirits.

{a} One of a former body of Turkish infantry, constituting the Sultan’s guard and the main part of the standing army. The body was first organized in the 14th century, and was composed mainly of tributary children of Christians; after a large number of them had been massacred in 1826, the organization was finally abolished. ŒD

{b} Used by Aristophanes to imitate the croaking of frogs. ŒD

{c} To make a pet of; to pet, fondle, caress; to treat endearingly or with blandishment. Obs. OED


Verse 14

14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Ver. 14. The spirits of devils] Or breathing devils.

Working miracles] Lying wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Unto the kings of the earth] The pope’s nuncios, legates a latere, and other emissaries, stir up the spirits of princes to embroil the world with wars, for the upholding of his tottering greatness; but all in vain. The greatest impostors have ever been the greatest courtiers. The Arians in their age, and from them the Jesuits learned it. As Pharaoh’s frogs, they get into kings’ bedchambers.

And of the whole world] Papists shall call in the help of foreign princes out of Asia, Africa, America, to suppress the heretics, as they call them. But with poor success; for they shall associate themselves only to be broken in pieces, Isaiah 8:9. Exorientur, sed exurentur, It will spring up but it will be destroyed. Revelation 19:18. The mountain of the Lord shall be lifted up above all mountians. These auxiliaries shall speed no better than those subsidiary Syrians, 2 Samuel 10:18-19.


Verse 15

15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Ver. 15. I come as a thief] Who gives no warning. {See Trapp on "Matthew 24:44"} I come suddenly, secretly, yea, and also violently and terribly. See Revelation 3:3; Luke 12:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

Blessed is he that watcheth] The prophecy is here interrupted {as Genesis 49:18} to forewarn and forearm the saints; Luke 12:37-38; Luke 12:43, they are three times said to be blessed that watch.

And keepeth his garments] Keepeth himself unspotted of the world, undefiled in the way.

Lest he walk naked, &c.] See Revelation 3:18.


Verse 16

16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Ver. 16. And he gathered] God hath an overruling hand in that which the frogs of Rome do at the courts of kings, and ordereth the disorders of the world to his own glory.

Called in the Hebrew Armageddon] That is, they shall receive such a famous foil, such as Sisera did at the waters of Megiddo, 5:19.


Verse 17

17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

Ver. 17. Into the air] The popish air, the kingdom of Satan, Ephesians 2:2.

Saying, It is done] What is done? The mystery of iniquity is abolished, and the mystery of God is fulfilled. So Cicero when he had slain those of Catiline’s conspiracy, he came to the people, and said, vixerunt, they were alive, but now the world is well rid of them.


Verse 18

18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

Ver. 18. And there were voices] A description of the last judgment, when heaven and earth shall conspire together for the punishment of the wicked. See Matthew 24:36-41; Matthew 24:50-51, 2 Peter 3:10-12, 2 Thessalonians 1:8.


Verse 19

19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

Ver. 19. And the great city] The whole Antichristian state.

Divided into three parts] By the earthquake disjected and dissipated. Or, divided into three parts, that is, into three factions, 1. Stiff Papists; 2. Converts; 3. Neuters.

And the cities of the nations] That came to aid Antichrist.

And great Babylon] Augustine and other ancients do call Rome the Western Babylon; and do so compare them, as that Abraham was born in the flourish of the first Babylon, Christ of the second. The Jesuits here, though they grant Rome to be Babylon, yet they would have it to be Rome heathen under the emperors, and not Rome Christian under the popes. But it must be Rome Christian, as it appears by a double departure: 1. Of Babylon from the Church, Revelation 17:3. Babylon is called a whore. 2. Of the Church from Babylon, Revelation 18:3. The temple of God is the seat of Antichrist, saith Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

The cup of wine] That wherein God delights, as a man would do to drink a cup of generous wine.


Verse 20

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Ver. 20. Fled away] Either swallowed up by the water or consumed by the fire.


Verse 21

21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

Ver. 21. A great hail] Bigger than that which brained the kings of Canaan, Joshua 10:11; perhaps this shall be fulfilled according to the letter. Howsoever, the elements shall melt like scalding lead upon Antichristians and other atheists; and they shall answer for all with flames about their ears.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-16.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, January 19th, 2020
Second Sunday after Epiphany
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