Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 16:1

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Temple;   Thompson Chain Reference - Vials;   The Topic Concordance - Worship;   Wrath;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Angels;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Apocalyptic;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Plagues;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Plagues of Egypt;   Vial;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels;   Bowl;   Voice;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Temple, the;   Vials;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Vial;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Go your ways, and pour out - These ministers of the Divine justice were ready to execute vengeance upon transgressors, having full power; but could do nothing in this way till they received especial commission. Nothing can be done without the permission of God; and in the manifestation of justice or mercy by Divine agency, there must be positive command.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I heard a great voice out of the temple - A loud voice out of the temple as seen in heaven (notes on Revelation 11:19), and that came, therefore, from the very presence of God.

Saying to the seven angels - That had the seven vials of wrath. See the notes on Revelation 15:1, Revelation 15:7.

Go your ways - Your respective ways, to the fulfillment of the task assigned to each.

And pour out the vials of the wrath of God - Empty those vials; cause to come upon the earth the plagues indicated by their contents. The order in which this was to be done is not intimated. It seems to be supposed that that would be understood by each.

Upon the earth - The particular part of the earth is not here specified, but it should not be inferred that it was to be upon the earth in general, or that there were any calamities, in consequence of this pouring out of the vials of wrath, to spread over the whole world. The subsequent statements show what parts of the earth were particularly to be affected.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-16.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 16:1

Pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Predestined suffering in the government of the world

I. All the dispensations of this suffering are under the direction of God. “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.” From the very Shrine of the Almighty, the Holy of Holies, He deals out and regulates every item.

1. He orders their agents. Each of the “seven angels” or messengers are sent forth by Him. “Go your ways.” The Supreme Governor of the universe conducts His affairs through a vast system of secondary instrumentalities. There is not a pain that quivers in the nerve of any sentient being that comes not from Him. Is not this a soothing and a strengthening thought under all the dispensations of sorrow?

2. He appoints their seasons. The “seven angels” do not all come together, each has its period.

3. He fixes their places. Each of the seven angels who, under God, are to dispense the plagues, has his place assigned him. Each had his “vial,” or bowl, and each bowl had a place on which it was to be poured. The first came upon “the earth,” the second on “the sea,” the third upon “the rivers and fountains,” the fourth upon “the sun,” the fifth upon “the seat (throne) of the beast,” the sixth upon “the great river Euphrates,” and the seventh “into the air.” Whether there is a reference here to plagues in Egypt, or sufferings elsewhere, I know not.

4. He determines their character. The sufferings that came forth from the bowls were not of exactly the same kind or amount, some seemed more terrible and tremendous than others. The sufferings of some are distinguished by physical diseases, some by social bereavements, some by secular losses and disappointments, some by mental perplexities, some by moral anguish, etc. “Every heart knoweth its own bitterness.”

II. All the dispensations of this suffering have a great moral purpose. They are not malignant but merciful. They are not to ruin souls but to save them. They are curative elements in the painful cup of life; they are storms to purify the moral atmosphere of the world.

1. The righteous punishment of cruel persecution. “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”

2. The righteous punishment of supreme worldliness. “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat (throne) of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues.” Worldliness in the ascendant is indeed like this beast pourtrayed in the Apocalypse. It sits supreme; it has a throne, a crown, a sceptre that extends over all.

3. The overwhelming ruin of organised wrong. Great Babylon, what is it? The moral evils of the world organised into its metropolis. Falsehood, sensuality, pride, ambition, impiety, fraud, tyranny, embodied in a mighty city. This is the Babylon, and all unredeemed men are citizens in it. The Divine purpose is to destroy it. All His dispensations are against it, and will one day shiver it to pieces. Take courage, be of good cheer!

III. All the dispensations of this suffering have an influence co-extensive with the universe. There was not a drop from the bowl in either of the angel’s hands that terminated where it fell. The contents of these bowls are not like showers falling on the rocks in summer, which having touched them are then exhaled for ever. No, they continue to operate. The bowl that fell on the earth became an evil and painful sore, that which fell on the sea became blood and death, that which fell upon the sun scorched mankind, that which fell on the beast spread darkness and agony in all directions, that which fell upon the Euphrates produced a drought, and drew out of the mouth of the dragon wild beasts and strange dragons, the bowl that poured out its contents on the air produced lightnings, and thunders, and earthquakes, causing Babylon to be riven asunder, and every mountain and valley to flee away. Observe--

1. Nothing in the world of mind terminates with itself. “No man liveth unto himself.” Each step we give will touch chords that will vibrate through all the arches of immensity.

2. Whatever goes forth from mind exerts an influence on the domain of matter. (David Thomas, D. D.)

The first five bowls

I. Ere the end cometh God’s judgments of wrath will be poured out upon the world.

II. God hath his “bowls” in which are the contents of his wrath waiting to be outpoured.

III. The bringing out of these hidden forces is foreseen and determined.

IV. When the angels of judgment pour out the “bowls,” all nature may be full of whips and stings (cf. Revelation 16:1-4; Revelation 16:8-11).

V. The effect of these judgments on ungodly men will be to excite to anger, and not to bring to repentance. “They repented not”; “they blasphemed” (Revelation 16:9; Revelation 16:11).

VI. The holy ones see in the Divine retribution a manifestation of righteousness. In Revelation 16:5 “the angel of the waters” celebrates the righteousness of God, and in Revelation 16:7 “the altar” is said to do it; so the Revised Version reads; meaning, probably, the souls of the martyrs beneath it (Revelation 6:9). Only those beings who are in full sympathy with the Divine righteousness and love are in a position to judge rightly of the Divine procedure. Note--

1. Although all Scripture points to trouble on a vastly greater scale than we as yet see it, ere the end shall come, yet on a smaller scale God’s judgments are ever at work. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” That which is a bulwark to the good is a detective to the evil.

2. Let us not forget that the wondrous way in which the balance of nature’s forces is preserved, so as to bring us life and peace and comfort, is owing, not to nature, but to God.

3. In our daily life we can sing of both mercy and judgment. No cup is all sweetness. A dash of bitter mingles with all. Not all bitter, lest we should pine away; not all sweet, lest we should become insensible to life’s peril and responsibilities.

4. We are indebted to Divine mercy even for the sanctifying effect of our trials. (C. Clemance, D. D.)

They repented not to give Him glory.

The hardened heart

“They repented not to give Him glory.” This impenitence is told of in Revelation 9:20, and in this chapter again at Revelation 9:11; Revelation 21:1-27.

I. A very certain fact. The late Mr. Kingsley, in his book, “The Roman and the Teuton,” draws out at length the evidence both of the horrible sufferings and the yet more horrible impenitence of the Roman people in the days of their empire’s fall. He refers to these very verses as accurately describing the condition of things in those awful days, when the people of Rome “gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed,” etc. (Revelation 9:11). And it is to Rome and her fall that St. John is here alluding. There can hardly be doubt of that. But the sinners at Rome were not the only ones who, in spite of the judgments of God resting upon them, have, nevertheless, hardened their hearts. Who has not known of such things?

II. And very wonderful. We say a burnt child dreads the fire, but it is evident that they who have been “scorched with great heat” (verse 9) by the righteous wrath of God are yet not afraid to incur that wrath again. Nothing strikes us more than the persistent way in which, in the “day of provocation in the wilderness,” the Israelites went on sinning, notwithstanding all that it brought upon them in the way of punishment.

III. And very awful. “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” “Why should ye be stricken any more?”--no good comes of it, punishment does not make any difference.

IV. But yet not inexplicable. For--

1. Times of such distress as are told of here are just the most unfavourable times of all others for that serious, earnest thought which would lead to repentance. Distress distracts the mind, drags it hither and thither, so that it cannot stay itself upon God. To trust to the hour of death to turn unto God is, indeed, to build upon the sand.

2. Resentment against their ill-treatment holds their mind more than aught else. Where that fear is not, God’s wrath will exasperate, enrage, and harden, but there will be no repentance.

3. They attribute their sufferings to every cause but the true one.

4. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil “ (Ecclesiastes 8:11). (S. Conway, B. A.)

Judgments and no repentance: repentance and no salvation

I. Judgments, apart from Divine grace, may produce a kind of repentance.

1. Judgment may produce a carnal repentance--a repentance that is of the flesh, and after the manner of the sinful nature of men. Though the man changes, he is not savingly changed: he becomes another man, but not a new man. The thunders, and the storms, and the hail, and the noisome sores can produce in men nothing more than a fleshly repentance; and flesh repenting is still flesh, and tends to corruption.

2. And hence, again, it is but a transient repentance. They repent but for a season. While they see the immediate evil of their sin in its results, they cry out as if they really hated sin; but their hatred is only a little tiff, which lasts for a while, and then they make friends with their sins, as Pilate made friends with Herod. Their goodness is as the morning cloud; and as the early dew it passes away.

3. Such a repentance is superficial. It only affects the surface of the man. It does not go to the heart, it is hardly more than skin deep. Beware of a superficial repentance, for God abhors it. God is not mocked; He sees the loathsomeness of the ulcer through the film which seeks to hide it.

4. The awful terrors of God may produce a despairing repentance. What an awful thing it is when the law of God and the terrors of God work upon the conscience, and arouse all a man’s fears, and yet he will not fly to Christ I

II. Judgments do not and cannot of themselves produce a repentance such as gives God glory. “They repented not to give Him glory.” Now, this not giving God glory is a very important omission, and one which vitiates the whole matter. True repentance gives God glory in many ways. Is yours true repentance or not? That is the question.

1. It reverences and adores God’s omniscience. It is a confession of the fact of God’s knowledge, and the truthfulness of His statements, for the man says, “O Lord, I am what Thy Word says I am. Before Thee have I sinned. In Thy sight have I done evil. Thou knowest me altogether, and I adore Thine omniscience.”

2. The truly penitent gives glory to the righteousness of God in His law. Impenitence rails at the law as too severe, speaks of transgression as a trifle, and of future punishment as cruelty; but the truly repentant soul admires the law, and champions it even against its own self. Do you know all this in your own heart?

3. The sincerely penitent also adores and glorifies the justice of God in His punishment of transgression. Is sin really sinful to you? Do you see its desert of hell? If not, your repentance needs to be repented of.

4. True repentance glorifies the sovereignty of God in His mercy, saying, “Let Him do as He wills, for His will is holy love.”

5. Further, the man has repented to the glory of God when he spies out that there is a way by which God can be just and yet the Justifier of the ungodly--when he sees the Lord Jesus Christ, the adorable Son of God, coming in our human nature and becoming the substitute for sinners, and the sacrifice for sin.

6. For, mark you, it glorifies God in one other way--by setting the sinner ever afterwards craving after holiness. “The burnt child dreads the fire”; and the sinner dreads sin when he has been delivered from the flame of it by the Lord Jesus.

III. The judgments of God, apart from Divine grace, may, through our hardness of heart, involve us in greater sin.

1. If God has chastened you very much, until He is saying, “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?” then all this chastening which you have despised involves you in deeper sin, because you now sin with a clearer knowledge of what sin really is.

2. To many lives judgments also introduce the element of falsehood. The man vowed that if he recovered from sickness he would fear God. He was sick, and a saint he would be. But when he got well, ah I how much of a saint was he?

3. There are some whose conduct has in it the element of deliberate hatred of God; for these have had time now to see which way evil goes, and yet they follow it. They love sin as sin.

4. This introduces the element of presumption, deliberation, resolve; and when men sin so, there is a talent of lead in the measure of their iniquity, and it weighs exceedingly heavy.

IV. The judgments of God are to be viewed with great discretion. He who studies them must do it with solemn care.

1. Judgments tend to good. Do not forget that. They ought to tend to good to you who are exercised by them. How many are aroused to think of better things by sickness in their own persons, or sudden death in others! National judgments are frequently a ministry of grace.

2. Judgments do impress some men. Many will come to hear a sermon just after a dear baby has died, or a brother or father has been taken away. Death whips the careless into thought.

3. Some, no doubt, are sweetly subdued by judgments, when these are qualified with grace. The grace of God working with their afflictions, they bow themselves beneath the chastening hand; and when they do this, it is good for them that they are afflicted.

4. But then, next, still let it be recollected that these things will not work good of themselves. I want you to remember this, because I have known people say, “Well, if I were afflicted I might be converted. If I lay sick I might be saved.” Oh, do not think so. Sickness and sorrow of themselves are no helps to salvation. Pain and poverty are not evangelists; disease and despair are not apostles. Look at the lost in hell. Suffering has effected no good in them.

5. Oh, that God would lead you to repent now, before any of His judgments fall upon you! Why should we not repent at once? Surely we ought to repent of doing wrong when we perceive that we are wronging so good a God. Permit me also to say to you how much nobler and sweeter a thing it is to be drawn than to be driven. Must you be beaten to Christ? And then, again, recollect, you can repent now so much more clearly than in the hour of sickness. God helping you, this is a very good hour for repenting. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 16:1". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/revelation-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

REV:16

This is the famed chapter of the bowls; and what we have here is a "free adaptation, with modifications and amplifications,"[1] of the series of trumpet judgments depicted in Revelation 8 and Revelation 9, which "the prophet wishes to emphasize by recapitulation."[2] "These bowls are final but not complete."[3] God's saints are not harmed by them. What they represent is the total corruption of earth's environment, not the physical environment which is here used as a symbol, but the moral, intellectual, religious, and spiritual environment. This perversion of the moral and cultural world of mankind will be the final culmination of evil upon the earth, presenting the true saints of God with their final and most effective challenge.

It is the literalism of scholars, quite unconsciously in many, it seems, that totally dismantles the efforts of some to understand this marvelous chapter. "These plagues cannot be interpreted in a literal sense."[4] "It is difficult indeed to believe that any such happenings as these would take place in history."[5] Some who see this, however, fail utterly to come up with an answer as to just what is symbolized. For example, Pieters, who enthusiastically accepted the principle that "literalism here is hopeless,"[6] " did not even hazard a guess as to what the various bowl symbols mean, declaring that, "The true interpretation has not been found, and probably cannot be found."[7] Roberson, another highly respected scholar, speaking of interpreting these bowls, wrote, "It may be that no attempt to do so will ever be successful."[8] Such views are a little embarrassing to this writer who confidently believes that a valid understanding of what is symbolized by the bowls can be presented, an interpretation that is both logical and fully in harmony with what the rest of the New Testament teaches. This will be spelled out below.

These seven bowls are poured out, if not simultaneously, then nearly so; because, as Beckwith noted, "The pains and sores of Revelation 16:11 (in the fifth bowl) refer to the first plague,"[9] thus showing that the plagues were operating co-extensively. We might refer to all seven bowls as ""Satan's Propaganda Apparatus." But does not God send this? Of course. It is the divine judicial hardening of mankind due to sin and rebellion against God which is undoubtedly in view here, as several very discerning scholars have observed. "This means that the great and final interdiction of God has come."[10] Exactly the same hardening is here which Paul discussed in Romans 1:24,26,28. "God gave them up." This means that God darkened their minds, hardened their hearts and delivered them over to the devices of Satan whom they preferred to serve. It is impossible to understand this chapter without due attention to God's hardening of the entire pre-Christian world, because this chapter is a prophecy of exactly the same thing happening again before the Second Coming of Christ. That is the reason that the ominous shadow of the plagues of Egypt falls over these bowls, as so many have pointed out. See discussion of, "When God Gives Men Up," my Commentary on Romans, pp. 38-51, and "The Hardening of Israel," and also at pp. 392-395. The principle that God does what he allows and requires fully hardened people to do is clear. A good New Testament example is the command of Jesus to Judas, ""Get on at once with the betrayal" (John 13:27, a paraphrase). Thus, these bowls are actually the culmination of human wickedness; but they are also, in a very real sense, the judgments of God upon the incorrigibly evil. Wicked men, hardened finally by God himself, due to their obduracy and rebellion, at last "receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was due" (Romans 1:27). When God at last allows sinful man to walk fully and unrestrained in the evil ways he has chosen, the total pollution of the moral, intellectual, spiritual, and religious environment will happen again, just like it did in the case of the pre-Christian Gentiles; and that ultimate hardening of all mankind is the dreadful eventuality symbolized by these seven bowls. The repeated mention in Revelation 16:9,11,21 of the absolute refusal of people to repent proves this view to be correct. The chapter deals with the final and ultimate hardening of the human race.

[1] James Moffatt. Expositor's Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 446.

[2] Ibid.

[3] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 190.

[4] R. C. H. Lenski. The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House. 1943), p. 463.

[5] Michael Wilcock, I Saw Heaven Opened (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press. 1975), p. 154.

[6] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 243.

[7] Ibid., p. 244.

[8] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 118.

[9] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 681.

[10] W. A. Criswell, Expository Sermons on Revelation in IV Vols. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), III, p. 174.

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. (Revelation 16:1)

Go ye, and pour out ... In the chapter introduction, it was noted that these seven bowls are poured out quickly and almost simultaneously. Criswell commented on this:

The Greek indicates that these come one after the other in rapid succession. Just like that! When the judgment (or hardening) finally comes, it comes in a hurry.[11]

Some interpreters apply these to the destruction of Rome, as Summers, for example, who saw them as, "The swiftly executed wrath of God ... on the Roman Empire";[12] but whatever fulfillment occurred in that does not mitigate against the application of them in a much more extensive frame of reference to the final judicial hardening of the entire race of man. The fact of the totality of these judgments (all instead of merely one third, as in the trumpets) forbids our limitation of it to pagan Rome alone. What happened in the fall of Rome is a preview of what is yet to happen, or may indeed be in the process of happening now. Furthermore, there have been many fulfillments of this historically, Pharaoh being the great Old Testament example of it; and all such occurrences are types of these seven bowls of wrath which are the final, ultimate, and "last" manifestation of the same phenomenon. Many have associated these bowls of wrath, and for very good reasons, with the French Revolution.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ray Summers, Worthy is the Lamb (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1961), p. 186.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I heard a great voice out of the temple,.... The church, which in the preceding chapter is said to be opened; this was either the voice of God, whose temple the church is, and where he dwells, and who, has power over these plagues, Revelation 16:9 and who, when he is about to bring judgments on the earth, is said to roar out of Zion, Revelation 16:16 or of Christ, who is always in the midst of his church and people, and whose voice is as the voice of many waters; see Revelation 16:15 or it may be of one of the four living creatures, the ministers of the word, in and by whom Christ often speaks; and the rather, since one of these gave the seven angels the golden vials of the wrath of God, they are now bid to pour out.

Saying to the seven angels, go your ways and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth; for though these angels had the seven last plagues to inflict, and the seven vials of God's wrath to pour out, and were in a readiness to do it, yet they did not move without an order, which is here given them; and they are bid to go their ways, from the temple, the church, where they were, and of which they were members, to the several parts of the antichristian empire; and there pour out all the wrath and vengeance of God upon his enemies, and theirs, and leave nothing behind, but give them the dregs of every cup of his fury: the earth here is to be taken in a larger sense than in the following verse, and includes the land and sea, the fountains and rivers, and even the ambient air, and also the sun in the firmament, as the pouring out of these vials upon them show; and designs the whole apostate church, consisting of earthly men, all the inhabitants of the earth, that worship the beast. The Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and the Complutensian edition, read, "the seven vials of the wrath of God"; these seven vials are not contemporary, much less the same with the seven trumpets; there is indeed a likeness between them in some things, especially in the first four; for as the first four trumpets affect the earth, the sea, the fountains, and rivers of water, and the sun, so the first four vials are poured out on the same, and that in the same order; first on the earth, and then on the sea, &c. and which will give some light, and be a direction to observe the several parts of the antichristian empire, which will suffer by these vials, and the in which their ruin will proceed; and as the trumpets were so many gradual steps to the ruin of the Roman empire, eastern and western, when become Christian, so these vials are so many gradual steps to, and which issue in the ruin of, both the eastern and western antichrist; though they do not respect the same things, nor the same times: the trumpets respect the Roman empire as Christian, under the government of emperors, after the downfall of Paganism in it; and the vials respect the antichristian powers in their several branches, under the pope and Turk. Antichrist did not appear until the fifth trumpet sounded, whereas the first vial is poured out upon his followers and worshippers, Revelation 16:2 from whence it is a clear point, that the first trumpet and the first vial cannot be contemporary; and the same judgment may be made of the rest: and it may be further observed, that these vials are only poured out on the enemies of God and of Christ, and of his church and people; for no wrath can be poured out upon the saints, not the least drop of it can fall upon them; this would not be consistent with God's everlasting love to them, with the satisfaction of Christ made for them, nor with the blessings of justification, pardon, adoption, &c. bestowed on them; not but that they may meet with trouble in the of these vials, through the wars that will be in the world, and through the struggles of the beast of Rome, especially its last, which will be the hour of temptation, and that time of trouble than which never was the like; yet all will work for, and issue in their good, and they will rejoice in God's righteous judgments; the blow will be upon antichrist, the vengeance of God will fall upon those that have the mark of the beast, and the worshippers of his image, upon the seat of the beast, even upon Babylon, and the whole Romish jurisdiction, as appears from Revelation 16:2 and also upon the Turkish empire, and all the nations engaged in the interest of both pope and Turk, Revelation 16:12 and it is easy to observe, that there is in many of these vials an allusion to the plagues of Egypt; in the first, Revelation 16:2 to the plague of boils, Exodus 9:8 in the second and third, Revelation 16:3 to that of turning the waters of Egypt into blood, Exodus 7:19 in the fourth, Revelation 16:10 to the darkness that was over all the land of Egypt, Exodus 10:21 and in the fifth there is a manifest reference to the frogs that distressed the Egyptians, Exodus 8:5 and in the seventh, to the plague of hail, Exodus 9:23 and they have much the same effect, even the hardening of those on whom they fall, being far from being brought to repentance by them, Revelation 16:9 and this confirms the application of the vials to the destruction of Rome, which is spiritually called Egypt, Revelation 11:8 and may assure that they will issue in the ruin of antichrist, and in the salvation of God's people, as the plagues of Egypt did in the destruction of Pharaoh, and in the deliverance of the children of Israel; and may also lead us to conclude, that there will be a like quick execution of the one as of the other; for as the plagues of Egypt came very quick one after another, so it seems as if the pouring out of these vials would be in like manner; the angels receive them together, and have their orders at the same time; and they go forth immediately, one after another, if not together, to the respective parts where they are to pour them forth, and which they do directly; see Revelation 16:8. Moreover, these vials will affect antichrist both with respect to his civil and ecclesiastic capacity, or both in temporals and spirituals, and, both antichrists, eastern and western: whether they are begun to be poured out or not, is a question. I am ready to think they are not, because they seem to me to refer to the seventh trumpet, which as yet has not sounded, and are the same with the wrath of God, and the time of the judging the dead, or avenging the blood of the saints, which will be come when that sounds, Revelation 11:18. Besides, the outer court is not entirely given to the Gentiles, nor the witnesses slain, which must be before this time of wrath upon antichrist; not but that there has been some manifest marks of the divine displeasure upon the whore of Rome, and she has been sinking ever since the Reformation, at which time some begin these vials, or before; and she is reduced to a low estate; yet I think not to such a degree as these vials express.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And 1 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.

(1) In the former chapter was set down the preparation to the work of God: here is delivered the execution of it. In this discourse of the execution, is a general commandment, in this verse, then a particular recital in order of the execution done by every of the seven angels, in the rest of the chapter. This special execution against Antichrist and his crew does in manner agree to that which was generally done on the whole world, chapters eight and nine and belongs (if my conjecture fail me not) to the same time. Yet in here they differ from one another, that this was particularly effected on the princes and ringleaders of the wickedness of the world, the other generally against the whole world being wicked. Therefore these judgments are more grievous than those.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 16:1-21. The seven vials and the consequent plagues.

The trumpets shook the world kingdoms in a longer process; the vials destroy with a swift and sudden overthrow the kingdom of “the beast” in particular who had invested himself with the world kingdom. The Hebrews thought the Egyptian plagues to have been inflicted with but an interval of a month between them severally [Bengel, referring to Seder Olam]. As Moses took ashes from an earthly common furnace, so angels, as priestly ministers in the heavenly temple, take holy fire in sacred vials or bowls, from the heavenly altar to pour down (compare Revelation 8:5). The same heavenly altar which would have kindled the sweet incense of prayer bringing down blessing upon earth, by man‘s sin kindles the fiery descending curse. Just as the river Nile, which ordinarily is the source of Egypt‘s fertility, became blood and a curse through Egypt‘s sin.

a great voice — namely, God‘s. These seven vials (the detailed expansion of the vintage, Revelation 14:18-20) being called “the last,” must belong to the period just when the term of the beast‘s power has expired (whence reference is made in them all to the worshippers of the beast as the objects of the judgments), close to the end or coming of the Son of man. The first four are distinguished from the last three, just as in the case of the seven seals and the seven trumpets. The first four are more general, affecting the earth, the sea, springs, and the sun, not merely a portion of these natural bodies, as in the case of the trumpets, but the whole of them; the last three are more particular, affecting the throne of the beast, the Euphrates, and the grand consummation. Some of these particular judgments are set forth in detail in the seventeenth through twentieth chapters.

out of the temple — B and Syriac omit. But A, C, Vulgate, and Andreas support the words.

the vials — so Syriac and Coptic. But A, B, C, Vulgate, and Andreas read, “the seven vials.”

uponGreek, “into.”

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-16.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

A great voice (μεγαλης πωνηςmegalēs phōnēs). Not an angel as in Revelation 5:2; Revelation 7:2; Revelation 10:3; Revelation 14:7, Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:15, Revelation 14:18, but of God as Revelation 15:8 shows, since no one could enter the ναοςnaos out (εκχεετεekcheete). Second aorist active imperative of εκχεωekcheō (same form as present active imperative). Blass would change to εκχεατεekcheate (clearly aorist) as in Revelation 16:6.

The seven bowls (τας επτα πιαλαςtas hepta phialas). The article points to Revelation 16:7.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The vials

Add seven.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-16.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Pour out the seven phials — The epistles to the seven churches are divided into three and four: the seven seals, and so the trumpets and phials, into four and three. The trumpets gradually, and in a long tract of time, overthrow the kingdom of the world: the phials destroy chiefly the beast and his followers, with a swift and impetuous force. The four first affect the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun; the rest fall elsewhere, and are much more terrible.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-16.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

1.] Introductory. And I heard a great voice out of the temple (from the fact ch. Revelation 15:8, that the divine Presence is filling the temple, and that none might enter into it, this voice can be no other than the divine voice. The words ἐκ τοῦ ναοῦ may have been erased (as in var. readd.) from the difficulty presented by τοῦ θεοῦ below, none being able to enter during the pouring out of the vials) saying to the seven angels, Go and pour out the seven vials of the wrath of God into the earth (so, previous to the series of trumpets, the angel casts the fire from the altar into the earth, ch. Revelation 8:5).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-16.html. 1863-1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 16:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-16.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-16.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 16:1. I heard a great voice, &c.— In obedience to the divine command, the seven angels pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth: and as the trumpets were so many steps and degrees of the ruin of the Roman empire, so the vials are of the Roman church. The one, in polity and government, is the image of the other: the one is compared to the system of the world, and has her earth, and sea, and rivers, and sun, as well as the other; and this is the reason of the similitude and resemblance of the judgments in both cases. Rome Papal has [chap. Revelation 11:8.] been distinguished by the title of spiritual Egypt, and resembles Egypt, in her punishments as well as in her crimes, tyranny, idolatry, and wickedness.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-16.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The command given to the seven angels, the executioners of God's justice, to do their office, namely, in pouring out the vials of his wrath upon the earth. The command is here said to be given by a voice, by a great voice, because it was the command of a great God, and about a great work; and it is said to come out of the temple, in allusion to the holy of holies, the place of God's exhibiting himself, and from whence he gave forth oracles of old.

Observe, 2. How the seven angels (the instruments of God in executing his judgments) receive their commission from God and pour not out one vial on the earth till they are required so to do; and being called vials of the wrath of God, it gives us this intimation, that what is done against antichrist, is not the effect of man's revenge, but the fruit of God's wrath; and whereas vials are vessels of large content, but of narrow mouths, which pour out slowly, but distill effectually, and drench deeply, it imports that the wrath of God is, though slow, yet sure; it comes upon sinners gradually; but if upon its approach they repent not, it will at last, like a mighty torrent, wash them away from off the earth.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-16.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 16:1. μεγάλης φωνῆς ἐκ τοῦ ναοῦ. According to Revelation 15:8, the voice sounding from the heavenly temple can belong only to God himself.(3668) This is not expressed, because John with all fidelity limits himself to that which he recognized, and as he actually recognizes it.

ʼυπάγετε. Cf. the ἀπῆλθεν, Revelation 16:2, which is understood of itself in Revelation 16:3, etc. The angels have possibly held themselves in readiness, standing at the gate of the temple (Revelation 15:5 sqq.); now they come to a place in heaven, whence they can pour forth the destructive contents of their vials.

τ. ἐπτὰ φιάλας τοῦ θυ΄οὺ τ. θ. Cf. Revelation 15:7. Targum, Isaiah 51:22 : “The vials of the cup of my wrath.”(3669)

εἰς τὴν γῆν. As Revelation 8:5.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-16.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 16:1. τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας, the seven vials) The Epistles to the VII. Churches are distributed into III. and IV. The VII. Seals are divided into IV. and III., and likewise the VII. Trumpets, as we have seen: and now also the VII. Vials. The Trumpets have shaken the kingdom of the world in a long circuit; the vials with swift and sharp violence break to pieces the beast in particular, which had clothed himself with the kingdom of the world, and his followers and resources. Therefore the trumpets and the vials advance in the same order. The former set of four touch the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the sun: the remaining set of three fall in other quarters, and are much more violent.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-16.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 16

Revelation 16:1 The seven angels are commanded to pour out their

vials on the earth.

Revelation 16:2-14 Great plagues follow thereupon.

Revelation 16:15-21 Christ cometh suddenly as a thief: blessed are they

that watch.

Chapter Summary

God having showed unto his servant John in the vision of the first six seals, the fate of the church under the pagan emperors of Rome, Revelation 5:1-6:17, and its fate under antichrist, in the vision of the six first trumpets, under the seventh seal, Revelation 8:1-9:21, and diverted him by the vision of the little book opened, Revelation 10:1-11, and by the contents of it, Revelation 12:1-14:20, and instructed him concerning the affairs of the church during all the time of the reign of the dragon, and antichrist, who was the image of the dragon, comes now to instruct him particularly how and by what means he would ruin antichrist, and restore peace to his church.

And I heard a great voice out of the temple; either out of the church triumphant, Christ, the Head of it, commanding the executioners of his justice to go and do their office; or out of the church militant, by their prayers soliciting God to execute vengeance upon the beast. All the beast’s territories, or the several parts of his kingdom, are expressed in this chapter, under the notions of the earth, the sea, the rivers and fountains, the sun, and the seat of the beast. The first command to the executioners of God’s justice, is, to pour out his wrath on the earth. By the earth; Pareus understands some parts of the earth; others, the common people; others, the Roman empire; but others, considering the earth as the firmest part of the universe, say, that by the earth is meant the popish clergy, the basis of the papacy; and I am very much inclined to judge that the most probable sense of it, not only because there is little of heaven in them, and their whole frame and model is the product of earthly policy, but because experience hath told us that the pope here received his first wound, in the diminution of their power and authority, and a contempt of them. God hath used many instruments to pour out this vial, even so many (whether princes or ministers) as he hath made use of to root out monasteries and abbeys, and to expose mass priests to scorn and contempt. Mr. Mede seemeth to be of another mind, thinking, that by earth is meant the commonalty of the people, whose defection from the pope was his first plague: but that which is to be understood by the earth, being the affected part of antichrist, I cannot agree with that learned man; for though the beast suffered by the defection of the commonalty, yet I cannot see how those that made the defection suffered at all by it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-16.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

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.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

In this Chapter we behold all the Angels, one after another, pouring out their Vials. The awful Consequences which followed are related. The sudden coming of Christ is noticed. A Blessedness is pronounced on him that watcheth.

Revelation 16:1

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.

As in the opening of this Chapter we are called upon to the observation of the ministry of the Vials, which contain the last plagues of our God, upon the enemies of the faith; I shall beg to do upon this occasion, as I did before the opening of the ministry of the Seals, and the ministry of the Trumpets, give some short statement, according to my view, of the Vials themselves.

And, first. I think it will not admit of a question, but that the opening of the vials, took place at that period, be that period fixed by the different calculations of men, at whatever time it may, when, after the Church had been long persecuted, and darkened, under the Pope and his confederates, the pure Gospel of Christ began to hold up its head. There may be, and indeed there is a diversity of opinion, at what period to place this; whether when this kingdom first began to emerge from popery, or at a more remote period, from the present. I have said before, that though I have here and there spoken in round numbers of years, such as the time that Pagan Rome continued, after Christ's return to glory; and the probable time, that Arius arose, with his awful heresy: yet I do not mean that this Poor Man's Commentary shall have anything to do with calculating times, or seasons, as the probable period, when the predictions in this book, remaining to be fulfilled, may be expected to be accomplished. I know that it would much gratify curiosity, for all men by nature love to be supposed, as seeing more into future events than their neighbors. But though this is very natural, yet it is not from grace. I therefore have confined myself to form judgment of the facts, and not of the times. These will all open in due course, as the Lord hath appointed. I therefore, on this subject, of the ministry of the vials, would make this one general observation, namely, that they certainly opened, when the pure Gospel, after the long obscurity under which it had lain in popish legends, and the trumpery of that heresy, began to lift up its head. Then it was, according to my view, when John saw that angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth; and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people, Revelation 14:6.

Secondly. It is important, for the right apprehension of the ministry of the vials, to remember, that though they are placed last, its point of order, in this book; yet the opening of the seals were not all finished, neither the sounding of the trumpets all over, before the first vial, and indeed several of the succeeding ones, had performed their ministry. This is abundantly evident, for the greater part of the vials have done their office; indeed all have finished excepting the two last: yet the seventh trumpet is not yet sounded, neither will it, (as is most, probable,) before the seventh vial comes to be poured out.

And, thirdly. It may be proper to make one general observation more, on the subject of those vials, before we go on, to look at each of them particularly; and to remark, that the plagues which follow each vial poured out, do not so totally pass away, as that the whole wrath is expended of one, before the next vial which was to succeed, comes to be poured out. Not so. For we behold the consequences of some of the early vials, even operating now; and, therefore, we are not to conclude, that one woe is past, in all those instances, before another comes. The whole ministry of the vials is directed by the Lord, as his last plagues, to bring down the enemies of his salvation; and, therefore they are so directed by the Lord, as shall best accomplish this purpose. Having thus stated, in a general way and manner, the subject of the ministry of the vials, at large, we will now prosecute the Chapter, and attend to what may be supposed, under each, as particularly intended.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-16.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And I heard a great voice out of the Temple, saying to the seven angels “Go, and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth”.’

The great voice may be that of a living creature (see Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7; Revelation 8:13 - compare Revelation 15:7), or it may be the voice of God Himself. What is important is that it stresses that this is the will of God. Tribulations and disasters are one way by which God speaks to the world. There is emphasis now on the wrath of God. The world lies continually under His wrath (Romans 1:18), and in the end it has to be satisfied.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-16.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

(1) A prologue to the plagues--16:1-14.

1. The voice of verse one is not that of an angel but of God himself. The seven angels were commanded to Go your ways-each had a special and separate work to perform, to pour out the vials of wrath. The vials corresponded with the cup of his indignation in chapter 14:10, the contents of which were the components of the penal woes which were to descend on the subjects of God's wrath. It was during this period of divine wrath that no man was able to enter into the temple to appear in the presence of God for the prayer of intercession to avert the destruction of old Jerusalem and the devastation of the old temple.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-16.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. The commencement of the bowl judgments16:1

The voice John heard was evidently God"s (cf. Revelation 15:8; Revelation 16:17). The fact that God told all seven angels to pour out their bowls seems to indicate that these judgments will follow each other in rapid succession.

The frequent use of the Greek adjective megales in this chapter indicates the unusual severity and intensity of the bowl judgments. The NASB translators rendered this word "loud" here and in Revelation 16:17; "fierce" in Revelation 16:9; "great" in Revelation 16:12; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 16:18 (twice), and19 (twice); and "huge" and "severe" in Revelation 16:21. The word also occurs nine times in chapter18, which is an elaboration on the seventh bowl judgment introduced in Revelation 16:17-21.

The relationship in time of the bowl judgments to the trumpet judgments has been a matter of disagreement among futurist commentators. On the one hand there are some similarities between them, as a side by side comparison reveals. [Note: See Beasley-Murray, pp238-39, and Beale, pp809-10.] However the differences make it most difficult to conclude that they are identical judgments. [Note: See Swete, p200; and Thomas, Revelation 8-22, pp525-43.]

Tribulation Judgments

Seals (ch6)

Trumpets (chs8-9)

Bowls (ch16)

1.

Antichrist

Storm

Sores

2.

War

Meteor

Bloody Seas

3.

Famine

Bitterness

Bloody Springs

4.

Death ( of Population)

Darkness

Fire

5.

Imprecations

Locusts

Darkness

6.

Earthquake

Horses (1/3of Population)

Invasion

7.

7 Trumpets

7 Bowls

Earthquake & Hail

It seems more likely that the bowls constitute the seventh trumpet, as the trumpets constitute the seventh seal. This would make the bowls the last plagues to come on the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation ( Revelation 15:1). Many details in the text, to be pointed out below, support the conclusion that this is the correct interpretation.

"The first four affect individuals directly either through personal affliction or through objects of nature, and the last three are on more of an international scale, leading the way to a final major confrontation." [Note: Ibid, p248.]

"After almost a century of insipid preaching from America"s pulpits, the average man believes that God is all sweetness and light and would not discipline or punish anyone. Well, this Book of Revelation tells a different story!" [Note: McGee, 5:1022.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-16.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 16:1. The voice heard is that of God, for He alone was in the temple (chap. Revelation 15:8); and it comes from the innermost shrine. Nothing of this kind had been said at the opening of the trumpets (chap. Revelation 8:7); and the distinction is important, for it shows us that it is not now the people of God who continue the conflict, but God Himself who acts directly for them. He takes His own cause in hand. The earth is to be distinguished from the ‘sea’ (comp. Revelation 16:3).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-16.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 16:1. And I heard a great voice out of the temple — All things being prepared, the angels having received their instructions from the oracle, and the vials being filled with the wrath of God, by one of the four living creatures, (see on Revelation 15:7,) I heard the word of command given to the seven angels to pour out their vials in their order, the inhabitants of the earth being ripe for those judgments which the justice of God had appointed for their punishment. The epistles to the seven churches are divided into three and four; the seven seals, and so the trumpets and vials, into four and three. The trumpets gradually, and in a long tract of time, overthrow the kingdoms of the world; the vials destroy chiefly the beast and his followers, and that with a more swift and impetuous force. The four former affect the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun: the rest fall elsewhere, and are much more terrible.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-16.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

I heard a great voice. Bossuet explains the pouring out of the seven vials in this manner. The five first he supposes to have taken place under the reign of Valerian and Gallien; the sixth he supposes to have been poured out during the reigns of Valerian, Dioclesian, and Julian; and the seventh under Honorius and the Alani. (Bossuet) --- All commentators, however, seem to agree that the great city mentioned in the 19th verse, is to be understood of Rome, and that the plagues which are here foretold, are denounced against her. (Calmet, Pastorini, &c.) --- Go and pour out the seven vials, &c. According to the exposition followed by the bishop of Meaux, all these seven vials are already past, being punishments and judgments exercised against the heathen emperors, from the time of Valerian even to the time of Julian, at whose death it might be said, (ver. 17) it is done. Idolatry is destroyed, as to its public worship. Here in particular, by the drying up of the Euphrates, and by the armies of the East, these interpreters understand those of the Persians, who first gave the great shock to the empire in Valerian's time, and by whom afterwards Julian the apostate was defeated, and killed. By the great Babylon they also understand idolatrous Rome; and by the islands and mountains sunk by earthquakes, they understand the destruction of divers kingdoms. According to another interpretation, (which is very common) all these judgments are to come before the end of the world; and will be in a manner literally executed about antichrist's time. At the first vial, men shall be struck with ulcers and wounds, not unlike to the sixth plague of Egypt. At the second and third vial, the sea and fountains shall be turned into blood, as in Egypt. At the fourth vial shall be excessive scorching heats, tormenting men, and burning every thing for their use. At the fifth vial darkness, like that of Egypt. At the sixth vial, (ver. 12.) the Euphrates dried up, to open a passage for the armies from the East, to come and join the forces of antichrist. And the three unclean spirits like frogs, may signify devils sent by the dragon, or chief of the devils, to excite the wicked to all manner of unclean abominations. They are here said to be gathered together in a place called Armagedon, perhaps with an allusion to Mageddon, in the tribe of Manasses, where the two kings of Israel, Ochozias and Josias, perished. (4 Kings ix. 21.) And they are brought in only to signify a place of great destruction. See also Zacharias xii. 11. At the seventh vial, a voice, it is done, i.e. the reign of the wicked in general, and of antichrist, is at an end. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-16.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

A loud voice calls to the seven angels from out of the temple, which may indicate God is speaking, and tells them to pour out the bowls filled with wrath upon the earth.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-16.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

out of. App-104.

Temple. See Matthew 23:16.

seven angels. See Revelation 15:1.

Go . . . ways = Go forth. Greek. hupago.

vials. See Revelation 15:7.

God. App-98.

upon = into. Greek. eis.

earth. App-129.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

The trumpets shook the world-kingdoms in longer process: the vials swiftly and suddenly overthrow the kingdom of the beast who invested himself with the world-kingdom. The Egyptian plagues were inflicted with but a month between them severally (Bengel, referring to Seder Olam). As Moses took ashes from an earthly furnace (Exodus 9:8), so angels, as priestly ministers in the heavenly temple, take holy fire in sacred vials from the heavenly altar, to pour down (cf. Revelation 8:5). The same heavenly altar which would have kindled sweet incense of prayer, bringing down blessing upon earth, by man's sin kindles the fiery descending curse. Just as the Nile, ordinarily the source of Egypt's fertility, became blood and a curse through Egypt's sin.

A great voice - namely, God's. These seven vials (the detailed expansion of the vintage, Revelation 14:18-20) being 'the last,' must be just when the beast's power has expired (whence reference is made in them all to the beasts worshippers as objects of the judgments), close to the coming of the Son of man. The first four are distinguished from the last three, as in the case of the seven seals and seven trumpets. The first four are general-affecting the earth, sea, springs, and sun: not merely a portion of these natural bodies, as the trumpets, but the whole; the last three are particular-affecting the throne of the beast, the Euphrates, and the grand consummation. Some of these judgments are given in detail, Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 18:1-24; Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15.

Out of the temple. B, Syriac, omit; but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Andreas, support.

The vials. So Syriac, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Andreas, read, 'the seven vials.'

Upon - `unto.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XVI.

THE SEVEN VIALS.

(1) And I heard . . .—A great voice is heard out of the temple; it bids the angels pour out their vials “into the earth;” later on (Revelation 16:17) the voice is heard saying, “It is done.” The voice is then said to come from the throne; it seems likely that the voice of the first verse is the same—the divine voice from the throne itself.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
I heard
14:15,18; 15:5-8
the seven
15:1,6
and pour
2-12,17; 14:9-11; 15:7; 1 Samuel 15:3,18; Ezekiel 9:5-8; 10:2; Matthew 13:41,42
Reciprocal: Genesis 19:13 - Lord hath;  Joshua 6:4 - seven times;  Psalm 69:24 - Pour;  Psalm 79:6 - Pour;  Isaiah 25:5 - shalt bring;  Isaiah 30:25 - in the day;  Isaiah 42:25 - he hath poured;  Jeremiah 6:11 - I will;  Jeremiah 7:20 - Behold;  Jeremiah 14:16 - for;  Ezekiel 20:21 - I would;  Ezekiel 22:22 - ye shall know;  Ezekiel 30:15 - I will pour;  Ezekiel 36:18 - I poured;  Ezekiel 43:6 - I heard;  Nahum 1:6 - his fury;  Zechariah 14:12 - the plague wherewith;  1 Corinthians 10:10 - destroyer;  Revelation 8:2 - seven angels;  Revelation 8:5 - and filled;  Revelation 11:14 - GeneralRevelation 11:18 - and thy;  Revelation 14:16 - thrust;  Revelation 14:17 - came;  Revelation 17:8 - go;  Revelation 21:9 - which;  Revelation 22:18 - God

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-16.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE COMMAND FROM THE TEMPLE.

Revelation 16:1. — "And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go and pour out the seven bowls of the fury of God upon the earth." The terms, "voice," "voices," a "strong voice," a "loud voice," and a "great voice," have each their own special significance.

The word voice is variously used of Christ, of God, of angels, of the living creatures, of the altar, of the throne, etc. Wherever the word occurs, or to whom or to what it refers in the Apocalypse, there is implied an intelligent apprehension of the subject in question. Its metaphorical application as in Revelation 9:13 is no exception.

The plural, voices, occurs eight times, and with one exception (Revelation 11:15) is directly associated with judgment. It is one of the premonitory signs of coming wrath (Revelation 4:5; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 8:13; Revelation 10:3-4; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18), and implies that the judicial dealing is not simply the exercise of arbitrary power, but is intelligently governed and directed.

Then we read of a "strong voice" (Revelation 18:2), of a "loud voice" (Revelation 5:2), and of a "great voice," as in our text (see also Revelation 21:3). The adjectives respectively set forth the character of the voice, which, again, is in exact keeping with the nature of the announcement.

1. — The Seer hears "a great voice out of the temple." The sanctuary itself, the holiest spot in the universe, is roused to action. The demand for judgment on the apostate scene proceeds not from the throne, but from the holy of holies. God's wrath burns fiercely, and its strength is derived from what His holy nature demands and necessitates (Isaiah 6:1-13). The voice heard in the temple may well be termed "great," when the holiness of the place and the majesty of the Speaker are considered.

The completeness of the service in which these judgment angels are employed is signified by the number seven, the predominant and ruling numeral in the Apocalypse. These ministers of God's wrath, although divinely equipped and commissioned, cannot act till God commands. "Go and pour out the seven bowls of the fury of God." These broad-rimmed vessels had been filled in the sanctuary, not with incense, but with wrath — God's righteous wrath. The voice which orders the execution of these seven plagues (v. 1) announces their completion when all are poured out (v. 17).

1. — "Pour out," not sprinkle; the expression refers to the fulness of divine wrath, each vessel overflows, and is to be poured out without stint or measure in succession till all are emptied. A similar phrase is not uncommon in the Old Testament (Zephaniah 3:8; Psalms 69:24; Jeremiah 10:25). These seven apocalyptic plagues seem like an answer to the prayer of the suffering Jewish remnant in the coming crisis. "Render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord" (Psalms 79:12).

The scene of these plagues is "the earth," not geographically but prophetically viewed, hence the course of judgment takes a wider sweep than that under the Trumpets (Revelation 8:1-13). Not the apostate Roman earth only, but the whole or the guilty scene within the range of prophetic vision is here given up to feel the vengeance of an angry God.

We are now about to witness these truly awful visitations of divine wrath successively inflicted out of the sanctuary, and from the Bowls, hallowed by temple use and service, now devoted to purposes of judgment.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-16.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The great voice was out of the temple. That means it was from God, for we have learned in the preceding chapter that no man was able to be in the temple at this time. The seven angels have been given the vials of divine wrath, now the voice bids them empty their contents in the places deserving such treatment.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-16.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 16:1

Revelation 16:1 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.

The great voice that John heard out of the Temple, was the voice of the Lord. { Isaiah 66:6} A voice from the Temple, the voice of the Lord that rendreth recompense to his enemies. By earth here, we are to understand the whole Roman papal state, both political, and ecclesiastical; called mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. { Revelation 17:5}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-16.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 16:1. And I heard a great voice out of the temple, which said to the seven angels, go away and pour out the seven[Note: The seven is wanting in Luther.]vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. The loud voice out of the temple can only, according to ch. Revelation 15:8, be the voice of God, in whom the judgment going to be executed for the welfare of the church has its origin. In like manner in Ezekiel 9:1 a similar call proceeds from God, "with a loud voice," to the ministers of divine judgment; comp. there Ezekiel 9:8, "When thou pourest forth thy wrath on Jerusalem;" Ezekiel 7:8. The same voice which here delivers the commission to pour out the vials, says, after they have been poured out, in Revelation 16:17, "It is done." There the voice is more exactly characterised as the voice of God. It proceeds out of the temple from the throne. Here the same definiteness in the description was not necessary, on account of the relation the verse holds to ch. Revelation 15:8. The words: out of the temple, are wanting in several copies. But even if they were not genuine they would require to be supplied. To the earth belongs also the sea, in the sense in which it occurs at Revelation 16:3.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-16.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. The chapter of the destruction of Babylon by batteries of wrath poured from Jerusalem, Revelation 16:1-21.

a. The four creational vials upon earth, sea, waters, and sun. Revelation 16:1-9.

1.And—The preparations of war are complete; (see introduction to xiv;) the officers are armed with their ammunition of plagues; the object is Babylon, the beast; and from the inmost holy place, where omnipotent Justice is secreted, the command for action comes forth. Go’

pour’ earth—For this Babylon is not wholly local; Rome is, indeed, with John, its primal representative, but its virtual presence, wickedness, and liability to retribution, cover the human earth. And so the angels receive their vials from one of the four beasts who represent creation; and the first four are poured upon the four creational points. The plagues, like the menaces of the fourteenth chapter, appear, at first, general, but at each advance grow in definiteness until the real object is struck with the final blow.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-16.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Go and pour out the seven bowls. This is God’s authorization for what follows. [The Bowls of Wrath are a lot like the plagues sent on Egypt (see Exodus chapters 710); and they parallel the Trumpets of Warning (Rev. ch 89). The first Trumpet (Revelation 8:7)affects the earth; so does the first Bowl (Revelation 16:2): The second Trumpet affects the sea; so does the second Bowl. The third Trumpet the rivers; likewise the third Bowl. The fourth both affect the sun. The fifth the pit of the abyss or the throne of the beast. The sixth the river Euphrates. The seventh brings in the Second Coming and the end of the world.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 16:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.