Revelation Chapter Sixteen
The first vial of wrath brought the utmost distress and shameful misery on all who had taken the mark of the beast.
The second brought the power of moral death on the mass of peoples; all who were among them within the limits of the prophetic earth, died-I apprehend, gave up mere outward profession. We have here an example of the use of symbols which it is well to note. All the vials are poured out on the earth, that is, applied to the sphere of already formed relationship with God. But in this there might be a specialrelationship in which men had to do with God in this world-were inhabiters of earth, or the mass of people within that sphere.
The third vial was poured out on all the sources of popular influence and action; and they became positively deathful. It seems to me, that the deadly influence in alienation from God, within the sphere of prophecy, is strongly marked here. Death is used generally as the expression of the power of Satan.
Then the supreme authority is made frightfully oppressive. This gave the first four of direct judgment according to the usual division.
The fifth vial strikes the throne of the beast, the seat and stability of his authority, which Satan had given him; and his kingdom became full of darkness. All was confusion and wretchedness, and no resource: they gnawed their tongues with anguish and blasphemed God.
The sixth angel pours out his vial on Euphrates--destroys, I apprehend, the securing boundary of the Western prophetic powers-not the seat of its power, but broke its frontier, that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared. I look at this simply as the bringing in of the powers of Asia into the conflict for the universal conflagration of powers. The sixth vial sends forth three unclean spirits, the sum of all evil influences: that of Satan's direct power as antagonistic of Christ; that of the power of the last empire, the beast; and that of the second beast of chapter 13 henceforth known as the false prophet, Satan's influence as the Antichrist, an idolatrous wonder-working power; and the kings of the world were gathered together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. The allusion is to Judges 5:19-20. At the seventh vial there is a general break-up and subversion, and Babylon comes into judgment. And the hail of God, the judgment of God, came on men from heaven. (Compare Is. 32, 33) All separate independent interests and established powers disappeared. This was over the earth-God's judgment by providence and instruments-but the Lamb was not come yet. The details of Babylon's judgments are reserved for the following chapters.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Revelation》
The first vial is poured out on the earth, the second on the sea, the third on the rivers and fountains. (1-7) The fourth on the sun, the fifth on the seat of the beast. (8-11) The sixth on the great river Euphrates. (12-16) And the seventh on the air, when shall follow the destruction of all antichristian enemies. (17-21)
Commentary on Revelation 16:1-7
(Read Revelation 16:1-7)
We are to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Here is a succession of terrible judgments of Providence; and there seems to be an allusion to several of the plagues of Egypt. The sins were alike, and so were the punishments. The vials refer to the seven trumpets, which represented the rise of antichrist; and the fall of the enemies of the church shall bear some resemblance to their rise. All things throughout their earth, their air, their sea, their rivers, their cities, all are condemned to ruin, all accursed for the wickedness of that people. No wonder that angels, who witness or execute the Divine vengeance on the obstinate haters of God, of Christ, and of holiness, praise his justice and truth; and adore his awful judgments, when he brings upon cruel persecutors the tortures they made his saints and prophets suffer.
Commentary on Revelation 16:8-11
(Read Revelation 16:8-11)
The heart of man is so desperately wicked, that the most severe miseries never will bring any to repent, without the special grace of God. Hell itself is filled with blasphemies; and those are ignorant of the history of human nature, of the Bible, and of their own hearts, who do not know that the more men suffer, and the more plainly they see the hand of God in their sufferings, the more furiously they often rage against him. Let sinners now seek repentance from Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, or they will have the anguish and horror of an unhumbled, impenitent, and desperate heart; thus adding to their guilt and misery through all eternity. Darkness is opposed to wisdom and knowledge, and forebodes the confusion and folly of the idolaters and followers of the beast. It is opposed to pleasure and joy, and signifies anguish and vexation of spirit.
Commentary on Revelation 16:12-16
(Read Revelation 16:12-16)
This probably shows the destruction of the Turkish power, and of idolatry, and that a way will be made for the return of the Jews. Or, take it for Rome, as mystical Babylon, the name of Babylon being put for Rome, which was meant, but was not then to be directly named. When Rome is destroyed, her river and merchandise must suffer with her. And perhaps a way will be opened for the eastern nations to come into the church of Christ. The great dragon will collect all his forces, to make one desperate struggle before all be lost. God warns of this great trial, to engage his people to prepare for it. These will be times of great temptation; therefore Christ, by his apostle, calls on his professed servants to expect his sudden coming, and to watch that they might not be put to shame, as apostates or hypocrites. However Christians differ, as to their views of the times and seasons of events yet to be brought to pass, on this one point all are agreed, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, will suddenly come again to judge the world. To those living near to Christ, it is an object of joyful hope and expectation, and delay is not desired by them.
Commentary on Revelation 16:17-21
(Read Revelation 16:17-21)
The seventh and last angel poured forth his vial, and the downfal of Babylon was finished. The church triumphant in heaven saw it and rejoiced; the church in conflict on earth saw it and became triumphant. God remembered the great and wicked city; though for some time he seemed to have forgotten her idolatry and cruelty. All that was most secure was carried away by the ruin. Men blasphemed: the greatest judgments that can befal men, will not bring to repentance without the grace of God. To be hardened against God, by his righteous judgments, is a certain token of sure and utter destruction.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Revelation》
 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.
 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.
And the first went — So the second, third, etc., without adding angel, to denote the utmost swiftness; of which this also is a token, that there is no period of time mentioned in the pouring out of each phial. They have a great resemblance to the plagues of Egypt, which the Hebrews generally suppose to have been a month distant from each other. Perhaps so may the phials; but they are all yet to come.
And poured out his phial upon the earth — Literally taken.
And there came a grievous ulcer — As in Egypt, Exodus 9:10,11.
On the men who had the mark of the wild beast — All of them, and them only. All those plagues seem to be described in proper, not figurative, words.
 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.
The second poured out his phial upon the sea — As opposed to the dry land.
And it become blood, as of a dead man — Thick, congealed, and putrid.
And every living soul — Men, beasts, and fishes, whether on or in the sea, died.
 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
The third poured out his phial on the rivers and fountains of water — Which were over all the earth.
And they became blood — So that none could drink thereof.
 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.
The Gracious one — So he is styled when his judgments are abroad, and that with a peculiar propriety. In the beginning of the book he is termed "The Almighty." In the time of his patience, he is praised for his power, which otherwise might then be less regarded. In the time of his taking vengeance, for his mercy. Of his power there could then be no doubt.
 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Thou host given then, blood to drink — Men do not drink out of the sea, but out of fountains and rivers. Therefore this is fitly added here.
They are worthy — Is subjoined with a beautiful abruptness.
 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Yea — Answering the angel of the waters, and affirming of God's judgments in general, what he had said of one particular judgment.
 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
The fourth poured out his phial upon the sun — Which was likewise affected by the fourth trumpet. There is also a plain resemblance between the first, second, and third phials, and the first, second, and third trumpet.
And it was given him — The angel.
To scorch the men — Who had the mark of the beast.
With fire — As well as with the beams of the sun. So these four phials affected earth, water, fire, and air.
 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.
And the men blasphemed God, who had power over these plagues — They could not but acknowledge the hand of God, yet did they harden themselves against him.
 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,
The four first phials are closely connected together; the fifth concerns the throne of the beast, the sixth the Mahometans, the seventh chiefly the heathens. The four first phials and the four first trumpets go round the whole earth; the three last phials and the three last trumpets go lengthways over the earth in a straight line.
The fifth poured out his phial upon the throne of the wild beast — It is not said, "on the beast and his throne." Perhaps the sea will then be vacant.
And his kingdom was darkened — With a lasting, not a transient, darkness. However the beast as yet has his kingdom. Afterward the woman sits upon the beast. and then it is said, "The wild beast is not," Revelation 17:3,7,8.
 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And they — His followers.
Gnawed their tongues — Out of furious impatience.
Because of their pains and because of their ulcers — Now mentioned together, and in the plural number, to signify that they were greatly heightened and multiplied.
 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.
And the sixth poured out his phial upon the great river Euphrates — Affected also by the sixth trumpet.
And the water of it — And of all the rivers that flow into it.
Was dried up — The far greater part of the Turkish empire lies on this side the Euphrates. The Romish and Mahometan affairs ran nearly parallel to each other for several ages. In the seventh century was Mahomet himself; and, a little before him, Boniface III., with his universal bishopric. In the eleventh, both the Turks and Gregory VII. carried all before them. In the year 1300, Boniface appeared with his two swords at the newly-erected jubilee. In the self-same year arose the Ottoman Porte; yea, and on the same day. And here the phial, poured out on the throne of the beast, is immediately followed by that poured out on the Euphrates; that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared - Those who lie east from the Euphrates, in Persia, India, etc., who will rush blindfold upon the plagues which are ready for them, toward the Holy Land, which lies west of the Euphrates.
 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.
Out of the mouth of the dragon, the wild beast, and the false prophet — It seems, the dragon fights chiefly against God; the beast, against Christ; the false prophet, against the Spirit of truth; and that the three unclean spirits which come from them, and exactly resemble them, endeavour to blacken the works of creation, of redemption, and of sanctification.
The false prophet — So is the second beast frequently named, after the kingdom of the first is darkened; for he can then no longer prevail by main strength, and so works by lies and deceit. Mahomet was first a false prophet, and afterwards a powerful prince: but this beast was first powerful as a prince; afterwards a false prophet, a teacher of lies.
Like frogs — Whose abode is in fens, marshes, and other unclean places.
To the kings of the whole world — Both Mahometan and pagan.
To gather them — To the assistance of their three principals.
 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Behold, I come as a thief — Suddenly, unexpectedly. Observe the beautiful abruptness.
I — Jesus Christ. Hear him.
Happy is he that watcheth. — Looking continually for him that "cometh quickly." And keepeth on his garments - Which men use to put off when they sleep.
Lest he walk naked, and they see his shame — Lest he lose the graces which he takes no care to keep, and others see his sin and punishment.
 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And they gathered them together to Armageddon — Mageddon, or Megiddo, is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. Armageddon signifies the city or the mountain of Megiddo; to which the valley of Megiddo adjoined. This was a place well known in ancient times for many memorable occurrences; in particular, the slaughter of the kings of Canaan, related, Judges 5:19. Here the narrative breaks off. It is resumed, Revelation 19:19.
 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.
And the seventh poured out his phial upon the air — Which encompasses the whole earth. This is the most weighty phial of all, and seems to take up more time than any of the preceding.
It is done — What was commanded, verse 1. Revelation 16:1 The phials are poured out.
 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.
A great earthquake, such as had not been since men were upon the earth — It was therefore a literal, not figurative, earthquake.
 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.
And the great city — Namely, Jerusalem, here opposed to the heathen cities in general, and in particular to Rome.
And the cities of the nations fell — Were utterly overthrown.
And Babylon was remembered before God — He did not forget the vengeance which was due to her, though the execution of it was delayed.
 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Every island and mountain was "moved out of its place," Revelation 6:14; but here they all flee away. What a change must this make in the face of the terraqueous globe! And yet the end of the world is not come.
 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.
And a great hail falleth out of heaven — From which there was no defence. From the earthquake men would fly into the fields; but here also they are met by the hail: nor were they secure if they returned into the houses, when each hail-stone weighed sixty pounds.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Revelation》
Chapter 16. Pour Out the Seven Bowls
The Lord Comes
Like a Thief
Blessed Is He Who Stays Awake
I. The First Three Pour Out the Bowls
II. The Second Three Pour Out the Bowls
III. The Seventh Pour Out the Bowls
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Sixteen General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To observe what happens when the seven bowls of wrath are poured out
2) To note upon whom these bowls are poured, and why
In this chapter the full outpouring of wrath upon the enemies of God is
depicted. The seven angels with the seven bowls pour out "the seven
last plagues" (15:1). Notice that these are not partial judgments, as
with the seven trumpets described earlier (chs. 8-11). In the pouring
out of these plagues "the wrath of God is complete" (15:1).
In the first four bowls, God's wrath is poured out on the earth, the
sea, the rivers and springs, and the sun. Affected by these plagues
are those who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.
God's judgment upon them is proclaimed righteous and just, because they
had been guilty of shedding the blood of saints and prophets.
Amazingly, their response is to blaspheme God, and refuse to repent and
give Him glory (1-9).
The fifth bowl is poured out on the throne of the beast and his
kingdom, resulting in darkness. The painful suffering of the wicked
continue, as does their blasphemy and refusal to repent of their deeds
(10-11). The sixth bowl is poured out on the river
preparing the way for the kings from the east. John then saw three
unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, the
beast, and the false prophet. Described as the spirits of demons, they
perform signs and gather the kings of the earth to the place called
Armageddon, for the battle of the great day of God. At this point
Jesus speaks both a warning and blessing, for those who watch and keep
their garments will be blessed, as He is coming as a thief (12-16).
The seventh bowl is poured out and a loud voice from the temple in
heaven cries out, "It is done!" The declaration is followed by
thunderings, lightnings, and a great earthquake. The great city was
divided into three parts, and cities of the nations fell. Great
was remembered by God, to give her the cup of the wine of His Babylon
wrath. Every island fled away, the mountains were not found, and great
hail from heaven fell upon men. The latter caused men to blaspheme God
Chapters 17-19 will elaborate upon the judgments upon the beast, the
false prophet, and
, identifying them in more detail, and Babylon
describing their ultimate downfall. The import of chapter 16 appears
to be that the judgments upon them will be final and just, for even
with these outpourings of wrath there is no willingness on the part of
the beast and those who worship him to repent of their evil deeds!
I. THE PRONOUNCEMENT (1)
A. BY A LOUD VOICE FROM THE
( TEMPLE 1a)
B. TO THE SEVEN ANGELS TO POUR OUT THE BOWLS OF WRATH (1b)
II. THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (2-21)
A. FIRST BOWL: TERRIBLE SORES (2)
1. The bowl is poured out upon the earth
2. Loathsome and foul sores came upon those who had the mark of
the beast and who worshipped his image
B. SECOND BOWL:
(3) SEAOF BLOOD
1. The bowl is poured out on the sea, turning it to the blood of
a dead man
2. Every living creature in the sea died
C. THIRD BOWL: RIVERS AND SPRINGS OF BLOOD (4-7)
1. The bowl is poured out on the rivers and springs, turning them
2. The angel of the waters declares God's justice
a. His judgments are righteous
b. For it is just due upon those who shed the blood of saints
3. Another voice from the altar also proclaims God's judgments as
true and righteous
D. FOURTH BOWL: MEN SCORCHED (8-9)
1. The bowl is poured out on the sun, giving the fourth angel
power to scorch men with fire
2. Men were scorched with great heat
a. They blasphemed the name of God who had power over these
b. They did not repent or give glory to Him
E. FIFTH BOWL: PAIN AND DARKNESS (10-11)
1. The bowl is poured out on the throne of the beast, his kingdom
became full of darkness
2. Men gnawed their tongues because of the pain
a. They blasphemed God
b. They did not repent
F. SIXTH BOWL: KINGDOMS GATHERED AT ARMAGEDDON (12-16)
1. The bowl is poured out on the great river
a. Its water was dried up
b. Preparing the way for the kings of the east
2. Three unclean spirits like frogs appear
a. Out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false
b. Which are spirits of demons, performing signs
c. Who gather the kings of the earth to the battle of that
great day of God Almighty
3. Jesus offers both a warning and a blessing
a. He is coming as a thief
b. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he
walks naked and others see his shame
4. The unclean spirits gather the kings of the earth to the place
G. SEVENTH BOWL: GREAT EARTHQUAKE; THE
DIVIDED AND GREAT CITY
REMEMBERED; CATACLYSMIC EVENTS (17-21) BABYLON
1. The bowl is poured out on the air
a. Followed by a loud voice out of the temple of heaven, from
the throne, declaring, "It is done!"
b. There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and a mighty
earthquake unlike any before
2. The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of
the nations fell
was remembered, to receive the cup of the wine Babylon
of the fierceness of God's wrath
4. Great cataclysmic events occur
a. Every island fled away and the mountains were not found
b. Great hail fell upon men, and they blasphemed God because
of the hail
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- The pronouncement (1)
- The seven bowls of wrath (2-21)
2) What did a loud voice from the temple say to seven angels? (1)
- "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth"
3) Upon what was the first bowl poured out? What happened? (2)
- The earth
- Foul and loathsome sores came upon those who had the mark of the
beast and worshiped his image
4) Upon what was the second bowl poured out? What happened? (3)
- The sea
- It became blood as of a dead man; every living creature in the sea
5) Upon what was the third bowl poured out? What happened? (4)
- The rivers and springs of water
- They became blood
6) Why did the angel of the waters proclaim God's judgments as just?
- Because they had shed the blood of saints and prophets
7) Upon what was the fourth bowl poured out? What happened? (8-9)
- On the sun
- Men were scorched with great heat
8) Despite these judgments, how did men respond? (9)
- They blasphemed the name of God, and did not repent and give God
9) Upon what was the fifth bowl poured out? What happened? (10)
- On the throne of the beast
- His kingdom became full of darkness, and people gnawed their
tongues because of the pain
10) What again is said about the response to these judgments? (11)
- They blasphemed God because of their sores and pain, and did not
repent of their deeds
11) Upon what was the sixth bowl poured out? What happened? (12)
- On the river
- It was dried up, so the way of the kings from the east might be
12) What did John see next? (13)
- Three unclean spirits like frogs coming of the mouths of the
dragon, the beast, and the false prophet
13) What were these, and what was their mission? (14)
- Spirits of demons, performing great signs
- To gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of
14) What warning and beatitude did Jesus give at this point? (15)
- Behold, I am coming as a thief
- Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk
naked and they see his shame
15) Where were the kings of the earth gathered? (16)
- To the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon
16) Upon what was the seventh bowl poured out? What happened? (17)
- The air
- A loud voice from the temple of heaven, from the throne,
proclaimed, "It is done!"
17) What then occurred? (18-21)
- There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, a mighty earthquake
- The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the
was remembered before God, to give her the cup of Babylon
the wine of the fierceness of His wrath
- Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found
- Great hail from heaven fell upon men
18) How did people respond to the plague of the hail? (21)
- They blasphemed God, because the plague was exceedingly great
Pour out the seven bowls
The Lord comes like a thief
Blessed is he who stays awake
I. The first three pour out the bowls
1. Painful sores break out on the people
2. The sea turns into blood
3. Springs of water become blood
II.The second three pour out the bowls
1. Scorch people with fire
2. The kingdom of the beast plunged into darkness
3. The battle in the last time
III. The seventh pour out the bowls
1. Fight against the devil
2. The collapse of the great city
3. Hailstones fallen from the sky
── Chih-Hsin Chang《an Outline of The New Testament》