8/07/18 Revelation 16:1-11 “Part 1 of the destruction of planet earth”
Revelation 16:1 – And I heard a great (megas) voice (phone) out of the temple (naos) saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Go your ways – hypago (withdraw one’s self; go away; depart) That is, go and do that which you have been told to do.
earth – ge – the actual earth itself rather than the peoples of the earth – the ordered world (kosmos) or the inhabited world (oikoumene). We get geography from this Greek word ge.
Note though that ge is translated “world” in Revelation 13:3 – And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
We have to assume from the previous chapter that these vials (broad shallow bowls) of wrath are poured out at the same time as the corresponding plague; these angels have received the plagues before they were handed the vials of wrath. The great voice from the temple (also Vs 17 – “It is done.”) can only be that of God, for the last verse of Ch.15 does appear to show that only God is present in the throne room for the duration of these final 7 plagues/vials. and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
This is then a divine command from Almighty God to begin the final destruction of God’s creation, earth.
Revelation 16:2 – And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and [upon] them which worshipped his image.
noisome – kakos (of a bad nature; troublesome; injurious; pernicious; destructive)
grievous – poneros (full of labours, annoyances, hardships; harassed by labours; perils; diseased)
sore – helkos (wound producing discharge; sore; ulcer)
The first angel pours out (distributes or spreads widely) the first plague with its vial of wrath upon the earth. It is similar to the 6th plague of Egypt, not only because of the actual sores, but also because it affected only the Egyptians, the enemies of God’s people.
Exodus 9:10-11 – 10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth [with] blains upon man, and upon beast. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
It was one of the curses God promised to those who did not obey His commandments. This will be the consequence of worshipping the beast and taking the mark of the beast, both of which clearly go together.
Deuteronomy 28:15, 27 – 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
Hezekiah was apparently dying of some kind of deadly boil; Isaiah 38:21 notes what was done to permit him to continue living.
Revelation 16:3 – And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as (like) the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea.
This is like a previous plague of Revelation 8:8, yet so different because of its magnitude (where only a third of the sea became blood). (The two witnesses also had the power to turn water into blood – Revelation 11:6.) The 1st plague of Egypt was just the river Nile, with all the fish in that river dying, and the water being undrinkable.
Exodus 7:20-21 – 20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that [were] in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that [were] in the river were turned to blood. 21 And the fish that [was] in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
The 2nd trumpet blood plague (of Revelation 8:8) was much more widespread than just the Nile, yet still only involving a third of the whole sea.
Revelation 8:8-9 – 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
But here the whole sea turns to blood, and all living creatures in the sea die. This is not just blood as it comes out of a cut on your leg, though. It’s the blood that seeps from a dead body, a corpse: putrid, loathsome, corrupt. And, as if that’s not enough, the next vial turns all fresh-water sources of water to blood as well. God’s judgment is building to a crescendo; with only 2 plagues poured out, it’s clear there will be no turning back from the immanent destruction.
Revelation 16:4 – And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
While this definitely depicts all rivers and springs issuing forth blood, it may also include all water storages (dams, lakes, reservoirs), although this isn’t really clear. What this means, though, is that all water on earth will soon be unfit to support any life other than bacteria and similar. Disease would be rampant, should this continue for long enough. While there might be bottled water supplies somewhere, these are not going to last long at all, and new supplies will not be bottled unless they want to drink blood. (It is not certain that desalination plants would be really effective, either.) These final 7 plagues probably occur over a period of around 30 days. If these plagues are poured out fairly quickly, it is going to be difficult for life on earth as we know it to continue to exist for longer than this anyway.
Revelation 16:5-6 – 5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
the angel of the waters – clearly a title for this angel, no doubt relating to his ministry of service for God. We have no indication, other than it was of the waters, as to what the angel of the waters would be responsible for. It does, however, clearly relate to the blood judgments of the 2nd and 3rd vials.
This angel makes what appears to be a positive assessment of the judgment of God. God is righteous because he has made this judgment: let the punishment fit the crime! You will reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7); an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:23-25); do to others what you would want them to do to you (Luke 6:31).
An eye for an eye is sometimes known as the law of retaliation. This requires that the criminal be punished to a similar degree as the injury inflicted upon the victim. It may also mean that the victim receives commensurate compensation for the injury or loss received.
Here the angel is commending God’s judgment of payment in kind. If they have shed and drunk the blood of the saints, then God will make them drink blood as payment in kind.
Revelation 17:5-6 – 5 And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
which art, and wast, and shalt be – At first glance this looks like a statement of the eternalness of God. And, indeed that’s all it may be. God never changes; He (Jesus Christ) is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). However, the term “shalt be” has unclear Greek, represented by more than one Strong’s number, which indicates perhaps a choice of meanings. “shalt be” could be the Greek word hosios which means undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, pious. Thus, there may be an emphasis upon the sinlessness of God from eternity past to eternity future. That is, God, who is undefiled by sin for eternity, has judged those who did not desire to be holy and undefiled as He is holy and undefiled.
worthy – axios (weighing; having the weight of like value; congruous; worth as much) That is, to be weighed in the balances to determine the value of their judgment. These wicked ones of earth have been weighed in the balances and have been found wanting.
Daniel 5:25-28 – 25 And this [is] the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26 This [is] the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
Revelation 16:7 – And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments.
true – that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name; real; true; genuine.
Yet another angel echoes the sentiments of the angel of the waters: Truly (Assuredly), Lord God Almighty, true (sincere) and righteous (observing divine laws) are Your judgments.
God is righteous; that means he will never break one of His laws by which He judges the world.
Revelation 16:8 – And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
power was given – didomi (to give; bestow a gift; supply, furnish necessary things; something to be administered; appoint to office; to grant or permit; give or pay that which is due or obligatory; pay wages or reward) Here it is likely to mean that the sun was enabled to scorch men with fire, that is, the sun was made hot enough to do this. Note that the word “power” is not in the Greek and may be rendered as “enabling”.
scorch – to burn with heat; to scorch; to be tortured with intense heat
The 4th angel pours out his vial of the wrath of God upon the sun which somehow causes it to be made so hot that people are scorched or tormented by its intense heat. Over the past 20 or more years the climate-change, earth-global-warming prophets of doom have forecast catastrophic events such as dams drying up, the ocean rising to astronomical levels and swamping huge population centres, and heat waves beyond description. However, while there is such a thing as climate change (climate is always changing one way or another), their scare-mongering on global warming was so excessive as to demonstrate these prophets of doom to be false prophets indeed. But, they could say the same about this heat wave and global warming and I somehow think they’d be totally underestimating this one! (Are we being conditioned for such an event in the future?)
Revelation 16:9 – And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
The obvious happens: the sun is enabled to become so hot that it tortures mankind with its intense heat, and thus all mankind that experiences such intense heat will be indeed tortured by the superhot sun. So, what is their reaction? To realise that their sins have brought them to this end? To acknowledge that it is God who has the authority (exousia – the power of authority and of right) to either give or withhold these plagues? That it is God who holds the power of life and death over them all? “No!” to all of these! They refuse to give God any glory (which is His right as sovereign Creator of the universe) and would rather accuse Him of spoiling their “perfect” world! They just will not change their minds about what they are doing now; they will not repent and acknowledge God’s glory in all of this. They will not repent if it means giving God the glory!
They will blaspheme (speak reproachfully of; revile; speak evil of; rail at; calumniate) the name of God because, to them, it is entirely His fault. He’s their enemy who only desires to see them beaten and destroyed because they will not bow down to Him. They act as if it’s their world, and God is the evil dictator who tries to take over their country and rule them as a foreign power.
Look at the parable of the vineyard owner’s son. The workers in this vineyard actually considered that they were in charge. They ran the place, and no-one was to be permitted to come in and tell them what to do or how to run the vineyard. Even though it is not theirs, they act as though they own it. Even though the son comes to take charge, they resent him and kill him in order to keep their own sovereignty over this vineyard. Note the similarity between this and today’s passage, especially Vs 9.
Luke 20:9-18 – 9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent [him] away empty. 11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated [him] shamefully, and sent [him] away empty. 12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast [him] out. 13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence [him] when they see him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed [him]. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard [it], they said, God forbid. 17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Revelation 16:10 – And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat (thronos) of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
gnawed – to chew; consume; eat; devour. They will literally chew and consume their tongues because of the intense pain (either physical or mental) that they are experiencing because of the darkness.
pain – ponos (great trouble; intense desire or pain) The noun form of adjective poneros translated “grievous” in Vs 2.
full of darkness – to darken; cover with darkness; metaphorically: to darken or blind the mind. It could suggest severe mental illness, delusions, nightmares, such that they will literally chew or devour their tongues because of the anguish of the strong delusions sent upon them.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 – 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The 5th angel pours out his plague and wrath of God upon the kingdom of the beast, his seat of “kingly” authority, his throne. Note the 9th plague of Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23): a darkness for 3 days that could be felt; a darkness that only affected the Egyptians, for the Hebrews had light in their dwellings.
Revelation 16:11 – And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
“And blasphemed (spoke reproachfully of; reviled; spoke evil of; railed at; calumniated) the God of heaven because of their pains (great trouble; intense pain) and their sores (wounds producing discharge; sores; ulcers; incurable boils?), and refused to repent (refused to change one’s mind for better; refused to heartily amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins) of their deeds (lives; works; accomplishments).”
Even with all the first 4 vials have caused, they will still not change! They will not be told what to do. They haven’t been destroyed yet, but the next 3 vials of wrath will change that. Do they think that they can oppose the God of heaven? Do they think that what’s happened so far is all they’re going to get?
Man has so much knowledge today that he is beginning to consider that he knows just about everything there is to know. And what he doesn’t know, he can find out (or so he thinks). Like those who were building the tower of Babel, man thinks all he has to do is to reach for the heavens to find out all answers to all of life. Many today think that it’s just a matter of time before man can conquer that last hurdle that prevents him from being one of the gods. This was the lie that satan pushed at Adam and Eve, a lie that he has never ceased to push at mankind, and will continue to push until the bitter end.
Genesis 3:4-5 – 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
But only one thing is in the way: man still does not hold the keys to life itself. He can do so many amazing things with medical science that some think it won’t be long before man is literally self-renewing, that is, immortal. But Revelation 16 reveals another side to this story: that God is in charge and remains the only one who may give life, and take it back again, just as He pleases. God is teaching wicked man a lesson in today’s passage: that God has never left the throne, no matter how much they would like that to be true. (And probably many today actually think it is true!) But God has spoken and it will happen just as God said it would. Satan will hope to prove it a lie, but he will fail. God speaks only truth; if only mankind had realised this from the beginning!