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. 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 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. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 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. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments. Revelation 16:1-7 (KJV)
One of the four Living ones of chapter four gives each angel a golden vial [bowl] according to the plague for which they are assigned.
In 5:8 is mentioned “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints”. It would appear that there is no more prayer – “no man was able to enter the temple”. The time for prayer will cease, and the time of God’s vengeance against those who mocked His name, His law, His holiness and righteousness, and His people has come.
The vials are the last judgment before the appearance of Jesus in all His glory.
The voice from out of the temple must be that of God the Most High. The prayers of the saints from 5:8 are being carried out to the fullest. Do we pray for vengeance upon evil today? Should we? I believe that we do and should; of course, for the cause of God’s glory. We must remember evil even in our own lives. In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the phrase “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; and that is what Jesus is speaking of. The fire of His Spirit falling on us burns away the dross and filth of evil. If you are “in Christ” ( a phrase used by the apostle Paul) you stand in the fire and come out purer and stronger before God.
Let us commit ourselves as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ to praying for God’s vengeance upon evil (starting with our own), and one day we will see it brought to pass. Let us pray also that friends, family, all our loved ones, and neighbors will be convicted of sin, and in that, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Every time a soul is saved evil is judged.
It seems that where the seven seals, and seven trumpets speak of man’s choice to live without God, their sin brings judgment and finally in the bowl judgments God’s own hand is stretched out to judge.
- For God to pull away and let mankind have his way is a terrible judgment;
- Man’s selfishness, pride, lust, greed causes pollution, and environmental harm bringing their own judgment;
- Finally, when wicked men see God’s wrath and yet reject His mercy and grace, God steps in in full force to put an end to evil.
These vials [bowls] seem to coincide with the seven trumpet judgments. Remember the seventh trumpet brings in the seven vials of wrath. Where the seals and trumpets only seemed to touch a part of the earth – one fourth part in the opening of the “seals” (6:8), one third part in the “trumpets” (8:7-9) – these judgments seem to touch the whole earth and the heavens.
What the seven vials of judgment deal with and their correlation to the trumpets:
- 8:1-7 “The earth” 16:1-2;
- 8:8-9 “The sea” 16:3;
- 8:10-11 “The rivers” 16:4-7;
- 8:12-13 “The heavens” 16:8-9;
- 9:1-2 “Mankind – torment” 16:10-11;
- 9:13-21 “An army” 16:12-16;
- 11:15-19 “Angry nations” 16:17-21
These seem very similar, but the scope of their devastation is much different. The vial judgments are said to be “the last”.
With the vials:
- (V. 2) The objects of this wrath are clearly the ones who worshiped the beast;
- (V. 3) The whole sea turns to blood compared to only one third with the second trumpet (8:8-9);
- (VV. 4-7) Every stream and fountain of fresh water becomes “blood”; with the third trumpet one third of the waters became bitter (8:10-11)….
Verses 5-7 are a doxology of praise to God. It is a righteous and just thing to praise the Lord when He judges evil. Let us also rejoice because one day all evil will be eternally dealt with.
Judgment is not a pleasant to talk about, however it would not be appropriate, neither would it be right to ignore these horrible events. It would be improper for a doctor to find cancer in a patient and not inform the patient. God has made a way for humankind to miss judgment, and that is by way of believing and receiving the gift of eternal life purchased for you on Calvary’s cross – Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and on the third day he rose again. He is alive forever more.
We find a blessing in verse 15. It is a word of hope for the Church, the believer, the follower of Jesus Christ throughout all ages. Let us continue…
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 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 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, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
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 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. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
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 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. 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 every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 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. Revelation 16:8-21 (KJV)
4. (VV. 8-9) With the fourth trumpet the sun was darkened (8:12-13), but here the heat of the sun is intensified and is destructive (see Isaiah 30:26);
5. (VV. 10-11) This vial is poured out upon the throne of the “Beast”; even with this great wrath these wicked men refuse to repent;
6. (VV. 12-16) With this vial two important events take place; 1) the drying of the Euphrates River, and 2) the gathering of the armies of the world.
Within this, note the Beatitude (v. 16). It is God’s reminder to us of His provision for those who prepare by receiving His grace.
“Behold I come as a thief”. The Church can be assured that Jesus will come as a thief for His bride and take her out of the world. Who will He take out of this world before the Tribulation? 1) Those who are watching and alert; 2) Those who are living lives that please the Lord. “Blessed” or “Happy” will be those who are with Jesus during this horrible time of God’s wrath.
Verse 16 clearly shows the very sovereignty of God. When the world peace is not working and the armies of the world gather for battle against one another – remember it is God who brought them to this battle. While they are battling with one another the King of kings will descend from Heaven, and the armies of the earth will join forces against Heaven’s army and do battle. All He must do is speak a word, and it is over. What a mighty God we serve.
The final wrath of God is poured out. Sin is totally put away and evil destroyed. “It is done”, the voice from the temple says. It almost sounds like Jesus as He hung on the cross and cried out, “It is finished”. The work Jesus came to do was finished on the cross. The work God began in mankind with Adam will be finished when He completely destroys sin. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
What happens with the final or seventh vial being poured out?
- Voices, thunderings, and lightnings;
- Great earthquake – unlike any known by man;
- The destruction of Babylon – the political, economical, and ecclesiastical rule of man will crumble, probably recognized through a city;
- Because of the earthquake the face of the earth is changed (v. 20);
- Hailstones about the weight of 100 pounds will fall;
- Rather than repenting men still living will blaspheme God.
It is great to know we are still in a day of salvation. If people harden their hearts to God, it is certain to be that God will harden their hearts toward Him, and if that happens – there is no hope.
Repent when God calls (2 Corinthians 6:2). When God calls do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-8). You may not have another day (Proverbs 27:1). Do not wait to experience the glory of His wrath. Experience His glory in His grace through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.