Revelation 16 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 16 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
 
 

Revelation 16 KJV

Commentary

1And 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.

16:1 The Seven Last Plagues: These seven angels are messengers of wrath bringing pain and destruction. Like the plagues God loosed on ancient Egypt (Exodus 7:19-12:30) when they persecuted His people, so these seven last plagues are poured out upon those who seek to harm the Lord’s faithful saints at the end of time. These plagues are not universal, or man would perish from the earth. They will, however, be the worst disasters this world has ever known as God’s wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.

2And 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.

16:2 The 1st Plague—Sores on the Worshipers of the Beast: These painful sores do not fall upon God’s people, but unto many of the inhabitants of the earth who have the mark of the beast. The “miracle working power” of the beast (Revelation 13:14) is helpless to heal its followers of this plague.

3And 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.

16:3 The 2nd Plague—The Sea Turns to Blood: This second plague kills every living thing in many of the seas and oceans of the world.

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

5And 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.

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

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

16:4-7 The 3rd Plague—The Rivers Turn to Blood: The beast has “shed the blood of saints and prophets.” By worshiping the beast and receiving her mark, men become guilty of her crimes. They also prove themselves to be guilty of the same spirit which originated those crimes, supporting the death decree for God’s faithful people. Because the saints will not obey the end of time Sunday law, these evil men clamor for their blood—so God gives them “blood to drink.”

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

9And 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.

16:8-9 The 4th Plague—The Sun Scorches Men: In addition to the suffering caused by the extreme heat there will also be other effects. Many streams and rivers will be dried up (Joel 1:17-20), causing trees and grass to die, and a great famine. Joel 1:10-12; Amos 8:3. Those who would deny God’s people the right to buy and sell the necessities of life are now starving and thirsty, but the bread and water of the righteous will be miraculously provided to them by their God. Isaiah 33:15-16; 41:17. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91:7-8.

10And 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,

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

16:10-11 The 5th Plague—Darkness on the Seat of the Beast: This plague is poured out on “the seat of the beast.” It fills “his kingdom” “full of darkness,” and causes “pain.” Those who worship the beast find that not only cannot protect them from these plagues, but that the beast itself smitten. The world has loved the darkness of error and hated the light of truth so God gives them darkness.

Those affected by these plagues “blaspheme” God “because of their pains and sores.” It is likely that these plagues are cumulative so that now they have sores, lack of water, scorching heat with drought and famine, and a painful darkness to deal with all at the same time.

12And 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.

13And 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.

14For 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.

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

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

16:12-16 The 6th Plague—The Euphrates River is Dried Up: “The dragon” is Satan in the guise of modern spiritualism, pagan religions, and occult and the new age movement. Revelation 12:3-6. “The beast” is the Roman Catholic Church System revived and healed of its Protestant churches in the United States who influenced the government to make religious laws. Revelation 13:11-18. These three make up “the great city,” “Babylon,” which fights against God’s holy city and people.

These three, “The dragon,” “the beast,” and “the false prophet” send out their demonic messengers and work their miracles to deceive the nations and gather them to the battle of “Armageddon.” Revelation 12:17. They intend to carry out the death decree and destroy God’s people who have refused to worship the beast or his image—those who will not desecrate the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and refuse to comply with the Sunday law. See Revelation 13:11-15.

The “Euphrates” river ran through the ancient city of Babylon; it was quite literally the life of the city. When the armies of Cyrus the Persian, under his General Darius, overthrew Babylon, they did so by digging channels to divert the water. The river “dried up” enough to allow them to march into the city along the riverbed and successfully attack through the inner river gates. They drying up of the Euphrates symbolizes a drying up of support for Babylon the Great.

When things seem the darkest for God’s remnant people and they are surrounded by the armies of the unholy trinity of beast, dragon and false prophet, they hear the voice of Jesus who is approaching with the host of heaven proclaiming to the world that these are His people. The attackers realize that they have been deceived, that they are eternally lost. They are filled with terror and withdraw their support from Babylon and turn on her in rage. Revelation 17:16. This fulfills the prophecy that the “Euphrates” will be “dried up.”

Soon after he conquered Babylon, Cyrus freed the Israelites from captivity and allowed them to return to their homes. Cyrus, the king from the east, became a symbol of Christ the deliverer. God through the prophet Isaiah calls him His “shepherd” and His “anointed.” Isaiah 44:24-45:1. The “kings of the east” are Jesus, the King of Kings, and the mighty host who accompany Him in battle.

17And 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.

18And 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.

19And 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.

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

21And 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.

16:17-21 The 7th Plague—The Destruction of the Wicked: From the “throne” of the “Temple of Heaven” “a great voice” is heard “saying, It is done.” The cup of human guilt has been filled up, the true character of the great city, Babylon, has been unmasked and God’s people have been delivered. Finally the seventh plague destroys the wicked.

As the battle of Armageddon commences, God sends great hail on the wicked, and strikes the entire world with a mighty earthquake that levels whole mountain ranges, causing islands to sink beneath the waves and leaves the cities on the earth in ruins. This earthquake takes place in connection with the return of Christ. Isaiah 2:19-21; Revelation 6:14-17.

“The great city” divides “into three parts” as support for Babylon dries up and the alliances between its members disintegrates.

Babylon is judged and punished for her sins and drinks the “wine of the fierceness of His wrath” to the full.

Ahead to Revelation 17

This commentary is adapted from Amazing Prophecies, © 2010 Family Heritage Books.

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