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TRIBULATION  VIALS

By William H. Haller

 

The Command to Commence    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.
It should be repeated, for the sake of everyone that thinks that God is Love and would never harm His creation, that the Bible is full of instances when God's wrath is poured out upon small and great groups of people because they were doing evil in His site. This is no exception. God's angels don't go forth to slay, torment, or plague humanity on their own. They go at His express command. Here, it is once again given.


The First Vial    Rev... 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.
It should be noted here, that the first vial doesn't affect everyone on the earth. It is expressly limited to those who have taken the mark of the beast and those who have worshipped his image. This may be a significant portion of the Earth's population or may be more limited depending on whether you think the Antichrist's kingdom will be worldwide or limited to the area of the old Roman, Grecian, and Persian empires.


The type of sores are specified, but Dake notes that the same word is used here and in verse 11, along with Luke 16:21 where the sores of Lazarus are being described.


The Second Vial    Rev... 16:3

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.
As noted previously, which sea is referred to here isn't specified. It could be global, or it could be limited to the Mediterranean Sea which was commonly referred to as the sea in John's time. Every man or woman in the sea died at this time. Perhaps they died of dehydration - perhaps they died as the direct result of the vial. But they will die.


The Third Vial   Rev...16:4

And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. Rev...16:5


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.  Rev...16:6


For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. Rev...16:7


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

 
With the third vial, all flowing water sources that are above ground, at a minimum, are turned to blood. This includes both rivers and springs. It doesn't say that lakes are affected, but the runoff from the water sources would soon contaminate them as well. The reasoning as explained is that since the people killed the saints and prophets of God, shedding their blood, God gives them only blood to drink.


The Fourth Vial   Rev...16:8

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. Rev...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.
If you will remember, the sun had been darkened in an earlier 4th trumpet judgment. Here, the heat of the sun is increased and men are scorched by the great heat. Man still hardens his heart and blasphemes God rather than repenting and giving Him the glory He deserves.


The Fifth Vial   Rev...16:10

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,  Rev...16:11

 
and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Next, the kingdom of the Antichrist is specifically made completely dark. Likewise, they didn't repent of their deeds, but continued to blaspheme God. It isn't stated how this will happen, but the Antichrist's kingdom is specifically made totally dark. It isn't stated how long the darkness lasts, but it is at least long enough to start tormenting their minds. During our vacation this summer, we went down into the Wind Cave. As with many cave tours, the guides pick a point and turn the lights off to show you just how dark it is. It is that sort of total darkness that we are talking about here. They don't leave the lights off long enough to freak most people out, but here the time duration is at least long enough for some people to lose it. They start gnawing their tongues for some sensory stimulation.

For those who debate the extent of the Antichrist's kingdom, this is one verse that would lead me to believe that his kingdom is not over all the Earth. It would be easier to say that the whole Earth was dark (or above that everyone on the earth had a sore). Instead, here the Bible specifically says that just the Antichrist's kingdom is affected, implying that there is light on the rest of the world (subject to normal earth rotation, of course).


The Sixth Vial   Rev...16:12

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. Rev...16:13

 
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. Rev...16:14

 
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. Rev...6:15

 
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Rev...16:16

 
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The Euphrates river is dried up with the sixth vial. This is done so that the way is clear for the armies of the east to be able to quickly march toward Jerusalem at the behest of the Antichrist in order to meet God at the battle of Armageddon. They come at the command or invitation of unclean spirits (the spirits of devils) from the mouth of Satan, the Antichrist, and his false prophet. These unclean spirits will be able to perform miracles in order to lead people astray.

Dake has this to say about the location where the battle will be fought:

Gr. harmagedon, mount of Megiddo on the south-side of the valley of Megiddo or Esdraelon southwest of Mount Carmel (2 Chr. 35:22; Zech. 12:11). Megiddo was the capital of a portion of Canaan that was given to Joshua (Josh. 12:21; 17:11; Judg 1:27). It is at the entrance to a pass across the Carmel mountain range, on the main highway between Asia and Africa, and is the key position between Euphrates and the Nile. It has been the battlefield of many peoples throughout the ages. Thothmes III, the founder of the old Egyptian Empire, said, "Megiddo is worth a thousand cities".
There is a commendation given here to those who keep their garments clean, and a note with the first vial implying that there were those who hadn't taken the mark of the beast, which gives hope that even at this point, some will be turning to God. Sadly, the numbers are probably not very high.


The Seventh Vial   Rev....16:17

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.  Rev...16:18

 
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.
16:19
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. Rev...16:20

 
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Rev...16:21

 
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.
The final vial has several components. It starts with a great voice from the temple, from the throne, saying "It is done". It reminds me of the last words of Christ on the cross, when he was crucified to be the sacrifice for our sins. "It is finished" Jn. 19:30.

This is immediately followed by thunder and lightning and the great earthquake which was mentioned in a previous parenthetical segment. The great city that is mentioned here is, of course, Jerusalem (See Rev. 11:8, 13) for a reference to additional prophecy for this. It is split into three pieces (perhaps reminiscent of the three factions that fight over it today - Jews, Christians, and Muslims). It is not alone in the destruction. Many great cities, including BABYLON, fall. The islands are covered up (flee away) due to rising water levels, perhaps. The mountains lose much of their grandeur (perhaps those directly around the city of Jerusalem or perhaps more.

Finally, great hail falls from the heavens, each weighing around one talent (between 56 and 114 pounds). Still, men refuse to worship God, but instead blaspheme him for the plague of hail and the hardness of their hearts.

 

 

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