Seven Last Plagues
Seven Last Plagues (Ch. 16)
Revelation 15:1—…in them is filled up the wrath of God.
Is This Prophecy Already Fulfilled?
Some interpreters try to parallel these vials with definitive and mostly historical calamities:
- FIRST: French Revolution in General
- SECOND: Naval Wars of the French Revolution
- THIRD: Battles of Napoleon in Italy
- FOURTH: Tyranny of Napoleon
- FIFTH: calamities which befell the city of Rome and the Pope in consequences of the French Revolution
- SIXTH: The wane of Turkish power and return of the Jews to Palestine along with the subtle influences of infidelity and popery.
- SEVENTH: Some further war with Romanism and disaster to the city of Rome.
This line of interpretation leaves many difficult questions. Are France and Italy the whole earth? Has the tribulation hour even come yet? Are half a dozen naval battles the turning of the ocean into blood? Was Napoleon's artillery the sun scorch of blasphemers?
What are these Vials?
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.
"Vial" is the Greek word "phiale" meaning a broad shallow cup. Phiale is used 12 times in the N.T. and all occurrences can be found in the book of Revelation.
- 5:8 Vials full of prayers of the saints
- 15:7; 16; 17:1; 21:9 Seven Golden Vials full of the wrath of God
The seven vials are full of the wrath of God. These seven vials are seven definitive and final judgments. (Revelation 15:1; 21:9 " seven last plagues")
These plagues are not historical, but are the consummation of all plagues. The last will be the worst. The plagues of Egypt and other historical calamities are a mere rehearsal of that to come.
In the following actions, God's wrath is completely expressed. It climaxes and is ended. Not only does John describe these as the "last" plagues, but they are also seven in number which expresses completeness. By the time these seven plagues are accomplished, God's wrath upon the earth will be completed or satisfied.
The command to execute the plagues comes not just from the temple in general, but from out of the opened Holy of Holies in the temple of God in heaven (15:5; 16:1). In the Holy of Holies was kept the Ark which contained (Hebrews 9:3,4) a golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded and two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. It is because of the Ark and its contents that this place is called "the tabernacle of the testimony" They were evidences or witnesses to the fact that the presence God was among his people.
As there are levels in the American Judicial system (District Court, Superior Court and Supreme Court) so, the fact that the Holiest place of the temple is involved speaks of an advanced judgment. this is it! There is no higher court or further level of appeal.
What Events Lead Up to These Final Judgments?
The order of these events are highlighted in the sequence we have found them in the scripture. As many of the events in chapters overlap others and some give further detail to events already discussed, this summary is not an attempt to create a chronological "timeline". Following is a review of the truths as we discover them in reading through the Book of Revelation.
Inspection, Remedy, Reward (Ch. 1-4)
Christ made inspection and sent messages to His Church. Saints make corrections according to the Lord's warnings. Some hear and repent making themselves ready and others are spewed out of his mouth into 3 1/2 years of tribulation and awakening. Translated and Raptured believers are both seen around the throne of God.
Seven Seals of a Book of Judgment Have Been Opened (Ch. 5 through 8:1)
The Lamb of God was the only one worthy to open the Book and release its seals. These seals revealed calamities that are part of God's plan of judgment and not just the normal course of history. White, Red, Black and Pale Horses and their horseman revealed a moral war, Divine vengeance, famine, and a fourth part of the world dead. The Fifth Seal revealed the fact that the Tribulation Hour will involve many Christian martyrs. The Sixth Seal reveals fearful physical events—sun become black, moon became as blood, and stars fall. Finally, a silence falls over Heaven for one hour.
Seven Trumpets Have Sounded (Ch. 8 through 11)
Following the silence in Heaven, a Mystery Angel remembered the death of the martyrs. Seven other Angels then prepared to sound their trumpets. Not all at once, but one after another in increasing judgment their trumpets are sounded as the death of saints are a witness against the world. Since the servants of God now had been sealed (Ch. 7) the prohibition to not hurt the earth (7:3) is lifted.
One, Two, Three, Four
In the first four trumpets the blasts effected the material world: hail and fire mingled with blood devastate trees, grass and crops; a third part of the sea is made blood and a third both of its creatures and ships are destroyed; a third of the waters become poisonous (Wormwood); a third of the sun and moon and a third of the stars were darkened.
The door between the physical and spiritual worlds is opened: tormenting locusts are released from the bottomless pit; four bound fallen angels are released from the river Euphrates.
A Cloud Robed Angel declared possession of the earth and its people, proclaimed victory and held a scroll that revealed further bitter experiences to follow. The temple was measured for the reinstatement of the Jew. Two witnesses miraculously ministered and then were killed once their work was complete.
Seven: The Coming of the Lord
Pre-Tribulation, Tribulation and Great Tribulation (Ch. 12 & 13)
John saw (Ch. 12) the signs of the Sun-clothed Woman, the Man Child, the Great Red Dragon, the War in Heaven, And the War with the Remnant of the Seed of the Woman. The eventual Period of Great Tribulation and the Rule of the Antichrist (Ch. 13) set the stage for these Seven Vials.
The Results of the 7 Vials
ONE: The Followers of the Anti-christ, 16:2
They will face noisome and grievous sores (Luke 16:20). These ulcers and stinging sores will be incurable.