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The Spirit of the Seven Vials

The book of Revelation is an awesome book.

You can take the subtle of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the confusion at Babel, Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah’s firestorm, Egypt’s plagues, Babylon’s carnage, the sacking and burning of Jerusalem and the mournful lamentations of Jeremiah and put them all together, and you would still not have a fraction of the catastrophes described in Revelation.

You can also take the covenant grants of Abraham, the power of Joseph, the glory of David, the staggering wealth of Solomon and the miracle ministries of the prophets like Elijah and Elisha, and you would still not begin to approach the fabulous displays of God’s legacy for the church at the end of time.

Let us now look at the 16th chapter of this book. It is a prediction of the plagues as the series of plagues upon Egypt. What we see in Revelation are the two sides of God’s nature. Paul refers to this in Romans 11:22, “Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God.”

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.

The family of man has enjoyed God’s goodness. Man must also know his severity. In this terrible chapter, God’s wrath exonerates God’s love. His moral indignation rises against those who persistently trample upon the principles of spiritual order.

Man’s ultimate act of treachery is to choose openly and shamelessly the Beast instead of the Lamb. Man always seems to shower glory and worship on the worst rather than bowing before the best.

So, the question must be brought before the highest tribunal and resolved, “To whom does mankind owe supreme allegiance?” Is it to God, the source of all that is good, or to the Antichrist, the man of sin?

This is the most fearful stage of the Great Tribulation

The purpose of this chapter is not repentance. That door has closed at this point. There has been ample time and abundant opportunity. For the first time on record, God’s wrath is untempered by mercy. During this holocaust of judgment, man stands without an Intercessor in the courts of heaven. The Bible says that no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues were fulfilled. (Revelation 15:8)

What is the purpose of God’s wrath? To bring man to a point of understanding and confession of God’s justice.

Rev 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Phil 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Mankind has to learn, the easy way or the hard way, that it is futile to evade God’s claims upon creation. Chapter 16 is the hard way.

Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

The Great Voice that speaks is of God Himself.
The seven angels are the seven messengers of God.
To “pour out” means an indiscriminate dispensation of fiery wrath. No one who is not sealed or raptured will escape the plagues to come.

First Vial: The grievous sore.

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, from the Greek “kakos”, meaning “evil;” Grievous, from “poneros”, meaning “painful;” Sore, from “helkos”, meaning “ulcer” or “wound.”

This corresponds to the sixth plague on Egypt when Moses came to deliver Israel.

…Upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

God has special vengeance upon those who have taken the mark of the Beast.

This first vial deals with man’s reluctance to part with the comforts of life. Society chooses the mark of the beast rather than the cross of Christ. Why. They think they will avoid persecution and personal sacrifice. They turn from loyalty to God and opt for material comfort. It’s the “me first” generation. But they will discover that nothing material matters when it is impossible to enjoy it physically. Hell’s worst joke is persuading men to give up eternal life for a season of pleasure.

Second Vial: Sea becomes as blood.

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.

This bears similarity to the second trumpet in Revelation 8:8-9.

Revelation 8:8-9 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.

Some believe that this represents a huge naval battle that will rage in the Great Tribulation.
The sea will become so toxic that it will not sustain life. Every living soul will die. This makes it three times worse than the sounding of the trumpet.
This second plague strikes at profit and power. Those who use economic pressure to coerce the conscience of man will see that power turn to blood and distress.
The sea equals the avenue of commerce.
The Antichrist governs all buying and selling.
The shipping lanes that are the lifeblood of international trade will be as the blood of a dead man.
Later in the book of Revelation, we see the union of economic and religious power. Everything the world church stands for falls before the power of money. But God will see to it that we do not tie the soul of man to the appetite of man. Selling out to wealth handcuffs man’s conscience.

Third Vial: Rivers and fountains become as blood.

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 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. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

This seems to duplicate the first plague that fell on Egypt.

Exodus 7:17 Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.

This vial poisons the rivers and fountains, the direct source of life for the population.
The Angel of the Waters sees justice in this plague because the Beast shed the blood of the saints and prophets. They are now forced to drink blood for the bloodshed of all the martyrs.

Another out of the altar. This refers to the saints under the altar who are now avenged for the great wrongs done to them by the beast.

Revelation 6:9-11 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Reckoning day will come. Trust that God will avenge the righteous some day, and that everything of his that was lost will be retrieved and restored.

The Fourth Vial: Fire and great heat.

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

Once again, the plague involves signs in the heavens and burning with intense heat. This confirms many references to this in preceding scriptures.

Isaiah 24:6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

Isaiah 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

They repented not. Their lack of repentance demonstrates the depth of their depravity, and therefore, that God’s judgment is righteous.

We need to take special note here.
We live in a generation of sun worshippers.
The ancient pagans worshipped the sun as a god.
Anything other than God that you worship will turn into a curse for you.

The Fifth Vial: Darkness.

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

The plagues of Egypt included great darkness.

Exodus 10:21-22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

Darkness was prophesied to come upon the world.

Joel 2:1-2 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion , and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness…

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Zephaniah 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

The pain causes anguish and writhing in pain. It is documented that raw, untreated pain, without the comfort of morphine or other drugs, causes such agony that people will chew their tongues off. This will happen under the fifth vial, yet people will not repent.

Only the light can deliver. Jesus is the light of the world. Satan is the prince and power of darkness. To live your life without Christ is to constantly surround yourself with darkness. You literally cannot see even the next step you take.

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Ephesians 5:14

The Sixth Vial: Euphrates dried up.

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.

The Euphrates River is mentioned over 25 times, from Genesis to Revelation. Today, it again shows up in the news of the war in Iraq. The Euphrates stretches for 1800 miles and is considered a border between east and west. It was the eastern border of the Roman Empire.

The significance of the Euphrates drying up is that it effectively erases that border, allowing the armies of the east to stream across into Israel unabated. Tamerlane and Genghis Khan both led armies over the Euphrates in the past. This could possibly be the course that the Kings of the East, (China? N. Korea?) may take.

The Gathering to Armageddon

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

Three unclean spirits like frogs. Frogs hide in the grassy edges of the swamp. They become active at evening time. They croak incessantly. So the unclean spirits rarely come out into the open, and they work under cover of darkness. They represent those who keep up a steady stream of propaganda and deception.

Out of the mouth of the dragon, beast and false prophet. This unholy trinity represents the antichrist and his one-world government as described in Revelation 12. It demonstrates that the essence of the antichrist is evil and rebellion against God.

Gathered them together in…Armageddon. This is the only place where the word “Armageddon” is used.
The nations of the world will gather together against Israel to fight against God.
Armageddon shatters a world system. As David prophesied, It is a rod of iron that breaks in pieces.
This sixth plague brings to a head a gigantic spiritual conflict in which the ruling powers of earth array themselves against God. Take a guess whose side I want to be on when the world arrays itself in battle against God.

“Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.” 1 Chron 29:11

The Seventh Vial: Natural disasters.

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.  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. 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. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 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 scriptures often associate natural disasters with the judgment of the endtimes.

Isaiah 29:6-7 Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. 7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.

Luke 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

The Los Angeles earthquake in 1994 was the third very destructive earthquake to occur in California in the last 23 years. The first was the Mw 6.6 San Fernando (Sylmar) Earthquake, affecting the same area in 1971; the second was the Mw 6.9 (Richter magnitude 7.1), 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake south of San Francisco . The 1994 event is the most damaging earthquake to strike the United States since the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. In terms of financial loss, the earthquake is also one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, comparable to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Babylon is the symbol for the whole social order of the world. The power, wealth and dominion it has over the world will meet a tragic end. Destruction and chaos, both physically and spiritually will devastate the entire earth on a magnitude never seen in history. Revelation 16 epitomizes God’s unrestrained wrath on Satan and all those who align themselves with him. The great Babylon—-the intricate, technical interconnected marvel of the 21st century—-will collapse.

The spirits that the vials address crowd us with their evidence today.
The obsession with the comforts of life.
Men drunk on profits and power.
The crucifixion of the message of Christianity in the public square.
The religious world enthroning the symbols of power and denying the real power.

The envelopment of the world in moral darkness.
War against God.
The age of total technology.
Your world, sir, ma’am is not as secure as you think it is.
The forces that move and shake mankind today will be called into question.
You can make your calling and election sure.
You can enter into the tower of strength, the rock of refuge, the old ship of Zion that will weather the storm.
You’re no match for the storm.
You need the one who stood on the bow of the ship and said, “Peace, be still!”

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