Revelation 16:17-21

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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.
Rev 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.

Introduction

Last week we saw that the seals, trumpets and vials are all part of “the judgments of the great day of God” upon the darkness in our lives. What this tells us is that all of this takes place while we are still in darkness, and while we are still “children of disobedience… children of … [ God’s] wrath.

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We fulfill these seven plagues within our lives after we come to know and believe on Christ, but while we still “have no place in us for Christ’s word.” That is an unheard of, but very Biblical doctrine, as Christ demonstrates for us in Joh 8.

Joh 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

These seven plagues of the seven angels are poured out upon us when we are “building on the foundation of Jesus Christ”, but we are building with the “wood, hay and stubble” of “the commandments and doctrines of men”, instead of taking great care of that with which we are building.

Mat 15:9 But in vain they [ you and I] do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Tit 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. [ Christ]

At this time in our walk we are “holding the Truth in unrighteousness”. Here is the apostle Paul speaking of these very same plagues upon our lives, by which we “keep the things written therein”:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth [ Christ] in unrighteousness;

God’s Truth is the spiritual Words of Christ as exemplified in His life. “The air” is the symbol for that spirit. It is into this part of our walk, when we think we believe on Christ yet we are still rejecting Him and His life and His words, that this seventh vial is poured out. It is while we think we are out of Babylon, but we simply cannot let go of “that great city”:

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.

So this seventh vial symbolizes spiritual warfare in which we are engaged as we are “coming out of… that great city” (Rev 18:4). Therefore this seventh vial is “poured out… into the air”. The Greek here for ‘air’ is G109, ‘aer’. Here is how this word is used in scripture:

Rev 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

The darkening of the sun and air by the smoke from the bottomless pit is the darkening of our understanding of spiritual matters. Here is how this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament:

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course [ the ‘aion’] of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

This ‘air’ or G109, ‘aer’ is the abode of the “principalities and powers” of the spiritual realm against which we wrestle in this verse:

Eph 6:12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world[ Greek – ‘aion’, same as “course” in Eph 2:2], and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (NLT)

Here is the King James Version of this verse:

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [ places].

So it is against the defiling of the spiritual realm of our heavens that this seventh vial is poured out. It is through the work of this vial that our heavens are cleansed at the coming of Christ into the ‘air’ of our lives, destroying the ways of our old man while purging and purifying our “air”.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

“The holy places made with hands” was the physical temple in Jerusalem. What is “heaven itself”? What are the “heavenly things themselves” of which the temple was but a mere pattern? Here is the ‘temple’ of the ninth chapter of Hebrews:

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Where does “the man of sin sit as God”?

2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

“All men shall worship the beast”, which ‘beast’ we all are. He is even given “to overcome the saints”.

Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Rev 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This is the work of the seventh vial. Our air is darkened, and our understanding of spiritual matters is taken from us as we continue in the death throes of our old man, the beast within us, to resist the purpose for this “great and marvelous” work which is these seven last plagues of the wrath of God upon all of our false doctrines and lying spirits which are loath to leave the temple which is now ours to enter in Christ. But the heavens are now able to be cleansed because the seven plagues of the seven angels are now fulfilled within us (Rev 15:8).
So we are now told:

1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

“The air” is invisible. “The air”, when it is in motion, is called “the wind”, and “the wind” is another symbol of the spiritual realm.

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

“The air is the realm of the spirit. When the seven plagues have been fulfilled and have accomplished their predestined mission of showing us all of the blasphemous nature of our old man, then, and only then, we are told:

… and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

The old man has run his course. That which withholds has withheld until he has been revealed for what he is, and he is now slated for destruction. “It is done”. He will now be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the proper and rightful king of the throne that is our hearts and minds, the heavens themselves, the temple in which God will now, through Christ, dwell with men:

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let [ will withhold], until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

So, as with all things, we must be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, in down payment form first, if we hope to do so at “the redemption of the purchased possession”, known as that “blessed and holy first resurrection” (Rev 20:6).

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.
Rev 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.

Why are we told “there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth”? Why are we being told here in this last vial that “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”?
It is very appropriate that Babylon is mentioned at this very juncture in this revelation of Jesus Christ within His elect saints. What are the things of this world which we are so loath to relinquish? What was within “the Jews who believe on Christ, but have no room in them for Christ or His Word”? What is one of the sins that so easily besets us all? What was it that caused “all they which are in Asia” to forsake Christ in His elect apostles who had raised up those seven churches, to whom this revelation is addressed? What was the attachment to Babylon which caused the whole church to treat the apostles who founded those churches as their enemies?
Here is why “great Babylon” is mentioned here in the last of the seven last vials which fill up the wrath of God. It is because we have been building upon Christ with the wood, hay and stubble of the traditions of Babylon, and we are loath to separate ourselves from those traditions. We have been so faithful to God in so many ways, we hate the Nicolaitans, we have had good works which were better at the end then at the beginning, but we have left our first love, and have permitted that woman Jezebel to spread her doctrine within our midst.

1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Having seen the opening of the seven seals in this prophecy from God, to Christ, to us, (Rev 1:1) will we now declare we have never built upon the foundation of Christ, with wood, hay and stubble? Will we deny that this part of the seventh trumpet which is an integral part of the seventh seal is not ours to fulfill? Will we deny these words of God?

1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

When we deny the need to fulfill these plagues and their function of burning out of us “every sin that so easily besets us”, we are making Christ and His apostles liars and setting ourselves up on Christ’s throne in our hearts.

Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

If all things are ours (1Co 3:21-22), then the “darkness upon the throne of the beast” is ours as long as we are in that darkness. We all come to Christ “out of the darkness… [ out of] the course of this world, [ and out of] the traditions of men”. These are the very things which are the wood, hay and stubble, within us which fuel the fire of the Sun in these seven plagues which scorches us and burns us up. The fire of 1Co 3:10-15 is the same fire doing the same thing, purifying us before we can enter into the temple.

Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

The story of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah after being made king over all Israel, demonstrates that God’s wrath is not confined to the sins of our early walk. Nevertheless there in no contradiction in saying that God’s wrath upon the sin and darkness in our lives subsides as we come out of that darkness into the glorious light” which is Christ. So too, the wrath of God subsides and we can say ” in times past we walked according to the course of this world… and in times past… we were by nature the children of wrath even as others”.
Being “the children of wrath, even as others” is plainly said to be “in times past”. So where do we stand with God when He brings us “out of darkness, into His marvelous light”?

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Remember the fifth plague of the seven angels is “darkness upon the throne of the beast”. Those plagues are upon us while we are “walking in darkness… walking according to the prince of the power of the air… as children of disobedience”. But in Christ we are “called out of darkness into His marvelous light”. So is there now any change in our relationship with our heavenly Father? Joh 3 tells us we now have “everlasting life”, whereas “the wrath of God abode on us before we believed”. What does the spirit reveal is our relationship with our God now? We read it in Eph 2, but let’s read it again in Col 3.

Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Col 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

We all “were… children of disobedience… when you lived in them”. But we no longer live in “our members which are upon the earth”. We are now “seated with Christ in the heavens” and “in time past… we were the children of wrath even as others… when the wrath of God abode upon us”.

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Eph 2:6 and He raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenlies [ or, heavenly realms] in Christ Jesus, (ALT)

So the curse that was placed upon Christ’s body as it hung upon the cross, is the spiritual type of our crucifixion with Christ while we are yet alive:

Isa 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
Isa 54:8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree

So Christ has partaken of all, including being “forsaken of God… in a little wrath”, and we too, must accept that “all things are ours… things present and things to come” (1Co 3:21-22).
So, lo and behold, we are to follow in the footsteps of, and live by the pattern set for us by our Savior. What a radical concept:

Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

It is the function of these seven plagues to burn out of us “the traditions of men… the rudiments of the world [ which are] not after Christ”. How have we received these things? Do we receive the traditions of men “after Christ”, or do we receive the rudiments of this world through “the example Christ has left us”? No, we receive them through human “philosophy and vain deceit” and we simply “agree to disagree” with those who follow the example Christ has left for us.

Gal 4:1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.
Gal 4:2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.
Gal 4:3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. [ Which includes verse 10]
Gal 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,
Gal 4:5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
Gal 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[1] Father.”
Gal 4:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Gal 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
Gal 4:9 But now that you know God– or rather are known by God– how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
Gal 4:10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
Gal 4:11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
Gal 4:12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.
Gal 4:13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.
Gal 4:14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.
Gal 4:15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Gal 4:16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

According to the scriptures, there is a very close link between the pain we experience in life and the darkness in which we live due to the “unclean spirits which come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and the false prophets who dominate our lives until the seven plagues of the seven angels are fulfilled in us.

Jdg 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments [ the seven plagues of the seven angels] are made manifest.
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.
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.

While it is absolutely true that “the sword does not depart from our house”, it is nevertheless also true that as our unrighteousness and ungodliness are replaced with “Christ in us”, the wrath of God subsides until we can say with the apostle:

Eph 2:1 And you [ hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

So in the gospel of John we read:

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The corresponding seventh trumpet

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Rev 11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
Rev 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

In the seventh vial we are told “It is done”. In the seventh trumpet we read “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever”.
Both the vials and the trumpets are declared to be judgments of God, and in both the seventh vial and the seventh trumpet we are told there are “lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

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.
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.
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.

Once again, this seventh trumpet corresponds perfectly with this seventh vial because each trumpet is but the second, middle part of the same three- step process which makes up and fills up the judgments and the wrath of God against all of our ungodliness and unrighteousness, in which we hold and claim Christ, who is the Truth of God.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Christ never in His life says “I know the Truth”, rather He tells us “I AM the Truth”, simply because that is the Truth.

“He who has an ear let him hear”

This entire “revelation of Jesus Christ” is addressed to “the seven churches”. We come so very far in our service that we are fighting wars in the heavens, before we are caused to “Remember the height from which we have fallen”.
Here is what the spirit says to the first two churches:

Rev 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
Rev 2:2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
Rev 2:3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Rev 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
Rev 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Rev 2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Rev 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
Rev 2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty– yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Rev 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Rev 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

These two, and the other five, are all being addressed to “He who has an ear”. “What you are about to suffer” is “what is written in the sayings of the prophecy of this book”. It is the seven seal, the seven trumpets and the seven vials, and “no man can enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels have been fulfilled”. So “what you are about to suffer” is the seals, trumpets and vials”, and there is no way to pick and choose what we want to keep and what we do not want to keep. We must all “keep the things which are written therein… till the seven plagues of the seven angels are fulfilled” in our lives.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

This seventh vial is the “great earthquake” which accomplishes what nothing to this time has accomplished. It is greater than any earthquake that has ever been experienced in our lives, and this earthquake is the turning point in our lives. Here is where the fire has cleansed the temple and purified our temple for the arrival of it True King, Christ.
Here is this seventh vial put in the words of our Lord in Mat 24:

Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

The “great day of His wrath”, the “great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, and the “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”, are all one and the same event we “must [ all] suffer”.

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“.

“He who hath an ear let him hear” is always associated in scripture with the fact that the masses of those who come to Christ and believe on Him, still are “not given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God”. Notice verse 9 of Mat 13.

Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given [ ears to hear].

So just how does our Lord keep the masses of Christianity from “understanding the mysteries of the kingdom of God? How does He stop the masses of Christians from “keeping the things written therein”? Here is what we are clearly told:

Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Let us analyze what we are told here. Those who are “carnal… babes in Christ” (1Co 3:1-4), and those who are “weak in the faith” (Rom 14:1), “understand not the word of the kingdom… are offended when tribulation and persecution arise because of the Word”, and the Word is “choked by the cares of this world and they are unfruitful”.
Conversely those who “go on unto perfection” (Heb 6:1), understand the Word of the kingdom, remain steadfast in tribulation and persecution because of the Word, and the cares of this world do not choke the Word in their lives and they are very fruitful.
None of this is of ourselves, it is all of Christ and His Father. Nevertheless this is how it is lived out in our lives:

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

The word ‘prove’ in these verses is the same Greek word translated “alloweth” in Rom 14:22. Those who mature in Christ “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God”. They do not simply “agree to disagree” with the elders of the body of Christ. Those who are not “weak in the faith… prove themselves” and are not offended by a weaker brother who has not bothered to prove his doctrine. They bear with his infirmities, while steadfastly “proving what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, instead of taking on the infirmities of their weaker, infirm brother.

(REV) The faith which thou hast, have to thyself before God: happy, he that bringeth not judgment upon himself by that which he approveth;<</ blockquote>

Whether we are “weak in the faith”, or we are able to “eat strong meat”, we will be judged “according to our works”.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Those who “have not been conformed to this world, and have been transformed in their minds by proving what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God”, will “not bring judgment upon themselves by that which they have proven.” But those who are weak in the faith will “be conformed to this world”, will not take the time to prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God, and will continue to be offended by the sum of God’s Word, and will abuse Rom 14:5-6 and verse 22 as an excuse to not even consider our Lord’s example of how we are to live our lives concerning the observing of day, months, times and years.

Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [ alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Rom 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

When these verses are perverted into a doctrine which teaches that those who eat strong meat, should give up that strong meat, and give up following the example Christ has given us concerning this very subject, that is a double mind which will inevitably cause a brother to be “made weak… to stumble and be offended… because of the Word”. This perversion of these verses of Rom 14 will cause us all to give up that fiery way of life, which brings upon us the hatred of all men, and we will exchange their strong meat for the herbs of the weaker infirm brother who esteems one day above another and cannot eat all things because he does not want to offend a weaker brother.
Should we offend a weaker brother by expecting him to eat strong meat? Absolutely not! But should we take Rom 14 and use it to contradict and nullify Galatian 4?

Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child [ is “weak in the faith”], differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

“Carnal… babes in Christ” cannot eat the meat of the word and we are commanded to “receive them but not to allow them to dispute our strong meat.

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Who are these brother who are “weak in the faith”? Here is who they are. They are not really deep into the Word of God or the things of the spirit. They do not have and will not take the time to “study to show themselves approved unto God.” They are ‘too busy’ to have time to fellowship, and they care about the events of their daily lives (the pride of life) more than they do about the body of Christ. They would much rather identify themselves with certain men, whose teachings are more to their liking. Here are the “weak in the faith”.

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [ even] as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [ am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Those who are given to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, will find it very instructive that the word “child”, “the heir, as long as he is a child“, in Gal 4:1, and the word “babe”, “I could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ”, is the same Greek word, ‘nepios’. It is babes in Christ who are weak and infirm in the faith, and whose weakness we are commanded to “bear with”.

Rom 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Rom 15:2 Let every one of us please [ his] neighbour for [ his] good to edification.
Rom 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Paul did not break his epistles up into chapters. “The weak of this first verse of this15th chapter is “He that is weak in the faith” in the first verse of chapter 14. It is Paul to declares this brother in Christ to be “weak and infirm” and in need of our patient forbearance, and Christ- like example, not our apostasy, or our enabling of his weakness and his sickness, and his spiritually damning, immature diet of milk and herbs.
It is “he that is weak in the faith” who simply cannot as yet “eat all things”. This is especially true of following the example of Christ who “esteemed every day alike”. It is the perversion of the message of Romans fourteen which Galatians four burns out of us if we are given to follow in Christ’s footsteps:

Joh 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

This does not say ‘They supposed He had broken the sabbath’, it says “He not only had broken the sabbath, but said God was His Father”. Both were true, and both are written for our admonition that we should follow in His footsteps”

1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Anyone who uses part of God’s Word to exclude and nullify other parts of the Word, and will continue to ignore the example Christ has given us to follow in His steps. Truth is not found in any one chapter of God’s Word. It is found in its sum, and the sum of God’s word tells us that Christ and His apostles were foresaken of and hated of all men because, among other things, they “esteemed every day alike.” Following Christ’s example will bring upon us what it brought upon Christ. Christ put what He saw His Father doing, above what He saw men doing. If we honor Christ in this same way, we will be honoring God above men, as we are instructed.

Joh 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Joh 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Joh 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

He is the example the Father set for Christ to follow concerning the esteeming of one day above another:

Joh 5:17 But Jesus replied, “My Father never stops working, so why should I?” (NLT)

It is the traditions of men which are the last strings which keep us tethered to Babylon. The law of Moses and the law which the Gentiles are unto themselves, are both laws for the lawless, and not for a righteous man.

1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

It is “the lawless and disobedient who esteem one day above another, and who judge those who do not. The strong in the faith are to bear with the weak, till they are no longer carnal babes in Christ. Those to whom it is given to “follow Christ’s steps” will honor Christ by doing what He did, just as He did what He saw His Father doing. Those who are strong in the faith do not enable the weak and infirm to remain weak and sick, and they most assuredly do not give up spiritual strength and health to become weak and sickly.

Rom 14:1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions. (GNB)

Rom 14:1 As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. (rsv)

Our discussions must revolve around the word of God, and our conclusions must be based on that alone, or we will not be long “of one mind”, which is what we are repeatedly commanded to be, beginning right here in the book of Romans.

Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind [ and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

“Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” is intended to help us deal with “carnal… babes in Christ” by being pitiful and courteous to them. It is meant as an admonition to avoid disputing with babes about their own personal opinions concerning any topic with which they are not yet informed. The tradition of eating only herbs, and the tradition of esteeming one day above another are but two examples of things we are told we are not to argue about. These verses were never intended to keep us from “being of one mind”, being like- minded, and speaking the same thing with one mouth in one spirit”.

Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [ alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Rom 14 certainly is not designed to take away from those who are given to receive “things hard to be uttered.”

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [ be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The weak brothers who “for the time” ought to be beyond the milk of God’s Word will never get past that immature stage as long as Rom 14 is used as a means of contradicting and nullifying all five of the New Testament verses which admonish us all to “be of one mind”. The masses of the churches raised up by the apostles themselves rejected the strong meat which belongs to them that are of full age, “All they in Asia” forsook the apostle Paul and the Galatians apparently considered him to be their enemy.

Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Gal 4:12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I [ am]; for I [ am] as ye [ are]: ye have not injured me at all.
Gal 4:13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
Gal 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Gal 4:15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Gal 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Those who did that were no doubt “famous in the congregation and were men of renown”, but they never came to know the seven plagues of the seven angels, and will not enter into the temple of God until they have fulfilled those seven plagues.

Num 16:2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:

There can be no doubt that both the apostles Paul and John, honored Christ, just as Christ honored His Father by refusing the traditions of men who esteemed one day above another. The masses of the churches which were raised up by the apostles were clearly “observing days, months, times, and years”, and had clearly lost their first love for the apostle of the Lord. The story of King David’s son Amnon is the story of us “leaving our first love.

2Sa 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her [ was] greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

This is us when we leave our first love and become lukewarm. Our Lord asks of us “Where is the blessedness you spake of” at the beginning? Has Christ and His example become our enemy? What became of all the churches Paul had raised up in Asia? Did they forsake the apostle?

2Ti 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
2Ti 4:9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
2Ti 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
2Ti 4:15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
2Ti 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
2Ti 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

“The Lord stood with me” because the Lord is His word. When we follow Christ and His Word the Lord stands with us also. What did Jesus do? What example has He left for us concerning this subject which caused the Galatians to consider Paul their enemy?

Mat 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Mat 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw [ it], they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
Mat 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Mat 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
Mat 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

That is “our example that we should follow in His steps”, and remain “of one mind and one spirit”. Until that is done within us this seventh vial is yet to be fulfilled and “the great city… Great Babylon” still has its tentacles in our heavens and in our earth.

Rev 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.

There are many “islands and mountains” to be vanquished within us all, before all of the influences of that great city are burned out of us. Mountains are kings, which kings will beg for the mountains to fall when this, the great day of God’s wrath is come. As is the nature of our flesh, we will blaspheme God because of the plague of this hail, because it is an “exceeding great plague of hail”, and what does hail do?

Isa 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

That is why after the pouring out of the seventh vial, we are told:

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.

“It is done” is both the death throes of our man of sin, and the victory shout of our new man within. It is all accomplished “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound”.

Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Christ, His doctrines, His example, and His Words, are the hail, the water, and the purifying fire, with which He will try us, cleanse us, and sweep away all the lies of the great city Babylon. We can now enter into the temple in heaven, which has been cleansed of all the pollutions of that great city, which we can now look back behind us and witness her judgment.
That is the subject of the next two chapters of this, the revelation of Jesus Christ which we are to ” read, hear, and keep”. Rev 17 and 18, are nothing more or less than a summary of the judgments of these seven plagues of the seven angels upon “mystery Babylon the Great” within us. “It is done… it is come to pass”, and that is why we are shown these things by “one of the angels which had the seven plagues”.
Next week, Lord willing we will cover these verses of chapter 17:

Rev 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
Rev 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Rev 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead [ was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

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