Revelation 16:1-3

Audio Links

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Video Links


Rev 16:1-3 The First Two of The Seven Last Plagues
Rev 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.
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.
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.

Introduction

This and the next several studies will be a powerful demonstration of the is, was and will be character of the word of God as it relates to the seven seals, the seven trumpets of the seven angels and these “seven angels with these seven last plagues (which) fill up the wrath of God. In each case we will see that the number seven signifies a completing, rather than a certain order of events. When we forget that Truth of the meaning of the spiritual symbolism of the number seven, we inevitably become dispensationalists who ask ‘Where am I in this process, and how much further do I have to go?’ instead of realizing that no one is ever perfected before “the third day”, and that again has nothing to do with the number three itself, but it rather has to do with the process of judgment signified by that number.
In the next few studies we will see that the “seven last plagues” of these vials or bowls are actually part of the seven seals upon this book, inasmuch as these seven plagues are the seventh trumpet, which in turn is the seventh seal.
Until that last seal is opened, this book is still sealed, and until the last trumpet sounds, the judgments of God are still working in our lives, and the seventh seal is still not opened. Since the seven trumpets of the seven angels are the seventh seal, this book is completely sealed from our vision until those seven angels sound in our lives. Now, since the seventh trumpet of God’s judgment is the seven last plagues “which fill up the wrath of God”, we are under that yet unfilled wrath, until the “mystery of God should be finished” in us “till the seven plagues of the seven angels” has been fulfilled within our lives.

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.
Rev 15:1  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
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.

Who is “the earth” of verse one?

“In the days… when he shall begin to sound the mystery of God should be finished… filling up the wrath of God”, makes it abundantly clear that this is all speaking of an ongoing process of judgment within “the earth” which is us, and it all adds up to the fact that this book cannot be unsealed to be “read, heard or kept… till the seven plagues of the seven angels has been fulfilled within our lives”.

Jer 22:29  O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

Who is the “earth” which is supposed to “Hear the word of the Lord”? We need not guess:

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he [ the “earth”] 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 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he [ the “earth”] that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Rev 22:8  And I John [ and you and me, Lord willing] saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets [“the earth” that “hears these things”], and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
Rev 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

“The time is at hand” that “the mystery of God… Christ in you, the hope of glory… should be finished” in “the earth”, within each of us. That is why this prophecy is called “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1). This book is all about the revelation of Jesus Christ within His elect, and that is why we are admonished in the third verse of the first chapter, and the 10th verse of the last chapter, to “keep the things written therein, for the time is at hand”.

Rev 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.

Since we are “the earth” to whom Christ has been sent by the Father, and since we are also “the temple of God” (1Co 3:16-17), it is obvious that this “great voice from within the temple” is Christ and His Words speaking to us from within us. It is of utmost importance that we notice that these seven last plagues are poured out at the behest of this “great voice” which emanates “out of the temple”. What this tells us is that God really does do all that He does through Christ whom the Father has sent to do His will on this “earth”. Since this voice comes “out of the temple” and we, in Christ, are also that temple, it follows that we are sent by Christ to do all that Christ does. What that means is that we are called to live the life He lived. That is exactly what Christ has told us. Just as His Father operates all through Him, He also operates all through His anointed and sent ones; through His Christ; through His anointed:

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

2Co 1:21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed [ Greek – Chrio, Christed, or anointed] us, is God;
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

“As He is, so are we”? What does that mean? God sent Christ for one purpose, and that purpose was “to save the world, not to condemn the world” to everlasting torment, or to everlasting death.

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially [ but not exclusively] of those that believe.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also [“each in his own order” 1Co 15:23] for the sins of the whole world.

Who are these seven angels?

While we have discussed this much earlier, we need to put what we see here with what was said earlier to know for certain who these seven angels symbolize.
That these seven angels are God’s own physical servants in this age is not to be doubted, because we are twice told that they are those who are admonished at the beginning of this prophecy to “keep the things written therein”.

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 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

There it is, twice we are told that it was “one of the angels which had the seven vials” who shows us 1) the judgment of the great whore, and 2) the bride, the Lamb’s wife. But where are we told that these seven angels are those who are told in chapter one, verse three, to “keep the things written therein”? Here it is. Here is where the symbolism of these seven angels is revealed to us. Notice who “the angel who showed John these things” tells John he symbolizes:

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

“I am your fellowservant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus”. These seven angels are you and me, if indeed we “have the testimony of Jesus”. This same amazing revelation is repeated in the 22nd chapter of Revelation:

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Rev 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
Rev 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

Which angel is this angel? Here it is again. Here is “the angel which showed these things unto John:

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 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

So the seven angels are “our fellowservants, our brothers who have the testimony of Jesus, and them which keep the sayings of this book”. The seven angels are you and me and John.
So the same angels that have the seven last plagues are also showing us who is the “great whore that sits upon many waters”, as well as showing us “the bride the Lamb’s wife”.
But the “mystery of God which He has declared to His servants” is not finished, and no man is given to enter into Christ, our temple, “till the seven plagues of the seven angels has been fulfilled” in the life of every man who is given to enter into Christ with Christ being in Him, fulfilling the mystery of God which He declared to His servants the prophets.

Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple [ Christ Himself], and in three days I will raise it up.
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.

What is this, the greatest mystery of all time? Here it is:

Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Joh 14:20  At that day [ the days of the voice of the seventh angel] ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

What this tells us is that we are in Christ, as all things are “in Him” (Act 14:22), but Christ is not really in us “till the seven plagues of the seven angels has been fulfilled” in our lives.

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.

So now let us examine what begins to happen in the days of the seventh angel, when he begins to sound His seventh trumpet. Let’s examine what must be done before “the mystery of God, as He has declared by His servants the prophets”, can be finished us us,.

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.

The “beginning of the sounding of the seventh angel” is these seven vials which “fill up the wrath of God”. These are the worst trials of our life as the first Adam, and they are poured out upon all of the ungodliness and unrighteousness that is within each of us. This is what is required to separate from us all of our heart’s idols and all of the pulls of the flesh which, until this point, have had the dominion over the throne of our hearts. That is why we are told in chapter fifteen, which is dedicated solely to the introduction of these seven angels with these seven vials, that the introduction of these angels with these vials is a “great and marvelous” event in our lives.

Rev 15:1  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

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.

At this point we will begin to demonstrate that this entire “revelation of Jesus Christ” is to primarily and spiritually be understood only in its ‘is, was and will be’ nature as one whole prophecy which is to be kept within the lives of each of us.
Here we are finally arriving at “the days of the seventh angel, when he is beginning to sound his trumpet, which trumpet is these “seven last plagues which fill up the wrath of God”. What does this tell us about the seven seals that are upon this prophecy of our walk? What does this tell us about the seven angels with the seven trumpets of the things we are to keep in the things written in the words of this prophecy? Let’s go back and notice just a few verses in the sixth seal which will help to open our eyes to what this entire revelation of Jesus Christ within us is all about:

Rev 6:12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Rev 6:13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
Rev 6:14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Rev 6:15  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Rev 6:16  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Rev 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

If we were to take the time to look at the four horsemen of the first four seals upon this revelation of Christ within us, along with “the souls under the altar who were beheaded for the word of their testimony” and who comprise the fifth seal, we would see that they are nothing less than the judgments of God which lead “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man” within us to “say to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
In other words there is no possible way that the events of these seven seals were ever intended to be thought of as being anything other than judgments of “the great day of God’s wrath upon our first Adam. The judgments of these seven seals are neither before nor after any of the events which we find in the events we are to keep which are opened up and revealed in the reading, hearing and keeping of the seven trumpets of the seven angels. Those seven trumpets, as a whole, are the seventh seal that is upon this book. Without the opening of that seventh seal, we cannot “read, hear or keep the things written therein”. So it is not possible to open the seventh seal without reading, hearing and keeping the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
Stated another way, we cannot, as all of orthodox Christianity wants us to believe, say that some men can enter into the temple of God in heaven without keeping the seventh trumpet with all of its plagues which simply must fill up the wrath of God on our stubborn and rebellious first man Adam, if we hope to “stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire, or enter into the temple of God in heaven.
Now let’s take the time to see just how interconnected all of the seals, trumpets and vials of God’s wrath are. To make this clear we will display both the first trumpet and the first vial, side by side, and we will comment upon the fact that the work being accomplished in each is being accomplished upon the exact same object, and that object, in every trumpet and in every vial or bowl, while described each time in seven different terms, is all really just different symbols of what God is doing within each of us, to conform us to “the revelation of Jesus Christ”. Here are both the first trumpet and the first vial:

Rev 8:7  The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

Now notice what is the object of the pouring out of 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.

Notice that the object of both the first trumpet and the first plague which fills up the wrath of God, is “the earth” which of course is us (Jer 22:9).
Both are simultaneously working to conform us to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The trees and grass of the first trumpet, are simply a less severe trial than the noisome and grievous sore upon the men within us which had the mark of, and worshiped the image of the beast. Both the wrath of God and His judgments are working in us for that one and same end.
Now let’s look at the second trumpet and the second vial and see what they might have in common. First, the second trumpet:

Rev 8:8  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;
Rev 8:9  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.

Now 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.

The mention of “the third part” in both the first and the second trumpets, tells all with eyes to see, that these words are speaking of the process of judgment within us. In the first trumpet and vial that judgment is upon our earth. In the second trumpet and vial it is upon the sea as the symbol of the body of our flesh, out of which comes “the blood of a dead man”, which man is called “creatures… in the sea” in the first second trumpet.
The fact that the object of both the trumpets and the vials are exactly the same, corresponding to their number, is not a coincidence. We will see that this holds true for all of the seven trumpets and the seven vials. What does this mean? It means that the seals, trumpets and vials are one and all expressions of God’s wrath upon the hardhearted and stubborn beast we all are as that first man Adam. What it means is that they are all essential prerequisites to being able to finish the mystery of God within us, to stand on that sea of glass, and to enter into the temple of God in heaven.

Summary

What we have learned in this study is that the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven plagues, are all one single is, was and will be work of God’s judgment upon our old man who, as “the first man Adam”, is also “the earth” with its “sea and fountains of water” within us.
We have seen that “the earth” in scripture symbolizes Adam and all who are in him. We have seen that it is we, as God’s elect, who as “the earth”, including the sea and the fountains of waters, are those upon whom all these last plagues are poured, before we can enter into the temple of God in heaven.
We have seen that the “great voice out of the temple” is “Christ in us” preparing our hearts through His fiery judgments, to take up His permanent residency as He is destroying our old “man of sin… with the brightness of His coming” (2Th 2:3-8).
We have seen that Christ has sent us just as His Father sent Him, to be the saviors of this world by living His life within us, and by suffering as He suffered. As such we have seen that we are these seven angels who pour out these seven plagues at the behest of Christ who is doing His judging of us within us.

1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1Co 11:32  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

We have seen that these seven angels reveal to us, both the judgment of the great harlot within us as well as “showing us the bride the Lamb’s wife”.
Next week, Lord willing, we will see this is, was and will be character of these words continue to be demonstrated as we witness the striking correlation between the seven trumpets and the seven plagues of the seven angels. Here are the next two plagues:

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.
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.

Other related posts