The Seven Last Plagues
We are getting ever so closer to the time of Christ’s bodily return to this earth both literally and in our study of the book the Revelation.
A quick look back...
Chapter 1 is the revelation of Jesus Christ to John on the Isle of Patmos.
Chapters 2-3 were three letters written to seven literal churches of John’s day but which also served prophetical of the seven types of churches that would come and go during the church age.
Chapter 4 pictures the rapture of the church.
Chapter 5 shows us...
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
This book is the “title deed” to earth for only one is able to take it and open it. That One is none other than Jesus Christ!
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
In chapter 6 we begin to see the seals of the book being opened. When the last seal is opened, in chapter 8, we are introduced to seven angels each having trumpet to declare judgment upon the earth. When the seventh angel sound their trumpet (which happens in chapter 11) we are then - in chapter 15 - introduced to seven angels each having a vial that contain the “seven last plagues.”
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.
Turn to and read Revelation 15:1-8.
Vs. 1 - Bible teachers and students have long called these the bowl judgments. They are filled with the wrath of God.
God is merciful.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yea, our God is merciful.
For thousands of years, God has been merciful to mankind. For thousands of years, God has withheld His judgment from mankind. And, for thousands of years, mankind has presumed upon God’s goodness and His mercy.
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
While God is merciful, He is also just and righteous. Judgment is coming; judgment will come. Are you ready? Are we seeking to help others prepare for the coming judgment?
Vs. 2 - We see in Heaven those who, physically, have lost their lives on the earth because they refused the mark of the beast but in spite of how mankind sees there death, God sees it as victory!
You’re an inhabitant of earth during the tribulation but, you have heard the Gospel. You refuse to worship the Beast nor take his mark. You are found out. You are arrested. Before you are executed the executioner begs you to give up your “foolish” resistance. “Take the mark and live. Refuse the mark and die.”
The world considers everything that relates to God and His Word is foolishness.
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The world may call you foolish for your faith in God. But our faith in God is our victory.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Keep your faith and hope in God and God’s Word. Don’t allow the world to cause you to turn your back on either!
Vs. 3-4 - In that victory, “they sing the song of Moses” just as the Israelites did after God had brought them through the Red Sea on dry ground and in that same Red Sea God destroyed the armies of Pharaoh. Notice that the focus in singing was not what they had done but what Christ had done!
“Redeemed people are a singing people, and the songs of redemption which they sing always glorify Christ. There is never a single mention in true gospel songs about man’s own goodness or achievements.” Lehman Strauss
Vs. 5-8 - In Heaven, we see the seven angels come out of the temple of God. Those seven angels are the ones who hold “the seven last plagues.”
If we are not careful, we can completely miss verse 5 in all of the excitement:
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:
“the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony”
Earlier in the book of the Revelation, John is given a glimpse into the temple of God in Heaven.
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.
What is contained within the temple? “The ark of His Testament” or the ark of the covenant. (I do not know when or how, but at some point, possibly during Nebuchadnezzar’s plundering of the temple in Jerusalem, God translated the ark of the covenant to Heaven.)
What is contained in the ark of the covenant? A pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded (signifying God’s approval of Aaron’s authority), and the tablets of stone containing the 10 commandments. Why is that necessarily significant?
Turn to and read Exodus 20:1-6.
What are the inhabitants of earth guilty of doing? In their worship of the Beast and the Antichrist they will have broken the first three commandments. God’s Word will bear witness to that fact. The inhabitants of the earth will stand guilty before a holy and just God. The judgments to come will be deserved!
We then come to chapter 16...
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 First Vial
The First Vial
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.
An extremely painful and debilitating boil or ulcer.
The Second Vial
The Second Vial
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 seas become “as the blood of a dead man.” The seas become congealed much in the same way as jello as it solidifies. Every thing in it dies.
The Third Vial
The Third Vial
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
The rivers and fountains of water become blood. I can only imagine the continued loss of life as the inhabitants of the earth have no life-sustaining water.
The Fourth Vial
The Fourth Vial
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
Recently, locations around the United States have been experiencing record heat waves. An article from Time magazine just a couple of days ago said...
“As millions of people prepare for sweltering heatwaves in the U.S. Midwest and East Coast, scientists say July will likely be the hottest July on record, following the hottest June on record. These types of heatwaves are expected to become more frequent throughout the world as global warming continues, say scientists.”
This recent heatwave is nothing compared to the conditions which will be experienced by the inhabitants of the earth during the fourth bowl judgment. However, notice their response:
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.
The Fifth Vial
The Fifth Vial
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,
Much in the same way that the plague of darkness, in Exodus 10, only affected the Egyptians and not the Israelites, the darkness here in Revelation 16:10 will only affect the seat of the beast.
“How such a region of thick darkness can be produced, especially in the midst of a world which everywhere else is brilliant with sevenfold sunlight, is a mystery as impenetrable as the darkness itself.” - Henry Morris.
Do you remember Romans 1:21?
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
It’s almost as if God is literally saying, “I am going to allow you to live - physically - in the same condition that your heart - spiritually - is in - darkness!”
The Sixth Vial
The Sixth Vial
Turn to and read Revelation 16:12-16.
God dries up the river Euphrates setting the stage for the kings of the east to come to the Battle of Armegedon. Satan sends out his unclean spirits to the leaders of the world and seduces them to gather together in preparation for the Battle of Armegedon.
The Seventh Vial
The Seventh Vial
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.
I do not have the words to adequately describe the judgments contained within the seventh vial. Therefore, let’s allow God’s Word to speak for itself. Turn to and read Revelation 16:18-21.
While we can rejoice in the fact that we - believers in Christ - will not be on this earth to experience all that we have just considered. However, I would like you to consider this challenge...
“Men who have refused to drink of the up of God’s salvation must drink from the bowls of His wrath.” Lehman Strauss
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; It is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
I will take the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord.
God holds a cup of salvation and He holds a cup that is filled with His wrath. While it may be that we have taken of the cup of His salvation, it is our responsibility to invite the world to drink of that same cup while warning them of the cup of His judgment that they will otherwise drink.