The Seven Vials Poured Out
1And 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.
God authorizes the beginning of the destruction of Judaism. These seven angels are again the Christian messengers from the beginning of the book. They aren’t the cause of the events they are associated with, they are the bearers of the news, the message about those events. These plagues are the fulfillment of the promise in Deuteronomy 28:59-60.
2And 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.
This is an interesting plague to me because it comes on the Jewish people, but does not indicate death. These are the Jewish people that listened to the earth beast with two lamb horns. Even though they side with Rome, they still suffer from the war, which is what this plague represents. Vespasian begins to lead the Romans into the land of Palestine.
3And 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.
Gentiles, Romans specifically, died as the war began.
4And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
Trade (in Palestine) died as the war began.
5And 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.
The third messenger praises I AM, Jehovah God, for destroying the trade routes. Essentially this is a good tactical move to accomplish the ultimate goal. With trade dried up, and with all the other events that have happened to the land of Judah up to this point, the city will be ripe for destruction, unable to hold out long for lack of resources.
6For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
The Jews are worthy of being destroyed in the war because they are those that killed the Christians and the prophets (Matthew 23:37).
7And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
The martyrs are also glorifying God for executing the promise to end the persecution by the Jews against the Christians, the persecution which resulted in their martyrdom.
8And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
The sun, or king of the Jews (Agrippa from Acts 23), feels the effect of the commencement of the war. This angel represents the fiery judgment coming against the nation at large.
9And 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.
As the Romans advanced at the commencement of the war, the Jews continued to persecute Christians. Remember, blaspheming God in the context of Revelation (13:6) is associated with persecuting Christians, not general blasphemy.
10And 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,
At the commencement of the war against the Jews, the throne of the Roman Empire suffers the death of Caesar and chaos ensued. The darkness, or lack of light, is the lack of leadership on the part of the king. [Historically Nero dies and Galba, Othos, and Vitellius rise up and start tearing the Empire apart.]
11And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
The Romans persecute Christians, blaming the Christians for various things and did not stop just because Caesar died.
12And 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.
There is no barrier now to the Roman army, the four winds are no longer held back (Rev. 7), and the Roman generals (“kings” is from basileus which can mean “commander”) are allowed into the heart of Judah. [Historically this is both Vespasian and Titus with him.]
This is also another indication that the book of Revelation is about the fall of Jerusalem because the Euphrates has always been associated as a border of Palestine (Deuteronomy 1:7; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4; Jeremiah 13). This association with the Euphrates (along with Rev. 9) makes no sense with regard to any other interpretation of the book.
13And 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.
Pictured here are three unclean spirits that are like frogs. These spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon (the Jewish persecuting power), the beast (the sea beast, Rome), and the false prophet (the earth beast, the propagandist from chapter 13).
Unclean spirits are generally associated with Satan and are liars by nature. These frog-like spirits represents then a “plague” of lies, of misinformation all to draw the armies in the War together to the result of weakening Jerusalem.
14For 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.
This verse especially is useful in showing the identity of and the distinction of the kings of the earth from the rest of the world. These “spirits of devils” using every means necessary, bring both the Jewish leadership and their armies and the leadership of the Roman (the oikoumene or world) armies and those armies for the battle that is here associated with “The great day of God Almighty” or “the Day of the Lord” and various other versions of the phrase used throughout scripture.
15Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Further association with the coming of Christ with the Day of the Lord is by associating it with the coming of the Lord as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3). Those who are paying attention to the given signs, those who are watching and are prepared (see Matthew 24 and the fleeing from Jerusalem), won’t be caught with their pants down so to speak. They won’t be like the 5 foolish virgins of Matthew 25. The correlation to the entire Olivet Discourse (not just the first half of Matt. 24) is strongly evident here.
16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Mount Megiddo was the place in Jewish history where good king Josiah died (2 Kings 23:29). It is a place that represents great sadness for the Jewish people. In Zechariah 12:11 Zechariah associates the sadness of Megiddo directly to Jerusalem. The place called Armageddon is Jerusalem itself.
It has no connection to and for the Roman Empire.
17And 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.
Once the army of Rome is gathered against the remnant army of the Jews at Jerusalem, the preface to the destruction is done. Jerusalem is so weak from famine, from disease, from fear, and from the many other things the city has had to endure from God’s machinations in the past few years, that it is ready to fall as the Romans arrive.
18And 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.
The greatest shake up of the Jewish nation was the siege of Jerusalem itself.
19And 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.
Again the great city, again the reference to Babylon, now associated with the Hebrew Armageddon, again associated with the wine of God’s wrath, all of these symbols are pointing directly to Jerusalem. The city is divided as described in Zechariah 14.
The cities of the nations falling represents the failing of the Roman strongholds of Christian persecution because the Romans considered Christianity a Jewish sect. With the destruction of Jerusalem, the Romans believe they have cut out the heart of Christianity and no longer focus on persecuting the Christians.
20And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
The smaller Gentile nations allied with Judah abandon the Jews to their fate and flee Palestine.
21And 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.
In Truth and Love.