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.
A vial is like a cup or a vessel that contains something. Seven angels are commanded to start the process of the last seven judgments upon the earth. This judgment is not for the faithful believers who have loved the Lord and have accepted His word to the point of living what they believe or confess. This judgment is upon those that have continually rejected God and the Son of God even through warnings from the first judgments came time after time yet they not only did not repent but they actually killed those who brought them the message of repentance.
Like the prophets in the Old Testament who were rejected, the tribulation saints and preachers were rejected. Men in the Old Testament preferred to hear the prophets who prophesied smooth words that prophesied good things. These during this time of great tribulation will also prefer to hear the smooth deceiving words of the anti-christ rather than hear of impending judgment. That is why the way of salvation is a straight and narrow way that few find. We want to believe that we can be saved and inherit eternal life without turning from sin or allowing any correction from God in how we are living, not realizing that God cannot allow sin to continue. If we keep our sin and do not repent, we will not be among those comforted and those that inherit God's kingdom.
We see this type of reaction described in Isaiah:
Isaiah 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
Isa 30:2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Isa 30:3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.
Isa 30:4 For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.
Isa 30:5 They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be a help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.
Isa 30:6 The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.
Isa 30:7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.
Isa 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever:
Isa 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
Isa 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
We have people today already who have this desire to only here smooth words and do not appreciate the prophets of doom and gloom. The flesh likes the praise of men and they want the money to keep rolling in so they are always tempted to say only what people want to hear.
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 worshiped his image.
Those that chose to have the good things in this life and ignore God's way are now doomed to suffer the pain and suffering of judgment while those they tormented are living with eternal happiness.
This is a repeat of the plague of boils sent upon the Egyptians. This plague will affect those that have taken the mark of the beast and who worship him. Imagine how irritated it is to get just one boil much less break out all over with them.
There is one account of this I read where the writer believes that these boils are caused by the actual mark of the beast which he believes is an electrical device under the skin which later erupts and causes the boils. This causes lack of communication among those with the mark of the beast just before the return of Christ and it brings confusion. Since the mark is no longer working they will not be able to buy or sell. This is a just retribution for these same people refused to allow believers to buy or sell because they refused to take the mark of the beast. God is a just God. That is an interesting take on it but it is not scripture just someone's idea of what could happen.
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.
Rev 16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
Mankind tends to worship the creations rather than the creator. Notice how these plagues destroy the things men worship.
When oceans turn to blood imagine the how the weather patterns and cycles of evaporation will be affected. The water supply for the whole world has its original source from the oceans. Just imagine how messed up it will be then.
There still will be people who survive all these things that have not taken the mark and who will be the ones Christ and the followers of Christ will reign and rule over. There will be natural people alive on the earth who Jesus will rule over during the 1000 year reign. The sea referred to here is may be only the Mediterranean and the bodies of water around that area of the world. This is a repeat of the first plague upon Egypt. Yet, if this plague is upon all the oceans, imagine how the whole system that purifies water and sends down the rain will be ruined.
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.
One writer I read said that blood actually vibrates and makes a sound. God actually heard Abel’s blood crying from the ground when Cain killed Him. Imagine now how God feels when He hears the blood of His own people crying out to Him. Their souls immediately go to heaven but the blood cries out from the ground in which it was shed.
Now we see clearly why God's severest judgment is being poured out on these people. They shed blood so their blood is shed in return. The law of sowing and reaping is always in effect. The only thing that cancels this natural law is genuine repentance. Even then we are forgiven by God just as if we had never sinned but those we live among may still remember our sins. For instance, we may rob a bank and then repent and God washes that sin away but the natural law of our land says we have to go to jail for the crime. Even though God's grace cancels that sin against us, the law of the land we reside in, still remembers the sin.
Rev 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
God is perfect and righteous are all His ways. He has no fault and never makes a mistake. If He judges in this way, we can be assured that He is just.
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.
The sad part of this verse it, "They repented not to give him glory?" By this time the heart of mankind is so hard that all this can occur but men will not repent. I see this today and now can understand why so many suffer these plagues but still do not repent. Think how miserable summer is when it is so hot and our air conditioning doesn’t work and our fans only generate more heat. This will be far worse. Something happens to the sun that causes the darkness coming next.
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.
We can remember that plagues were poured out upon Pharaoh in the days of Moses and he would not repent. These men here are even worse than Pharaoh. Darkness is also one of the plagues upon Egypt. Just as people outside of Egypt escaped these plagues, there will be natural people in other parts of the world that do not suffer from these plagues.
People today are getting harder toward the gospel than I've ever seen it before. It use to be that one could run into a drunk on the streets that would still fear God and believe that the bible was God's word. Now the church and those representing the church has failed so miserably that I marvel that anyone is saved. We have preached the gospel of prosperity and self-help junk so long that the world thinks we just are after their money and the gospel is just a "How to be successful message." . The message of repentance is rare.
We have had so much scandal in among the TV evangelists, and because of the fear of legalism, we have over reacted by avoiding holiness altogether so much so that we look and act no different than the world around us.
Because of those that accuse us of over-emphasizing tongues and the gifts of the spirit, we are starting to back away from allowing people to speak in tongues and exercise God's gifts forgetting that the same Paul who warned of the misuse of the gifts also said to despise not prophecy and forbid not to speak in tongues. On the other hand we have those who exercise those things and have lost their love for holiness and the truth, seeking only to puff up themselves. Balance and truth is desperately needed.
We need the fruits of the spirit first and then we truly need the gifts and not deny them. We need love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and we should seek these all the time but we still need the power gifts that edify and build us up in the faith. We need everything that God has given to us for the purpose of spreading the gospel, encouraging the saints, comforting the hurting, convicting the sinner, healing the sick and doing the works Jesus commanded us to do. If some misuse these things, we must correct that problem but not throw the baby out with the bathwater and start forbidding the gifts. That is what happened after the apostles died and the church of that day slowly began to move away from the original teachings of the word.
Because of those that preached false doctrine, the church organized, eventually separated the clergy from the laity and snuffed out the freedom to worship and share with each other like the early church did. The gifts disappeared, not because God removed them like some teach but because no one encouraged the believers to seek them. I read one church father that said, "Do nothing without the bishop." I realize that his motive was probably to protect the flock from false shepherds but it snuffs out the believer's worship and causes him to rely solely on the church leaders. He quits seeking God on his own and soon we have people in the church who have not even been born again. That is why we had a church in the Middle Ages that allowed so much unscriptural practices to creep in and began to persecute those that disagreed with the leadership. Every time the church had a problem, it over corrected, getting rid of the problem but causing a far worse thing to take its place.
People need the freedom to worship God themselves. Trying to get rid of a few fanatics sometimes snuffs out the truth if we overdo it and substitute manmade traditions in place of the word.
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.
We see that the anti-christ (beast) and the false prophet are possessed with the devil. It is by the power of Satan that they will do all the evil that is to come.
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.
The great battle against God's people is to come as a result. Both armies from the north and the East will take the side of the anti-christ and surround Israel. The drying up of this river will help them to come upon Israel to be defeated by Jesus Christ. This same type of battle will also be repeated when Satan is let loose after the 1000 year reign of Christ.
Satan will be able to cause men to be united at this time. Perhaps he deceives them into thinking that people from outer space are about to invade the earth. I can imagine how the people of the world would be united in a common cause if the threat of alien invasion loomed on the horizon.
This is why I avoid too much emphasis on unity. The Spirit of God will bring the right kind of unity in the true body of Christ. We do not need to attend special unity meetings and join ecumenical movements. God will bring us together by His spirit when the time is right. We are to love one another and endeavor to preach the gospel and teach His word. It is okay to be a small little group of people. We do not have to be a great big mega organization. The separated brethren do not need back into the Catholic Church or any other manmade organization. We are part of the great Church of God with our names in the book of life. We do not have to become part of a big organized religion to have biblical unity.
That doesn’t mean we can’t have overseers and join the church for the purpose of protecting the flock from wolves in sheep’s clothing, sending out missionaries, and spreading the gospel but that must be done with caution always remembering that our salvation is not in the institutionalized church but in Jesus Christ. That is as far as it should go though. We do not have to merge with the Baptists, Methodists, Catholics or Lutherans. Instead of focusing on getting big numbers and political power, our focus should be on getting people saved whether or not they join us or go somewhere else to serve the Lord.
Remember it is God who divided us in the first place. He divided people at the tower of Babel. Some people think God is not in the division of the church in denominations. I disagree with that. Of course He was. He cannot trust us with the power of becoming a large group like the Catholic Church once was. Look what they did. That is exactly what would happen again if all churches would unite. When we get too big and powerful, there is always a split. We think that is the devil causing trouble. It is in some cases but maybe God is trying to tell us not to stay in one place and build a big mega church but spread the gospel into all the world. We get too big and we also get a big head and start throwing our weight around making demands and even threatening politicians if they don’t do things our way.
Why is that wrong? Are we not to be salt and light? It is wrong because we are not relying on the power of God but the power of our political influence and prestige. As long as we are big and powerful, we will not see the need to fast, pray and seek the will of God.
This is exactly why I do not like ecumenical movements, promise keepers, and the religious right movement. I agree with some of the things they stand for but is it changing people from the inside out or from the outside in? Our we just making wet sinners using the name of Christianity like they did in the Middle Ages or are people being born again by the spirit of God? This is something to think about. True unity will only come when God brings it like on the day of Pentecost. He even had to bust that up because at first they stayed around Jerusalem until persecution caused them to have to flee into other places. There is a godly unity or being united in spirit and in truth but it will happen at the right time. Local churches should seek this always and seek God for this.
Everyone keeps talking about unity but the world is not ready for unity. Right now being united will only bring evil, not the work of God. Jesus said that He came to cause division. His word would divide. The only way we can be united in today's world is to lay down the word and compromise our faith.
Jesus did speak of the right kind of unity. He wanted all of us to be one like He and His Father are one. He wanted us to have unity of the spirit. Paul also spoke of this saying, “Is Christ divided?” Yet in order to have the same kind of unity that Jesus and His Father has we would have to believe all the same but that belief has to be completely totally without error, with perfect love and completely in the will of God.
The Catholic Church tried this and failed because their unity was in the doctrines and commandments of men, not the word of God. Until the church is perfect in love, perfect in truth and perfectly in the will of the spirit, we cannot have the unity Jesus spoke of. Local churches can come close to this if they are a praying church but to get unity on a large scale we just might have to wait until the coming of Jesus Christ.
Satan is the one behind watering down sound doctrine to join into one big movement called Christianity, one world religion or some other large group. Whether it is a one world government or a one world religion, we would have to throw away the gospel and the bible to be able to unite today’s world. If we do that we lose our souls. Poor deceived Oprah doesn’t realize what she is doing and teaching. We have to wait until Jesus’ literal return or we would make a mess of it. How do I know this? Church history. Been there, done that.
God knows us and knows that we would not be safe in larger groups. I will quote another dear brother in Christ here:
“The bigger the group the more insensitive that top leader becomes to the feelings of those down on the bottom." The bigger the church denomination the less influence you have at the bottom. I would love to give credit to the person I quoted but I read so many articles, I forget where I got it most of the time. It is a good point though.
Rev 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
This is why Jesus told us to watch and pray that we do not enter into temptation. We are to pray without ceasing and to study the word God provided for us to keep us from allowing ourselves to return to the sin, we were cleansed from. A prayerless church is a powerless church. We are to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ and be safe under the shadow of His wing. We cannot save ourselves, we must trust in Him for protection and refuse to give place to the devil in anything.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
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.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Rev 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Here it is the battle we have all heard about, the battle of Armageddon. All movies, stories and pictures of this cannot really describe the real event that is to come at the end of the tribulation. The demonic spirits are the ones that will go forth and entice all the armies of eastern and northern nations to come down to this battle. Where are the anti-war people now? This battle is also described in more detail in chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel although there are some that believe that the battle in Ezekiel occurs before the tribulation and is a different battle.
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.
Now we are coming the the great judgment of Babylon. Some believe there are more than one Babylon, mystery Babylon that is the religious one and commercial Babylon which is a real city. There are many different theories about them and it is an exciting subject to study. There are a few that believe both Babylons are one. I will get into that subject more thoroughly as I come to them.
Again a reminder that our safety is in Jesus Christ. We need to seek Him daily to increase our love for Him so that we do not lose that first love and grow lukewarm or even cold. We must love our brothers and sisters in the Lord and remind ourselves to be concerned for the lost souls around us. If we do these things we can keep all God's commandments. If we lose our love, we will open that door to return to sin.
We see today that the gospel of repentance and turning from sin is no longer a part of the message of salvation like it once was. This is not good. We can’t be saved from sin if we do not turn away from it. We can’t just say we believe in Jesus and not allow His spirit to come within us and change our lives. Part of what we call “being saved” or being “born again” is repenting of sin along with believing and trusting in Jesus to cleanse that sin away.
To really believe in Him is to believe why He came and what He came to do on our behalf. To really believe in Him is to believe that He came to save His people from their sins. If we just believe on a man called Jesus and still are the same as before we believed, we have not really been saved or born again. There is some people that mistakenly believe that they can confess Jesus Christ and claim Him as savior but then go about and live any way they choose trusting in Him to get them in the kingdom of God just because they believe it. They do not repent of sin and have not been changed, washed in the blood or born again by the spirit. To really believe in something, one partakes of that something.
What made the tribulation martyrs worthy to make heaven? They washed their robes in the blood of the lamb (Jesus). Why would we need to wash our robes in the blood of the lamb? To be cleansed from sin. How can we claim to be cleansed from sin if we are still living in sin? If we really believe and trust in Christ our sins are washed away, we are new creatures and old things have passed away.
To end this session on a positive note, I want to say this: God wants to be our God more than we want God to be our God. God likes to have us seek Him more than we want to seek Him. God wants our fellowship and the day is coming when He will dwell with those that desire to dwell with Him. God wants all men and women to be saved. It is His will that no person should ever perish. Heaven rejoices when just one sinner is saved. God wants to give us good things. It is up to us to seek Him and receive all His has for us.
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