Friday, September 26, 2014

The Seven Last Plagues

Revelation 15:1-16:21

“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.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.  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 are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:1-4)

The events described here seem to happen between the time the Lord takes out his and the angel casts the wicked into the winepress.  The ones who have gone through the tribulation without yielding to Antichrist are standing on the sea or lake of glass with flames mixed in and shining through it.  They are all playing harps, and singing songs of praise, thanking God for his wonderful plan and rejoicing that all nations will finally acknowledge him as God.

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.  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.  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.” (Revelation 15:5-16:1)

Next John saw the temple in heaven opened again and the angels having the seven last plagues of God’s wrath sent out.  They are instructed to empty the vials or containers on the earth. 

 “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.” (Revelation 16:2)

The first plague is like lesions or boils on the skin of every person who has accepted the mark of the beast or worshipped his image.  They are oozing pus and smell horrible, in addition to being very painful, and make people miserable.  This resembles the plague of boils in Exodus 9:8-11.

“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.   And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” (Revelation 16:3-4)

The second angel empties his plague on the ocean and the water congeals like a dead person’s blood clots in the veins within a few hours.  Unable to swim or get oxygen, every animal in the ocean died.  The third angel poured his plague on the fresh water, and it all turned to blood. 

“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.  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.  And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” (Revelation 16:5-7)

Because they have been so bloodthirsty, murdering God’s people the angels consider it only fair that the people be given nothing but blood to drink.  The plague is reminiscent of the plague in Egypt in Exodus 7:14-25, when the waters of the Nile turned to blood, killing the fish and making the river stink.  This time, however, it is all the fresh water.

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.  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.” (Revelation 16:8-9)

Earlier, the sun had been blocked by smoke and ash and the length of the days changed.  Now the it is like there is a huge solar flare that intensifies the heat the sun put out people are not only sunburned but physically burned by the heat.  People are miserable and curse God because of the heat, rather than asking him to forgive them. 

“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, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10-11)

The fifth angel pours his vial over the Antichrists capitol, and the sky is blacked out completely, but does not shield them from the heat.  Already suffering from thirst and sores and the heat, and unable to produce enough electricity to run their air conditioning, people become even more resentful and irritable, but they still don’t acknowledge their sin.  This plague resembles the plague of darkness described in Exodus 10:21-23.

“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.” (Revelation 16:12)

The Euphrates River has been running since the beginning of the world and has supplied Babylon with water since the tower of Babel was built.  When the sixth angel pours out his plague the Euphrates river stops running in preparation for the Eastern nations to participate in the final attack on Jerusalem. 

“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.  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.” (Revelation 16:13-14)

The devil, the Antichrist, and the false prophet all conspire to incite the entire world to final attempt to defeat God’s plan in a concerted attack on Christ.   Zechariah 14:3 says, “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15)

Once again we are reminded that there will be no advance warning signs of the Lord’s coming.  Those who have accepted and faithfully served him will be prepared and have nothing to worry about.  Those who have not trusted him will be revealed in all their shame. 

“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

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.  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.  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.

And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  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.” (Revelation 16:17-21)

With all the armies of the world gathered in the valley of Armageddon, the last angel pours out the last plague and announces the end.  When he does, there is the biggest earthquake the world has ever seen, accompanied by what seems to be a massive thunderstorm.  Jerusalem is divided into three parts, and the capitols of all the nations collapse.  The islands are shaken into the sea, and the mountains displaced by the violence of the earthquake.  To top it all off, there is a hailstorm with hailstones weighing seventy five pounds each, that destroys almost everything that survives the earthquake.  Babylon will  also be judged by God.

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