Summary: Here we have another solemn picture of the final judgment of God. The whole world is caught up in it. The great city collapses, every city is destroyed, Babylon the Great receives its final judgment. Later, John will relate a more vivid account of the . .

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 5/9/17


Subtopic B: THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (15:1-16:21)

Lesson: IV.B.8: Seventh bowl: Great earthquake, great city divided, Babylon is remembered, cataclysmic events (Revelation 16:17-21)

Revelation 16:17-21 (KJV)

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.

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.

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.

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

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.


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.

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air;”

Or “upon the air,” which is how the Alexandrian copy, Syriac and Arabic versions, read; by which is meant the kingdom of Satan, for he is the prince of the power of the air, (Ephesians 2:2). This does not mean that he has power over the air, to raise or lower the winds and storms at his pleasure; but he is called this because he is the prince of that posse of devils, the principalities and powers of darkness that have their dwelling in the air; the air, encompassing the whole world, stands for the kingdom of Satan all the world over. This vial (bowl) differs from all the rest, in that, the rest only affect some part or branch of the antichristian mindset, whereas, this will affect all that remains of the Pagan (Muslim, Hindu, and all cults; those who have not taken Christ) powers, gathered and united together at Armageddon. The pouring out of this bowl is an act of divine wrath and vengeance upon them all at once; and the effects of this bowl will not only reach to the kings of the earth, and their armies, who will be slain, and their flesh given to the fowls of the air; and not only to the beast and false prophet, who will be taken in this battle, and cast alive into the lake of fire, which is expressive both of their temporal and eternal punishment (Revelation 19:17). And finally, the effects of this seventh bowl will culminate in the binding of Satan upon the second coming of Christ, of which we were informed by Revelation 16:15; and in the destruction of Gog and Magog at the end of the thousand years' reign; and to the casting of the devil into everlasting fire. Since this vial is the last plague in which the wrath of God is filled up, it will bring to an end, all things (Revelation 20:1).

This is so important that I must repeat it. The first accomplishment of this vial will be the decisive battle at Armageddon, when the remains of all Christ's and His church's enemies will suffer total defeat; and this will be the third and last woe, which will utterly destroy all the unsaved (unconverted, lost, heathen, cults, unbelievers, etc.), ?even all the open enemies of Christ, so that nothing will lie in the way of His kingdom. Now will the spiritual reign of Christ, which has been gradually advancing by the pouring out of each vial, be in its full glory: but though antichrist will be no more, and Satan will no longer have any power over the earth; yet, towards the close of this reign, great lukewarmness and coldness will seize “professors” of religion, and immorality and profaneness will abound again; which will bring on the times of the coming of the son of man; who, upon his personal descent from the third heaven into the air, will drive Satan and his posse of devils from their territories, and the final battle quickly begins, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; which is a considerable part of the pouring out of this vial into the air.

“And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne,”

This voice is said to come “out of the temple of heaven,” that is, out of the temple which is in heaven, which will now be opened, as it was under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, with which this vial corresponds, and indeed is contemporary; and which refers to the church, enjoying the pure worship of God, the word and ordinances, and the free exercise of religion; and this shows that when this voice will be uttered, the Jerusalem church state will not as yet have begun, since there will be no temple in that (the New Jerusalem); see Revelation 11:19. The words, “of Heaven,” are left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, which read, “out of the temple from the throne”; the seat of government in the church, described in Revelation 4:2. The voice came with power, authority, and majesty; not from any of the four and twenty elders, or four living creatures, or angels about the throne; but either from God the Father that sits upon it; or from Christ the Lamb in the midst of it. The latter would seem most probable, since a like phrase was used by Him on the cross (John 19:30), and the same thing is said by Him who is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 21:6) and this voice is called a “great one,” being the voice of a great person, the King of kings, and coming with great power.

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