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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation satan

Revelation 15 and 16: The 7 Vials of the Wrath of God

The Giving of the Seven Bowls of Wrath / The First Six Plagues, Revelation 16:1-16. Matthias Gerung, c. 1531

It is important to realise that God shows John the Apostle a vision which is not sequential in time. God’s way of looking at events, is not sequential, because He sees the end from the beginning and visa-versa. We humans tend to think in a sequential flow of time, but God, the eternally existent One, by His very nature, transcends all time and space.

Chapter 15 of the Book of Revelation records a vision that gives the reader an introduction to the 7 vials of wrath being poured out on the earth. These are the final phase of the wrath of God. Jesus Christ shows John a vision of the believers who are saved and in heaven yet also of the coming 7 vials to be poured out by angels. This does not means the saved avoid living through the period of this final wrath of God.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 16

Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake --- Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS
Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake — Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS

Continuing on from chapter 15, where we saw seven angels given seven vials full of plagues of God’s wrath, in this chapter God commands the seven angels to go and pour out their vials of His wrath on the earth (v.1).  These vials, a final group of seven, result in a series of judgments upon the anti-Christ powers, the dragon, the beast, the image of the beast, the false prophet, and Babylon. These were seen to symbolise the world-power which found its embodiment in Rome, and then in its papal form. These suffer under the judgments of God.

Under the seven seals, old pagan Rome was judged and brought to an end. Under the seven trumpets, the Roman Empire in its new form was judged and its destruction symbolized. Hence, under the seven vials, we see symbolized a series of judgments, which weaken and destroy papal Rome; and, with the seventh vial, Babylon, the Great City, symbolising the Apostate Church, falls.

First Vial (v.2) – Poured out on the earth. Grievous sores (ulcers) afflict those who follow and worship the Papacy and have ‘the mark of the beast’.

The term ‘earth’ here as before symbolises people, and in particular the Roman world. The expression “the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image” refers to the supporters of the worldly power and spiritual claims of Rome. See v.13:14-18. Those who suffer are those who listen to the lamb-like dragon (v.13:11), the AntiChrist, the false spiritual power (v.13:14,15). An ulcer is not only a painful and dangerous sore, but is often malignant and foul with corruption. The term is often used to describe moral corruption, and the ulcers described may be moral or spiritual.