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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.

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 15

The overthrow of the great city Babylon was seen in chapter 14:8-10, but in chapters 15 and 16, the seven last plagues result in the judgment and wrath of God on the false Roman church system, the great whore. The chapter 14 gave us a summary largely of future events. Chapters 15 through 19 present those same events, but in more detail. These chapters (15-19) are all connected with the fall of spiritual Babylon.

The opening of the seventh seal (chapter 8) resulted in the triumph of Christianity over Roman Paganism. This was followed by seven trumpets (chapters 8 to 11) which led to the overthrow of the western Roman Empire by the Goths, Vandals and Huns, and the ruin of the Eastern Empire by the Saracens and Turks. The seventh trumpet, the last trumpet, takes us to the close of secular history with the trump of the Archangel.

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

The seven vials (chapters 15,16) also give the history of an epoch, and, like each of the series of seven, bring us to the end of that epoch. They present the series of calamities that first weaken and then destroy the power of Papal Rome.

Chapter 15 opens with “And I saw another great sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues” (v.1). That is 7 angels with 7 plagues which are to be poured on the earth by use of 7 vials, but they don’t come out until verse 6.