Revelation of John 16

* The first vial is poured out on the earth, the second on the

sea, the third on the rivers and fountains. (1-7) The fourth on

the sun, the fifth on the seat of the beast. (8-11) The sixth on

the great river Euphrates. (12-16) And the seventh on the air,

when shall follow the destruction of all antichristian enemies.

(17-21)

1-7 We are to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as

it is done in heaven. Here is a succession of terrible judgments

of Providence; and there seems to be an allusion to several of

the plagues of Egypt. The sins were alike, and so were the

punishments. The vials refer to the seven trumpets, which

represented the rise of antichrist; and the fall of the enemies

of the church shall bear some resemblance to their rise. All

things throughout their earth, their air, their sea, their

rivers, their cities, all are condemned to ruin, all accursed

for the wickedness of that people. No wonder that angels, who

witness or execute the Divine vengeance on the obstinate haters

of God, of Christ, and of holiness, praise his justice and

truth; and adore his awful judgments, when he brings upon cruel

persecutors the tortures they made his saints and prophets

suffer.
8-11 The heart of man is so desperately wicked, that the most

severe miseries never will bring any to repent, without the

special grace of God. Hell itself is filled with blasphemies;

and those are ignorant of the history of human nature, of the

Bible, and of their own hearts, who do not know that the more

men suffer, and the more plainly they see the hand of God in

their sufferings, the more furiously they often rage against

him. Let sinners now seek repentance from Christ, and the grace

of the Holy Spirit, or they will have the anguish and horror of

an unhumbled, impenitent, and desperate heart; thus adding to

their guilt and misery through all eternity. Darkness is opposed

to wisdom and knowledge, and forebodes the confusion and folly

of the idolaters and followers of the beast. It is opposed to

pleasure and joy, and signifies anguish and vexation of spirit.
12-16 This probably shows the destruction of the Turkish power,

and of idolatry, and that a way will be made for the return of

the Jews. Or, take it for Rome, as mystical Babylon, the name of

Babylon being put for Rome, which was meant, but was not then to

be directly named. When Rome is destroyed, her river and

merchandise must suffer with her. And perhaps a way will be

opened for the eastern nations to come into the church of

Christ. The great dragon will collect all his forces, to make

one desperate struggle before all be lost. God warns of this

great trial, to engage his people to prepare for it. These will

be times of great temptation; therefore Christ, by his apostle,

calls on his professed servants to expect his sudden coming, and

to watch that they might not be put to shame, as apostates or

hypocrites. However Christians differ, as to their views of the

times and seasons of events yet to be brought to pass, on this

one point all are agreed, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, will

suddenly come again to judge the world. To those living near to

Christ, it is an object of joyful hope and expectation, and

delay is not desired by them.
17-21 The seventh and last angel poured forth his vial, and the

downfal of Babylon was finished. The church triumphant in heaven

saw it and rejoiced; the church in conflict on earth saw it and

became triumphant. God remembered the great and wicked city;

though for some time he seemed to have forgotten her idolatry

and cruelty. All that was most secure was carried away by the

ruin. Men blasphemed: the greatest judgments that can befal men,

will not bring to repentance without the grace of God. To be

hardened against God, by his righteous judgments, is a certain

token of sure and utter destruction.
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