First 5 Vials of Wrath of God Revelation 16 1-11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The First Five Vials
In this passage, the first five angels pour out their vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. These vials cause plagues ranging from sores and scorching heat to contaminated drinking water and painful darkness. A thorough examination of each plague reveals its nature and its consequences.
v.2 – the first vial – this vial is poured out on the earth – this vial causes a sore on everyone who has the mark of the beast and who worships his image – therefore, the greatest percentage of the population is affected because those who don’t worship the image are killed [13:15] and those who don’t receive the mark cannot buy and sell [13:16-17] – only those who are divinely protected at this point could survive without the mark and without worshipping the image of the beast – the sore that comes up on them is described as noisome [offensive to the smell, disgusting, hurtful] and grievous [painful, hard to bear] – this sore is similar to the plague of boils in Exodus 9:9-11
v.3 – the second vial – this vial is poured out on the sea – it makes the sea as the blood of a dead man – it doesn’t turn the water to blood but makes it LIKE the blood of a dead man [contrast 8:8] – it is the lack of oxygen which causes a dead man’s blood to turn dark red and eventually black – the key element then is not the color of the sea but rather that it is deoxygenated – without oxygen in the water, life cannot exist in the sea – therefore, every living soul dies in the sea [the ones which survived 8:9]
v.4-7 – the third vial – this vial is poured out on the rivers and fountains of waters [springs and wells] – it turns the water to blood, matching the plague of Exodus 7:19-20 – and the angel of the waters declares that this judgment is right because those responsible for the shed blood of the saints and prophets are worthy to drink blood [17:6; Psalms 16:4] – and the testimony of the angel is established by another witness out of the altar [6:9-11]
v.8-9 – the fourth vial – this vial is poured out on the sun – it causes the sun to scorch men with fire – notice that the sun is personified [“power was given unto him”] – that’s because the sun typifies Jesus [Psalms 19:4-6] – interestingly, the moon is personified as a woman [Isaiah 13:10] because it typifies the church, the bride of Christ – the sun scorches them with great heat [to affect painfully with heat and to heat so much as to change the color and texture of their skin without consuming them] – coupled with famine the result is best described in Lamentations 4:8, 5:10 – rather than repent and give glory to God, these blackened, disfigured creatures blaspheme the name of God – it’s ironic that they would blaspheme his name when they don’t even believe in his existence
v.10-11 – the fifth vial – this vial is poured out on the seat of the beast – this seat was given to the beast by the devil [13:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4] – this vial causes darkness on the beast’s kingdom similar to Exodus 10:21 – the result of the darkness is pain which causes men to gnaw their tongues [interestingly there is now a one-man rock band called “Gnaw Their Tongues” whose music is described as black metal] – again men blaspheme God because of their pains and their sores and they won’t repent of their deeds – as usual it’s all God’s fault