|Synopsis Home||Revelation Chapter 16|
The first four judgments; the whole circle of symbolic nature; the prophetic sphere of God's dealings, people in general, moral principles and sovereign authority
The first four plagues have the same objects as the judgments of the first four trumpets -- the whole circle of symbolic nature, but here directly as regards men -- earth, sea, rivers, and sun; the ordered prophetic sphere of God's dealings, the masses of peoples as such viewed as unorganised, the moral principles which give an impulse to their movements, and sovereign authority. But it is not a third here (that is, the Roman earth) but in general.
Judgment on all who had the mark of the beast
The first vial of wrath brought the utmost distress and shameful misery on all who had taken the mark of the beast.
Moral death on the mass of peoples
The second brought the power of moral death on the mass of peoples; all who were among them within the limits of the prophetic earth, died -- I apprehend, gave up mere outward profession. We have here an example of the use of symbols which it is well to note. All the vials are poured out on the earth, that is, are applied to the sphere of already formed relationship with God. But in this there might be a special relationship in which men had to do with God in this world -- were inhabiters of earth, or the mass of people within that sphere.
The sources of popular action and feeling in alienation from God became deathful
The third vial was poured out on all the sources of popular influence and action; and they became positively deathful. It seems to me, that the deadly influence in alienation from God, within the sphere of prophecy, is strongly marked here. Death is used generally as the expression of the power of Satan.
Supreme authority made frightfully oppressive
Then the supreme authority is made frightfully oppressive. This gave the first four of direct judgment according to the usual division.
Satan's kingdom full of darkness
The fifth vial strikes the throne of the beast, the seat and stability of his authority, which Satan had given him; and his kingdom became full of darkness. All was confusion and wretchedness, and no resource: they gnawed their tongues with anguish and blasphemed God.
Bringing Asiatic powers into the conflict; the sum of all evil influences and the kings of the world gathered together to the battle of God's great day
The sixth angel pours out his vial on Euphrates -- destroys, I apprehend, the securing boundary of the Western prophetic powers -- not the seat of its power, but broke its frontier, that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared. I look at this simply as the bringing in of the powers of Asia into the conflict for the universal conflagration of powers. The sixth vial sends forth three unclean spirits, the sum of all evil influences: that of Satan's direct power as antagonistic of Christ; that of the power of the last empire, the beast; and that of the second beast of Revelation 13 henceforth known as the false prophet, Satan's influence as the Antichrist, an idolatrous wonder-working power; and the kings of the world were gathered together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. The allusion is to Judges 5: 19, 20.Synopsis by John Darby