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A Bible Study:

The Revelation to John

May 30, 2006

A Study of the Revelation to John

A Study of the Revelation to John

By Bernie Parsons - May 30, 2006

A Study of Revelation Chapter 16:1-21



Revelation 16:1: And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

2: And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.



The angels are commissioned to pour out the last of God’s wrath upon the earth. Note the similarity of the pouring out on the earth, on the sea, on the rivers, etc., as is found beginning in Revelation chapter 8. The first time, only a portion of each thing was affected, while this time there is no such reservation.


The descriptions are those of death and horror.



Revelation 16:3: And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.



The indication is that there is no place to hide from the wrath of God—nowhere in the land (verse 1), or nowhere in the sea (verse 2). It is all encompassing.


Isaiah 59:17: “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

18: According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.

19: So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.  When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”


Isaiah 41:1: “Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

2: Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?  he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

3: He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

4: Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning?  I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

5: The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.”


Isaiah 42:10: “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

11: Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

12: Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.”


Recall that Jesus had warned the righteous to flee the land of Judah when the armies approached. They were told to run to the mountains outside of Judah. There was no safe place, either inland, or in coastal areas, or even on the islands. It can also be a reference to the cessation of trade by sea, as in:


Isaiah 23:1: “The burden of Tyre.  Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.

2: Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.

3: And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations.

4: Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.

5: As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre.

6: Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.

7: Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days?  her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.”



Revelation 16:4: And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

5: And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

6: For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

7: And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.



In other words, the blood shall flow. This is a description of great calamity—but one justly deserved, according to the righteous judgment of God.


Some try to reason that this must be speaking of Jerusalem, because of verse 6, and the mention of the shed blood of saints and prophets. They point to the statement of Jesus in:


Luke 11:49: “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

50: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

51: From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.”


Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”


Yet, the Romans shed the blood of saints and prophets. Not only did they have a hand in the death of Jesus, but also the deaths of apostles and saints. Jesus predicted this in:


Matthew 10:18: “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.”


Acts 23:11: “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”



Revelation 16:8: And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

9: And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.



This is similar to what we studied in chapter 8:12. Again, the picture this time is of complete disaster, not partial.



Revelation 16:10: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

11: And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.



This is similar to the opening verses of chapter 9. It deals with the wrath of God poured out upon the seat of power, which is Rome. Under Nero, there was a partial burning of the city, and again this happened under Emperor Titus. There was also despair in AD 69 as the transition between the Claudian and Flavian dynasties was taking place.



Revelation 16:12: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

14: For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.



The drying up of the river signifies that God would not stop the downfall of Romans, as He did not stop the downfall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians, who came from the east. When Rome fell, it was attacked from the northeast and the southeast.


Much has been made of the three spirits being like frogs, and many have tried to compare them to the plague of frogs upon the Egyptians. However, there is little comparison. Besides, verse 13 says that the three spirits were “like frogs”, and not that they were frogs.


More important is from whence they came. One came from the dragon (Satan, Revelation 12:9), one from the beast (Claudian Dynasty of the Roman Empire, Revelation 17:9-12), and one from the false prophet (Flavian Dynasty of the Roman Empire, Revelation 13:11).


These were lying spirits, and they appealed to the entire world to unite with the Romans against the people of God. A great battle between good and evil was rapidly approaching.



Revelation 16:15: Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.



Jesus and the apostles constantly urged the disciples of Christ to be ready, and to be vigilant, ever watchful.


Matthew 24:37: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38: For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39: And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40: Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41: Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42: Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43: But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”


Matthew 25:13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”


1 Thessalonians 5:1: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4: But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7: For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

8: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10: Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”


2 Peter 3:3: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11: Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12: Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13: Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14: Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”



Revelation 16:16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.



Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har-Meggidon, the height (or hill) of Megiddon, or Megiddo. Har-Meggidon overlooks the plain of Jezreel—Hebrew for “God sows”—and rendered Esdraelon in the Greek. This Valley of Jezreel  (Esdraelon) runs from the Jordan River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west. Owing to its large area of flatness, making it an important trade route between Egypt and Asia Minor and Europe, and the logical place for opposing armies to collide, it has been the scene of many bloody battles.


This is where Gideon defeated the massive armies of the Midianites, worshippers of the false god, Baal.


Judges 6:25: “And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:

26: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.

27: Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

28: And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.”


Judges 6:33: “Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.”


Judges 8:28: “Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more.  And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.”


God conquered the idol-worshippers in the Valley of Jezreel, though they were vast in number, using Gideon and three hundred men.


In the book of 1 Kings, we read that King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, persuaded him to worship the false god, Baal. The great prophet, Elijah, killed the prophets of Baal, and Jezebel promised to take Elijah’s life in vengeance.


It was also at Megiddo and the Valley of Jezreel that the prophet Elijah confronted King Ahab, and his wife, Jezebel, about the murder of Naboth. (Jezebel had Naboth falsely accused, and murdered, so that King Ahab could take his land.) This story is told in 1 Kings 21. Jezebel met her end at Jezreel.


2 Kings 9: 22: “And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu?  And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

23: And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.

24: And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.

25: Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him;

26: Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD.  Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.

27: But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house.  And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot.  And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam.  And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.

28: And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.

29: And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.

30: And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.

31: And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?

32: And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side?  who?  And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.

33: And he said, Throw her down.  So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot.

34: And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter.

35: And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.

36: Wherefore they came again, and told him.  And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:

37: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.”


Hosea 1:1: “The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

2: The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea.  And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

3: So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

4: And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

5: And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

6: And she conceived again, and bare a daughter.  And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

7: But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

8: Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.

9: Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

10: Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

11: Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.”


Hosea 2:6: “And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi <my husband>; and shalt call me no more Baali<my Lord>.

17: For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

18: And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.

19: And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.

20: I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.

21: And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;

22: And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.

23: And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”


Again, we see the name Jezreel—“God sows”—in connection with the cessation of worship to Baal. We also see that Josiah, King of Judah, died at Megiddo, when God declared that Judaea (Judah) and Jerusalem would be cut off.


2 Kings 23:26: “Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

27: And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

28: Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

29: In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.

30: And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre.  And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.”


We see from all this that the great battle of Armageddon was the battle of God against the worshippers of false gods, such as Baal. It was with Josiah’s fall at Megiddo that God declared that Judah and Israel were put from Him, or cut off. In Revelation, a great battle is about to begin between God and the worshippers of false gods—the Romans.


Zechariah 12:8: “In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.

9: And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

11: In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”


Haddad and Rimmon, storm god, or god of thunder, are alternate names for Baal (Lord). This prophecy is quoted as referring to Jesus as “me whom they have pierced”. Jerusalem will mourn for this pierced son, just as the followers of Baal mourned in the Valley of Meggido (the Valley of Jezreel, or Esdraelon). Reminiscent of the battles of Meggido/Jezreel, again the worshippers of the false gods will be defeated by the might of God.


In summary, the battle of Armageddon (Har Megiddon) signifies, not so much a physical location, but the clash of the worshippers of God with the worshippers of false gods, such as Baal. The prophet Hosea talked of a future Jezreel.



Revelation 16:17: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.



 “It is done” means that God is finishing the pouring out of His wrath upon the earth. The seventh vial is emptied, and it is time for God to recompense the great Babylon, Rome. Now it is time for the great battle against the worshippers of the false gods.



Revelation 16:18: And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

19: And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

20: And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

21: And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.



Remember that Daniel interpreted the dream about the four great empires. The Babylonian was the first, and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and carried Judah away, captive. The fourth great empire was the Roman, which was to destroy Jerusalem and the temple, and carry Judah (Judaea) away into captivity.

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