The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE SEVENTH VIAL
- We were blessed these past three weeks with special
meetings with Bro. Van Gelderen.
Let us quickly review (15:1; 16:1-16).
- There is an old saying, "coming events cast their
shadows before them." Today we are
seeing the shadows of the battle of Armageddon (16:16), and the second coming of
- In verse 17,
the seventh angel pours out his vial "into the air." This will be the consummation of God's
wrath, the final overthrow of all the God-haters, Christ-deniers, Bible-critics,
scoffers, skeptics, scorners, atheists, agnostics, humanists, ecumenicalists,
modernists, liberals, cultists, and sex perverts.
- The pouring of
the seventh vial will be accompanied by a great voice out from the throne of God
in the temple in heaven, saying, “It is done!”
- This will be
the final act of God preceding the second coming of Christ, and it will be
accompanied by voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and a great
- We have noted
in chapter 8, and then in chapter 11 that there will also be voices, thunders, lightnings, and a great earthquake after the
seventh seal, and then again after the seventh trumpet (8:5;
- There is
perfect symmetry and harmony in the book of Revelation.
- There is
perfect symmetry and harmony all throughout the
Bible. For example, in the book of
Genesis we see the creation of the heaven and the earth. In the book of Revelation we see a new
heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (21:1).
- The tree of life is prominent in the book of Genesis and
also in the book of Revelation.
- In Genesis we see Adam, the first man, and his wife set
over all of God's creation. In the
book of Revelation we see the "second Adam" and His wife ruling over a redeemed
- In Genesis we are introduced to the first sacrificial
lamb. Throughout the book of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as
- The serpent beguiled Eve in the beginning of the book of
Genesis; and the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth
the whole world is cast into the lake of fire in the end of the book of
- In the early chapters of Genesis we see the rise of
Babylon. In the final chapters of
Revelation we see the destruction of Babylon.
- Many other examples could be given, showing the
perfect symmetry and harmony of Scripture.
- Dr. A.T. Pierson wrote a book entitled, The Bible and
Spiritual Criticism, which deals with the spiritual symmetry of the Bible
and other similar themes. It is a
IT IS DONE (16:17).
- In the seventh
seal are the seven trumpets, and in the seventh trumpet are the seven
- The seventh
vial contains God's final judgment upon the earth, and His voice from the throne
saying, "It is done" (16:17).
- William Newell,
in his excellent commentary on the book of
Revelation, says, "'It is done!' is the great voice from the throne, when this
seventh bowl is poured out. Men
would not have the Saviour's 'It is finished!' on Calvary; so they must have the
awful 'It is done!' from the Judge!
Alas! Alas! Oh, that men today would hear and be
warned to flee from the coming storm!"
indicate that millions of Americans reject the Gospel because they do not accept
Biblical standards of morality, and they do not like the exclusive claims
that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
some day, there will come a great voice from
heaven, saying, "It is done" (16:17).
A GREAT EARTHQUAKE
- Verse 18 tells
us that after the voice from heaven, there will be "a great earthquake, such as was
not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great"
verse 19 declares that “the great city” will be split
into “three parts” and that "the cities of the nations"
(the other great cities of the Gentile world) will also fall.
- Rome, Paris,
London, New York, Washington DC! It
is a picture of awesome destruction.
- There has been
some debate over the identity of "the great city" in verse 19. Babylon is specifically mentioned
later in the verse, but Revelation 17 refers to "MYSTERY BABYLON," which most
expositors identify as Rome, not ancient Babylon.
- Some identify
the city as the literal city of Babylon, which they believe will be rebuilt in
- Still others
have identified the great city as Jerusalem, because in Revelation 11:8
Jerusalem is referred to as “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom
and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
- To give
credence to this view, it should be noted that great topographical changes will
take place around Jerusalem in connection with the judgments during the
tribulation period (cf. Zech. 14:4).
- However, I do
believe the "great city" referred to here is Rome
- Babylon is
destined to be completely destroyed (cf. 18:21), and whether this coming
judgment refers to Rome which is spiritual Babylon or to a rebuilt city of
Babylon on the Euphrates River, it seems clear that Babylon is "the great city"
- There were no chapter and verse divisions in the
original Bible, and these verses lead up to chapters 17 and 18, which deal with
God's judgment upon Babylon, which expositors have always identified with the
Roman Catholic Church.
- This was the view of John Huss, John Wycliffe, Martin
Zwingli, John Calvin, John Knox, Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards, John
Wesley, Matthew Henry, C.H. Spurgeon, and a host of others.
- God's fierce judgment upon Babylon is expressed
graphically in the statement “to give unto her the cup of the wine of the
fierceness of his wrath” (16:19b; cf. 17:1; 18:8, 21;
- This final judgment of this wicked city, and all it
represents, will take place just prior to the second coming of
- John Walvoord says, not only will "every city of the
world come under terrible judgment as a result of the great earthquake which
leaves all monuments of men’s ingenuity in shambles, but the Scriptures also
indicate great changes in the topography of the entire world. The sweeping
statement is made in verse 20 that every island is affected and mountains
disappear. The fierceness of the wrath of God in verse 19, literally the anger
of His wrath, is manifested in the entire physical earth. The movement of the
islands and mountains mentioned in 6:14 as stemming from the sixth seal is here
carried to a more violent conclusion with apparently the entire earth radically
changing its appearance. Such a judgment undoubtedly causes great loss of life
and disruption of such world organization as may have remained up to this time.
There does not seem to be any good reason for taking this verse in other than
its literal meaning, coming as it does at the climax of the great tribulation
when many other Scriptures indicate changes in topography including an entirely
new appearance of the holy land itself" (The Revelation of Jesus
GREAT HAIL FROM HEAVEN
- In addition to
mentioning the great earthquake, verse 21 predicts "a great hail" with every
stone about the weight of a talent.
- A talent weighs
about 100 pounds. "Such a hail from heaven falling upon men would have a
devastating effect and would destroy much that was still left standing by the
- It will be a
judgment similar to that of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah but here it
will not be limited to just one area, but it will extend over the entire earth.
- Although the
judgment will be severe, men will still refuse to repent. Verse 21 concludes
with the sad statement that “men blasphemed God because of the plague of the
hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”
- John Walvoord
summarizes this seventh vial judgment by saying, "Though from the contemporary
point of view all the details of these dramatic judgments are not immediately
understood, the unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole
world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and
Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who
avail themselves of the grace of God in that day by faith in Jesus Christ. The
utter perversity of human nature, which will reject the sovereignty of God in
the face of such overwhelming evidence, confirms that even the lake of fire will
not produce repentance on the part of those who have hardened their hearts
against the grace of God" (The Revelation of Jesus
- Revelation 17:1
through 19:10 is parenthetical and deals with the destruction of Babylon, and
the marriage supper of the Lamb.
- Chronologically, the narrative continues at Revelation
19:11 with the second coming of Christ.
chronologically chapter 16 brings us to the very end of the tribulation when God
pours out His wrath upon the world (cf. 15:1, 7; 16:1), and God says, "It is
- H.A. Ironside
says the pouring out of the seventh vial signifies "the absolute overthrow of
civilization, and the complete wreck of all man’s hopes to bring in even livable
conditions in this world, while rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. The scene is
one of anarchy and confusion, but, despite the signs of divine wrath resting on
the souls of men, they still blaspheme God, and give no sign of repentance"