“The Seven Plagues”
The Book of The Revelation is filled with symbolism, yet the symbols are linked to literal events and activities. This is what we will find in this chapter. The events depicted are real events. They are so unusual, global and fast-acting that men cannot ascribe them to natural phenomena. Indeed, the fact that wicked men shall curse God for sending the ‘plagues’ shows that they know the events are from a divine source.
But, will this knowledge stop them from their wickedness? Will they fall to their knees in repentance and fear? No, they will not. With the folly and arrogance that belongs to Satan, they will have the temerity to shake their fist at God and ignore His anger!
Even in the 20th century men of perverted pleasures did this very thing. They were shaken by the infliction of AIDS upon homosexuals (and only homosexuals in the first few years, thus proving its source), which is a sign of their sin in their own flesh, yet they quickly ignored God and continued to curse those who dared to oppose them with scripture. Is the first plague spoken of in this chapter, AIDS?
Though we hear very little of this vile disease today, many millions have it already and many millions more will die in the near future. So, it is a possible candidate for the first plague. The main criterion has been satisfied – no-one knows where it really came from, or why it should suddenly arise, like a bolt from heaven, in the 20th century. It cannot be cured and instead of adherents to this sin backing down and repenting of their chosen evil sexual habits, they regrouped and hardened their hearts even more, defying all calls to return to morality and godly laws of nature, blaming everyone else. Even if this modern plague is not the first one mentioned in the chapter, it heralds the kind of worldwide affliction we can come to expect amongst evil men in the very last days.
I would remind Christians not to be concerned with the huge variety of theories about the last days, or to search for their signs. When the last days really come and the plagues arrive, they will be known by their sudden and unnatural source. Accompanying them will be the curses of ungodly men. You will not need to search for the signs, because they will be plain and obvious. Rather, live as you ought and leave the evil ones to their own devices.
(2013 Note: Modern homosexuality is a product of Marxist and Darwinistic thought, being virulently anti-God and violent. As such the movement is satanic and many who are in it are demon-possessed, as can be witnessed in their foul public behaviour and words, and attacks on God and His people. Thus homosexuals bear the mark of the beast, and they worship his image, in the form of sexual depravity and hatred).
“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.
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 ‘great voice’ might well be of God Himself, for it emits from the Holy of Holies. The voice commands the seven angels to execute their awful tasks, to ‘pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth’. There can surely be no more terrifying task – yet men will continue to curse God. How can they curse the very God Who has their future in this hands? Satan’s plan and cleverness sees to that! Men fall easily to his wiles and foolishly think Satan and the human prizes he offers are greater than God. So much so that many even think God does not exist. So be it. They will come under the eternal wrath of God in all its weight and immensity, and will not escape it.
The first angel poured out his vial. This is a figure of God enacting His will through angels. Thus, God brings the first of the ‘plagues’ to the earth. Is it possible that it describes AIDS? Maybe – but it depends on the time scale between the various plagues. (2013 Note: AIDS is terrible enough, but an even worse plague now strikes homosexuals, one that is even worse than AIDS, and cannot be cured. It can also pass to non-homosexuals. Is this God’s judgment upon those who allow homosexuality to flourish?)
If each plague comes upon us one after the other in quick succession, then it is not AIDS, but is something still to come in the future. If that is the case, then the malady is literally one type of sore, ‘noisome and grievous’. It will be harmful and pernicious, bringing peril and pain to those who bear it. What kind of sore? It will be one that produces pus like an ulcer, itself attracting further problems because it is infected. All who are of Satan will suffer this malady… those who actively serve Satan knowingly, as well as all who follow his huge collection of false religions. This will include those who are ‘true’ charismatics, of whatever church, because they are not saved, even though charismaticism predominates throughout the world. It also includes ALL who are ungodly.
“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.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
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.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgements.”
As suggested above, the time scale is not clear in these texts. The events brought about by each angel may, or may not, follow in quick succession, or they may not, though the pouring out of the vials themselves suggest something happening quickly. So, it is probable that they do follow each other quickly. Why? Because otherwise people would ascribe each event to something natural, as they always do… even Christians. By sending each plague quickly, one after the other, few could say that what was happening was natural.
The second plague affected the sea, so that it took on the appearance of ‘the blood of a dead man’ – dull, dark red, without the life shown by oxygenated bright-red blood. The word for ‘blood’ in this text refers to a violent death and does not mean the sea will be made of blood, only that it will look like it. It evidently will stop all life in the sea, as well as all life in ships. Thus, there will be a sudden cessation of life within, and on top of, the sea. Do not listen to environmentalists who claim a similar fate caused by humanly-produced CO2! Any cessation of life will be very sudden, from God Himself.
The third angel will continue the destruction, this time in fresh waters. Just as God made the waters into an undrinkable mess, so this angel will make the rivers and sources of water a mess. In other words, drinking water will be polluted, by blood-like solution, or by blood itself.
The third angel then spoke and praised God for being just and righteous in what He had just unleashed on earth. Forget the idea that God will not harm His own creatures! The angel said that God acted as He did to avenge those preachers and ordinary saints who were killed by unbelievers. Now, God made the killers drink blood because they had spilled blood. A voice came from the Holy of Holies, repeating this commendation to God. Always remember – God does not need our approval, and all His actions are right and perfect, even when we do not understand, or personally accept, them.
“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
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.”
Then, the fourth angel gave the earth another plague, this time by directly affecting the sun. The normal barrier given by God, to prevent the sun from inflicting widespread harm will be removed and the sun’s rays will ‘scorch men with fire’. That is, the heat will be ‘turned up’ on the earth to such an extent it will burn the skin and cause intense pain and suffering. We are not talking about the supposed ‘ozone layer’ or illusory ‘global warming’ which, if it occurs at all, is a gradual process. No, it means that the heat from the sun will become unbearable and life-threatening, suddenly and without warning. Fire is also a sign of God’s righteous anger.
That this event will be recognised as from God is evident in how they react. They will curse God for their afflictions! All sense tells us that to curse God is the most stupid thing a man can do. But, when this plague is given to men, rather than repent, they will become even worse in their blasphemy and evil acts. Those who are truly saved cannot really imagine or comprehend this, for they have a proper fear of the Lord.
But, the unsaved have no such compulsion, for their resolve is from their ‘father’, Satan. He gives them hearts blackened by sin and wickedness, that are incapable of repentance. All the people had to do was repent – but they preferred their agony and a future of pain and suffering forever in the presence of their false God, Satan. Do not rejoice over their end – but, also, do not sympathise, for we may not sympathise over those whom God has cast aside.
“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,
And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
Then, the fifth angel brought the next plague. This time, the plague was directed at the very core (’seat’) or throne of satanic power and influence. Be careful not to confuse this beast with the beasts around God’s throne. The beast here is the beast who put his mark on all who disobey God, those who bear the number of sin, 666. This beast is ferocious and vicious, as the word ‘beast’ tells us in the Greek. The true nature of Satan’s kingdom will be made evident – utter darkness, devoid of good and light. It will make the mind incapable of reason and any thought of repentance, such is its overwhelming nature. Thus, the day will come when the earth in general will not know the truth concerning God and will be unable to do what is right in God’s eyes. (2013 note: Do we not see this occurring right now?)
When this darkness falls it will reveal the real mind and heart of Satan, to such an extent it will cause an anguish and suffering not known before to men. At that time they will reap the reward due to them and will know for a moment of time what they will soon come to know for ever and ever in hell… the sheer agony of being without God and receiving His wrath constantly. At the fifth plague, unsaved men will bite off their own tongues in their inward agony. But, this will be as nothing compared to the non-stop agony they will know in hell.
Though this agony is real and intense, what do these men do? They blaspheme God! How futile and stupid is their reaction before Almighty God! They suffer not just inward pain but outward pain because of sores and other afflictions. Yet, they turn on God, such is their blindness.
“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.
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.
For they are the spirits of the 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.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
After this came the sixth angel, who poured out his vial upon the ‘great river Euphrates’, drying up the water ‘that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared’. The meaning of ‘Euphrates’ is ‘good and abounding river’ and it was so mighty it was often referred to simply as ‘the river’, such was its importance. It gains its most abundant waters when the snow melts on the Armenian mountains and king Nebuchadnezzar built huge works to try to control this annual abundance of water. The river is linked to several great events in history, but what significance does it hold during the time of this prophecy?
It could mean that God stops the snow from melting, and so dries up the river by ‘natural’ means. Or, it could mean He stops it dead in its tracks, just as He stopped the Red Sea from flowing, by His word alone. It is probably the latter, so that men could not ascribe it to the snow. Also, the river dries up in this text – it does not simply get smaller.
What is meant by the ‘way of the kings of the east’? It might refer to the way the Euphrates is big enough for most of its length to take boats, and ferries from east to west. So, the means of travel between east and west will be disrupted. But, of course, ‘way’ can also refer to the conduct of kings and their way of thinking. Kings can also mean leaders, so does this mean God will cause leaders of the eastern powers to think deeply by the complete drying-up of a mighty river that has flown for all of earth’s history?
To ‘prepare’ them means to make them ready for something that follows. It was a custom in those days to send envoys to level the roads before a king used them. It also means to prepare minds in readiness for the coming of the Messiah (as with, say, John the Baptist). I suggest that the full meaning is that the river will be dried up quickly and without any link to the mountain supply, thus making eastern leaders (all Muslims and other pagans) think hard on God and what He says to men concerning Jesus Christ.
Then, John saw three unclean spirits in the form of frogs (also linked to witchcraft for centuries). They came out of the mouth of Satan (the dragon), the mouth of the beast (one who, on Satan’s behalf, prompts others to do evil), and the mouth of the false prophets. They are called the ‘spirits of devils’ and we must never forget that! We expect Satan to produce evil of unimaginable proportion, increasingly towards the final days.
But we are less likely to recognise evil when it is wrapped in apparent ‘good’. False prophets are witnesses to evil. They are those who preach lies in the guise of truth. These include charismatics, Romanists, Mormons, JW’s, all other pagan religions, such as spiritualism, Unitarianism, ‘New Age’, etc., and major false religions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so on. They are all to be consumed by God in the last days, for they are the frogs from the mouths of false teachers, who are themselves slaves of Satan. They are unclean in thought and life and have no place before God. They are ‘spirits of devils’ and so we must have no link with them whatever.
In my writings against charismaticism, and other false religions, for example, I warn that Christians must never enter their places of worship, nor must they lend credence to anything they say. Nor should they form deep friendships with their members. This is to keep them from harm, for otherwise the frogs that jump out of the mouths of the false ones will jump straight into the mouths of the unwary Christian, and their witness and hearts will become corrupt and open to deception. I was recently asked if a ‘ghost’ can be ‘good’. No, it is always evil. The same can be said of the spirit behind charismaticism and other false belief systems. It is out to harm and to destroy.
The aim of the spirits is to deceive to the point of total world disorder. They work miracles that make people think they are from God, or, that they are greater than God. Note that the miracles (from Satan, under the cover of being from God) promised for the near future by charismatics far outrank previous claims and activities. When these miracles increase in type and magnitude, the peoples of the earth, and their leaders, will succumb to their power, and they will ‘gather…to the battle of that great day of God Almighty’. It is also possible that Islam, and maybe Romanism, will produce a similar plethora of false miracles.
‘Battle’ can mean a dispute or quarrel: note that no mention is made of bloodshed or loss of life. It need not mean a war. The ‘battle’ will be worldwide. What is the ‘great day’ of the Lord? Apart from other meanings it can refer to a time when there will be no crime or other evils. It can also refer to Christ’s return. It is unlikely that the text is talking about a time of no crime, as it is ‘THE’ great day, intimating a day to be awaited of immense importance. Therefore, I believe it refers to the time of Christ’s return.
This appears to tie in with the next verse that tells us “behold, I come as a thief.” Jesus is said elsewhere to come as a thief in the night, meaning that He will come when no-one expects it. Those who watch will be blessed; from this we can say that the saved will still be on the earth during the times of these plagues. Such will be ‘blessed’, because he will watch for Christ’s return by keeping his garments pure white. He will remain faithful and true to God and His word. He will not ‘walk naked’ so that others see his shame… his life will be one of righteousness, not sin that others will see. (Unsaved sinners care nothing if they sin, but they love to see saved folk fall, pointing to their sins and not to their own).
Who does God gather together on this great day? Saved or unsaved? Whoever they are, they are gathered at a place called ‘Armageddon’ (‘the hill of the city of Megiddo’). Armageddon was where two great battles took place – Barak versus the Canaanites, and Gideon versus the Midionites. On both occasions God’s men won the day. But, it was also the plain where Saul died ignominiously and where Josiah died. Armageddon is thus taken to refer to a place of retribution or slaughter.
This does not mean that all the righteous will gather to do physical battle against all who are evil or unsaved. The place is symbolic. It has to be, because the area simply could not sustain so many people together! Rather, the text is saying that just before the ‘great day’ when Jesus returns, there will be a confrontation between good and evil, when God shall win the day and evil will be removed as a force.
“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.
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.
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.
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
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.”
Then came the seventh angel. He poured his vial into the air, signifying its absolute application to everything. No specific place is mentioned. Again a great voice was heard coming from the Holy of Holies, from God Himself, saying “It is done” – a statement very much the same as Christ’s words on the cross, “It is finished”. That is, God had accomplished something He had planned and it was now sealed for it had come to pass.
As if to verify the fact, many voices were then heard, with thunder and lightning. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, so big that it will dwarf any known to men thus far. Though many people say that the ‘great city’ it affects is Rome, this is not necessarily so, because the text does not tell us the name. It could even be Jerusalem. (I say it is not necessarily Rome, because the name ‘city’ is properly translated as the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us assume for current purposes it is the earthly Jerusalem, or some other place, or even a condition. The name does not matter).
The city will be violently split in to three parts by the rupturing of the earth and many other cities in the world will be ruined. At that time God will ‘remember’ Babylon, and He will visit that place with immense vengeance and terror. What or who is Babylon? Does it mean God will inflict the people who inhabited ancient Babylon with His wrath? Possibly. Or, does it mean He will bring down Rome and its false religion? Possibly. The text really does not tell us enough.
However, we know from its words that God will exact His wrath upon all who have built falsely upon His word and who use it for their own evil ends, as well as those who oppose His own. So, better to see the text in this light, rather than focus on places or movements that are not really defined for us in scripture. After all, ALL false religions and anti-Gods will be affected.
Every island will flee away. ‘Islands’ can mean every land. Or, it can mean every type of wicked men. However, it would appear to mean that the earthquake will devastate the entire world, losing land and cities to a vast extent. In this sense, then, the meaning includes ‘evil men’, both false preachers of the word and those who have no pretensions to holiness.
At the same time, survivors will be ravaged by massive hail stones, sent by God as part of His judgement. Each hail-stone will be huge – 100 to 200 pounds in weight – crushing and killing everything and everyone in their path! Though this terror will obviously be from God, and will cover the entire world, men will continue to blaspheme Him! And so they will pave their own way to hell and destruction. Can you now see how the claims by charismatics, to worldwide salvation and revival, are simply false?
V 1 Vials. This denotes a deep bowl, one that is emptied very quickly. Each vial or bowl is emptied of God’s wrath quickly, taking the world up to the final moments in time.
V 2. “noisome and grievous sore”. Noisome, kakos, means something of a very bad nature, or something that is not what it ought to be, destructive, wicked. Refers to someone who is bad in character and immoral. ‘Grievous’, ponēros, means, in this context, perils, pain and trouble, to be wicked. Also includes to be diseased. The word is strongly connected to the evil-one, Satan. ‘Sore’, helkos, means a wound producing a pus discharge, a sore or ulcer. Taken overall it can certainly apply to homosexuals and their disease-ridden lives (the disease they contract are far more than merely AIDS, but these are not spoken of by the media or governments).
V 3. Living soul (in the sea). No, this does NOT mean animals in the sea have souls as do humans! The word psychē refers to the breath of both men and animals, the ‘vital force’ that keeps them alive in a physiological sense.
V 4. Become blood. In this text the water in rivers and fountains literally turned to blood, as the verb ginomai proves. It means to bring into existence, or begin to be, and not just to ‘be like’.
V 5. “Thou hast judged thus”. This is against the tenor of most modern Christian belief, that God is only a God of love! God determined that He would destroy, so He did. It was an act of His divine wrath.
V 6. “they are worthy”. This refers to wicked men who killed and persecuted Christians. In this context ‘worthy’, axios, means a deserved, merited judgment upon their evils. It does not mean they are ‘worthy’ in the godly sense, but that they were worthy to be sent to hell after dying from drinking blood (literally, as the waters were poisoned, and spiritually, as they drank lustily of the evils of Satan).
V 16. Armaggedon, Harmagedōn. Note that it is a place (a proper locative noun), ‘the hill or city of Megiddo’. It refers to a place of great slaughter of the wicked.
V 20. Island. In many instances ‘island’ is used to refer to lands. Here it literally refers to ‘floating land’ or islands.
V 21. Hail. Used to denote a great divine judgment.
You would think that when people are confronted by their own sin and the obvious penalties (the plagues or judgments), they would fall to their knees in fear, and repent. Not so! This chapter shows the true extent of evil in mankind. But, it is not just the sins of man that cause this absurd and foul reaction – they are led by Satan.
In our day, several major satanic forces have misled, abused and crippled mankind: Darwinism, Marxism and Atheism. Each has elements of the other, and all three are from Satan, and controlled by him. Thus, we can rightly say that these movements and the people in them, are demon-possessed, because they curse God. At first Darwin and Marx believed in God (not saved, but believed), It did not take long for Marx to be possessed by Satan (see a record of this by Richard Wurmbrand), and for Marxists to be outright satanic atheists, foul, violent, and wicked. The despicable homosexual movement has also changed into a demonic tool of Satan, and the satanic nature of the movement can be seen and heard throughout the world.
© March 2002 (Revised August 2013)
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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