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What are the events in the Great Tribulation? (continued)
4) Vial or Bowl Judgments
We now come down to the last set of judgments. These are called the seven Vial or Bowl Judgments. These are the worst of all the judgments that occur during the Tribulation.
During this time, Revelation 15 talks about angels God is going to dispatch. Revelation 15:1-8 says this, “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” These angels will literally pour their wrath judgments onto the Tribulation. As each one pours his judgment onto the earth, a different judgment will befall those alive during the Tribulation. Again, this is a time this world has never seen, nor will ever see again. Verse 7 says, “And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.” These Vial Judgments are full of the wrath of God which will be literally poured into the latter half of the Great Tribulation.
The First Vial Judgment will only affect men and women who have received the Mark of the Beast. Revelation 16 reports that anybody who receives the Mark of the Beast will get smelly sores which will cover their entire bodies. These are very painful sores, the Scripture says. The people will gnaw on their tongues because of the pain from this judgment. God is going to judge those men who have received the Mark. God says, “You want a mark? Okay, I’m going to mark you!” And so, God will cause these judgments to fall upon them.
The Second Vial will be poured onto the earth and all of the seas will become blood. The Scripture says that every living thing will die in the sea. God is going to judge the sea, and blood will be the drink of the day during that time. All of the fish will die during that part of the Tribulation.
When the Third Vial is released, the Bible says that God will give man blood to drink. The Scripture goes on to say that because they have killed His prophets and His saints, God the Righteous Judge will literally give man blood to drink. The rivers and fountains will become blood. This takes me all the way back to the book of Exodus when God judged Pharaoh’s house and He turned the River Nile into blood. God is going to do the same thing here in the Tribulation, but it is going to be on a grander scale. The men who have judged and killed His prophets and saints will have nothing but blood to drink.
The Fourth Vial Judgment the Bible says will cause the sun to scorch men. Now, the reason that we know that this is a prophecy for the future is because the Bible says that these men who are involved in this season will know that this is the judgment of God, and still they will continue to rebel against and blaspheme God. They are going to blaspheme God because the judgments of the Tribulation are so great. I do believe that these people that blaspheme God are those who are reprobate. They are the ones who have received the Mark of the Beast. As these judgments are intensified, they are going to continue to blaspheme God during that time.
When the Fifth Vial Judgment is being poured onto the earth, the Scripture says darkness will cover the camp or the capital of the Antichrist. Just like when God called darkness to come over the house of Pharaoh, God will do the same thing in the time of the Tribulation. Darkness will cover the seat of the Antichrist. God will be bringing a close to the Antichrist’s kingdom.
The Sixth Vial Judgment will be poured onto the earth, and the Bible says that the River Euphrates which is in Iraq will dry up. You find this in Revelation 16, starting at verse 12. The Bible says that the River Euphrates will be dried up so that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared.
Another unique part of this prophecy that many people really miss are the three frogs. The Bible also tells us that during the time of the Sixth Vial Judgment that there will be three frogs — three unclean spirits. One will come out of Satan, one will come out of the False Prophet, and one will come out of the Antichrist. The Bible says these three unclean spirits will be released into the Tribulation to go throughout the whole world to gather man unto the Battle of Armageddon. You read this in Revelation 16:13-16. Men will be supernaturally gathered. The ungodly will be supernaturally influenced by these unclean spirits going throughout the world to gather men to the battle of Armageddon.
The last judgment — the Seventh Vial Judgment — is finally poured onto the earth. Revelation 16:17-21 says that hailstones will fall upon mankind when this angel pours that last vial. The King James describes their size like “a talent.” A talent is anywhere from a 100-120 pound hailstones. Can you imagine hailstones that big? Today, we get the small ones, and the little hailstones could possibly kill you. But, can you imagine one as big as 100-120 pounds? This is going to be a supernatural judgment of God. The Scripture tells us here that men will blaspheme God because this judgment will be so exceedingly great.
Again, Saints, this whole Tribulation is a time which the world has never seen. This will be an amazing time that has been predicted concerning the future. This will be the judgment of God upon a generation that has rebelled and rejected Him. Yet, all throughout this whole situation, it is going to produce spiritual life. Believe it or not, life will be produced through this Tribulation.
The end result of the Tribulation will cause the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus will literally come back to planet Earth. As Christ returns to planet Earth, Revelation 19:11-16 says He’s coming back as a man of war. He is coming back at that time to claim His authority over the Earth. He is coming back to deliver national Israel. They are going to cry out for the Messiah. Jesus is coming back to take His authority as the King.
Another result of the Second Coming, Revelation 19:17-21 describes the Battle of Armageddon. It will be a battle like none other. Christ will officiate over this battle. So much blood! The Bible says that the blood will come up as high as a horse’s bridle.
After Christ comes back as a man of war to take authority over the Earth, it will result in Jesus’ 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom. This is going to be an awesome, awesome time for the redeemed!
Again, don’t dismiss this — these judgments are real. God didn’t shy away from showing us the judgments of the Tribulation. You, Saints, know that without the Tribulation taking place, the Messiah cannot come back. The Tribulation must take place because it is hardcoded in the Scripture. These 21 judgments must come to pass in order for the Messiah to come back. Again, these events will literally bring Christ back to us physically.
So, our hope today is in Christ Jesus. The hope for those who are born again is that we will be raptured, we will be caught up, before the Tribulation begins. The hope for Israel is that the end result will be them coming to Christ for salvation.
But, there are many people today who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I challenge men and women from all over, everywhere I go, to listen — today is the day of your salvation! If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you need to accept Him and His salvation. When the Rapture takes place and if you miss it, look to what you have to look forward to — a time of great, great judgment.
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Is there anyone else here besides myself who views the trumpets and vials as opposite sides of the same coin? In other words, the trumpets as being the cause and the vials as being the effect?
No, it doesn't read that way. And God is usually pretty straight-forward in saying exactly what He means.
Also, just for a thot… In part 4 Don said: "…Let's begin by looking at the 21 judgments."
21, 3 sets of 7 would be more like His Biblical "style"!
I don't see the vials as following the trumpets in the sense that they are separate and successive apart from the trumpet judgments themselves. The trumpets are the cause (beginning) and the vials are the effect (completion). An effect always follows its cause.
Let's look at the word "last" in Revelation 15:1. The Greek word for “last” is “eschatos” and it is where we get the word “eschaton” and “eschatology.” The English translation of “last” may seem to suggest that there were others preceding these seven and that these are additional plagues, but in my opinion it need not be understood that way. I believe that a better understanding of this verse refers to the plagues (cause and effect as each one event) as being THE seven plagues of the eschaton, not seven more plagues that happen in addition to the seven trumpet judgments. The number "7" is significant in Scripture and it represents completion, and here I see only seven judgments in view, not fourteen — the 7 trumpet/vial judgments only, ie, two sides of 7 coins. When understood in this sense, it harmonizes perfectly in my opinion with the view that the trumpets/vials are concurrent, or in other words, the same events viewed from a different perspective as cause (beginning) and as effect (completion).
Now let's look at the word "filled". First, other translations say:
NKJV: “in them the wrath of God is complete” (15:1)
NLT: “which would bring God’s wrath to completion” (15:1)
NIV: “because with them God’s wrath is completed.” (15:1)
ESV: “for with them the wrath of God is finished.” (15:1)
NASB: “because in them the wrath of God is finished.” (15:1)
The Greek “teleo” for “filled” means “to bring to a close; to finish; to end; to complete”. In light of the striking similarities between the trumpets/vials, and the fact that the descriptions given for the trumpets can logically account as being the cause for the descriptions given for the vials, there is no reason in my opinion to view them as consecutive. Otherwise, one will need to squeeze all seven vials at the last trumpet at Armageddon. It just makes more sense to me that the vials effectively “cap” the judgment of each trumpet, that is to say, the vials are the completion of the wrath and is the end-result effect of the “trumpet” causation.
Here is what I mean. For your consideration:
* First Trumpet (Cause): hail and fire mingled with blood; third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
* First Bowl (Effect): there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and [upon] them which worshiped his image. (Comment: hail and fire raining from the sky will definitely cause grievous sores upon anyone on the receiving end.)
* Second Trumpet (Cause): a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
* Second Bowl (Effect): the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea
* Third Trumpet (Cause): there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
* Third Bowl (Effect): the rivers and fountains of waters became blood. (Comment: Perhaps a comet or asteroid breaks up and falls upon 1/3 of the rivers and fresh waters, but may end up killing virtually everything in the water for some reason.)
* Fourth Trumpet (Cause): celestial disturbance – third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. (Comment: massive sun spots or other solar phenomenon? Or God supernaturally stops the earth from rotating for a time?)
* Fourth Bowl (Effect): upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire; 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. (Comment: Seems like 1/3 part of the sun being smitten could not "scorch men with fire and great heat", however we now know that during increased sunspot activity there is also a marked increased in solar activity. A massive solar flare, if timed right, could have devastating effects upon those on the receiving end. Or, if God supernaturally stops the earth from rotating (as He has done before in the past), He could have the "Seat of the Beast" directly in line with the sun for a time — effectively 1/3 of the earth would be receiving scorching heat from the sun, 1/3 would be in essence "twilight", and the other 1/3 would be experiencing prolonged darkness during this time.)
Interesting thought, Mitchell! I believe the strongest argument for the Seven Bowls being completely separate from the Seven Trumpets is that Rev. 16:1 and following show each Bowl Judgment being poured out by separate angels.
It's rather like the 10 Plagues on Egypt. Clearly each plague was the result of the last, but God counted them each different and distinct. Each Bowl certainly shows a reprocussion, especially the sores, but God counts them uniquely as their own judgment.
The Bowls don't really reflect the latter Trumpet Judgments, though, do they, especially with the Eurphrates drying up to prepare the way for the Kings of the East.
If Revelation 15:1 says that the 'thymos' of God is about to be brought to a close or completed (teleo), this begs the question: When does the 'thymos' therefore begin? The fact that the end result or effect is described separately from the beginning or cause makes perfect logical sense, does it not? Case in point: the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by the angels. The judgment had a beginning (rained brimstone and fire), and an end (the destruction of the land, the vegetation, the inhabitants, and the cities). But it was one completed judgment.
The fact that the beginning is described (trumpet) does not make the causation a separate judgment from its overall end result (vial). Together, they are two sides (descriptions) of one coin (judgment). At least that's how I see it.
I thought that I had posted the fifth through seventh trumpets, so here they are:
* Fifth Trumpet (Cause): a star from heaven to earth is given key of the bottomless pit, opened; smoke arises, the sun and the air darkened by smoke; out of smoke locusts upon earth, given power to hurt only those which have not the seal of God in their foreheads; tormented 5 months: men seek death and do not find it.
* Fifth Bowl (Effect): 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. (Comment: Whatever these "locusts" are, the pain they cause torments the wicked for five full months).
* Sixth Trumpet (Cause): Four angels bound in the Euphrates river loosed – were prepared for an hour, a day, a month, a year, for to slay the third part of men; the number of the army of the horsemen 200,000,000: three horsemen – by these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, smoke, brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
* Sixth Bowl (Effect): upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared; he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
* Seventh Trumpet (Cause): the mystery of God is finished when the last trumpet begins to sound (the rapture is instantaneous); there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
* Seventh Bowl (Effect): there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, IT IS DONE.
The number 7 is a Biblical number, symbolic of "completion" all throughout Scripture. So with the trumpets/bowls, I do not see fourteen separate events, but rather only seven. John writes about the trumpets and then recapitulates to focus on the end result of the trumpets, describing the end result as the bowls of God's wrath. This style of writing is quite common in Semitic literature where a general overview is given, and then revisited or recapitulated later with a different focus.
The seals themselves are simply a description of tribulation from beginning to end, and immediately after. The cosmic signs at the sixth seal, for example, take place immediately after the tribulation according to Jesus in Matthew 24:29.
I totally agree with Nathan.
I have given your ideas some thought, and I don’t agree with your view on the cause of the cause! Or your conclusions.
The seven begins when Jesus opens the first seal = CAUSE
The A/c rides out etc = EFFECT.
And so on.
Jesus opens the seventh seal = CAUSE
The Trumpet judgments begin = EFFECT.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 is clearly a continuous action that proceeds to the end of the first 3 ½ years. The MIDDLE of the Week contain the ‘time markers’ evidencing the sixth Trumpet ends the first 3 ½ years while the seventh Trumpets begins the second 3 ½ years
(From the mid point A/c is given a further 42 months (3 ½ yrs) to His death at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus returns.
Yes the seven angels contain the vials.
Rev 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is FILLED UP ‘teleo’the wrath of God.
Finish. teleō Tense: Aorist Voice: Passive Mood: Indicative (same as ‘it is FINISHED)’
The seven angels were in the PAST, filled up with the seven plagues of God’s wrath ‘thymos’ which signifies BOTH the spirit panting in the body AND the rage with which God is inflamed.
They have been allocated as the ‘containers’ for His wrath, from the start of THE Rebellion. Essentially holding onto the fullness of His indignation/ferocity until the end time came to be outpoured.
Rev15:7 And one of the four beasts GAVE didōmi unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
didōmi Tense: Aorist; Voice: Active; Mood: Indicative
One of the four Beasts was actively giving the vials into the possession of the seven angels for ‘safe-keeping’. John was viewing the PAST action when they were ‘filled up’ as containers of God’s wrath (until the time of the end).
Rev.16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, GO YOUR WAYS ‘hypago’ and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Hypago Tense: Present; Voice: Active; Mood: Imperative
Rev.16:1 “… GO YOUR WAYS…2 Now John hears the command being given to ‘go’ in the PRESENT tense.
What the seven angels contained (for so long) was now being commanded to be poured out. = CAUSE
Rev.16:2 And the FIRST went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; = EFFECT.
Vs.3 And the SECOND went =CAUSE and the judgments = EFFECT.
And so on.
Again this is a time sequence, as one after the other, each angel spilled out of themselves, onto the earth, the seven vials until the seventh produces Armageddon, which is at the end of the seven years – or the last 3 ½ years (42 months) and the 2nd Coming.
I can’t play any longer Mitchell; this has taken too much time and there is no way you are going to convert me to Postie.
God bless you.