View Revelation 16 in the note window.
1: Pour out the seven phials - The epistles to the seven
churches are divided into three and four: the seven seals,
and so the trumpets and phials, into four and three. The
trumpets gradually, and in a long tract of time, overthrow
the kingdom of the world: the phials destroy chiefly the
beast and his followers, with a swift and impetuous force.
The four first affect the earth, the sea, the rivers, the
sun; the rest fall elsewhere, and are much more terrible.
2: And the first went - So the second, third, &c., without
adding angel, to denote the utmost swiftness; of which this also
is a token, that there is no period of time mentioned in the
pouring out of each phial. They have a great resemblance to the
plagues of Egypt, which the Hebrews generally suppose to have
been a month distant from each other. Perhaps so may the phials;
but they are all yet to come. And poured out his phial upon the
earth - Literally taken. And there came a grievous ulcer - As in
Egypt, (Ex 9:10,11).
On the men who had the mark of the wild beast - All of them, and
them only. All those plagues seem to be described in proper, not
3: The second poured out his phial upon the sea - As opposed
to the dry land. And it become blood, as of a dead man - Thick,
congealed, and putrid. And every living soul - Men, beasts, and
fishes, whether on or in the sea, died.
4: The third poured out his phial on the rivers and
fountains of water - Which were over all the earth. And they
became blood - So that none could drink thereof.
5: The Gracious one - So he is styled when his judgments
are abroad, and that with a peculiar propriety. In the
beginning of the book he is termed "The Almighty." In the
time of his patience, he is praised for his power, which
otherwise might then be less regarded. In the time of his
taking vengeance, for his mercy. Of his power there could
then be no doubt.
6: Thou host given then, blood to drink - Men do not
drink out of the sea, but out of fountains and rivers.
Therefore this is fitly added here. They are worthy - Is
subjoined with a beautiful abruptness.
7: Yea - Answering the angel of the waters, and
affirming of God's judgments in general, what he had
said of one particular judgment.
8: The fourth poured out his phial upon the sun - Which
was likewise affected by the fourth trumpet. There is also a
plain resemblance between the first, second, and third phials,
and the first, second, and third trumpet. And it was given him
- The angel. To scorch the men - Who had the mark of the beast.
With fire - As well as with the beams of the sun. So these four
phials affected earth, water, fire, and air.
9: And the men blasphemed God, who had power over these
plagues - They could not but acknowledge the hand of God, yet
did they harden themselves against him.
10: The four first phials are closely connected together;
the fifth concerns the throne of the beast, the sixth the
Mahometans, the seventh chiefly the heathens. The four first
phials and the four first trumpets go round the whole earth; the
three last phials and the three last trumpets go lengthways over
the earth in a straight line.
The fifth poured out his phial upon the throne of the wild beast
- It is not said, "on the beast and his throne." Perhaps the sea
will then be vacant. And his kingdom was darkened - With a lasting,
not a transient, darkness. However the beast as yet has his
kingdom. Afterward the woman sits upon the beast. and then it
is said, "The wild beast is not," (Re 17:3,7,8).
11: And they - His followers. Gnawed their tongues - Out
of furious impatience. Because of their pains and because of
their ulcers - Now mentioned together, and in the plural number,
to signify that they were greatly heightened and multiplied.
12: And the sixth poured out his phial upon the great
river Euphrates - Affected also by the sixth trumpet. And the
water of it - And of all the rivers that flow into it. Was
dried up - The far greater part of the Turkish empire lies on
this side the Euphrates. The Romish and Mahometan affairs
ran nearly parallel to each other for several ages. In the
seventh century was Mahomet himself; and, a little before
him, Boniface III., with his universal bishopric. In the
eleventh, both the Turks and Gregory VII. carried all before
them. In the year 1300, Boniface appeared with his two swords
at the newly - erected jubilee. In the self - same year arose the
Ottoman Porte; yea, and on the same day. And here the phial,
poured out on the throne of the beast, is immediately followed
by that poured out on the Euphrates; that the way of the kings
from the east might be prepared - Those who lie east from the
Euphrates, in Persia, India, &c., who will rush blindfold upon
the plagues which are ready for them, toward the Holy Land, which
lies west of the Euphrates.
13: Out of the mouth of the dragon, the wild beast,
and the false prophet - It seems, the dragon fights chiefly
against God; the beast, against Christ; the false prophet,
against the Spirit of truth; and that the three unclean spirits
which come from them, and exactly resemble them, endeavour to
blacken the works of creation, of redemption, and of
sanctification. The false prophet - So is the second beast
frequently named, after the kingdom of the first is darkened;
for he can then no longer prevail by main strength, and so
works by lies and deceit. Mahomet was first a false prophet,
and afterwards a powerful prince: but this beast was first
powerful as a prince; afterwards a false prophet, a teacher
of lies. Like frogs - Whose abode is in fens, marshes, and
other unclean places. To the kings of the whole world - Both
Mahometan and pagan. To gather them - To the assistance of
their three principals.
15: Behold, I come as a thief - Suddenly, unexpectedly.
Observe the beautiful abruptness. I - Jesus Christ. Hear him.
Happy is he that watcheth. - Looking continually for him that
"cometh quickly." And keepeth on his garments - Which men use
to put off when they sleep. Lest he walk naked, and they see
his shame - Lest he lose the graces which he takes no care to
keep, and others see his sin and punishment.
16: And they gathered them together to Armageddon - Mageddon,
or Megiddo, is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament.
Armageddon signifies the city or the mountain of Megiddo; to
which the valley of Megiddo adjoined. This was a place well
known in ancient times for many memorable occurrences; in
particular, the slaughter of the kings of Canaan, related,(Jdg 5:19). Here the narrative breaks off. It is resumed,(Re 19:19).
17: And the seventh poured out his phial upon the air - Which
encompasses the whole earth. This is the most weighty phial of
all, and seems to take up more time than any of the preceding.
It is done - What was commanded,
verse 1. (Re 16:1) The phials are poured out.
18: A great earthquake, such as had not been since men
were upon the earth - It was therefore a literal, not figurative,
19: And the great city - Namely, Jerusalem, here opposed
to the heathen cities in general, and in particular to Rome.
And the cities of the nations fell - Were utterly overthrown.
And Babylon was remembered before God - He did not forget the
vengeance which was due to her, though the execution of it was
20: Every island and mountain was "moved out of its place,"(Re 6:14);
but here they all flee away. What a change must this make in
the face of the terraqueous globe! And yet the end of the world
is not come.
21: And a great hail falleth out of heaven - From which there
was no defence. From the earthquake men would fly into the
fields; but here also they are met by the hail: nor were they
secure if they returned into the houses, when each hail - stone
weighed sixty pounds.