Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
7 FINAL PLAGUES AGAINST BABYLON

[“The End Has Come!”]
Key Word: Plague
Theme Verse: 1

Revelation 16:1 – Plagues from God’s Temple

RV16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the Divine Habitat,761 [Isaiah 66:6] saying to the 7 angels: “Go and pour out into the earth [Psalm 69:24] the 7 bowls of the anger of The God.” [Numbers 22:22]
761 Divine Habitat: The Greek NAOU.

Revelation 16:2 – Plague 1: The Earth

RV16:2 And the first angel went off762 and poured his bowl into the earth.763 And a severe and malignant sore came to be764 [Exodus 9:8-11] upon those who accepted the engraving765 from the wild Sea Beast and those who worshipped its Image.
762 The first angel went off: The outpouring of the bowls seems sequential just as they were during the plagues on Egypt.
763 Into the earth: The place from where the Earth Beast arose. “Earth” occurs 88x in the Apocalypse and here is the object of the first plague. These plagues generally parallel the Trumpets. See Revelation 8:7 where it is one-third of the earth affected by the angelic trumpet. “Earth” may refer to that more stable part of humanity as opposed to “sea.” Compare Revelation 12:16.
764 Malignant sore came to be: Compare the LXX at Exodus 9:8-11. KJV: grievous sore; TCN: painful sores; RHM: painful ulcer.
765 Those who accepted the engraving: Compare Revelation 13:15-17; 15:2.

#370. The first plague foretells a cancerous ulcer, or malignant sore, which comes upon those who had accepted or received the mark or engraving of the wild Sea Beast during those days when the Beast was controlling the entire globe and forcing people to accept this sign before they could buy or sell.

#371. There is much of the prophet Zechariah here and since these verses of the prophet are included in contexts which are alluded to or quoted later in the Apocalypse there seems a strong reason to include these: ‘Look! There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah, and the spoil of you will certainly be apportioned out in the midst of you. And I shall certainly gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will actually be captured and the houses be pillaged, and the women themselves will be raped. And half of the city must go forth into the exile; but as for the remaining ones of the people, they will not be cut off from the city. ... "And Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight. ... And Jehovah my God will certainly come, all the holy ones being with him. ... "And it must occur in that day [that] there will prove to be no precious light-things will be congealed. And it must become one day that is known as belonging to Jehovah. It will not be day, neither will it be night; and it must occur [that] at evening time it will become light. ... And Jehovah must become king over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will prove to be one, and his name one. ... "And this is what will prove to be the scourge with which Jehovah will scourge all the peoples that will actually do military service against Jerusalem: There will be a rotting away of one's flesh, while one is standing upon one's feet; and one's very eyes will rot away in their sockets, and one's very tongue will rot away in one's mouth. "And this is how the scourge of the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal that happens to be in those camps, will prove to be, like this scourge.’ (Zechariah 14:1-15 NWT) But, now the second plague.

Revelation 16:3 – Plague 2: THE SEA

RV16:3 And the second angel poured his bowl into the sea.766 The sea became blood like that of a dead man.767 [Exodus 7:14-24] Every living soul (the things in the sea) died.768
766 Into the sea: The place from where the Sea Beast arose. The word occurs 27x in the Apocalypse, always in the singular. The word “seas” never occurs. Note the plural at its first occurrence in Genesis 1:10 which must mean the oceans. It is possible the “sea” is just the Mediterranean, or the Aegean which would likely have been the view John had from Patmos. Compare Psalm 72:8. Is the “sea” the literal Sea or that restless part of humankind out of which the beasts arise? (Daniel 7:1-8; Revelation 13:1; 21:3)
767 Blood like that of a dead man: Compare Exodus 7:14-24 where this is the Nile. Revelation 8:8 has this one-third and one-third of the merchant ships. (Revelation 18:7) The blood of a dead man is either in the process of congealing, or has become dark red in color.
768 Every living soul (the things in the sea) died: Soul mortality. On the subject of “soul” see notes on Genesis 2:7 in Nazarene Principles 2000©. Regarding sea mammal and fish, see Genesis 1:21, 22. It might be noted that Jacques Cousteau had declared the Mediterranean Sea “dead” years ago.

#372. This plague is upon “the sea.” If taken literally, this may mean the Mediterranean Sea which is “the Sea” at Psalms 72:8 and elsewhere. Or, if viewed symbolically, it may refer to that “sea” out of which the wild Sea Beast ascends, like those beasts in Daniel chapter seven. This “sea” is restless humanity, particularly those abstract agencies or political entities from which a government might rise. When Moses caused the Nile to turn blood-red, those fish in it died. However, it would be expected as these waters cleared, life would return to this River. There is little point in destroying all life in all the oceans of the world. This did not even happen in the great Flood. The imagery in the Apocalypse seems very much centered in the Middle East, where Babylon once existed and where Israel exists to this day. The great river Euphrates is to be mentioned in Revelation16.12 and this river flows into the Persian Gulf. Therefore, when verse 3 describes the “sea” becoming blood, and all the fish dying, it may be limited to that “sea” immediately at hand in this area. But, on to the third plague.

Revelation 16:4-7 – Plague 3: THE WATERS

RV16:4 And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of water.769 The waters became blood.770 [Exodus 7:14-24]
769 Fountains of water: This is drinking water. It may be literal or refer to those abusive and slanderous blasphemies against God and his servants. At Revelation 8:10, 11 one-third are affected.
770 Waters became blood: Compare Exodus 7:14-24. These bloodied waters have long ago healed themselves with the Nile serving the needs of millions.
RV16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters, saying: “You are perfectly right and just,771 [Psalm 119:137] The-One-Who-Is [Exodus 3:14, 15] and The-One-Who-Was,772 the Loyal One, [Psalm 145:17] because you rendered judgment
771 Right and just: What God does in His anger is neither wrong nor unjust for the guilty have shared in the sins of Babylon and become bloodguilty in the slaughter of the Saints. (Revelation 18:4)
772 The-One-Who-Is and The-One-Who-Was: This is the apocalyptic Name of God expanding on the original HO ON of Exodus 3:14, 15, the Greek translation for YHWH. What would be the Hebrew version of this apocalyptic name?
RV16:6 for they poured out the blood of [Psalm 79:3] the Saints773 and Prophets.774 Now you have given them blood to drink.775 [Isaiah 49:26] They deserve it!”776
773 They poured out the blood of the Saints: The answer to the plea of Revelation 6:9-11. Compare Revelation 18:24. (Matthew 23:35)
774 Prophets: Likely this is limited to the Christian prophets, particularly those martyred. Compare Ephesians 2:20 with Revelation 22:9. (Revelation 11:18; 18:20, 24)
775 You have given them blood to drink: The waters are contaminated, but these are forced to drink it.
776 They deserve it: Or, are worthy. (KJV)
RV16:7 And I heard the Altar,777 saying: “Yes, YHWH, The God, The Almighty,778 [Amos 4:13] true and righteous are Your judgments.”779 [Psalm 19:9]
777 Altar: The incense altar at the base of which the martyred souls are seen at Revelation 6:9.
778 YHWH, The God, The Almighty: The Greek is KYRIE (Lord) HO THEOS HO PANTOKRATOR though some would believe YHWH should occur here in the speech of the Altar. The whole phrase may be borrowed from Psalm 19:9 (Psalm 119:137; Revelation 19:2) and the YHWH occurs there. But, note it is from a celestial source.
779 True and righteous are Your judgments: Compare Revelation 18:10, 20; 19:2.

#373. This third plague is upon the fresh drinking and bathing water which humankind needs to live. Evidently, this serves as a symbolic lesson, even as it did to the Egyptians in the days of Moses’ ten plagues. These bloodied springs and rivers symbolize for those ulcerated observers, who must now crave water, the terrible river of saintly blood poured out during thousands of years of persecution and oppression. God is praised for being completely right or correct in making these judgments. On to the Fourth Plague.

Revelation 16:8-9 – Plague 4: THE SUN

RV16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun780 and then the sun scorched men in fire.781 [Amos 4:6-10]
780 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun: In Revelation 8:12 this has one-third affect on the sun, lowering the level of light and the temperature by that much.
781 The sun scorched men in fire: Compare the LXX at Amos 4:6-10: “I struck you people with scorching.”
RV16:9 And the men were scorched with a great scorching! And they blasphemed782 the Name of The God,783 the One with the authority over these plagues. And they did not repent784 so as to give Him glory.785
782 They blasphemed: Compare Revelation 9:20 and Revelation 13:6.
783 The Name of The God: Without mentioning YHWH.
784 They did not repent: Just as in the case of Pharaoh whose heart became hardened.
785 To give Him glory: Others have done this upon the Rapture of the Saints at Revelation 11:13 or in response to the celestial evangel of Revelation 14:7 during this hour of judgment. If this were impossible it would be useless to say so.

#374. This plague affects the sun in such a manner that it scorches men with such pain that they blaspheme the Name of God. Despite these manifestations of bodily sores, a blood-red sea, blood-red fresh water, and scorching heat, there is no repentance on the part of these sufferers. Though there is much pain and the shocking sight of bloodied waters, none among mankind has been killed. On to the Fifth Plague.

Revelation 16:10-11 – Plague 5: THE WILD SEA BEAST

RV16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the wild Sea Beast.786 The kingdom of the wild Sea Beast became darkened787 [Exodus 10:22] and they gnawed their tongues from the pain.788
786 The throne of the wild Sea Beast: This is an abstraction, for a throne is a symbol of something, the power and authority of the Sea Beast. It is really the Dragon’s throne and competes with the Throne. (Revelation 13:2) Whether the “man” of Revelation 13:18 sits on this throne and can be compared to that one of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is an interesting problem.
787 The kingdom of the wild Sea Beast became darkened: Compare Isaiah 8:22 and Matthew 24:29. Compare Exodus 10:21-23 and the darkness in Egypt.
788 They gnawed their tongues from the pain: Compare Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28.
RV16:11 Because of their ulcerous pain789 they blasphemed The God of heaven.790 [Daniel 2:19] They did not repent of their works.791
789 Their ulcerous pain: From the first plague. In Revelation 9:1-11 the pain lasted 5 months.
790 They blasphemed The God of heaven: Compare Revelation 13:5, 6; 16:9, 21; 17:3 with Daniel 7:8, 11, 20.
791 They did not repent of their works: Compare Revelation 9:20.

#375. This plague is precisely upon the throne of the wild Sea Beast with the result that its entire realm becomes darkened. There had been previous darkenings with the Arrival of the Son of Man, celestial darkness preceding it. A third of a darkness occurred as described in Revelation 8:12. Whether these periods of darkness overlap, there is enough light to call for a further darkening upon the Sea Beast’s realm to demonstrate God’s severe displeasure with it. But, despite this, like Pharaoh of old, these curse God for their pain. They know the source of it. Now the Sixth Plague.

Revelation 16:12-14 – Plague 6: THE EUPHRATES

RV16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river Euphrates.792 The water of the river was dried up793 [Isaiah 44:27] to prepare the way for the kings from the sunrise.794 [Isaiah 41:2, 25]
792 The great river Euphrates: The river which nourished and protected Babylon. It was diverted and dried up by the Persians to allow the soldiers to march into the city. It is at this river the four angels of Revelation 7:1-3 (Revelation 9:15, 16) are bound, to restrain them from allowing the four winds to blow before the 144,000 are sealed. The 144,000 are now in heaven as a Large Crowd serving God in His Temple. (Revelation 7:1-17) In the vision of the seven trumpets one-third of humankind is to be killed at precisely the appointed hour, day, month and year. The river first appears at Genesis 2:14 and occurs either directly or indirectly about four dozen times in the Bible.
793 The water of the river was dried up: This is what happened to the great river Euphrates when the Persians dammed it and re-routed it into a marsh. Note the explanation of the “waters” at Revelation 17:15. The river may symbolize that support and protection which comes from masses of “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.”
794 To prepare the way for the kings from the sunrise: Compare Revelation 17:12, 16. Kings much like Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great as they came against Babylon. Some see these “kings” as God Almighty and the Lamb. Others would include the Saints. (Revelation 17:14; 20:4) They may be that instrument God uses when he puts his “one thought” into the hearts of those “ten kings.” (Revelation 17:12, 13) “Sunrise” means east of Jerusalem, or from Jerusalem itself.
RV16:13 And I saw three unclean frogs795 [Exodus 8:3] come out of the mouths796 of the Dragon,797 the wild Sea Beast,798 and the False Prophet.799
795 Three unclean frogs: Compare Exodus 8:2, 3. Frogs were unclean to the Jews.
796 Out of the mouths: Compare “mouth” at Revelation 12:15; 13:5, 14, 15.
797 Dragon: Compare Revelation 12:3, 9, 10. After being cast down to the earth.
798 The wild Sea Beast: Compare Revelation chapters 13 and 17 for details.
799 The False Prophet: The Earth Beast of Revelation 13:14 and Revelation 19:20.
RV16:14 These [frogs] are demonic inspirations800 and they perform signs801 to lead together the kings of the whole inhabited earth802 to the War of the great Day of The Almighty God.803 [Zechariah 14:1, 2; Amos 4:13 LXX]
800 Demonic inspirations: “Spirits” as at 1 John 4:1; that is, the “inspiration” behind the mouths.
801 They perform signs: These have been earlier identified at Revelation 13:13, 14; 19:20.
802 The kings of the whole inhabited earth: Compare Revelation 17:13, 14; 19:19; 21:24.
803 The War of the great Day of The Almighty God: Compare Revelation 17:14 with Zechariah 14:16 and the surrounding context. The Great Day has really arrived. (Revelation 6:17)

#376. Attention is now given to that great city which is to come in for closer scrutiny in chapters 17 and 18, Babylon the Great. The river Euphrates, which flows to this day through Iraq, is dried to prepare for the kings from the east or the sunrise. This is an allusion to what actually befell Babylon the Great of old, when the Persian army dammed the Euphrates that flowed into and around Babylon. The soldiers of Darius and Cyrus marched right into the city’s open gates to conquer a drunken party in one night. (Daniel chapter 3) Isaiah 42:15 and Isaiah 44:27 The One saying to the watery deep, ‘Be evaporated; and all your rivers I shall dry up” ... There is a devastation upon her waters, and they must be dried up.’ And again in Isaiah: ‘This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations, so that I may ungird even the hips of kings; to open before him the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates will not be shut: "Before you I myself shall go, and the swells of land I shall straighten out. The copper doors I shall break in pieces, and the iron bars I shall cut down. And I will give you the treasures in the darkness and the hidden treasures in the concealment places, in order that you may know that I am Jehovah, the One calling [you] by your name, the God of Israel.’ (Isaiah 45:1-3 NWT)

#377. These “waters” of the Euphrates are possibly symbolic of those peoples over whom the Great City rules and yet at the same time depends upon for its protection and sustenance. (Revelation 17:15)

#378. Still part of this sixth plague, the vision turns to three inspired frogs which come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the wild Sea Beast, and the False Prophet. This “prophet” is the same as the Earth Beast which creates the Image to the revived “head” of the Sea Beast. By means of these unclean frogs and those lying prophecies of the False Prophet, all the kings of the earth are gathered to the battlefield of Armageddon. These soldiers and their military commanders (Revelation 6:15; 19:18) must also be suffering the pain of these sores or ulcers and may well be part of those cursing God for their discomfort. The battle of Armageddon is not fought here, but this is the gathering in preparation for it. The actual battle will occur after Babylon the Great is destroyed. (Revelation 19:11-19)

Revelation 16:15-16 – A PARENTHETICAL WARNING

RV16:15 (“Look! I am coming like a thief!804 Happy are those who stay awake805 and keep on their outer garments so they do not walk about naked806 and people look upon their shamefulness.”)
804 I am coming like a thief: Clearly, Jesus interjects this warning to the Saints who would read this, so they do, indeed, escape those plagues. (Revelation 18:4) Compare this phrase at Revelation 2:6; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20; Matthew 24:43, 44; 1 Thessalonians 5:2.
805 Happy are those who stay awake: Compare Matthew 24:42. This parenthetical thought is not chronological or contemporary with the plagues. It is clearly before his coming. The Saints are not on earth during the plagues, so this pause is for the benefit of those readers who will have remained awake and in expectation for the Return of Christ.
806 They do not walk about naked: Possibly an allusion to the punishment on a sleeping priest who was on guard at the temple.
RV16:16 And [the demonic inspirations] led them together into the place that is called in Hebrew HAR-MAGEDDON.807 [Zechariah 12:11]
807 HAR-MAGEDDON: From 2 Kings 23:29 and Zechariah 12:11. The plains of Megiddo. The prophet Zechariah is the only one to mention this spot. Note, they may be gathering to Armageddon but the battle is not fought until Revelation 19:19.

#379. There is in verse 15 this parenthetical warning to those priestly Saints during the Great Oppression to stay awake. We have moved it to clarify the thought. This type of parenthetical thought occurs occasionally in the Apocalypse. (Revelation 20:5) The Saints “come out” of Babylon before these plagues. (Revelation 18:4) We have already seen them in the Celestial Throne-room, following the Great Oppression (Revelation 7:9-17) but before the plagues. (Revelation 15:2)

#380. The phrase, “I am coming as a thief,” occurs also at Revelation 3:3; and, the more limited phrase, “I am coming quickly (suddenly),” at Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 12. Clearly, the warning would be to those Saints before his coming and thus before the Rapture and the plagues. But, now, on to the final plague.

Revelation 16:17-21 – Plague 7: THE AIR

RV16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air.808 A great voice came out of the Throne in the Divine Habitat,809 [Isaiah 66:6] saying: “THE END HAS COME!”810
808 Upon the air: The atmosphere and that which men breathe. This is also the “air” into which the Saints were raptured to meet their Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) A wicked spirit has had authority over the “air.” (Ephesians 2:2) “Air” had been used at Revelation 9:2.
809 The Throne in the Divine Habitat: The “throne” of Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is in the NAOU.
810 THE END HAS COME: This is GEGONEN in Greek and is variously rendered: KJV: it is done; GDS: it is all over; WEY: it is all accomplished; PME: the end has come.
RV16:18 And lightnings and voices and thunders occurred.811 [Exodus 19:16] A great earthquake occurred.812 An earthquake unlike any which has ever occurred, from the time men came to be, so gigantic was this quaking of the earth.
811 Lightnings and voices and thunders occurred: The Sinai manifestations. (Hebrews 12:18, 19; Exodus 19:16, 18; Deuteronomy 4:11) Note “thunder” in Exodus 9:23-24. A type of this phrase occurs Revelation 4:5; 8:5; 11:19. “Thunders” occur at very important points in the Apocalypse: the Throne room vision (Revelation 4:5); the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:5); following the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:19); the seventh plague (Revelation 16:18); and, the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6). The “seven thunders” were not recorded by John.
812 A great earthquake occurred: Compare Revelation 6:12 and the earthquake in the context of the Great Day of Wrath.
RV16:19 And the Great City813 [of Babylon] became three parts. The cities of the nations collapsed.814 Babylon the Great815 [Daniel 4:30] was remembered in the sight of The God to give her the Cup of the wine of the anger of His wrath.816 [Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15]
813 The Great City: This “city” was first mentioned at Revelation 11:8 and some of the occupants of the city were the two prophets (or, the Saints). The Saints escape the “city” by rapture (Revelation 11:12) having been called to “come out.” (Revelation 18:4)
814 The cities of the nations collapsed: The cities fall but this does not necessarily mean the death of all their inhabitants. The “nations” survive the “end” as Revelation 20:3 and 21:24. (Revelation 2:26; 12:5; 15:4)
815 Babylon the Great: Compare Revelation 14:8, 10; chapters 17, 18.
816 His wrath: This is detailed in Revelation chapters 17, 18.
RV16:20 Every island fled and the mountains were not found.817
817 Every island fled and the mountains were not found: Are normally safe places of escape during such moments. Compare Revelation 6:16.
RV16:21 Great hail, [Exodus 9:24] the weight of a talent, descended out of the sky.818 Humans blasphemed The God819 because of the plague of hail, because the plague [of hail] was gigantic.
818 Great hail, the weight of a talent, descended out of the sky: Hail occurs in the “air.” Compare Exodus 9:22-26. This weight is given as 88 or 100 pounds.
819 Humans blasphemed The God: The reaction to all of these plagues has been similar to Pharaoh. It has only hardened these people and they apparently do not repent at this stage. Though later different ones mourn the collapse of Babylon the Great.

#381. This last plague brings the anger of God to a finish. It is an enormous, off the scale, global earthquake that results in the dividing of the Great City into three parts. It also results in the collapse of all the cities of the nations. This may include only the cessation of their daily function, or it may mean the ruin of great and important buildings, roadways, bridges, water and power facilities. Though the cities are ruined, nothing is said of great amounts of dead here. The earthquake is so severe that islands disappear and mountains vanish. Even still, people curse God because of the gigantic hail. They know its source.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved