Into the air
"And the seventh
angel poured out his vial into [on] 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. (Rev. 16:17-20)
When we come to the time of verse 17, the curses of the plagues have fallen on the sea, the rivers, and so on. The blessings represented by these life-support systems have been withdrawn. Now the air is cursed. With no air, we can't breathe. Perhaps poisonous gases will be in the air — certainly an easy curse to imagine with angry nations and radical groups so ready to use biological and chemical methods of life destruction. We may also see the air cursed in the increased pollution, which we may expect to be worse as our planet goes out of control.
No air, no breath. This reminds
us of an often misunderstood verse about having breath withdrawn. "Then
shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return
unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity."
(Eccl. 12:7, 8) ec12.
We discovered that the reference to dust returning clarified that the spirit that returns to God is simply the breath which Solomon here tells us is withdrawn in a reversal of the process of creation 1411g. No more breath, no more life.
When studying the fifth trumpet call we find sun and air darkened and see this to represent obscuring areas of truth as part of Satan's end-time deception. So whether poisoned air or no air, we are looking at the finishing of life on this planet for those who are not protected by God.
It is done
"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." (Rev. 16:17)
This exclamation from God
is with "a great voice . . . from the throne." It marks a pivotal point
in the history of the universe. To get an idea of what is "done" we look
first at the context. The sixth plague ended with the kings gathered at
Armageddon poised to strike. The kings and the three evil forces will not
be "done" but God is. They will have shown their willingness to destroy
the righteous. Compare je5116.
"And he [the earth beast who was doing miracles] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." (Rev. 13:15)
Then we turn back to chapter 10 and notice an interesting statement: "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." (Rev. 10:7). The trumpet was then beginning, 1007. Here it is sounding loud and clear. The people of God have stood the test. They are sealed, 0704. The mystery of godliness is finished.
The mystery of iniquity is also finished, at least in part. Iniquity or sin is a "mystery" in that it has no rationale. Here it has led the rebels against God to determine to destroy the small group who have chosen to be loyal.
Time to punish
the end-time wicked
As the law of God is openly violated, the utter evil of the ways of sinners is fully demonstrated. God can punish them and save the righteous without being misunderstood. Had He acted earlier, His justice might have been questioned. Thus, It is done. The righteous are reaped 1415 while the wicked suffer the full strength of the time of trouble. They are trampled in the winepress 1417.
"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." (Rev. 16:18-20)
Here we sense the terrible scene resulting from the pouring out of the seventh plague. See is34. Let's consider the events involved.
"For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low. . . . In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." (Isa. 2:12, 20, 21) Also Job 9:6.
The great earthquake also appears in Rev. 11:19 and indirectly in 6:14-17. I believe this will be literal and also symbolic as God's breaking up all the systems of the earth. It will happen, at least in part, by allowing the development of Satan's power which naturally results in chaos and anarchy.
The alliance breaks up
In verses 13 and 14, we saw the formation of a three-part coalition 1613, which had been set up before the plagues began, for the gathering of the kings. Chapter 17 describes this same group in different symbols: "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Rev. 17:18). The city is seen in 17:5 as Babylon. We may understand that the city (the alliance) breaks up when the people see that they have been deceived. This will not mean that they want to worship God. Their decision against Him was final at the time probation closed at the beginning of the plagues 1508.
Cities of the
How is this different from the breakup of the alliance itself? The parts of the alliance were the dragon, the beast (papacy), and the false prophet (Protestant power). If we see a city of a nation as the working relationship of a people group, then we may understand this fall as the further disintegration of the kingdoms of the kings that were gathered by the alliance.
Babylon came into
God's remembering great 1408 Babylon here does not imply that He had forgotten, but that the time had come to do what He had promised through the voice of the third angel.
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:" (Rev. 14:9, 10) 1409
Islands and mountains flee
"And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." (verse 20).
We identified mountains as nations or world powers 0808. Islands might be smaller nations. We may expect political chaos. The righteous had been threatened with isolation from commercial activity, forbidden to buy or sell, 1317b. Now the wicked suffer the loss of earthly support, the fate they had intended for the righteous. Image © Correl.
Great hail falls
"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." (Rev. 16:21)
What might the falling hail represent? We expect a climax in this last verse about the last plague. But hail seems less significant than mountains disappearing and the cup of God's fierce wrath. For understanding, we turn to the 28th chapter of Isaiah..
The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink. They are confused by wine from strong drink. . . . He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen. So the word of the Lord to them will be, "Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, That they may go and stumble backward, be broken, snared, and taken captive.
Therefore hear the word of the Lord, O Scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, Because you have said "We have made a covenant with death. And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception." Therefore thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, , a costly cornerstone for the foundation, . . . . Then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the secret place. . . .
For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon; to do His task, His unusual task, and to work His work, His extraordinary work. And now do not carry on as scoffers. . . . For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts, of decisive destruction on all the earth. (Isa. 28:2-22, NASB)
This is also the time the temple is opened in heaven and the ark of the covenant is seen 1119,
The seventh plague of Egypt was hail per2.
We may expect literal devastating hail, but the greater meaning might be in words of Jesus: "And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." (Luke 20:17, 18)
Here men have irrevocably refused the way of righteousness. They have refused the orders given by the Lord. They have not searched the Scriptures, comparing line to line, a little here and a little there. They have refused to fall on the stone, and as mighty hail, it grinds them to powder. God's act is unusual or strange to those who expect that he will always wait. (See 2 Peter 3: 9, 10)
A talent is a weight but also a measure of money. In Matt. 25 it is a measure of Christ's gifts to be developed by His servants. I see the overall talent given to us all as His grace. Notice in the story that the one unimproved talent brought the downfall of the wicked servant in mt25b.
to the end
". . . and men blasphemed God because of the plague. . . ." It is clear that the wicked, at this point, have made their decision permanent.
God is certainly reluctant to bring the terrible destruction of the last plagues, but they are the natural and fair payment for their rejection of Him and their persecution of the end-time righteous. By the grace of Jesus, we may prepare and hold tightly to Him day by day. We may let Him break us to have our hearts healed.