V. The fifth vial

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.” This vial answers to the plague of darkness in Egypt. But, this darkness that is poured out is meant for the beast. It is poured out on his seat or the place of his throne. Some say that that throne is in Rome and others say that that throne is in actual Babylon or wherever it may figuratively be. It may be in Jerusalem since he has sat in the temple of God and proclaimed that he is God (II Thess. 2). One can only venture a guess. Regardless, there is a place for the throne and kingdom of the beast which has the world wondering after him. The dragon gave him his seat and his power. He has according to Daniel received a kingdom. His kingdom was full of darkness. This is not the darkness of ignorance. It is possible that it will be a literal darkness as it was in Egypt; a darkness that could be felt (Ex. 10:21). It definitely will be a sign of the coming of the Lord (Acts. 2:20). The prophet Joel said this. “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:30-32). Maybe it was a cloud of darkness that covered the whole of the kingdom. It could be spiritual as well. If that eye is evil thy body will be filled with darkness and that darkness will be great (Matt. 6:23). Men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19). When Elymas the sorcerer withstood the apostles a mist of darkness fell on him where he had to be led by the hand (Acts 13:11). The localized effect of the plague may indicate a personal spiritual effect like that. Peter told us of these people: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever (II Pet. 2:12-17). This is the beginning of their hell and it is the torments of hell that they will feel in the description thereof. They will experience some of the outer darkness of the lake of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). Whatever the darkness was, the beast and all of his immediate kingdom was full of it. Whatever light they had from the true Light which lights every man is gone (John 1:9). Take heed that the light that is in you is not darkness.

There is a three-fold response of the kingdom of the beast. The first response was that they gnawed their tongues for pain. This described the utmost anguish. This is the man that brought the nations to their knees and now his courts are chewing their own tongues out of pain, a pain that is simply the result of this mysterious darkness. These are the tongues that boasted that they were above God. These are the tongues that declared that the world should bow and worship the beast. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The second response was to blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. That is another interesting thing about this darkness. It not only caused pains but it caused sores. That tells me that there is something more than just a dark cloud over the kingdom. This is a darkness that can be truly felt in their hearts and in their consciences. They chewed their tongues and they tore their own flesh. And when they felt that pain and when they saw those sores they lifted up their head again against God and the spoke vilely of Him; they blasphemed.

The last response of the kingdom of the beast was that they repented not of their deeds. They would not change their course. They know now that God is God and they are not. But they still would not turn.