VII. The Seventh Vial

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.” The seventh angel pours his vial filled with the unmixed and undiluted wrath of God into the air. The air represents the most basic of necessities. Air is to man what water is to fish; it is what we breathe and the context in which we live. We need to drink water and eat food on occasion to survive. But we need air to breathe each and every second. Deprived of air for even a short time we suffocate and die. The air or the perfected atmosphere in which we live was created in the first chapter of Genesis. It was what God called heaven. It is the expanse of the sky in which the fowls of heaven fly and almost every time the word air is used in the Bible it is connection with the fowls that fly therein (Gen. 1:20). It not only represents that part of creation which is absolutely necessary to the life of man (and which God our great Creator and Designer perfected for us) but it also represents that which man was given dominion over (Ps. 8). Mankind was made to rule over creation which included the atmosphere in which he lives. But sinful man ceded his authority over the air via the fall to Satan. Satan has gained the title of god of this world and “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…” (Eph. 2:2). Man in the state of disobedience is under the rule and kingdom of Satan and that will never be truer than the time of our text (the unrepentant world worshipping the beast and dragon that gave him power). This therefore is the vial that effects all of the fallen world. This is the universal vial that brings mankind under the influence of the god they now serve to the place of perfect judgment. It is wrath poured out on the kingdom of Satan and all that follow him in disobedience.

The pouring forth of the vial was accompanied with the voice of God. A “great” voice made a declaration. This is the voice of God. It came out of the temple of heaven of which no man could enter until the end of the seven last plagues (Rev. 15:8). It is the voice of the glory of God that now answers the unrepentant world and the god they serve. The voice came not only from the temple but also from the throne. This removes all doubt that the voice of God is being heard and not just the voice of an angel. The voice from the throne is the voice of final authority. This is the Judge of all that speaks. And what does the voice say? “It is done.” Working our way from the most immediate to the most accurate meaning of this term we consider first that this is the conclusion of the seven last plagues. God’s wrath, as far as dealing with the immediate rebellion of mankind, is coming to a conclusion. It reminds us of what Christ said about the end times. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22). This is God setting a definite end to this time of judgment and he is doing so for the sake of His elect (i.e. the nation of Israel and all who will worship the God of Israel during this time). But that it is not all that is meant by the term ‘It is done.’ It is also the end of the rule of mankind; or specifically the times of the Gentiles has come to an end (Dan. 2 & 7, Luke 21:24). Israel will no longer be under the dominion of the kings of this world because the King of Israel is coming to rule. Again, this is connected to the shortening of those days for the sake of the elect nation of Israel. That brings us to the most accurate interpretation of the term “it is done” and that is the return of Christ. He cried “it is finished” before he died to complete our atonement and He again cries “it is done” prior to the completion of His second coming. All that needed to occur before He came again to rule and reign forever and ever is now done. Mankind is out of time and now must bow before the immediate presence of Christ. This is a summary of all of the book of Revelation; this is the consummation of all things. Everything in history has led to this moment. 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.” This gives us a greater clue to what it means when it is said “it is done.” We remember that in the eighth chapter the prayers of the saints were mixed with fire from the altar and was cast to the earth. That was the beginning of God’s dealing with this unrepentant world. Now God is done dealing with unrepentant man. When the prayers of the saints were cast down to the earth it was accompanied with “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake” (Rev. 8:5). Here we see the same thing again. This is the absolute end result of those prayers. “Thy Kingdom come!!!” Praise God, He answers prayers! There is one difference and that is the fact that here (as opposed to the eighth chapter) there was a great earthquake. Our text calls it not only a great earthquake but a mighty earthquake and adds the adverb “so” to its greatness. The text says that such an earthquake has never been since mankind was on the earth. There must have been some great seismic shaking when God formed the foundations of the earth but this earth was meant to be inhabited by mankind. It shakes only occasionally now since the creation of man; since the fountains of the great deep were broken up due to the judgment of mankind. As the end approaches there will be earthquakes in diverse places to remind us that the end will come. But, this is the final shaking. God shook Mt. Sinai when He gave the law and one day He will shake the earth in His judgment of man according to that law. “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven” (Heb. 12:26). Isaiah spoke about the all the nations fighting against Israel and stated that the Lord Himself (Christ) shall visit them “with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire” (Isa. 29:6). This is the great moment of the great day of the Lord when He “ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (Isa. 2:19). The Lord through Haggai stated, “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come…” (Hag. 2:7). This is that great shaking that was foretold and on the other side of that shaking is the coming of the Son of Man. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:29, 20).

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.” There is a ripple effect from the great earthquake. It begins in a place called the great city and ends in the ends of the earth. Some may say that the city here is Jerusalem (Jer. 22:8). It has already been so identified as “the great city” (Rev. 11:8). And, according to Christ, Jerusalem will be trampled down until the times of the Gentiles come to an end. In anticipation of the sounding of the seventh trumpet the one tenth of the city of Jerusalem fell so it would be fitting in the seventh vial for the city to again be addressed in its wickedness (11:13). It will at least be the seat of antichrist at some point in that future time and it would therefore make since that it would be the focus of judgment if indeed the antichrist uses the temple of God as his seat of power (II Thess. 2). However, the verse goes on to add the adjective “great” to Babylon as well. From the 14th chapter of Revelation through the eighteenth chapter Babylon is called a great city eight times. Wherever the seat of power of antichrist is that great city and it will be divided into three parts. There is indivisible unity in the Trinity of the Godhead. There is not such with the unholy trinity of devil, antichrist, and false prophet. God divides and defaces their city. This is the end of the kingdoms of the Gentiles and whatever seat of power representing it: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44). We will discuss the cup, the wine of the fierce wrath of God, in the next two chapters at length. We have already spoken about the cup at length as well. The point here is that God will cause all of the sin of Babylon to come into His remembrance. He has a book of remembrance written and mankind will be judged according to their works. But Babylon is the seat of the world’s power since they have wondered after the beast. So the judgment of Babylon ripples throughout the world that followed her. Every island fled and the mountains were not found. This was a complete humbling of the earth. This reminded man of the coming wrath of the Christ; what made them go and hide in the dens of the earth to hide from His coming (Rev. 6:14). This time though there is no place to hide. God judges the entire world. When God said that it is done it is also a reference to the full impact of the opening of the sixth seal.

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.” That brings us back to the parallel of the ten plagues of Egypt. The plague of hail (Ex. 9:22-26). It presumably fell here upon men that came to the battle of Armageddon. It calls to mind the Lord of the hosts of Israel who led Israel to victory through Joshua into the Promised Land (Josh. 10:1-11). He is again, the true Joshua, conquering the Promised Land. The same God is leading Israel to victory again. This is our God. “At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them” (Ps. 18:12-14). It says that the hail that will fall on that day will be the weight of a talent. That is approximately 113 pounds according to Barnes. God will utterly crush mankind when they come against Him. Ezekiel described the battle of Armageddon, led by the land of Magog and Gog who is the chief prince of Meshech or Tubal (presumably a description of the antichrist, Magog being a description of Russia and Meshech and Tubal referring to Moscow and either an area of modern Turkey or a trading area in the Black Sea as Ezek. 27:13). Magog is drawn to the battle by God along with many nations (Ezek. 38:1-6). It is there that our text is again predicted: “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek. 38:21-23). God will be glorified over all nations and they will know that He is the Lord over all. Yet, man will still not be humbled. They will blaspheme God over the hail. They will not fear and they will not repent. Such a sad state of man even in the end when all their hopes of making themselves gods will be crushed God. We will have to wait until the 19th chapter to see what happens next. Now, for the next two chapters, we will focus on the two-fold fall of Babylon.