REVELATION 16 - THE 7 LAST PLAGUES
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
The most aweful disasters ever to affect humanity will reveal the character of the wicked and the saints.
1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
10 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,
11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stonea bout the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Chapter 16 – THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
The 7 ‘first’ plagues (the 7 Trumpets - Rev 9:20) fell on pagan Rome.
This led to her downfall & division into the nations of Europe.
However, Pagan Rome transitioned* to Papal Rome, a global power.
The 7 last plagues result in the final destruction of Rome in its Papal phase.
The 7 last plagues are said to be her plagues (Rev 18:4,8).
The 7 last plagues will also fall upon the wicked who follow & side with her.
Hence the call to come out of her my people & receive not of her plagues: Rev 18.
The plagues are poured out when the opportunity for salvation is past.
They will be the most awful calamities to ever hit the earth apart from Noah's flood.
*Pagan Rome, a local power transitioned to Papal Rome, a global power:
Daniel 2 – IRON legs (Rome) transitions to feet of IRON & clay (Papal Rome)
Daniel 7 – the 4th beast (Rome) transitions to the little horn (Papal Rome).
Daniel 8 – the little horn of Daniel 8, a symbol of both pagan and papal Rome.
Daniel 11 – Pagan Rome transitions to Papal Rome in Daniel 11:30-31.
TIMING OF THE PLAGUES - FUTURE EVENTS (from today 29/01/2022)
The plagues occur at the end of time before Christ returns.
*At Christ’s return all the wicked are destroyed.
The Plagues occur after the Mark of the beast is enforced - see next point (4).
The 1st plague falls on those who have received the mark of the beast (Rev 16:2).
The 3rd angel's message warns against receiving the mark of the beast.
Therefore, the plagues fall after the third angel’s message.
Hence, the plagues come after the first & second angel’s messages.
Messages which announced the hour of God’s judgment and the fall of Babylon.
Hence, they are unmixed with mercy (Rev 14:10; cf.15:1).
This cannot apply to past judgements as they have been “mixed” with mercy.
The plagues occur when there is no man in the temple in heaven (Rev 15:8).
The emptiness of (11) indicates Christ’s mediatory work has ceased (Rev 15:8, 22:11).
The plagues thus come after the opportunity for salvation has passed – Rev 22:11.
Therefore, the plagues occur AFTER probation has closed - all have decided.
Plagues fall AFTER the opportunity for salvation has passed for they are unmixed with mercy (Rev 14:10; cf.15:1).
They are “the 7 LAST plagues”, therefore, occur just prior to the coming of Christ.
Plagues all fall in one generation as 1st plague victims are still alive at 5th plague -v11.
The plagues precede the final deliverance of ‘Israel’ in the same way the plagues on Egypt preceded literal Israel’s deliverance. (See Psalm 91)
*See Luke 17:26-30; 2Thess 1:7-9; Rev 19:20-21; 1Thess 5:2-3.
DURATION OF THE PLAGUES - INSIDE ONE YEAR
The plagues fall in one generation for those who suffer the sores under the first plague (verse 2) are still alive under the fifth plague (verse 11).
The plagues fall “...in one day, death, and mourning, and famine...” (Rev 18:8). This “day” cannot be literal for it would be impossible for “famine” to come in that length of time. In the Bible a “day” is used as a symbol for a year (Eze 4:6; Num 14:34, Matt 18:22). Applying this measurement, the plagues will come “in (inside) one year.” The plagues will not all be of the same duration.
Note: While Babylon’s plagues come in one day (inside one year) her final dissolution occurs in one hour (about two weeks (15 days) using the day = year principle). See on Rev 18.
“...for in one hour is thy judgment come.” Rev 18:10.
“...For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.” Rev 18:17
“...for in one hour is she made desolate.” Rev 18:19.
The 10 horns give her their power for one hour and pass a universal death decree upon the saints. When the tables turn at the voice of God and the wicked realize they are lost Babylon is desolated in one hour.
THE SUBJECTS OF THE PLAGUES - THE WICKED
1. They fall on spiritual Babylon – those in error. They are “her plagues.” Rev 18:4,8.
2. They fall on those who receive the Mark of the Beast.
3. The local plagues on Egypt typified the global plagues on spiritual Babylon which sits on the symbolic waters or nations of the world (Rev 17:1, 15).
1Cor 10:1 states that Old Testament events occurred as ensamples for the faithful who live at the end of the world. Egypt’s plagues were ten in number. The last seven occurred after God said, “...put a division between my people and thy people [the Egyptians]...” The last seven only affected the Egyptians. So, after people have decided who they will serve the seven last plagues will fall only on the wicked.
“The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the WORLD just before the final deliverance of Godʼs people." Great Controversy, p627-628.
The faithful will be protected in that day – Psalm 91:
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, [which is] my refuge, [even] the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Ps 91:4-10
PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES
Why would God inflict the wicked with these calamities AFTER the close of Probation? In the O.T. calamities were often to turn men to repentance. Coming AFTER the opportunity for salvation is passed, the plagues can serve no such purpose. The purpose of the plagues is to reveal the true character of all (See v9, 11, 21). To men as well as angels, the tares will be seen to be tares (Matt 13:24-30; 36-43; 1Cor 4:9). It will be demonstrated to the universe that under the severest trial the saints would rather die than sin and that those who reject God would, if permitted, slay the very elect. In one group the character of God will be ripened and in the other the character of Satan fully manifest –cf Rev 13: Mark of the beast & death decree mandated by Satan’s henchmen. The plagues are just punishments upon those who persecuted Godʼs people and rebelled against His law of love.
APPROPRIATENESS OF THE PLAGUES
Plagues 1-5, 7 are similar to those which fell on Egypt, the 6th is symbolic and based on the fall of Babylon. The plagues are similar to the literal plagues which befell Egypt (Exo 9:8-11; Deut 28:27). Just as the plagues of Egypt struck at the various Godʼs of Egypt (Godʼs of the Nile, flies etc) and showed the futility of their false gods (Exo 7:17; 12:12; cf. PP 333, 758-760) so the seven last plagues while resulting in literal events, which strike at end-time ʻgods.ʼ
LITERAL OR SYMBOLIC?
Following the principle that one takes the Bible in its most literal sense unless it makes no sense, the first four plagues are evidently literal. The effects of the plagues will be literal though symbols are employed in the description of some of the plagues.
The 6th clearly contains symbols. See comments there.
Under the second plague the “sea” becomes “as the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea.” The sea here cannot be symbolic because the sea as a symbol represents the vast mass of humanity, and if every living soul in the mass of humanity died under the second plague, upon whom would the following five plagues fall? All men do not die under the second plague because Jesus slays the beast and the false prophet at His return (See Rev 19). Therefore, as the sea described under the second plague cannot be interpreted symbolically it must therefore be taken literally.
The seven last plagues have striking similarities to the seven trumpets - Rev 8,9,11. The seven trumpets are the seven ‘first’ plagues. The trumpets which are called plagues in Rev 9:20, fell on pagan Rome destroying her. The seven last plagues fall on papal Rome destroying the last kingdom of the Daniel 2 image in its entirety. No surprise the trumpets and plagues are similar. The seventh trumpet has been sounding since the commencement of the judgment (Rev 11:15-19) and will merge with the seventh plague, the seventh seal and those victorious in the seventh church.
1. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying…”
This is the voice of God given that the angels had already departed from the temple and no man, literally “no one” was able to enter into the temple.” (Rev 15:6,8)
“… pour out the vials…”
To afflict with the calamities of God’s wrath.
“… upon the earth.”
The earth upon which the plagues fall includes the earth, sea, fountains of waters, air etc. The “earth” upon which the plagues are poured must be the literal planet. It cannot be the symbolic “earth” because in prophecy that represents a place of few people, (Rev 13:11) and the plagues are not just to fall on the place of few people.
FIRST PLAGUE – A LITERAL PLAGUE
2. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
“… there fell a noisome and grievous sore…”
The Greek “Helkos” translated “sore” means a wound discharging pus, a sore or ulcer.
In the LXX, (Septuagint) “helkos” is used as follows:
For the boil that befell the Egyptians (Exo 9:9, 10)
A “botch” that could not be healed (Deut 28:28)
The “boils” that befell Job (Job 2:7).
The miracle-working power now cooperating with apostate Christianity will prove unable to heal this affliction (See on v 14). Those who had followed the miracle working apostate Christian world (Rev 13) will see the folly of their decision in the plagues.
“… upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”
Those who had not heeded the third angel’s message (Rev 14) receive this first installment of the wrath of God. Speaking of the consequences of disobedience the Lord said in Deut 28:26-27 “And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air...The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.” Emerods are sore & burning hemorrhoids of the private parts.
In 1Sam 5 the Philistines took the ark, the repository of God’s law, to their city Ashdod and placed it before the IMAGE of Dagon whom they worshipped. God caused Dagon to fall on his face before the ark and broke off his HEAD and HANDs and smote the image worshipping Philistines with emerods (hemorrhoids). The Philistines then sent the ark from Ashdod to Gath and those of Gath suffered emerods. They then sent the ark to Ekron and those of Ekron, the third city, were also smitten with emerods.
In the soon coming conflict the worshippers of the IMAGE of the beast will force the people of God, the repositories of His law, to receive the mark of the beast. Ultimately the wicked, who received the beast’s mark in their right HAND or foreHEAD, will fall in worship before the saints feet and prior to this each of the three parts of global Babylon will be smitten with the grievous sores.
Literal fornication is an almost universal sin. Those who committed spiritual fornication with the whore of Rev 17 will receive boils in their private parts. Those who had tried to ‘rape’ the saints’ conscience and force their doctrines upon them will receive sores in their private parts. The sores will apparently strike the head and the private parts of the apostates:
Isaiah 3:17 “Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.” This is “the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness ...” Ps 91:6.
SECOND PLAGUE – A LITERAL PLAGUE
1. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.
This is a literal plague. The sea is to be taken literally in this plague. It cannot be the prophetic symbolic ‘sea’ of peoples, nations and tongues – Rev 17:15 because every living soul in the nations will not die under the 2nd plague. If the ‘sea’ were to be interpreted symbolically as in Rev 17:15 and every living soul died in the prophetic sea then there would be no-one left for the other plagues to affect.
“… as the blood of a dead man; …”
The sea would become as the blood of a dead man. The appearance of the blood of a dead is like the colour of a man’s Liver. Imagine what it would look like. Naturalistic explanations such as Red algal blooms (gynnodinium) in the ocean would not explain the fresh water springs etc. turning to blood in the following plague. It would, therefore, appear that some other phenomena, perhaps miraculous will be involved.
“and every living soul died in the sea”
The “souls” in the sea are the sea creatures. The Gr. ‘psuche’, translated “soul” is used for animal life as well as human life. In Rev 8:9 it is translated “creature.” The sea creatures would all die in this plague. Imagine the stench with dead fish etc covering the ocean and beaches.
THIRD PLAGUE – A LITERAL PLAGUE
4. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
One would think that the rivers and fountains of waters turning to blood would deprive man of drinking water but the Bible says that the righteous’ water and bread will be sure. (Isaiah 33:16) Psalm 91 vividly describes this time.
5. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
6. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
“… the angel of the waters…”
Angel having jurisdiction over the waters. Other angels have jurisdiction over the winds and fire (Rev 7:1; 14:18)
“For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,…”
How appropriate is this plague. “By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit and were seeking to do the same work with these murderers of the prophets.” GC 627.
Matt 23:34-35; 1 John 3:15 show that guilt attaches to motive no less than action. The last generation of the wicked will pass a death decree to exterminate the saints (Rev 12:17; 13:15). As a consequence, this plague will fall upon them. See quote on v 9.
One who sheds blood and condemns the saints to death is represented in this plague as one who drinks blood. Speaking of the harlot church which slaughtered the saints during the Dark Ages, John wrote, “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: “Rev 17:6. Hence, they get given blood to drink in this plague.
FOURTH PLAGUE – A LITERAL PLAGUE
7. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
8. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
“And I heard another out of the altar say…”
This is the altar of incense. No mention is made of an altar of burnt offering in heaven. See Rev 8:3; 9:13; 14:18
“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun;…”
The first four plagues affect in order:
3. Fountains of waters
Rev 14:7 says, “Fear God...worship him that made heaven, and EARTH, and the SEA, and the FOUNTAINS OF WATERS: for the hour of His judgment is come.” This is a quotation from the FOURTH of the ten commandments, which commands the observance of the seventh day Sabbath. It is significant that under the fourth plague, the wicked, having rejected the Sabbath commandment in favour of SUN-day worship, will receive SUN-burn.
Even the saints will feel the heat but not to the extent of the wicked. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps 91:1. The Lord will be, “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isa 32:2.
Speaking of the saints in heaven who passed through the plagues John writes, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” Rev 7:16.
According to the Greek, the first three plagues are poured out “into” (eis) the earth, sea, and fountains of waters. The fourth, fifth & sixth plagues are poured out “upon” (epi) the sun, the beastʼs throne and the river Euphrates. The seventh plague is poured out “into” (eis) the air. Many texts say “upon” (epi) the air. What significance this has, if any, is not clear.
In place of the fourth commandment to remember the seventh day Sabbath, Babylon enforced the observance of Sunday the first day of the week. Interesting that God allows the sun worshipper to be smitten by the sun and burn.
9. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Sevens in Revelation are broken into a first group of four followed by another group of three. In harmony with this principle the first four plagues differ from the last three. The first four are literal. The last three contain symbols.
5th. Involves the kingdom of the “beast” (v10) which is global (cf. Rev 13:3, 16-17).
6th. Involve the “kings of the earth” & the symbolic River Euphrates (Rev 16:14).
7th. Involves “the cities of the nations,” and “every island.” (Rev 16:19, 20).
“When Christ ceases his intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, [Rev 14:9, 10] will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel, were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God's people. Says the Revelator, in describing these terrific scourges, ‘There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.’ The sea ‘became as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea.’ And ‘the rivers and fountains of waters became blood.’ [Rev 16:2-6, 8, 9] Terrible as these inflictions are, God's justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares, "Thou art righteous, O Lord, . . . because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. [Rev 16:2-6, 8, 9] By condemning the people of God to death they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood, as if it had been shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of his time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit, and were seeking to do the same work, with these murderers of the prophets.
In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun ‘to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.’ [Rev 16:2-6, 8, 9] The prophets thus describe the condition of the earth at this fearful time: ‘The land mourneth;. . . because the harvest of the field is perished.’ ‘All the trees of the field are withered; because joy is withered away from the sons of men.’ ‘The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate.’ ‘How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture. . . . The rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.’ ‘The songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God; there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.’ [Joel 1:10-12, 17-20; Amos 8:3.] THESE PLAGUES [the first four quoted] ARE NOT UNIVERSAL or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final Judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.” GC. 627-629.
Thinking to do God’s service the wicked will be eager to execute the saints whom they believe are responsible for bringing these calamities upon the world. The great heat will force men to drink the bloody waters which appeared under the previous plague. The wicked will no doubt be praying for relief from the heat. The next plague brings darkness.
FIFTH PLAGUE – A LITERAL PLAGUE
10. 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 the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; …”
The beast is the beast of Revelation 13:1-10. The dragon gave it its seat, power and great authority. (Rev 13:2) The beast represents Papal Rome which rules from the city of Rome. Therefore, the darkness will begin over Rome.
This is a literal darkness. The precedent is found in the Old Testament. Prior to their deliverance a literal darkness came between Pharoah and Israel at the Red Sea. As darkness fell between Pharaoh and Israel at the Red Sea before the waters of the Red sea were “dried up” preparing a way of escape for Israel (Josh 24:7; Ps 106:9; Isa 51:10), so darkness will fall over the world (5thplague) before the Euphrates is “dried up” (6th plague). As this supernatural darkness falls the angry multitudes will be suddenly arrested, their mocking cries die away. In horror they will realize that Babylon has deceived them and they are eternally lost.
Note the TYPE in the Exodus from Egypt to the promised land and the ANTI-TYPE in the End-time exodus to the promised land.
Plagues fell on Egypt
Plagues fall on the world
God's people go into the wilderness
God's people flee into the wilderness
Pharaoh's army pursue God's people
Babylon's army pursue the saints
Red sea helps pharaoh (traps saints)
Wicked help Babylon (surround saints)
Darkness falls on the Egyptians (Josh 24:7)
Darkness falls on beast & army - 5th Plague
Red sea dries up
Euphrates dries up - 6th Plague
Israel delievered at the Red Sea
God's people delivered by Christ
Pharaoh destroyed by the Red Sea
Babylon destroyed by ex-supporters
Israel sings the Song of Deliverance
Saints sing the song of Moses & the Lamb
This is similar to the experience at the cross when DARKNESS covered the earth (Matt 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44).
Church condemns Christ to death
Church condemns the saints to death
State condemns Christ to death
State condemns the saints to death
Christ suffers on the cross
Saints suffer under death decree - Rev 13
Darkness toward end of suffering
Darkness toward end of suffering.
Darkness distracts the wicked
Darkness distracts the wicked.
Cries for Christ's death dries up
Wicked's intent to slay saints dries up - 6th plague
Great Earthquake - 7th plague
Graves open - special resurrection.
Again we see darkness comes just prior to deliverance. Christ died, and because He died we are delivered. Thus, darkness appears to precede deliverance.
Spreading from Rome, the seat of the beast, the darkness will envelop the world for the kingdom of the beast will at this time be worldwide. “All the world wondered after the beast.” Rev 13:3
John 3:19 states: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Those who reject the light of God’s word / truth will be covered with literal darkness.
Note the following:
“When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof.
The people of God--some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains--still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen... With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God's covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.” Great Controversy p. 634-636
“… and they gnawed their tongues for pain,..
The pain is because of their sores - see verse 11,
11. And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
This text shows that some of those who received the sores under the first plague are still alive under this, the fifth plague, proving that the plagues come in one generation and do not immediately kill all those they afflict.
Zeph 1:15-18 “That day [is] a day of WRATH, a day of TROUBLE and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick DARKNESS, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORDʼS wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”
SIXTH PLAGUE – SYMBOLIC LANGUAGE (EUPHRATES)
12. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
There is a principle in Bible prophecy that the literal & local in the Old Testament typify the spiritual & global in the End-time:
Literal local Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar transitions to Spiritual Babylon in Rev 17
Literal local Israel of the OT transitions to spiritual Israel - true Christian church.
Literal local Jezebel of the OT transitions to spiritual Jezebel of Rev 2:20
Literal local Euphrates transitions to the spiritual Euphrates of Rev 9:14 & 16:12.
Literal local sanctuary transitions to the heavenly sanctuary for all mankind.
Literal local 7 churches transitions to the spiritual 7 churches of Revelation 2&3
The literal Euphrates river supported literal Babylon and in keeping with the transition from literal to spiritual, the Euphrates here in the sixth plague represents the supporters of spiritual Babylon, seas or waters being symbolic of peoples, nations, and tongues (Rev 17:15).
King Cyrus came from the east (Jer 50:38; 51:36; Isa 44:27)
Cyrus dried up the literal Euphrates (Jer 50:38; 51:36; Isa 44:27)
The Euphrates river supported literal Babylon. It was its lifeblood.
Cyrus conquered literal Babylon by drying up the Euphrates.
Cyrus delivered Godʼs people.
Cyrus is a type of Christ.
Christ, the King of kings, will return from the east (Matt 24:27)
Christ will come with the “kings” who are presently in heaven (Rev 5:10)
Hence “the Kings of the East” – plural.
Waters (Rev 17:15) of the spiritual Euphrates supports spiritual Babylon (Rev 17:15)
The support of the spiritual river Euphrates for spiritual Babylon will dry up.
Christ will liberate His people.
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, …”
In the original language the root word from which “Euphrates” is derived means, “to break forth, rushing.” This word is used because when the snow melts in the Armenian highlands at the source of the Euphrates, the waters overflow their banks.
The OT writers employed the overflowing of the Euphrates to represent the invasion of Israel by her northern enemies, Assyria & Babylon:
“Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north,* and shall be an overflowing flood,and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.” Jer 47:2
*Remember literal Babylon was the King of the North – Jer 6:22, Ezekiel 26:7,8. No surprise that “…WATERS rise up out of the NORTH,* and shall be an overflowing flood,…” symbolically describing the literal King of the North attacking Israel. Will send that study on the King of the North as found in Daniel chapter 2, yes, chapter 2!
“Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, [even] the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach [even] to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” Isa 8:7-8
In the book of Joshua the river Euphrates is referred to as “the Flood.”
The following texts (Josh 24:2,3) are not referring to Noah’s flood.
Terah, Abraham and Joshua lived after Noah’s flood.
Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees (Babylon)
The word translated FLOOD in Josh 24:2,3 is “nahar”
“nahar” means river or stream.
Ur of the Chaldees was near the Euphrates.
Hence, “Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood” means they dwelt on the other side of the river, the river Euphrates near Ur of the Chaldees.
“And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.” Josh 24:2-3
“...put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Josh 24:14-15.