Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 16:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Go your ways, and pour out - These ministers of the Divine justice were ready to execute vengeance upon transgressors, having full power; but could do nothing in this way till they received especial commission. Nothing can be done without the permission of God; and in the manifestation of justice or mercy by Divine agency, there must be positive command.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I heard a great voice out of the temple - A loud voice out of the temple as seen in heaven (notes on Revelation 11:19), and that came, therefore, from the very presence of God.

Saying to the seven angels - That had the seven vials of wrath. See the notes on Revelation 15:1, Revelation 15:7.

Go your ways - Your respective ways, to the fulfillment of the task assigned to each.

And pour out the vials of the wrath of God - Empty those vials; cause to come upon the earth the plagues indicated by their contents. The order in which this was to be done is not intimated. It seems to be supposed that that would be understood by each.

Upon the earth - The particular part of the earth is not here specified, but it should not be inferred that it was to be upon the earth in general, or that there were any calamities, in consequence of this pouring out of the vials of wrath, to spread over the whole world. The subsequent statements show what parts of the earth were particularly to be affected.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 641

Verse 1

The Chronology of the Plagues. — The description of this plague clearly reveals at once their chronology; for it is poured out upon those who have the mark of the beast, and who worship his image, — the identical work against which the third angel warns us. This is conclusive proof that these judgments are not poured out till after this angel closes his work, and that the very class who hear his warning, and reject it, are the ones to receive the first drops from the overflowing vials of God's indignation. Now, if these plagues are in the past, the image of the beast and his worship are in the past. If these are past, the two-horned beast, which makes this image, and his work, are in the past. If these are past, then the third angel's message, which warns us in reference to this work, is in the past; and if this is past, — that is, ages in the past, where this view locates the commencement of the plagues, — then the first and second messages, which precede that, were also ages in the past. Then the prophetic periods, on which the messages are based, especially the 2300 days, ended ages ago. And if this is so, the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 are thrown wholly into the Jewish dispensation, and the great proof of the Messiahship of Christ is destroyed. But it has been shown on chapters 7, 13, and 14, that the first and second messages have been given in our own day; that the third is now in process of accomplishment; that the two-horned beast has come upon the stage of action, and is preparing to do the work assigned him; and that the formation of the image and the enforcement of the worship are just in the future. And unless all these positions can be overthrown, the seven last plagues must also be assigned wholly to the future.DAR 641.3

But there are other reasons for locating them in the future and not in the past.DAR 642.1

1. Under the fifth plague, men blaspheme God because of their sores, the same sores, of course, caused by the outpouring of the first plague. This shows that these plagues all fall upon one and the same generation of men, some being, no doubt, swept off by each one, yet some surviving through the terrible scenes of them all; a fact utterly subversive of the position that they commenced far in the past, and occupy centuries each in their fulfilment, for how, then, could those who experience the first plague be alive under the fifth?DAR 642.2

2. These plagues are the wine of God's wrath without mixture, threatened by the third angel. Chapter 14:10; 15:1. Such language cannot be applied to any judgments visited upon the earth while Christ pleads between his Father and our fallen race; hence we must locate them in the future, when probation shall have closed.DAR 642.3

3. Another and more definite testimony as to the commencement and duration of these plagues is found in chapter 15:8: “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” The temple here introduced is evidently that which is mentioned in chapter 11:19, where it says, “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” In other words, we have before us the heavenly sanctuary. The testimony is, then, that when the seven angels with the seven golden vials receive their commission, the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God, and no being can enter into the temple, or sanctuary, till they have fulfilled their work; there will therefore be no ministration in the sanctuary during this time. Consequently, these vials are not poured out till the close of the ministration in the tabernacle above, but immediately follow that event; for Christ is then no longer a mediator; mercy, which has long stayed the hand of vengeance, pleads no more; the servants of God are all sealed. What could then be expected but that the “storm of vengeance should fall,” and earth be swept with the besom of destruction?DAR 643.1

Having now shown the chronology of these judgments, that they are before us in the very near future, treasured up against the day of wrath, we proceed to inquire into their nature, and what will result when the solemn and fearful mandate shall go forth from the temple to the seven angels, saying, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Here we are called to look into the “armory” of the Lord, and behold the “weapons of his indignation.” Jeremiah 50:25. Here are brought forth the treasures of hail, which have been reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war. Job 38:22, 23.DAR 643.2

The First Plague. — “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 worshiped his image.”DAR 643.3

There is no apparent reason why this should not be regarded as strictly literal. These plagues are almost identical with those which God inflicted upon the Egyptians as he was about to deliver his people from the yoke of bondage, the literality of which is seldom, if ever, called in question. God is now about to crown his people with their final deliverance and redemption, and his judgments will be manifested in a manner no less literal and terrible. What the sore here threatened is, we are not informed. Perhaps it may be similar to the parallel plague which fell upon Egypt. Exodus 9:8-11.DAR 644.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We are to pray that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Here is a succession of terrible judgments of Providence; and there seems to be an allusion to several of the plagues of Egypt. The sins were alike, and so were the punishments. The vials refer to the seven trumpets, which represented the rise of antichrist; and the fall of the enemies of the church shall bear some resemblance to their rise. All things throughout their earth, their air, their sea, their rivers, their cities, all are condemned to ruin, all accursed for the wickedness of that people. No wonder that angels, who witness or execute the Divine vengeance on the obstinate haters of God, of Christ, and of holiness, praise his justice and truth; and adore his awful judgments, when he brings upon cruel persecutors the tortures they made his saints and prophets suffer.
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 36

At the commencement of the holy Sabbath, January 5, 1849, we engaged in prayer with Brother Belden's family at Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in vision to the most holy place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth. I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead were separate and distinct, one following the other, also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out. EW 36.1

I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus’ work was done in the sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgments of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, “Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” I asked who this company were. The angel said, “These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.” I heard them cry with a loud voice, “We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.” And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. EW 36.2

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 44

Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints—those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God's people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. EW 44.1

Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God's people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also. EW 44.2

I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth. My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past. [The writer of these words did not understand them as teaching that the time for the salvation of all sinners was past. At the very time when these things were written she herself was laboring for the salvation of sinners, as she has been doing ever since. EW 45.1

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 52


At the general conference of believers in the present truth, held at Sutton, Vermont, September, 1850, I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, “It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners, but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the one thousand years.” EW 52.1

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