Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 16:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Poured out his vial into the air - To signify that this plague was to be widely diffused, and perhaps to intimate that pestilences and various deaths would be the effect of this vial. But possibly air in this place may have some emblematical meaning.

It is done - It is said, Revelation 10:7, that in the days of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God should be finished; so here we find it completed. Γεγονε· All's over! Fuimus Troes! Ilium fuit! Once there were Trojans, and they had a city; but now all are extinct.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air - This introduces the final catastrophe in regard to the “beast” - his complete and utter overthrow, accompanied with tremendous judgments. Why the vial was poured into the air is not stated. The most probable supposition as to the idea intended to be represented is, that, as storms and tempests seem to be engendered in the air, so this destruction would come from some supernatural cause, as if the whole atmosphere should be filled with wind and storm; and a furious and desolating whirlwind should be aroused by some invisible power.

And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven - The voice of God. See the notes on Revelation 11:19.

From the throne - See the notes on Revelation 4:2. This shows that it was the voice of God, and not the voice of an angel.

Saying, It is done - The series of judgments is about to be completed; the dominion of the beast is about to come to an end forever. The meaning here is, that that destruction was so certain, that it might be spoken of as now actually accomplished.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 652

Verse 17

The Seventh Plague. — Thus has Inspiration described the last judgment which is to be inflicted in the present condition of things upon those who are incorrigibly rebellious against God. Some of the plagues are local in their application; but this one is poured out into the air. The air envelops the whole earth; it follows that this plague will envelop equally the habitable globe. It will be universal. The very air will be deadly.DAR 653.1

The gathering of the nations having taken place under the sixth vial, the battle remains to be fought under the seventh; and here are brought to view the instrumentalities with which God will slay the wicked. At this time it may be said, “The Lord hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation.”DAR 653.2

“There were voices.” Above all will be heard the voice of God. “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16. (See also Jeremiah 25:30; Hebrews 12:26.) This will cause the great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth.DAR 653.3

“And thunders and lightnings” — another allusion to the judgments of Egypt. (See Exodus 9:23.) The great city is divided into three parts; that is, the three grand divisions of the false and apostate religion of the world (the great city), Paganism, Catholicism, and relapsed Protestantism, seem to be set apart each to receive its appropriate doom. The cities of the nations fall; universal desolation spreads over the earth; every island flees away, and the mountains are not found; and great Babylon comes in remembrance before God. Read her judgments, as more fully described in chapter 18.DAR 653.4

“And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven.” This is the last instrumentality used in the infliction of punishment upon the wicked, — the bitter dregs of the seventh vial. God has solemnly addressed the wicked, saying, “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place.” Isaiah 28:17. (See also Isaiah 30:30.) And he asks Job if he has seen the treasures of the hail, which he has “reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war.” Job 38:22, 23.DAR 653.5

“Every stone about the weight of a talent.” A talent, according to various authorities, as a weight, is about fifty-seven pounds avoirdupois. What could withstand the force of stones of such an enormous weight falling from heaven? But mankind, at this time, will have no shelter. The cities have fallen in a mighty earthquake, the islands have fled away, and the mountains are not found. Again the wicked give vent to their woe in blasphemy; for the plague of the hail is “exceeding great.”DAR 654.1

Some faint idea of the terrible effect of such a scene as is here predicted, may be inferred from the following sketch of a hailstorm on the Bosporus, by our countryman, the late Commodore Porter, in his Letters from Constantinople and its Environs, Vol. I, p. 44. He says: —DAR 654.2

“We had got perhaps a mile and a half on our way, when a cloud rising in the west, gave indications of approaching rain. In a few minutes we discovered something falling from the heavens with a heavy splash, and with a whitish appearance. I could not conceive what it was, but observing some gulls near, I supposed it to be them darting for fish, but soon after discovered that they were large balls of ice falling. Immediately we heard a sound like rumbling thunder, or ten thousand carriages rolling furiously over the pavement. The whole Bosporus was in a foam, as though heaven's artillery had been charged upon us and our frail machine. Our fate seemed inevitable; our umbrellas were raised to protect us, but the lumps of ice stripped them into ribbons. We fortunately had a bullock's hide in the boat, under which we crawled, and saved ourselves from further injury. One man of the three oarsmen had his hand literally smashed; another was much injured in the shoulder; Mr. H. received a blow in the leg; my right hand was somewhat disabled, and all were more or less injured.DAR 654.3

“It was the most awful and terrific scene I ever witnessed, and God forbid that I should ever be exposed to another! Balls of ice as large as my two fists fell into the boat, and some of them fell with such violence as certainly to have broken an arm or leg had they struck us in those parts. One of them struck the blade of an oar, and split it. The scene lasted perhaps five minutes; but it was five minutes of the most awful feelings I ever experienced. When it passed over, we found the surrounding hills covered with masses of ice, I cannot call it hail, the trees stripped of their leaves and limbs, and everything looking desolate. The scene was awful beyond all description.DAR 655.1

“I have witnessed repeated earthquakes; the lightning has played, as it were, about my head; the wind has roared, and the waves at one moment have thrown me to the sky, and the next have sunk me into a deep abyss. I have been in action, and have seen death and destruction around me in every shape of horror; but I never before had the feeling of awe which seized me on this occasion, and still haunts, and I fear forever will haunt me. My porter, the boldest of my family, who had ventured an instant from the door, had been knocked down by a hailstone, and had they not dragged him in by the heels, would have been battered to death. Two boatmen were killed in the upper part of the village, and I have heard of broken bones in abundance. Imagine to yourself the heavens suddenly frozen over, and as suddenly broken to pieces in irregular masses of from half a pound to a pound weight, and precipitated to the earth.”DAR 655.2

Reader, if such were the desolating effects of a hailstorm of ice, which discharged stones the size of a man's fist, weighing at most a pound or so, who can depict the consequences of that coming storm in which “every stone” shall be of the weight of a talent? As surely as God's word is truth, he is thus soon to punish a guilty world. May it be ours, according to the promise, to have “sure dwellings” and “quiet resting-places” in that terrific hour. Isaiah 32:18, 19.DAR 655.3

“And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying, It is done!” Thus all is finished. The cup of human guilt has been filled up. The last soul has availed itself of the plan of salvation. The books are closed. The number of the saved is completed. The final period is placed to this world's history. The vials of God's wrath are poured out upon a corrupt generation. The wicked have drunk them to the dregs, and sunk into the realm of death for a thousand years. Reader, where do you wish to be found after that great decision?DAR 656.1

But what is the condition of the saints while the “overflowing scourge” is passing over? They are the special subjects of God's protection, without whose notice not a sparrow falls to the ground. Many are the promises which come crowding in to afford them comfort, summarily contained in the beautiful and expressive language of the 91st psalm, which alone we have space to quote: —DAR 656.2

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 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 noon day. 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.” Psalms 91:2-10.DAR 656.3

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The seventh and last angel poured forth his vial, and the downfal of Babylon was finished. The church triumphant in heaven saw it and rejoiced; the church in conflict on earth saw it and became triumphant. God remembered the great and wicked city; though for some time he seemed to have forgotten her idolatry and cruelty. All that was most secure was carried away by the ruin. Men blasphemed: the greatest judgments that can befal men, will not bring to repentance without the grace of God. To be hardened against God, by his righteous judgments, is a certain token of sure and utter destruction.
Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 418

It will soon be said in heaven, “It is done.” “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:11, 12. When this fiat goes forth, every case will have been decided. CT 418.1

Far better would it be for laborers to take less work and go about it slowly and humbly, wearing the yoke of Christ and bearing His burdens, than to devote years of preparation for a large work and then fail to bring sons and daughters to God, fail to have any trophies to lay at the feet of Jesus.... CT 418.2

How many who know the truth for this time are working in harmony with its principles? It is true that something is being done; but more, far more, should have been done. The work is accumulating, and the time for doing it is diminishing. All should now be burning and shining lights, and yet many are failing to keep their lamps supplied with the oil of grace, trimmed and burning, so that light may gleam out today. Too many are counting on a long stretch of tomorrow, but this is a mistake. Let everyone be educated in such a way as to show the importance of the special work for today. Let everyone labor for God and for souls; let each show wisdom and never be found in idleness, waiting for someone to set him to work. The “someone” who could set you to work is overcrowded with responsibilities, and time is lost in waiting for his directions. God will give you wisdom in reforming at once; for the call is still made, “Son, go work today in My vineyard.” “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 3:7, 8. The Lord prefaces the requirement with the endearing word “son.” How tender, how compassionate, yet withal, how urgent! His invitation is also a command.—Special Testimonies On Education, 108-146; written March 21, 1895, to the teachers in the Sanitarium and College at Battle Creek, Michigan. CT 418.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 363

The disciples of Christ are not called upon to magnify men, but to magnify God, the source of all wisdom. Let educators give the Holy Spirit room to do its work upon human hearts. The greatest Teacher is represented in our midst by His Holy Spirit. However you may study, however you may reach higher and still higher, although you occupy every moment of your probationary time in the pursuit of knowledge, you will not become complete. When time is over, you would have to ask yourself the question, “What good have I done to those who are in midnight darkness? To whom have I communicated the knowledge of God, or even the knowledge of those things for which I have spent so much time and money?” It will soon be said in heaven, “It is done.” “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” When this fiat is spoken, every case will have been decided. Far better would it be for workers to take smaller work, and to go about it slowly and humbly, wearing the yoke of Christ and bearing His burdens, than to devote years in preparation for a large work, and then fail to bring sons and daughters to God, fail to have any trophies to lay at the feet of Jesus. Men and women are hovering altogether too long in Battle Creek. God calls them, but they do not hear His voice. Fields are neglected, and that means that minds are unenlightened. Corrupt seed is being rapidly sown in the hearts of our youth, and great practical truths must be brought in contact with the children and youth; for truth is powerful. FE 363.1

Christian teachers are called to work for God. The leaven of truth must be introduced before it can work transformation of character. It would be far better for our youth to be less accomplished in branches of study than to be lacking in humility and meekness, and to be devoid of contrite hearts. The work of some of our educators has been to unfit students to be laborers together with God. You should study to become acquainted with the manner in which Jesus worked and preached. He was self-denying and self-sacrificing. He did not shun toil; He suffered reproach, scorn, insult, mockery, and abuse; but are our students educated in such a way as will prepare them to walk in His footsteps? God is not in your procrastination. Your temptation to follow on year upon year in lines of study, is taking hold of minds, and they are gradually losing the spirit with which the Lord inspired them to go to work in His vineyard. Why cannot responsible men discern what will be the sure results of thus detaining the students, and of teaching them to put off the work of the Lord? Time is passing into eternity, and yet those who were sent to Battle Creek to be fitted up to work in the vineyard of the Lord are not encouraged to do what they could do to advance the cause of God. Many privileges are supplied to those who already know the truth, and yet are not practicing the truth. Money and strength that should be expended in the highways and hedges of the world, are expended on those who do not improve the light that they already have by communicating that light to those who are in darkness. When Philip received the light, he went and called Nathanael; but many youths who might do a special work for the Master, will not make a move until they have had multiplied opportunities. FE 364.1

Ministers of Jesus Christ should apportion some part of God's vineyard to men who are standing idle in the market place. If they blunder, then correct their mistakes, and set them at work again. Many more have been hindered from going forth into the work than have been encouraged to trade upon their talents, and yet it is by using their ability that they learn how to employ their talents. Many have gone to Battle Creek to obtain an education who could have been better instructed in their own country. Time has been lost, money has been needlessly expended, a work has been left undone, and souls have been lost, because of the miscalculations of those who thought they were serving God. The Lord lives, and His Holy Spirit presides everywhere. The impression must not prevail that Battle Creek is the Jerusalem of the world, and that all must go up there to worship. Those who desire to learn, and who make every possible effort to acquire knowledge, walking conscientiously in the light of the truth, need not journey to Battle Creek. God is our teacher; and those who would improve their talents where they are, will be blessed with teachers sent of God to instruct them,—teachers who have been preparing to do a work for the Master. To spend more time, to expend more money, is to do worse than to lose it; for those who seek to obtain an education at the expense of practical godliness are on the losing side. That which they acquire in educational lines during the time when they should have entered upon the work, is mere waste and loss. The heavenly intelligences are waiting for human agents with whom they can co-operate as missionaries in the dark parts of the earth. God is waiting for men to engage in home missionary work in our large cities, and men and women are retained in Battle Creek when they should be distributed in the cities and towns, along the highways and hedges. They should be calling and bidding men to come to the marriage supper, for all things are now ready. There will be missionaries who will do good work in the Master's vineyard who do not go to Battle Creek. FE 365.1

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 362.3

The heavenly gate closes, the invitation of salvation ceases. In heaven it is said, “It is done.” Such a time is not far distant. I plead with you to make sure work for eternity, to lay hold on the hope set before you in the gospel. Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for if you merely seek, you will not be able. HP 362.3

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