REVELATION 16Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 16:1-2116:1-7 THE FIRST THREE PLAGUESTHE PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES16:8-11 THE FOURTH AND FIFTH PLAGUES16:12 THE KINGS FROM THE EAST16:13 THE UNHOLY TRINITY16:14 DEMONS PERFORMING SIGNS16:15 COMING AS A THIEF16:16 THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDONTHREE MOUNTAINS OF MEGIDDO16:17-21 THE SEVENTH PLAGUE


THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES

The trumpet plagues are allowed by God to bring sinners to repentance and, together with the ministry of the two witnesses, ultimately result in the salvation of the Great Multitude (See chapter 11). In contrast, the seven last plagues take place after the close of probation and do not result in repentance. To the contrary, They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds” (Revelation 16:9,11,21).

Although the primary purpose of the seven last plagues is to protect God’s people, those who are affected fully deserve the terrible conditions they experience in the plagues—And I heard the angel of the waters saying: ‘You are righteous, O Lord, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink; for they are deserving.’ And I heard another from the altar saying, ‘Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments” (Revelation 16:5-7).

This does not mean that God is finally giving sinners all that they deserve. One of the primary characteristics of God is that He does not give us what we deserve, and as fearful as the seven last plagues are, they are but a fraction of the punishment these persecutors of God’s people would receive if they really reaped the fullness what they have sown. This will not be fully revealed until after “the thousand years are finished.” Then they will stand before the “Great White Throne” and “the books [will be] opened” (Revelation 20:5,11,12). When the records are revealed, no one will ever be able to accuse God of giving them more than they are deserving.”

The remarkable similarity of the Seven Last Plagues with the plagues of Egypt during the time of Moses shows their purpose: The deliverance of God’s people.

SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

PLAGUES OF EGYPT

“A terrible and grievous sore” (Revelation 16:2).

“Boils that break out in sores” (Exodus 9:9).

“Water…became blood” (Revelation 16:3,4).

“All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood” (Exodus 7:14-24).

“His kingdom became full of darkness” (Revelation 16:10).

“There was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt” (Exodus 10:21-29).

“Three unclean spirits like frogs” (Revelation16:13).

“Frogs shall come up on you” (Exodus 8:1-14).

“Huge hailstones...fell out of heaven upon men” (Revelation 16:21).

“The Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt” (Exodus 9:13-36).

God’s blessing upon the children of Israel caused them to prosper and multiply in the land of Egypt, but a “new Pharaoh” who, by his own admission did not know the Lord,[1] considered them to be a menace to his kingdom. They went from being a favored people to being slaves until finally they were threatened with annihilation.[2] But when the situation appeared hopeless, God intervened in a miraculous way with the plagues, which led to the deliverance of His people and the destruction of their enemies who had risen up against them.[3]

Likewise, the beast coalition will seek to coerce God’s people into worshiping the image of the beast through economic sanctions (“no one may buy or sell” Revelation 13:17) and will ultimately seek to exterminate them (“As many as would not worship the image of the beast [would] be killed” v. 15). As we saw in chapter 9, Satan will exploit the trumpet plagues that he has brought about, convincing the followers of the beast that it is God’s people who are responsible for their suffering because of their stubborn refusal to “worship the Image of the beast.” With the death decree in force, it will appear that all of God’s people are about to become martyrs. But God, through the seven last plagues, will thwart the plans of “the dragon,…the beast, and…the false prophet,” and bring about a miraculous deliverance of His people.

Continue to next section: 16:8-11 THE FOURTH AND FIFTH PLAGUES



[1] Exodus 5:2

[2] Exodus 1:8-22

[3] The kingdom of Egypt was destroyed by the plagues and the army which pursued the children of Israel was drowned in the Red Sea. Exodus 14.