16:17-21 THE SEVENTH PLAGUE
“And the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and there came a great voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!” (Revelation 16:17). Each of the previous bowls were poured onto a specific location (the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun, the throne of the beast, the great river Euphrates) and caused catastrophic damage in that sphere. The seventh bowl is poured “into the air.” The air is the realm of Satan himself who is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). In the unseen spiritual realm he directs his evil empire, attacking Christ by causing damage to His children. But with the seventh plague Satan’s reign and authority come to an end, with an announcement from the throne, “It is done.” The invisible evil government dissolves and everything connected to it falls apart, including its manifestation on earth, the “great city” Babylon.
“And there were voices and thunders and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as had not occurred since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell” (Revelation 16:18,19).
This is the second time this earthquake has been mentioned.
“Behold, there was a great earthquake” (v.12).
“And there was a great earthquake” (v.18).
“Every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (v. 14)
“Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (v. 20).
“For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (v. 17)
“The cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (v. 19).
In Revelation 6 the context was the investigative judgment and identified the enemies of God who will be alive at the Second Coming of Christ. This passage in Revelation 16:18,19 introduces a section that details the executive judgment of these same people. By this time they have been clearly identified by their acceptance of the mark of the beast as belonging to the anti-christ politico-religious system called Babylon. The trinitarian nature of this kingdom has already been mentioned—the dragon symbolizing spiritualistic paganism, the beast representing Roman Catholicism and the false prophet representing apostate Protestantism. This “great city” has, through power politics, flattery, coercion and infatuating addiction to sin, maintained authority and a tenuous unity of hate and fear. But now, with the prince of evil dethroned, the semblance of unity disintegrates into chaos—“The great city was divided into three parts.”
“And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones weighing about a talent fell out of heaven on men.” (Revelation 16:19-21). This passage follows the pattern of the other sets of seven: the seventh of the series introduces the theme of the section that follows.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In this passage the fall of Babylon is introduced, and chapters 17-19 digress from the historical time line to give the details of the identity, activity and fate of modern Babylon as well as the joyous reaction of heaven when she falls.
With the seventh plague nature unravels; islands and mountains disappear and ninety-pound chunks of ice<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> fall out of the sky. Obviously all attacks against God’s people will come to an abrupt halt.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In a telling demonstration of the hopeless insanity which results from consistently identifying with sin, the unrepentant turn to God, not to humble themselves in repentance, but to shake their fist at Him—“Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because that plague was exceedingly great.” By this time they finally understand that they have been on the wrong side of the great controversy. But their blasphemy of the God who died to save them and who did everything possible (including allowing the time of trouble) in order to bring them back to Himself, shows conclusively that they could never be happy in the kingdom of God where they would be in His presence forever.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The message to the seventh church (Laodicea) ends with “To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21). This is followed by chapters 4 and 5, the great throne room scene. With the opening of the seventh seal “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Revelation 8:1). This is followed by the seven trumpets, the first “half hour” of the “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole earth” (Revelation 3:10) during which God will be “silent.” The seventh trumpet announced God’s reward for “[His] servants, the prophets and the saints and those who fear [His] name” and judgment on “those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). It is followed by chapters 12-14 which clearly identifies who those categories of people are.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> About forty kilograms according to the Hebrew talent.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> It is interesting to note that this scenario comes as no surprise to God; in the book of Job, considered to be the first book of the Bible to be written, God asks Job, “Have you seen the treasury of hail which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?”(Job 38:22,23).