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Exposition: 7 Vial Overview

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Exposition: 7 Vial Overview

Primary References: Revelation 15:5-8


Revelation 15 introduces God’s last plagues in the form of seven golden vials filled with God’s wrath. These are not just the last plagues of the great tribulation but are also God’s last plagues ever. In Revelation 5, the prayers of pre-tribulation saints filled golden vials but now these vials overflow with God’s wrath. Is there a correlation between the prayers of the saints and the wrath of God? Romans 12:18-21 may provide a clue. Christians are to overcome evil with good and at no time, are they to take vengeance or wrath on their enemies but instead are to leave this to God. As Revelation 16:5-7 shows, eventually God converts the prayers of the saints (which include their trials and tribulations) into His wrath and avenges His saints.

The angel testifies that God changes their water into blood because of the blood of the saints and prophets[1] they have shed. If there is any doubt about the appropriateness of the wrath of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit from the altar (Revelation 16:7) should dispel it as He testifies that the wrath from the vials is both true and righteous. The good news is that this is the end of God’s plagues on humanity and the end of ‘acts of God’, diseases, insect invasions, darkness, scorching heat, contaminated water, meteorites, or any other type of plague. The bad news is these judgments may be even more horrific than any seen thus far. When completed, these plagues appease God’s wrath, which Romans 1:18 shows is always directed at the wicked.

The golden vial wraths also fulfill Psalms 110:1’s promise:

A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Crowned King of Kings in Revelation 11, Jesus sits at God the Father’s right hand patiently waiting until the Father subdues His enemies. Throughout the rest of the seven-year tribulation, God subjugates His enemies under His Son’s authority. These plagues and God’s wrath strike through the kings of the earth, wounds the heads (leaders) of many countries, and judges the heathen (Psalms 110:6). Consistent with the winepress of God in Revelation 14, the bodies of the heathen fill many places in the earth.

As the angels receive the golden vials, God’s heavenly temple fills with the smoke of His power. In a scene reminiscent of the dedication of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem when the glory of God filled it preventing people from entering (1 Kings 8:10-11), the heavenly temple that was open after Jesus’ coronation is now inaccessible while God pours out His wrath. Heaven’s inhabitants cannot reenter the temple until the smoke clears after the plagues end and God’s wrath is finally appeased.

[1] God’s vengeance on Mystery Babylon includes retribution for her actions against the apostles (first century). In the seven vial judgments, God punishes the world solely for their current actions against the righteous (the saints and the prophets).