Revelation 16

Six Bowls of Wrath

1 Then I heard a loud voice from 1the temple, saying to the 2seven angels, "Go and 3pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl 4on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant 5sore on the people 6who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl 7into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the 8rivers and the springs of waters; and they 9became blood.
5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, "10Righteous are You, 11who are and who were, O 12Holy One, because You 13judged these things;
6 for they poured out 14the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them 15blood to drink. They deserve it."
7 And I heard 16the altar saying, "Yes, O 17Lord God, the Almighty, 18true and righteous are Your judgments."
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon 19the sun, 20and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.
9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they 21blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they 22did not repent so as to 23give Him glory.
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the 24throne of the beast, and his kingdom became 25darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain,
11 and they 26blasphemed the 27God of heaven because of their pains and their 28sores; and they 29did not repent of their deeds.
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the 30great river, the Euphrates; and 31its water was dried up, so that 32the way would be prepared for the kings 33from the east *.


13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the 34dragon and out of the mouth of the 35beast and out of the mouth of the 36false prophet, three 37unclean spirits like 38frogs;
14 for they are 39spirits of demons, 40performing signs, which go out to the kings of the 41whole world, to 42gather them together for the war of the 43great day of God, the Almighty.
15 ("Behold, 44I am coming like a thief. 45Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, 46so * that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.")
16 And they 47gathered them together to the place which 48in Hebrew is called 49Har-Magedon.

Seventh Bowl of Wrath

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon 50the air, and a 51loud voice came out of the 52temple from the throne, saying, "53It is done."
18 And there were flashes of 54lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was 55a great earthquake, 56such as there had not been since * man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.
19 57The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. 58Babylon the great was 59remembered before God, to give her 60the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
20 And 61every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And 62huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men 63blasphemed God because of the 64plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Revelation 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The first vial is poured out on the earth, the second on the sea, the third on the rivers and fountains. (1-7) The fourth on the sun, the fifth on the seat of the beast. (8-11) The sixth on the great river Euphrates. (12-16) And the seventh on the air, when shall follow the destruction of all antichristian enemies. (17-21)

Verses 1-7 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.

Verses 8-11 The heart of man is so desperately wicked, that the most severe miseries never will bring any to repent, without the special grace of God. Hell itself is filled with blasphemies; and those are ignorant of the history of human nature, of the Bible, and of their own hearts, who do not know that the more men suffer, and the more plainly they see the hand of God in their sufferings, the more furiously they often rage against him. Let sinners now seek repentance from Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, or they will have the anguish and horror of an unhumbled, impenitent, and desperate heart; thus adding to their guilt and misery through all eternity. Darkness is opposed to wisdom and knowledge, and forebodes the confusion and folly of the idolaters and followers of the beast. It is opposed to pleasure and joy, and signifies anguish and vexation of spirit.

Verses 12-16 This probably shows the destruction of the Turkish power, and of idolatry, and that a way will be made for the return of the Jews. Or, take it for Rome, as mystical Babylon, the name of Babylon being put for Rome, which was meant, but was not then to be directly named. When Rome is destroyed, her river and merchandise must suffer with her. And perhaps a way will be opened for the eastern nations to come into the church of Christ. The great dragon will collect all his forces, to make one desperate struggle before all be lost. God warns of this great trial, to engage his people to prepare for it. These will be times of great temptation; therefore Christ, by his apostle, calls on his professed servants to expect his sudden coming, and to watch that they might not be put to shame, as apostates or hypocrites. However Christians differ, as to their views of the times and seasons of events yet to be brought to pass, on this one point all are agreed, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, will suddenly come again to judge the world. To those living near to Christ, it is an object of joyful hope and expectation, and delay is not desired by them.

Verses 17-21 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.

Cross References 64

  • 1. Revelation 11:19
  • 2. Revelation 15:1
  • 3. Psalms 79:6; Jeremiah 10:25; Ezekiel 22:31; Zephaniah 3:8; Revelation 16:2f
  • 4. Revelation 8:7
  • 5. Exodus 9:9-11; Deuteronomy 28:35; Revelation 16:11
  • 6. Revelation 13:15-17; Revelation 14:9
  • 7. Exodus 7:17-21; Revelation 8:8; Revelation 11:6
  • 8. Revelation 8:10
  • 9. Exodus 7:17-20; Psalms 78:44; Revelation 11:6
  • 10. John 17:25
  • 11. Revelation 11:17
  • 12. Revelation 15:4
  • 13. Revelation 6:10
  • 14. Revelation 17:6; Revelation 18:24
  • 15. Isaiah 49:26; Luke 11:49-51
  • 16. Revelation 6:9; Revelation 14:18
  • 17. Revelation 1:8
  • 18. Revelation 15:3; Revelation 19:2
  • 19. Revelation 6:12
  • 20. Revelation 14:18
  • 21. Revelation 16:11, 21
  • 22. Revelation 2:21
  • 23. Revelation 11:13
  • 24. Revelation 13:2
  • 25. Exodus 10:21; Isaiah 8:22; Revelation 8:12; Revelation 9:2
  • 26. Revelation 16:9, 21
  • 27. Revelation 11:13
  • 28. Revelation 16:2
  • 29. Revelation 2:21
  • 30. Revelation 9:14
  • 31. Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 44:27; Jeremiah 51:36
  • 32. Isaiah 41:2, 25; Isaiah 46:11
  • 33. Revelation 7:2
  • 34. Revelation 12:3
  • 35. Revelation 13:1
  • 36. Revelation 13:11, 14; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10
  • 37. Revelation 18:2
  • 38. Exodus 8:6
  • 39. 1 Timothy 4:1
  • 40. Revelation 13:13
  • 41. Revelation 3:10
  • 42. 1 Kings 22:21-23; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:19; Revelation 20:8
  • 43. Revelation 6:17
  • 44. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; Revelation 3:3, 11
  • 45. Luke 12:37
  • 46. Revelation 3:18
  • 47. Revelation 19:19
  • 48. Revelation 9:11
  • 49. Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22; Zechariah 12:11
  • 50. Ephesians 2:2
  • 51. Revelation 11:15
  • 52. Revelation 14:15
  • 53. Revelation 10:6; Revelation 21:6
  • 54. Revelation 4:5
  • 55. Revelation 6:12
  • 56. Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21
  • 57. Revelation 11:8; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:10, 18f, 21
  • 58. Revelation 14:8
  • 59. Revelation 18:5
  • 60. Revelation 14:10
  • 61. Revelation 6:14; Revelation 20:11
  • 62. Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19
  • 63. Revelation 16:9, 11
  • 64. Exodus 9:18-25

Footnotes 16

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the pouring out of the seven vials by the angels; their orders for it are in Re 16:1. The first angel pours out his vial on the earth, the effect of which is a noisome and grievous sore upon the followers of antichrist, and the worshippers of his image, Re 16:2. The second pours out his upon the sea; the events of it are, the sea became blood, and every living creature in it died, Re 16:3. The third pours out his upon the rivers and fountains of water, which thereby became blood; upon which the angel of the waters applauds the justice of God, declaring the righteousness of his judgments, and giving a reason for it; and which is confirmed by another angel from the altar, Re 16:4-7. The fourth angel pours out his vial on the sun, the effects of which are, scorching men with heat, their blasphemy against God, and impenitence, Re 16:8,9. The fifth pours out his on the seat of the beast, the consequences of which are darkness in his kingdom, men gnawing their tongues because of their pains, their blasphemy of the name of God because of them, and their impenitence, Re 16:10,11. The sixth angel pours out his on the river Euphrates, and what followed upon it are, the drying up of that river to make way for the kings of the east; there unclean spirits are seen, described by their original, coming out of the mouths of the dragon, beast, and false prophet; by their form, like frogs; by their internal nature, spirits of devils; by their works, doing miracles; by the errand they are sent, and go upon, to gather the kings of the earth to the battle of God Almighty, which they succeed in; but before this is done, a declaration is made of the suddenness of Christ's coming, exciting the saints to watchfulness, and to keep their garments, that they might not be naked, and exposed to shame, Re 16:12-16 Then the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air, the consequences of which are, a voice from heaven declaring it is done: other voices, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake; a rupture of the great city into three parts; the fall of other cities; the remembrance of Babylon before God; the flight of every island and mountain, and a great hail storm, which causes men to blaspheme God, Re 16:17-21.

Revelation 16 Commentaries