Revelation 16:11
And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
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16:8-11 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.And blasphemed the God of heaven - The same effect which it was said would be produced by the pouring out of the fourth vial, Revelation 16:9.

Because of their pains and their sores - Of the calamities that had come upon them.

And repented not of their deeds - See the notes on Revelation 16:9. Compare Revelation 9:21.

In regard to the fulfillment and application of this, the following general remarks may be made here:

(a) It would succeed, at no great interval probably, what is referred to under the previous "vials," and would be one in the series tending to the same result.

(b) It would fall directly on the seat of the authority of the "beast" - on the central power of the papacy, according to the interpretation of the other symbols; and we should look, therefore, for some calamity that would come upon Rome itself, and still more specifically upon the pope himself, and those immediately around him.

(c) This would be attended with deep distress and darkness in the papal dominions.

(d) There would be an increase of what is here called "blasphemy"; that is, of impiety and reproaches of the Divine Being.

(e) There would be no repentance produced. There would be no reformation. The system would be as corrupt as it was before, and people would be as much under its influence. And,

(f) we should not expect that this would be the final overthrow of the system. That is reserved for the outpouring of the seventh and last vial in the series Revelation 16:17-21, and under that the system would be overthrown, and would come to an end. This is distinctly stated in the account of that "vial"; and therefore we are not to expect to find, in the application of the fifth "vial," that the calamity brought upon "the seat of the beast" would be such that it would not recover for a time, and maintain, apparently, in some good degree, its former power and influence.

With this view of what we are to expect, and in connection with the explanations of the previous symbols, it seems to me that there can be no hesitation in applying this to the direct attacks on the papal power and on the pope himself, as one of the consequences of the French revolution, and to the calamities that were thus brought upon the papal States. In order to show the appropriateness of this application, I will state a few facts which will show that, on the supposition that it was the intention in this symbol to refer to the papal power at that time, the symbol has been well chosen, and has been fulfilled. And, in doing this, I will merely copy from Alison's History of Europe (vol. 1, pp. 542-546) a few statements, which, like many that have been quoted from Mr. Gibbon in the former part of these notes, would seem almost to have been penned in view of this prophecy, and with a view to record its fulfillment. The statement is as follows:

"The Ecclesiastical States were the next object of attack. It had long been an avowed object of ambition with the Republican government to revolutionize the Roman people, and plant the tricolor flag in the city of Brutus," and fortune at length presented them with a favorable opportunity to accomplish the design.

"The situation of the pope had become, since the French conquests in Italy, in the highest degree precarious. Cut off by the Cisalpine Republic from any support from Austria; left by the treaty of Campo Formio entirely at the mercy of the French republic; threatened by the heavings of the democratic spirit within his own dominions; and exposed to all the contagion arising from the complete establishment and close vicinity of republican governments in the north of Italy, he was almost destitute of the means of resisting so many seen and unseen enemies. The pontifical treasury was exhausted by the immense payments stipulated by the treaty of Tolentino; while the activity and zeal of the revolutionary clubs in all the principal towns of the Ecclesiastical States was daily increasing with the prospect of success. To enable the government to meet the enormous demands of the French army, the principal Roman families, like the pope, had sold their gold, their silver, their jewels, their horses, their carriages - in a word, all their valuable effects; but the exactions of the republican agents were still unabated.

In despair they had recourse to the fatal expedient of issuing a paper circulation; but that, in a country destitute of credit, soon fell to an inconsiderable value, and augmented rather than relieved the public distress. Joseph Bonaparte, brother to Napoleon, had been appointed ambassador at the court of Rome; but as his character was deemed too honorable for political intrigue, Generals Duphot and Sherlock were sent along with him, the former of whom had been so successful in effecting the overthrow of the Genoese aristocracy. The French embassy, under their direction, soon became the center of the revolutionary action; and those numerous ardent characters with which the Italian cities abound, flocked there as to a common focus, from whence the next great explosion of democratic power was to be expected. In this extremity, Pius VI., who was above eighty years of age, and sinking into the grave, called to his counsels the Austrian general Provera, already distinguished in the Italian campaigns; but the Directory soon compelled the humiliated pontiff to dismiss that intrepid counselor. As his recovery then seemed hopeless, the instructions of government to their ambassador were to delay the proclamation of a republic until his death, when the vacant chair of Peter might be overturned with little difficulty; but such was the activity of the revolutionary agents, that the train was ready to take fire before that event took place, and the cars of the Romans were assailed by incessant abuse of the ecclesiastical government, and vehement declamations in favor of republican freedom.


11. sores—This shows that each fresh plague was accompanied with the continuance of the preceding plagues: there was an accumulation, not a mere succession, of plagues.

repented not—(Compare Re 16:9).

This is the same that was said, Revelation 16:9, of a former party belonging to the beast, and doth but signify, that there will be found the same vein of blindness of mind, hardness of heart, and reprobacy of sense, running through that whole party, until they be wholly ruined.

And blasphemed the God of heaven,.... Who made it, and dwells in it, and from whence wrath is revealed, and comes upon the seat of the beast, upon the kingdom of antichrist, and the subjects of that kingdom; they will curse him who is of right their King, and their God, and look upwards to heaven, where he is, Isaiah 8:21 and this,

because of their pains and their sores: see Revelation 16:2 the inward frettings and distresses of their minds, the gallings and gnawings of their consciences, the horror and terror of their souls, and their fearful looking for of judgment, which the present face of things upon antichrist will bring upon them; just as the Egyptians, in the time of their darkness, were distressed with internal guilt, and black horror of mind, and with evil spirits, which were sent among them, and haunted them during that season; see Psalm 78:49 and repented not of their deeds; their antichristian works of darkness; see Revelation 9:20.

And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Verse 11. - And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. The expression, "God of heaven," seems to enhance the exaltation of God, and to place in more terrible contrast the sin of those who ventured to blaspheme One so high, so far above them. This title is only mentioned here and in Revelation 11:13, where, however, some repented. (On the word "blaspheme," see on ver. 9.) In spite, therefore, of their plagues, and perhaps as a consequence of their spiritual darkness, they still own the supremacy of the beast and deny God; just as Pharaoh hardened his heart. Compare the previous verses for an account of their pains and their sores; the allusion to which shows plainly that these plagues are not necessarily consecutive in time. And repented not of their deeds (see on ver. 9). Revelation 16:11
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