Revelation 16:17 Commentaries: Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done."
Revelation 16:17
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And the seventh . . .—Translate, And the seventh (angel) poured out his vial upon the air, and there came forth a voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done. The results of the outpouring of this vial are described in the following verses; but before these are seen, the voice from the throne—God’s own voice (see Revelation 16:1)—proclaims, as though rejoicing in the near approach of the happy end, “It is done.” The close of these scenes of sin and suffering is now at hand, for the last of the last plagues has been sent forth.

Revelation 16:17-21. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air — The seat of Satan’s residence, who is emphatically styled, (Ephesians 2:2,) the prince of the power of the air, and is represented (Revelation 16:13,) as a principal actor in these latter scenes; so that this last period will not only complete the ruin of the kingdom of the beast, but will also shake the kingdom of Satan everywhere. Upon the pouring out of this vial, a solemn proclamation is made from the throne of God himself, It is done — In the same sense as the angel before affirmed, Revelation 10:7, that in the days of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God should be finished. Of this vial, as indeed of all the former, the completion is gradual; and the immediate effects and consequences are, (Revelation 16:18-21,) voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and an earthquake, and great hail — Events portending great calamities. Voices, and thunders, and lightnings, are the usual attendants of the Deity, especially in his judgments. Great earthquakes, in prophetic language, signify great changes and revolutions; and this is such a one as men never felt and experienced before; such as was not since men were upon the earth. Not only the great city is divided into three parts, or factions, but the cities of the nations fall from their obedience to her. Her sins are remembered before God, and, like another Babylon, she will soon be made to drink of the bitter cup of his anger. Nay, not only the works of men, the cities, fall, but even the works of nature; the islands flee away, and the mountains are not found; which is more than was said before, Revelation 6:14, that they were moved out of their places; and can import no less than an utter extirpation of idolatry. Great hail, too, often signifies the judgments of God, and these are uncommon judgments. Diodorus, a grave historian, speaketh of hailstones which weighed a pound and more; Philostorgius mentions hail that weighed eight pounds; but these are about the weight of a talent — Or about a hundred pounds; a strong figure, to denote the greatness and severity of these judgments. But still the men continue obstinate, and blaspheme God because of the plague of the hail — They remain incorrigible under the divine judgments, and shall be destroyed before they will be reformed. This vial of consummation was supposed by Mr. Mede to synchronize with the vintage, mentioned Revelation 14:18-19, the conclusion of the grand drama of one thousand two hundred and sixty years, the time of the end. — When it shall be poured out, says Faber, “the great controversy of God with the nations will commence; his ancient people will begin to be restored; and the sentence of destruction will go forth against the beast and the false prophet, even while they are in the midst of their temporary success, and while they are vainly flattering themselves with the hope of a complete victory over the church of God. Such being its contents, it is said to be poured out into the air, in allusion to the dreadful storms of political thunder and lightning which it will produce. Four important events are comprehended under it: the earthquake, by which the great city is divided into three parts; the symbolical storm of hail; the overthrow of Babylon, and the battle of Armageddon, to which the kings of the earth had begun to gather themselves together under the preceding vial.” On these particulars we may observe as follows: 1st, The earthquake, by which the great city is divided into three parts, manifestly signifies, according to the usual import of prophetic language, some great revolution by which the Latin empire shall either be divided into three sovereignties, or prefectures, like the ancient Roman empire. But what the precise meaning of this prediction is, and how the city will be divided into three parts, time alone can discover. 2d, The hail-storm seems to denote some northern invasion of the Roman empire. Since the northern incursions of the Gothic nations, under the first trumpet, are typified by a storm of hail, it is only natural to conclude, from analogy, that the hailstorm of this vial, which synchronizes with the time of the end, likewise typifies a northern invasion. 3d, The fall of the spiritual Babylon, described at large in chap. 18., seems to be the same as the destruction of the little horn of Daniel’s fourth beast; they both equally relate to the complete subversion of the Papacy. 4th, Exactly contemporary with the fall of the spiritual Babylon, or the adulterous Church of Rome, will be the overthrow of its supporter, the secular Babylon, or the ten-horned Roman beast. The power of both will be broken in the same battle of Armageddon, which is abundantly manifest from the concurring testimony both of Daniel and St. John. Thus also Fleming, “This vial brings down thunder, lightning, hail, and storms; which, together with a terrible earthquake, destroys all the antichristian nations, and particularly Rome, or mystical Babylon. And as Christ concluded his sufferings on the cross with this voice, It is finished, so the church’s sufferings are concluded with a voice out of the temple of heaven and from the throne of God and Christ there, saying, It is done: and therefore with this the millennium, or thousand years of Christ’s spiritual reign on earth, begins. Now how great and remarkable this last destruction of the Papal antichrist will be, we may guess by the representation given of it Revelation 14:19-20, (where see the note,) in which it is set forth under the emblem of the great wine-press of the wrath of God, which can refer to nothing so properly as the event of the seventh vial.” 16:17-21 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.And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air - This introduces the final catastrophe in regard to the "beast" - his complete and utter overthrow, accompanied with tremendous judgments. Why the vial was poured into the air is not stated. The most probable supposition as to the idea intended to be represented is, that, as storms and tempests seem to be engendered in the air, so this destruction would come from some supernatural cause, as if the whole atmosphere should be filled with wind and storm; and a furious and desolating whirlwind should be aroused by some invisible power.

And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven - The voice of God. See the notes on Revelation 11:19.

From the throne - See the notes on Revelation 4:2. This shows that it was the voice of God, and not the voice of an angel.

Saying, It is done - The series of judgments is about to be completed; the dominion of the beast is about to come to an end forever. The meaning here is, that that destruction was so certain, that it might be spoken of as now actually accomplished.

17. angel—so Andreas. But A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac omit it.

into—so Andreas (Greek, "eis"). But A and B, "upon" (Greek, "epi").

great—so B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas. But A omits.

of heaven—so B and Andreas But A, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit.

It is done—"It is come to pass." God's voice as to the final consummation, as Jesus' voice on the cross when the work of expiation was completed, "It is finished."

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air: I take this to be best interpreted (as Mr. Mede doth it) by the power of the air, of which Satan is called the prince, Ephesians 2:2, that is, upon all the children of the devil, that had so long given disturbance to the church of Christ.

It is done; that is, the work of God is done, his counsels for the destruction of his enemies, and the deliverance of his people, are brought forth in the issue of his providence, not fully yet brought to an issue, but accomplishing. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air,.... Or "upon the air", as the Alexandrian copy, Syriac and Arabic versions, read; by which is meant the kingdom of Satan, he being the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2 not that he has power over the air, to raise or lay winds and storms in it at pleasure; but he is so called because he is the prince of that posse of devils, the principalities and powers of darkness, that have their dwelling in the air; hence the air, encompassing the whole earth, stands for the kingdom of Satan all the world over: and this vial differs from all the rest; that whereas the rest only affect some part or branch of the antichristian state, this will affect all the remains of the Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan powers, gathered and united together at Armageddon; and the pouring out of this vial is the execution of divine wrath and vengeance upon them all at once; and the effects of this vial will not only reach to the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, and their armies, or the united forces of the remains of Pagans, Papists, and Mahometans, who will be slain, and their flesh given to the fowls of the air; and not only to the beast and false prophet, who will be taken in this battle, and cast alive into the lake of fire, which is expressive both of their temporal and eternal punishment, Revelation 19:17 but to the binding of Satan upon the second coming of Christ, of which notice is before given, Revelation 16:15 and even to the destruction of Gog and Magog at the end of the thousand years' reign; yea, to the casting of the devil into everlasting fire, since this vial is the last plague, in which the wrath of God is filled up, and so brings to the end of all things, Revelation 20:1. The first accomplishment of this vial will be the decisive battle at Armageddon, when the remains of all Christ's and his church's enemies will have a total defeat; and this will be the third and last woe, which will utterly destroy those that have destroyed the earth, Pagans, Papists, and Mahometans, even all the open enemies of Christ, so that nothing will lie in the way of his kingdom; now will the spiritual reign of Christ, which has been gradually advancing by the pouring out of each vial, be in its full glory: but though antichrist will be no more, and Satan will have no more in form an open kingdom upon earth; yet, towards the close of this reign, great lukewarmness and coldness will seize professors of religion, and immorality and profaneness will abound again; which will bring on the times of the coming of the son of man; who, upon his personal descent from the third heaven into the air, will drive Satan and his posse of devils from their territories, and quickly will the general conflagration begin, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and which is no inconsiderable part of the pouring out of this vial into the air.

And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne; this voice is said to come "out of the temple of heaven", that is, out of the temple which is in heaven, which will now be opened, as under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, with which this vial corresponds, and indeed is contemporary; and which designs the church, enjoying the pure worship of God, the word and ordinances, and the free exercise of religion; and this shows that when this voice will be uttered, as yet the Jerusalem church state will not be begun, since there will be no temple in that; see Revelation 11:19 the words, "of heaven", are left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, which read, "out of the temple from the throne"; the seat of government in the church, described in Revelation 4:2 the voice came with power, authority, and majesty; not from any of the four and twenty elders, or four living creatures, or angels about the throne; but either from God the Father that sits upon it; or from Christ the Lamb in the midst of it, and rather from the latter, since a like phrase was used by him on the cross, John 19:30 and the same is expressed by him who is the Alpha and Omega, Revelation 21:6 and this voice is called a great one, being the voice of a great person, the King of kings, and coming with great power, and was spoken aloud:

saying, it is done; what the angel swore should be in the days of the seventh angel, namely, that time, antichristian time, should be no more, and the mystery of God in his purposes and providences should be finished, and all the glorious things spoken of his church and people be accomplished; See Gill on Revelation 10:6, Revelation 10:7 the word may be rendered "it has been", or "it was", and the sense is, but now is not; and the meaning may be, Babylon was, but is not, it is now fallen; the beast and false prophet were, but now are not; the Turk, or Mahomet, was, but is no more; all the antichristian powers are destroyed; Christ's body, the church, will be completed, the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in, all the elect called, and the new Jerusalem prepared as a bride for her husband; and when the utmost effects of this vial will take place, the end of all things will be; by the same "fiat" that made the heavens and the earth, they will disappear, and new heavens and earth succeed in their room.

{21} And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the {22} air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from {23} the throne, saying, {24} It is done.

(21) The story of the seventh angel to the end of the chapter, in which first is shown by sign and speech, the argument of this plague, in this verse: and then is declare the execution of it in the verses following.

(22) From whence he might move the heaven above, and the earth beneath.

(23) That is, from him that sits on the throne, by metonymy.

(24) That is, Babylon is undone, as is shown in Re 16:19 and in the chapters following. For the first onset (as I might say) of this denunciation, is described in this chapter: and the last containing a perfect victory, is described in those that follow.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 16:17-21. The seventh vial poured into the air brings—after a voice proceeding from the throne of God has proclaimed the end—unprecedented plagues upon the chief city of the beast and the entire empire. Yet men continue their blasphemy of God.

ἐπὶ τὸυ ἀέρα. Cf. Revelation 16:8.

φωνὴ μεγ. ἀπὸ τοῦ ναοῦ. According to this, the voice of God himself is to be understood just as in Revelation 16:1; the further designation ἀπὸ τοῦ θρόνου shows this with still greater certainty. As the command to pour forth the vials was imparted by God himself, so there also comes forth from God’s own mouth the final exclamation comprised in one word: Γέγονεν. This γέγονεν, “factum est,”[3770] refers to Revelation 16:1; now that is done which is there commanded.[3771] Cf. Revelation 21:6, where, likewise, a definite determination of the subject results from the connection. Thus the explanation of Eichh., Ewald,[3772] is far out of the way, while that of Grot.,[3773] which recalls the Virgilian: Fuimus Troes, is inapposite.

καὶ ἐγένοντο ἀστραπαὶ, κ.τ.λ. The same signs, only extremely heightened, which also, Revelation 11:19, signalize the immediately impending entrance of the actual end; yet the misunderstanding—as though in Revelation 16:20-21 the end itself were described—is removed by the text itself, because it treats of a particular vial-plague, which, like the preceding, expressly makes known, also in Revelation 16:21 (Κ. ἘΒΛΑΣΦ., Κ.Τ.Λ.), its only preparatory significance with respect to the actual final judgment.

Κ. ἘΓΈΝ. Ἠ ΠΌΛΙς Ὴ ΜΕΓΆΛΗ ΕἸς ΤΡΊΑ ΜΈΡΗ, Κ.Τ.Λ. From the connection of ch. 13, as well as from the context, ch. 16, it undoubtedly follows that “the great city,” which was rent into three parts, is identical with “great Babylon,”[3774] i.e., the metropolis of the world, which appeared in ch. 13 in the form of the beast from the sea.[3775] In addition to the great city divided into three parts,[3776] the other “cities of the nations” which fall down are also mentioned. The great city, or great Babylon, is, therefore, heathen Rome,[3777] not Jerusalem.[3778] The heathen metropolis is affected in the same way by the mighty earthquake which the last vial brings,—but in a heightened degree,—as in Revelation 11:13, the city of Jerusalem is by the final visitation in the second woe. But there the last plague, which comes upon Jerusalem before the final judgment,[3779] works repentance in the rest; while in the heathen metropolis, and in the entire realm of the beast, all the plagues, even those which are most dreadful, effect nothing but persevering blasphemy of God.[3780]

ἘΜΝΉΣΘΗ ἙΝΏΠΙΟΝ Τ. Θ., Κ.Τ.Λ. On the expression, cf. Acts 10:31; on the thing designated, Psalm 10:13.

ΤῸ ΠΟΤΉΡΙΟΝ Τ. ΟἸΝ. Τ. ΘΥΜΟῦ Τῆς ὈΡΓῆς ΑὐΤΟΥ. The expression[3781] is just as full as possible, because it is intended to state how the wrath (ὈΡΓΉ) existing in God operates in its entire force. Vitr. explains ΘΥΜῸς Τῆς ὈΡΓῆς excellently by excandescentia irae.[3782] [See Note LXXXI., p. 426.] On Revelation 16:20; cf. Revelation 6:14.

Ώς ΤΑΛΑΝΤΙΑΊΑ. The monstrous size of the hail, whereby the plague is rendered so dreadful.[3783] Hailstones of the weight of a mina (μνααῖ αι), Diodor. Sicul., xix. 45, already calls incredibly great; but in this passage hailstones of the weight of a talent, which contains sixty minae, therefore, designates them as so heavy as though thrown, like sling-stones, from catapults.[3784]

κ. εβλασφήμησαν, κ.τ.λ. It dare not be urged[3785] that here also the impenitence is not expressly mentioned, and it is not here stated that this immediately fatal hail left no time for repentance, that the men thus struck by the same could, only when dying, still blaspheme;[3786] for it is scarcely the meaning, that those individuals, who have been struck by the dreadful hail, utter their blasphemies in the very moment of death; but rather, while the hail falls, the men blaspheme, i.e., those not immediately struck by it, who, nevertheless, have before their eyes the plague threatening them every moment. Some fall, struck dead; others blaspheme.

[3770] Vulg.

[3771] Luke 14:22; Beng., De Wette, Hengstenb.

[3772] Actum est, i.e., the end and sure destruction of Rome is at hand.

[3773] Fuit Roma. Cf. also Vitr.

[3774] Cf. Revelation 14:8.

[3775] Cf also ch. 17.

[3776] The number three (cf. Revelation 8:7-8; Revelation 8:11; Revelation 8:13) has possibly a reference to the three chief enemies, Revelation 16:13 (Ebrard).

[3777] Alcas., Ewald, De Wette, Volkm., Bleek, Hengstenb.

[3778] Andreas, C. a Lap., Beng., Züll., Stern., Ebrard, etc., who increase the confusion by explaining the great city, partly, like Ebrard, in the sense of Revelation 11:8; and great Babylon, on the other hand, according to Revelation 14:8.

[3779] Cf. Revelation 11:15 sqq.

[3780] Revelation 16:21. Cf. Revelation 16:9; Revelation 16:11.

[3781] Cf. Revelation 14:10.

[3782] “Irascibility of anger.”

[3783] Revelation 16:21 b.

[3784] Cf. Joseph., B. J., v. 6, Revelation 3 : ταλανταῖοι

οί βαλλόμενοι πέτροι.

[3785] Beng., Hengstenb.

[3786] Hengstenb.

The vial-visions have received an allegorical interpretation in the same way as the seal- and trumpet-visions. As an example the following may be noticed:[3787] Wetst., who in it all saw a representation of the Vitellian war, explained Revelation 16:2 of diseases in the army of Vitellius, Revelation 16:3 of the treachery of the fleet, Revelation 16:19 the τρία μέρη (the three parties), as the Vitellian, the Flavian, and that of the Roman people. The last, Grot. refers to the fact that Totila had demolished the third of the walls of Rome. Nevertheless, the explanation of three classes of men has found most approval.[3788] Vitr. interprets Revelation 16:2 as referring to the exposure of the corruption of the Church by the Waldenses; Revelation 16:3, to wars between the Popes and the Emperors (1056–1211); Revelation 16:4, to the Church’s thirst for blood, manifested in Castnitz; Revelation 16:17. The temple (Revelation 11:19) and the throne (Revelation 8:3) are again blended in one scene. In Isaiah 66:6 the divine vengeance is heralded by φωνὴ ἐκ ναοῦ, φωνη Κυρίου ἀνταποδιδόντος ἀνταπόδοσιν τοῖς ἀντικειμένοις.The Seventh Vial. Preliminaries of Judgement, Revelation 16:17-2117. into the air] Lit. upon the air, according to the best reading.

of heaven] Should be omitted, but of course it is the heavenly Temple that is meant. Here it seems that the Throne (that of Revelation 4:2) is inside it: but see on Revelation 4:6. Though coming from the Throne, this voice is not defined, like that of Revelation 21:5, as the voice of Him that sat on it: but comparing Revelation 21:6 it is possible we ought to take it so.

It is done] More literally, it is come to pass: but the same word is used in St Luke 14:22, where of course the A. V. is right. God’s great Judgement has not come to pass yet, but everything has been done to prepare for it. “One who had fired a train would say ‘It is done,’ though the explosion had not yet taken place,” and, we may add, might use the same words again when it had, as in Revelation 21:6.Verse 17. - And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air. Omit "angel" as before. Upon the air; perhaps as the typical abode of the spirits of evil (cf. Ephesians 2:2, "the prince of the power of the air"); the seat also, so to speak, of the thunders and lightnings which follow. And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. There are slight variations in the text here. The best authorities omit "of heaven." One manuscript, א, instead of "throne" inserts τοῦ Θεοῦ, "of God." (On the characteristic great voice, see on Revelation 6:1, etc.) The same voice as in ver. 1, probably that of God himself, as the words, "from the throne," seem also to show. It is noticeable that here, as in the seal visions and trumpet visions, we are not explicitly informed of the nature of the last vision. We have the accompanying circumstances described in ver. 18, which are always attendant on the last great manifestation, but the end itself is left unrecorded. In the seals, the last vision is described by the silence in heaven; in the trumpets, the nature of the last judgment is only vaguely alluded to in the triumphant heavenly song. So here, only a brief summary is given (vers. 18, 19) of what actually falls as the last extremity of God's wrath; a fuller account is reserved for Revelation 19. Temple of heaven

Omit of heaven.

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