Revelation 16:3
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBIBonarCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerNewellParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(3) And thesecond angel . . .—Better, And the second (angel) poured out his vial on the sea, and it becameblood as of a dead man, and every soul of life died (even) the things that were in the sea. The reference to the first of the Egyptian plagues is clear (Exodus 7:20; comp. Revelation 8:8-9). It has been remarked that “the Egyptian plagues stood in a very close connection with the natural state and circumstances of Egypt. The Nile, which was their strength, became worse than useless when its waters were turned to blood.” There is a similar feature here. The sea, out of which the wild beast rose, from which the world-power drew strength, is turned to blood, the blood as of a dead man, corrupt and loathsome. The sea represented the tumultuous impulses and passions of the masses; there is a certain healthy force in these, but under certain conditions, when devoted to selfishness and earthliness, they become corrupt and deadly. Ruled by God and by right, the voice of multitudes is melodious as the voice of the sea, and the free movement of peoples, like the ocean, a health-giving moral environment to nations; but swayed by impulse, or directed by worldliness, they become an element of corruption, killing every token of better life.

Revelation 16:3. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, &c. — This, says the same pious author, must begin where the other ended, as to the period of time. Now I find that in the year 1566 the wars between the king of Spain and the states of the Netherlands began. The Spaniards, indeed, were often victorious at first, yet they were at length compelled to declare them free states. It was then that the sea became blood to the Romanists, their votaries being miserably defeated in their expectations. For after their cruelties under the duke of Alva, in the Low Countries, and their massacre of the Protestants, in France and other places, the scene was changed very quickly; so that, in the year 1588, the Spaniards lost their vast armada, and ever after declined in their power. And the duke of Guise, the inveterate enemy of the Protestants, was killed the same year; and A.D. 1598 Philip II. of Spain died, being eaten of vermin: the edict of Nantz was also issued the same year in France in favour of the Protestants. So that, as the Reformed interest was in peace everywhere, and conquered in Holland and England, the Popish party, on the other hand, saw Spain, the late terror of the Protestants, brought to a languishing condition, and all their allies weary of wars and persecutions. And as in the year 1609 the truce was made between the Spaniards and the Dutch, so the war, though renewed and carried on afterward, became languid and faint, so as hardly to be regarded by either party, especially the Dutch, who were generally victorious and successful. Hence, as the period of this vial began in 1566, so we may reckon it continued about fifty years, namely, till the year 1617, when the third vial began.

16:1-7 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.And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea - So the second trumpet Revelation 8:8, "And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood." For the meaning of this as a symbol, see the notes on that verse.

And it became as the blood of a dead man - "Either very bloody, like a mangled corse, or else colored, as it were, with the dark and almost black blood of a dead man" (Prof. Stuart, in loco). The latter would seem to be, most probably, the meaning; implying that the ocean would become discolored, and indicating that this was the effect of blood shed in great quantities on its waters. In Revelation 8:8 it is, "the sea became blood"; here the allusion to the blood of a dead man would more naturally suggest the idea of naval conflicts, and of the blood of the slain poured in great quantities into the deep.

And every living soul died in the sea - In Revelation 8:9 it is said that "the third part of the creatures that were in the sea died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed." Here the destruction is more general; the calamity is more severe and awful. It is as if every living thing - πᾶσα ψυχὴ ζῶσα pasa psuchē zōsa - had died. No emphasis should be put on the word "soul" here, for the word means merely "a creature, a living thing, an animal," Acts 2:43; Acts 3:23; Romans 13:1; 1 Corinthians 15:45. See Robinson, Lexicon sub voce, c. The sense here is, that there would be some dreadful calamity, as if the sea were to be changed into dark blood, and as if every living thing in it were to die.

In inquiring into the proper application of this, it is natural to look for something pertaining to the sea, or the ocean (see the notes on Revelation 8:8-9), and we should expect to find the fulfillment in some calamity that would fall on the marine force, or the commerce of the power that is here referred to; that is, according to the interpretation all along adopted, of the papal power; and the proper application, according to this interpretation, would be the complete destruction or annihilation of the naval force that contributed to sustain the papacy. This we should look for in respect to the naval power of France, Spain, and Portugal, for these are the only papal nations that have had a navy. We should expect, in the fulfillment of this, to find a series of naval disasters, reddening the sea with blood, which would tend to weaken the power of the papacy, and which might be regarded as one in the series of events that would ultimately result in its entire overthrow.

Accordingly, in pursuance of the plan adopted in explaining the pouring out of the first vial, it is to be observed that immediately succeeding, and connected with, the events thus referred to, there was a series of naval disasters that swept away the fleets of France, and that completely demolished the most formidable naval power that had ever been prepared by any nation under the papal dominion. This series of disasters is thus noticed by Mr. Elliott (iii. 329, 330): "Meanwhile, the great naval war between France and England was in progress; which, from its commencement in February, 1793, lasted for above twenty years, with no intermission but that of the short and delusive peace of Amiens; in which war the maritime power of Great Britain was strengthened by the Almighty Providence that protected her to destroy everywhere the French ships, commerce, and smaller colonies; including those of the fast and long-continued allies of the French, Holland and Spain. In the year 1793, the greater part of the French fleet at Toulon was destroyed by Lord Hood; in June, 1794, followed Lord Howe's great victory over the French off Ushant; then the taking of Corsica, and nearly all the smaller Spanish and French West India Islands; then, in 1795, Lord Bridport's naval victory, and the capture of the Cape of Good Hope; as also soon after of a French and Dutch fleet, sent to retake it; then, in 1797, the victory over the Spanish fleet off Cape Vincent; and that of Camperdown over the Dutch; then, in succession, Lord Nelson's three mighty victories - of the Nile in 1798, of Copenhagen in 1801, and in 1805 of Trafalgar. Altogether in this naval war, from its beginning in 1793, to its end in 1815, it appears that there were destroyed near 200 ships of the line, between 300 and 400 frigates, and an almost incalculable number of smaller vessels of war and ships of commerce. The whole history of the world does not present such a period of naval war, destruction, and bloodshed." This brief summary may show, if this was referred to, the propriety of the expression, "The sea became as the blood of a dead man"; and may show also that, on the supposition that it was intended that these events should be referred to, an appropriate symbol has been employed. No language could more strikingly set forth these bloody scenes.

3. angel—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Vulgate omit it.

upon—Greek, "into."

became as … blood—answering to another Egyptian plague.

of a dead man—putrefying.

living soul—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Syriac, "soul of life" (compare Ge 1:30; 7:21, 22).

in the sea—So B and Andreas. But A, C, and Syriac read, "(as respects) the things in the sea."

This answered the first plague upon Pharaoh, Exodus 7:20, All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood; and the fish that was in the river died. By the sea here Dr. More understands the jurisdiction and dominion of the papacy, wherein he agrees with Mr. Mede. I rather agree with those who understand the whole system of the popish religion; their rites and ceremonies, their doctrines of indulgences and purgatory, &c. God showeth his prophet, and instructeth us, that he will bring the papacy to ruin:

1. By bringing his clergy (which are the earth upon which he stands) into scorn and contempt; discovering their frauds and cheats.

2. By discovering the folly and vanity of their pompous and theatrical religion, consisting only in vain shows, and idle rites and ceremonies, without any regard to that religion which is spiritual, and pure, and undefiled before God; discovering the cheats of their confessions and absolutions, their masses, pardons, and indulgences; making them appear to be not only idle, but pernicious and damnable; so as Christians could not live in the communion of their church, but it must be damnable to those who keep in the communion of it.

And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea,.... Not literally; and so does not design the stagnation of it, which it is thought will be before the general conflagration; see Amos 7:4 nor is it to be understood of the sea of this world, and the men of it, who are like a troubled sea; but rather of Popish doctrines and councils, which are a sea of errors, and will now be confuted and put an end to. Brightman applies it to the council of Trent, and makes this angel to be Chemnitius, a German divine, who wrote a confutation of it; but as the sea is a collection of many waters, and many waters in this book signify the people and nations under the Romish yoke, sea here may design the whole jurisdiction of Rome, or mystical Babylon; see Jeremiah 51:36 and particularly its maritime powers, Spain and Portugal: and as the second trumpet affected the sea, Revelation 8:8 and brought the Vandals into Spain and Portugal, so this second vial affects the sea, and brings great wars, slaughter, and bloodshed into these parts, when they also will be reformed from Popery:

and it became as the blood of a dead man; thick, clotted together, and putrid, and so never to be returned to their former state:

and every living soul died in the sea: those, that are not reformed will either die by the sword, or fly into other parts; for there will be no comfortable living for the Popish party in those countries where now they live in power, ease, and affluence. This, and the following vial, are referred by Mr. Daubuz, the one to the first crusades, or holy wars, for the regaining of the holy land, and the other to the latter of them.

{4} And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it {a} became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

(4) The history of the second angel, who troubles and molests the seas, that he may stir up the conscience of men sleeping in their wickedness; Re 8:8.

(a) It was turned into rotten and filthy blood, such as is in dead bodies.

Revelation 16:3. The second vial changes the great sea into blood, as that of a dead man, so that every thing living therein dies.

καὶ ἐγένετο αίμα ὡς νεκροῦ. According to the analogy of Revelation 8:8; Revelation 8:11, ἡ θάλασσα is to be regarded as the subject to ἐγένετο.[3676] The advance of the present plague, in comparison with Revelation 8:8, lies not only in that now the entire sea is changed into blood, and that every thing living therein dies, but also in that the sea becomes “as the blood of a dead man,” i.e., not a great pool of blood, as of many slain,[3677] but the horribleness of the fact is augmented in that the sea seems like the clotted and already putrefying blood of a dead man.[3678]

ψυχὴ ζωῆς. The var. correctly give the meaning: ψ. ζῶσα.[3679] The expression originates from Genesis 1:30 : Ὃ ἜΧΕΙ ἘΝ ἘΑΥΤῷ ΨΥΧῊΝ ΖΩῆς. Cf. on the gen. limitation ΖΩῆς, Winer, p. 177 sq.

The ΤᾺ before ἘΝ Τ. ΘΑΛ.[3680] refers, as to meaning, to the individual ΚΤΊΣΜΑΤΑ comprised in the collective ΠᾶΣΑ ΨΥΧ.[3681]

[3676] Beng., etc. Against De Wette: es estand Blut.

[3677] νεκροῦ = νεκρῶν. C. a Lap., Eichh., De Wette, Hengstenb., etc.

[3678] Beng., Züll., etc.

[3679] Cf. Revelation 8:9 : κτίσματα τὰ ἕχοντα ψυχάς.

[3680] See Critical Notes.

[3681] Cf. Revelation 5:13.

Revelation 16:3. “Coagulated blood,” fatal to animal life (as in first Egyptian plague). This plague is final, as compared, e.g., with that of Revelation 8:8.

The Second Vial, Revelation 16:33. Angel] Should be omitted, reading the second, as we had “the first” before. So in Revelation 16:4; Revelation 16:8; Revelation 16:10; Revelation 16:12; Revelation 16:17.

as the blood of a dead man] Lit., blood as it were of a dead man. See Exodus 7:17 sqq., esp. 21. Compare in this Book ch. Revelation 8:8; but here the plague has a wider reach.

Verse 3. - And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea. Omit "angel," which is not found in the best manuscripts, though it is understood. "Into the sea," as in ver. 2. The sea is also the object of the second trumpet plague (see on ver. 1). And it became as the blood of a dead man; became blood as of a dead man. Almost an exact reproduction of the second trumpet, and of the first of the Egyptian plagues. The last clause intensifies the horrible nature of the judgment, and thus in some degree increases the severity of this plague over that of the trumpets. And every living soul died in the sea; and every soul of life died, [even] the things in the sea, though living soul (ζῶσα) is found in א, B, P, some cursives, versions, and Fathers. Not merely human lives. The things, τὰ, is omitted in א, B, P, and others. In Revelation 8:9 we have, "Even the creatures that were in the sea." The interpretations are as numerous as in the case of the second trumpet (see on Revelation 8:9). It is most probable that the sea is here mentioned as part of creation (another part of which is mentioned in the following verse), the whole of which suffers for the sin of man, and the whole of which, intended for his benefit, becomes a source of affliction and woe to him through sin. Revelation 16:3It became (ἐγένετο)

Or there came.


Compare Exodus 7:19.

As of a dead man

Thick, corrupt, and noisome.

Living soul (ψυχὴ ζῶσα)

The best texts read ψυχὴ ζωῆς soul of life.

Revelation 16:3 Interlinear
Revelation 16:3 Parallel Texts

Revelation 16:3 NIV
Revelation 16:3 NLT
Revelation 16:3 ESV
Revelation 16:3 NASB
Revelation 16:3 KJV

Revelation 16:3 Bible Apps
Revelation 16:3 Parallel
Revelation 16:3 Biblia Paralela
Revelation 16:3 Chinese Bible
Revelation 16:3 French Bible
Revelation 16:3 German Bible

Bible Hub

Revelation 16:2
Top of Page
Top of Page