Revelation Chapter 16, “The Seven Last Plagues”, Part 11
The Seventh Plague
VERSES 17-21 “And the seventh (angel) poured out his bowl upon the air; and there came forth
a great voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done: and there were lightning’s,
and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were
men upon the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. And the great city was divided into
three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Babylon the great was remembered in the sight
of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled
away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail, [every stone] about the weight of a
talent, cometh down out of heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God because of the plague
of the hail; for the plague thereof is exceeding great.”
The Seventh angel was Charles Taze Russell
“It is interesting to note that in all of the seven messages to the various churches the direction from the
Lord is “To the angel … write.” It is as if the angel himself, more than the church, needs to know (or
understand) the message first. Historically the angels seem very much to have acted and preached
based on the content of the various messages. It is not, of course, that these messages were not
written specifically to the churches themselves, but rather that they are to the churches THROUGH the
angels. Thus it seems evident that without first recognizing specifically who the angel was and
what he was given in the way of understanding, the (True) Church could not have ever hoped
to have received the message which was given.” (N.A.N.O.R. Page 91)
It is not for us to question the Lord’s choices of the various messengers to whom he has chosen
to use to distribute “meat in due season” to the Household of Faith, but rather it is for us as
faithful followers to humbly accept his choice as being far wiser than anything that we could
have conceived. This is another instance in which your faith is being tried and proven, tested to
see if you are willing to accept God’s choice as being both superior to your own and to that of
the majority of professing Christens, even though said acceptance may bring upon you ridicule
from family, friends and fellow believers.
16:17 --AND THE SEVENTH ANGEL POURED OUT HIS BOWL ON THE AIR: The AIR, of course, is
a symbol of spiritual control (Eph. 2:2). This plague will DISRUPT and FOIL the plans, which the
demons instituted in the sixth plague. This plague (the Seventh) IS ARMAGEDDON -- the
destruction of the mountain (Zech. 4:7; Matt. 21:21) what it will fully consist of is yet to be seen.
AND A LOUD VOICE: -- an important announcement of an important event.
CAME OUT OF THE TEMPLE: -- out of God’s plan; out of the Most Holy condition
FROM THE THRONE: The temple has no throne. The mixed symbolism is apparently to show us how
important this announcement is. It is LOUD; it is part of God’s plan (temple); it is from the Most Holy
(Rev 15:5); and it is The Throne -- THE Authority, God Himself. This all gives special weight to the
next three words, the announcement itself:
IT IS DONE: There is only speculation as to what “it” is. But all saints must feel instinctively what is
meant. This is so close to Jesus’ own words on the cross when His sacrifice was completed. This “it is
done” is surely the glorification of the last members of the body. What else demands the LOUD
VOICE from THE THRONE? Other things (Verses 18-21) are NOT DONE at this point. These three
little words are among the most blessed in the Bible.
16:18 the things that occur from now on CAN occur BECAUSE the Church is gone. There is noting
in the way now of the peaceable kingdom save the total disintegration of the old order.
AND THERE WERE FLASHES OF LIGHTNING: This is the first of the collection of symbols portraying
the elements, which when combined, will be causing the mass confusion of Armageddon. Lightning is
blinding flashes of light. Hence, maddening exposures of truths on many planes will be one of the
irritants in the trouble.
AND SOUNDS (or VOICES): All kinds of excuses and explanations will be flying about -- all to no avail.
AND PEALS OF THUNDER: Thunder represents controversy. This will be a time when controversy
erupts into violence:
AND THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE: Not just an earthquake, but a GREAT one -- the end of
the one begun in the French Revolution (11:13) and the same as the one of Ezekiel 38:19, 20 --
another testimony that Babylon’s fall is inseparably linked to Israel’s deliverance.
SUCH AS THERE HAD NOT BEEN SINCE MAN CAME TO BE UPON THE EARTH: This is to let us know
that “great” is an insufficient modifier for earthquake. It worked for the French Revolution (11:13), but
the last 9/10ths of the city will be a revolution unprecedented.
SO GREAT AN EARTHQUAKE, SO MIGHTY: Yet more is said to make the impression! Those who
think that transition to the peaceable kingdom will be gradual or smooth should take note!
16:19 -- AND THE GREAT CITY: -- Babylon the Great with all of its supporting and component parts
WAS SPLIT INTO THREE PARTS: The implication is the three parts of 16:13 the coalition falls apart,
and as in most revolutions and/or anarchy, it will be “every man for himself” and every man’s hand
against his neighbors.
AND THE CITIES OF THE NATIONS FELL: Although the Sinaitic MS makes this singular (city), it is
likely that it should be plural. The “great City” has already been mentioned. While it IS, in a sense, the
“city of the nations,” there seems little reason to state its fall between its “split” and God’s wrath upon
it. However, there IS reason to mention that the various capitals (“cities”) of the various nations fell. We
see in the next verse that this loss of rule-ship (i.e., plunge into anarchy -- Ezek. 38:21-23) will result
in the demise of small and great polities. It is Divine Justice that the “cities” (capitals -- ruling
entities) of the nations should fall. THESE have been the beasts, which have (with few
exceptions) been the cause of mankind’s woes.
AND BABYLON THE GREAT WAS REMEMBERED BEFORE GOD: At this point she will wish she were
forgotten by Him. In 18:5 God “remembers” her in order to begin her judgment. In 16:19 He
remembers every grievance. All of these plagues are God’s wrath (15:1), but THIS plague is more:
TO GIVE HER THE CUP OF THE WINE OF HIS FIERCE WRATH: The Greek for “wrath” here is
different from that in 15:1. The good student will want to be aware that the harvest period has
wrath and WRATH, trouble and TROUBLE, fire and FIRE, and a few other such contrasts, which
allow us to see the PROGRESSION through this century with CLIMAX at its end. Cup can mean
experience; wine can mean several things, including the RESULTS of doctrine. It is clear that Babylon
will drink of something unpleasant. It is closely allied with the traditional cup of hemlock juice with which
people were slain for their crimes. Babylon’s cup will not be enviable. It is full of the results of God’s
16:20 -- AND EVERY ISLAND FLED AWAY: Islands represent republics. Fleeing away may, indeed,
represent their demise; or it may be that it represents their running from the problems -- a flight which
will be futile.
AND THE MOUNTAINS WERE NOT FOUND: -- as mountains. Having lost their ruler-ship “cities”
(capitals -- Verse 19), they no longer function as mountains. They have been “cast into the midst of
the sea” -- anarchy will have swallowed up their polities.
16:21 -- AND HUGE HAILSTONES: Hail is hardened water -- destructive truths.
ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF A TALENT: This phrase is difficult to interpret. There is no question that a
talent is heavy (? excess of 100 pounds!). The destructive force is evident. Strong’s #5007 (Greek.
Dictionary) says that the word means “a balance”. This may imply that these truths are JUST
RETRIBUTION for the errors of the past. This is very fitting since with this plague God’s righteous
wrath is complete. Strong’s #5006 (from which this word is translated) means “talent-like.”
Therefore, “hard truths like justice” seems one fitting interpretation.
The Old Testament makes a few references to one talent. They may or may not prove eventually to be
helpful. (See 2 Sam. 12:30; 1 Kings 20:39; Zech. 5:7 KJV for examples.)
One particular reference, however, (Exod. 25:39 or 37:24) may provide the best interpretation to Rev
16:21’s talent. The golden candlestick and its tools were made from one talent of gold. Since the
plagues represent the truths which each of the church messengers presented, and since the
candlestick represents all seven churches, and since the seventh messenger (and, therefore, the seventh
plague) had a compilation of all of the truths of the entire age, it is likely that this hail weighing one talent
represents the aggregate of the light of the age being used as a judgment against Babylon’s
CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN: --likely meaning as a result of Divine decree
UPON MEN: Since “men” is frequently a symbol for professing Christians, this is probably the
equivalent of the burning of the tares -- an event, which makes “men” renounce their false
AND MEN BLASPHEMED GOD: They have little choice. They have lost their faith; their world has fallen
apart all around them, and they as yet have no knowledge of good things coming.
BECAUSE OF THE PLAGUE OF THE HAIL: How much truth men will learn in the final cataclysm is
conjectural. Anarchy is not a good classroom for details. They will have learned enough to destroy
their faith in everything. The thought implies that MEANS will still be operational for the spread of
information (hail). This plague may be, in large part, televised or possibly through such media as
BECAUSE IT’S PLAGUE WAS EXTREMELY SEVERE: The implication is that few lies will escape
attention. The world will, indeed, be an emptied vessel ready to accept the Lord’s pronouncement “Peace!
Be Still!” Thus the account of the plagues leaves us hanging! That is probably on purpose. It will also
leave the world hanging. They will be surely ready for the kingdom. (N.A.N.O.R. Pages 128-131)
Thus concludes our presentation of the Seven Last Plagues.
PREVIOUS PAGE INDEX