Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is study #1 of Revelation, chapter 16, and we are going to be reading Revelation 16:1:
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
In the previous chapter, Revelation 15, God had given an assignment to the “seven messengers.” He had given them the seven vials of the seven last plagues that filled up of the wrath of God. This would be the final pouring out of God’s wrath in the Day of Judgment. They had come out of the temple and we saw through the language God used to describe these seven messengers that they were true believers. They were God’s elect and they were sent forth to perform a priestly function and, therefore, they were clothed in “pure and white linen,” which is the righteousness of the saints, according to Revelation 19:8, and they were girded with golden girdles, as the priests that had performed ministry in the temple. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God (God’s wrath in the Day of Judgment) and no man was able to enter into the temple until the seven vials of the seven last plagues had been completely poured out, and we saw that the fact that no man could enter into the temple meant there was no more salvation.
Now the Apostle John is hearing “a great voice out of the temple,” and the Greek word for voice is “phone” and the word for “great” is “megas,” and when we put the two together we get “mega-phone.” If that sounds familiar, it is because that is where we get our English word “megaphone.” This instrument was often used before microphones came into existence, but people would use megaphones at rallies to amplify their voices in order that large numbers of people might hear them. These two words together are translated as “great voice” six times in the Book of Revelation and twelve times as “loud voice.” It is no wonder, since the voice John is hearing is the voice of God and the Bible tells us, “the voice of JEHOVAH thundereth.” It is as great a voice as is possible.
Especially in the Book of Revelation, God is giving information concerning judgment on the churches and judgment on the world which will commence at the end of time; it is at that point in history that the Lord planned to open up the Scriptures to reveal truth regarding things that had previously been hidden. So the “voice” of God that comes forth from the Bible would be “amplified” in a far greater way at the time of the end, regarding the degree of truth that would be revealed. It was also in the providence of God to allow mankind to begin developing the technology in the last few decades in which the “voice” of someone like Mr. Camping could go over the airwaves of Family Radio in a spectacular way and to an incredible degree so people all over the earth could hear (through radio, TV, and internet) that faithful Bible ministry, which became a great voice. Remember what God said in Revelation 14:7:
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
That is exactly what God did. He spoke with a loud voice and He opened up the door and gave tremendous opportunity for the Word of God to be faithfully taught and declared all over the earth in a way that had never before seen, nor had been previously possible.
And this is what our verse is saying, in Revelation 16:1:
And I heard a great voice out of the temple…
Of course, the temple is God’s dwelling. He has filled the temple, the body of believers. He is Spirit and He indwells His people, so when He opens up His Word and reveals truth to His people, it is the “great voice” that comes forth from God out of the eternal temple. The Bible also tells us that Christ is the temple of it. The “great voice” comes out of the temple to the “seven messengers” because they represent the elect. And who has “ears to hear” the voice of God but God’s people? That is just the way it is.
God has given the Bible to the world and to all mankind. Anyone can get hold of a Bible. You can even get access to electronic versions of the Bible online. Lots of people have a Bible and, yet, not everyone that has a Bible is saved. Those that are not saved can read the Bible, study the Bible and even teach the Bible, but they will not “hear” the voice of Christ speaking through the Bible because they have not been given “ears to hear.” The Bible has a whole other dimension and a whole other realm of truth (layers of truth and depths of truth) and in order to reach that dimension and find the truth of what the Bible declares, you must have “ears to hear.” You must have the Spirit of God and God must open your ears and give understanding to the reader of the Bible and God does that for His people. For instance, God unsealed the Bible and information came forth that declared the church age was over and the true believers must get out of the churches because the separation process between the wheat and tares was under way; if you remained, you were a tare. The wheat would come out and escape the judgment of God that was upon the churches and congregations. This was declared by the true believers as they shared it with others. The people that remained in the churches heard it with their physical ears, but they did not hear it with spiritual ears because they refused to hearken and they did not come out of the churches. When God speaks to His people, they hear the voice of Christ. They do not respond to other voices, but they do respond to His voice.
So, let us see what God says to the “seven messengers.” He says, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” It is a command of God to go forth with His Word and it fits right in with things we have learned in other parts of the Bible. When we did our study in Jeremiah 50, we learned that God had commanded to “publish” these things, concerning the fall of Babylon, as Babylon typified Satan’s kingdom of this world that came under the judgment of God. In Jeremiah 50, verse 2, God said these things must be published: “Publish, and conceal not.” He said to “publish” two times. We also learned, in Revelation, chapter 14, at the time of harvest when the Lord sends in the sickle, it points to Him sending His messengers and this agreed with Matthew 13:39 which says, “The reapers are the angels.” In Revelation 14, where it says, “Thrust in thy sickle, and reap,” it is the Greek word “pempo” which is normally translated as “send” and it is a word that identifies with messengers, the people of God. So God tells us, again, in a different way. First, He said to publish these things and then He said to send in the sickle and reap. The Bible says, in John 4, that the disciples are the reapers and they will do the reaping. We are the messengers of God that Matthew 13:39 speaks of when it says, “The reapers are the angels” or messengers.
Now God is telling us in another way, in the form of the seven messengers that come out of the temple in the Day of Judgment. God says, “Go your ways,” and, actually, there was a former command, in Revelation 10:10-11:
And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Thou MUST prophesy again. This was an additional command and directive that the Lord is giving His people. You must publish these things and “Send in the sickle, and reap.” And now He is saying, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”
There are some people that hear these things and they respond, “Oh, Revelation, chapter 10 is another time,” or they do not fully grasp the idea of “sending in the sickle” in Revelation 14 and I have heard others disputing in regard to publishing these things. But is not interesting that it is consistently talking about Judgment Day in all these passages? It cannot be denied that the context of Jeremiah 50 is Judgment Day or that Revelation 14 is focused on Judgment Day and Revelation 10 is in the midst of the “three woes” and, therefore, also focused on Judgment Day. Chapters 15 and 16 of Revelation are focused on Judgment Day. In these places we keep finding verses in which the messengers of God are commanded to “go forth.” Those (so-called) “angels” are going to be pretty busy “spirit beings” in the Day of Judgment, are they not? But, it is not the angelic spirit beings God is addressing, but it is His people, His messengers. Why have we been left here on earth in the Day of Judgment? Are we here to lounge around? Are we just to somehow endure the fiery trial while doing nothing? No – God is a God of activity. He is a God that is always about His work and He would have His people to stay busy and occupied with the task He would have us to do.
And we knew what our task was right from the beginning. It was not long after May 21, 2011 that Mr. Camping realized this. In John, chapter 21, after the great catch of fish was brought in, there was a very significant command given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Three times He gave this same command, in order to indicate the purpose of God for His people that would be living on the earth in the Day of Judgment, after the Great Tribulation was over and after that great catch of fish (the great multitude) was saved. The task God assigned His people was to “Feed my sheep.” He said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.” He repeated it a second and a third time. In order to “feed sheep,” you must be active and you must be doing something. You must be involved. You are not feeding sheep if you are not handing out tracts, or if you are not sharing information on your Facebook page, or if you are not praying for and supporting a ministry that is faithful to God’s command. You must be doing something in service to God that involves feeding the sheep.
In all these Scriptures, God has given us a commandment, especially in our verse in Revelation 16:1, where He says, “Go your ways,” and we have to realize this is the “great voice” (megas-phone) that is coming out of the temple and speaking to you and to me and to all His people. He is not only telling us, “Go your ways,” but He tells us what to do as we go. We are to “pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” What an amazing coincidence that this agrees with the idea of 1Corinthians 6:2: “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?” It also agrees with Christ coming “with ten thousands of his saints” in the Day of Judgment. And there are many other verses that are also in agreement, like Revelation 19, where the Lord Jesus is ruling with a “rod of iron.” He has the “armies in heaven” (all the elect) with Him. In Revelation, chapter 9, the 200 million horsemen are going forth in the Day of Judgment. In Revelation 9, the locusts that represent the body of believers are going forth into the world in the Day of Judgment. In Joel, chapter 2, that army also goes forth in the Day of Judgment. God’s people are involved in this.
We should never (and we have no license to do this) point the finger at any individual and say, “You are not saved and you are being judged.” When we are judging the world with Christ it means we share the message of the Bible with people – we tell people what the Bible is saying and it is the Bible’s message that has turned “bitter” and is full of wrath. We are “pouring out the vial” and the vial, historically, pointed to something that contained “oil.” We had looked at this in the Old Testament and the prophets of old would take the vial and annoint an individual to be king; that represented the Spirit of God coming upon them. The Spirit of God is expressed through the Bible and that Spirit is conveyed or carried forth through the Scriptures. For instance, there was the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts, chapter 2, and it is the same word as it is in our verse where we are to “pour out the vials” of the wrath of God. The Holy Spirit was poured out, in Acts 2, and it conveys the same idea. How was the Holy Spirit “poured out” during the course of the 1,955 years of the church age? It was done through the sending forth of the Word of God. Then God poured out His Spirit a second time during the last part of the Great Tribulation. How did that happen? How did the Holy Spirit go forth as the Latter Rain to save that great multitude? It was through the declaration of the Word of God.
Likewise, now the seven messengers are to pour out their vials, which would point to the Holy Spirit within them who expresses and shows Himself through the declaration of the Word of God. As the seven messengers share the things the Bible says, it is nothing but wrath on the unsaved of the world and it is the pouring out of the vials of the wrath of God. Remember it said back in Revelation 14:10:
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation…
This is a different word that is translated as “poured out,” but it is the same idea. God pours out His wrath into the cup. He “measures” it precisely for the wicked of the earth to drink. Yet, God has a methodology and a process for doing this. The Bible has turned to wrath and as His people, the messengers, share what the Bible says with others, the wrath of God is poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth.