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    CHAPTER 16. The Seven Last Plagues

    The subject of the seven last plagues is another theme that demands examination in connection with the third angel’s message; for these plagues are brought to view in the message itself, are intimately connected with it according to other prophecies, and immediately follow its close. The threatening which this message utters is expressed in these words; “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” The first verse of chapter 15 speaks of judgments in which “is filled up the wrath of God.” This must certainly mean the same as the unmixed wrath threatened in the message, but here it is plainly said to be the seven last plagues.SYNPT 160.1

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    1. What other subject is connected with the third angel’s message?
    2. When are the seven last plagues brought to view?
    3. In what language is the threatening expressed?
    4. What expression is used in Revelation 15:1?
    5. What must this be equivalent to?
    6. What is the judgment of Revelation 15:1 called?
    7. Can these plagues be poured out till the work in the sanctuary is closed?

    This is still further proved by the chronology of these plagues. They are still future; for they cannot be poured out till the work in the sanctuary is finished. John says in Revelation 15:5-8, that the temple of the tabernacle in heaven was opened. This brings to view the work of Christ in the most holy place. From that temple then came forth seven angels with the seven last plagues; and while they were pouring them out, the temple was filled with the glory of the Lord, so that no one was able to enter therein till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. This brings us to the time when the priesthood of Christ has closed; for till that time there will be some one ministering in that temple. Being thus future, they must be that unmixed wrath threatened in the third message, which is the last judgment to be inflected on men before the Lord appears.SYNPT 160.2

    The chronology of these plagues is shown still more fully by the language used in reference to the first plague itself. Revelation 16:2. The first messenger of wrath pours out his vial upon the earth, and there falls a noisome and grievous sore upon those who have the mark of the beast, and upon those who worship his image. But this reception of the mark and worship of the image is the very thing against which the third angel’s message warns us. These plagues, therefore, do not fall till the third angel’s message is concluded.SYNPT 161.1

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    8. How is this proved?
    9. Upon whom does the first plague fall?
    10. By what are we warned against receiving the mark, etc?
    11. What is the chronology of these plagues, therefore, as compared with the message?

    Now if we say that these plagues have been poured out in the past, - ages in the past, as some contend, - or that they even commenced to be poured out then, it follows that the third angel’s message accomplished its work ages in the past. But the third message warns us against two antecedent powers brought to view in Revelation 13, - the leopard beast and the two horned beast. These could not have existed and acted later than the message which warned against them.SYNPT 161.2

    But if in order to have the first plague poured out ages in the past we place the third message there, we throw the second and first still further back. But the first message, which is identical with the angel of Revelation 10, is based upon the fulfillment of the prophetic periods. Hence we thus throw all prophetic interpretation ages away from our own time, where it is having its fulfillment. But we have shown that the two-horned beast is now on the stage of action, preparing to perform his last work, and that the third angel’s message is now in the land, and beginning to go forth with power. The plagues which follow it are therefore future, the last manifestation of God’s wrath upon the last generation of men, after the third angel has ceased his warning, the work in the sanctuary is ended, and a mediator no longer stands between God and men to stay from them the vials of his indignation.SYNPT 162.1

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    12. If we throw the beginning of these plagues ages in the past, as some demand, where must we put the message?
    13. What, then, becomes of the leopard beast and the two-horned beast of Revelation 13?
    14. And how are the first and second messages affected by this view?
    15. With what is the first message of Revelation 14 identical?
    16. Upon what is it based?
    17. Then how is all prophetic interpretation affected by such an application?
    18. What has already been proved?
    19. What do all these arguments show in reference to the plagues?
    20. Will the plagues be literal?

    These plagues will be literal. A parallel is found in the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians, as recorded in Exodus, chapters 7-10, which no one thinks of regarding other than literal. The terrible nature of these judgments is made sufficiently clear by the record given us in Revelation 16.SYNPT 162.2

    As the result of the first plague, a terrible and grievous sore breaks out upon the men which have the mark of the beast.SYNPT 163.1

    As the result of the second plague, the sea becomes as the blood of a dead man, a most infectious and deadly substance. If the sea here means the oceans of our globe, as it probably does, we leave the reader to imagine, as far as he can, the terrible effects of this plague. It is no wonder John says that every living soul died in the sea.SYNPT 163.2

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    21. What parallel plagues are brought to view in the Bible?
    22. Where is the record of these plagues?
    23. What is the result of the first vial?
    24. Of the second?
    25. Of the third?
    26. How can it be said of men at this time that they have shed the blood of saints and prophets?

    At the pouring out of the third vial, the rivers and fountains of waters become blood. This touches the human family in a still more vital point. Probably these two plagues will be of short duration; for otherwise it would seem that all flesh must perish from the face of the earth. John heard the angel say, as this plague was poured out, Thou are righteous, O Lord; for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou has given them blood to drink. The query may arise how the last generation of the wicked, who are not permitted to slay the saints, can be said to have shed the blood of saints and prophets. The answer is, They designed to do it, determined to do it, tried to do it (Revelation 13:15-17), and are therefore just as guilty as though [3.0] 164SYNPT 163.3

    they had done it. It is no virtue in them that God restrains them from their evil intentions; and they meet the just fate of the actual transgressor.SYNPT 163.4

    The fourth angel pours out his vial upon the sun, and it scorches the earth with unwonted heat, thus most fearfully intensifying the effects of the preceding plagues. In the result of this plague we doubtless find a fulfillment of Joel 1:14-20.SYNPT 163.5

    The fifth angel pours out his vial upon the seat of the beast, and darkness like that which overspread Egypt pervades his kingdom. This judgment is inflicted especially upon the papacy, the seat of the beast being Rome, and his kingdom being his subjects wherever they are found. In the description of this plague we find an expression which shows that all these plagues fall upon the same generation; for it is said that they blasphemed God because of their pains and their sores. These sores must be the ones brought to view under the first plague. Those upon whom the first vial was poured, many of them, at least, are thus shown to be still living under the fifth plague, and still suffering from the effects of the first plague.SYNPT 163.6

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    27. What is the effect of the fourth vial?
    28. What prophecy is fulfilled in this?
    29. Upon what locality is the fifth plague poured?
    30. What is the seat of the beast?
    31. What is his kingdom?
    32. What proof is found here that these plagues fall upon the same generation of men?
    33. Upon what is the sixth vial poured?
    34. What is here symbolized by the river Euphrates?
    35. What is meant by the drying up of its waters?

    The sixth angel pours out his vial upon the great river Euphrates. This is a symbol of the Ottoman empire, and the drying up of its waters denotes the utter consumption and overthrow of that power. And the way for that consummation is now preparing in the most apparent and rapid manner. Under this plague, three unclean spirits go forth from the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet; that is, Paganism, the Papacy, and apostate Protestantism. In this we behold the work of spiritualism, which has already made such headway in the world. Some have even concluded that we are already under this sixth plague, because of the decline of the Turkish power, and of the work of spiritualism. But before the Euphrates can be entirely consumed, there must be a process of the drying up of its waters; and before the spirits can go out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, they must win their way into the hearts of these powers. We now see the preparatory work going forward; the strength, resources, and influence of spirits of devils are making their way into the high places of the earth. Under this plague we behold the completion of this work; and it cannot, from present indications, be far distant.SYNPT 164.1

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    36. What further development takes place under this plague?
    37. What is meant by the dragon, beast, and false prophet?
    38. What is denoted by these spirits?
    39. What conclusion have some come to from the condition of Turkey and the work of spiritualism?
    40. How is this explained?
    41. What is the object of the work of these spirits?

    The work of the spirits when they thus go forth with authority, is to gather the kings of the earth and of the whole world to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, which is then impending. They are gathered into a place called Armageddon. The spirits gather them there. Our English version reads, “He gathered them;” but in the Greek a neuter plural subject can regularly take a verb in the singular number; and the subject of the singular verb “gathered” in verse 16, is the neuter plural spirits (pneumata) of verse 14.SYNPT 165.1

    The seventh angel pours out his vial into the air. The effect of this is all-pervading. A great earthquake, such as never before was known, rends the earth from center to circumference. The cities of the nations fall. Great Babylon receives her cup of wrath. The islands and mountains flee away; and great hailstones, each about the weight of a talent (57lbs.) fall upon men. Here are seen the treasures of hail which God has reserved against this day of trouble, and battle, and war. Job 38:22, 23. This plague brings us into scenes which are intimately connected with the coming of Christ. See Revelation 6:14-17. Christ soon appears; and those who have survived through all these judgments, are slain by the spirit of his mouth and the brightness of his coming. Revelation 19:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.SYNPT 166.1

    For some of the gracious promises which are given to the people of God during this time of fearful trouble, a time of trouble, on the nations, such as never was (Daniel 12:1), read the 91st psalm.SYNPT 166.2

    QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER SIXTEEN.
    42. Who gather the nations?
    43. What criticism is made on the singular verb of verse 16?
    44. Where is the seventh and last vial poured out?
    45. What then takes place?
    46. What is the weight of the hailstones that then fall?
    47. What Old-Testament declaration is then fulfilled?
    48. Into what scenes does this plague bring us?
    49. How are those who survive the plagues finally slain? Give references.
    50. To what does the time of trouble such as never was, mentioned in Daniel 12:1, apply? (This trouble coming on the nations is not to be confounded with the tribulation such as never was, spoken of in Matthew 24:21, which comes upon the church.)
    51. What promises have the saints during this time of trouble

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