9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
From the Chief Sorcerer in Rome to the meanest poisoner among the western nations, this unrepentant state of mind is their characteristic. They still cling tenaciously to their superstitions, and are as murderously disposed towards all that oppose them as of old. On the side of the oppressor is power; and, wherever that power is, there are the priests, clergy, and ministers of the apostasy to be found sanctifying tyranny, and dividing with the plunderer the gains of extortion and the profits accruing from popular ignorance and folly.
Because as murderers, they have shed the blood of saints and prophets; blood has been given them to drink; they have been scorched with fire and have been made to gnaw their tongues with pain (xvi. 6,8,10). Yet "they repented not of their deeds." The judgments that have been poured out upon them, and which have ensanguined the page of history to this present, have failed to bring them to repentance. The things written on the outside of the scroll speak only of the fullness of wrath for such.
As they will not repent, utter destruction is written against them in their being made to "drink of the wine of the wrath of Deity, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation," and in being
"tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb" (xiv. 10).
When this consummation shall have been developed, the saints' war, which pertains to the great and dreadful day of Yahweh (Apoc. xvi. 14; Joel ii. 31) will have expended itself in the conquest of the Ten Horns, or "kingdoms of the world" (Apoc. xi. 15; xvii. 14), the utter and fiery consumption of the ecclesiastical system of the Greco-Latin habitable (xviii. 4-8), the extinction of the beast and false prophet power in the lake of fire, and the binding of the Dragon in the bottomless abyss.
The plagues of the vials exhibited in this chapter are separated by the thief-like advent of Christ. "Last plagues" imply others that are not the last. The former plagues precede the advent; and all developed after it are "the seven last plagues."
What extraordinary blindness to affirm that none of the vials are poured out till after Christ comes, while his coming is predicted under the sixth! This sixth-vial prophecy is subversive of the notion. The position it occupies as a speaking hieroglyphic shows, that five of the vials, and a considerable part of the sixth, were to be poured out before the advent. It is impossible therefore for the outpouring of all the vials to be delayed till that event.
When it takes place, then in giving judgment to the saints recently raised, judged, and chosen, as signified by the "golden girdles" and "pure and white linen," the golden vials are given to them; and they consummate in their seventh vial mission the work of the whole seven vials, which without their intervention would never ultimate in victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name.
12 And the 6th angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
In the days of Isaiah, the Assyrian power, which afterwards established itself in the Holy Land, was styled the Euphrates, and all the glory of that power, "the waters of the river." An invasion also of the country by the Assyrian is termed a
"coming up over all his channels and going over all his banks;"
so that when he came to stretch out the wings of his army over the breadth of Palestine, and to encompass the walls of Jerusalem, as in the days of Sennacherib, he is said by the prophet to "overflow and go over and to reach even to the neck." The passage is a beautiful and appropriate illustration of the scripture style in treating of powers and their invasions. It reads connectedly as follows:
"Behold, Yahweh bringeth upon them (the people who refuse the waters of Siloah-Israel) the waters of the river strong and many, the King of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach to the neck, and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God with us!"
Now, to "dry up the water of this river" was to cause the evacuation of the Holy Land by the power that desolated it; so that it should again be confined by the Euphrates which was the frontier of its dominion. The transfer of this mode of speech from Isaiah to the Apocalypse does not at all alter its signification. The Euphrates there represents the power that fills the breadth of Immanuel's land contemporary with the outpouring of the sixth vial; and "the water thereof," all the glory of that power, and the "drying up" of that water the freeing the land from its accursed presence. Hence, John's prediction translated into unfigurative speech runs thus-
The sixth Angel poured out the wrath determined upon the Ottoman Desolator; and its power was totally abolished.
No prediction can be plainer than this; and it is one that every one who has any respectable acquaintance with the history of Turkey's last thirty-four years [since 1820], is fully assured is being fulfilled, Compare what Turkey was in power thirty years ago with what she is now in the Holy Land. Then its power was cruelly despotic and repressant; but now it exists there but as a shadow of its former self, mild and promotive of all internal improvements. What a change is this!
Still John's prediction is not fully accomplished. He saw it "dried up;" as yet we only see it drying up. An American now in Palestine says, "It is the decrepid and defenceless state of the peoples here that keeps them as peaceable as they are, rather than fear of the government.
They literally have little government to fear. All of government there is (and by this, I mean, that force is all the government that is of any use in the Turkish empire) is on the northern frontiers. This state of things throws open the way for all so disposed to make such depredations on whoever they may fall in with as they see fit. It is this, and nothing but this, that has put a stop to travel in this part of the country. There is no one to call the Bedouin to account for his depredations on foreigners that may be passing through his neighborhood.
Having then full assurance that the power of the existing Euphratean desolator is drying up, we might with propriety inquire, when will the process be complete? In answer to this question it may be said that the day and hour of his expulsion from the Holy Land, if fixed in the counsels of God, are not revealed. He is to alienate the land for a price or pecuniary consideration to a power from beyond the Euphrates and Tigris capable of protecting, or shadowing it with its wings, while it is growing into "a land of unwalled villages," rich in cattle and goods. When this alienation is accomplished, the Ottoman power in Palestine will be gone; and this will be the precursor to its overthrow in Europe and Constantinople.
It falls there to make way for the Russo-Greek, which is the last dynasty of the Little Horn of the Goat that will be permitted to reign there.
Herald of the kingdom and age to come, Jan 1855
The great river Euphrates, which flows into the Great City, has dried up greatly; that the way of these kings from the Sun's risings, may be prepared -- the power of the fourth, or Ottoman, angel is now only nominal; and the Gallic Frogs have well-nigh performed their mission: what, then, remains, but that Yahweh whom we seek should suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant whom we delight in? (Apoc. xvi. 12-15; Mal. iii. 1) and having broken, as a thief, into the strong man's domain, bind him with chains and cause Babylon to fall, no more again to rise and curse the world with her cruelty and deceit.
13 And I saw 3 unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
He is styled a false prophet, because his utterances, or prophesyings, are mere fraud, deceit, and vanity; because the signs, and lying wonders wrought in the presence of the Beast-authorities by him, are an imposture, and his preaching, allocutions, decrees, and so forth, the falsehoods of a lying oracle, by which they are deceived who have received the mark of the beast, and who worship his image (Apoc. 19:20).
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
This is the warning in the midst of the Sixth Vial, of the Apocalypse of the Son of Man, like a thief in the night, catching many unawares and unprepared spiritually (Mtt.25), blinded by the burdens and petty preoccupations of their own little lives, so that they cannot discern the signs of momentous developments in the political heavens heralding the imminent apocalypse of the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel's Messiah, to seize the sceptre from man's evil grasp and give it to those who are worthy (Lk.21.34- 36). They say in their hearts "the time is, not yet," (Hg.l.2).
Thick darkness reigns. The Apocalypse of Christ, in reality, is the climax of the book, so named, since all the Seals and Trumpets and Vials havebeen unfolding and tending to this very conclusion at the end of times; when the dramatic denouement of the plot is brought to fruition, namely the Apocalypse or unveiling of Christ in all power and glory, and with all his holy angels (Mtt.25.31), to render vengeance upon his enemies, and salvation to the faithful remnant of the Woman's Seed, who have held fast to the original faith, and earnestly scanned the political horizons for his return, who have contended earnestly for the faith (Jde 3), and
shared the vision of Enoch (Jude. 14.15), repudiated Apostasy, and delighted in the joyful prospect of Pslm 149 .
The Lord, has journeyed from the right hand of the Majesty on high back to the earth, to unlock the mystery of his mission, exhaust the wrath of God, and give a blessing to those who have watched and prepared, and endured to the end, when the love of many hath waxed cold (Mtt.24.13): 'Then, will the earth and its people tremble at the visible presence of Christ back in the earth (Isa 64.2-4) Hallelujah (Pslm, I 50). Then will he redeem his people Israel.
'And keepeth their garments' (unspotted by the evil world).
Keeps them pure, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19.8), and not defiled by women (apostasy) (Rev. 14.4), or any other pollutions, grovelling in the lusts and desires of the flesh, rolling in the mire of filthiness, like the washed sow (2Pet.2.22).
The priests wore white linen garments down to the foot, whilst they ministered at the Altar (Ex.28), as long as they upheld the law and did not degenerate into Apostasy and idolatry (Isa 66, Jer.l- 7).
Their garments became spattered with blood from the sacrifice, self sacrifice in our case,
so that this will qualify a faithful disciple of Christ to wash their garments in the blood of Christ's enemies: Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments? Yahweh of Armies mighty to save (ls.63.1-6, ls.34, Rev.1.13-16).
'Lest he walk naked and they see his, shame'.
Nakedness is symbolic of sin in Yahweh's eyes. The nakedness of sin's flesh of Adam's race (Lev.18, 19). There must be a divinely appointed covering, a purging of sin (1 Tim.2.5,6). A person loses this covering when there is no development of the divine character, or when there is pursuit of a sinful worldly way, or apostate embracing or fellowshipping of heresy, that which defiles and pollutes the sanctuary of Yahweh (Titus 3.10). Brethren and ecclesial elderships have a duty to uphold divine Truth, the pioneer faith, and repudiate apostasy (Acts 20.29,30,Mtt.7.l5,16).
The Temple Guard.
The most difficult watch was the Morning Watch, when tiredness prevailed, and the Temple guard would come round to check if awake Pslm.130.5,6. This can be rendered "my soul waiteth for God-like night guards for the morning." He is anxious for the morning to relieve him of his vigil, and the Temple guard find him asleep on his watch. Yahweh is the eternal watchman (Ps 121.4)
The Apocalyptic Messenger, Aug 2018
There are four words for "watching" in the New Testament, and they are interesting. The principle, most common one is gregoreuo (gray-gor-yoo'-o). The name Gregory means watcher. This is the word here in this verse. Its literal derivation is to be awake, and its meaning is vigilance.
The second word for "watching" is tereo (tay-reh'-o). That is the word in this verse translated "keep," as it usually is throughout the New Testament. But sometimes it is translated "watch." This word means to keep the eye fixed upon something, as to guard something valuable or to follow a guide carefully.
The third word is agrupneo (ag-roop-nee'-o), and literally it means to chase away sleep, from agreo, to chase, and hupnos, sleep, from which we get the word hypnotism. It implies forcing the mind and the senses to be alert, despite strong physical desire for rest and relaxation. This is a very instructive word. It is the one Jesus used when he said, in Luke 21,
"Watch, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy."
If we don't, we won't. And Paul of his tremendous labours, "in watchings often." (2Cor. 11)
The fourth is nepho (nay'-fo), which literally means to abstain from wine, and therefore, to be sober, to be clear-minded.
"Watch thou in all things, and endure affliction" (II Tim 4). "Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith" (I Thess 5).
The "wine" to be abstained from are the things of this life-anything that takes our mind from eternal reality, that gives a temporary false sense of well-being and pleasure, that affects our judgment and discernment and stability.
...The watching required is not so much the external watching for the Lord's return and for the signs of it, rather it is the watching of one's self and one's own duties and responsibilities, so as to be ready and acceptable, whenever the Lord returns. A watching, too, for the welfare of the ecclesia and of the Body, and for individual members' needs, both natural and spiritual. Christ will ask each one of us at his return,
"What have you done for me and my little ones?"
All that we do, all day and every day, must be consciously done in the light of his return, and with a view to its being a joyful occasion, bringing approval and blessing and eternal love and communion. This requires a constant watching-a constant self-reminding and redirection of the mind and actions.
Bro Growcott - Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments