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Revelation 16


Rev 16:1

A great voice (μεγαλης φωνης). Not an angel as in 5:2; 7:2; 10:3; 14:7,9,15,18 , but of God as 15:8 shows, since no one could enter the ναος.

Pour out (εκχεετε). Second aorist active imperative of εκχεω (same form as present active imperative). Blass would change to εκχεατε (clearly aorist) as in verse 6.

The seven bowls (τας επτα φιαλας). The article points to verse 7.


Rev 16:2

Went and poured out (απηλθεν κα εξεχεεν). Second aorist active indicative of απερχομα (redundant use like υπαγετε with εκχεετε, "go and pour out," in verse 1) and of εκχεω. Each angel "went off" to perform his task. For εξεχεεν see it repeated in verses 3,4,8,10,12,17 .

Into the earth (εις την γην). This same use of εις after εξεχεεν in verses 3,4 .

It became (εγενετο). "There came" (second aorist middle indicative of γινομα).

A noisome and grievous sore (ελκος κακον κα πονηρον). "Bad and malignant sore." Hελκος is old word for a suppurated wound (Latin ulcus), here, verse 11; Lu 16:21 . See the sixth Egyptian plague (Ex 9:10; De 28:27,35 ) and Job 2:7 . The magicians were attacked in Egypt and the worshippers of Caesar here (13:17; 14:9,11; 19:20 ).


Rev 16:3

Into the sea (εις την θαλασσαν). Like the first Egyptian plague (Ex 7:12-41 ) though only the Nile affected then.

Blood as of a dead man (αιμα ως νεκρου). At the trumpet ( 8:11) the water becomes wormwood. Here ως νεκρου is added to Ex 7:19 , "the picture of a murdered man weltering in his blood" (Swete). "Coagulated blood, fatal to animal life" (Moffatt).

Every living soul (πασα ψυχη ζωης). "Every soul of life" (Hebraism, Ge 1:21 , marked by life).

Even the things that were in the sea (τα εν τη θαλασση). "The things in the sea," in apposition with ψυχη. Complete destruction, not partial as in 8:9.


Rev 16:4

Into the rivers and the fountains of waters (εις τους ποταμους κα τας πηγας των υδατων). See 8:10 for this phrase. Contamination of the fresh-water supply by blood follows that of the sea. Complete again.


Rev 16:5

The angel of the waters (του αγγελου τον υδατων). Genitive case object of ηκουσα. See 7:1 for the four angels in control of the winds and 14:18 for the angel with power over fire. The rabbis spoke also of an angel with power over the earth and another over the sea.

Which art and which wast (ο ων κα ο ην). See this peculiar idiom for God's eternity with ο as relative before ην in 1:4,8; 4:8 , but without ο ερχομενος (the coming on, the one who is to be) there for the future as in 11:17.

Thou Holy One (ο οσιος). Nominative form, but vocative case, as often. Note both δικαιος and οσιος applied to God as in 3:1; 15:3f .

Because thou didst thus judge (οτ ταυτα εκρινας). Reason for calling God δικαιος and οσιος. The punishment on the waters is deserved. First aorist active indicative of κρινω, to judge.


Rev 16:6

For (οτ). Second causal conjunction (οτ) explanatory of the first οτ, like the two cases of οτ in 15:4.

They poured out (εξεχεαν). Second aorist active indicative of εκχεω with -αν instead of -ον.

Blood hast thou given them to drink (αιμα αυτοις δεδωκας πειν). Hαιμα (blood) is the emphatic word, measure for measure for shedding the blood of saints and prophets (11:18; 18:24 ). Perfect active indicative of διδωμ, and so a permanent and just punishment. Πειν is the abbreviated second aorist active infinitive of πινω for πιειν (επιον). It is the epexegetical infinitive after δεδωκας. There was no more drinking-water, but only this coagulated blood.

They are worthy (αξιο εισιν). "Terrible antithesis" (Swete) to 3:4. The asyndeton adds to it (Alford).


Rev 16:7

O Lord God, the Almighty (Κυριε ο θεος ο παντοκρατωρ). Just as in 15:3 in the Song of Moses and of the Lamb, vocative with the article ο. "Judgments" (κρισεις) here instead of "ways" (οδο) there, and with the order of the adjectives reversed (αληθινα κα δικαια, true and righteous).


Rev 16:8

Upon the sun (επ τον ηλιον). Not εις (into) as in verses 2,3,4 . The fourth trumpet ( 8:12) affected a third of the sun, moon, and stars with a plague of darkness, but here it is a plague of extreme heat.

To scorch with fire (καυματισα εν πυρ). First aorist active infinitive of καυματιζω, late (Plutarch, Epictetus) causative verb (from καυμα, heat), in N.T. only here and verse 9; Mt 13:6; Mr 4:6 . The addition of εν πυρ (in fire, with fire) intensifies the picture.


Rev 16:9

Were scorched (εκαυματισθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of same verb.

With great heat (καυμα μεγα). Cognate accusative retained with the passive verb. Old word (from καιω to burn), in N.T. only 7:16 and here. For blaspheming the name of God see 13:6; Jas 2:7; Ro 2:24; 1Ti 6:1 . They blamed God for the plagues.

They repented not (ου μετενοησαν). This solemn negative aorist of μετανοεω is a refrain like a funeral dirge (9:20f.; 16:11 ). In 11:13 some did repent because of the earthquake. Even deserved punishment may harden the heart.

To give him glory (δουνα αυτω δοξαν). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμ, almost result. For the phrase see 11:13; 14:7; 19:7 .


Rev 16:10

Upon the throne of the beast (επ τον θρονον του θηριου). That is Rome ( 13:2). The dragon gave the beast his throne ( 2:13).

Was darkened (εγενετο εσκοτωμενη). Periphrastic past perfect passive with γινομα and σκοτοω ( 9:2). Like the darkness of the Egyptian plague (Ex 10:22 ) and worse, for the effects of the previous plagues continue.

They gnawed their tongues (εμασωντο τας γλωσσας αυτων). Imperfect middle of μασαομα, old verb (to chew), from μαω (to knead), only here in N.T.

For pain (εκ του πονου). "Out of distress" (cf. εκ in 8:13), rare sense of old word (from πενομα to work for one's living), in N.T. only here, 21:4; Col 4:13 . See Mt 8:12 .


Rev 16:11

They blasphemed (εβλασφημησαν)

and they repented not (κα ου μετενοησαν). Precisely as in verse 9, which see. Not just because of the supernatural darkness, but also "because of their pains" (εκ των πονων αυτων, plural here and same use of εκ) and their sores (κα εκ των ελκων αυτων, as in verse 2, only plural, and same use of εκ).

Of their works (εκ των εργων αυτων). "Out of their deeds," and addition to verse 9.

The God of heaven (τον θεον του ουρανου). As in Da 2:44 . Like the pride of Nebuchadrezzar against Jehovah.


Rev 16:12

Upon the great river, the river Euphrates (επ τον ποταμον τον μεγαν τον Ευφρατην). The sixth trumpet brings up the river Euphrates also ( 9:14), only there επ with the locative, while here επ with the accusative. Note triple use of the article τον here.

Was dried up (εξηρανθη). First aorist (prophetic) passive of ξηραινω ( 14:15). Cf. Zec 10:11 .

That may be made ready (ινα ετοιμασθη). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive of ετοιμαζω. Common verb in Rev. (8:6; 9:7,15; 12:6; 19:7; 21:2 ).

The way for the kings (η οδος των βασιλεων). Objective genitive βασιλεων.

That come from the sunrising (των απο ανατολης ελιου). "Those from the rising of the sun," the kings from the east (cf. Mt 2:2 ) in their march against Rome. Parthia in particular resisted Rome before Trajan's day.


Rev 16:13

Coming out of (εκ alone, no participle ερχομενα).

Of the dragon (του δρακοντος). That is Satan (12:3,9 ).

Of the beast (του θηριου). The first beast (13:1,12 ) and then just the beast (13:14ff.; 14:9,11; 15:2; 16:2,10 ), the brute force of the World-power represented by the Roman Empire" (Swete).

Of the false prophet (του ψευδοπροφητου). Cf. Mt 7:15; Ac 13:6; 1Jo 2:22; 4:3; 2Jo 1:7 . Identified with the second beast ( 13:11-14) in 19:20; 20:10 . So the sixth bowl introduces the dragon and his two subalterns of chapters Re 12; 13 (the two beasts).

Three unclean spirits (πνευματα τρια ακαθαρτα). Out of the mouths of each of the three evil powers (the dragon and the two beasts) comes an evil spirit. See the use of mouth in 1:16 (9:17f.; 11:5; 12:15; 19:15,21 ) as a chief seat of influence. In 2Th 2:8 we have "the breath of his mouth" (the other sense of πνευμα). For ακαθαρτον (unclean) with πνευμα see Mr 1:23f.; 3:11; 5:2ff.; Ac 5:16; 8:7 . Christ expelled unclean spirits, but His enemies send them forth" (Swete). See Zec 13:2 "the false prophets and the unclean spirits."

As it were frogs (ως βατραχο). Cf. Ex 8:5; Le 11:10f. . Old word, here alone in N.T. Like loathsome frogs in form.


Rev 16:14

Spirits of devils (πνευματα δαιμονιων). "Spirits of demons." Explanation of the simile ως βατραχο. See 1Ti 4:1 about "deceiving spirits and teachings of demons."

Working signs (ποιουντα σημεια). "Doing signs" (present active participle of ποιεω). The Egyptian magicians wrought "signs" (tricks), as did Simon Magus and later Apollonius of Tyana. Houdini claimed that he could reproduce every trick of the spiritualistic mediums.

Which go forth (α εκπορευετα). Singular verb with neuter plural (collective) subject.

Unto the kings (επ τους βασιλεις). The three evil spirits (dragon and the two beasts) spur on the kings of the whole world to a real world war. "There have been times when nations have been seized by a passion for war which the historian can but imperfectly explain" (Swete).

To gather them together (συναγαγειν). Second aorist active infinitive of συναγω, to express purpose (that of the unclean spirits).

Unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty (εις τον πολεμον της ημερας της μεγαλης του θεου του παντοκρατορος). Some take this to be war between nations, like Mr 13:8 , but it is more likely war against God (Ps 2:2 ) and probably the battle pictured in 17:14; 19:19 . Cf. 2 Peter 3:12 , "the day of God," his reckoning with the nations. See Joe 2:11; 3:4 . Paul uses "that day" for the day of the Lord Jesus (the Parousia) as in 1Th 5:2; 2Th 1:10; 2:2; 1Co 1:8; 2Co 1:14; Php 1:6; 2:16; 2Ti 1:12,18; 4:8 .


Rev 16:15

Behold, I come as a thief (ιδου ερχομα ως κλεπτης). The voice of Christ breaks in with the same metaphor as in 3:3, which see. There comes one of seven beatitudes in Rev. (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7,14 ). For γρηγορων (watching) see 3:2, and for τηρων (keeping), 1:3.

Lest he walk naked (ινα μη γυμνος περιπατη). Negative purpose clause with ινα μη and the present active subjunctive of περιπατεω, and note predicate nominative γυμνος (naked).

And they see his shame (κα βλεπωσιν την ασχημοσυνην αυτου). Continuation of the final clause with present active subjunctive of βλεπω. Ασχημοσυνην is old word (from ασχημων, indecent, 1Co 12:23 ), in N.T. only here and Ro 1:27 , a euphemism for την αισχυνην (Re 3:18 ).


Rev 16:16

They gathered (συνηγαγεν). Second aorist active indicative of συναγω, singular (the three unclean spirits), like εκπορευετα in verse 14.

Har-Magedon (Hαρ-Μαγεδων). John proceeds now after the interruption in verse 15. Perhaps "the mountains of Megiddo" though not certain. Megiddo is in the valley of Esdraelon, and by the waters of Megiddo (the Kishon) Israel gained a decisive victory over Sisera (Jud 5:19 ), celebrated in Deborah's song. See also Re 20:8ff. and Eze 39:2,4 .


Rev 16:17

Upon the air (επ τον αερα). All men breathe the air and this is worse than the smiting of the earth (verse 2), the sea ( 3), the fresh waters ( 4), the sun ( 8).

A great voice (φωνη μεγαλη). The voice of God as in 16:1.

It is done (Γεγονεν). Perfect active indicative of γινομα. Like Γεγοναν in 21:6. The whole series of plagues is now complete.


Rev 16:18

And there were (κα εγενοντο). "And there came" (same verb ginomai). See 8:5; 11:19 for this list of terrible sounds and lightnings, and for the great earthquake (σεισμος μεγας) see 6:12; 11:13 (cf. Lu 21:11 ).

Such as was not (οιος ουκ εγενετο). Qualitative relative with γινομα again, "such as came not."

Since there were men (αφ' ου ανθρωπο εγενοντο). "Since which time (χρονου understood) men came."

So great an earthquake, so mighty (τηλικουτος σεισμος ουτω μεγας). Quantitative correlative τηλικουτος rather than the qualitative τοιουτος, to correspond with οιος (not οσος). And then ουτω μεγας repeats (redundant) τηλικουτος. Cf. Mr 13:19 for οια--τοιαυτη about like tribulation (θλιψις).


Rev 16:19

Was divided into three parts (εγενετο εις τρια μερη). "Came into three parts" (γινομα again). In 11:3 a tenth part of the city fell. Babylon (Rome) is meant ( 17:18).

Fell (επεσαν). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτω (-αν form in place of -ον).

Was remembered (εμνησθη). First aorist (prophetic) passive indicative of μιμνησκω. Babylon (Rome) had not been overlooked. God was simply biding his time with Rome.

To give unto her (δουνα αυτη). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμ, epexegetic use as in 11:18; 16:9 .

The cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath (το ποτηριον του οινου του θυμου της οργης αυτου). "The cup of the wine of the wrath of his anger," using both θυμος (boiling rage) and οργη (settled anger). See both in Jer 30:24 .


Rev 16:20

Fled (εφυγεν). Second aorist active indicative of φευγω. Islands sometimes sink in the sea in earthquakes ( 6:14).

Were not found (ουχ ευρεθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of ευρισκω. See 20:11 for the same idea.


Rev 16:21

Hail (χαλαζα). As in 8:17; 11:19 .

Every stone about the weight of a talent (ως ταλαντιαια). Old adjective (from ταλαντον), here only in N.T., but in Polybius and Josephus. See Ex 9:24 for the great hail in Egypt and also Jos 10:11; Isa 28:2; Eze 38:22 for hail as the symbol of God's wrath. In the LXX a ταλαντον ranged in weight from 108 to 130 pounds.

Because of the plague of hail (εκ της πληγης της χαλαζης). "As a result of the plague of hail." This punishment had the same effect as in verses 9,11 .

Exceeding great (Μεγαλη--σφροδρα). Emphatic positions at ends of the clause (great--exceedingly).

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