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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition, 2014

Understanding The Seven Vials Of Wrath (Part 1)

The First Vial of Wrath Out Poured (Revelation 16:2)

“And the first (angel) went, and poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon all men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

1. This first vial of wrath takes us back to the dawn of human history in the Garden of Eden. The fundamental principle here is that God’s wrath against human sin has been known since the beginning. God has not just suddenly gotten extremely mad and having a fit of rage at man’s sin in the very end-time as many people believe this verse teaches. His wrath out-poured on human sin has rather been constant all through history. “The soul that sins, it shall die.” That is the uniform expression of the wrath of God on the sin of mankind since the fall of Adam.

2. The “noisome and grievous sore” mentioned in this verse---which is the sole term of expression used to describe this first out-poured vial of wrath---is obviously vague, and so of to general of a characterization to admit of clear application to any other event than that of the fall of man at the beginning of time. And certainly it does lend well to a portrayal of the carnal nature that we all inherited because of Adam’s sin. The carnal nature, inherited depravity, or the seed of Adam’s sin, is indeed a noisome and grievous sore to the human race. Something “noisome” lets us know that it is always around. So the carnal nature asserts itself and lets us know that we have it. It makes itself felt. It is also “grievous,” because we don’t like the results of having the carnal mind. We do grievous things that we know we shouldn’t. Paul describes this noisome and grievous sore like struggling with a “body of death,” as he put his pre-Christian experience under the law in Romans chapter seven.

3. Notice that the placement of the noisome and grievous sore is upon those who have the mark of the beast and who worship his image. The primary beast in the book of Revelation is Satan, himself, pictured as the great red dragon in 12:3; 17:3; and 20:2. Satan was in the Garden with Adam and Eve. When they listened to him and were deceived by him, they were also enslaved by him. Carnality is the mark of branding that indicates fallen man is now a slave of Satan, and as such has begun to worship the beast, Satan, indirectly by worshiping himself. And so the tragic story of human history unfolded, and so it has been ever since.

4. The wrath of God---the noisome and grievous sore of the carnal nature---still abides on all who follow the way of Satan by living in sin. Contrary to much of the wild speculation that so many bring to the Book of Revelation this is an important foundational truth to grasp. God can deliver us from sin and from the clutches of Satan. He can heal that noisome and grievous sore. The blood of Jesus Christ can now cleanse our hearts freely and fully from all sin, including the carnal nature. Praise the Lord! Isn’t it good to be free from the dominion of the beast? The wrath of God still abides on all those who do not receive Jesus Christ, and who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness---see John 3:36 and Romans 1:18. And so it will be until the final judgment comes.

Related Article Links

The Key To Interpreting The Book Of Revelation
Understanding The Second Vial Of Wrath