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

Understanding The Seven Vials Of Wrath (Part 2)

The Second Vial of Wrath Out Poured (Revelation 16:3)

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living creature died in the sea.”

1. This second vial of wrath again takes us back to the dawn of human history in the Garden of Eden, where we learn that the wages of sin is death. God had warned Adam and Eve that on the day they ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die. This included spiritual, physical, and eternal death: these are the consequences of the wrath of God poured out on human sin. The first consequence of human sin was the origin of the carnal nature (see our discussion under “The First Vial Of Wrath Explained,” from the previous edition of this newsletter). Notice the second vial of wrath has close ties to the first: because of the carnal nature, which we all inherited as a result of Adam’s sin, the curse of death has now passed upon us all (Romans 5:12ff.).

2. Notice further that this second vial of wrath is being poured out on the “sea.” The “sea” in apocalyptic symbolism represents humanity, or the world of all mankind, unless that meaning is shown to be restricted by the context. No restriction is placed on the word “sea” in the context here, so we may safely infer that this vial of wrath is being poured out on all humanity. “The sea became as the blood of a dead man; and every living creature died in the sea.”

3. The language aptly describes the universal curse of death on all mankind because of sin. The wrath of God is reserved exclusively for human sin. God has no beef with the world of the inanimate material creation, because, in the beginning, God had pronounced the material world of His creation “good.” God’s wrath has a moral basis: because mankind alone is moral; his sin alone is the subject of God’s wrath.

4. Without salvation from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, the sea of earth’s humanity remains under the curse of death (John 3:36). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Then Paul continues through Roman chapter one to describe the progression of human sin; including homosexuality and like moral defilements that are increasingly prominent in our land today; all indicating God’s wrath in judgment is close at hand.

5. Contemporary Christianity needs to realize how seriously God looks at human sin. The Gnostics and Antinomians among us think that the material world is evil, so Christians can’t live without sin as long as they are in their physical bodies. Salvation, according to these Gnostics, lies only in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers’ accounts; while they go on sinning in thought, word, and deed every day. By contrast, the Bible teaches deliverance. “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin” (I John 3:9; 5:18).

Related Article Links

Understanding The First Vial Of Wrath
Understanding The Thrid Vial Of Wrath