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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition, 2015

Understanding The Seven Vials Of Wrath (Part 3)

The Third Vial Of Wrath Out Poured (Revelation 16:4-7)

“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shall be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”

1. This third vial of wrath is again set in the context of God’s abiding universal wrath against human sin. God is no capricious tyrant, whose manifest wrath is expressed only as a hissy-fit-like meltdown of rage in some final apocalyptic saga before the Second Coming. To the contrary, God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). The Hebrew word translated anger in this verse comes from a root mean “foaming at the mouth“ rage.

2. The New Testament teaches us that since Christ has come into the world the wrath of God now abides on all who do not believe in Him, Jews and Gentiles alike (John 3: 36). This truth is a useful corrective to the shallow-thinking Christian Zionism of our modern day, which allows for non-believers to be God’s chosen people, and that attempts to co-mingle Christianity with Judaism.

3. The rivers and fountains of waters in the text refer to the sources of spiritual inspiration to the human race that comes from the true knowledge of the Word of God. One result of the fall in Eden is that the human intellect, toward which the divine inspiration appeals, was darkened: the imaginations of men’s hearts have become evil, and their carnal mind is enmity against God. Lost people are perverse, and God is angry at them every day because of it (II Samuel 22: 27 and Psalm 18:26).

4. As a result of sinners’ animosity toward God His gifts to them are turned to blood: though intended for good they are now instrumental in human civilization’s decay and death.

5 God in mercy sent mankind saints and prophets, beginning in the Old Testament, and on through the New. From Abel onward the blood of these God-sent saints and prophets has variously been shed, culminating in the shedding of the blood of the very Son of God Himself.

6 Within the Christian revelation is found the eschatological vindication of the ways of God to sinful man. “God has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).

7. The calm assurance of where God’s wrath is and where it’s not is found in Jesus Christ. He still opens blinded eyes to the awful truth about God’s wrath, and to the awesome reality of His wonderful plan of full and free salvation for all who repent and believe.

Related Article Links

Understanding The Second Vial Of Wrath
Understanding The Fourth Vial Of Wrath