Horatius Bonar Commentaries
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
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 shalt 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.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
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.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth 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.
And I saw three 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.
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.The Swift And Sudden Advent.
These are words specially for the last days. They suite all times, no doubt—for Christ is ever coming; the last trumpet is ever about to sound; the fire is ever ready to be kindled; the Judge is ever at the door! But they suit the last days best, and are meant for these. With eighteen hundred years behind us now, we may take them home most solemnly to ourselves—
(1) They warn.
(2) They quicken.
(3) They rouse.
(4) They comfort.
I. The COMING.It is the long-promised advent. Christ comes! He comes—
(1) as Avenger
(2) as Judge
(3) as King
(4) as Bridegroom.
The same Jesus who left the earth is about to return to it. 'Behold!' He says to a blind, heedless world. 'Behold!' He says to a cold and slumbering Church. 'I come!' He is herald to Himself. 'As a thief'—at midnight; when men are asleep; when darkness lies on earth; when men are least expecting Him; when they have lain down, saying, "Peace and safety.' 'Behold, I come like a thief!' Without warning, though with vengeance for the world in His hand—when all past warnings of judgment have been unheeded. Without further message—for all past messages have been vain. Like lightening—like a thief—like a snare. Like lightning to the world—but the Sun of morning to His Church. Like a thief to the world—but like a bridegroom to the Church. Like a snare to the world—but like the cloud of glory to His own.
II. The WATCHING.Not believing, nor hoping, nor waiting merely; but watching—as men do for some special event—whether terrible or joyful, of which they know not the time. Waiting was the posture of the Jewish Church for the first advent; watching is ours for the second. Watch, said the Master. Watch, said the servants in primitive times. Watch, we say still, for you know neither the day nor the hour of His arrival. Watch, for that day is great and glorious. Watch, for you are naturally disposed to sit down and take your ease. Watch, for Satan tries to lull you asleep. Watch, for the world, with it riches, and vanities, and pleasures, is trying to throw you off your guard. Watch upon your knees. Watch with your Bibles before you. Watch with wide-open eye. Watch for Him whom not having seen, you love.
III. The keeping of the GARMENTS.Be like Nehemiah, who, when watching against the Ammonites, did not put off his clothes night nor day. Keep your garments all about you, that when the Lord comes He may find you not naked, but robed and ready. Do not cast off your clothing either for sleep or for work. Do not let the world strip you of it. Keep it and hold it fast. It is heavenly clothing, and without it you cannot go in with your Lord when He comes.
IV. The BLESSEDNESS.Blessed is the watcher; blessed is the keeper of his garments. Many are the blessed ones; here is one class specially for the last days. How much we lose by not watching and not keeping our garments! (1) Watching is blessed, for it cherishes our love. (2) Watching is blessed, for it is one of the ways of maintaining our communion. (3) Watching is blessed, for it is the posture through which He has appointed blessing to come, in His absence, to His waiting Church.
V. The WARNING.Lest you walk naked, and men see your shame. 'Shame' has three meanings—(1) the shameful thing or object; (2) the feeling of shame produced by the consciousness of the shameful thing; and (3) the exposure to shame and scorn from others. The first of these is specially referred to here. But all the three are connected.
Adam was ashamed at being found naked when the Lord came down to meet him; how much more of shame and terror shall be to unready souls at meeting with a returning Lord! It will be the beginning of shame and everlasting contempt. They shall be put to shame before men and angels; they shall be overwhelmed with confusion before the great white throne. The universe shall see their shame. O false disciple, come out of your delusion and hypocrisy, lest you be exposed in that day of revelation! O sinner, make yourself ready, for the day of vengeance is at hand!
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.