Rev. 16:1 "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."

The word, "great," comes from the Greek, "megas," meaning "exceedingly" and "greatest."  The phrase "great voice" is found eight times in the scriptures as follows:

            1.  Deut. 5:22 "These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me."

            2.  Jer. 51:55 "Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:"

            3.  Rev. 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet."

            4.  Rev. 11:12 "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."

            5.  Rev. 16:1 "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."

            6.  Rev. 16:17 "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."

            7.  Rev. 19:1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:"

            8.  Rev. 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."

References 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 have reference to the voice of God.  Reference 7 has reference to the redeemed of God.  Reference 2 has reference to the political power of the multinational kingdom of Babylon.  Psalms 29 is all about the voice of God and shows forth its power and majesty and authority.

The seven angels were moving at the direction of the great voice of God.  Today in preaching the gospel the ministry of God are to go at the direction of the Holy Spirit, to preach that which the Spirit bids them preach, and to go where the Spirit bids them go.  The authority for our going and for our preaching comes from God and not from men.  While the messages are to be consistent with the scriptures, yet the messages are to be that which God impresses upon our hearts.  We are not preaching to please men, but to please God. 

Just as God told Moses to stretch forth the rod and the plagues which God had told Moses to tell Pharaoh would come to pass, so it is with the seven angels.  They do not actually bring the wrath or plagues of God, but deliver the message of God's wrath.  God actually pours out his eternal and timely wrath upon man.  The angels are the message bearers.

The angels were to pour out the vials upon the "earth."  The earth is sometimes used as a type or figure of man in his natural state.  We are all dust of the earth.  We are of the earth, earthy.  Plagues are not poured upon the spiritual nature of a spiritually born child of God, but plagues (God's wrath) are poured out upon the flesh nature.

Rev. 16:2 "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."

Noteworthy is the location of where the vials were poured out:
1. The first vial was poured out upon the earth.
2. The second vial was poured out upon the sea.
3. The third vial was poured out upon the rivers and fountains of waters.
4. The fourth vial was poured out upon the sun.
5. The fifth vial was poured out upon the seat of the beast.
6. The sixth vial was poured out upon the great River Euphrates.
7. The seventh vial was poured out upon the air.

The "earth" is sometimes associated with the flesh nature of man.  The word, "noisome," comes from the Greek, "kakos," meaning worthless, depraved, sin, or wickedness. The word, "grievous," comes from the Greek, "poneros," meaning evil, lewd, malicious, wicked.

According to Rev. 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." We know that the non-elect worship the beast and his image. Also, many of the elect are deceived into believing the image is the true Christ. Those who worship the image and have the mark of the beast, (their minds and their labors are dedicated to the beast and his image), have a plague. It is the noisome and grievous sore, otherwise known as sin. Their system cannot do away with sin and cannot bring comfort, rest, or peace to those who worship therein. This sore clings to them and they cannot be comforted over the death of loved ones, or their own impending death. Furthermore, their works are iniquitous works and can never please God. They are worshipping in the same manner that Cain attempted to worship, bringing the works of his own hands, which God had cursed, as an offering to God. When God did not respect the offering of Cain, Cain became wrought, his countenance fell, and he slew his brother.

The gospel messenger declares the message of the depravity of man, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the fruitlessness of the efforts of the flesh to please God in works or worship. This message is not pleasing to the flesh. The flesh wants to think of itself as being good and having ability to be good and to accomplish good. While in fact the flesh is altogether evil and cannot cease from sin. They that are in the flesh cannot please God and despise those who are in the Spirit and despise their works.

Rev. 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 soul died in the sea." 

The gospel messenger declares the doctrine of federal headship and that Adam not only represented himself, but that he represented all of mankind (the sea of humanity) when he was in the garden of Eden.  When Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he not only brought the curse of the law of sin and death upon himself, but he brought it upon all men.  According to Rom. 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

Thus, death flowed out from Adam upon all mankind and all mankind became guilty before God and became sinners.  Therefore in Adam all died.  All of the sea of humanity died in Adam.  They died in trespasses and sins.  They died to the fellowship of God.  They also died under the wrathful judgment of God.

Rev. 16:4-7  "And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5 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. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments."

In previous verses we considered the depravity of man, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the idolatrous works of sinful man, and the federal headship of Adam in bringing the curse of sin and death upon all mankind. Now we are brought to see the wages of sin and God's judgment of sin. To be given blood to drink signifies that those judged are drinking of death.

Normally rivers and fountains of water would be associated with life. The Nile River (River of Egypt) became blood when Moses stretched forth his rod according to the command of God. That which sustained the life of the Egyptians had become death to them. Even so, to the unregenerate and to the ignorant, the commandments and laws of God became death to them.

Furthermore, this judgment of death is said to be the righteous judgment of God and according to the works of those so judged. God is the judge of all the earth and He is righteous. His judgments are just. In addition, the nation of Israel had been guilty of the blood of the prophets and the saints as set forth in the following scriptures:

1. 2 Kings 9:7 "And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the bloodof my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel."

2. Matt. 23:29 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

3. Luke 11:47 "Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation."

4. Rev. 18:24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."

Therefore, the nation of Israel was guilty of the blood of the saints and the prophets and were worthy of God's timely judgments upon them.