These "VIALS" and their contents are LITERAL. One cannot imagine that such momentous things as are here described refer to historical events that are already past, as when some interpret the "First Vial" as the French Revolution in A. D. 1792, and the "sores" its infidelity; and the "Second Vial" as the naval wars of that Revolution; the "Third Vial" as the battles of Napoleon in Italy, and the rest of the Vials as historical events that happened in the Nineteenth Century. If this be true then we have been passing in the past 125 years through the period of the Great Tribulation without knowing it, and have been preaching "Grace" and not that "THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT IS COME." This is supposition and not EXPOSITION, and requires the reader of the Book of Revelation to be versed in all the historical events of the Christian Era. No, these "Vial Judgments" are yet future, and will be literally fulfilled as here described, and this gives us the "KEY" to the LITERALNESS of the whole Book of Revelation. That these "Vial Judgments" are not figurative is clear from the fact that 4 of the 7 have actually happened before. They are simply repetitions of the "PLAGUES OF EGYPT." See the "Chart on the " and the "Egyptian Plagues" compared. This Plague of a "NOISOME AND GRIEVOUS SORE" that shall fall upon men, is a repetition of the "Plague of Boils" that fell upon the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus. Ex. 9:8-12. The "First Vial Judgment" then will be a repetition of the "Sixth Egyptian Plague." That that Plague actually happened no believer in the Bible doubts, then why should we try to explain away the literalness of the Plagues that shall follow the pouring out of each of these Vials.
Boils are caused by bad blood, and reveal corruption in the system. These "grievous sores" which will come upon MEN ONLY, and not upon the beasts also as in the time of Moses, will not only reveal corruption in the body, but in the heart of those whose sins will cause corruption in their bodies. That these "sores" are reserved for those who have the "MARK OF THE BEAST," and who worship his IMAGE is further proof that these "Vial Judgments" are still future. Here is the fulfillment of Rev. 14:9-11.
The effect of the Plague of Boils upon the Egyptians was to harden their hearts, and a like effect will be produced upon the followers of Antichrist by the Plagues that shall follow the pouring out of the "Vials," for we read in verse 9, that men will blaspheme God, and refuse to repent. From this we see that suffering alone does not lead to repentance.
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The Seven Vials and the Egyptian Plagues Compared