“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).
“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” (Rev. 16:1–2).
No one could go into the heavenly Temple until after all seven bowls were poured out (Rev. 15:8), and so that must mean that the great voice coming out of the Temple here is the voice of God Himself. The fact that He gives all seven angels their marching orders all at once would seem to indicate that these bowls of judgment are poured out in quick order, in rapid succession.
The effects of these seven emptied bowls run parallel to the effects of the seven trumpets blown earlier. But while the seven trumpets tended to partial destructions measured in thirds, the impact of the bowls is more complete and total. We have arrived at the crescendo, and Jerusalem is about to be no more.
In addition, we see that there are similarities with the plagues that had destroyed Egypt at the time of the Exodus (Ex. 9:8-12), and the meaning of this appears to be that the old Jerusalem has become her ancient adversary Egypt, and that the hated Christians were about to be delivered through a new Exodus, and were to take their place as the new Israel.
Those Jews who had the mark of the beast—who had cried that they had no king but Caesar—were afflicted with grievous sores. They prided themselves on being free from idolatry, but they were in fact in bondage to idolatry. These sores appeared on those who “worshiped his image.” This particular plague in response to covenantal infidelity had been promised to Israel centuries before, and in a way that linked them with Egypt.
“The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed . . . The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head” (Deut. 28:27, 35).
Deuteronomy says that they are sores that cannot be healed, and that would appear to be the case here. The sores appear at the first bowl of wrath, but those afflicted with them are still suffering from them when the fifth bowl is poured out (v. 11).