"The Day of the Lord"
THE THIRD VISION "ON EARTH."
This is very brief; the briefest of all. But, in reality it is the longest of all, for it anticipates the end of the Book. Before entering upon the judgment of the seven Vials, an Episode is to be given (as we have already shown) in chaps. 12., 13., 14., 15:Hence, before giving this Episode, the sounding of the Trumpet and the Heavenly utterances are briefly acknowledged by signs which betoken the coming judgments, which are to be taken up later and fully described in chaps. 16 to 20.
11:-19. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and earthquake, and great hail.] That we have here a Vision relating to the earth is clear; though it is not, and need not be, so stated; for it is manifest that the earthquake must refer to the earth, as must the hail also. Similar phenomena are mentioned as the consequences of heavenly visions and announcements. (See 8:5; 10:3; 16:18; 19:6.)
The concluding words of the Elders closely connect the seven Vials as being the fulfilment of their prophetic utterance in 11:18, 19.
The Temple is opened; so the opening of the Tabernacle in 15:5 is the initiatory act of the seven Vials.
"Thy wrath is come," the Elders say. "Pour out the seven Vials of the wrath of God," cries the voice from the Throne, in 15:7; 16:1.
The voices and hail, also, of 11:-19, correspond with the "voices" and "hail" which accompany the pouring forth of the seventh and last Vial in 16:17-21.
But before the account of this seventh Trumpet is resumed and its details set forth, we have three more visions "in heaven" interposed by way of parenthesis (viz., the fourth, fifth, and sixth, together with the fourth and fifth Visions "on earth"). The sixth Vision "on earth" takes up this third Vision, which, till then, is held over to allow of other information being given, which is necessary to the understanding of it.
Chapters 12:1 to 15:8 are, therefore, parenthetical as regards the actual sequence of the Judgment scenes.