15/07/18 Revelation 16:12-21 “Part 2 of the destruction of planet earth”
Revelation 16:12 – 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.
The second-last bowl of wrath is poured out and the Euphrates River is dried up. We read of the Euphrates being dried up in Revelation 9:14 (Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.) where I felt that this symbolised the opening of the borders of Israel for aggression by her enemies. Note that according to Genesis 15:18 & Exodus 23:31, the eastern boundary set for Israel was the Euphrates River.
Revelation 9:14 results from the 6th trumpet judgment (2nd woe). Revelation then jumps from here to the 7th trumpet or 3rd woe in Revelation 11:15, which comes immediately after the end of the 3˝ years rule of antichrist in Jerusalem (and the abomination in the holy place). When the 7th trumpet sounds, it triggers the final 7 vials of the wrath of God which Revelation 16 covers.
Thus we have the Euphrates dried up to permit 200,000,000 soldiers to enter Israel and then another drying up to permit the armies of the kings of the east to enter Israel. The first may be associated with the entry of the antichrist into Jerusalem at the midpoint of the tribulation, with the second clearly associated with the buildup to Armageddon. In Joshua 3 we read that the Jordan was dried up to permit God’s people to enter the promised land.
Revelation 16:13 – 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.
unclean – not cleansed; unclean; in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the Levitical law; in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life.
Whether these unclean (demonic) spirits are actually like frogs or just symbolic doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that they are (or represent) demonic beings (Vs 14), depicting the filth that is within this unholy trinity of the dragon (the serpent satan), the beast (the satan-filled antichrist), and the false prophet (the 2nd beast of Revelation 13:11).
Note that what comes out of our mouths depicts what is inside.
Matthew 12:33-35 – 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
What comes out of the mouths of this unholy trinity demonstrates their true nature. These three evil beings are wickedness personified!
Revelation 16:14 – 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.
devils – daimon (in the NT, an evil spirit) Thus demons.
miracles – or signs; wonders. “working miracles” – causing signs and wonders.
Revelation 13:14 – And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
gather – synago (gather; gather together; collect; of fishes, to be gathered in the net) It has that idea of synthesis, the putting together of parts to make one whole. Many armies into one mighty army; one single unity from many separate parts!
By the use of these demonic signs and wonders (amazing or unbelievable occurrences; magic tricks?) the unholy trinity will get the attention and support of the kings (rulers; leaders; commanders) of earth (ge) and of the whole (holos) world (oikoumene – the inhabited world), in order to gather together into one single mighty army to fight the battle of Armageddon, that great battle of God Almighty.
Revelation 16:15 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk (conduct one’s life) naked (laid bare), and they see his shame.
There is much elsewhere in the Bible concerning this topic. All people, especially Christians, are to be ready at all times! However, most people who do actually think about the future eternity, also put it off, thinking that there’s always time.
Luke 12:35-36; 39-40 – 35 Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Those who think that all’s well with the world will be unprepared for the end; however, this should not apply to Christians, because they are not in darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 – 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
While the following is often interpreted to mean the old earth being replaced with a new earth, after the millennial reign of Christ, it may instead be applicable to the destruction of planet earth as referred to in Revelation 16, although I believe that the earth will not be destroyed as such until after the millennium.
2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
watcheth – to watch; metaphorically: give strict attention to; be cautious; to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.
keepeth – to attend to carefully; to guard.
keepeth his garments – in watching for thieves, the householder would keep his clothes on so that he could tackle the thief and not be ashamed by his nakedness.
Be vigilant, always take good care that you are conducting your life properly. Do not expose yourself to sin and shame by careless and immoral living. Always be ready and prepared for the coming of the Lord.
1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Isaiah 61:3, 10 – 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.
Revelation 16:16 – And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Armageddon (which could mean the mountain of Megiddo) is often assumed to be the plain (or plains) of Esdraelon which is the Greek form of Jezreel (which means “God sows”). Some call this the valley of Megiddo. Megiddo is a town in southern Galilee, which means that Samaria is in between it and Jerusalem. The huge army (comprised of many huge armies!) will be gathered (synago – brought together as one) at this place. The plain of Esdraelon (probably about 40km long and maybe 10 km wide) is an immense amphitheatre which could accommodate most armies of the world, although this army would still probably overflow a lot at the edges.
It may not be at Armageddon that the battle is fought, because Zechariah says that Jerusalem will be taken and half the inhabitants taken prisoner before Christ comes to slaughter the enemy. That would place this army outside Jerusalem, or within reach of the city. However, modern warfare means that most of the attack could come from quite a distance away, with only an advance force taking advantage of the pounding from the distance.
Zechariah 12:3 – And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Revelation 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.
God’s anger is completed with this pouring of the 7th and final bowl of His anger.
The great voice (“megas-phone”) of God comes from the naos (temple sanctuary) of God (who is seemingly the only one present in the temple here).
It is done – ginomai (to come to pass; happen; become; made; performed (of miracles); appear in history; appear on stage or in public) Revelation 10:7 – But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
This is not the “It is finished” (teleo) of John 19:30 & “fulfilled” of Revelation 15:11 (also teleo). teleo means to be brought to completion, while ginomai means to come to pass, finished. The words are similar in meaning, yet teleo emphasises completion of a process that was set in motion, while ginomai means that what was planned has now come to pass. “It is done” speaks of the coming to pass of that which God planned should come: the final judgment of wickedness upon the earth. teleo emphasises the completion of a process, while ginomai emphasises the end result.
Revelation 16:18 – 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.
When God speaks as He does in Vs 17, it is a notable event. When God speaks, the universe takes note. See Isaiah 1:2a – Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken
When God speaks, the universe reacts as it does in Vs 18 above: voices, thunderings, lightnings, and a mega-earthquake so great that it eclipses all other earthquakes before and after it. This is by far the biggest earthquake in the whole history of the earth, from creation until its destruction. The whole earth will be shaken to the core. It is worth noting that atomic warfare has made it possible for man to destroy earth; but is it man or God who commits this final act of destruction. If man pushes the Armageddon button, then it will be by God’s authority, anyway, for God has prophesied and it will come to pass, even if God has to make man do it!
Zechariah 14 talks about mountains being levelled to make plains, and plains being lifted up; this could relate to this earthquake or perhaps the “repair” work done following that earthquake.
Revelation 16:19 – 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.
What is that great city, though? Some say Babylon, yet why mention Babylon twice as if they are not related? Of course, the destruction of Babylon fills the next 2 chapters of Revelation, yet it still doesn’t explain why Babylon wouldn’t be mentioned in the above verse before it might be called “the great city”. In the Old Testament, Nineveh is called “that great city” 3 times, and in the New Testament (all in Revelation), Babylon is called “that great city” (14:8; 17:18; 18:10,16,19, 21). Jerusalem is called “that great city, the holy Jerusalem” (in Revelation 21:10) but is called “the great city” in Revelation 11:8. “the great city” is only twice in the Bible, so it is reasonable to assume that it also means Jerusalem here as well.
“the great city” (Jerusalem) will be divided by this mega earthquake into 3 parts. Zechariah 14:2 says that Jerusalem will be taken and half its inhabitants captured and abused. Modern warfare weapons would be capable of literally blowing large amounts of Jerusalem to pieces or even causing the city to be broken up into 3 parts, so it is not clear whether it is a natural earthquake decreed by God or triggered by man’s warfare. All we know is that Jerusalem will be largely destroyed as part of this bowl of wrath judgment, and that means God’s people will have to accept their share of God’s judgment for their rejection of Him and their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.
Great Babylon would probably mean one of those wicked cities of the world: London, New York or Rome, each heavily involved in the religion and politics of the world. The earthquake will destroy the world, it seems, but Babylon will be targeted early – note Revelation 18:8-10 – 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong [is] the Lord God who judgeth her. 9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Babylon will be given special treatment as befits the cup of the wine of the fierceness [passion; anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again; the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength)] of God’s wrath. Others will watch the destruction of Babylon with despair, yet their own destruction would probably follow soon after.
The next 2 chapters go into this particular destruction of Babylon in more detail.
The cities of nations fell – or were destroyed – this is a worldwide catastrophe!
Revelation 16:20 – And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
This mega earthquake is so great that islands and mountains simply disappear. The world’s geography will be totally different. All maps will now become absolutely obsolete! This earthquake will change the whole scenery everywhere.
Revelation 16:21 – 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.
The weight of a talent varied; one gold talent was said to be about 50kg, while a standard talent was about 33kg, or between 20kg and 40kg. Some say 35kg. It’s difficult to imagine, though, 50kg sitting on David’s head! 2 Samuel 12:30a – And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof [was] a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was [set] on David’s head.
Even 20kg hailstones would be enormously destructive, and the standard weight at around 33-35kg would be literally pulverising everything including people. And yet some, it seems, survive at least long enough to blaspheme (speak reproachfully against) God and are knowledgeable enough to realise that it is God who is sending such an exceedingly great plague. It is possible, even probably, that these people have been hardened, as was Pharaoh, such that, even if they had wanted to, they couldn’t have repented and changed their minds about the direction they had chosen to go.
In Joshua’s day, God threw down huge hailstones that literally killed more of their enemies than they killed with the sword!
Joshua 10:11 – And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, [and] were in the going down to Beth–horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: [they were] more which died with hailstones than [they] whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
Armageddon certainly causes some confusion among commentaries as to what it really means.
Barnes says (Revelation 16:14) – To gather them - Not literally to assemble them all in one place, but so to unite and combine them that it might be represented as an assembling of the hosts for battle.
To the battle of that great day of God Almighty - Not the day of judgment, but the day which would determine the ascendency of true religion in the world - the final conflict with those powers which had so long opposed the gospel. It is not necessary to suppose that there would be a literal "battle," in which God would be seen to contend with his foes; but there would be what might be properly represented as a battle. That is, there would be a combined struggle against the truth, and in that God would appear by his providence and Spirit on the side of the church, and would give it the victory. It accords with all that has occurred in the past, to suppose that there will be such a combined struggle before the church shall finally triumph in the world.
Pulpit says (Revelation 16:14) – How, then, can it be described as the "battle of the great day"? Probably because on that day will occur the crisis, as it were, of the conflict; on that day will the issue be plainly determined, and the struggle terminated. Though the battle is proceeding daily, there is little to remind us of it; the very existence of, and necessity for, such warfare is sometimes forgotten in the daily round of life: at the last day will be plainly exhibited the nature of the incessant hostility between God and the devil, and the power of the latter will be manifested only to be visibly shattered and finally destroyed.
Matthew Henry says (Revelation 16:12) – This probably shows the destruction of the Turkish power, and of idolatry, and that a way will be made for the return of the Jews. Or, take it for Rome, as mystical Babylon, the name of Babylon being put for Rome, which was meant, but was not then to be directly named. When Rome is destroyed, her river and merchandise must suffer with her. And perhaps a way will be opened for the eastern nations to come into the church of Christ. The great dragon will collect all his forces, to make one desperate struggle before all be lost.
It is difficult to comprehend why such imaginations could be classified as wisdom! Some might say that because they didn’t understand what we know today, it was acceptable for them to interpret as such. However, to deny a more literal and straight-forward interpretation, merely because they couldn’t understand it, is not an acceptable interpretation at all. A lack of understanding should never be used as an excuse to alter the straight-forward meaning of the Bible. But, because of the calvinist lack of understanding, we are lumbered with their faulty interpretations. Instead of teaching truth, they have instead focused upon ignorance!