Revelation Chapter 16, “The Seven Last Plagues”, Part 7
VERSES 12 THRU 16 “And the sixth (angel) poured out his bowl upon the great river, the [river]
Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might by made ready for the kings
that [come] from the east (or sunrising). And I saw [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon,
and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean
spirits, as if it were frogs: for they are spirits of demons, working signs; which go forth unto the
kings of the whole world, to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the
Almighty. (Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he
walked naked, and they see his shame.) And they gathered them together into the place which is
called in Hebrew Har-magedon (Mount Megiddo, Armageddon).”
The Sixth angel was Martin Luther
AND THE SIXTH ANGEL POURED OUT HIS BOWL UPON THE GREAT RIVER, THE EUPHRATES: We
are (presently) in the midst of this plague.
The former plagues are history (except that their features continue) and are, thus, easier of discernment.
With the sixth plague we are leaving history and entering prophecy -- a much less clear road.
The bowl, the event that, forces the plague upon men, is most likely the information explosion --
the media, computer-networks, i.e. world-wide web and etc.
The Euphrates seems to represent the people who fed the old order, the reliable source of support for
the city of Babylon. The etymology seems to be “the good and abounding river.” This meaning is
telling, the masses of mankind still long for the good and peaceable life (Rom 8:22, 19). This etymology
of Euphrates suggests strongly that GOOD is still the dominant element in the human character.
It is the “beasts” and “dragons” rather than the human race, which have so defiled human
The sixth plague is more complex than the first five. Both the sixth trumpet and sixth plague have events
beginning in the Euphrates. In the sixth trumpet, they eventuate in the French Revolution – one tenth of
the city falling. In the plague, they eventuate in the gathering to Armageddon, which destroys the
final nine-tenths. It is likewise also interesting to note how the sixth period events melt into the seventh
period events. Likewise here, the sixth plague melts into the seventh; they are gathered to
Armageddon in the sixth, but the seventh plague IS Armageddon.
AND ITS WATER WAS DRIED UP: In history, it was diverted. But as far as Babylon was concerned it
was dried up. It is not stretching the point to say that Babylon feels its support slipping -- maybe mostly
gone. The people have diverted their thoughts and efforts to other concerns.
It is very important here, however, to remember that, while all the plagues are on Babylon, each
plague is on a specific part of Babylon. In this particular plague, the plague is on the Euphrates -- on
the people. The people however are not (yet) united in opposition to Babylon.
This is NOT the thought at all. The people themselves are what are plagued here; they are upset
that they cannot support things they used to support without question. Their plague is one of doubt
and instability fueled by the constant barrage of information from the ever-present media. The
eventual fall of Babylon is reliant on people (individuals many) feeling betrayed (think about how
this applies to the world today, is this not precisely their thought, one of betrayal, by governments, by
the media?). In this sixth plague the people are not (yet) organized as opponents of Babylon. They are,
rather, feeling sorry for themselves that nothing is reliable any more. Thus they are not supportive.
This plague affects the people in general (the support system of Babylon). It makes them change
the direction of their thinking and of their action.
Here now comes another very important element of this Sixth Plague.
THAT THE WAY MIGHT BE PREPARED FOR THE KINGS FROM THE EAST: Who are these? The
traditional Bible student position is that this is The Christ, head and body. This interpretation
deserves respect and may be the correct answer. In its support are the facts that:
(1) The defection of the people from the support of the old order does prepare the way for a new order.
It creates a hunger for it.
(2) The marginal reading for “east” is literally “rising of the sun” -- a distinctly good description of
Jesus. (Mal 4:2)
(3) The Berkeley translation reads: “… so that the highway of the kings of the east might be made
ready”, a phrase sounding much like Isaiah 35.
“For the earnest expectation of creation eagerly waits the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:
19) Why? Because unto them has “the ministry of reconciliation” been committed, the At-one-ment
between God and man (2 Cor 5:18)
However there is another thought to this which also deserves our consideration:
As we look at the late 20th Century, a remarkable religious occurrence is happening -- an occurrence
which is threatening Babylon’s borders. The incursion of Islam and its problems into western
events is a daily new item. It has been well suggested that the kings of the east MIGHT refer to
this threat to Babylon from the Moslem world. This is an eastern religion.
Persia (Iran) itself is dominated by it; and was it not Persia, which invaded Babylon in Daniel 5?
“Peres”, according to the rabbis, can mean Persia, added to this also is the fact that the Euphrates was
long the border of Persia. This possible interpretation must be given consideration since today’s history is
so dominated by problems with Islam. It is not unlikely that this plague is explaining this to us --
that Islam is one of the factors, which will weaken the old order. If however the people had
supported the old order (Babylon) as they used to, they would go to war with the Islamic threat
– even as they used to do. This is not the case – thus another evidence of the drying up of the
Euphrates, the lack of popular support.
Additionally, the world’s greatest power in the world today, the United States, has been encroached by
Islam. We see it practiced more and more by many; another interesting sidelight is the encroachment also
of Buddhism and Hinduism into the American culture. Many of the educators in our Universities and
Colleges today are of the Hindu persuasion, and we see more and more Hindu practices such as Yoga
being accepted and practiced, along with the so-called New-Age meditation philosophies, which are
grounded in Hinduism. The Bible has been removed from the classrooms while pagan religious
philosophies are accepted. Thus we might say that the “King(s) of the east” these various intrusions
upon Babylon are already here i.e. they have already arrived.
16:13 -- AND I SAW: Our focus is now directed elsewhere. In essence, the sixth plague is entirely
reported in Verse 12.
Verse 13 is John turning his head and NOTICING A REACTION to the diversion of the waters.
The picture is strong. The events of Verse 12 cause something to happen -- something designed
to help to bolster up the threatened old order (Babylon). And who do you think would wish the
old order to remain as is? Who has the most to lose if the present system should fall? That’s
right the Adversary!
COMING OUT OF THE MOUTH: Interestingly, this phrase is repeated so that we have it a total of
the three times. It must be important! A mouth is a message or doctrines or proclamation -- an order
from a superior. (It may indicate that it is from the leaders – the spokesmen or mouth -- of these entities
that these messages come.)
OF THE DRAGON: -- the civil power (government). This is the most long-lived of the three entities.
The other two (beast and false prophet) will be destroyed in 19:20 -- at the end of this age. The dragon,
however, is merely BOUND for a thousand years (20:2) to make a final entrance at the end of the
Millennium before joining the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire (20:7-10).
OF THE BEAST: -- apparently the 10-horned beast of Chapter 13 with its notable “little horn” of
Papacy -- by this time a beast which has lost its seventh head. (17:10)
OF THE FALSE PROPHET: This symbol is of far greater difficulty of interpretation. It is a complex
symbol, which makes its first appearance in Revelation in this verse as if we should know who it is.
That is part of the help in identifying it. Looking forward to 19:20 we can learn more. 19:20 tells us
that this false prophet is, at least in part, the 2-horned beast of 13:12-14.
19:20 also shows us that, for some reason, the “image” does not exist as the image at the end. It does
this by showing that “these two (beast and false prophet) were thrown alive into the lake of fire.”
Where is the third part, the image?
The implication is very strong that when the 2-horned beast gives “breath” to the image (Rev 13:15),
the combined authority of the 2-horned beast plus the vitalized image EQUALS THE FALSE PROPHET.
This, in turn, strongly suggests that this “breath” (or vitalization) even though first mentioned in the
13th Chapter of Revelation takes place sometime during the sixth plague.
Note closely that the image was still called the image in the first plague. (N.A.N.O.R. Pages 124-127)
Due to the length of our presentation on this particular plague one of the most important of the plagues
to us especially seeing as it is taking place even now in our life times we will have to continue with this in
our next post.
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