Why Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the kings from the east.

SUMMARY

According to Revelation 16:12—the first verse of the sixth plague—the waters of the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the Kings from the east:

The Euphrates River symbolizes the people that support false Christianity.  That the Euphrates dries up means that the people’s support for false Christianity dries up.  This will happen after false Christianity suffers a lethal blow to its authority during the first five plagues (See Fifth plague). 

The Kings from the East have been interpreted as Christ and His angels at His return.

According to the next verses, after false Christianity loses its popular support, it receives renewed strength in the form of “spirits of demons, performing signs” (16:14).  This means that God allows Satan direct control.  This supernatural support enables false Christianity to gather “the kings of the whole world … for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:14, 16).

PEOPLE WITH THE MARK OF THE BEAST

The people with the Mark of the beast are similar to the Pharisees of Christ’s day.  They are Bible-believing, church-going Christians, but for them, traditions are more important than truth.  In reality, Satan is their god.  In their view, God is cruel and quick to judge, for they ascribe Satan’s character to God.  Then they interpret the Bible accordingly.

However, through the first five plagues, they come to realize that they are serving Satan; not God.  But they do not change, for they have become so hardened that they are unable to repent

When Satan sends his demons to gather the kings, the people with these modern Pharisees accept this new power with the full knowledge that this power is from Satan. 

QUESTION

The question in this article is why the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the kings from the east.  Literally speaking, why must false Christianity realize that it is false before may Christ return?

GOD’S JUDGMENT QUESTIONED

The rebellion against God on earth actually began in heaven when a huge number of God’s HOLY angels joined Satan.

God condemned Satan and his angels to hell.  To defend himself, Satan accused God of unfair judgment.  God also sentenced the people with the Mark of the Beast to death.  Satan, therefore, similarly accuses God of bad judgment with respect to the people with the Mark of the beast.

Due to Satan’s enormous intellect and skill, many of even the sinless heavenly beings do not know whether Satan is telling the truth!

PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES

God wants all intelligent beings to trust Him fully.  In particular, He wants all intelligent beings to understand His judgments.  For that reason that He pours out the plagues, even after the eternal destiny of every person on earth has been permanently fixed.  Through the plagues, He will shows, to all of God’s intelligent creatures, throughout the universe, that His judgment is correct

In particular, the plagues reveal to the on-looking universe the true nature of these modern Pharisees.  To do that, the plagues will reveal to the modern Pharisees that they are deceived and that they are, in reality, followers of Satan, persecuting God by persecuting His people.  This is done so that all the universe can see how modern Pharisees respond.  Through the refusal to repent it becomes clear that they really are committed to Satan’s principles, which confirms God’s judgment of them, namely that they must die the second death.  

These principles are now discussed in more detail.

PURPOSE

The waters of the Euphrates must dry up to prepare the way for the kings from the east (16:12).  Previous articles have discussed:

      • What the Euphrates represents;
      • What the drying up of the waters symbolizes, and
      • Who the kings from the east are. 

To explain WHY the Euphrates dries up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east, this article provides a chronological overview of the final events, as explained in the other articles in this series.

BEFORE THE PLAGUES

Persecution – As discussed in the Introduction to the Plagues, before the plagues are poured out, the Image of the beast persecutes God’s people and kills some of them (13:15; 14:13).  They are not all killed and neither are they raptured prior to these events because later—in the sixth plague—Jesus warns them to keep their clothes (16:15).

Mark of the Beast – The Image of the beast is able to identify and persecute God’s people because they refuse to accept the Mark of the Beast (13:16-17).  In this way, the people of the world are divided into TWO CLEARLY DELINEATED GROUPS.

End of mercy – In Revelation 15:8, the temple fills up with smoke from the glory of God “and no one was able to enter the temple.”  This symbolizes the end of the time for mercy.  From this point forward, nobody will be saved.  Now, the eternal destiny of every person has been sealed; either with the Mark of the Beast or with the Seal of God.

FIRST FIVE PLAGUES

Beast targeted with plagues – At that point in time, the plagues start to fall, but they fall SELECTIVELY only on the people with the Mark of the Beast (16:2, 10).  These modern Pharisees, therefore, must begin to at least suspect that they are resisting and opposing God. (See First Four Plagues)

Beast loses authority – The fifth plague falls on the Throne of the beast.  Its throne is a symbol of its authority, which is  Christian religious authority.  As a result, its kingdom is darkened; it suffers humiliation before all human eyes.

Falsehood unveiled – The fifth plague is the consequence of the message proclaimed by the mighty angel Revelation 18). Through that angel, all people come to understand that false Christianity “HAS BECOME a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit” (18:2).  Previously, the people with the Mark of the beast believed that the Beast spoke for God.  Now they realize, through the message of the mighty angel, that that claim is false.  This realization is the darkness in his kingdom. (See Fifth plague)

EUPHRATES DRIES UP

In the sixth plague, in 16:12, the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the Kings from the East:

Babylon – The Euphrates River belongs to the City of Babylon, for Babylon sits on it (See Euphrates).  Babylon is a symbol of the false religious system that has corrupted mankind for thousands of years.  In the end-time, Babylon is represented by false Christianity (See Throne of the beast).

The Euphrates dries up – The Euphrates River supported life in the ancient city of Babylon. In Revelation, The Euphrates River symbolizes the people that support false Christianity.  That the Euphrates dries up means that the people’s support for false Christianity dries up.  This will happen after false Christianity is shown to be false, as explained above.

The Kings from the East symbolize Christ and His angels at His return.

The purpose of the current article is to explain why the waters must dry up to prepare the way for the kings from the east.  Literally stated: Why must false Christianity be shown to be false before Christ may return?

SPIRITUALISM

Verse 13 represents a turning point in human history.  Up to this point in the plagues, the Beast power has only suffered losses.  It has nearly died off due to the plagues.  But now:

I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon
and … of the beast and … of the false prophet,
three unclean spirits like frogs;
for they are spirits of demons, performing signs,
which go out to the kings of the whole world,
to gather them together
for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:13-14)

In other words, God’s enemies receive reinforcements in the form of “spirits of demons, performing signs” (16:14).  This implies a new strategy and work method for false Christianity.  The beast’s claim to be God’s spokesperson has been ruined, but God now allows Satan direct influence over the affairs of the world.  This demonic power is sufficiently powerful that the beast is able:

to go out to the kings of the whole world,
to gather them together for the war
of the great day of God, the Almighty
” (16:14, 16).

False Christianity has now become spiritualism.

UNABLE TO REPENT

Now follows an important but horrible conclusion:

Earlier, the people with the Mark of the beast were led by Satan, but they thought that they were serving the God of the Bible.  But when the first five plagues teach them that they really do not serve God, but Satan (cf. 7:22-23), they do not change.  They are now no longer deceived, but they have become so hardened that they are unable to repent.  This is indicated by how frequently it is said in the plagues that they refuse to repent:

“They blasphemed the name of God …
and they did not repent so as to give Him glory” (16:9).

“They blasphemed the God of heaven …
and they did not repent of their deeds” (16:11).

“Men blasphemed God” (16:21).

When Satan sends his demons to gather the kings, the people with the Mark of the Beast accept this new power, but they are no longer deceived.  They now know that they oppose God.  They allow the miracle-working demon spirits to lead them against God.

WHAT DOES THIS SHOW?

This brings us back to the question: Why the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the kings from the east?  Or stated literally, why must false Christianity be shown to be false before Christ may return?  Why must these modern Pharisees realize, before Jesus can return, that the Beast is not speaking for God, but is actually Satan’s agent? 

This is actually part of the bigger question: Why does Jesus not return immediately when all people have been marked for eternity?  Why does God allow the plagues when nobody will repent?

GOD’S JUDGMENTS CRITICIZED

We need to remember that this crisis on earth is the result of a rebellion in heaven against God’s government which started when a huge number of God’s HOLY angels joined Satan (Gen 3:1, read with Rev 20:2; Rev 12:4; Dan 10:13; Job 1:6).  The following are some of the articles which the reader may want to consult in this regard:

Origin of Evil
Why Satan thought he could win
What weapons are used in the War in Heaven?
When was Satan Defeated?
Did Michael defeat Satan in Heaven by physical force?

Satan’s strategy, to defend himself, is to accuse God of unfair judgment.  Due to Satan’s enormous intelligence and skills, many of even the sinless heavenly beings do not know whether Satan is telling the truth.

GOD’S JUDGMENTS VINDICATED

God wants His intelligent beings to trust Him fully.  He, in particular, wants to make sure that they all understand His judgments.  By faith, we live today and by faith, we must live for all eternity.  God, therefore, does not simply judge; but He proves to the universe that He judges fairly.  That is why the plagues emphasize the fairness of God’s judgments:

Righteous and true are Your ways …
your righteous acts have been revealed
” (15:3-4).

Righteous are You …
because You judged these things
” (16:5).

True and righteous are Your judgments” (16:7).
His judgments are true and righteous” (19:2).

The peoples with the Mark of the Beast were deceived:

He deceives those who dwell on the earth
because of the signs which it was given him to perform
in the presence of the beast” (13:14).

On judgment day, they could have claimed that they truly are Christians that were only deceived on some technical points.  God knows that that is not so, for He knows exactly what is inside each person, but His intelligent creatures are not omniscient.  It is, therefore, necessary to reveal what the true nature of these modern Pharisees really is. 

To do this, it will necessary to reveal to the people with the Mark of the Beast that they are deceived so that all the universe can see how they will respond.  When they refuse to repent, the on-looking universe can see that they, in reality, are committed to Satan’s principles.

EXPERIMENT

The plagues are an experiment.  On judgment day there will be many Jews and Christians who have died in previous centuries who could similarly claim that they were only deceived:

Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name?” 

But God will allow the world to continue, even after all people have been marked for eternity, to reveal the true nature of these modern Pharisees.  This experiment is not only to reveal the true nature of the people that live in the end-time but will apply to all Christians and Jews who died in the same spiritual condition.

This is the final test that is required before Jesus may return to the world He created.  Jesus’ death was also a test.  See Why Jesus had to die.  Lot’s torment was a test,  See, Why Satan thought he could win.  Everything is tested because the crisis in the universe is about whether the Almighty God can be fully trusted.

In conclusion, the purpose of the plagues is to prove to all of God’s intelligent creatures, throughout the universe, that God’s judgment is right and perfect, and that we, therefore, can look forward to spending eternity knowing that we can rely 100% on the Source of all things.

See the Purpose of the plagues for further analysis of these principles.

ARTICLES ON THE PLAGUES

Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation
First four plagues:
     The First Four are non-specific.
     Overview
Fifth Plague:
     The Throne of the Beast
     The Mighty Angel of Revelation 18
     Conclusions
Sixth Plague:
     The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
     Kings from the East 
     Armageddon 
     Revelation 16:15 and the Rapture
     Euphrates dries up to prepare the way (Current article)
     Conclusions (Next)
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues.

Does “coming like a thief” in Revelation 16:15, support a secret rapture?

This article discusses the rapture-like language in Revelation 16:15.  It is not intended to discuss the rapture in general, but only whether this verse, in particular, supports the rapture concept.

In the middle of the sixth plague, immediately after God’s enemies have received renewed power from demon spirits to enable them to gather together the kings of the world for the battle of Armageddon, Jesus warns:

“Behold, I am coming like a thief.
Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes,
so that he will not walk about naked
and men will not see his shame.” (Rev. 16:15)

SUMMARY

Dispensationalism proposes that, seven years before Christ’s visible return, there will be an invisible and inaudible secret rapture that will remove the church from the earth. 

The phrase, “coming like a thief,” in the sixth plague, is sometimes interpreted to refer to this secret rapture.  There are, however, a number of passages in the Bible that mention Jesus coming like a THIEF, and it nowhere means that the relevant event will be inaudible or invisible. It always means that nobody can predict WHEN Jesus will return. 

Jesus comes like a thief on THE DAY OF THE LORD, which, in the sixth plague, refers to as THE WAR OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD, the Almighty.  On that day there will be sudden destruction.  The heavens will pass away with a roar and the earth and its works will be burned up.  It does not like a secret event. 

The same warning which Jesus gave in 16:15, namely that His people must keep their clothes, He gave to the seven churches.  This implies that the church is still on earth during the plagues. 

But there is a difference.  The sixth plague urges God’s people TO KEEP their clothes while the Laodiceans are advised TO BUY white garments.  Jesus’s warning is, therefore, only intended for God’s people; not for the world in general.  This firstly confirms, as discussed in the Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation, that when the plagues fall, the time for repentance has passed.  

These concepts will now be discussed in more detail.

RAPTURE

Dispensationalism assumes that, seven years before Christ’s visible return, there will be an invisible and inaudible secret rapture that will remove the church from the earth.  This rapture will come at an hour that the world does not expect, but the timing of the events after the rapture—often referred to as the Tribulation—is certain.  According to Dispensationalism, numerous time-indicators in the Bible give an exact number of days between the secret rapture and Christ’s visible return. 

Revelation 16:15 will now be compared to this view.

CLOTHES

In Revelation, generally, clothes symbolize a person’s spiritual condition.  “Defiled garments” (3:4), nakedness (3:17-18) or “clothed in purple and scarlet” (17:4; cf. 18:16) symbolize sin, while “white” or “clean” garments (3:4-5; 6:11; 19:8) symbolize the spiritual condition of the people who “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14).  For example:

The marriage of the Lamb has come
and His bride has made herself ready.
It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints
” (19:7-8).

COMING LIKE A THIEF

The phrase, “coming like a thief,” in the sixth plague, as quoted above, is sometimes used in connection with the secret rapture.  However, “coming like a thief”-passages are found in various places in the New Testament, and nowhere does it mean that the event will be inaudible or invisible.  Rather, it consistently means that nobody knows WHEN Jesus will return.  For example, Jesus said to Revelation’s churches:

If you do not wake up,
I will come like a thief,
and you will not know at what hour I will come to you
(Revelation 3:3). 

The other such thief-passages in the New Testament are:

… if the master of the house had known what hour the THIEF would come, he would have WATCHED and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore, you also BE READY, for THE SON OF MAN IS COMING at an hour you do not expect. (Mt. 24:42-44; cf. Luke 12:35-40).

… The DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a THIEF in the night.  For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION comes upon them … But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that THIS DAY should overtake you as a THIEF.  … Therefore let us NOT SLEEP, as others do, but let us WATCH and be sober.  (1 Thess. 5:1-6)

But the DAY OF THE LORD will come like a THIEF, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  (2 Peter 3:10; cf. Rev 3:3)

In these quotes, the word “thief” and references to unexpectedness are in bold.  The “coming like a thief“-passages therefore always mean that we do not know WHEN Christ will return.  For that reason, these verses advise Christians to stay awake (Rev. 16:15), watch (Mt. 24 & Luke 12) and not sleep (1 Thess. 5).

The description of what will happen when Jesus comes like a thief confirms that “coming like a thief” does not refer to something inaudible or invisible:

Sudden destruction” (1 Thess. 5);
Heavens will pass away with a roar” and
The earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3). 

DAY OF THE LORD

In two of the verses quoted, it is the “day of the Lord” that will come like a thief.  In the context of the sixth plague, this is “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:14), and not a secret rapture. 

The “coming like a thief” passages therefore always refer to Christ’s second coming IN GLORY, indicating that the time of His coming cannot be predicted.  This is inconsistent with the view in Dispensationalism that Christ’s return can be predicted, once the rapture has taken place.

WARNING TO THE CHURCH

Jesus’ warning in Revelation 16:15 is very similar to His advice earlier in Revelation to the churches in Revelation 1-3:

I will come like a thief,
and you will NOT KNOW AT WHAT HOUR
I will come to you (Rev 3:3).

I advise you to buy from Me …
white garments so that you may clothe yourself,
and that the shame of your nakedness
will not be revealed …  (Rev 3:18)

These verses, like 16:15, refer to clothes, nakedness, and shameThey portray the image of a person who has disrobed and has fallen asleep, to be surprised by the coming of a thief, and forced to run around naked.

That Revelation 16:15 is similar to the warning given to the church implies that 16:15 is a warning to the church, which supports the view that the church is still on earth during the plagues. 

In Dispensationalism, the rapture occurs in Revelation 4:1, while the plagues are poured out later.  This is inconsistent with the conclusion that Revelation 16:15, which is in the middle of the sixth plague, warns God’s people to keep their clothes.  For that reason, Dispensationalism proposes that 16:15 refers to events prior to 4:1

However, to pull 16:15 out of the plagues and to apply it to a period before the plagues, is not sound exegesis.  Revelation 16:15 fits the immediate context perfectly, for Jesus gives this warning immediately after the enemies of God have received renewed power in the form of demon spirits.  Revelation 16:15, therefore, does imply that the Church would still be on earth during the plagues.

NO REPENTANCE

But there is a difference between 16:15 and the warning in the churches.  In the sixth plague, God’s people are urged TO KEEP their clothes (16:15) while the Laodiceans (3:18) are advised TO BUY white garments.  Consistent with the idea that, when the plagues fall, the time for repentance has passed, Revelation 16:15 is a call only to God’s people; not to sinners for repentance.  This is consistent with the proposal that the church is still on earth.

It was similarly argued previously that The message of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague. That message also is only a call to God’s people (18:4).

ARTICLES ON THE PLAGUES RPA

Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation
First four plagues:
     The First Four Plagues are non-specific.
     Overview
Fifth Plague:
     The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.
     The mighty angel of Revelation 18 causes the darkness.
     Conclusions 
Sixth Plague:
     The great river, the Euphrates, dries up
     Kings from the East
     Armageddon
     Revelation 16:15 and the Rapture (Current article)
     Why must the river dry up to prepare the way? (Next article)
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues.

 

The Kings from the East—in the Sixth Plague—are Christ and His angels.

The sixth angel poured out his bowl
on the great river, the Euphrates;
and its water was dried up,
so that the way would be prepared
for the kings from the east

(Revelation 16:12).

The previous article in the current series explains that the waters of the great river, the Euphrates were literally dried up, hundreds of years before Christ, by the kings of the Medes and Persians.  By diverting the water of the river, they took the ancient city of Babylon.  That article explains the Euphrates, as mentioned in the sixth plague, as a symbol of the peoples of the world, and drying up as that false Christianity will lose its control over them.

Since the previous plagues are symbolic, and since the other elements of the sixth plague are also symbolic, the Kings from the East is a symbol.  The plagues describe the final events before Christ returns; after all people have received either the mark of the beast or the seal of God.  (See Introduction to the Plagues) The sixth plague uses the historical fall of Babylon as a symbolic description of the overthrow of end-time Babylon.

The article on end-time Babylon defines it as the false religious system that has existed for all human history, corrupting people and reigning over the kings of the world.

The current article proposes that the Kings from the East (in the sixth plague) is a symbol for Christ and His angels and that the sixth plague dries up the river to prepare for Christ’s return.  This is justified as follows:

GROUPS OF KINGS

There are two groups of kings in the sixth plague:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. (v12)

And I saw … spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the WAR OF THE GREAT DAY of God, the Almighty. (v14) (This war is called Armageddon in verse 16.)

These two groups of kings, therefore, oppose each other.  Since the “kings of the whole world” are gathered “for the war of the great day of God,” they also oppose God.  It follows that the “kings from the east” are on God’s side in that last battle.  Daniel and Revelation do not describe secular wars between political rulers.  These books explain the cosmic war between God and Satan.

EAST

The conclusion, that the “kings from the east” are God’s kings, is supported by the fact that, in Revelation, the “east” is associated with God:

The angel brings the seal of God from the EAST (7:2).

Jesus is called “the bright morning star” (22:16).  The morning star rises in the east.  The term in Greek for the east is literally “the rising of the sun”. 

East” is also the direction from which God comes in the Old Testament:

“The glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the EAST. … and the earth shone with His glory” (Ezek. 43:2).

DELIVERANCE

As mentioned above, the sixth plague uses images from the literal fall of ancient Babylon. From the perspective of the Bible, that was God’s deliverance of His people.  God used Cyrus and his kings to deliver Israel from their oppressors and bring them back to their homeland (Jer. 50:33-34).  God said, “He will build My city and let My people go free” (Isa. 45:13; cf. 44:28).  God, therefore, calls Cyrus His “anointed one” (Isa. 45:1) and “My shepherd” (44:28).  These most honorable titles (Isa. 45:4) were later reserved for Jesus.  

The plagues fall at the very end of time.  The use of images from the fall of literal Babylon as a symbol in the sixth plague implies that that plague is (the preparation for – see v12) the deliverance of God’s end-time people from spiritual Babylon.  However, in the end-time, God will deliver His people through the return of Christ.  The sixth plague, therefore, describes the preparation for Christ’s return, which again implies that the Kings from the East, for whom “the way” is prepared, are Christ and His angels:

The Son of Man is going to COME
in the glory of His Father WITH HIS ANGELS

(Mt. 16:27; cf. Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Rev. 14:10; 19:11-16).

RETURN OF CHRIST

A comparison between the sixth plague and the Return of Christ, as described in Revelation 19, will identify the two groups of kings with certainty.  The sixth plague does not describe either of the two groups of kings:

The drying up of the Euphrates is not the arrival of the “kings from the east,” but only prepares for them to come (16:12).  Both the preparation of “the way” and the word “from” imply that these kings will MOVE from one place to another.  Arguably, they will move towards the “kings of the whole world” to engage them in battle. 

Similarly, in these verses, we do not already see the “kings of the whole world” gathered.  Verse 14 mentions only the demons that will go out to gather them. 

So, in the sixth plague, the kings of the earth are NOT YET gathered and the kings from the east have NOT YET moved.  Where does Revelation portray the movement of kings, and where do we see the “kings of the whole world” gathered together?  We find them in Revelation 19; in the description of Christ’s return:

The kings of the EARTH” are “gathered” (19:19).  The NASB uses the word “assembled,” but the KJV and many other translations use “gathered”.  In the Greek it is exactly the same word as in 16:14 and 16:16 in the sixth plague.

There is also another group of kings in Revelation 19, for it says that the kings of the earth are gathered “to make war against” the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (19:16, 19).  The “King of kingsis identified as “the Word of God” (19:13), which is Christ.  As the “King of kings,” He leads many other kings.

Furthermore, while the “kings of the earth” are stationary in one place (on earth), the “King of kingsmove from heaven to earth:

“The armies which are in HEAVEN …
were following Him on white horses”
(19:13).

This movement, from heaven to earth, is “the way” that has been prepared by the drying up of the Euphrates (16:12).

FIVE CATEGORIES

Another connection between the sixth plague and the Return of Christ (in Revelation 19) is that both mention five categories.  On Satan’s side, both mention:

The Dragon;
The Beast;
The False Prophet; and
The gathered “kings of the earth.”

It follows therefore that the fifth category in both must refer to the same group, namely:

The “kings from the east” (16:12) are
The “kings” that are with Christ (19:16).

CONNECTIONS

Consequently, the following connections between the sixth plague and the Return of Christ (Revelation 19) have been identified:

      • Both have two groups of kings.
      • In both the one group is called “the kings of the earth” (19:19; cf. 16:14), and they are gathered.
      • In both, the other group of kings are God’s kings and move towardsthe kings of the earth.”
      • The five categories mentioned above.

CHRIST RETURNS IN PLAGUE SEVEN

A bird’s eye view of Revelation will clarify this connection.

The first five plagues use images from the Plagues on Egypt, but the last two switch the imagery to Babylon.  In the seventh plagues, for example, “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (16:19).

Since Babylon was not mentioned earlier in Revelation, except very briefly by the three angels (14:8), Revelation 17 interrupts the flow of thought to explain who she is and how she will come to her end.

Revelation 18 jumps back in time to the warning of God’s people “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues” (18:4). 

Revelation 19 then actually continues the seventh plague, for a great multitude rejoices that “He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality” (19:2; cf. 16:19).  The jubilation of the “great multitude” (19:1, 6) moves from praising God for judging Babylon to the rejoicing that “the marriage of the Lamb has come” (19:7), which refers to Christ’s return.  This is followed by the description of His Return (19:11-).  

The point is that Revelation 17 and 18 are an interruption and that the seventh plague continues in chapter 19 with the Return of Christ, which means that the Return of Christ is actually part of the seventh plague.  In the sixth plague “the way” is prepared for the kings from the east, but they only come with that “way” in the seventh plague.  Similarly, in the sixth plague the demons go out to gather the kings of the earth, but they are only fully gathered in the seventh plague.

SUMMARY – Kings from the East

The purpose of this article is to show that the Kings from the East are a symbol of Christ and His angels.  The following proofs have been offered:

There are TWO GROUPS OF KINGS in the sixth plague.  Since the kings of the whole world make war against God, the kings from the east fight on God’s side.

In Scripture, the EAST is where God comes from.

The sixth plague uses language from the DELIVERANCE OF GOD’S PEOPLE from literal Babylon.  This implies that this plague describes God’s deliverance of His end-time people, which He will do through Christ.

The sixth plague does not describe either of the two groups of kings, but both are DESCRIBED IN CHRIST’S RETURN.  In both the sixth plague and the Return of Christ:
 – Are the kings of the world gathered;
 – Do God’s kings move towards them; and
 – Is Satan represented by the dragon, the beast, the false prophet and the kings if the world.

A high-level analysis of chapters 16 to 19 shows that chapters 17 and 18 are an interruption and that the seventh plague continues in Revelation 19 with the Return of Christ.  In other words, the Return of Christ is part of the seventh plague: The sixth plague is the preparation, but the seventh plague is the real war – Armageddon.

CONCLUSION

The Kings from the East are Christ and His angels, and the sixth plague angel dries up the river to prepare for Christ’s return.

The previous article concluded that the drying up means that false Christianity loses its control over the population of the world.  The question remains, why would it be necessary for that to happen before Christ may return?  That critical question is discussed in the last article on the Sixth Plague.

ARTICLES ON THE PLAGUES

Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation
First four plagues:
     The First Four Plagues are non-specific.
     Overview
Fifth Plague:
     The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.
     The mighty angel of Revelation 18 causes the darkness.
     Conclusions 
Sixth Plague:
     The great river, the Euphrates, dries up
     Kings from the East (Current article)
     Armageddon (Next article)
     Why must the river dry up to prepare the way?
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues.

 

The sixth plague-angel dries up the great river, the Euphrates.

The SIXTH angel poured out his bowl
on the great river, the Euphrates;
and its water was DRIED UP,
so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.”

This article deals with the following questions:

What is the great river, the Euphrates?
What is the drying up of the Euphrates?

The next article identifies the Kings from the East.  A further article deals with the most important question, namely, why does the water have to dry up for the kings from the east?

SUMMARY

EUPHRATES

Since the first five plagues are worldwide and since there are no indications in the plagues of portions, as one finds in the seals and the trumpets, the Euphrates River is also worldwide.  This, of course, also means that the drying up of the waters of the Euphrates is a global event.

Revelation uses the Euphrates as a symbol for the peoples of the world.  This conclusion is based on two components:

Revelation uses the names Euphrates and Babylon several times, but it nowhere defines a relationship between them.  However, Revelation does say that Babylon sits on many waters. Since we know from history that the Euphrates River flowed through the ancient city of Babylon, by inference, the many waters is another name for the Euphrates.  (Many waters = Euphrates)

Revelation explicitly defines the many waters as the peoples of the world. (Many waters = Peoples)

Therefore, the Many Waters = Euphrates = Peoples of the world.

DRIED UP

Hundreds of years before Christ, the water of the literal Euphrates was literally dried up to prepare the way for literal kings from the east; Cyrus and the kings of the Medes and the Persians, who came from the east.

The fact that Revelation uses a historical event to describe future events means that the drying up of the Euphrates is symbolic language.  We then determine what those symbols mean. 

Hanging gardens of Babylon

As mentioned above, Babylon “sits” on the Euphrates.  That is explained by 17:2 as: “Those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”  Babylon is the false system of religion that has existed for all of human history.  That she sits on the peoples of the world symbolizes her intoxicating influence on the world.  She is able to control them. 

However, Babylon has also fully infected Christianity.  As shown in a previous article, the throne of the beast is particularly Christian religious authority

Dried up” then symbolizes that false Christianity will lose its hold on the people of the world. 

These concepts are now explained in more detail.

EUPHRATES

WORLD-WIDE

The first five plagues are world-wide:

ALL followers of the Beast receive sores in the first plague (16:2). ALL the water in the sea and in rivers turn to blood in the second and third plagues (16:3, 4).
The sun scorches the ENTIRE earth in the fourth plague (16:8). Even the darkness of the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague is global because the beast’s kingdom is the entire world. (“ALL who dwell on the earth will worship him” (13:8).)

Furthermore, there are no indications in the plagues of portions of the world, as one finds in the seals and the trumpets.:

The “FOURTH of the earth” over which death rules quarter in the fourth SEAL (6:8); and
The “THIRD of the earth” that is harmed in the TRUMPETS (8:7, 8, 10, 12, etc.).

The global nature of the plagues implies that the Euphrates is not a local river, somewhere in the Middle-East, but a symbol of something world-wide. This, of course, also means that the drying up of the waters of the Euphrates is a global event.

WORLD’S POPULATION

Revelation uses the name “Euphrates” twice and the name “Babylon” six times, but nowhere does it directly specify a relationship between the river and the city.  However, Revelation does say that Babylon “sits on many waters” (17:1), and, for the following reasons, we conclude that Revelation’s “many waters” refer to the Euphrates River:

Firstly, in the days of Daniel the prophet, the Euphrates flowed through the city of Babylon, providing it with water (Jer. 51:12-13, 63-64). As such, it was an integral part of the city.  In a physical sense, the ancient city of Babylon sat on the Euphrates.

Secondly, the Old Testament also refers to the Euphrates as “many waters” (Jer. 51:13). 

Furthermore, Revelation explicitly defines that “many waters,” on which Babylon sits, as the “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (17:15).  Therefore:

Peoples = many waters = Euphrates

We conclude that in Revelation, the Euphrates River is not a physical river, but a symbol of the population of the entire world.  In other words, we see here how Revelation uses words and concepts from the Old Testament to describe future events.

DRIED UP

The second major concept in the sixth plague is that the waters of the Euphrates dry up as a result of what the angel pours into it.  The drying up of the river also has a purpose, namely to prepare the way for the kings from the east:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl
on the great river, the Euphrates;
and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared
for the kings from the east

(Revelation 16:12).

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

We have to understand that this is symbolic language, for Revelation here uses Old Testament language to describe future events.  In an event, hundreds of years before Christ, the waters of the literal Euphrates were dried up to prepare the way for literal kings from the east.  According to the famous Greek historian Herodotus, and confirmed in modern times by the Cyrus Cylinder, Babylon was overthrown when Cyrus, the Persian king, DIVERTED THE EUPHRATES RIVER that runs through the center of Babylon, allowing the Persians to wade into the city unexpected. 

This event was prophesied by Jeremiah and Isaiah:

“A sword against … the inhabitants of Babylon …
“A drought on her waters, and they will be dried up!”

(Jer. 50:35-38)

“Thus says the LORD, “… I will dry up her sea
And make her fountain dry'”
(Jer. 51:36).

“It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’
And I will make your rivers dry.
It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd!
And he will perform all My desire.’
And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’
And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid'” 

(Isa 44:27-28).

Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, …
To subdue nations before him …
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut” 

(Is. 45:1).

The very fact that literal things, of such importance in the Old Testament, find their way to the pages of Revelation, implies that they are used as symbols in Revelation. 

ANCIENT KINGS FROM THE EAST

Cyrus” is mentioned in two of the verses quoted above from Isaiah.  He was the commander in chief of the allied forces of the nations that were ruled by Media and Persia.  As such, He was king of many kings:

Consecrate the nations against her,
The kings of the Medes, …
And every land of their dominion. 

(Jer. 51:28 cf. v11).

Since Media and Persia are to the east of Babylon, they were the from the east:

“Who has aroused one from the east
He … subdues kings”
(Is. 41:2).

“A bird of prey from the east,
the man who executes My counsel,
from a far country
“(Is. 46:11).

Therefore, in the Old Testament, Cyrus and the kings under his command were literal “kings from the east” associated with the literal drying up the literal Euphrates.

SITS ON MANY WATERS

If we accept that this is symbolic language, then we need to determine what these symbols mean.  But before we are able to explain what drying up means, we first have to understand what Revelation means when it says that Babylon SITS on many waters:

The great harlot who sits on many waters,
with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality,
and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality
” (17:1-2; cf. v5). 

This explains SITS as the intoxicating influence which Babylon has on the population of the world.  The article on Babylon identifies it as the false system of religion that has existed for all of human history. 

Much of Christianity has become fully infected with this religion, for Christianity has become “a dwelling place of demons” (Rev. 18:2).  In the article on The throne of the beast, it has been shown that its throne is particularly Christian religious authorityTherefore, for Babylon to SIT on the many waters means that false Christianity has a strong grip on the peoples of the world.  She is able to control them and garner their support.

DRIED UP

With that meaning of “sits,” drying up does not mean that the Euphrates will literally dry up again, or even that the population of the world will be reduced in numbers by the plagues, but that the false system of religion, and in particular false Christianity, will lose its hold on the people of the world. 

ARTICLES ON THE PLAGUES

Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation
The First Four Plagues are non-specific.
First Four Plagues – Overview 
The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.
The mighty angel of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague.
Fifth plague – conclusions
The Euphrates dries up. (Current article)
Kings from the East (Next article)