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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
The Throne of the Beast
The Mighty Angel of Revelation 18
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
Kings from the East
Revelation 16:15 and the Rapture
Euphrates dries up to prepare the way (Current article)
Purpose of the Plagues.