Satan presents his principles as good and God as a cruel murderer.

SUMMARY

antichrist last seven yearsThe previous article has shown that the Purpose of the Plagues is to teach that God judges people correctly:

On the one hand, the plagues will show that the people with the mark of the beast are hardened beyond repentance and that the only solution for them is eternal death

On the other hand, the plagues will show that the repentant sinners, who put their faith in Jesus, will rather die than to disobey God, and therefore are worthy of eternal life.

The purpose of the current article is to explain WHY it is necessary to show that God judges people correctly.

WHY DOES SIN EXIST? 

God wants us to love Him, but love can only be real if it is freely given.  Therefore, God creates intelligent beings with the freedom to love or to hate Him.  Perhaps the universe existed for millions of years in complete happiness, but eventually evil grew out of this freedom.

WHY GOD ALLOWS EVIL TO CONTINUE? 

Satan’s strategies did not appear to be evil at first.  He marketed his rebellion as something that will benefit God’s creatures; that will elevate them to a higher state of existence and happiness. 

God said to Adam and Eve, “in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  Satan accused God of being a cruel murderer. 

For these reasons, God had to allow sin to develop to demonstrate the real nature of evil.  The plagues will be extremely important in this regard.  The purpose is to show that it is not God who kills sinners, but that separation from Him NATURALLY results in degeneration and eventually destruction.  

WHO NEED THIS PROOF? 

Satan did not openly admit his intentions but covered his motives under a cloak of lies.  The angels did not understand what the end result of Satan’s strategies would be.  Even the angels that remained loyal to God did not understand.  Therefore, even the loyal angels need answers.

WHEN WILL GOD MAKE AN END OF SIN? 

God wants to make an end of sin as soon as possible, but He will only do that when it will benefit the universe.

God condemned Satan and his angels. To defend himself, Satan accuses God of unfair judgment.  Satan is able to confuse anything that is clear so that the angels do not understand whether Satan is correct.  If God destroys evil before all the accusations with respect to the fairness of His judgments are answered, doubt over His goodness will linger, even in the minds of His loyal angels.  That doubt will become the seed for another rebellion in the future eternities.  God will, therefore, only destroy evil when His loyal angels and people agree that the destruction of evildoers is the best thing to do. That is the reason for the delay.  Time is required to provide answers to Satan’s accusations.

Jesus’ death demonstrated God’s righteousness.  It proved that God is just when He justifies sinners who have faith in Jesus Christ, but God needs more than the cross to make a complete end to evil. 

The plagues also provide answers to some of the accusations.  The plagues will reveal the true nature of both the end-time Pharisees (the people with the mark of the beast) and God’s people.

But unanswered questions will remain even after the plagues, for sinners will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium.  The purpose of the war of the Gog and Magog is still to provide the final answers to Satan’s accusation. Only then will evil finally and safely be terminated.

These concepts will now be explained in more detail.

INTRODUCTION

The previous article concluded that the Purpose of the Plagues is not to save or to punish, but to teach:

The people with the mark of the beast are the modern Pharisees.  They appear to be Christians, but the plagues will show that they are hardened beyond repentance, even under the most severe circumstances. Therefore the only solution is eternal death.

The plagues will also show that the repentant sinners would rather die than to disobey God, and therefore are worthy of eternal life. 

These teachings together will show that God’s judgment of people, as to who will live and who will die, is perfect.

Normally, the articles on this website are fairly exegetical in nature; deriving its views strictly by analyzing the Bible.  In contrast, the current article is more philosophical in nature.  It deals with matters such as free choice, and, as the reader will be aware, that is hotly contested by both theologians and philosophers.  A number of articles on this website—(The Origin of Evil and the War in Heaven series)—discuss related topics more exegetical.  

The current article is the best explanation that I can offer with respect to who needs to learn that God’s judgments are perfect, and why.

WHY DOES SIN EXIST?

Why did God allow sin to develop in the first place? 

God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). He is light, and in Him, there is no darkness (1 John 1:5).  His government is based on unconditional love.  He loves all His creatures.  He loved them so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son to die for them (John 3:16). 

Love requires freedom – God also wants us to love Him in return (Mat 22:37-38).  The only obedience that He desires is obedience that results from love.  Obedience that is FORCED or based on FEAR, even in the slightest degree, is no obedience at all.  Real love is freely given. 

Humans have free choice – Because God desires us to really love Him, He creates intelligent beings with the freedom to love or to hate.  He could have created robots, programmed to always say ‘I love you’, but He chose to create free intelligent creatures, with the ability to curse Him. 

Sin comes from this freedom.  Freedom creates the potential for evil; to hurt and even kill.

This explains why the first evil came to exist, but why did God not exterminate the first sinner (Satan) as soon as he had the first evil thoughts?  God could have erased any memory of Satan from our minds, for He is Almighty. 

However, such action would negate the freedom of His intelligent beings.  If He would do that, our freedom would not be real.  We can take extreme comfort in the fact that God did allow Satan to continue, for it shows that, although God is Almighty, and although every thought and every action depend on His supporting power, He protects our freedom, even if it costs Him the life of His only begotten Son.

WHY DID GOD ALLOW SIN TO DEVELOP?

SATAN CLAIMS THAT HIS PRINCIPLES ARE GOOD.

Satan has myriads on angels on his side (Rev. 12:7).  To get those angels on his side, he marketed his rebellion against God as something that will benefit God’s creatures; that will elevate their existence and happiness.  Satan’s proposals did not appear to be evil at first.  

SATAN ACCUSES GOD OF BEING A MURDERER

In the garden of Eden, God said:

From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
you shall not eat,
for in the day that you eat from it
you will surely die
” (Gen 2:17).

Did God say that He will kill Adam and Eve, or did He tell them that the fruit is poisonous? 

SEPARATION FROM GOD KILLS.

The current article proposes that the purpose of the plagues is to prove that it is not God that kills sinners, but that separation from Him NATURALLY results in degeneration and eventually destruction.  This concept can be explained as follows:

God is life.  All the energy and all the wisdom that created all things came out of God.  He also continually upholds everything by His power (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:17).  He is not somewhere out there, while we carry on down here.  He is, rather, continually upholding every aspect of His creation; even Satan himself. For that reason, it would conceptually not be wrong to say that only God exists and that we are part of Him.  We must not underestimate the meaning of the fact that God is Almighty.  He really can do anything, and our existence, from second to second, depends fully on Him.  Therefore, to reject God is to reject life itself, for God is the life of the universe and of every living being.

Circle of life – The law of the universe is the law of love.  Because He loves us, He gives us everything we need.  Because we love Him, we return to Him a flood thanksgiving.  Satan disconnected himself from this circuit of life.  That caused the degeneration which eventually also engulfed the planet.

CONCLUSION

Because Satan, on the one hand, presented his principles as beneficial, and because he, on the other hand, accused God of being a cruel murderer, God had to allow sin to develop to where it is today, and also to develop to the frightening level to which it will grow during the plagues, to explain the real nature and consequences of evil.  The plagues are intended to show that evil destroys; not God.  We have no need to be afraid of God; we must be scared of sin. 

HEAVEN NEEDS ANSWERS

Many people think that sinless heavenly beings (including angels) do not need more information to understand that rebellion against God is bad, but that is not true.  To understand this, we need to understand a little about how sin developed.

ORIGIN OF EVIL

Sin existed before man was created, and was brought from heaven to earth by the Serpent of old (Gen. 3; Rev. 12:9).

Sin originated in Satan.  God said of him: “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezek. 28:15). 

Satan was (is?) the most beautiful being ever created (Ezekiel 18:13).  He was adored by all, but he wanted to be adored equal to God (Is. 14:13, 14).  Logically, evil did not suddenly spring up in Satan one day; it developed slowly over a long time of time.  Given how God deals with sinners on earth, we can safely assume that God warned Satan clearly and repeatedly of the consequences of the direction he was taking.  But eventually, Satan became fully committed to the path he chose.

EVEN LOYAL ANGELS NEED ANSWERS.

Sin did not remain only with Satan.  He succeeded to lead a very large portion of the perfect angels away from God (Rev 12:7).  He was, therefore, able to convince many of the angels, but the others not.  What was Satan’s modus operandi?  Satan is the master advocate.  He is able to confuse anything that is clear.  He did not openly admit his intentions, but covered his motives under a cloak of lies, masterfully flattering the angels when they agree with him but, when they disagree, accusing them of not willing to suffer for the goodwill of the universe.  The angels did not understand what the end result of Satan’s strategies would be.  Even the angels that remained loyal to God did not understand.  Therefore, even the loyal angels need answers.

WHEN WILL GOD MAKE AN END OF SIN?

Obviously, God wants to make an end of sin as soon as possible.  Why does He allow sin to continue?  What prevents God from making an end of sin?  Why did God not make an end to sin after Jesus won the victory on the cross?

GOD ACCUSED OF BAD JUDGMENT

God had condemned Satan and his angels to the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41). To defend himself, Satan attempts to convince the universe that God judges unfairly.  Not only does Satan attempt to exonerate himself and his followers; he also accuses God of bad judgment with respect to God’s own people, for example in the cases of Job (Job 1:9, 10) and Joshua (Zech. 3:1).  Revelation, therefore, refers to Satan as the accuser of the brethren (12:10). 

If God destroys evil before all questions are answered, doubt over God’s goodness will linger, even with His loyal angels.

GOD IS NOT THE JUDGE

Freedom is without fear of punishment.  If we fear that God will punish us if we sin, then we are not completely free, and our obedience is forced.  Therefore, God’s intelligent creatures are free to do whatever they wish, without fear of punishment!  GOD WILL NOT PUNISH EVILDOERS. 

God will eventually destroy evil and all beings that have become permanently attached to evil, but it will not be a punishment in the sense of recompense for deeds in the past.  He will destroy evil with the eye on the FUTURE; not on the PAST.  He will only destroy evil to protect the future safety and happiness of the universe.

But it will only be to the benefit of the universe when the remaining members of the universe agree that the destruction of evildoers is the best thing to do. God, therefore, is not the judge.  The universe judges: 

In the judgment scene in Daniel, many thrones are set up, and the books were opened (Dan 7:9).  It is therefore not only God that judges and God does not need books. 

The judgment will be given to the saved (rev. 20:4). 

THE DANGER OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

God wants His created beings to judge for themselves.  God knows and understands all things, and He knows what is the best, but before He can execute His will, His sinless intelligent creatures must agree with Him.  In particular, they must understand why He will destroy some of the people whom they love. If unanswered questions remain, if a lingering doubt with respect to God’s goodness remains, that doubt can become the seed in the future eternities for another rebellion.  Only when all questions with respect to the nature and consequences of evil have been answered, to the satisfaction of the sinless intelligent creatures, can God safely eliminate the destructive forces from the universe.  Only in that way can evil be prevented from ever again developing anywhere in God’s infinite universe.  In the new heavens and new earth, which God will create, God’s intelligent beings will have the freedom to sin, but there will not be any sin because all intelligent beings will understand what the end result of selfishness is.  Then we will live in complete safety and trust in the wonderful, perfect new world which He will create:

Behold, I am making all things new” (21:5).

That is the reason for the delay.  Time is required to provide answers to Satan’s accusations against God.

CHRIST’S DEATH

There are many theories of the atonement (why Christ had to die).  This website supports the view that by the church in the first few centuries, namely that Christ’s life and death was a battle between good and evil, and He overcame evil with good.  Jesus’ death demonstrated God’s righteousness:

Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood … This was to demonstrate His righteousnessso that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26)

In other words, Christ’s death was a demonstration of God’s righteousness.  His death proves that God is just when He justifies sinners who have faith in Jesus Christ.

Christ’s death therefore also provided evidence with respect to the nature and consequences of evil, but if Christ’s death on the cross was all that was required to eradicate sin from the universe, God would not have allowed sin to continue.  Since evil and its consequences are still thriving 2000 years later, we must conclude that God needs more than the cross to make a complete end to evil.

PLAGUES

The plagues also provide answers to some of the questions.  As discussed in the previous article, the plagues will reveal the true nature of both the end-time Pharisees (the people with the mark of the beast) and God’s people (the people with the seal of God). 

But unanswered questions will remain even after the plagues, for sinners will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium (20:5).  Then Satan will also be released from his prison (20:7).  The purpose of the war of the Gog and Magog (20:8) is still the same, namely to provide answers to the questions raised by Satan.  Only when all these questions have been answered, will the devil be exterminated in the lake of fire and brimstone (20:10).

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 
     Conclusions 
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues:
     I   To show that God judges perfectly
     II Satan presents his principles as good.(Current article)

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.