The Kings from the East (Rev 16:12) 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 purpose of the current article is to identify the kings from the east. It proposes that they symbolize Christ and His angels at His return. This conclusion is justified as follows:

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

(1) SYMBOLIC

Since the previous plagues are symbolic, and since everything else in Rev 16:12 is symbolic, the kings from the east are not literal kings but symbolic.

(2) TWO GROUPS OF KINGS

The sixth plague contrasts two groups of kings. Since “the kings of the whole world” (Rev 16:14) are from earth, it is implied that “the kings from the east” are not from earth. Since “the kings of the whole world” are gathered together by “spirits of demons” (Rev 16:14), the kings from the east represent God’s army.

(3) GOD COMES FROM THE EAST.

The kings from the east come from God because the Scriptures associate the east with God (Rev 7:2; Ezek 43:2; cf. Rev 22:16).

(4) GOD DELIVERS HIS PEOPLE FROM BABYLON.

The sixth plague borrows language from God’s deliverance of His people from literal Babylon through Cyrus, whom God calls His “anointed one” (Isa 45:1) and “My shepherd” (Isa 44:28). These most honorable titles (Isa 45:4) were later reserved for Jesus.

Since the seven last plagues fall at the very end of time, the use of Old Testament language of God’s deliverance of His people from literal Babylon implies that this plague points to God’s deliverance of His people from end-time spiritual Babylon, which God will do through the return of Christ.

(5) THE SIXTH PLAGUE CULMINATES IN CHRIST’S RETURN.

HIGH-LEVEL VIEW OF REVELATION 16 TO 19

The sixth plague does not describe “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:14). It only describes the preparation for it. If the sixth plague is the preparation, then the seventh plague must be the war. The seventh plague is described at the end of Rev 16, is interrupted by Revelation 17 and 18, and then continues in Rev 19, culminating in the return of Christ.

PARALLELS BETWEEN THE SIXTH PLAGUE AND HIS RETURN

The following parallels between the sixth plague and His return confirm that His return is the conclusion of the sixth plague:

      • In the sixth plague, demon spirits gather the kings of the whole world (Rev 16:14) and, when Christ’s returns, they are seen gathered (Rev 19:19).
      • The sixth plague mentions “the war of the great day of God” (Rev 16:14) but does not describe the war. That “great day” is Christ’s return (Rev 6:17; 12-15) when He will ”strike down the nations” (Rev 19:15).

PARALLELS THAT IDENTIFY THE KINGS FROM THE EAST

The following further parallels between the sixth plague and His return indicate that the “kings from the east” are Christ and those who are with Him at His return:

      • There are two groups of kings in the sixth plague and there are also two groups of kings at His return, for Jesus is the “KING OF KINGS” (Rev 19:16, 19).
      • The waters of the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the “kings from the east” (Rev 16:12) to move from the east towards the “kings of the whole world.” In Christ’s return, “the armies which are in HEAVEN” (Rev 19:13) move towards the earth.
      • Both the sixth plagues and His return mention the dragon, the beast, the false prophet, and the “kings of the earth” (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:2). Both also mention a fifth group, namely the “kings from the east” (Rev 16:12) and the “kings” that are with Christ (Rev 19:16).

– END OF SUMMARY –

THE KINGS FROM THE EAST

(1) THESE ARE SYMBOLIC DESCRIPTIONS.

Since the previous plagues are symbolic, and since the other elements in Rev 16:12 are also symbolic, the kings from the east are not literal kings but symbolic.

(2) THERE ARE TWO GROUPS OF KINGS.

The sixth plague contrasts two groups of kings, namely “the kings from the east” and “the kings of the whole world” (Rev 16:14). In the context of Revelation, which is a symbolic description of the age-old cosmic war between God and Satan, these two groups of kings oppose each other:

    • Since “the kings of the whole world” (Rev 16:14) are from earth, it is implied that “the kings from the east” are not from earth.
    • Since “the kings of the whole world” are gathered together by “spirits of demons” (Rev 16:14) and, therefore, oppose God, the kings from the east represent God’s army.

(3) GOD COMES FROM THE EAST.

The kings come from the east and the Scriptures associated the east with God. For example, the angel brings the seal of the living God from the east (Rev 7:2; cf. Ezek 43:2). (The term in Greek for the east is the rising of the sun.) Consistent with the principle that the east refers to God, Jesus is called “the bright morning star” (Rev 22:16). (The morning star rises in the east.)

(4) GOD DELIVERS HIS PEOPLE FROM BABYLON.

The waters of the Euphrates were literally dried up, hundreds of years before Christ, by the kings of the Medes and Persians with Cyrus as the king of kings. By diverting the river, they took the ancient city of Babylon, which lead to the liberation of Israel from that Babylonian captivity. (See Euphrates.)

The Bible describes that event as God’s deliverance of His people. For example, through Cyrus and his kings, God delivered Israel from their oppressors and brought them back to their homeland (Jer 50:33-34). God said of Cyrus, “He will build My city and let My people go free” (Isa 45:13; cf. 44:28). For that reason, God calls Cyrus His “anointed one” (Isa 45:1) and “My shepherd” (Isa 44:28). These most honorable titles (Isa 45:4) were later reserved for Jesus.

The sixth plague borrows language from this event.

The seven last plagues fall at the very end of time; after all people have received either the mark of the beast or the seal of God. (See Introduction to the Plagues.) In this end-time context, the use of Old Testament language of God’s deliverance of His people from literal Babylon through Cyrus implies that this plague describes God’s deliverance of His people from end-time 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. This 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

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

(5) THE SIXTH PLAGUE CULMINATES IN CHRIST’S RETURN.

This fifth justification is quite long; more than 50% of the entire article. By providing a high-level view of Revelation 16 to 19, it attempts to show that the sixth plague in Rev 16 is the preparation for the return of Christ in Rev 19. For that reason, and because of the parallels between the kings from the east and Christ at His return, the “kings from the east” are Christ and His angels. The argument is as follows:

(5a) THE SIXTH PLAGUE IS THE PREPARATION FOR THE WAR.

The sixth plague does not describe “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:14); only the preparation for it. For example, it says that the way is prepared for the kings from the east (Rev 16:12) and that “the kings of the whole world” are gathered by “spirits of demons” “to the place … called Har-Magedon” (Rev 16:14, 16).

(5b) THE SEVENTH PLAGUE IS CHRIST’S RETURN.

If the sixth plague is the preparation for the war, then the seventh plague is the war. The seventh plague causes massive catastrophes (Rev 16:18, 20) and God gives Babylon “the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (Rev 16:19). Since Babylon was not mentioned earlier in Revelation, except very briefly by the three angels (Rev 14:8), Revelation 17 and 18 interrupt the seventh plague to explain who she is and how she will come to her end. For example, Revelation 18 jumps back to the time of the warning to God’s people to “come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues” (Rev 18:4). (The sixth and seventh plagues are explicitly “her plagues.“)

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

In conclusion, Revelation 17 and 18 are an interruption and the seventh plague continues in Rev 19 and includes or culminates in the Return of Christ.

(5c) PARALLELS BETWEEN THE SIXTH PLAGUE AND HIS RETURN

The following parallels between the sixth plague and His return confirm that His return is the conclusion of the sixth plague:

THE KINGS OF THE WHOLE WORLD

In the sixth plague, demon spirits gather the kings of the whole world (Rev 16:14) at Armageddon (Rev 16:16) “for the war of the great day of God” (Rev 16:14). At Christ’s return in Revelation 19, we see “the kings of the earth and their armies assembled” (Rev 19:19). The NASB uses the word “assembled,” but, in the Greek, it is exactly the same word (συνάγω – sunagó) for “gathered” as in Rev 16:14 and 16:16. 

THE WAR OF THE GREAT DAY

The sixth plague mentions “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:14) but does not describe the war. The term “great day” also appears in the sixth seal where it is the “great day” of the wrath of God and the Lamb (Rev 6:17). The sixth seal has the signs of Christ’s return (Rev 6:12-15). Therefore, the “great day” refers to Christ’s return as described in Revelation 19, when He will ”strike down the nations” (Rev 19:15). “The rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse” (Rev 19:21).

(5d) PARALLELS THAT IDENTIFY THE KINGS FROM THE EAST

The following further parallels between the sixth plague and His return indicate that the “kings from the east” are Christ and those who are with Him at His return:

TWO GROUPS OF KINGS

There are two groups of kings in the sixth plague and there are also two groups of kings in His return, for the kings of the earth are gathered “to make war against” the “KING OF KINGS” (Rev 19:16, 19). The “King of kingsis identified as “the Word of God” (Rev 19:13), which is Christ. As the “King of kings,” He leads many other kings.

THE KINGS FROM THE EAST MOVE TOWARDS THE EARTH.

The sixth plague dries up the waters of the Euphrates to prepare the way for the “kings from the east.” This means that these kings will MOVE from the east to another place. Arguably, they will move towards the “kings of the whole world” to engage them in battle.

The sixth plague does not describe their arrival but at Christ’s return the kings of the east move towards the kings of the whole world:

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

FIVE CATEGORIES OF ACTORS

Another indication that the “kings from the east” refer to Christ at His return is that the sixth plague and Christ’s return both mention five categories of actors: On Satan’s side, both mention the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:2) and the “kings of the earth.” It follows, therefore, that the fifth category in both must also be the same, namely that the “kings from the east” (Rev 16:12) are the “kings” that are with Christ (Rev 19:16).

 

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE SIXTH PLAGUE AND CHRIST’S RETURN

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

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

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 influence over the people 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 a further article.

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Introduction – Revelation 15

The first four plagues
Must not be interpreted individually
Target the earth, sea, waters and sun, but the people do not repent.

The Fifth Plague
The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.

The Light of the Mighty Angel of Rev 18 causes the darkness.
The Roman Empire gave to the Church is throne and power.

The Sixth Plague
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
The Kings from the East are Christ and His angels.

Armageddon is not a literal place but Judgment Day.
Does “coming like a thief” (Rev 16:15) support a secret rapture?
Why the Euphrates has to dry up to prepare the way for the kings
Summary of these articles & conclusions

The Seventh Plague culminates in the return of Christ.

Purpose of the Plagues
To show that God judges perfectly

Why is it necessary to show that God judges perfectly?

4 Replies to “The Kings from the East (Rev 16:12) are Christ and His angels.”

  1. Hi,
    Yes ( cosmic war between God and Satan.)…………..I believe .. since 2014 in Name of JESUS………….and he who is the son of man pulled me out from him who is against GOD of life………I was also one of that power against GOD before 2014…………..and my life came close to death.

    But I cry to the sky ( Is there someone who can rescue me from dying and burning !!!)

    GOD via the holy spirit spoke inside and led me to call JESUS……………..once I called JESUS for protection, he answers and led me to the GOD of life.

    Still, I am here and contending with a great False GOD that is different.

    Due to some security alert and saving family life I cannot speak frankly and openly about this side…………..we have many duties and our mission we must do carefully.

    Thanks

    Abdul Ghias Amiry

    Afghanistan/Balkh/Mazar

  2. Thanks for this clarification. This put everything in a new perspective for me. I really appreciate your work, it is always thought provoking. Yves p.

  3. This article is quite surprising. I was rather skeptic at the beginning of this series but now I have to reread everything. One thing is troubling me, however. Where do you situate the rapture? Isn’t it part of the six seals? Yet you say that: “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.” How could the people be delivered from Satan’s ascendancy with the drying of the Euphrates if the people have been previously raptured? Maybe the right question I should ask you is Do you believe in the rapture?

    Yves P.

    1. Hi Yves
      Yes, I do NOT believe in the rapture. As a matter of fact, I am working on an article based on Revelation 16:15 (I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes), which is right in the middle of the sixth plague, to argue against the rapture.
      Regards, Andries

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