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

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

In the sixth plague, the waters of the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the Kings from the east (Rev 16:12). This is interpreted as follows:

The Euphrates is Babylon’s river. In Old Testament times, the Euphrates flowed through the ancient city of Babylon. Revelation converts this into a symbol:

Rev 17-18 interrupts the flow of events to explain who the harlot Babylon is (cf. Rev 16:19; 19:2). She is a symbol of the false religious system that has corrupted mankind for thousands of years. End-time Babylon represents false Christianity (See Throne of the beast).

Rev 17-18 explains the Euphrates River as the “many waters,” on Babylon sits, and as the peoples of the world (Rev 17:1, 15). The Euphrates, therefore, symbolizes the people that support Babylon. In the end-time, it will be the people who support false Christianity.

That the Euphrates dries up means that the people’s support for false Christianity dries up. This will be caused by the lethal blow which false Christianity will suffer during the first five plagues (See Fifth plague). 

The Kings from the East are Christ and His angels. In other words, the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for Christ’s return. The purpose of this article is to discuss why false Christianity must suffer a mortal blow before Christ may return.

In the remainder of the sixth plague, “spirits of demons, performing signs, … go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. … And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. (Rev 16:13-16)

Har-Megeddon is commonly known as Armadeggon because that is how the KJV and many other translations read. 

Revelation 17 depicts Babylon sitting on a scarlet beast (Rev 17:3) and explains this as that she “reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:18). However, when her support (many waters) dry up, she is no longer able to reign over the authorities of this world. But then the “spirits of demons” come out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 16:13). This is the same trio that we find in the end-time war on the saints (Rev 13:11-17). In other words, the same organizations are still persecuting God’s people, but while they have lost their popular support of the people of the world, they have now gained renewed strength from “spirits of demons, performing signs” (Rev 16:14). This means that God allows Satan direct control. 

In the power of these demon spirits, these organizations (false Christianity) gather “the kings of the whole world … for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:14, 16). In other words, they prepare the world to war against Christ when He returns (Rev 16:16; 19:19).

 

 

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE 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. 

WHY MUST THE EUPHRATES DRY UP?

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?

SATAN QUESTIONED GOD’S JUDGMENT.

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!

THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAGUES IS TO SHOW THAT GOD JUDGES PERFECTLY.

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 judgments are perfect

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. 

– END OF SUMMARY – 

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

The waters of the Euphrates must dry up to prepare the way for the kings from the east (Rev 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. 

CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW
OF THE FINAL EVENTS

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.

THE WAR ON THE SAINTS PRECEDING THE PLAGUES

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 (Rev 13:15; 14:13).

The “image of the beast” is a replica of the beast, namely of the dominance of the church over the nations of Europe during the Middle Ages, which was also a replica of the powers of the beast in Christ’s day. Christ’s main enemies were the people in authority; the scribes and Pharisees. He had very harsh words for them, calling them “serpents, you brood of vipers” (Matt 23:29-33).

Similarly, the end-time Pharisees will be eager for the traditions of the church fathers. They will be well-dressed, respectable, refined and educated, but they opened themselves to the powers of darkness to such a degree that the enemy could use them and they would think that they were being used by God. However, they rule the church by fear, condemning those who dare to deviate from the traditions.  Satan’s ultimate deception, and his ultimate power of destruction is released when he uses Christians to attack other Christians.  

The “image of the beast” is able to identify and persecute God’s people because they refuse to accept the mark of the beast (Rev 13:16-17). The mark of the beast is a doctrine or practice for which the beast (the church of the middle ages) is particularly known. It is, therefore, not something that was developed in the end-time. It is something that existed for thousands of years. It must also be an EVIL doctrine or practice, otherwise it could not serve as the mark of the beast. Since this mark will play a dominant role in the end-time crisis, it must also be something which was accepted by the beast’s daughters (the protestant denominations). 

The mark of the beast will divide the people of the world into TWO CLEARLY DELINEATED GROUPS.

END OF MERCY

In Rev 15:8, the temple fills up with smoke from the glory of God “and no one was able to enter the temple.”  This is a critical point in human history and symbolizes the end of the time for mercy. From this point forward, nobody will be saved (cf. Rev 16:9, 11).  Now, the eternal destiny of every person has been sealed; either with the Mark of the Beast or with the Seal of God.

THE FIRST FIVE PLAGUES TARGET THE BEAST.

At that point in time, the plagues start to fall, but they fall SELECTIVELY only on the people with the mark of the beast (Rev 16:2, 10). 

These end-time Pharisees, therefore, must begin to at least suspect that they are resisting and opposing God. (See First Four Plagues)

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.

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” (Rev 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 causes the darkness in his kingdom. (See Fifth plague)

THE EUPHRATES DRIES UP.

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

The Euphrates River belongs to the City of Babylon, for Babylon sits on it (See Euphrates).  

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?

FALSE CHRISTIANITY BECOMES SPIRITUALISM.

Rev 16:13 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” (Rev 16:13-14)

In other words, God’s enemies receive reinforcements in the form of “spirits of demons, performing signs” (Rev 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
” (Rev 16:14, 16).

False Christianity has now become spiritualism.

CHRISTIANITY KNOWINGLY OPPOSES GOD.

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. However, when the first five plagues teach them that they really do not serve God, but Satan, 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” (Rev 16:9).

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

Men blasphemed God” (Rev 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 must the Euphrates dries up to prepare the way for the kings from the east?  Or stated without symbols, 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?

SATAN ACCUSED GOD OF UNFAIR JUDGMENT.

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.

THE PLAGUES REVEAL WHAT PEOPLE REALLY ARE.

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 perfection of God’s judgments:

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

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

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

A TEST FOR ALL AGES

The end-time plagues serve as a test of God’s judgments in all ages.  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 people 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 SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Introduction
     Revelation 15
First four plagues
Not interpreted individually
Overview – refuse to repent
Fifth Plague
The Throne of the Beast
The Mighty Angel of Revelation 18.
Conclusions
Sixth Plague
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
The Kings from the East
Armageddon
Does “coming like a thief” support a secret rapture?
Why the Euphrates has to dry up
Summary & Conclusions
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues
To show that God judges perfectly
      Why is it necessary to show that God’s judges perfectly?

For further reading on Revelation, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

The Loud Cry of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague.

SUMMARY

In Revelation 18, an angel with great authority descends from heaven and illuminates the earth with his glory. He cries out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon … Come out of her, my people.”  This is not a literal angel, but a message proclaimed on earth by God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The fifth plague-angel pours his bowl out on “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened.” The throne of the beast is a symbol of its authority. In other words, this plague attacks the beast’s authority. Another article shows that the beast’s authority is religious in nature.

The purpose of the current article is to show that the darkness of the fifth plague is caused by the illumination of the powerful Revelation 18 message.

END-TIME EVENTS

In brief, the sequence of end-time events, as described in Revelation 13 to 19, is as follows: 

After the Sea Beast’s fatal wound heals, the Earth Beast convinces the people of the world, through miracles, to make an Image of the Sea Beast (13:12-14).  That image becomes alive and puts the mark of the beast on people.  It persecutes and kills people that refuse to accept its mark (13:15-17). 

At the same time, the three angels of Revelation 14 warn the world against the mark of the Beast. They encourage God’s people to persevere, even to death (14:9-13).

When every person has been permanently marked for eternity, either with the mark of the Beast or with the seal of God (14:1), the temple closes (15:8).  This means that, after this point in time, nobody will be saved. (See Introduction to the Plagues.)  Then the plagues start to fall one by one (16:1), until Babylon is finally destroyed in the final and seventh plague (16:19). 

THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE PLAGUES.

The message of Revelation 18, because of the power by which it will be given, is also called the Loud Cry. It will be proclaimed:

Before the seventh plague, because the seventh plague destroys Babylon, and Revelation 18 places her destruction in the future. For example, it says, “her plagues will come” (18:8).

After the three angels, because the message of Revelation 18 is given with much more power than the three angels. It is symbolized as a mighty angel that illuminates the whole world. 

During the plagues, for two reasons:

Firstly, the plagues start to fall when every person has made his or her decision, and, at least until that point in time, the three angels of Revelation 14 will do their work.  Since the mighty angel of Revelation 18 is later than the three angels, it must be during the plagues.

Secondly, significantly, there is no call to repentance in either Revelation 18 or in the plagues. This means that, in both, the time for repentance has passed.

THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE.

So far, we have said that the Loud Cry will be heard during the plagues but before the seventh.  We can be more specific.  For the following reasons, the message of Revelation 18 will be proclaimed specifically during the fifth plague:

Firstly, the angel in Revelation 18 calls God’s people out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues, and the sixth and seventh are particularly Babylon’s plagues. They, therefore, come out of her before the sixth plague.

Secondly, the contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague and the illumination of the whole world by the Loud Cry implies a connection.  This implies that the illumination of the whole earth by the angel in Revelation 18 causes the darkness on the kingdom of the beast. 

APPLICATION

The Holy Spirit will intensify the three angel-messages of Revelation 14 and convince the peoples of the world that the light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness. 

– END OF SUMMARY – 

THE THREE MESSAGES OF REVELATION 18

 “I saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having GREAT AUTHORITY,
and the EARTH WAS ILLUMINED with his glory.
And he cried out with a MIGHTY VOICE, saying,
“Fallen, FALLEN IS BABYLON THE GREAT!
She has become a dwelling place of demons …

(Revelation 18:1-2)

Because of the angel’s “mighty voice,” this is sometimes called the Loud Cry. 

Babylon is the religious system that has existed for all of human history, corrupting people and reigning over kings.  See Babylon, the mother of harlots.

After John saw the angel, he heard “another voice from heaven” (18:4).  This possibly is God Himself, for the voice says: Come out of her, MY people.”    

Later in Revelation 18, a “strong angel” (18:21) illustrates how sudden Babylon’s fall will be. There are, therefore, three messages recorded in Revelation 18.

Just like the leaders of the seven churches are called angels (2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14), and just like the three angel-messages of Revelation 14, these are not literal angels or a literal voice from heaven, but messages proclaimed on earth by God’s people, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

THE FIFTH PLAGUE CAUSES DARKNESS.

After the beast’s deadly wound heals,

The whole earth … followed after the beast …
they worshiped the beast, saying,
‘… Who is able to wage war with him?’
” (13:3, 4). 

The first four plagues target the beast’s followers and their environment (see First Four Plagues), but “the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened” (16:10).  The throne of the beast symbolizes his authority. In other words, in the fifth plague, the beast suffers great humiliation and a great loss of authority. Another article identifies it as religious authority.   

REVELATION 18 PRECEDES THE SEVENTH PLAGUE.

The Loud Cry precedes the seventh plague because the seventh plague destroys Babylon (16:19), while Revelation 18 presents the destruction of Babylon as in the future.  This is clear from the future verb tenses used when referring to her destruction:

Her plagues will come” (18:8).
She will be burned up” (18:9).
The kings “will weep” (18:10).
The merchants “will stand at a distance” (18:15).
So will” Babylon be thrown down (18:21). 

AFTER THE THREE ANGELS

Both the mighty angel of Revelation 18 and the second of the three angel messages in Revelation 14 are world-wide (14:6; 18:1) and announce “Babylon is fallen” (14:8; 18:2). However, the message of Revelation 18 is given with much more power and detail:

Revelation 14:8 simply reads “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying.”

The angel in Revelation 18, in contrast, has “great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.” “He cried out with a mighty voice” (18:1-2). 

The angel in Revelation 18 also expands on the causes and consequences of Babylon’s fall (v2-3).

Because the three messages in Revelation 18 (18:1, 4, 21) are described LATER in the book of Revelation and are given with much MORE POWER and detail than the three messages of Revelation 14, it implies that they are not the same as the three angels of Revelation 14 but follow later, namely when Babylon’s sins have fully matured.  The message of Revelation 18 may be the final climax of the three angels’ message.

DURING THE PLAGUES

The Loud Cry is proclaimed during the plagues because there is no call to repentance in either the plagues or in Revelation 18:

The messages of the three angels in Revelation 14 are for “every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (14:6).  They encourage the people to worship the Creator (14:7), and not the Beast and its image (14:9).

But Revelation 18 has no call to repentance.  It is a message for God’s people only: “Come out of her, my people” (18:4). 

It is, therefore, concluded that the time for repentance has passed and we are now in the time of the plagues. 

This conclusion is supported as follows: The purpose of three angels of Revelation 14 is to warn people against the mark of the beast (14:6-11).  They must, therefore, do their work until the last person has made his or her choice for God or for the beast.  When the last person has been marked, either with the mark of the beast or the seal of God, the three angels have no further purpose.  At that point, also, the plagues start to fall.  Since, as shown above, the mighty angel of Revelation 18 proclaims his message later than the three angels, his voice will be heard during the plagues.

DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE

The mighty angel of Revelation 18 proclaims his message during the fifth plague.  In other words, the illumination of the earth by the angel in Revelation 18 causes the darkness on the kingdom of the beast.  This is justified as follows:

DARKNESS VERSUS LIGHT

Firstly, the contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague and the illumination of the whole world by the glory of the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1 implies a connection.   

HER PLAGUES

Secondly, in Revelation 18 God’s people are called out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues (18:4), and the sixth and seventh are particularly Babylon’s plagues. We see this in the following:

(a) The first five plagues are modeled on the plagues on Egypt, but the sixth plague is modeled on the events around the fall of ancient Babylon.  (In the fall of ancient literal Babylon the waters literally dried up and king Cyrus literally came from the east.)

(b) Babylon is destroyed in the seventh plague (16:19).  It reads, “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (16:19).  When God remembers something, it does not mean that He previously forgot.  It means that He acts.  In this case, 16:19 tells us what He does, namely “to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.

If “her plagues” (18:4, 8) are understood as specifically the sixth and seventh plagues, then the call in Revelation 18 goes out just before these two plagues and therefore could be the fifth plague.

CONCLUSION

The fifth plague is the proclamation of the messages of Revelation 18, when the Holy Spirit works powerfully to convince the peoples of the world that the light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness.  It becomes clear that the despised and persecuted minority ‘sect’ is God’s true people. 

In Revelation 11 we note a similar recovery by God’s people, when the two witnesses come to life, after being dead for 3½ days, “and great fear fell upon those who were watching them” (11:11).

The fifth plague is followed by the sixth, where the peoples of the world turn their backs on Babylon, followed by the complete destruction of Babylon by the kings of the earth in the seventh plague.

ARTICLES ON THE PLAGUES

Introduction to the Plagues of Revelation
First four plagues:
     The First Four are non-specific.
     Overview – the mark of the beast signify the inability to repent
Fifth Plague:
     The Throne of the Beast if religious authority.
     The Mighty Angel of Revelation 18 causes the darkness. Current
     Christian authority destroyed 
Sixth Plague:
     The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
     Who are the Kings from the East? 
     Armageddon is the Day of the Lord. 
     Does “coming like a thief” support a Rapture?
     Why must the Euphrates dry up to prepare the way for the kings? 
     Conclusions 
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues:
     I  To show that God judges perfectly
     II Satan presents his principles as good.