Sixth Bowl - Armageddon

Chess - Photo by Artur Shamsutdinov on Unsplash
The first four “bowls of wrath” targeted the economic foundations of the empire, while the fifth attacked the political and religious authority of the “beast from the Sea.” Now, when the sixth “bowl of wrath” is emptied, demonic forces are unleashed that gather the “kings of the earth” to the final battle of the “Great Day of God the Almighty” at a place called ‘Armageddon.’ - [
Chess pieces- Photo by Artur Shamsutdinov on Unsplash].

Several Old Testament images are employed to illustrate the results of the “sixth bowl,” including the drying of the Red Sea, the second Egyptian plague of frogs, the rerouting of the Euphrates River to invade the city of Babylon, and the predicted assault by “Gog and Magog”:
  • (Revelation 16:12-16) – “And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river Euphrates; and the water was dried up, that the way might be prepared of the kings who were from the east. And I saw out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false-prophet, three impure spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, doing signs, which are to go forth to the kings of the whole habitable earth to gather them to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief! Happy, he that is watching and keeping his garments, lest naked he be walking, and they see his shame. And he gathered them to the place that is called in Hebrew, Har-Maggedon.”
The several images are combined to create a complete picture of the final “battle” between the “Lamb” and the “Dragon.” The conflict culminates in the destruction of end-time “Babylon” in the “seventh bowl of wrath.”

The Euphrates River was the traditional eastern boundary of the Promised Land, and the direction from which invading armies historically attacked Ancient Israel. Thus, the final “battle” between the “saints” and Satan is poised to commence - (Genesis 15:18, Exodus 23:31, Deuteronomy 1:7, 11:24, Joshua 1:4).

The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted that Persia would take Babylon by drying up of the Euphrates River:
  • Be dry!…who says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasureI will raise up one from the north who will come from the sun-rising” - God would - “Disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon” and cause “a drought upon her waters that they should be dried up” - (Isaiah 44:24-28, 41:45, Jeremiah 50:3851:36).
This was fulfilled in October 539 B.C. when a Medo-Persian force redirected the Euphrates, so that it could enter the city along the dry riverbed. The image of the “kings from the east” marching across the dry river borrows its language from these texts:
  • (Isaiah 41:2) – “Who has raised up one FROM THE EASTwhom he calls in righteousness to his foot? He gives nations before him, and makes him rule over kings; he gives them as the dust to his sword, as the driven stubble to his bow.”
  • (Isaiah 41:2) – “I have raised up one from the north, and he is comeFROM THE EASTone that calls upon my name: and he shall come upon rulers as upon mortar, and as the potter treads clay.
The pictures of the “kings of the east” leading a large force from beyond the Euphrates draws in additional imagery from the prophecy of “Gog and Magog” in the book of Ezekiel.

In Revelation, neither the “Euphrates River” nor “Babylon” is a literal geographic reference. In chapter 17, Babylon “sits on many waters,” which is interpreted as “peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues”. She also “sits on seven mountains,” yet the ancient city-state was situated in a vast alluvial plain hundreds of kilometers from the nearest mountain. And if “Babylon” is not an actual geographic reference here, then neither is the “Euphrates River” - (Revelation 17:1-15).

Demonic spirits were released to gather the “kings of the whole habitable earth” to the war of the “great day of God.”  The description employs language from Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog of Magog”:
  • (Ezekiel 38:3-10) - “I will turn you back and put hooks into your jaws, and I WILL GATHER YOU AND ALL YOUR ARMYBe prepared and prepare yourself, you and all your company that are gathered unto you…in the latter years you shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel...You shall ascend and come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you and all your bands, and many people with you.”
The “kings from the east” and the “kings of the whole earth” are identical, the latter interprets the former. Moreover, it is NOT a battle between national armies, but instead, the global attack by all nations against the “Lamb,” the anointed king of Yahweh, just as predicted in the second Psalm:
  • (Psalm 2:1-4) – “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh and against his anointed.”
Although the “kings of the earth” believed they were assembling to destroy the “saints,” in fact, they were gathered at the instigation of God to destroy “Babylon.” Afterward, they themselves would be destroyed, along with the “beast” and “false prophet,” just as Yahweh caused the forces of “Gog of Magog” to invade Israel in order to destroy this force on the “mountains of Israel” - (Ezekiel 38:3-1039:1-3, Revelation 16:1917:16-17, 19:17-21).

Greek Battle - Photo by Jaime Spaniol on Unsplash
Photo by Jaime Spaniol on Unsplash

Three demon “
gathered the kings of the earth to the war.” This was the same “war” waged against the “two witnesses” by the “beast from the Abyss,” the same one waged by the “Dragon” against the “seed of the woman,” and the same one that the “beast from the Sea” made against the “saints” - (Revelation 11:17, 12:17, 13:7).

The “kings from the east” joined the “beast” in its final confrontation with God. The divine purpose was so “Babylon” would be destroyed. God has put it into their hearts to do His bidding - (Revelation 16:1917:16-17).

Thus, the “sixth bowl of wrath” is a symbolic picture of the final confrontation between the forces of the “Lamb” and of the “Dragon.” The passage reinterprets the Old Testament images; “Gog” and its armies become the “kings of the whole habitable earth,” unrepentant humanity united by the “beast” against the “Lamb” and “his army.”

At this point in the narrative, the voice of Jesus is interjected: “Behold, I am coming as a thief!” - The final battle culminated with his arrival from heaven.

Overcoming believers who “kept their garments” found themselves “blessed” when he arrived, but his arrival also meant “shame” for the unprepared, as well as destruction for all the forces opposed to God. The promised “blessing” reiterates exhortations and promises given to the churches at Sardis and Laodicea - (Revelation 3:2-5, 3:17-18).

Armageddon” transliterates the Hebrew term that means “mountain of Megiddo” (the prefix ‘har-’ means “hill” or “mountain”). No such city or site in Palestine is called by this name. Historically, “Megiddo” referred to the “valley of Megiddo,” or to the town by that name located in a broad plain with no mountain or even sizable hill - (Judges 5:192 Kings 23:29-30Zechariah 12:11).

Revelation has combined two Old Testament passages - Zechariah 12:11 and Ezekiel 39:2-4. In the former, Yahweh sought to “destroy all the nations gathered against Jerusalem…in the valley of Megiddon.” In the latter passage, Yahweh caused “Gog of Magog” to gather “upon the mountains of Israel” for destruction.

The real geographic location of the battle is not given until the scene described in chapter 20, along with the identity of the attacking force, “Gog and Magog”:
  • (Revelation 30:7-10) - “The nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog…and they went up over the breadth of the earth and encompassed the camp of the saints.”
Thus, the final war against the “Lamb” is global in scope and involves all nations in a last-ditch attempt to destroy the “saints.” However, instead, “Babylon, the Great City” is destroyed, the “Dragon,” the “beast,” and the “false prophet” are cast into the “Lake of Fire,” along with all the “inhabitants of the earth” whose names are not “written in the Lamb’s book of life” - (Revelation 20:7-15).


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