The 7-year Tribulation Period, which will be the “70th week” of Daniel’s great prophecy of 70 weeks (see Daniel 9:24-27), most definitely deals with “end times prophecy.” The apostle John, who was the inspired writer of the book of Revelation, filled in a lot of the details which will take place during those 7 years. Our subject today deals with the last event that will take place at the very end of the Tribulation Period. As we read through Revelation, we see a series of 21 judgments made up of 7 SEALS (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1-5), 7 TRUMPETS (Revelation 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19), and 7 BOWLS (Revelation 16:1-21). Each succeeding judgment is more severe and draws mankind closer to the Second Coming of Christ when He will complete God’s judgment of the world and establish His 1,000-year kingdom here on earth (Revelation 19:11-20:6).

We will now read and consider Revelation 16:12-14, 16, beginning with verse 12: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” As we will see in a moment, the literal drying up of the Euphrates River will set the stage for the amassing of armies in the Valley of Armageddon. The whole world dreads the word “Armageddon,” believing it is synonymous with “the end of the world” by some cataclysmic event. Hollywood has portrayed it as a huge asteroid flying through space and headed for planet earth, which will eventually collide with earth resulting in an EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT. Others liken Armageddon to the destruction of the earth through “global warming,” brought on by man’s poisoning the earth through fossil fuel emissions and the depleting of the earth’s protective ozone layer. But we will see that Armageddon is a literal valley in Israel where the world’s armies will converge to do battle with one another in the greatest and final “world war.” Verse 16 teaches us that the “great river Euphrates,” which has served as both a BOUNDARY and a BARRIER between Israel and the eastern nations of the Far East, will be “dried up” in order to prepare “the way of the kings of the east.” Before we comment on who these “kings of the east are,” let’s also read Revelation 9:13-16: “Then the sixth angel sounded: and I had heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the GREAT RIVER EUPHRATES.’ So, the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was TWO HUNDRED MILLION, I heard the number of them.” In this “6th Trumpet judgment” we are viewing the same subject, the amassing of a great army. Yet here we see FOUR ANGELS who had been imprisoned, implying they are wicked angels. It would seem they have had evil intentions against Israel (and all mankind), and they will now be allowed to carry out their evil plan to destroy Israel by using a 200,000,000-man army. Many have argued that this army must be taken SYMBOLICALLY, for until recently in world history, an army this large could never have been imagined. But today it is quite possible that China (which boasts an army close to this number), India and Japan could assemble such an army and with the Euphrates River dried up they could literally march dry-shod across this mighty boundary on their way to Armageddon. This judgment may be the “first stage” where the world will witness men and weapons making their way to the holy land in Israel, while the “6th Bowl judgment” will see its completion with the final arrival of the armies at Armageddon.

Now we are prepared to read 16:13-14, 16, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the KINGS OF THE EARTH AND OF THE WHOLE WORLD, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty….and they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” Like the “four evil angels” we just considered, there will be “three unclean spirits” coming out of the “trinity of evil,” the dragon (Satan), the Beast and False Prophet. The “four angels” will deceive the “eastern nations” and the “three unclean spirits” will deceive the “rest of the nations of the world.” Their deception will have the same goal, to assemble all the nations of the world to Armageddon. It is probable that the “eastern armies” are there to destroy the “western armies” so they can establish a New World Order and that the “western armies” are there to defend Israel and their “Democratic Order.” But what they don’t know is that the Lord Jesus Christ will appear at that time to defend Israel, to destroy His enemies, and to establish His worldwide kingdom over the earth. When they see Him, they will join forces (in their common hatred of God and His Son, Jesus Christ) against Him, only to be destroyed immediately by Christ using only His all-powerful Word (please read Revelation 19:11-21). Satan and his forces gathered the “armies of the world to Armageddon” to destroy each other, but in God’s sovereignty He was “gathering them to Armageddon” to judge them for their rejection of Christ. Their destruction will result in another gathering as seen in verses 17-18, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and GATHER TOGETHER FOR THE SUPPER OF THE GREAT GOD, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” What a solemn day that will be!  And yet, what a glorious day that will be when Christ’s enemies are destroyed, and He will then have His rightful place in the world as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  (DO)  (578.3)