“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. 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. “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon”
God’s patience has now run out, and He pours out His wrath against the world.
“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.
The sixth bowl judgment prepares the 1800 mile long river Euphrates for the kings from the Orient who will engage in the battle of Armageddon. The Euphrates is a water boundary between the Roman Empire and the East. The armies of the East will be massive in number, so the waters of the Euphrates need to be dry for their advance (Isaiah 11:15). Two hundred million soldiers will gather for war at Armageddon (9:16). By comparison, the allied army under Eisenhower only numbered five million. All these armies will converge on Palestine to exterminate the Jews.
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.
Verses 13-16 give us a commentary on verse 12. Demon activity (13-14) follows God’s activity (15-16). Verses 13-16 are a commentary on the sixth bowl judgment.
The next verse identifies the “unclean spirits” of this verse. They are demons coming from the dragon (Satan, 12:9). The head of the Revived Roman Empire (the beast) and the religious head of the Empire (the false prophet) are demon-possessed.
This is the first time Revelation uses the term “false prophet.” Diabolical forces give these leaders supernatural power. Demon possession is the force behind the convergence of the armies of the nations of the world in Palestine.
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.
These demons perform miracles before the kings of the earth to influence them to do battle in that “great day of God Almighty.” They perform supernatural signs by diabolical power. Demons can perform miracles.
Satan will establish world government (Re 13:2) by his power. He will gather all the armies of the world to do battle. This battle will continue up to the coming of Christ. There will be house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem on the day Christ comes back to claim his crown (Zechariah 14:1-3). The Greek emphatically makes the point that this battle is a day of God’s final victory. The Greek word “battle” is literally the word war, a campaign, not a single battle (Ezekiel 38; Daniel 11:40-45; Zechariah 14:1-3; Joel 3:1-17).
The word “behold” calls attention to the importance of the following statement.
I am coming as a thief.
In the midst of these events, Jesus speaks. He warns us about His coming. He will come like a “thief.” A thief comes when no one expects him. He does not send an engraved invitation. He does not say, “Tomorrow morning, about two a.m., I will break into your house and steal everything I can.” There is a need to be prepared – for his coming will be unexpected.
Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.
A parenthesis warns believers that they need to prepare themselves for this climactic event. People need to carry their clothes with them during this period because they may wind up running through the streets naked.
Jesus promises a special blessing to those who heed His warning. Two characteristics are important for that time: 1) They are to “watch.” This word means to stay awake or alert in expectation of His coming. They are to guard the moment. 2) They are to “keep their garments” ready to wear at any time. They are to stay prepared for His coming.
And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
The “they” who do the gathering of the armies here are the demons of verse thirteen. They will fight the war to end all wars in the Valley of Megiddo. This is the place where we get the word “Armageddon.” Many battles in the Old Testament were fought there.
We must keep the Boy Scout motto: be prepared.
Just as future Tribulation saints must prepare themselves for the Second Coming, Christians of our day must prepare themselves for the Rapture.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:11-14).
How do the armies of the world know when to come and gather for battle? Jesus says, I will come like “a thief”…
Chris, the armies gather before the Second Coming. They will have no idea when the Lord will come.
Revelation 16:4 says the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Yet verse 12 says that the the great river Euphrates and its water was dried up. Help me reconcile this thought. Was the water in the Euphrates river blood?
Daniel, thanks for your question. The Greek word for “blood” in verse 4 is a unique word. This is Louw Nida’s comment: “αἷμαa, τος n—‘blood.’ γυνὴ οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος δώδεκα ἔτη ‘a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years’ Mk 5:25. In Mk 5:25 it may be important to use a special term for blood, since this passage is a reference to the hemorrhaging of menstruation.
In Jn 19:34 (ἐξῆλθεν εὐθὺς αἷμα καὶ ὕδωρ ‘then blood and water came out’) it may be necessary to use a term which can refer to the lymph fluid rather than to water itself; otherwise the reader might understand the water as being urine (with the spear having pierced the bladder) or even possibly water that Jesus had presumably drunk and was still in his stomach. The real reference of ὕδωρ in Jn 19:34 is to the lymph fluid and not to water as such. It is simply a colorless fluid which was mixed with blood.
In Re 8:8 (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ τρίτον τῆς θαλάσσης αἷμα ‘and a third of the sea became blood’) and Re 11:6 (καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχουσιν ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων στρέφειν αὐτὰ εἰς αἷμα ‘and they had power over the waters to turn them into blood’) the reference may not be to blood as a substance but to the blood-like color of the objects in question.” Thus, the water may be blood-like. That was the metaphorical image in verse 3 as well.
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 101). New York: United Bible Societies.