Revelation Unsealed: Armageddon, Earth's Last Battle

Revelation 16:12-16 "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto 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 come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

Introduction to the Sixth Plague

Tonight we study the sixth plague of the seven last plagues which fall upon those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. Recall with me the awful declaration of God's wrath against those who follow after the beast. Turn in your bibles to Revelation 14:9-11 and let's read what it says there: "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

Please note that God has given to all the world fair and ample warning in the second and third angel's messages against false worship. So by the time we get to Revelation chapter 16, we see God's full wrath being poured out upon the wicked and unbelieving who have rejected God's final messages of mercy and warning and rebelled against his commandments, to their own eternal loss.

The Final Warning Rejected

There is no remedy against ignoring or rejecting a warning of eminent danger.  There is a point of no return beyond which disaster becomes inevitable and the outcome irreversible.  Like the multitude that heard Noah's preaching to them about the coming flood for 120 years.  Yet they refused to hearken to his warning and get in the ark.  But then they saw bright daylight suddenly turn into pitch black midnight, and thunder begin to rumble, lightning flash across the sky, and raindrops begin to fall, then everyone wanted to listen to Noah's warning and get in the ark.  But the sole entrance into the ark, a huge door, had been closed by an unseen hand days before, never to be opened again.  It was already TOO LATE!

Now we see in the seven last plagues is that the door of probation has already closed.  Please read Revelation 15:5-8 with me:  "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.  And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled." 

The tabernacle of the testimony in heaven is opened, signifying that Christ our High Priest's ministry of intercession has ceased.  The angels that normally attend Christ there have departed out of the tabernacle.  Instead of holding golden censers with the prayers of the saints (compare Revelation 8), they are holding seven bowls containing the seven last plagues of God's wrath.  The time of intercession has ended.  Mercy no longer pleads for the impenitent.  Judgement now is meted out to those who repeatedly spurned God's loving invitation to "come boldly before the throne of grace" through the mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.  Hebrews 4:16.  The fate of the wicked is eternally sealed.

Let me interject here by stating that if one does not worship God, he will worship something or someone else in his place.  By refusing to bow down in loving worship and adoration of the one true God, men have exalted another god in his place, the blasphemous dragon-power that "sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4).  And by bowing down to the imposter, blaspheming, false god, they take on his characteristics.  The last plagues do not bring these wicked ones to repent of their evil.  Instead, they blaspheme and curse God for the pain of the plagues which they have brought upon themselves!  "And they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."  Revelation 16:10, 11.  Even the rebuke of the plagues won't bring them to acknowledge God's justice and their own wrongdoing.  As they have sown, they now reap.  But eating the bitter fruit of their evil deeds only makes them more bitter and defiant against God!   

I want you to notice with me that the first four plagues were literally poured out upon the earth, sea, rivers and fountains of waters, and the sun.  These first four plagues parallel the first four trumpets of Revelation 8.  But unlike those trumpets, these plagues are to be understood literally and are worldwide in their effects.  The fifth plague was a plague of darkness, as was the fifth trumpet.  But whereas the prince of the bottomless pit caused the darkness by unleashing his debutantes upon the earth, the fifth plague brings darkness upon the devil's evil agency on earth, the beast and his kingdom.  They preferred the darkness of lies to the light of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.  So God gives them complete darkness - both literal and spiritual, figurative darkness. 

Enter now into the sixth plague.  There is universal suffering from the effects of the first five plagues.  But the fifth plague especially takes it toll upon all the wicked.  The sixth angel pours his plague upon the figurative, mystical place known as the Euphrates River.  What special significance does this river have in bible prophecy?  

The Drying Up of the Euphrates Symbolic of Babylon's Eminent Destruction

The ancient Euphrates river which flowed around and into the capital of ancient Babylon was a natural barrier of defense against invading armies. But during the rein of King Belshazzar, the great grandson of the great King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the invading armies of Cyrus king of Persia dried up the Euphrates by damming it upstream. The army was then able to march on the dried riverbeds right under the city walls and take the drunken Babylonians by surprise and defeat them.

The drying of the Euphrates in Revelation 16 is figurative for the final defeat of spiritual Babylon in the upcoming battle of Armageddon. The way of the King of the east, Jesus Christ, will be prepared and He will come Himself to fight against and destroy wicked Babylon by the brightness of his coming! Just as Cyrus, God's anointed, came from the sunrising, from the north, and deliver literal Israel from Babylonian captivity, even so Jesus at his coming will come from east as the King of the north and redeem his remnant flock from the hosts of spiritual Babylon who, having fully yielded themselves to Satan's delusions by rejecting God's truth, and condemned by the rebuke of the righteous example of the godly who do not worship the beast or his image, seek to destroy God's faithful, Jesus-following, commandment-keeping remnant. Revelation 12:17.

This final conflict and its outcome was prefigured by the Psalmist in Psalm 2: "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.' He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." Psalm 2:1-5.

The Climax of the Conflict of the Ages

The Battle of Armageddon is not a conflict between armed military powers vying for the supremacy. It is a final showdown between the forces of the confederated wicked worldwide who have received the mark of the beast.  United under the leadership of the dragon (Satan), the beast (Papal Rome) and the false prophet (Apostate Protestantism), brought together under the majestic deceptive miracle-working power of the three unclean spirits (spiritualism), they seek to destroy that church of God on earth that has the seal of God (the seventh-day Sabbath), has the faith of Jesus and keep the commandments of God.  See Revelation 12:17; 13; 16:12-14.  But it is on this day, at this Battle of Armageddon, that the great whore Babylon, which has made all the nations and kings of the earth drunk with the wine of her polluted spiritual teachings, will meet her complete end at the hand of Jesus Christ at His coming! 

God is Calling His Faithful Followers to Come Out of Babylon Now!

Revelation 18:1-5 represents God's final call to His faithful followers to come out of the spiritual delusions - the false doctrines and traditions of men - of Babylon, and to come into His remnant church which keeps all of His commandments, including the forgotten seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has the faith of Jesus.  "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."

Very soon, Babylon will fill to the full the cup of her iniquity.  By attempting to change God's law and exalt Sunday as a mandatory day of worship and rest, in place of God's seventh-day Sabbath, Babylon will have crossed the line of God's forbearance.  At that time, God will move to defend His name and confound every earthly and demonic principality, power and kingdom opposed to his heavenly kingdom and the eternal precepts of His law.  "It is time for thee, Lord, to work:  for they have made void thy law."  Psalm 119:126. 

Obedience to God's Law the Final Test of Loyalty to God

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven:  but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 5:17-19.  Jesus came to magnify His law and make it honorable.  Isaiah 42:21.  He consistently taught by precept and personal example that we should keep His commandments.  "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  John 14:15.  But man by his traditions has made the commandments of God of none effect.  Matthew 15:9.  The final test of loyalty to God in these last days will center around obedience to His commandments and the seal of God, the seventh-day Sabbath, versus obedience to Sunday, the mark of man's authority.  No one has the mark of the beast now.  But when earthly prelates, in conjunction with world superpowers, seek to compel men's consciences to worship on Sunday, a day that God never blessed nor commanded us to worship on, that is when the beast's mark of authority - mandatory Sunday worship - comes into effect.  The most solemn warning in God's word against false worship is pronounced in that context.  "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:  and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Here is the patience of the saints:  here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  Revelation 14:9-12.  God in His great mercy is calling the whole world to repent from all sin and follow Jesus and keep His commandments.  He is calling upon all to renounce every worldly power, be it a church or a government or both, that would seek to violate liberty of conscience by dictating to men how and when they should worship God.  It is my prayer, dear readers, that you would become part of God's last day movement to keep all of His commandments and believe in Jesus with all of your heart.  Amen.          

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