A Study of Revelation

10* Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain,

The beast here refers to the same beast we were introduced to in Chapter 13, those political and religious powers that oppose God and persecute his people. This bowl of wrath is poured upon the seat of the power and reign of the beast, upon his throne and his kingdom becomes full of darkness. This shows the power of God over the beast. God’s kingdom will stand forever, but the kingdom of the beast, whether it be political or religious, will be full of pain, suffering and darkness. We should never place our trust in power of this earth. We must trust only in the power of God. God will never let the forces of the devil stand. He will eventually destroy them forever.

Governmental and religious power of this earth which persecute God’s people will come and go, but God’s kingdom will stand forever. Those people who put their trust in kingdoms other than God’s will suffer greatly, both mentally and physically, as these power collapse upon this earth. They will gnaw their tongues in the sense that they will be in pain as they watch the powers which they have trusted collapse all around them. This is why Christians must always trust in God. His kingdom will never fall.

11* and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

Instead of turning away from these power of the devil and living a life of righteousness the people affected by this plague blame God for their sufferings. They refuse to repent of their evil deeds therefore their “pains” and their “sores” continue.

Let me remind you. We are studying the book of Revelation. We must remember that we are dealing with symbolic language. These plagues are describing the pain and suffering which people on earth who refuse to obey God will endure. This is why terms such as “pains” and “sores” are used. They represent all types of sorrows and sufferings which will affect non-Christians.

12* ¶ The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

You will find that most people will try to interpret this passage literally. It is not intended to be understood literally. The book of Revelation deals with spiritual matters which are described symbolically by using physical items with which we are familiar. The literal Euphrates River has symbolic meaning. In the Old Testament the literal river Euphrates was the eastern boundary of the land which Israel possessed (Gen. 15:18; Deut. 1:7, 8; 2 Sam. 8:3,4). If we translate this meaning into symbolic language concerning the church today it becomes a spiritual boundary between the people of God and those who follow the devil. The Euphrates River is used to symbolize the spiritual boundary between the ways of righteousness and ungodliness. We know that the boundary between righteousness and ungodliness is the law of Christ or the New Testament. It is the gospel. The gospel is the symbolic meaning of the “water” of the great Euphrates. Just as water is a necessary life-giving substance which man must have in order to sustain his physical life, the gospel is the necessary life-giving substance of our spiritual lives. This water, or the gospel, is the dividing line between the ways of righteousness and unrighteousness. Those who obey the gospel, or partake of this spiritual water, will move from the place of unrigheousness to the place of spiritual righteousness, the church.

In verse 12 when the angel poured out his bowl on the Euphrates the water dried up. This means that some people may become so hardened to the message of the gospel that God will turn them over to their ways of sin. Paul wrote:

2 Thess. 2:11,12
11* For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
12* in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

Rom. 1:28
28* And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

The Scriptures teach that wen a person becomes so involved in sin that he has no desire to hear about God or make any attempt to turn from his sins, God will “give them over” to those ways of sin. The water of the Euphrates will be dried up for those people. They will believe the lies spoken by the forces of the devil and be damned.

The “kings of the east” represent those forces of the devil which constantly work in
the world today. In Old Testament History the kings of the east were a threat to Israel’s physical existence. This means that those who oppose God are a threat to our spiritual lives. These kings are referred to in verse 13 as the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. These are the forces which oppose God. When man refuses to hear and obey God’s Word, the “waters” (gospel) of the “great river Euphrates” (the boundary between righteousness and unrighteousness) are “dried up.” That person is engulfed in sin and overcome by the “kings of the east” who lead the forces of the devil against men.

13* And I saw coming 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 unclean spirits like frogs;

The frogs in this verse represent false teachings. The words spoken by the dragon, the beast and the false prophet is that which affects men. These words or teaching are described an unclean spirits which appeared like frogs. This likely means that these words go out in every direction. Frogs do not necessarily follow a straight line, they hop about in every direction. False teaching works in much the same way.

It goes out in all directions causing man to follow the ways of the devil. In the ten plagues sent against Egypt they were a physical plague sent directly against the enemy of God’s people. Today they symbolize a spiritual plague sent against those who will not obey God’s Word.

14* 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.

These spirits go throughout the world today. They are very much at work in our world today. They are deceiving mankind by the working of “signs” which should not be thought of as actual miraculous signs, but as great deceptions which cause men to follow their ways rather than God’s. There are men today who claim to work miracles such as speaking in tongues or healing the sick by simply the laying on of hands. These are examples of the unclean spirits or frogs which plague mankind today and cause him to follow Satan. By these spiritual deceits these spirits of the devil are going forth to the “kings of the whole world.”

As they go through the whole world they are gathering their followers together for the “war of the great day of God.” This is what many people refer to as the “battle of Armageddon.” Obviously, a battle is being fought, but it is not some physical battle to be fought by using our modern weapons of war. This is a spiritual battle which is constantly being fought as the “spirits of demons” go forth over the earth seeking to deceive all mankind into following the ways of Satan.

The “great day of God” is the judgment day. Jude wrote:

Jude 6
6* And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,

The judgment day is a day of battle between the Lord and Satan. This is a spiritual battle. Rev. 17:14 says

Rev. 17:14
14* ¶ “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

In the battle to be fought on judgment day our Lord will be totally victorious over Satan. Christians will no longer have to fight those spiritual battles. We will be victorious and dwell with our Lord forever. The battle will be won.

15* (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)

We as Christians are admonished to “keep our clothes” as the “spirits of demons” go forth throughout the world waging spiritual war against mankind. We must not lose our own personal battle with Satan. We are to “stay awake.” The “clothes” reminds us of Rev. 3:4:

Rev. 3:4
4* ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.

Jude wrote:

Jude 20-23
20* But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
21* keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
22* And have mercy on some, who are doubting;
23* save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

The Christian’s “clothes” or “garments” symbolize the righteousness that the Christian possesses because of the blood of Christ. Rev. 19:8 says:

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
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“Revelation Illustrated”

Rev. 19:8
8* It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

To lose our “clothes” is symbolic of leaving that state of righteousness (sin-less-ness; or right-with-God-ness) and returning to a world of sin.

Jesus tells us here that he will come as a thief. This means that he will come the second time when men are least expecting him. A thief enters when no one is expecting him. Jesus will come when men have their minds turned from God on matters of this world rather than on spiritual matters. Jesus said:

Matt. 24:37-39
37* “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
38* “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

In the days of Noah men did not expect the end of the world. When Christ returns a second time men will be not expect him. This is why Christians are admonished to be watchful and keep their clothes. If we become as people of the world we will lose our “clothes” and be naked in a sinful world.

16* And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

The word “Armageddon” as it is used in the Hebrew language would be translated “Har-Magedon” in the Greek. This is the only time this world is used in the Bible, and there is no evidence that a place with this specific name has ever existed. This means that this word must have a symbolic meaning.

Some will say that it refers to the Valley of Megiddo which has been the sight of many bloody battles fought by the Jewish nation. Many teach that the final battle between the saints and the Anti-christ will be fought on this territory immediately preceding the second coming of Christ. Many of these people also teach that when Christ does appear at the second coming he will lead his followers to a great victory in this valley and proceed to set up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem for a period of one thousand years. This error requires one to literally interpret these symbols.

Let me remind you. We are studying the book of Revelation. It is a book which uses physical symbols to represent spiritual things. It was never intended by God to be understood literally.

The Valley of Megiddo was a place of great sorrow for the Jewish nation. Throughout its history Israel had mourned many times because of events which had taken place in this valley (Judges 5:19; 1 Kings 4:12, 9:15; 2 Kings 9:27, 23:29-30; 1 Chron. 7:29; 2 Chron. 35:22; Zech 12:11). Therefore, the term “Armageddon” would carry with it the symbolic meaning of a place of great sorrow.

In the Greek language, the first syllable of this word (har) means “mountain.” Therefore, the actual meaning of Armageddon would be the “mountain of sorrows.” This helps us to understand that even though the Valley of Megiddo is probably the source of this symbolic word, it does not refer specifically to a specific geographical location because we are dealing with a mountain instead of a valley. Symbolically, a mountain would refer to a massive amount of almost anything. Some people make a “mountain” out of a “mole hill.” The symbolic meaning here is this: the people who follow the “spirits of demons” are going to be gathered to a place called “Armageddon” or “mountain of sorrows.” They will be gathered to a place where the amount of sorrow they will undergo will be indescribable. They will suffer beyond our greatest imaginations. Remember, this is the sixth plague, it describes the immense grief that people feel who have not obeyed God when Christ returns.

As people live their lives today without regard for obedience to God they are sealing their destiny to be gathered to a place called Armageddon. They may be enjoying the pleasures of this world for a time, but they are destined to find themselves in a state of tremendous sorrow when judgment comes. They will be on the losing side of that great and final battle when the Lamb will overcome them.

Rev. 17:14
14* ¶ “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

This makes it clear that the meaning of the sixth plague is this: when men refuse to obey the gospel of Christ, God will turn them over to their evil ways. He will deliver them over to follow the ways of Satan which are described as unclean spirits coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. When Christ comes again they will be gathered together in a place of immense sorrow figuratively called Armageddon. Here they will lose the final battle of “the great day” (judgment) when the devil and his follower will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever (20:10).

The sixth plague brings us to the end of all activities on the earth. The sixth seal and the sixth trumpet also too us to the end of time. Remember these visions are parallel, describing different events, all of which are taking place during the present Christian dispensation. The seventh plague takes us into the time of judgment and eternity, therefore, the seventh plague represents the final plague which all those who are disobedient to God will suffer. It will be an eternity in the torment of hell.

17* ¶ Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”

To pour out his bowl upon the air indicates the total coverage of this plague. This is the final plague which will affect all who have refused to obey God. The first six plagues were directed at specific parts of the world. This last plague affects all who have been disobedient. Paul wrote:

Eph. 2:1-2
2:1* ¶ And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2* in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Satan is the “prince of the power of the air”, therefore, this plague affects Satan and all of his followers.

When this bowl is poured out a voice from the temple from the throne says, “It is done.” This must be the voice of God. God is proclaiming that “it is done.” This would mean that all things of this present world are finished. God’s plan for man has been completed. In the trumpet series (10:7) we have a reading which is similar to this verse and therefore demonstrates that the time of the seventh seal, and the seventh trumpet and the seventh plague are all parallel. When the time arrives this present world will have ended. This present Christian dispensation will be completed. Man’s destiny will be sealed. There will be no additional time on earth for man, there will be no second chances. Those who were obedient to God here on earth will spend an eternity with him in heaven, and those who followed Satan will be afflicted by the seventh plague for all eternity.

18* And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.

These are similar symbols to those used at the conclusion of the seventh seal (8:5) and the seventh trumpet (11:19). This signifies the final conclusion of all things. Lightning, sounds and peals of thunder are used to announce major acts of God. This was true at the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:16; 20:18: Heb. 12:18,19). The seventh plague will be the final act of God dealing with man.

The earthquake likely represents the shaking of the people because of their fear. The people of this earth will be shaken as never before.

19* The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.

The “great city” is the same one referred to in 17:18 as the “woman” who was also called the “great harlot” (17:1). It is also referred to as “Babylon the Great” in 17:5 and 18:2. The great city represents those systems of organized religion devised by men instead of by God. Those who have left the true teachings of God to follow the teachings of men reside in the “great city.” They have committed spiritual fornication. At the end of time they will be destroyed, or as it is described her will spit into three parts. This destruction is probably described this way because the number “3” is a reference to the divine and this destruction will be a divine destruction carried out by God. Verse 19 tells us that during the time of the seventh plague, all powers which exist in this world will fall. These false spiritual organizations of men will fall, and those physical forces such as government, cities and nations will fall. The power of God will overcome and destroy all powers which are in existence.

At that time “Babylon the great was remembered before God” and she will receive the fierceness of his wrath. These are the powers which oppose God. Just as Babylon of old was an enemy of God’s people and took them into captivity, the Babylon of today is made up of those people who oppose God. During this time the seventh plague all those who have opposed God will come before him to receive the fierceness of his wrath.

20* And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Let me remind you. We are in the book of Revelation. Physical things are used to symbolize spiritual things. The term “island is used in the Old Testament to represent leaders among the people of the nations (Is. 41:1; 49:1; 59:18). Mountains are used symbolically to represent power kingdoms or nations (Is. 41:15; Jer. 51:24, 25; Amos 4:1). Therefore this indicates that the powers which some individuals (islands) of this world have acquired over others mean nothing. The powers of might worldly governments means nothing (mountains). The only power that will exist is God’s.

21* And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.

Here we have a figurative description of the fierceness of God’s wrath. This figurative description shows the severity of this final plague which God will levy against those who have followed the ways of the devil.

The final plague of eternal hell will be so great that we cannot begin to understand it as physical beings. It will be a plague of the spirit which will last forever. Living in our physical bodies we can only understand physical pain, therefore we have this description of hell in terms of the physical body. We can understand how severe a plague of hail such as this would be against our physical bodies, and this is used as a description of how severe this final plague will be against the spirits of the wicked in hell.

The only way to avoid this plague is to be a Christian and follow the ways of God.

Do you believe in Him?

John 1:12
“as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

John 8:24
“I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”

Mark 16:16
” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Are you willing to turn from you sins?
Luke13:5
“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Acts17:30
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent,

Are you willing to confess Him?

Romans 10:9, 10
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Are you willing to obey Him in Baptism to receive Forgiveness?

Mark 16:16
” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved”

1 Peter 3:21
And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 5:9
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

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