Revelation 16:1-21 Part 10

REVELATION 16:1-21 Part 10


1)    Then I heard a great sound from the tabernacle to the seven messengers. ‘Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the land.’

2)    And the first went forth and poured out from its bowl into the land; and an evil and malignant sore came to be on the men having the mark of the beast and adoring its image.

3)    And the second poured out from its bowl into the sea, and blood as of a corpse came to be; and every being that was alive in the sea rotted.

4)    And the third poured out from its bowl into the rivers and their water sources, and there blood came to be;

5)    and I heard the waters messenger saying ‘just are You, the IS and the WAS, the Holy One; for You did judge thus

6)    because they did pour out the blood of the righteous and the prophets.  Therefore you have given them blood to drink.  Worthy they are!

7)    Then I heard saying from the incense altar, ‘Yes!  Kurie the Almighty God; true and righteous Your judgments’.

8)    And the fourth poured out its bowl on the sun; and it was given it to burn men in fire;

9)    fierce heat!  And the men were burned, and they blasphemed the God having the power of these plagues and did not turn to give Him glory.

10) And the fifth poured out its bowl on the seat of the beast; and its kingdom became shrouded in darkness.  And they were gnawing their tongues from the misery,

11) and they blasphemed The God of the Heaven for their pains and their sores.  But they did not turn from their works.

12) And the sixth poured out its bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up so that the approach of the kings from the sun’s rising would be prepared.

13) Then I saw three unclean spirits as frogs from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the pseudoprophet.

14) These are demon spirits which are going forth unto the kings of the whole world doing signs to gather them into the great war of the Day of Almighty God:

15) ‘Lo!  I come as a thief.  Blessed the one watching and guarding his garments that he may not be walking about uncovered and they observe his shame.’

16) And it gathered them in a place called in Hebrew ‘Armageddon’.

17) And the seventh poured out its bowl upon the air.  And there was a great sound from the Holy Place of the throne saying ‘IT IS COME’.

18) And lightnings and sounds and thunders came, and there was great shaking such as there never was since men came to be on the land,

19) and the great city was made into three parts; and the cities of the  people fell.  And ‘Babylon the Great’ was recalled before God, to give it the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath.

20) And every island fled; and no mountains were found.

21) And great hail as talant-weight comes down from the heaven on the men; and from the plague of the hail the men blasphemed God, for its plague is exceedingly great.


To this point, John has been shown five bowls of the full and final wrath of YAHVEH – shortly to be poured out upon His paradise land.  There are two more for a perfect “seven” – a complete end.

Please notice once again that the command to the seven messengers (verse one) was to pour out the wrath of YAHVEH upon the “land”.  The fifth bowl was to be poured out on the “seat of the beast” – the fourth beast (from the prophecy of Daniel) being the Roman empire; and the “seat” of that beast was Rome.  It is clear in the text, however, that the purpose of pouring out “darkness” upon Rome was to incite the beast to the depths of its own depravity and perversity in order that it would take up the “sword”, in an insane lust for blood, against the land and turn it into a wilderness.

Then the wolves and jackals that had preyed upon the people for so long would, themselves, be the food for beasts of prey all over the land.

Now, as John sees the sixth messenger pour out its bowl, it too was in preparation for the coming “Day of YAHVEH”; for there had to be a way for vast armies of the empire to make their way into “the land”.

Just a minute or two for a lesson in geography will help us understand why the sixth bowl was to be poured out on the “great river, the Euphrates. 

God’s people in all the Churches would have understood this immediately upon receiving the letter.  They were from there!  And they knew!

We aren’t from there; and we don’t know much about the geography of the middle East.  (Schools don’t do much, if anything, with geography anyway!)

But geography, in God’s perception of His creation, plays an important role in history.  Covenantal continuity, which is the ordained approach to the written Word, demands attention to geography!  And besides, if you remember correctly, there is a direct connection between the Euphrates River and YAHVEH’s original paradise on earth!

But the very small country now occupied by about three million Jews mustn’t be equated with that land originally given to the twelve tribes, and described to Moses, and which description was subsequently written by him in Deuteronomy.  God’s paradise/land which He gave to the tribes was much larger.  It consisted of everything from Egypt to the South all the way to the Euphrates River in the North.  The Mediterranean sea was to the West, and the Arabian Desert to the East.

The Euphrates River flows south from (what is now) Eastern Turkey, and then turns East – Southeast, forming the northern border of what God gave to Jacob’s sons as a paradise on earth.  It was a mighty river – and difficult to cross from the East.

To the South of the land was the Red Sea and the wadi of Egypt.  Unless God parted the water (as in the exodus), it, too, was difficult to cross.

To the East, on the other side of the Jordan River, was the Arabian Desert which, attempting to cross without continuous provision (such as bread and meat from heaven and water from the rock), was almost certain death.  And to the West was the Mediterranean Sea.

And by now you may be starting to see why the sixth bowl of the wrath of God was poured out on the Euphrates!

The old adage comes to mind about the traveler who stopped to get directions; and the answer was: “you can’t get there from here!”  The humorous implication is that you have to go someplace else and start from there!

We have great causeways and railways and mammoth bridges, and lighted, air-conditioned tunnels through mountains and under large bodies of water.  There was no such thing then.

It would be most problematic for a military invasion to be launched from the sea.  How many soldiers could there be on a boat?  Where would they put the horses and the chariots and battlements and wagons and provisions?

And how difficult would it be for vast armies (with all their animals and chariots and wagons and battlements) to cross the Arabian Desert from the East?  And then have to cross the Jordan River if anybody was left alive?

And what about having to negotiate the Red Sea and the deep gorge of the Wadi of Egypt from the South (Africa)?

But YAHVEH, in His full and final wrath upon the land, would pour out the sixth bowl upon the Euphrates, preparing it for the invasion of His armies.  He would dry it up.  And the crazed, perverted emperor of Rome (completely darkened at the pouring out of the fifth bowl), would order the annihilation of this problem province called Israel. 

And the fully prepared armies of the empire, with all of the accoutrements of extended warfare, would come from the East (from the sun’s rising as the text reads) and cross over the Euphrates just as Israel had crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River… on dry ground – without getting wet!

All the nations were under the authority of the emperor.  And the nations were conscripted into the Roman army for the invasion – an invasion the purpose of which was to kill everybody and destroy everything.  It was caesar Nero’s orders.

The prophets wrote what YAHVEH had said.  And YAHVEH had said that HIS armies (please note that He said that they were HIS… we’ll read that shortly), His armies would be numbered as locusts in a plague.  And as they moved South from the river, the lush paradise would be before them; and behind them would be a wilderness.  The armies ate everything alive; and what they couldn’t use, they destroyed.

But… I’m getting ahead of the text.  Here is the reading once again from verses thirteen and fourteen:


“Then I saw three unclean spirits as frogs from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the pseudoprophet.

These are demon spirits which are going forth unto the kings of the whole world doing signs to gather them into the great war of the Day of Almighty God:”


All over the world the leaders of the nations of the empire were being “gathered” into the great war of the Day of Almighty God (YAHVEH Lord of Hosts).  Their fighting forces were being conscripted into Roman legions; and they were from all over the world – especially (as the text implies) from the East.


And what does Psalm two say?


1)    Why do the nations rage and the peoples meditate a vain thing?

2)    The kings of the earth set themselves and the princes take counsel together against YAHVEH and against his Anointed, saying:

3)    “let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

4)    But He Who sits in the heaven will laugh!  YAHVEH will have them in derision.


Why does YAHVEH laugh at the rulers of the whole world gathering themselves together against Him and His Anointed?  Why does He hold them in derision?

There are three reasons.  First one is that the dragon and the beast and the pseudoprophets and the princes of the world actually think that they can sever the relationship between Creator and creature!  That’s funny!  How can a pot be something other than the potter’s creation (Paul’s analogy right from Isaiah’s prophecy)?  If one is God’s creature, how can the creature decide to NOT be God’s creature!?

Second (and we’ve read this a couple of times before – and will do so once again this morning), YAHVEH says that these armies that are being gathered are HIS armies!  They belong to Him!  And they are being gathered together to do His will with what is His!  And He will pour out His wrath on the great river in order to “prepare” it for the crossing of His armies!

And the third reason that YAHVEH laughs and holds them in derision is that the evil spirits that are sent out to the kings and princes of the world (in this case “as frogs”) also belong to Him (as does the emperor of Rome!).  They – the evil spirits – are also creatures of His.

He laughs and holds them all in derision because they, in their loathsome depravity, are being used by YAHVEH to do His will!  And then He judges them for doing their evil deeds!

That can’t be any clearer than in the text of First Kings chapter twenty-one where Micaiah the prophet was summoned by the evil king Ahab (that’s the one whose wife was Jezebel).  Also gathered were all of the pseudoprophets who had told Ahab what he wanted to hear – that Ahab would prevail in a coming battle.

But Micaiah was a true prophet of YAHVEH who the kings of Judah and Israel hated!  They hated him because of what he said!  And he said what YAHVEH said for him to say!

After much coaxing from Ahab, Micaiah revealed to the king exactly what he had seen and heard directly from the tabernacle of YAHVEH Lord of Hosts!  And Micaiah knew that he was going to suffer greatly for speaking the Revelation.

Here is what he said to Ahab, at verse nineteen of First Kings chapter twenty-one:


19) And Micaiah said, “therefore hear the word of YAHVEH: I saw YAHVEH sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing before Him to his right and to his left.

20) And YAHVEH said, ‘which of you shall entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’  And one said in this manner; and another said in that manner.

21) And there came forth a spirit and stood before YAHVEH, and said, ‘I will entice him’.

22) And YAHVEH said unto him, ‘in what manner’? And he said, I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets’!  And YAHVEH said, ‘you shall entice him and you shall prevail; go, and do so.’  Then Micaiah speaks directly to Ahab:

23) Now therefore, behold, YAHVEH has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and YAHVEH has spoken concerning your evil.


The messenger of YAHVEH was sent to be a lying spirit in the mouths of all of Ahab’s prophets (false prophets) – all of whom told Ahab that he would be successful in his military pursuit at Ramoth-Gilead.  And Micaiah told Ahab that YAHVEH was doing that!  He even revealed that Ahab would believe the pseudoprophets anyway when, in actuality, Ahab would be killed!  He told Ahab that that would be the case!

Ahab did, indeed, believe the pseudoprophets!  But, just in case, he was thoroughly disguised for the battle (so the enemy wouldn’t recognize him as the king); and his armor completely shielded him underneath the disguise.

But even so, a “stray” arrow (the word used “tongue in cheek”, of course) a stray arrow found its mark through the joints of Ahab’s armor; and he bled to death in his chariot.

And here’s a further striking and thrilling connection from God’s Word.  Later, when Ahab’s chariot was being washed out, the Scripture reads that all of his blood ran into the water source that the harlots of Samaria used for washing and swimming.

The apostle Paul echoes this very event when he writes to the Churches in Thessalonica about what is shortly to come to pass.  Here it is in Second Thessalonians chapter two:


7)    For the mystery of lawlessness is already working: except there is one who restrains right now, until he is taken out of the way.

8)    And then shall be revealed the lawless one who the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to nought by the manifesting of his parousia;

9)    even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10) and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11) And for this cause God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie

12) that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


YAHVEH sends them a “working of error” that they should believe a lie!  And in the case of Ahab, He sent a “lying spirit” into the mouth of the prophets!

Now, here in the text (verses thirteen and fourteen), a lying spirit came out from the mouth of the dragon, and from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the prophets of Israel (the pseudoprophet – the land beast), in order that the rulers of all the nations under caesar of Rome would be enticed to gather for the great war of the Day of YAHVEH!

Understand that it is the day… OF YAHVEH!  It’s HIS day – prophesied throughout the Scripture!  The dragon is deceived by YAHVEH to do His bidding; the fourth beast of history has been called up by YAHVEH from the sea of humanity to do His bidding; the pseudoprophets of Israel are deceived into raising the image of the beast for all remaining in the land to adore and obey.  They all conspire to “cut the cords” that bind them to YAHVEH and His Anointed One; and YAHVEH laughs and holds them in derision.

They all “gather” for the great war of the Day of YAHVEH; and He dries up the great river Euphrates so they can cross!  That’s the sixth bowl of the full and final wrath of God!

As John looks on, the awesome sign that is shown to him has the lying spirit proceeding from the mouth of the dragon and the mouth of the beast and the mouth of the pseudoprophet  (the land beast) – as frogs! 

So, what is it with that?!

YAHVEH shows him “frogs”!  The lying spirits are as frogs.  This is one of those signs shown to John that causes people to describe the Revelation of Jesus Christ as ‘the most obscure book in the Bible” – “completely non-understandable”, “weird beyond belief”; “it shouldn’t even be in the Bible” they say, “because nobody knows what this weird stuff means!”

So folks just “shut down”!  They “turn off”!  They don’t want to read it; they don’t want to hear it… and if somebody tries to say something about it (like prophecy preachers, for example), it’s just their imagination on steroids.

But… Hey!  IT’S A LYING SPIRIT!  THAT’S WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO!  That’s what lying spirits do!!  They cause people to believe a lie!

John knew what it was; the Churches knew what it was all about.  They knew what was about to be; they knew what the sign was about….  And they gloried in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  And it strengthened them in the mighty deeds of YAHVEH and in the testimony of Jesus.  He’s the “light” of the world!

Lying spirits operate in darkness.  But the shining light of the glory of God shines bright in the face of Jesus Christ!  His countenance is the express image of The Father!

As the words that Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica said, the Parousia of Jesus Christ was near; the nations were being prepared for the Day of YAHVEH; the full and final wrath of God was about to be poured out on the harlot nation.  And lying spirits went out to the princes of the nations from the mouths of the dragon and the beast and the pseudoprophets of Israel.  They were sent out in order to gather them for the war of the DAY OF YAHVEH.  And they were sent out “as frogs”.

There’s nothing whatever “weird” about the frogs that John was shown in this awesome sign.  In the Law of God, written by Moses, there were specific laws of separation that were meant to warn the twelve tribes of Jacob to “remain separate” from unclean things.  And the sign here refers directly to the Law of God.  Frogs are especially forbidden as an “unclean beast” never to be put into one’s mouth!

Once again, the laws of separation were for the purpose of warning all of God’s people to stay away from anything “unclean”.  And in their fullness they were prophetic for the Church of Jesus Christ.

But here in the sign to John, lying spirits “as frogs” were coming OUT of the mouths of the dragon and the beast and the pseudoprophets of Israel.  The word “mouth” is written three times here (in verse thirteen).  “Out of the mouth of the dragon”; “out of the mouth of the beast”; “out of the mouth of the false prophets of Israel”.

The “unclean thing” is coming out of their mouths!  The lying spirits were “unclean”.  And as the lying spirit (sent by YAVHEH) enticed the prophets of Israel to lie to Ahab in First Kings twenty one, the lying spirits here enticed the nations to gather for the great Day of YAHVEH.  And they were sent by YAHVEH “as frogs”.  In God’s perspective it refers back to His Own Law-word!

As Jesus once said to the pharisees, it’s not what goes into your mouths that makes you unclean, it’s what comes out of your mouths; for it’s what comes out of your mouths that identifies where the uncleanness is!  The dragon and the beast and the false prophets of Israel were unclean.  And what came out of their mouths was an unclean beast that connects this sign directly to the Law of Moses.

If folks looked deeply into the things of God, they would never be tempted to look upon the Revelation of Jesus Christ as being too weird to be believable.  But Jesus Christ is “Way”, “Truth”, and “Life”.  The Truth is shined upon the darkness; and the darkness disappears.  The Truth sets you free; and you shall be free indeed.

Let’s not fail, though, to see the other connection to Moses; for the ninth plague upon Egypt was a plague of these very unclean beasts.

Listen to it:


1)    And YAHVEH spoke unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh and say unto him, ‘Thus says YAHVEH: Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

2)    And if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your borders with frogs;  (That means from border to border.)

3)    and the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into your house, and into your bedchamber, and upon your bed, and into the house of your servants, and upon your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading-troughs; (all the cooking utensils)

4)    and the frogs shall come up both on you, and on your people, and on all your servants.’

5)    Then YAHVEH said unto Moses, ‘Say unto Aaron: Stretch forth your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the streams, and over the pools of water, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.’

6)    And Aaron stretched out his hand over all the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.


Nobody should doubt that the apostle John saw the obvious when he was shown the lying spirits as frogs going out to the kings and princes of the empire.  They were unclean beasts – lying spirits sent to gather them for YAHVEH’s purpose.

The obvious of course was the unclean beasts covering Egypt for the same reason!  Pharaoh was “hardened”.  Although he pretended to relent and let the people go, he was hardened for YAHVEH’s purpose.  And great and mighty deeds of YAHVEH were manifest in the redemption of His people.

In our text, the kings and princes of the nations of the world were hardened by the lying spirits as frogs; and they gathered together against YAHVEH and against His Anointed.  And the glory of YAHVEH was manifest in His mighty acts as His armies fulfilled His every purpose.

Then John hears the prophetic Word: “Lo, I come as a thief….”  And please understand that this is not “incidental” to the text; it doesn’t appear “out of the blue”; it’s not “disconnected” from anything….  It’s not just “inserted” into the text without reason!

It is “spoken” by God in John’s hearing; and that’s why it’s written here.  It’s spoken, right at this point because, from God’s perspective it has great significance with reference to what has just been written!  It is a reference directly to the prophetic Word.   And remember that our Lord refers to that prophecy in chapter twenty four of Matthew as He answers His disciples questions concerning His “coming” and the end of the age.

But here it is… the passage concerning the “Day of YAHVEH”, from Joel chapter two:


1)    Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of YAHVEH is coming; it is near;

2)    a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!  Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.

3)    Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns.  The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.

4)    Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run.

5)    As with the rumbling of chariots they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle.

6)    Before them peoples are in anguish; all faces grow pale.

7)    Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall.  They march each in his way; they do not swerve from their paths.

8)    They do not push on one another; each marches in his path; they burst through the weapons and are not halted.

9)    They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls, they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows as a thief.

10) The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble.  The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.

11) YAHVEH utters his voice before His army, for His camp is exceedingly great; He who executes His word is powerful.  For the Day of YAHVEH is great and very awesome; and who can endure it?


“I Am coming as a thief…” in the DAY OF YAHVEH… the day in which He pours out His (perfect seven) full and final wrath.  The DAY OF YAHVEH is very awesome (the prophet writes).  And the sign shown to John is a great and “awesome” sign.

Verse fifteen will require much more from us than what’s been said so far.  The magnitude of its relevance to the sixth bowl can’t be overemphasized; and its gravity can’t be overlooked.

Not only is it not “out of place” here; but it especially reflects the perfect continuity of the written Word… and powerfully so!

I’ll leave you with some of the words of our Lord as He responded to His disciples’ questions concerning His Parousia at the end of the age.  Beginning at verse thirty six of Matthew twenty four:


36) But concerning that day and hour no one knows, neither the messengers of the heavens, except the Father only.

37) But just as the days of Noah, so will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.

38) For as they were in those days before the deluge, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the very day Noah entered into the ark,

39) and they didn’t know until the deluge came and took all; so shall be the Parousia of the Son of Man.

40) Two then will be in the field, one is received and one sent away;

41) two grinding in the mill, one is received and one sent away.

42) Watch therefore that you not know in what kind of day your Lord comes.

43) But this you know, if the house master had known in which watch the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have allowed his house to be dug through!

44) And because of this you are to be ready ones, in which case you don’t assume an hour the Son of Man comes.


We’ll continue this next Lord’s Day; and we’ll commune at the Lords’ table.