Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Sixth Bowl

And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates. And its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the rising of the sun 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 spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that day, the 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.

   The striking similarity between the sixth trumpet call and the sixth bowl of wrath is that both affect the Euphrates River in such a way that the kings of the East can cross the river to go to war in the near east.  Also striking is the use of the number three – the three plagues and the three unclean spirits.  

   This, among many others, is a good indication that chapters 12 - 18 need to be interspersed with chapters 6 -11. 

  The words, I saw another angel14:6, carry an interesting connotation.  If we followed the texts in the sequence they are in the Bible, the last angel mentioned would be the angel with the seventh trumpet in 11:15.  For the writer to say that he saw this angel is sure proof that chapter 14:6-7 must come before 11:15 since 11:15 heralds the Rapture of the Church. 

   It would be redundant for an angel to be preaching the everlasting gospel after all the people have been taken to the great white throne to be judged.  It is mandatory that all these seven angels of chapter 14, be moved to a position before 11:15, for if we do not do that, we repeatedly run into these types of incongruities.

   One is almost forced to conclude that the section, chapters 1:3-11:19, was written by one writer and chapters 12-18 were written by another and that both writers were writing the same story using different word pictures.

The Euphrates

   When the sixth angel poured out his bowl of wrath on the ... Euphrates, it dried up so that the kings of the eastern nations could cross it on their horses (the method of transportation in John's day).   so that the kings from the east could march their armies westward without hindrance. The Living Bible

   The writer could only write in words and ideas that he knew; he used the word horses because words like tanks and armoured vehicles were unknown in his day.  Even if he would have written "tank" nobody before the twentieth century would have known what he meant.

   Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphratesand its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.  Many Bible teachers see in this verse the incident when the armies of the Medes and Persians built a dam, to dry up the Euphrates so that the soldiers could enter Babylon under the wall of the city where the river used to flow into the city.  

   It seems to fit the picture well, but in this case, the kings of the East are not going to Babylon, they are heading for Megiddo, which is in Israel.  Hence, there is no reason to confuse the two incidents.

Spirits like frogs

I saw three unclean spirits issue out of the mouths of three sources: 

  1. The red dragon, 12:13, 
  2. the Antichrist, 13:1, 
  3. the false prophet. 11:11.

    Wuest#, at this point, is very graphic and deserves to be quoted.  I saw spirits (free moral intelligences without a physical body), three of them, unclean (in appearance) like frogs, for they are spirits of demons.  These spirits can do miracles, and because they can, they gain access to the presence of kings; the country's political leaders.  

   At this point, as in several other places in The Apocalypse, the prophecy is not just for the Mediterranean area.  The writer distinctly says, the kings of the earth and of the whole world.  When the false prophet has gone to the leaders of the whole world, instilling his hatred into the minds of the leaders a worldwide war will break out.  

   The intended centre of this world war will be Israel.  It is the Antichrist, the last "great" political leader of the world, which will call all nations to battle against the Lord and His army. 

When Will Christ Return?

    Those who preach that Christ could come back at any moment and that He will certainly return before the great Tribulation, have missed a number of vital statements in the New Testament and certainly in The Revelation

   For example, notice:

   In verse 15, we find these well-known words, Behold I am coming as a thief. In Christian circles, these words denote the return of Christ for the Church.  The Lord warns, when the Battle of Armageddon starts, then you better be ready for the return of Christ.  Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments (clean). 16:15

    Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments (clean), lest he walk naked and they see his shame. 16:15.  This verse is used in conjunction with the battle of Armageddon, and yet, it is spoken to Christians.  Simply stated, this means that the rapture cannot happen before the battle of that day, the great day of God Almighty. 

   When Christ returns Christians will be stripped of their filthy garments of selfishness and greed, and if that is all they are wearing, without any good deeds and kindnesses to cover themselves, they will be caught morally and spiritually naked and their selfish shame will be evident.

  In the next post, we start a long, long, detour through the filthy city of Babylon.  It will seem as if we have completely lost our way and have totally forgotten that we are expecting the seventh trumpet to sound.  Do not despair -this disgusting path leads home.  

   Earlier I said that the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath are the second woe and that the second woe is the Battle of Armageddon.
   However, a prelude to that battle is Babylon, which we must visit first, then there will be a few other details to tie up and finally The Champion on a white charger will appear.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

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