What is the Coming Tribulation All About, Part 19

November 18, 2014 at 8:24 AM

The Seven Bowl Judgments

The Seven Bowl Judgments

Previously, we highlighted the Fourth and Fifth Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16 that lead up to the Battle of Armageddon. The Sixth Bowl Judgment is more of a political judgment in preparation for this battle, though it is obviously a physical judgment as well, (Revelation 16:12).

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.

Clearly, the reason that the Euphrates River becomes dry is for the benefit the kings of the east as they begin to gather their armies for upcoming war. In that sense, this judgment is really the fall-out from the war that is soon to take place. Dr. Thomas Constable notes…

“[The Sixth Bowl Judgment] does not inflict a plague on people but serves as a preparation for the final eschatological battle.571 The Euphrates River is the northeastern border of the land God promised to Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 15:18; Deut. 1:7; 11:24; Josh. 1:4). The Bible calls the Euphrates River (cf. Gen. 2:14), the eastern border of the Promised Land, the great river; and it calls the Mediterranean Sea, the western border of the Promised Land, the Great Sea.” [1]

God specifically dries this river up in order that the kings from the east with their armies can cross into the Megiddo Plain. I see no reason to take this passage in a way other than literal. On numerous occasions, God dried up seas or river beds for His purposes. We see this with the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14), the Jordan River (Joshua 3), Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan River (2 Kings 2) and as Constable notes, Cyrus dried up the river bed by diverting the water in order to conquer Babylon (Jeremiah 50). Again, there is absolutely no reason to interpret this verse in Revelation as a metaphor since there are numerous examples of God drying up river or sea beds in the past.

Revelation 16:13-16 provide us more detail on the future war we know as Armageddon.

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

The above verses provide more information for us on the details of the Sixth Bowl Judgment and its effect on the world, politically. Reference is made to the dragon (known to be Satan), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet and the three unclean spirits (like frogs, not actual frogs, reminiscent of one of the plagues God meted out on Egypt) that come out of them. Verse 14 tells us without equivocation that the three unclean spirits that proceed out of their mouths are demons and those particular demons perform the type of signs and wonders that wind up mesmerizing the kings of the world and cause them to gather together for war. This coming war is referred to by John as the “great day of God, the Almighty.” Clearly, this is pointing to the fact that this war – Armageddon – will ultimately be a direct confrontation with God.

Verse 15 is very interesting as it is a bit of a parenthesis, where Jesus is speaking, stating that He is coming like a thief. This tends to remind us of a parable that Jesus taught found in Mark 13:34-37.

34 It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”

In both cases – the passage from Revelation and the one from Mark, Jesus notes that the people of the house (of Israel) do not know when the master will return and because of that, they should stay awake and prepared. There are many today – mostly in the Preterists and Reformed/Covenant camps who believe that Jesus already returned spiritually in AD 70 when God judged the nation of Israel by causing Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. The problem with this interpretation is that it is simply not Scriptural. Jesus said when He returns, every eye would see Him (Matthew 24), and in Acts 1, the disciples are told (after Jesus is taken up to the clouds physically) that this Jesus would return the very same way, meaning in the clouds and physically.

Though I (as a PreTrib Rapturist) was recently accused (once again) of mocking God’s return to this planet, it is actually Preterists and many Reformed/Covenant people actually wind up mocking the future return of Jesus since they believe He already returned. They have chosen to interpret Scripture allegorically against the clear teaching of Scripture. I am actually looking forward to Jesus’ physical return to this earth as I hope you are as well! I know it is yet future and if I am wrong about the PreTrib Rapture, so be it. I am fully confident that if I am alive during the Tribulation (and wrong about the PreTrib Rapture), God will see me through it!

2 Peter 3:4 tells us:

and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

This passage also refers to the lost, the unsaved, who have heard that Jesus is coming back so often, they see the whole thing as a joke. I can imagine it was the same in Noah’s day. “Sure Noah, it’s going to rain and flood the earth and by the way, what IS rain?!”

But the future Armageddon War is merely one more proof that Jesus will return physically to this earth and when He does, every eye will see Him because the sky will split apart like a parchment and the brightness of His coming will be far greater than the brightness of the sun. There will be no missing the event of His return.

We know that Jesus’ ministry was to the house of Israel. This is not to say that He ignored those who were not of that nation. His main thrust was to call the lost house of Israel back to God. They refused and ultimately rejected Him, crucifying Him to death.

The passage in Mark is addressed to Israel. The passage in Revelation 16 is also addressed to Israel. What many do not consider is that the Tribulation period is a time when God will purify the nation of Israel and reap from them those who will make up the final remnant of Israel. These individuals (who survive the Tribulation) will be the Israelites who go into the Millennial Kingdom and receive the fullness of the Land that God originally promised to Israel through Abraham long before Israel had even been created (cf. Genesis 12, 15, 17).

Revelation 16:13-16 provides for us the details regarding Armageddon. This is the battle between God and Satan’s man – the Antichrist. It is here that Satan pins all of his hopes on bringing his promises found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 to fruition. You’ll recall that Satan made five “I will” promises in Isaiah 14. He ultimately stated that he would be “like the Most High.” In order for him to do this, he obviously has to overcome God Himself, something he will not be able to do.

Imagine a created being that is so narcissistic that he believes he will actually overcome God, the uncreated Being! Yet, this is the depth of Satan’s ego. For Satan, everything he is currently doing that moves this earth toward the final phase of the revised Roman Empire (or the final stage of the Fourth Beast of Daniel 2 and 7) is to overcome God! That’s what it’s all about, defeating God!

God will allow Satan to do whatever it takes in his feeble attempts to bring his own promises to pass in order to prove to the entire universe (and all living things in it) that God is GOD and no one can “become” God or overthrow Him.

We’ll be back next time to learn just exactly how Armageddon turns out for everyone.


[1] http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/revelation.pdf, p. 148

Entry filed under: Demonic, dispensationalism, Pretribulational Rapture, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming.

What is the Coming Tribulation All About, Part 18 Time in Which We Live…is it the Tribulation?

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