"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Revelation 16 - Quick Links
Revelation 16:12 - Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
After the beast's kingdom plunges into darkness in the fifth Bowl judgment, the sixth angel pours his bowl on the Euphrates River, which runs near the beast's kingdom in Babylon. The great river dries up, allowing "the kings from the east" to cross. As we will see in Revelation 16:14, these kings are gathering to battle with their armies like the kings did in ancient times:
1 Chronicles 20:1 - It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it.
As we will see in the next section, the kings of the east and their armies need to cross the Euphrates River to gather for the last battle in Israel when the Lord returns to the earth to judge the nations:
Revelation 19:11, 15, 19 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.... Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.... And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
So, the sixth angel pours out his bowl, drying up the Euphrates River to prepare the way. There is a general assumption that these "kings" from the east are from Asia, but King Cyrus was a king from the east from Persia, and the wise men, who most believe came from the area of Mesopotamia, also came from the east:
Isaiah 46:11 - Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.
Matthew 2:1-2 - Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
However, all the kings of the earth will gather for the last battle (Revelation 16:14), which would include the kings from all the regions to the east, including Mesopotamia, India, and Asia. That said, ten kings will rule the earth before they give their power to the beast in the middle of the Tribulation. The following passage suggests it is these kings who will come to battle the Lord. In other words, the kings of the east are those kings who will rule over the nations east of the Euphrates River during the Tribulation:
Revelation 17:12-14 - "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them...."
As discussed in Revelation 9:14, the Euphrates River has long symbolized the boundary between the eastern world and the western world, and is also a symbol of rebellion against God that caused a barrier between God and man. The Euphrates River flowed out of the Garden of Eden where sin began. The first murder took place near Eden from which the Euphrates originated. Nimrod established Babylon, formerly Babel, by the Euphrates River, which is where the first global rebellion led by the first global ruler against God occurred. Also, idolatry was born out of Babylon and spread to the region on the east side of the Euphrates, and then to the rest of the world.
Daniel told Belshazzar, who worshipped idols in a drunken feast that Babylon would be taken by the Medes and the Persians who came from the north (Daniel 5). Years earlier, Jeremiah prophesied Babylon's judgment:
Jeremiah 50:35-38 - "A sword is against the Chaldeans," says the LORD, "Against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes and her wise men. A sword is against the soothsayers, and they will be fools. A sword is against her mighty men, and they will be dismayed. A sword is against their horses, against their chariots, and against all the mixed peoples who are in her midst; and they will become like women. A sword is against her treasures, and they will be robbed. A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is the land of carved images, and they are insane with their idols."
Jeremiah said part of God's judgment on Babylon was to dry up the waters of the city because of their idolatry. This prophecy found fulfillment in history:
"The combined Median and Persian army entered the city via the channel of the Euphrates river, the river having been diverted into trenches that Cyrus had dug for the invasion, and that the city was unprepared because of a great festival that was being observed."
God similarly dried up the land in Israel as judgment for Israel's sin and rebellion:
Jeremiah 23:10-12 - For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right. "For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in My house I have found their wickedness," says the LORD. "Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment," says the LORD.
Therefore, the kings from the east crossing the dried-up Euphrates River symbolizes their refusal to repent of their sins of idolatry, rebellion, and blasphemy against God (Revelation 9:20-21, 13:14, 16:9-11), so God gives them over to demons who gather them for the infamous last battle at the end of the Tribulation where God will judge them:
Revelation 16:14, 16 - For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.... And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
The purpose for God drying up a body of water for His enemies is opposite of that for His people:
"The parting of the Red Sea at the Exodus allowed God's people to flee from destruction. Now, the waters of the Euphrates are dried so that God's enemies can gather to their destruction. God dried up the Jordan for Israel to cross into her inheritance, the Promised Land (Joshua 3:15-17, 4:22). Now He dries up the Euphrates to gather the kings into His inheritance, for which they will be judged (Psalm 79:1)."
Source: Spirit And Truth
It is rather fitting that these kings will cross a bloody river bed to their destruction, as the Euphrates River turns to blood in the third Bowl judgment (Revelation 16:4-6). Incidentally, some have tried to tie the sixth Bowl judgment to the sixth Trumpet judgment because both involve the Euphrates River. But as we will see in the next section, both judgments involve spirits four angels and horsemen in the sixth Trumpet judgment and frog-like demons in the sixth Bowl judgment - but that is where the similarity stops. The angels that were bound at the Euphrates River in the sixth Trumpet judgment sent out the horsemen to kill men, with no mention of the Euphrates River being physically changed. But in the sixth Bowl judgment, the frog-like demons go out to gather men for the last battle in the Tribulation, and the Euphrates River supernaturally dries up to allow the kings and their armies to cross.
Revelation 16:13-14 - And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
The Euphrates River drying up was only part of the sixth Bowl judgment. Unclean spirits that are frog-like demons come out of the mouths of the unholy trinity of the dragon, beast, and false prophet, which shows that this unholy trinity is responsible for directing the demons to gather the kings of the earth and their armies to battle against "God Almighty," who is the Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns with the heavenly host at the end of the Tribulation:
Revelation 19:19 - And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
The frog-like demons come out of the mouth of three wicked entities. David said that deceit comes out of the mouth of the wicked:
Psalms 109:2 - For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
Jesus and Paul both warned that there would be much deception spread by wicked entities in the last days:
1 Timothy 4:1 - Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons....
Matthew 24:24 - For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The head of the unholy trinity who sends out the frog-like demons is the dragon, or Satan, who is the father of deceit:
Revelation 12:9 - So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
John 8:44 - You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 - The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
In the Old Testament, God used a lying spirit to lure Ahab to his destruction:
1 Kings 22:20-23 - And the LORD said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, 'I will persuade him.' The LORD said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the LORD said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.' Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you."
Likewise, God will allow the unholy trinity to guide the frog-like demons to gather the armies for His purpose to destroy them. The frog-like demons will come upon all the kings and their armies to gather them like the earthly frogs before the Exodus:
Exodus 8:1-4 - And the LORD spoke to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs. So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants."'"
Interestingly, a defining characteristic of a frog is their tongue which allows them to instantly catch their prey from far distances, like the frog-like demons who will ensnare the kings of the whole world with lying signs. The demons will complete their mission swiftly, because all the angels pour out the Bowl judgments in the last few days of the Tribulation, as discussed in Revelation 11:3. This means the gathering of the kings and their armies must take place very quickly.
Demons are spirits of the Nephilim, as discussed in Revelation 9:5, who often appear as non-kosher or unclean creatures like frogs that are aquatic creatures with no fins or scales:
Leviticus 11:10 - But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you. They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales - that shall be an abomination to you.
Deuteronomy 14:9, 10 - "These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you."
As discussed in Revelation 13:14, while Satan has power to generate signs and wonders through his earthly agents, he still has his limits. In the plagues on Egypt, Pharaoh's magicians turned rods into snakes, turned the water to blood, and caused a plague of frogs like God, but they were unable to copy the plagues after the frogs. The magicians even conceded that God was more powerful than they were when they could not copy the plague of lice:
Exodus 8:18-19 - Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.
Incidentally, the last counterfeit plague performed by the Egyptian magicians and the last lying sign and wonder of Satan performed through the two beasts both involve frogs, and are the only two times frogs are found in Scripture.
Some believe that each plague against Egypt served to defeat and judge their gods and show that the God of Israel was the one true God (source). The Egyptian goddess Heqet had the head of a frog and was the fertility goddess of birth and resurrection (source):
"In the Egyptian pantheon the goddess Heqet had the form of a woman with a frog's head. From her nostrils, it was believed, came the breath of life that animated the bodies of those created by her husband, the great god Khnum, from the dust of the earth. Therefore frogs were not to be killed."
The last of the magician's counterfeit plague of frogs in Egypt shows that Satan has limited power, unlike the power of God Almighty. As discussed in Revelation 1:8, the title "Almighty" shows that God has absolute dominion with unrestricted power or sovereignty over His creation. Satan's desperate effort to gather human military might against God shows his limited power and arrogance to think he could muster enough forces to defeat the Almighty. Satan's futile scheme to fight the Almighty fails not just once at the end of the Tribulation, but again at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9). The frog-like demons out of the mouths of the unholy trinity are no match for the sword that comes out of the mouth of the Almighty, which is the word of God:
Revelation 19:13, 15 - ...His name is called The Word of God.... Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.
Isaiah 11:4 - He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
The Lord will effortlessly defeat His enemies gathered against Him on that "great day" when He returns to judge the world:
Zephaniah 1:14-18 - The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. "I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse." Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.
Malachi 4:1-5 - "For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts. "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD."
Revelation 16:15 - "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."
Recall from Revelation 1:7 that "behold" means "perceive," or "look." As the armies of the world begin to gather to battle God Almighty, Jesus warns that He is coming to the world as a thief. A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy:
John 10:10 - The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Jesus coming as a thief portrays destruction and judgment, particularly on unbelievers, but those who watch and look for Him are not taken unaware when He comes:
Matthew 24:43-51 - But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 12:37-40 - Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Jesus says that there is a blessing for those who watch and keep their garments. Jesus made a similar statement to the church in Sardis:
Revelation 3:3-5 - Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Jesus also discussed garments in his address to the church of Laodicea:
Revelation 3:17-18 - Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' - and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked - I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Garments cover the shame of nakedness that came because of sin:
Genesis 2:25 - And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 3:7-11 - Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"
God killed an animal to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness, symbolizing the atonement, or covering for their sin:
Genesis 3:21 - Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
As discussed in Revelation 3:5, atonement is possible only by the blood of Christ. Trying to cover our nakedness on our own, as Adam and Eve tried to do, will leave us ashamed in God's presence. Only by accepting and believing that Jesus paid the price to cover our sin will we escape the shame of our nakedness before the Lord:
Romans 10:11 - For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
As discussed in Revelation 3:4, at our salvation Christ clothes us with garments likened to wedding apparel:
Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Jesus illustrates in the following parable that the Tribulation saints will need the proper garment to enter the wedding feast when He returns to set up His kingdom on the earth those who do not have the proper garments go to eternal judgment:
Matthew 22:2, 8-13 - "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son...." Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
Garments, whether physical or spiritual, cover nakedness, and in the spiritual sense Jesus covers our sin with "garments of salvation." But as shown above in Isaiah 61:10, these garments are also "robes of righteousness" that represent the righteous acts, or works of the saints:
Revelation 19:8 - And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Jesus warns those who have garments to "keep" them so they do not expose their nakedness. The Greek word translated "to keep" means to heed, to hold fast, continually hold on to, watch over, or guard. This is not about losing the garment, which implies someone can lose their salvation, which is not possible (John 6:37-39, 10:27-29, Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 1:13-14, 1 Peter 1:3-4, 1 John 5:13). It is about maintaining the garment's purity by serving the Lord through righteous acts or good works He has prepared for us to do:
Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
As discussed in Revelation 7:14, the Tribulation saints make their robes white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb. Do not mistake the washing of their robes with a work-based salvation, as salvation is always about faith (Romans 9:30-32, Hebrews 11). Jesus is the one that cleanses people from their sin:
1 John 1:7-9 - But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The washing of clothes is a work of sanctification. Sanctification means to consecrate or set apart. In the Old Testament, the Hebrews washed their clothes to get ready to meet the Lord (Exodus 19:10-14), and the priests washed their clothes as part of a ritual that made them ceremonially clean to serve the Lord in the tabernacle (Numbers 8:6-7, 21-22). The Tribulation Saints will trust in the blood of the Lamb for salvation, and wash their robes in that blood to set themselves apart to serve the Lord.
Incidentally, it is not just Jesus who is going to come like a thief overtaking people unaware, but the "day of the Lord" also comes as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6), which begins with the Tribulation and ends with the heavens and the earth passing away before the final judgment after the Millennium:
2 Peter 3:10-13 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
This perspective of temporary things should motivate us to live godly lives, knowing the end of this present world is so near. But even more so, in this "dispensation of grace," we should serve the Lord knowing that the Lord could call the Church to Heaven in the rapture at any moment. If believers are watching, Jesus' return will not be like a thief to them:
1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 - For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
The armies gathered by demonic frog-like spirits sent by the unholy trinity gather in a place called "Armageddon," which means the "hill of Megiddo," an ancient city that overlooks the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel:
"This valley has seen more climactic battles than any other place on the earth."
"Originally, Megiddo was one of the capital cities of the Canaanites. The Egyptian king Thothmes III, the founder of an empire, once said "Megiddo is worth a thousand cities." The reason is that it sits on the pass leading through Mount Carmel to the Mediterranean, one of the most strategic crossroads in Palestine. Anyone who wishes to control the Middle East must control the vital trade and military routes which connect Europe, Africa and Asia."
"Napoleon stood at Megiddo before the battle that thwarted his attempt to conquer the East and rebuild the Roman Empire. Contemplating the enormous plain of Armageddon, the marshal declared, "All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain.""
"Megiddo was a town belonging to Manasseh, although within the limits of Issachar, Joshua 17:11. It had been originally one of the royal cities of the Canaanites Joshua 12:21, and was one of those of which the Israelites were unable for a long time to take possession. It was rebuilt and fortified by Solomon 1 Kings 9:15, and thither Ahaziah king of Judah fled when wounded by Jehu, and died there, 2 Kings 9:27. It was here that Deborah and Barak destroyed Sisera and his host Judges 5:19; and it was in a battle near this that Josiah was slain by Pharaoh-Necho, 2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-25."
After King Necho of Egypt killed King Josiah, there was much mourning in Judah, so much so that they made a custom to speak of Josiah in their songs of lamentations:
2 Chronicles 35:20-25 - After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him, saying, "What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you." Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, "Take me away, for I am severely wounded." His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had, and they brought him to Jerusalem. So he died, and was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. Jeremiah also lamented for Josiah. And to this day all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations. They made it a custom in Israel; and indeed they are written in the Laments.
When the Lord returns to fight the armies who gather in the place of Armageddon, Israel will once again mourn like they did over the death of King Josiah, when they realize that they had rejected their Messiah the first time He came. Hadad Rimmon is a village at the foot of the Megiddo hills (source) where the Jews came to mourn the death of King Josiah:
Zechariah 12:9-11 - It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
This will be the watershed moment for Israel, when they accept Jesus as Messiah and accept Him as their eternal King after He defeats His enemies gathered in the plain of Megiddo, or the Jezreel valley:
Hosea 1:10-11 - "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.' Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel!"
As discussed in Revelation 14:19-20, the armies will gather from the plain of Megiddo, but the battle is over Jerusalem (Zechariah 12) and the Lord's judgment will center in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which means "God has judged," also called the "Valley of Decision.":
Joel 3:11-14 - Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow - for their wickedness is great." Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
This valley is in the wilderness east of Jerusalem (source), where King Jehoshaphat defeated Judah's enemies (2 Chronicles 20:24-26). So, when the Lord returns, the armies will be streaming toward and around Jerusalem from the plain of Megiddo. As we will see in Revelation 16:21, the Lord will crush these armies like grapes in a winepress with great hail. As the hail melts it will mingle with the blood of men and the blood-contaminated waters of the Jordan River from the third Bowl judgment (Revelation 16:4):
Revelation 14:19-20 - So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
As discussed in Revelation 14:19-20, the distance this river of blood will run is 1600 furlongs about 200 miles or 320 kilometers, which is roughly the distance to the Red Sea from the Jezreel Valley, through the Jordan Valley which passes by Bozrah and Petra in Edom. This makes sense, as the Lord will trample His enemies from Edom to Megiddo outside of Jerusalem.
If the river of blood reaches as high as the horses' bridle outside of Jerusalem, imagine the depth at the bottom of the Jezreel Valley and the Jordan Valley. Naturally, all this liquid will flow to the path of least resistance down the Jordan Valley and into the Dead Sea. It is fitting that the Lord compares the gruesome carnage of His enemies to the trampling of grapes, as He will crush them to death because they have drunk the wine of wrath (Revelation 14:8-10). This will make a mess akin to crushing grapes:
Isaiah 34:2-3 - For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
Isaiah 63:2-3 - Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.
Incidentally, the name Megiddo comes from the Hebrew root "gadad," which means to "press into" in the context of cutting, gashing, or gathering (source). This name is profoundly fitting considering the armies will gather from the plain of Megiddo to Jerusalem before the Lord crushes them to death like grapes and cuts them to pieces:
Zechariah 12:3 - And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Revelation 16:17 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"
Now we come to the seventh and last Bowl judgment. As discussed in Revelation 16:10-11, the first four Bowl judgments physically affect the earth, but the fifth, sixth, and seventh Bowl judgments, like the Trumpet judgments, extend beyond the physical realm into the spiritual realm and serve to destroy the kingdom of the beast.
In the fifth Bowl judgment there is physical darkness on the beast's kingdom that causes physical pain, but the judgment also symbolizes the spiritual darkness and the Lord's coming kingdom overshadowing that of the beast. The sixth Bowl judgment involves the physical drying up of the Euphrates River that allows kings and their armies to physically cross, but it is demonic forces that lead them to their demise. In the seventh Bowl judgment we see that the angel pours out his bowl on the "air." The air is one of the four earthly elements (Revelation 6:8) that are subject to God's wrath in the Bowl judgments:
When the angel pours out the seventh Bowl judgment there will be changes in the physical atmosphere and the rest of the physical heavenly hosts, along with an earthquake that we will discuss in the next section:
Matthew 24:29-30 - "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Haggai 2:6-7 - "For thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORD of hosts.
But like the fifth and sixth Bowls, the judgment extends from the physical realm to the spiritual realm against the kingdom of the Beast. Paul tells us that Satan is the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). After the angel pours out the seventh Bowl, the Lord will defeat Satan, the beast, and the rest of the spiritual powers that followed them:
Isaiah 24:21-23 - It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.
Revelation 18:2-3 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"
Revelation 19:20-21 - Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Revelation 20:1-3 - Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
After the seventh angel pours out his bowl, a loud voice came out of the temple. This is the voice of God. No one could enter the temple because the glory of the Lord filled it until the seven Bowl judgments were complete (Revelation 15:8). The passage below explicitly states that this voice from the temple is the Lord speaking at the time of His vengeance:
Isaiah 66:6 - The sound of noise from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the LORD, who fully repays His enemies!
As the Lord comes out of the heavenly temple, He declares "It is done!" There are two other times the Lord declares a finished work in Scripture. The first time was when He died on the cross, and the last time is after He makes all things new after the Millennium:
John 19:30 - So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Revelation 21:5-7 - Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."
In this case, and as discussed in Revelation 10:7, the Lord declares that His wrath is complete after the seven Bowl judgments and that He is coming to reconcile all things to Himself - this is the "mystery of God" in the passages below:
Revelation 15:1 - Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
Revelation 10:7 - ...but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
Ephesians 1:7-10 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him.
Revelation 16:18 - And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
After the Lord comes out of His temple in Heaven and declares that His wrath is complete, there are noises, thunder, lightning, and the worst earthquake the earth has ever experienced since God created Adam and Eve. As discussed in Revelation 8:5, visual and audible displays of noises, or voices, and thunderings and lightnings depict the awesome power God has over His creation. These elements of noises, or voices, and thunderings and lightnings are present when the Lord metes out judgment:
Isaiah 29:6 & 30:27-30 - You will be punished by the LORD of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.... Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with His anger, and His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue like a devouring fire. His breath is like an overflowing stream, which reaches up to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of futility; and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept, and gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the Mighty One of Israel. The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, and show the descent of His arm, with the indignation of His anger and the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, tempest, and hailstones.
Psalms 18:7-15 - Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
God revealed Himself in these same audible and visual displays when He first revealed Himself to Israel:
Exodus 19:16-19 - Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.
As discussed in the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" study, the main purposes of the Tribulation is to bring Israel back to God and to judge the nations and destroy His enemies in preparation for His kingdom. The "noises, thunderings, and lightnings" are evidence that God is about to reveal Himself to His chosen people again. While judgment was not in view when God revealed Himself to the Hebrews the first time, we do see these same audible and visual displays appear between each set of Tribulation judgments, which ultimately turn the Jewish remnant back to the Lord before He reveals Himself to them physically, when He returns at the end of the Tribulation (Zechariah 12).
Note in the parallels below, "voices" and "noises" come from the same Greek word "phóné." Also, after the first time the "noises, lightnings, and thunderings" appear in Heaven, catastrophes hit the earth in the form of earthquakes and/or hail which intensify after each set of judgments:
Revelation 16:19 - Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
In the last section we saw the earthquake that hits the earth right before Jesus returns is the worst ever since God created Adam and Eve, as He has poured out the full measure of His wrath. As discussed in Revelation 6:12, there is a global earthquake at the beginning of the Tribulation that likely altars the earth's orbit and magnetic field. The consequences of this first global earthquake at the beginning of the Tribulation and other earthquakes during the Tribulation take their toll on the earth throughout the Tribulation.
Isaiah 24:17-20 - Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.
But the global earthquake after the last Bowl judgment is so great that all the nations of the earth will fall except one "great city" that the earthquake splits into three parts. In Revelation, the earthly Jerusalem (spiritually called "Sodom and Egypt"), the heavenly Jerusalem, and Babylon are all called "great cities." The heavenly Jerusalem will not suffer an earthquake, so the "great city" is either the earthly Jerusalem or Babylon:
Revelation 11:8 - And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Revelation 21:10 - And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God....
Revelation 18:8-10, 17-21 - Therefore her plagues will come in one day - death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.... For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?' "They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.' "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!" Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.
As shown in the passage above, God will destroy Babylon completely and give her the cup of wine of the fierceness of His wrath. As discussed in Revelation 14:8, to drink or take the cup of the "wine of wrath" is a picture of suffering God's judgment:
Job 21:17-20 - "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does their destruction come upon them, the sorrows God distributes in His anger? They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away. They say, 'God lays up one's iniquity for his children'; let Him recompense him, that he may know it. Let his eyes see his destruction, and let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
Psalms 75:7-20 - But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down. But I will declare forever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. "All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted."
Jeremiah 25:15-16, 27-33 - For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: "Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.... Therefore you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you." ' And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "You shall certainly drink! For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth," says the LORD of hosts.' "Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: 'The LORD will roar from on high, And utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise will come to the ends of the earth - For the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,' says the LORD." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. "And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.
So, if there is nothing left of the city, then the great city divided into three parts is not Babylon, it is earthly Jerusalem. Thus, the text shows a contrast between the "great city" and the rest of the nations. This is consistent with the typical contrast between Jerusalem and the Jewish nation and the Gentile cities or nations seen throughout the Old Testament. In fact, the Greek word translated "nations" throughout the New Testament is in reference to Gentiles.
While Scripture does not show elsewhere a city divided into three parts from an earthquake, the passage below shows that when Jesus returns, He will split Jerusalem into at least two parts near the Mount of Olives, which will cause a river to run from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea:
Zechariah 14:4-8 - And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You. It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; The lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the LORD neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day it shall be - that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur.
Incidentally, the topography of Jerusalem will change to accommodate a larger millennial temple than the preceding temples:
Ezekiel 48:9-10 - "The district that you shall set apart for the LORD shall be twenty-five thousand cubits in length and ten thousand in width. To these - to the priests - the holy district shall belong: on the north twenty-five thousand cubits in length, on the west ten thousand in width, on the east ten thousand in width, and on the south twenty-five thousand in length. The sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the center."
The size of the millennial temple will be larger, but there is debate over how much larger, because the text does not specify the unit of measure:
"The confusion has been in deciding whether to take some of the measurements in reeds or cubits (which are much smaller), seeing that the Hebrew text strangely omits the measurement unit. The "oblation" would be about 60 miles square if we measure it in reeds. This area would encroach either upon the Mediterranean or the Dead Sea, and it seems contextually more likely that a smaller area measured in cubits is intended.... If measured in reeds, this large area somewhat disrupts the distribution of land amongst the tribes as detailed later in Ezekiel. If the missing measurement unit here is cubits and not reeds, it is likely that it is in the dimensions of the temple itself. The holy oblation described in Ezekiel 45:1 is to be "the length of five and twenty thousand". "Reeds" in the AV is in italics. The following verse speaks of cubits as the measurement unit. Only the context can decide whether cubits or reeds is meant in many of the Ezekiel passages - although the LXX, RSV etc. give cubits rather than reeds in Ezekiel 42:16 and other passages. If it is going to be thousands of reeds, then it would be over 1 mile square. However, Jeremiah 30:18 RSV prophesies: "the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall be where it used to be". And passages as varied as Zechariah 1, Psalm 68 and Micah 4 all insist that the temple of the restored kingdom was to built within the city of Jerusalem. If the temple is 500 reeds square, there will be no room for a city, assuming the city will be of the same size as the previous old city of Jerusalem."
Source: Carelinks Ministries
As we will see in the next section, the last global earthquake at the end of the Tribulation will crumble the mountains to no more than hills, compared to the mountains the "great city" of Jerusalem will sit on in the Millennium.
Isaiah 2:2-3 - Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Zechariah 8:3 - "Thus says the LORD: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.'"
As discussed in the last few sections, when the Lord returns to judge the nations, a global earthquake will cause tsunamis that will engulf every island and reduce the mountains to no more than hills:
Habakkuk 3:6 - He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting.
Compared to the global earthquake at the beginning of the Tribulation that will move every mountain and island out of its place (Revelation 6:12-14), this final earthquake at the end of the Tribulation will cause utter and complete devastation. The Lord will be a refuge for the Tribulation saints through these catastrophic earth transformations:
Psalm 46:1-11 - ...God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of the LORD, who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Mountains also symbolize kingdoms:
Jeremiah 51:24-25 - "And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight," says the LORD. "Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth," says the LORD. "And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain."
Daniel 2:44-45 - And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold - the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.
And islands symbolize nations:
Isaiah 40:13, 15 - Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? ...Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
The mountain in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream depicted the Lord's kingdom that will destroy the beast's kingdom:
Daniel 2:34-35, 44 - You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.... And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
When the Lord returns and sets up His kingdom, He will rule over all the nations:
Revelation 19:15 - Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
When the Lord defeats the nations at the end of the Tribulation, He will transform the physical landscape and deliver the creation from the curse, but also spiritually straighten out the perverse ways of the nations and transform the beast's kingdom of darkness (Revelation 16:10) into a kingdom of light:
Romans 8:19-22 - For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Isaiah 40:3-5 - The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Isaiah 42:15-16 - I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools. I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.
And as the mountains are physically reduced to hills and the beast's kingdom destroyed, the Lord's kingdom will become the only mountain on the earth, which symbolizes His preeminence above everything else (Colossians 1:18-20). The Lord will be exalted and haughty men humbled from their arrogance and pride:
Isaiah 2:12-22 - For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up - and it shall be brought low - upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols He shall utterly abolish. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made, each for himself to worship, to the moles and bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Sever yourselves from such a man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for of what account is he?
As an interesting aside, mountains have a large impact on the earth's weather patterns. Mountains can form deserts by blocking rain clouds (source). As discussed in the last section, Jerusalem will be the only place on the earth to sit on mountains. So, it makes sense that since the normal flow of weather systems is from west to east in the Middle East, the area to the east of Jerusalem will be a desolate wasteland the ancient regions of Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Babylon.
Isaiah 34:6-10 "The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. The wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust saturated with fatness." For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever.
Jeremiah 49:12-13 - For thus says the LORD: "Behold, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it. For I have sworn by Myself," says the LORD, "that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. And all its cities shall be perpetual wastes."
Jeremiah 49:17-18 - "Edom also shall be an astonishment; everyone who goes by it will be astonished and will hiss at all its plagues. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors," says the LORD, "No one shall remain there, nor shall a son of man dwell in it."
Zephaniah 2:9 - Therefore, as I live," Says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Surely Moab shall be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah - overrun with weeds and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation. The residue of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of My people shall possess them."
Jeremiah 50:13 - Because of the wrath of the LORD she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate. Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified and hiss at all her plagues.
Revelation 16:21 - And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
After the global earthquake that makes the islands and mountains disappear, great hail from heaven will fall upon men.
"Hail forms when thunderstorm updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets well above the freezing level. This freezing process forms a hailstone, which can grow as additional water freezes onto it. Eventually, the hailstone becomes too heavy for the updrafts to support it and it falls to the ground."
The great hail that will fall upon men in the seventh Bowl judgment may not form like typical hailstones in thunderstorms. The following passage suggests that God has already reserved these great hailstones in a treasury in the heavens for the last battle of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:14):
Job 38:22-23 - "Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?"
God has judged His enemies with hail in the past, while preserving His people:
Exodus 9:18, 23-26 - Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.... And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
Joshua 10:11-13 - And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
God will also judge His enemies with hail, along with flooding rain, fire, and brimstone in the "Gog and Magog War" at the beginning of the Tribulation:
Ezekiel 38:22 - And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
The hail in the plague before the Exodus and the hail in the "Gog and Magog War" are devastating because the hail mingles with fire, but it was the large size of the hailstones noted in Joshua's campaign that killed the Amorites. We do not know the size of the hail stones at that time, but hail more than a few pounds in weight have killed people (source). The largest hail recorded was 2.25 pounds (source). However, Biblical scholar Ethelbert William Bullinger wrote about hail he estimated was about 12 pounds:
"Hail is of frequent occurrence in these unhappy districts, and the dimensions of the hailstones are generally enormous. We have seen some that weighed twelve pounds. One moment sometimes suffices to exterminate whole flocks. In 1843, during one of these storms, there was heard in the air a sound as of a rushing wind, and therewith fell in a field near a house, a mass of ice larger than an ordinary millstone. It was broken to pieces with hatchets; yet though the sun burned fiercely, three days elapsed before these pieces entirely melted."
Source: Bible Study Tools
Hail that weighs far less than a few pounds have caused extreme damage to structures, vehicles, vegetation and has even killed or injured people and livestock. The hail in the seventh Bowl judgment is a talent in weight. The weight of a talent varies from about 60 to 130 pounds in weight (source).
It is interesting to note that the crown David put on his head after Joab defeated Rabbah of Ammon was the weight of a talent of gold. The people of Rabbah of Ammon had taken the iron bedstead of the giant Og king of Bashan (Deuteronomy 3:11), which begs the question if this crown was originally the giant king's crown, considering its massive weight:
1 Chronicles 20:1-2 - It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it. Then David took their king's crown from his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it. And it was set on David's head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance.
Hailstones of a hundred pounds seems unimaginable this will truly be an exceedingly great plague, but survivors continue to blaspheme God instead of repent. As discussed in Revelation 16:11, God will eventually harden the hearts of those who continue to rebel and refuse to repent, as He did to Pharaoh before He judged the Egyptians, so that when God's judgment comes upon them they are so debased (Romans 1:28) and full of hate they dare to shake their fist at God and blaspheme Him:
As discussed in Revelation 16:16, these massive hailstones could both crush the army and cause a massive river of blood if the hail melts rapidly and mingles with the blood from all the dead bodies. The river of blood will reach as high as the horses' bridle outside of Jerusalem, as discussed in Revelation 14:20. Bullinger's comparison of the 12-pound hail stones to "millstones" recalls Gods judgment coming on Babylon:
Revelation 18:21 - Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore."
Hailstones do not destroy Babylon, nonetheless, a great millstone "stones" the city. As discussed in Revelation 14:8, Babylon was the origin of idolatry and they blasphemed God by discrediting God and reproaching Him in their rebellion (Revelation 13:6). As discussed in Revelation 8:7, stoning was the punishment for idolatry and blasphemy under the Law of Moses:
Deuteronomy 13:6-10 - "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."
Leviticus 24:16 - And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death.
Those who blaspheme the name of God and worship idols in the Tribulation are not under the Mosaic Law, but they do break the "everlasting covenant" (Revelation 16:8-9), and will similarly be put to death - stoned by large hail - and the antichrist's kingdom, rampant with idol worship and blasphemy against God, will be "stoned" too:
Daniel 2:34-35 - You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The stone that crushes the antichrist's kingdom represents the Lord and His kingdom He is the cornerstone of Zion. The antichrist breaks the "covenant with death" - the same covenant in Daniel 9:27 - in the middle of the Tribulation, but Christ will annul it when He returns to rule the world. It is interesting that this passage shows that part of the annulment involves hail, which matches the timing of Jesus returning after the seventh Bowl judgment to destroy the beast's kingdom and set up His kingdom:
Isaiah 28:15-18 - Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves." Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily. Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.
In in the next chapter, we will take a break from the narrative again and cover an interlude that gives us more information about Babylon the religious and economic aspects of the capital city of the world in the Tribulation.
Revelation Flow Chart:
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