Blessed Lord, what I need only you can give, what I ask I cannot find for myself. Come, Holy Spirit.
Read REVELATION 16:12-21
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
- Revelation 16:21 Or about 45 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Nothing in my hands I bring, / simply to thy cross I cling; / naked, come to thee for dress … foul, I to the fountain fly, / wash me, Savior, or I die.’1
This chapter concludes the structured, cosmic overview of history that began in chapter 6; soon we will turn to the specific fate of Rome as the archetypal human empire, before the seven visions of the end running from 19:11 to 22:7. Despite their place here, these verses have been commandeered into end-times timetables, because of the specific mention of the Euphrates (v 12) and Armageddon (v 16).
These were real places for John’s readers – but each had a symbolic significance. The Euphrates traditionally marked the eastern boundary of the empire, so ‘kings from the East’ (v 12) signify the Parthians and others, coming to destroy the apparent peace and order of Roman rule. Rome is not, despite its claims, the ‘eternal city’, and one day its false promise of security will be shown for what it is. Armageddon, in Hebrew Har (‘hill of’) Megiddo, was a Canaanite fortress on the south side of the plain of Jezreel, which had been the site of important battles.2 It thus became proverbial for decisive conflicts that would bring kingdoms to an end – and it has recovered its proverbial sense in popular culture today. No human empire can withstand the coming of God in power – the awesome majesty of God is such that even the created world (islands and mountains, (v 20) cannot stand in his presence.
How should we prepare for this end? Once more, there is a verbal intervention (v 15) – this time, the words of Jesus himself, steering us away from all end-times calculations. He will come at a moment no one expects or can predict (‘like a thief in the night’3); the only way to be ready is to be found in Christ, clothed with the good deeds that come from faithful obedience.
How well dressed are you in ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience’?4 Is there anger, selfishness or jealously in your life that needs to be addressed?
Lamb of God, I bow before you in thankfulness and praise. Your life was given so that I could be forgiven and restored.
Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by kingstar