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"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the kings of the east 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. . .which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . .And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Rev.16:12-16
Y2K or not, many are distressing or at least musing about "Armageddon." Why? When? What is it anyway?
Back in 1912 former President Teddy Roosevelt, seeing the growing tensions of international anarchy among European nations before World War I, popularized the term "Armageddon." "With unflinching heart and undimmed eyes, we stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord" (The Boston Globe) Even further back history, in ancient Israel, the Valley of Megiddo was the battleground of many famous battles. (Thus the name Armageddon.) But with the Apocalyptic setting of a beast, dragon and frogs, John the Revelator sees the whole world ominously gathering to this place called Armageddon for a final "battle." John portrayed it as imminent. When is it? Is it soon?
What is often not noticed is that John also states the purpose of Armageddon: "that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." Who are these kings? What about the Euphrates River and "unclean spirits, like frogs" coming out of the mouths of a dragon, beast and false prophet? So strange...What does it all mean?
A Symbolic Book
The Book of Revelation speaks in symbolic language. "The Revelation...signified [Gk., sema, a sign, VINE'S EXPOSITORY] by his angel to his servant John" (Ch. 1:1). Whether an animal or a celestial body or a city, the language is symbolic in this special Book. "Babylon," an ancient city long in ruins, is mentioned several times in this last Book of the Bible. Interestingly, it was a splendid City of walls hundreds of feet high and wide, supported by the River Euphrates. Babylonwith a system of pagan worship, festivals, ceremonies, priesthood, complete with "Mysteries"was the chief seat of idolatry in the ancient world.
The Prophet Jeremiah referred to the city standing in his day: "Babylon has been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken...of her wine...we would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her...for her judgment reacheth to heaven" (Jer. 51:6-9). Similarly, the Revelator speaks of symbolic Babylon as "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations...a great city...sitting on "seven mountains" (Rev. 17:5,18,9). Yes, Rome is called "the seven hilled city" by both poets and historians. Just as ancient Babylon was the seat of Paganism, so too papal Rome is its counterpart. It was not possible for Mystic "Babylon the Great" to be "healed" in the Reformation. In fact, for 300 years Protestants identified the great papal system as Antichrist. But for the most part, many of the Protestant daughter churches gradually became much like their mother. They associated themselves with human civil government.
Now, true Christians are advised to flee the nominal apostate churches. "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen...Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:2,4).
The Fall of Babylon
Ancient Babylon's downfall came in an unusual way. While King Belshazzar was feasting in his palace, a strange handwriting appeared on the wall (Dan. 5:1-31). Daniel interpreted it to mean his kingdom's days were numbered. Meanwhile, Cyrus had diverted the flow of the River Euphrates which came into the city so that it dried up! His army entered through the iron gates of the dry riverbed. The Prophet Isaiah had predicted this very conquest! "Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him...to open before him the two leaved gates...I will go before thee...I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron...I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me" (Isa. 44:27-45:4).
God used Cyrus, whose name means "sun" (YOUNG'S CONCORDANCE), as a picture of Christ who will conquer mystic Babylon at the end of this Age. With him will be "the righteous" who will "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43). These are "the kings of the east" (Rev. 16:12) who will bless all the families of the earth after Armageddon. . . .
Today the "waters" of the Euphrates also support nominal
Christendom. The "waters" are the people! How so? Revelation identifies the
woman as "Babylon the Great" as sitting on the waters. The symbolic
"waters" are even decoded for us: "The waters which thou sawest where the
harlot sitteth are peoples, and multitudes and nations and tongues" (Rev. 17:5, 15).
Spirits Like Frogs?
A "spirit" is a doctrine. Apostle John says to "try the spirits whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). True Christians are to not believe everything they hear taught. They are to test everything by the Word of God. These false teachings are described as "unclean spirits like frogs." They would seem small, innocentbut puffed up, arrogant, continual.
Why will the "frogs" croak? Because the people's support will be drying up for the Great City of Christendom, their confederation will croak, "Status quo!" They want try to gather for survival. Ironically, they will be gathering for Armageddonthe destruction of the political and religous systems of this old order.
This short-lived triple alliance will result in an "earthquake" (Rev. 16:18-21). While literally a violent disruption of the earth, this earthquake is symbolic of society in upheaval. The people themselves will revolt against these imposed restraints and split this union: "the great city was divided into three parts..."
The effect of this "earthquake" will reach a climax in the Holy Land when the nations come against Israel. "There shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel...the earth shall shake at my presence" (Ezek. 38:1-23). Then, "every man's sword shall be against his brother"anarchy (vs. 21). Then anarchy will spread worldwide completing Armageddon.
But Armageddon ending in anarchy will have a final, blessed purpose: "Thus will I magnify myself and sanctity myself and I will be known in the eyes of many nations and they shall know that I am the LORD" (vs. 23).
Gathering for Peace
Similarly, the Prophet Zephaniah (3:8,9 NAS) tells us what follows the gathering then the "fire" of anarchy: "Indeed, my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all my burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal. For then [afterwards] I will give the peoples purified lips that all of them may call on the name of the LORD to serve Him shoulder to shoulder." Instead of brother against brother, peoplewho did not know the Lord beforewill be serving God "shoulder to shoulder" in harmony!
After Armageddon, those who will have come against Jerusalem to destroy God's people will instead come to worship (Zech. 14:1-3, 16). They will also come to learn of God's ways. "In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established...all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways" (Isa. 2:1-4). Instead of man's "armed peace," God's peace will be established permanently. Resources for armaments will be devoted to peaceful purposes: "They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war."
All those who died in Armageddon will be brought forth from the deadas well as those who ever died in preceding generations. The handicapped physically, mentally or morally will be healed. After Armageddon will be the time for the "healing of the nations," the peoples of earth (Rev. 22:1-3).
Then, the "kings of the east," those faithful Christians who suffered with Christ, will reign with Christ (Rom. 8:17). For what purpose? to bless all the families of the earth! The "New Jerusalem" will be the spiritual counterpart of the Jerusalem on earth. Both will work together, "For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." With Satan bound, no longer able "deceive the nations," most of earth's billions will chose God and righteousness. And as they reach personal perfection, each one will be a "king" bringing tribute to the Lordto the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24).
We recommend that you read the online Christian Classic, The Divine Plan of the Ages.