Revealing Revelation – The Sixth Bowl


With the sixth Bowl we once again see a similar picture of that of the the Trumpet judgments. Both are related to Euphrates River. Here is the description found in the discussion of the Bowl Judgments.

Rev. 16:12 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.

And also here in the discussion of the Trumpet Judgments.

Rev. 9:13-15 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, [14] saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

Where the Trumpets declare that the coming onslaught is spear headed by the angels who are bound near the Euphrates, the Bowl judgment is related directly the the drying up of the great and famous river. Both judgments are related to the river and should cause one to pause and discover the similarities to events familiar to the first century reader.

The imagery is taken directly from the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Persians in the 6th century BC. The Persian king, Cryrus, diverted the water of the Euphrates around the city of Babylon causing the riverbeds that flowed under the city walls to dry up. This allowed his army to enter silently in the night and take the great city with little to no resistance.

The imagery of the river drying is unmistakable and is related to the “fall” and end of Babylon. Here in revelation we have seen that Jerusalem is the “New Babylon” and this picture most likely related to the fall of that city. It is a symbol of defeat, and one that would be quite familiar to the first century reader.

There is, like the previous judgments, a spiritual, symbolic picture represented as well. The drying up of a waterway in Israel’s past actually showed God’s providence and supernatural support of Israel. We should remember the story of the passing through the Red Sea and the River Jordan in Israel’s past. In those cases God supernaturally provided for Israel. But now, as the new Babylon, the drying of the river meant her doom.

The passage continues with a discussion of the coming ultimate destruction of the city at the hands of the armies of the world gathering around her to bring her doom. This relates to the famed Battle of Armageddon, which has been discussed in detail previously, and so will not be dealt with here. For those that want to refer to those post they can be found here…

and here

I would also recommend the latest book by Gary DeMar which discusses the Battle of Armageddon and it’s relation to Ezekiel 39 and 39. The book can be found here.

Two final notes for consideration regarding this judgment.

The first is that historically speaking it should be known that Titus, the General now in charge of the siege and battle at Jerusalem only attacks the city after calling in a large force of reinforcements of the finest fighting regiment stationed at the Euphrates. This may be what is pictured here and in the sixth trumpet judgment.

Finally, as the book continues to compare Jerusalem with her greatest oppressors and enemies we see that the Battle is assembled by three unclean spirits that appear as frogs. This unmistakable allusion to the famous plague of frogs should not be missed. If the reader recalls, Jerusalem is now also being referred to as Egypt and the plagues of Egypt are revealing themselves now against the apostate nation that was once rescued by these same plagues.


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