Bible Eschatology Revelation

The War of Armageddon (Rev 16:12-21)


A. Past Lessons & Review

B. Text of Rev 16:12-21

“12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east. 13Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14For they are demon spirits making signs which go out to the kings of the whole earth to gather them for the battle of the great day of the Lord, the Almighty! 15Behold! I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothing, so that nakedness does not walk around and people see his nakedness. 16The demonic spirits gathered the kings and their armies to the placed called in Hebrew, ‘Armageddon.’ 17Lastly, the seventh angel poured out his bowl on the air. And I heard a loud voice coming out of the temple from the throne saying, ‘It is done!’ 18Then there was lightening, roaring, thunder, and a great earthquake. The earthquake was so great and severe, that one of that magnitude had never been felt by man before. 19The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the Gentiles fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God and gave her the cup of wine of his angry wrath. 20Every island disappeared and no mountain was found. 21Then great hailstones that weighed 100 pounds each were coming down from heaven onto people. So people slandered God from the hailstone plagues because they were the most severe of his plagues.” (Rev 16:12-21)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text[/ref]

The Sixth and Seven Seals and War of Armageddon of Rev 16.12 to 16.21

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“Those who fall under judgment here are those who have been given every chance to repent, and have refused. They have chosen to go down with the monsters rather than to suffer and be vindicated with the lamb. In the language of chapters 17-22, they have chosen the way of the harlot rather than the way of the bride.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 146)

“Though we are not able to immediately understand all the details of these dramatic judgments, the unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who receive the grace of God in that day of faith in Jesus Christ.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 251)






“Numerous interpretations have been offered for this bowl judgment. Some have been farfetched, and the historical school has in the past attempted to identify this battle with a previous major world conflict. But the most natural explanation is the best, which is that this judgment actually dries up the great Euphrates River, thereby preparing for an invasion from the East.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 245)

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A. The Euphrates Dries Up (v. 12)

Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἐξέχεεν τὴν φιάλην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸν ποταμὸν τὸν μέγαν τὸν Εὐφράτην, καὶ ἐξηράνθη τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ἑτοιμασθῇ ἡ ὁδὸς τῶν βασιλέων τῶν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου.

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east.” (Rev 16:12)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text[/ref]


1. The Great Euphrates River

The river is called the “great river . . . Euphrates” in Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Josh 1:4.

Two Old Testament prophecies seem to predict this future event of the drying up of the Euphrates River:

  • “The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot.” (Isaiah 11:15, NLT)
  • “They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end.” (Zechariah 10:11, NLT)

2. Kings from the East

Bible Revelation

The Song of Moses and Seven Last Plagues (Rev 15)


A. Past Lessons and Review

B. Text of Revelation 15

“1Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues for they will complete the wrath of God. 2Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire and those who had conquered the beast and his statue and the number of his name were standing on the sea of glass holding harps of God. 3They sang the song of Moses—the servant of God—and the song of the saints saying,

‘Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, king over the nations.’ 4Who will not fear you—Lord—or glorify your name. Because you alone are holy for every nation will come and will worship before you, for your righteous deeds will be made known.’

5After these things I looked, and the temple (the tent of testimony) was opened in heaven. 6Then the seven angels who were holding the seven last plagues came from the temple. They were clothed in clean shining linen and wearing gold linen down their chests. 7Then one of the four living beings gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. 8The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and his power. It was so thick that no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were complete.” (Rev 15:1-8)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.[/ref]

The Song of Moses and Seven Last Plagues (Rev 15)

Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst Collection

C. General Remarks

“These events are the ‘seven last plagues’ preceding the second coming of Christ. As previously indicated, the chronological order of events in Revelation is presented basically in the seven seals (6:1-17; 8:1). The seventh seal includes all of the seven trumpets (8:1-9:21; 11:15-19). The seven bowls of divine judgment are included in the seventh trumpet. The order of events forms a dramatic crescendo, the seventh seal being all-inclusive of the end-time events including the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet including the events described in the seven bowls. Christ then returns immediately after the seventh bowl. The intervening sections such as 10:1-11:14; 13-14; 17-18 do not advance the narrative chronologically. Chapter 19 follows immediately after chapter 16 in the chronological development.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 231)

“We are honing in on the greatest showdown of them all. We left the dragon and the two monsters behind, two chapters ago. They have drawn many into their destructive ways. It is time, now, for the destroyers to be destroyed. This is the purpose of the seven last plagues, and of the cataclysmic judgments which follow them.” (Wright, Revelation, 140)

“Chapters 15 and 16 bring to consummation the chronologically ordered events leading up to the second coming of Christ described in chapter 19.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 231)

“Chapter 15 is a sort of celestial interlude to introduce the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath in chapter 16. The former facilitates an understanding of the latter. It is time for what has been anticipated in the cup of wine (14:10), the harvest (14:14-16), and the vintage (14:17-20) to be delineated in its chronological fulfillment.” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 228)

“The whole scene is very symbolic of what is about to happen. The angels coming out of the sanctuary indicate that the judgments to be poured out step from the holiness of God and are properly required of God, who must do all things right.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 236)


Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο σημεῖον ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ μέγα καὶ θαυμαστόν, ἀγγέλους ἑπτὰ ἔχοντας πληγὰς ἑπτὰ τὰς ἐσχάτας, ὅτι ἐν αὐταῖς ἐτελέσθη ὁ θυμὸς τοῦ θεοῦ.[ref]Greek text used for my translations is the Nestle-Aland 28 edition of the Greek New Testament[/ref]

“Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues for they will complete the wrath of God.” (Rev 15:1)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.[/ref]

A. Another Sign

The words “another . . sign” remind us John has seen previous signs. Those are the woman in Rev 12:1 as well as the dragon in Rev 12:3. We talked about how the woman is likely the nation of Israel and the dragon is Satan. There are other views, but this seems to be the beast biblical view.

B. Seven Angels?