Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXIV
WHAT IS THE TRUE INTERPRETATION OF REVELATION 16: 12-16? (The Threefold Union in the Battle of Armageddon (Continued)
French poet Charles Baudelaire once said that “the greatest trick the devil pulled was fooling the world into believing that he doesn’t exist.” Ellen G. White revealed back in 1884 that this deception is indeed one of the most successful agencies and heresies of the great deceiver: “Another subtle and mischievous error is the fast-spreading belief that Satan has no existence as personal being; that the name is used in Scripture merely to represent men’s evil thoughts and desires.” (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 348).
Again: “The position that it is of no consequence what men believe is one of Satan’s most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver [John 17:17]; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel [1 Tim. 1: 4; 4: 7; 2 Tim. 4: 4; Titus 1: 14; 2 Pet. 1: 16; 2 Cor. 11: 4]. . . .The discord and division which exist among the churches of Christendom are in a great measure due to the prevailing custom of wresting [twisting] the Scriptures to support a favorite theory. Instead of carefully studying God’s word with humility of heart to obtain a knowledge of His will, many seek only to discover something odd or original. . . . Whenever the study of the Scriptures is entered upon without a prayerful, humble, teachable spirit, the plainest as well as the most difficult passages will be wrested from their true meaning . . . The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart. “Light [of truth] is sown for the righteous.’ Psalm 97: 11. And no church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure [Prov. 2: 4; Matt. 13: 44].”- Ibid, Maranatha, p. 132.
The seven last plagues are contained in “seven golden vials” handed by “one of the four beasts” (or “four living creatures,” a special order of angels ministering to the Lord upon His throne identified in Ezekiel 1: 4-28) to “the seven angels in charge of pouring out the seven last plagues of the wrath of God” on all who “worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands,”—the final warning of the third angel. Rev. 14:9-11. The seven last plagues are poured out successively but not universally lest none of the finally impenitent be left alive to witness the coming of Christ and fulfill the last prophecy that instead of rejoicing and saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us” (Isa. 25: 9), they literally call for the rocks to fall on them! Notice:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6: 15-17, K.J.V.
Thank God the question “who shall be able to stand?” is answered in the next chapter, Rev. 7: 1-8, often referred to as a parenthetical chapter dealing with the 144,000 who are sealed in their foreheads before the “four winds of the earth are let loose by the four angels.” The only other place of Scripture that deals with the 144,000 is given in Revelation 14: 1-5, which is a continuation of Revelation 13. As James White points out: “The 13th chapter of Revelation, and the first 5 verses of the 14th chapter, is one connected chain of the past, present, and future events, down to the complete redemption of the 144,000; then the 6th verse (of Rev. 14) commences another chain of events, which carry us down to through the history of God’s people in this mortal state. John had a view of the beast and his image, as recorded in chapter 13; and how natural it would be for him to view on a little further, and see the 144,000, who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, etc., as recorded in chapter 14: 1-5. So the division should be between the 5th and 6th verses of the 14th chapter; and the 6th verse commences a series of events, relative to the successive messages of holy advent truth.”- “Thoughts on Revelation 14,” “A Word to the Little Flock,” p. 9, Saratoga Springs, NY, published 1851.
The Sixth Plague. – “And the sixth angel poured out his vial [or ‘”bowl,”N.K.J.V.] 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. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and the whole world, to gather them to that battle of great day of God Almighty.” Rev. 16: 12-14, K.J.V.
Now, we return back to L. F. Were’s exposition, “Armageddon—The Time of Spiritual’s Israel’s Deliverance”:
“(a) THE EUPHRATES—TURKEY OR OTHER NATIONS ADJACENT TO THE EUPHRATES?
“There are some similarities between the seven trumpets (Rev. chapters 8, 9) and the seven last plagues (Rev. 15: 1, 6-8; chapter 16), and it was because of this outward similarity that some of the earlier commentators [including Uriah Smith] assumed that the same things were meant in both prophecies.
“The [seven] trumpets present the overthrow of the literal Roman Empire: the seven [last] plagues deal with the overthrow of the spiritual Roman Empire—Babylon [of Revelation 17 & 18]. The sun, moon, and stars mentioned in the trumpets are there employed as national symbols of a very restricted character. The bottomless pit of Revelation 9: 1, 2, 11 also have a limited application because of the national setting; whereas in Rev. 20: 1-7 it refers to the whole world, which is the territory of spiritual Babylon. There are other factors—the earth (Rev. 8: 7), the sea (Rev. 8: 8), rivers and fountains of water (Rev. 8: 10), the Euphrates (Rev. 9: 14)—mentioned when applied in Rev. 16 in connection with the overthrow of spiritual Babylon, have a world-wide meaning. For a fuller presentation see [L.F. Were’s] ‘What is Armageddon?’ pp. 57-59.
“(b) ‘DRYING UP’ OF THE EUPHRATES—ANY RELATION TO DANIEL 12: 1?
“Four great events are predicted in Daniel 12: 1, 2 to occur after the king of the north has come to his end (1) Michael, or Christ commences His reign (2) The greatest time of trouble (3) the deliverance of God’s people (which occurs at the sixth plague). (4) the partial or special resurrection, followed by the general resurrection when Christ appears and calls forth “those that sleep in the dust.” 1 Thess. 4: 13-18; 1 Cor. 15: 50-58, etc.
“The prophecy does not mention anything to occur in Palestine after the ending of the king of the north. The events mentioned in Dan. 12: 1, 2, namely, the commencement of Christ’s reign, the time of trouble, the deliverance of God’s people [alive at that time], and the [special and general] resurrections, are world-wideevents. The purpose of this prophecy is to point us to the close of Christ’s mediatorial ministry in the [most holy] of the heavenly temple and the world-wide events which will follow. . . .The king of the north comes to his end before Michael stands up and thus ceases His priestly ministry, the drying up of the Euphrates takes place sometime after Michael, or Christ, has ceased His mediatorial work. Rev. 16: 12 refers to spiritualBabylon’s river. Both Dan. 11: 45 and Rev. 16: 12 refer to the same conflict.”
“(c) BABYLON’S RIVER
“We should not merely go back to Rev. 9 to obtain guidance in interpreting the meaning of the Euphrates in Rev. 16. We should study the context of the 21 times where the Euphrates is mentioned in the Bible. We should also go back to Joshua 24: 2, 3, 14, 15 where the Euphrates is referred to as ‘the flood.’ In Rev. 13: 7; Dan. 17: 21, 25 we are informed that the persecution of the saints in the Dark Ages was a ‘war.’ This ‘warwith the saints,’ is stated in Rev. 12: 15, 16 to be ‘the flood.’ As the ‘war’ of Rev. 13: 7 is stated in Rev. 12: 15, 16 to be the ‘flood,’ so the term ‘the flood’ would also be descriptive of the final phase of the ‘war’ (Rev. 12: 17)over the Sabbath.
“The waters of the spiritual Babylonian Euphrates—‘the flood’—the waters upon which spiritual Babylon sits (Rev. 17: 1, 15, compares with Jer. 51: 13) will flood over the people of God as did the flooding of the Euphrates in the days of the Assyrians (Isa. 8: 7, 8). But, as then, God will deliver His people by destroying their persecutors.
“The prophet Daniel predicted the downfall of the Jewish nation. ‘And the people of the prince that come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with flood’ (Dan. 9: 26.) God’s servant has connected this ‘flood’ of Roman soldiers surrounding Jerusalem (and which, to the watching disciples, was the last sign before the overthrow of that proud city) with the enforcement of Sunday laws as the last sign before the close of human probation followed by the destruction of the world, which was typified by the destruction of the Jewish nation and their capital city [not by the German Hitler in the Holocaust but by theRoman army led by general Titus, the son of emperor Vespasian in A.D. 70. See Dan. 9: 24-27; 5T, pp. 451, 464; GC 26, 37, 38].”
NOTE: See Josephus, Complete Works; “Antiquities of the Jews” & “Wars of the Jews.”
“In Rev. 16: 12, the waters of the Euphrates, undoubtedly, are the symbol of the people who add to Babylon’s glory by assisting her spiritually, as the literal Euphrates was necessary to make Babylon what she was (see PK, 523, 531, 532). Just immediately before the outpouring of the sixth plague the people who do the bidding of the Babylonian leaders will be on the point of destroying God’s people. The crisis will come at the 6th plague. The description in Early Writings, pp. 283-285; Great Controversy 63-637 applies to the climax hour just before the outpouring of the 6th plague when ‘every appearance’ will be against the church. “It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His saints [alive at that time].’ The 6th plague will then be poured out upon the waters of the Babylonian Euphrates—the ‘multitudes’ (Rev. 17: 1, 15). The demonstration of the mighty power of God on behalf of His people turns the hostile crowds from their murderous intentions—‘the angry multitudes are suddenly arrested’ (see GC 635)—and they commence slaying each other. ‘And the water thereof was dried up’ (Rev. 16: 12) is a quotation from Jer. 50: 38, and refers to the overthrow of Babylon.”
(Continued next week)