Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Revelation 16:12-19
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 16:12, 13
Verse 12 (continued): There is no indication as to which nations are the ones designated as “the kings from the east” (literally: “from the rising of the sun”), but in other passages of the Bible the phrase “the sons of the east” is applied to a variety of nations located east of Israel. When Jacob returned to Haran to find a wife we’re told he “came to the land of the sons of the east” (Ge 29:1) which is today an area of southern Turkey. So we don’t need to think of these armies as coming from regions in east Asia. The term could just as well indicate Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria or Jordan. Verse 13: Considering the misery people will be experiencing because of these bowl judgments it will be very difficult to marshal the armies of many nations for war against Israel. Soldiers along with everyone else will be suffering from ulcerous sores on their bodies (Rev 16:2); they will have a difficult time finding drinking water (Rev 16:4); they will be suffering from extreme heat (Rev 16:8, 9); and will be enduring all this in the midst of some sort of darkened atmosphere (Rev 16:11)

Revelation 16:13
Verse 13 (continued): Normally under such difficult circumstances people would be too miserable to fight, but in this case Satan himself crafts a message which he places in the mouths of the antichrist and false prophet. It’s a summons to war against Israel and when the nations receive it they respond with a super-human effort. To John the summons appears as “three unclean spirits like frogs” coming out of the mouths of the dragon (Satan), antichrist and the false prophet. All three speak the identical message, meaning Satan has crafted a lie which he places in the mouths of his human representatives. It’s not clear why it appears in the form of a frog, but the reference to frogs reminds us of the plague of frogs God sent upon the land of Egypt prior to the Exodus (Ex 7:25-8:15).

Revelation 16:13
Verse 13 (continued): It is significant that frogs were a sign Pharaoh’s magicians were able to imitate by their secret arts. Paul names two of these Egyptian magicians who performed counterfeit miracles in 2 Timothy 3:8. He said, “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth....” Then he said, “...their folly will be obvious to all just as Jannes’ and Jambres’ folly was also” (2Ti 3:9). Clearly, this ancient contest between Moses and Pharaoh’s demonically-empowered magicians was still remembered in first century Judaism and the early church. So it’s possible that the reference to frogs is meant to take our thoughts back to the plagues of the Exodus. If so, then the antichrist and false prophet might be seen as Satan’s last day’s “Jannes and Jambres” performing signs to prevent people from being moved to repentance by God’s miracles.

Revelation 16:14
Verse 14: The summons to war, sent out by the antichrist and the false prophet, is accompanied by demonic spirits. Some sort of supernatural sign occurs when it is delivered and the effect of this sign will overcome any resistance the national leaders might feel, compelling them to assemble their armies. Just as it was foolish for Pharaoh to send his army into the Red Sea after the fleeing Israelites, so it will be a fatal mistake for these armies to assemble at Har-Magedon (v 16) for an assault on Jerusalem (Zec 12:2-9; 14:2; Joel 3:1-3, 9-17). They’ll soon discover they have gone to war against “God, the Almighty.”

Revelation 16:15
Verse 15: Here the Lord inserts a warning to those seven churches who initially read these visions (Rev 2, 3) as well as to all following generations. By the time the final forty-two months come to an end evil will have grown so strong believers will find it hard to keep waiting expectantly for Jesus’ return. Like the five foolish virgins (Mt 25:1-13) the faith of many embattled believers may “sleep” before the Lord suddenly appears in the clouds (Mt 24:42-44; 1Th 5:2-6 ; 2Pe 3:10) Here and in other passages Jesus likens a believer’s faith to clothing. In a spiritual sense a person without the righteousness of faith appears before God with nothing to cover his or her sinful life. At the Judgment that person will be “naked” having their shameful deeds exposed (Mt 22:11-13; Rev 3:17, 18). So the warning to all of us is “don’t abandon your faith in Jesus before His return. If you do you’ll stand at the Judgment without the covering of Christ’s righteousness and your shameful deeds will be seen by all.”

Revelation 16:16, 17
Verse 16: For an explanation of the place called Har-Magedon see the comments on Rev 14:20. Zechariah 12:2-11 tells us the principle attack will be against Jerusalem, so the huge valley north of the Carmel range, in which the ancient city of Meggido is located, must serve more as a staging area for the enormous army that gathers than as the primary battlefield. Apparently, this valley is the “winepress” where the antichrist‘s multitude will be crushed by huge hailstones (Rev 16:21). Verse 17: The seventh and final bowl is poured out upon the air and a voice from God’s throne announces “It is done.” After this the “winepress” is trodden by means of the catastrophes described in verses 18 through 21. The next event in the course of human history will be the return of Christ (Rev 19:11). Chapters 17 and 18 picture circumstances within the antichrist’s empire, but don’t advance the chronology of events.

Revelation 16:18, 19
Verse 18: Once more signs of approaching judgment (lightening, thunder and an earthquake) (Rev 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; also Ex 19:16-18) emerge from around God’s throne. But this time the earthquake produced will be of a magnitude greater than any other during the human era. Verse 19: In Revelation 11:8 John calls Jerusalem “the great city,” so when he says “the great city was split into three parts” he is telling us Jerusalem will be separated into three distinct areas by the massive earthquake. Zechariah 13:8, 9 says that two-thirds of the entire land of Israel, which would include the city of Jerusalem, would perish, but that one-third would be spared and “will call on My name.” Zechariah 14:4, 5 says the Mount of Olives will be split in half. The north and south portions will be separated by a large valley providing a way of escape for survivors. This event may also explain the mysterious statement in Revelation 12:15, 16 that “the earth helped the woman (Israel). And ...opened its mouth and drank the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.”
 


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