"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, 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. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. 16:14-16)
The gathering described in our passage is in preparation for the cataclysmic end seen in the seventh plague. It happens just before the end when Christ returns. The three-part alliance will enforce the death and privation decrees described in Rev. 13:15 (linked below). We will look at this gathering first. Then we will explore the more obscure mention of the Hebrew language and what the term "Armageddon" means.
Gathered for a surprise
The kings are gathered or joined in an alliance for battle. In the next chapter we see the vile woman on a beast and we are told that the beast's ten horns are "ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Rev. 17:12-14) 1714. Although in a different setting, the kings there are the same as those here in the sixth plague. They are gathered to enforce the demands of the the beast carrying the woman but instead of killing the righteous who do not bow to the false religion Rev. 13:15, they find themselves overcome by the Lamb.
A place called Armageddon
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. 16:16).
The meaning of this mystery word has always intrigued scholars and curious readers. For a good understanding of a text we must see the context and similar passages. And, as in all Scripture interpretation, we must seek the Lord and be submissive to the Holy Spirit (Rev. 1:3; John 7:17).
In considering Armageddon, the eyes of the Christian world tend to focus on the Arab-Israeli tension or other world powers in a great battle. This is a false concept according to the way I read the Scriptures in the larger context. First of all, we are looking at symbols. A physical battle may be involved, in a sense, but the war is between the kings of the earth and the King of kings as we have seen in parallel passages above.
The map shows only those places significant to our study plus a few main landmarks.
More scenes providing
a general understanding
In Judges 4 and 5, we find a prophet-inspired call for Israel to face its enemies jg0404ff. Sisera, the Canaanite general came to fight and the Lord, by the hand of the two faithful tribes of Israel, quickly overcame the enemy jg0415. The kings of Canaan came to fight near "the waters of Megiddo" jg0519 apparently called by Sisera. We also have a mountain besides Carmel near Megiddo — Mt. Tabor jg0406.
The Bible gives another location for the gathering for the final conflict — the Valley of Jehoshaphat. See Joel 3. The significance of the Valley of Jehoshaphat is clarified in the story of his victory over three enemies 2 Chron.20:10. There the king trusted God who fought for him and the people 2 Chron. 20. So will God do for His people in the final time of trouble Ps. 91:9.
Instead of Armageddon we may read har-mo'edth. This term is used in Isaiah 14 for the mountain of God's throne, Isa 14:31. Lucifer, later Satan, presumed to take it over. The gathered kings will, in a similar way, attempt to take from God the control of the faithful remnant just before the coming of Christ.
We can see concepts of the final conflict in these three scenes as well as the one on Mt. Carmel.
What is the focus of the sixth plague?
Let's return to the text of the sixth plague. "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...." (Rev. 16:12, 13). The initial issue is not on the meaning of Armageddon. It's on the drying up of the Euphrates for the kings of the East. The river ran through the literal city of Babylon providing her support. The evil woman as Babylon thus sits on many waters (Rev. 17:1). The river was "dried up" by diverting the water and marching under the walls of the city then entering through river gates left open (Isa. 45:1). The literal kings of the East would be Cyrus and the king under him, Darius. Darius conquered literal Babylon (Dan. 5:30). Cyrus came later and liberated God's people from the city (Ezr. 6). The two kings were from Persia which was East of Babylon. This represents protection from the end-time coercive forces.
Looking at the water of the river as the world's support system, we can see economic, political, and other chaos. This is the time of the loud cry (Rev. 18:1), the last call to leave spiritual Babylon (Rev. 18:4) before she is destroyed by plagues at the hand of God (Rev. 18:7).
At the same time, the kings of the earth – the political powers – are united by deceptive miracles from the earth beast (Rev. 13:15-17). Satan can impersonate Christ or Mary or others 2co1114. When chaos leads to the breakup of the three-part alliance (Rev. 16:19), these kings lament (Rev. 18:9).
Note 16 a2
Who gathers the kings? (To skip this paragraph and accompanying note, jump)
The three evil spirits of verse 14 gather the kings for Armageddon, while verse 16 says "he" gathered them. The word "he" could represent the one who keeps his garments or Christ who comes as the thief. In verse 14, however, neither of these gather the kings. "The spirits of devils" gather them. Many translations show "they" instead of "he" for who gathers the kings, making the gathering, in both verses to be by the evil spirits. This is an acceptable translation. I have chosen to follow the singular, "he" because it finds a closer antecedent — he, indicating God or the one who keeps his garments. The truth of the text is unchanged by the pronoun although choosing "he" brings a little more information.
|In Greek, as in other languages, the subject (he or they in verse 16) must agree with the verb (gather or gathers). The verb is singular so we expect a singular subject (he). A special rule, however, allows a plural subject in this case. Verbs (and nouns) in Greek may be masculine, feminine, or neuter. Here the verb (gather/s) is neuter. The special rule allows a neuter, singular verb to accompany a plural subject.|
How God's people will be ready for the final battle
The final day of the
Lord is pictured in the Battle of Jehoshaphat 2
Chron.20. Did you notice that, in the battle of Jehoshaphat, the people
drew close to God and He gained the victory for them. During the time of
trouble, God will save His people while He will slay the wicked, partly
by allowing them to destroy themselves. This is not the final end of the
wicked, however. They will live again as we will see in Revelation
During the time of the sixth plague, the religious leaders of the world will have chosen to believe falsehood — gathered by the deceptions of the three-part coalition of evil (1613b) as were the priests who had chosen to practice idolatry. The battle of Armageddon is decided on the mountain in the hearts of the people some for God and some against. It is executed under the seventh plague in in the valley. This is the battle of the mountain which is above the valley of Megiddo — the battle of Har-Megiddo.
Let's remember that the three-frog deception is for the whole world. The focus is on its results, not its location. We see it in several stories including the account of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. The deception will include acting like Elijah and performing miracles calling fire from heaven, 1313.
In the Hebrew tongue
"And he gathered
them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev.
John, along with other New Testament authors, wrote in Greek. Why did the Holy Spirit, through him, direct us to think in terms of the Hebrew language? When the armies of Sennacherib surrounded Jerusalem after conquering the other cities within their reach, they talked in the people's language and said bad things about their godly leaders who were wishing that they would use the Syrian language instead of Hebrew. Isaiah 36. In the end-time gathering of the kings, we may expect to the religion of the remnant to be despised and great pressure exerted on them to abandon their minority, Bible-based convictions.
So what happens under the sixth plague?
The text sequence is as follows:
|verse 12||Plague 6. Vial emptied. Way for kings of East prepared.|
|verse 13||Three spirits come from enemies of God|
|verse 14||Devil spirits do deceptive miracles to gather kings of earth|
|verse 15||Christ comes as a thief. Keep ready|
|verse 16||Kings gathered to Armageddon|
|verse 17||Plague 7. "It is done." World comes apart. Punishment and slaying of the wicked.|
At the end of chapter 15 we
learned that there would be no intercession during the plagues 1508.
The righteous are sealed at this time and do not need to have sins forgiven.
Then why the admonition to be ready? We concluded that verses 13 to 15
explain what happened earlier for the gathering of the kings. Now the job
The sixth plague describes the work of the image to the beast 1315.
Let's remember that God's people will be saved out of the time of trouble. It is for the wicked. Let's each determine to remain faithful in every way to our Lord Jesus.