Exegetical look into Revelation 16:12-14

 

  • Euphrates was a symbol for defeat like Napoleon’s great defeat at Waterloo, and an image of drying up as the Red Sea did. This was the border of Rome to Parthian; where Armenia was located was also the border. If something disrupted the flow, such as drought or catastrophe, great armies could cross easily; if not, it was a slow, audacious crossing, on rafts. This was the area where Cyrus and the Persians conquered Babylon in 536 B.C. and set the stage for the Jews’ second exodus back to the Promised Land. Cyrus diverted the flow of the river so his armies could cross. This maneuver was considered an impossibly and hence, the place was not guarded. The Babylonians were surprised—caught with their pants down—as Cyrus sneaked into the great city where the river flowed partly underground. David did something similar when he conquered Jerusalem (Ex. 14:21-22; Josh. 3:9-17; 4:22-24; 2 Sam. 5:1-8; Rev. 9:14; 17:15-18:24).
  • Was dried up to prepare refers to no delay—easy passage for an army in contrast to the Euphrates which was also a symbol for difficulty. This also is an image of the exodus and restoration as the parting of the Red Sea or the Jews leaving their Babylonian captivity and retuning to Israel. It is an image of restoration for the faithful and military oppression for the wicked.
  • Kings from the East. Most assume this means invaders from anywhere east of Israel, and it well could be. Others see this as “fallen angels” However, for a first century Jew, this clearly meant the Parthians who were the most feared enemy of Rome and directly in their path was the province of Asia Minor and the churches there.
  • Three evil spirits/devils gives an image from the apocalyptic book, 2 Baruch, and tells of demons that cause havoc prior to the end of days.  It refers to demons and how they can be God’s agents to do His bidding and judgment (James 2:19).
  • Frogs were images of evil or what is bad and wrong, as they are “unclean” animals, and also an allusion to the plagues of Egypt. Popular thinking then was Nero would be reincarnated as a frog for his sins. This can also mean deception that tricks people to seek evil and not good (Ex. 8:5-7; Lev 11:10; Luke 10:18-19; apocalyptic book War Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls; 4 Ezera).
  • Miraculous signs refers to deception and false prophets (Deut. 13:1-3; Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev 19:20) 
  • Kings of the whole world.  Perhaps a different set of people from kings of the east; these are the armies who seek to wage war even against God (1 Sam. 8:4-18; Rev. 6:15; 19:11-21).
  • Great day of God means God’s judgment will be complete and perfect and not have any social class or economic barriers to it. God vindicates us! It is judgment time for those people who are unjust and evil oppressors (Rev. 13:13; 19:11-21).
  • Gather/assemble them for the battle. This was a metaphor for Judgment. The nations of earth actually think they can battle God! It is a scene for the evils of the world to fight against God metaphorically as we all do from time to time, or to the extreme of cursing God till you die.  This is also an image of God confronting the forces of evil, the battle against of good versus evil, our personal battle of sin. This is also, in context to the Seven Churches, our personalities, ways, pride, and agendas converging and conflicting for the battle for the Church—His ways or ours in our lust for command and control of His Church. This, of course, is also the reference to a future, perhaps, actual eschatological battle, that is prepared for and staged just before Christ returns (Ex. 15:2; Is. 43:9; Joel 3:2-11; Zeph. 3:8; Ezek. Chaps 38-39; Rev. 2:10-13; 6:12-17; 17:13-14; 19:11-21; 20:7-10).
  • Great day of God Almighty day of the Lord. Almighty refers to God’s omnipotence and His “All,” as in supremacy and preeminence. As a phrase, this was also a metaphor for Judgment (Amos 5:18-20; 2 Cor. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:2).
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s