AN EXPOSITION OF REVELATION 16:13-21
Three Frogs from the Unholy Trinity
13 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.
The Unholy Trinity in Revelation consists of the Dragon, the Beast from the Sea, and the Beast from the Earth, which is the False Prophet.
14 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.
In their collective foolishness, the kings of the earth can talk themselves into a state of war through false bravado. However, in the hour of actual conflict they are nothing before God. History repeats itself, because basic human nature does not change. “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; 16 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: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17). When the Battle of Armageddon is supposed to take place, there is no battle!
A Dramatic Pause
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
John remembered the words of Jesus telling Christians how to get ready for His Second Advent. Jesus is coming the second time for all who believe (Heb. 9:28). He will come in the same manner as He went away. This means that when the Lord suddenly appears, like a thief in the night, His presence will be known in a visible manner (Acts 1:11). A thief in the antient world came suddenly, and with great force upon the victim, and not in a sneaky way, like many thieves today. The Christian must get ready for the Battle of Armageddon. How is the Church to make herself ready?
John says to the Church, in essence, “In preparation for Armageddon, keep your garments clean.” In other words, be holy. Christians prepare for battle by putting on the whole armor of God. The saints do not arm themselves with rifles, bazookas, tanks, mortars, and a trained military presence with men and deadly machines on the land, in the air, and on the seas. No, the best preparation is a holy life.
If the kings of the East are on the march, crossing a dried-up Euphrates River to arrive at the Valley of Jezreel to await the arrival of the Lord of Hosts, then obviously the Lord cannot come as a thief in the night. Therefore, the vision of spiritual truth is to convey what Jesus has always taught, and that is, the end does not come with observation.
It is futile to look for contemporary “signs of the times” about the return of Jesus.
It is foolish to appeal to current events as proof that the world is now in “the last days”, as if the past 2000 years are of no relevance (1 Peter 1:2).
It is irresponsible for Christians writers to talk about living in the terminal generation, as if there are not more children to be born, and more centuries to pass. There are spiritual truths to learn from the vision of Revelation.
There are spiritual realities to be reminded of.
Specifically, Christians are to watch, if they want to be blessed. The Church is to keep her garments pure, if she wants to be holy. Believers are to be clothed in righteousness, if they do not want others to see their shame.
The end of time will be marked by the unexpected return of Jesus. The way to get ready for the end is to live a life of righteousness. Blessed is the Christian who stays awake in the service of the Lord, and does not fall asleep while on duty.
Here is the prelude to Armageddon. It involves Christians living life coram Deo, before the face of God. It consists of the Church getting ready to greet, and receive the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
When the King comes, He will find faith on the earth.
When the King comes, there will be no battle, for the Lord will consume His enemies with the breath of His mouth. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:8).
An Amazing Observation
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
This is the only time Armageddon (Gk. “mountain of Megiddo”) is mentioned in Revelation, with an amazing observation. Though the wicked are gathered spiritually, no battle takes place. Historically, this was not the case. Armageddon was the scene of many historic battles.
Though Bible scholars disagree, it is possible that the Armageddon was situated in the valley between Mount Carmel and the city of Jezreel. Known as the Valley of Zezreel, or the Plain of Esdraelon, it was associated with the good king, Josiah, who was killed there. Josiah was caught up in the conflict between Egypt and Assyria. Josiah sided with the Assyrians against Pharaoh-Nechoh, king of Egypt. That political and military alignment cost him his life.
“Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh–Nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulcher” (2 Kings 23:28-30a).
In Revelation, the historical site known as Armageddon represented a place where super power met on the field of battle. However, when the Unholy Trinity tries to engage God as an equal superpower, there is no battle, it is no contest.
The reason why there is no battle at Armageddon is because no one can fight against God. The Devil can make war in heaven, and fight Michael and other angels. The Devil can make war on the saints. The Devil can make war on the nations. But neither the Devil, the Beast from the Sea, or the Beast from the Earth can fight against God. There can be a gathering for conflict, but it does not matter. The war is over before it begins. There is no battle. Everything that man believes to be powerful, awesome, and dangerous, is nothing before the presence of the Lord.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
When Jesus died at Calvary, He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). With the pouring out of the last judgment, a voice from the Heavenly Temple cried out, “It is done.” Either Christ completes the work of salvation, or sinners endure the wrath of God until justice is satisfied.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Jesus once drank from the cup of God’s wrath. He pleaded not to, but then submitted to the will of the Father. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).
Spiritually, Christians drink from the same cup of the Lord, with this difference. The cup of bitterness has become the cup of blessing. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). Indeed, it is.
Those who refuse to drink from the cup of Christ, will have their own cup to drink of the wrath of God, illustrated symbolically by Great Babylon.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
A Judgment of Hail
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
The Bible says, it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God who is angry with the wicked (Heb. 10:31). John conveys the wrath of God, as he sees in his vision how easily it is for God to shake the earth, and destroy everything, and everyone in it. The end of God’s wrath against those who dwell on the earth, those who are ungodly, is to destroy everything.
In apocalyptic language, when God moves in judgment, islands vanish. Mountains are not found. There is cosmic chaos. Stones of hail fall from heaven weighing no less than 80 pounds. Men blaspheme God in their pain and suffering, who only laughs. Oh! “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8).
The judgment of hailstones John witnesses alludes to the judgment of hailstones rained on Egypt by Moses, with the same end result.
Grace Precedes Judgement
“Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. …Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. 19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die….
33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
The Heart is Hardened
35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses” (Ex. 9:1, 18-19, 33-35).
The Cycle of Sin and Grace was manifested in the days of Moses, repeated in the days of John, and until continue until the end of time. Individuals will blaspheme God, and curse their fate on earth. Meanwhile, those who dwell in the Heavenlies will rejoice their prayers are being answered, justice is being administered, the wicked do not prevail, there will be a final judgment, and God cannot be opposed, let alone overthrown or deposed.
“OUR GOD REIGNS!”