"The Book of Revelation, An Eschatological Study of the Endtimes", by Chad J. McCoy
Rev. 16:1-21: Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."
2 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.
3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.
4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
"You are just in these judgments,
you who are and who were, the Holy One,
because you have so judged;
6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve."
7 And I heard the altar respond:
"Yes, Lord God Almighty,
true and just are your judgments."
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
15 "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
The seven angels are told to pour their bowls out upon the earth.
The first angel pours out a plague of ugly, painful sores. This is the judgement of all who have taken the mark of the beast and worship its image.
The second angel turns the sea to blood, and everything in the sea dies. We saw before that a third of the sea would be turned to blood, but now the entire sea is turned to blood. This kills off all sea life. There is no more fish to eat. A considerable portion of the world's food supply has just been destroyed.
The third angel turns all the drinking water to blood. Again, we saw previously that a third of the drinking water was contaminated, but now all of it will be turned to blood. Mankind has just lost its water supply. All that remains is whatever people have bottled up and stored.
Imagine the earth after just these first three plagues. Horrible painful sores have broken out on everyone, they've lost a large part of their food supply, and all of their water supply. Much death will result.
An angel who is in charge of the waters, makes the statement that as bad as these judgements are, they are just. The people of the earth deserve these plagues of blood because of the blood of the saints and prophets that they have shed.
And the martyred saints that cried out for justice in Rev. 6:9,10 are now being avenged in full. They agree with the angel in charge of the waters, and say "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgements."
The fourth angel is given power to turn up the heat of the sun and scorch the inhabitants of the earth.
I imagine that will feel really good on their sores. And it will feel especially pleasant on those who are parched from having no water.
The bible says that the people of the earth cursed God because of the plagues, and refused to repent of their sins. (This says to me that they still could obtain salvation if they wanted, but they do not choose to receive God. They choose instead to curse Him)
The fifth angel causes the World Government Nations to be plunged into darkness. So now, not only are they hungry, thirsty, sore, and scorched, but now they can't even see. (Sorry - I just have to chuckle!)
And the bible says that just like Pharoh, they still do not repent of their sins, but continue to curse God.
The sixth angel pours out his bowl of wrath on the Euphrates and it dries up, preparing the way for the kings of the East to bring their armies to Armageddon.
At this point three evil spirits issue forth from Satan, the AntiChrist, and the False Apostle. They are miracle-working demons, who go to the kings of every nation, and gather them together for battle at Armageddon.
You may ask, with whom are they gathering to fight?
I think they have gathered to retaliate against Almighty God Himself, for the plagues he has sent upon them. They have endured a loss of food and all water, they have endured painful, ugly sores, they have been burned and blinded, and they have taken all they're going to take. They are going to show God what they think of Him by utterly destroying his Holy City, the city of Jerusalem.
Since Satan is commanding all of this, he may realize that the time has come to do battle with the Almighty, and has gathered them together for this purpose. Unlike the last time, when he lost his position in heaven, and unlike the time just recently when he lost even the right to stand in heaven, this time he thinks that he will be able to defeat the Almighty.
As they march on Jerusalem, the seventh angel pours out his bowl. This is the grand finale. A storm hits, accompanied by an earthquake to end all earthquakes. Jerusalem is split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapse. Every island breaks up and disappears into the sea. The mountains collapse. One-hundred-pound hailstones fall from heaven and kill more people.
And the last gasp of humanity is a final curse against Almighty God. What a pitiful, sad ending of the story of man.
Zechariah gives us more detail about this day, as he prophesied in Zech. 14:12-15: This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected-great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
This is going to be one gruesome special effect. The nations that have gathered to destroy Jerusalem will have their flesh rot, their eyes melt out of their sockets, and their tongues rot in their mouths - ALL WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!
The same thing will happen to all of their animals.
This is God's final answer to rebellion against Him. The end of this story is told in Chapter 19, but first John is told about the great destruction of Babylon.
Before I get to chapter 17, I want to address a few points.
1. What is the significance of the drying up of the Euphrates River?
2. What is the Great City?
3. How is it that Jerusalem is split into three parts?
The bible says that the Euphrates dries up in order for the armies of the Eastern Kings to gather at Armageddon, along with the other armies of the World Government.
The Euphrates River is a formidable obstacle to any army moving on foot or by vehicle. God dries it up in order for his plan to be fulfilled; which is for the armies of the world to be met with judgement at the Final Battle. It wouldn't do for God to come down from heaven to destroy the armies of the Beast, only to have the forces of China still way back in Iraq trying to ford the Euphrates.
These Kings from the East would be a portion of the "ten horn" kings of the beast, that rule over the nations of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, India, China, Korea, Taiwan, etc. Even Russia is located in this area, although it is more to the North, than the East.
So the kings (however many there are) that are in charge of these areas, will easily be able to meet with the other armies at Megiddo, due to the Euphrates drying up.
The only other river of any concern in this direction is the Jordan River, but this can be avoided entirely if they go around it on the northern side, by the city of Dan. Then it is a straight shot south to Megiddo, and then on to Jerusalem.
As for why I have identified Jerusalem as the Great City, well so does the bible, in Rev. 11:8 (Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.) and Rev. 21:10 (And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, ).
Yes, the bible does call other cities the "great city". It names the cities of Resen, Gibeon, Ninevah, and Babylon this way, among others.
I believe that in this passage of Revelation it is referring to Jerusalem, due to the fact the Mount of Olives, just to the east of Jerusalem, will be split in two on the day of the Final Battle. The Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west. If this split continues west even a short distance past the Garden of Gethsemane, which is at the base of the Mount of Olives, it will end up dividing Jerusalem in half.
I would remind you of Zech. 14:3,4: Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
Note the picture below that shows how close the Mount of Olives is to the city of Jerusalem.
This is a view of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives. The gold dome in the horizon is the Dome of the Rock, which is built on the foundation of the Jewish Temple. Jerusalem is less than half a mile away.
If Jerusalem can be split into two parts, it's easy to see that it could fragment into three pieces with little difficulty.
One especially revealing document is below: It shows us a fault line that runs along this same exact area.
Since the bible refers to many different cities as the "great city", you can't tell for sure which city is meant in Revelation 16:19. But since I know the Mount of Olives will be split in two, and that the split will most likely hit Jerusalem, then I think that the Great City that splits into three parts, is Jerusalem.
The armies of the world have come to destroy Jerusalem. You would think that God would save the city from destruction. He does. The armies are unsuccessful in their mission. Why then, would God destroy it Himself, after saving it from Satan's army?
The answer is, He doesn't destroy it. The bible says it will be split into three parts, and that the cities of the nations collapse. It doesn't say that Jerusalem collapses, just that it is split into three parts. Some of the city will of course be ruined, but there will be three intact parts of Jerusalem left standing, while the other cities of the nations are leveled.
Let's look now at the destruction of Babylon.