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[THY WRATH IS COME, CONT.]
[the sixth vial]
Now look to me, says the Lord, and I will show you the mystery of the sixth vial of wrath. The sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the waters thereof were dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings of the east (16:12). In the previous prophecy on the trumpets, you were shown the 'loosing' of the four angels which were bound in the river
Euphrates, and the eventual going forth of armies because of this. The going forth of armies from the lands of the east is symbolically pictured in the scripture by the overflow of the banks of the river Euphrates, (see Isa. 8:6-8). Therefore the drying up of the waters of the Euphratesas a result of the sixth vial being poured out, would indicate the turning back of armies to their destruction. Before this is accomplished, there is the gathering together of the armies of the east, as well as all armies, to a place called Armageddon (16:16). Although the 'city of ', to which the expression 'Armageddon' refers, was situated on the edge of the great plain where many great battles were fought in ancient times, the end-time gathering is primarily symbolic. ‘Armageddon’ is a symbolic appellation of the final conflict of the ages. Megiddo
Now the sixth vial has primarily to do with the final stages of this great conflict: the 'drying up' of the river
Euphrates, or the complete destruction of the armies of the east who are under the banner of the beast. This is also symbolically portrayed as 'preparing the way of the kings of the east.' This means that the way might be prepared for their destruction; and this is brought about by the 'drying up' or turning back of their armies in confusion and defeat. Now note, says the Lord, in order to present a more complete picture of the 'how' and 'why' of this final conflict, the inspired apostle is given to see that which has led up to this final conflict, and the forces which have been instrumental in gathering the nations to battle. The 'gathering' is not a part of the sixth vial, but is portrayed to John at the time he sees the sixth vial poured out, that the 'mystery' of the gathering to Armageddon might be understood in relation to the destruction of the armies of the east.
John is given to see the mysterious forces which gather to Armageddon as 'three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.' (16:13). Frogs are creatures of the water which are perpetually croaking in the darkness of night time. The water speaks of things of the 'soul;' those things which lurk deep within the desire-nature of reprobate man. The croaking indicates that which is spoken in the form of lying propaganda, which is the product of man's darkness apart from the light of divine truth. All of this is the result of ‘unclean spirits' of Satan working to subvert man into ways of exploitation, lust for power, and eventual bloodshed. There are three ideologies, closely related, yet with separate emphases and related to different 'power blocks', that are leading the nations to certain conflict. That which comes out of the mouth of the dragon is Facism; that which comes out of the mouth of the beast is Communism; and that which comes out of the mouth of the false prophet is Socialism. They are all systems which emphasize the 'deifying' of the powers of autocratic rule. They recognize no rights of the individual as divinely given by the Creator. They are destructive of individual responsibility before the God of all flesh. They breed moral degeneracy and spiritual insipidness. They lead to inevitable conflict and chaos. Not being of your God they cannot last; they will either collapse under their own perverted weight amidst much bloodshed, or they will die in agonizing conflict with each other. The inspired apostle says they are 'the spirits of devils, working signs, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.' (16:14).
Now when, says the Lord, is that great day? If it can be shown when that great day of the Lord is, then the time can be revealed when the gathering of the nations to Armageddon intensifies its pace. The symbolic gathering of the nations has been going on now for many years; ever since the implementation of the ideologies mentioned began in earnest. Thus from one perspective the day of the Lord has already begun to dawn. But there is a specific point at which it can be said that the day of the Lord has arrived. When is it, says the Lord? The key is found in the scriptural statement following the reference to the 'great day of God Almighty.' It is as follows: 'Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.' (16:15). Is it not written that 'the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night?' (I Thess. 5:2). Thus it is written that both THE LORD JESUS and HIS DAY come as a thief. It has already been revealed to you in a previous prophecy that the Lord's coming is synonymous with the blowing of the seventh trumpet. But His coming is first as a 'thief’ to ‘break through’ the household of the church (Luke 12:39) and remove the ‘Jewels' (Mal. 3:17). These are the 144,000 firstfruits (Rev. 14:1) who will be translated at the beginning of the tribulation. The Lord does not openly manifest Himself at this time, for it is the beginning of His 3-1/2 year 'parousia' or 'presence,' unseen by human eyes. Therefore know, that when 144,000 of the choicest of saints suddenly disappear, THE DAY OF THE LORD HAS BEGUN: the seventh trumpet has begun to blow. THEN shall the pace quicken in the 'gathering' of the nations to the final conflict. It will be the 'great day of God Almighty' because of the GREATNESS of that which He will manifest in spiritual power and glory through His saints on the earth, and it will also be great because of the exceeding GREATNESS of His might which shall be unleashed in the atom's awesome fire-power, it is the great day of 'God Almighty' because the great God and Savior shall exercise His Almighty power in putting down the impudence and haughtiness of man. For is it not written that "the day of the Lord of hosts shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and on every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low?" Is it not also written that 'the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day?' (Isa. 2:11-12).
Having seen the armies of the beast turned back by the 'drying up of the river Euphrates' as a result of the sixth vial, there yet remains in this prophetic picture just the last agonizing phase of the atomic holocaust which rages throughout the seven vials of wrath. 'Armageddon,' which symbolically denotes the entire east-west conflict, both during the tribulation consummation of the trumpets and the final vials of wrath, will then be over. When the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air, there comes a voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'IT IS DONE!' (16:17). This is because the seventh vial is synonymous with the VISIBLE RETURN OF THE LORD. It is His personal return that causes the final wrath to be poured out. He comes to ‘tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.' (19:15). He is to be revealed 'in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' (II Thess. 1:8). The fire of atomic destruction will still be raging as He returns to put an end to man's insanity, lest all flesh would be destroyed. (Matt. 24;22).
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