1. Last week we saw how God’s wrath was unleashed upon creation. How the first four bowls of his wrath were poured out upon the dry land, the sea, the rivers and springs, and on the sun. And how this would lead to the destruction of the kingdom of the beast, which is ultimately the kingdom of Satan.
2. Today we actually see this destruction. As we do, we must remember that the people of God, His true church have already been gathered together in heaven. This happened at the first harvest in Revelation 14.
3. Today we come to Armageddon. The last battle ever to be fought in this world. The last event in the long history of this earth.
4. And as we take a look at what happens, it is interesting how God uses even the forces of evil to bring upon His judgement upon those forces themselves. Remember that the first bowls of wrath took away the peace and prosperity by which the antichrist was able to maintain his authority and control over the nations. That he who had deprived God’s people from God’s blessings would not be deprived of those blessings himself.
5. We have all heard much about Armageddon. Yet we might be surprised to learn who is actually fighting in this battle .
6. Let us look at our passage. The fifth bowl is poured out upon the throne of the beast and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. The throne was the seat of his authority and power to rule. When the kingdom is plunged into darkness this probably does not mean a darkness upon the lands of his kingdom, as that would contradict the intense heat of the scorching sun of the fourth bowl. Rather the meaning of this darkness is that his glory is diminished, he loose his power, his appearance now longer inspires awe and confidences.
7. The people start to loose their trust in the beast. In a sense, the kingdom starts to experience political unrest. And of course, this is all due to the effects of the plagues of the first four bowls. The suffering will intensify. People will gnaw their tongues in agony and curse God. As we saw last week, they will refuse to repent.
8. The sixth bowl is poured out upon the great river Euphrates. This corresponds to the sixth trumpet at which the angels who were bound at the Euphrates were released and they gathered the heathen, monstrous armies from the east to battle the nations which were considered Christian. At that time we mentioned how the Euphrates river was the eastern boundary of the nation of Israel at its greatest. The bowl dries up the Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings from the east. A river such as the Euphrates would not have prevented these kings with their armies from attacking, so the drying up is not to be taken literally.
9. There are nations which used to be considered Christian nations. We could consider these to have been the nations that either are or were considered to be nominally Christian or the civilized nations. These are the nations that are then the main or proper antichristian nations upon which the antichrist has his rule. Perhaps it is one of the nations where the seat of power, the throne is actually situated. Because of the darkening of the kingdom and the unrest, the rest of these civilized nations rise up against the throne of the beast and free themselves from his rule. The seat of power has lost its hold of these nominally Christian nations.
10. But there are other nations. The ones that live outside of the area of these nominally Christian area. They are represented by the kings from the east in part and to a larger extent the kings of the world in verse 14. This is what was considered to be the pagan world - Africa, Asia. These nations had gained from the prosperity of the antichrist’s dominion and while they outwardly subjected themselves to his rule, they continued in their pagan customs and religions. They lived in separation and alienation, more or less.
11. They will rise up against God almighty to do battle with Him. As we said the Euphrates represented the boundary line between the Christian and the pagan nations. At this time it is the boundary between the Antichrist and the so-called pagan nations. And its drying up means that the armies of the nations of ecah side are now ready to fight each other.
12. But there is something else that takes place.
Rev 16:13-14 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. 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.