“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 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. 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. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-16).
We come now to the great battle of Armageddon, the symbolic name for the ultimate defeat of the enemies of God. Many commentators have pointed out that this word served the same way that the battle of *Waterloo* serves us. It refers indirectly to a location, but in general application it means catastrophic defeat.
So the sixth angel pours out his bowl of wrath on the river Euphrates, which was the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. On the other side of that river was the Parthian Empire. Josephus tells us that the general Titus brought additional reinforcements to the siege of Jerusalem from the region of the Euphrates.
In this vision the waters of the Euphrates were dried up, which provides us with an important scriptural trope. When Daniel interpreted the famous handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar, it was the night before he was killed. Cyrus conquered Babylon that night through the device of diverting the Euphrates, drying it up, and marching into Babylon on the river bed (536 B.C). In addition, when waters are dried up in Scripture, this indicates a great deliverance for God’s people. We saw this in the Red Sea deliverance (Ex. 14:21-22), and in the initial stages of the attack on Jericho (Josh. 3:9-17; 4:22-24). So here the waters of the Euphrates are dried up, opening the way for the kings of the sunrise to destroy Jerusalem, which has become the new Babylon.
These armies are gathered through the working of an unholy trinity of three demon-like frogs. This brings to mind the plague of frogs that afflicted Egypt (Ex. 8:1-15)and remember that Jerusalem has also become the new Egypt (Rev. 11:8). The fact that the frogs come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet indicates that the enemies of God who are going to be destroyed are going to be destroyed by the instrumentality of other enemies of God. In other words, the unbelieving Jews were going to be judged through the pagan Roman armies.
The word Armageddon means Mountain of Meggido, and the location referred to is probably Mount Carmel, where Elijah defeated the priests of Baal. This is the nearest mountain to the plain of Meggido. That battlefield was used more than once. Deborah and Barak achieved their great victory there (Judg. 5:19). The godly king Josiah met his Waterloo there, so to speak (2 Chron. 35:20-25). And so the grim reality represented by this convulsive battle is most likely to be understood as the demolition of Jerusalem.
The Lord here announces that He comes as a thief, which need not refer to His Second Coming. The same phrase was used earlier in Revelation to encourage the saints in Sardis to walk circumspectly (Rev. 3:3). The sixth bowl has been poured out. Very little time is left.