Kings of the East

The “sixth bowl of wrath” presents an army led by the “kings from the east” from beyond the Euphrates River, a picture derived from prophecies of Babylon's overthrow by the “Medes and Persians.” At the end of the age, God will use a “pagan” force once again to destroy “Babylon,” only this time, “Mystery Babylon” of the last days.

In preparation, the army is gathered to “Har-Mageddon.” In painting this picture, Revelation employs verbal allusions to the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of an attack against Israel by “Gog and Magog.”

In the passage, there is no description of an actual battle, and in the provided interpretation, the “kings of the whole habitable earth” are gathered by demonic spirits to the “battle of the great day of God the Almighty.”


Moreover, the enemy to be destroyed is not identified until the contents of the “seventh bowl” are emptied - “Babylon, the Great City” – (Revelation 16:12-16).

Chapter 16 serializes the meting out of wrath on the “Beast” and “Babylon” as a sequence of seven “last plagues” that are unleashed sequentially as seven angels empty the contents of their respective bowls.

Throughout the series, God initiates the action and even uses the vassals of the “Dragon” to execute His judgments. In the “sixth bowl,” the “kings of the earth” are assembled for the “battle of God the Almighty” - It is His “battle.”

Prepared for the kings of the east.” This clause alludes to the prophecy in Jeremiah about the destruction of Babylon.

In the sixth century B.C., the city was captured by the army of the “Medes and Persians” after it blocked the Euphrates River to allow its troops to enter the city along the riverbed -(Jeremiah 50:35-38, 51:25-38).


The description of the “kings of the east” provides fitting imagery for the coming destruction of “Babylon” in the last days. After the “kings of the habitable earth” are assembled, the “Great City” partakes of the “wine of God’s wrath” - (Revelation 16:19-20).

The image of the “kings from the east” crossing the Euphrates is interpreted by what John “sees” - (“and I saw”). First, he “hears a great voice… Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath into the earth,” then he describes what he saw - demon spirits from the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” and the “False Prophet” dispatched to gather the “kings of the whole habitable earth.”

Thus, we find an interpretive technique seen previously in the book. What John sees interprets what he first hears. The “kings from the east” and the “kings of the whole habitable earth” are one and the same.

The “kings of the earth” were introduced at the beginning of the book. Because of his death and resurrection, Jesus is the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” This group appears several times.

The term is from the second Psalm, a messianic prophecy applied to Jesus several times by the book - “The KINGS OF THE EARTH set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh and his anointed” - (Revelation 1:4-6, 12:5, Psalm 2:2).


As the seventh angel empties the final “bowl of wrath,” the destruction of “Babylon” is announced. The actual judgment of the “Great City” is not detailed until chapters 17 and 18.

In turn, the actual judgments of the “Beast,” “False Prophet,” and the armies of the “kings of the earth” are detailed in the vision of the “Rider on a White Horse” in chapter 19 - (Revelation 19:17-21).

Thus, the “kings of the earth” are assembled for the “great day of the battle of God” to destroy “Babylon,” and in preparation for their own destruction by the “Rider on the White Horse” - (Revelation 16:14, 19:15-21).

In this way, the book of Revelation uses Old Testament language and imagery to build its picture of how God will destroy the earthly vassals of the “Dragon” - The “Beast from the sea,” the “False Prophet,” and the “Great Harlot, Babylon.” And it often combines language from several passages from the Hebrew Bible into one image.

The “kings of the earth” may be allied with the “Beast,” but in the “sixth bowl of wrath,” they become the instruments of divine justice employed to destroy “Babylon.” And at the proper time, these same servants of the “Dragon” will be judged as will the “Beast” and the “False Prophet,” and finally, the “Dragon.”



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