“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.” ~ Revelation 16:12
Note: the pouring out of the vials in Revelation chapter 16 in general represents the strong Judgement God has towards the hypocrisy of religion, especially fake Christianity.
This sixth vial poured out on the great river Euphrates, reveals to us important spiritual insights by making a direct reference to how the literal city of Babylon had been defeated over 600 years prior to this writing in Revelation. In 539 BC, Cyrus, the King of Medo-Persia, came from the East to defeat Babylon. Babylon was a large city with huge towering walls to protect it. And the great river Euphrates flowed right through the walls, to help water the land and people within the City. Cyrus had his army divert the river Euphrates away from Babylon so that his army could march through the walls, via the dried up river bed, to take the City.
Before all this happened, Isaiah prophesied of King Cyrus by name. Although Cyrus did not know God, yet he was anointed by God to defeat ancient Babylon, and free the Israelites so they could return to Jerusalem to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple of God.
“That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” ~ Isaiah 44:27-28
Further Isaiah states that the West shall realize that God will send his army from the rising of the sun (from the East) to destroy his enemies and free this people.
“Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.” ~ Isaiah 45:1-6
The end purpose for the destruction of Babylon: that all may know that “I am the Lord”.
But what is the spiritual meaning of all this for us today? Revelation clarifies this later for us: that Jesus Christ alone is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (see Revelation 19:16.) And a spiritually corrupted condition in religion today (which Revelation identifies as Babylon) has raised itself up against Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and against his church.
Babylon today is spiritual, and it represents a religious condition that claims to be the church, but yet it is full of hypocrisy and corruption. As such, Revelation calls her the “well favored harlot” who manipulates and uses people for gain and popularity. And throughout history, this false Christianity has also religiously persecuted God’s true people.
“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus…” ~ Revelation 17:5-6
So spiritually drying up the river, to enter into and destroy spiritual Babylon, is one of the principal purposes of the book of Revelation.
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” ~ Revelation 18:2-8
So God’s purpose is to destroy spiritual Babylon and free true Christians from her deception, her false fellowship, and her self-worship. The Lord wants to rebuild true worship again, and the true household of faith, which is his true church of God.
So what God is spiritually doing today, is also what God had Cyrus help with back in the Old Testament. For after Cyrus defeated Babylon, he made a formal declaration for God’s people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the City and the Temple.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” ~ Ezra 1:1-4
But of course, before the true church of God can be restored today, the fake one must be spiritually exposed and destroyed in the hearts of people. But God starts that work when the hearts of people that used to flow toward Babylon (false Christianity) are now redirected away. So the river that used to flow towards Babylon, is now dried up.
“And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall. My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 51:44-45
God’s fierce anger is against this spiritual condition that steals the hearts of people! And that is why this vial of wrath in Revelation 16 is being poured out.
God never intended that the hearts of people would flow towards a so called Christian religious organization. When he saves the soul, the heart starts to flow towards God and his Son Jesus Christ. When hearts flow this way, there is true joy and love that brings complete devotion and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. And consequently the true spiritual City of God and true Tabernacle of God is made glad. The hearts river is now flowing in the right direction!
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” ~ Psalm 46:4
And in Ezekiel 47:1-12 it shows that when this river flows, it flows from the House of God, through the City of God, and then out into the desert to give it life. A heart that is filled with the love of God, cannot contain it. And so this love flows out towards others who are spiritually dried up. (Note: when Cyrus diverted the river away from Babylon, it flowed out into the desert.)
Consider the spiritual implications of the following scripture.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” ~ John 4:10
The living water comes from God, through the saving power of Jesus Christ, and the love flow of the Holy Spirit. It came from God, so the flow first belongs to God, not to some religious institution.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” ~ John 7:37-39
There is healing in the Holy Spirit water and river of life, that Jesus gives.
“For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” ~ Revelation 7:17
Ultimately this is the objective of the whole Revelation message. To free people from both the deception of sin, and false Christianity. Both of these will leave you spiritually bitter and dead, but yet still joined to some church or religious organization.
Only through a personal revelation of Jesus Christ to your soul, by forgiveness and deliverance from all sin, can you start to enjoy the Spirit of God. And by being delivered from false Christianity, you can gather with others who are free. And together you can step into the river of the abundant life!
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” ~ Revelation 22:1-2
But, if you dry up the heart river flow towards religious organizations, you will find that you will offend the spirits that many people are controlled by. Consequently, you will soon find that they will gather people against you, just as they gathered them against Christ.
And so the next scripture and posts will expose those evil spirits, and the source of their heart river flow.
Note: this diagram below shows where the sixth vial message is within the full Revelation message. These “vials of God’s wrath” messages complete the purpose of God to destroy the influence of hypocrisy. To better understand a high level view of Revelation, you can also see the “Roadmap of Revelation.”