Revelation 16:10-12 (NASB) 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. 12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.
In the March 28, 2013 report of MEMRI, a
Protestors in Afghanistan – Reuters Photo
translation was made available of an editorial taken from the Saudi Daily, Al-Medina, describing the challenges before the Arab leaders gathered at the Arab Summit at Doha, the capital city of Qatar. MEMRI summarized the challenges Arab leaders faced as reported in the editorial as follows:
According to the editorial, while the first Arab summit discussed a single problem – the Palestinian problem – this summit is convening under the shadow of “a political, security, and economic earthquake, and raging storms of chaos, upheaval and fitna [Arabic, "tumult" or "upheaval"]” in almost every Arab country : Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Weapons [provided to the Syrian regime] by Iran and allowed by Iraq through Iraqi airspace are also playing a part in igniting the Syrian crisis, and they are pouring more oil [on the fire] of sectarian fitna [in Iraq] – [sectarian fitna] being considered the main characteristic of Iraqi Pres. Nouri Al-Maliki’s era. Add to this the Iranian nuclear dossier, the current state in Lebanon, the chaos in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, the stagnation of the peace process, and the ongoing settlements, Judaization, expropriation, and arrests carried out by Israel [against the Palestinians] – and we can appreciate the scope and gravity of the challenges addressed by the Doha summit .
The circumstances described in MEMRI’s translation might easily fit what is described in Revelation 16:10, “… Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was darkened…” As most readers know, the author of this blog-post interprets the “throne of the beast” to be Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, and the Arab nations and groups that comprise Muslim majority countries and groups. The significance, however, is found in the prophecy which follows, i.e., the pouring out of the 6th bowl of wrath:
Revelation 16:12 (NASB) The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.
It is without question that the “kings from the east” are the descendants of Ishmael, i.e., the modern-day Muslims (Arabs – Genesis 16:12 (NASB); 25:6, 18). The prophecy states that the “water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.” The meaning has to be that some strategic advantage will be gained by this group allowing them to advance in battle in some favorable way. Certainly, the “drying up of the waters” is not to be taken literally. In the modern-day, a dry river bed is irrelevant to the success of a modern military; not so at the time this prophecy was written. At the time the prophecy was written, a dry river bed would be beneficial to an advancing army on either horses or camels. So then, to properly interpret the passage, we must look to what the words mean, not the literal words themselves. This leads us to conclude that at a time of darkness in the Arab world, i.e., chaos, turmoil, and division, a military advantage will be gained. Perhaps that advantage is the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
This writer has always interpreted the geographical distinction to be significant — Iran is located east of the Euphrates and so Revelation 16:12 (NASB) must point to Iran. However, I am not so certain that the geographical distinction is as significant as the gaining of the military advantage. If one interprets “kings from the east” to be Muslim majority nations (not Iran geographically), Iran still fulfills the distinctive phrase because it is a Muslim majority country. The advantage gained is that it allows an attack to be launched against Israel, and that is the point of the prophecy. In fact, the advantage gained could even be possessed by a non-Muslim country which becomes available to a Muslim country. For example, suppose North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling against the United States and South Korea was a precursor to an actual attack either upon the United States, South Korea, or Israel. If such an attack was made it would open the floodgates of war in the Middle East against Israel. Remember, North Korea’s ally in the Middle East is Iran. If either Iran or North Korea were to develop successful nuclear weapons those weapons would become available to the enemies of the United States and its allies. Such an event would fulfill the “drying up of the Euphrates” of Revelation 16:12. As one might expect, what follows is expected: Armageddon is the 7th bowl (Revelation 16:13-19).