and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|February 14, 2012||
Volume 11 Number 4
The Sixth Angel
It is difficult for many of us to imagine that Yahweh will actually execute judgment upon those that continually reject His will. As we see the condition of the world around us, many of us share the views of Habakkuk in that it seems that, even though iniquity abounds, judgment will never happen:
2 O Yahweh, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear! even cry out to you of violence, and you will not save!
3 Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are those that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment does never go forth: for the wicked does encompass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceeds. -Habakkuk 1
Such conditions also existed during the time of Noah.
5 And Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. -Genesis 6
That was when violence and corruption filled the earth (see Genesis 6:11-12). As a consequence, Yahweh purposed to destroy much of his creation (see Genesis 6:6-7). He was not "slack" in performing that which He had foretold. He sent His judgment through a flood and destroyed all living things, except for the "remnant" that He miraculously saved from destruction (see Genesis 7:23).
Much later after the earth had been repopulated, Israel, the people through whom Yahweh had chosen to speak to the world, also refused to do His will. As a consequence, He split Israel into two kingdoms, called Israel and Judah, and judged both of them with destruction using the kings of Assyria and Babylon. The judgment came from the east through men much like the one called by Yahweh and described as "a ravenous bird from the east:"
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executes my counsel from a far country: yes, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. -Isaiah 46
The kings of Assyria and Babylon occupied the region east of the Euphrates River. Ironically, this river is also the location where the "Sixth Angel" with the trumpet sounds, releasing "four angels" that slay a third part of the earth(See "The Sixth Angel, Part 1," Come to Understanding, Vol. 11 No. 3, Addison, Michigan: Institute for Biblical and Historical Studies, 2012).
A further prophecy involves a "Sixth Angel" with a vial, which is also focused on "the great river Euphrates." This angel pours out a vial of judgment that dries up the Euphrates River. It is the drying up of the water of the river that prepares the way of the "kings of the east:"
12 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
In ancient history, rivers of water served as major boundaries of protection against invasion by foreign kings and their armies. Therefore, the drying up of waters gave easy access to invaders. In a modern sense, however, technological advances make such natural boundaries as rivers much less effective as barriers against invasion.
The Euphrates River was the eastern boundary of the land that Yahweh gave to the seed of Abram (Abraham):
18 In the same day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: -Genesis 15
That river (also called the flood) was the boundary that separated Abraham from the land of his father, where gods other than Yahweh were worshipped as images:
2 And Joshua said to all the people, Thus says Yahweh God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the river in old times, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the river, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. -Joshua 24
Thus, the Euphrates River represents the barrier between the land of false religions and the land of the seed that Yahweh promised Abraham, which is ultimately Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ):
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is the Messiah. -Galatians 3
Waters of a river not only have a physical meaning, but a spiritual one as well. For example, Yahshua described the Spirit of God as "rivers of living water:"
38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Yahshua was not yet glorified.) -John 7
When we forsake Yahweh, we are forsaking the fountain of living waters (the Spirit of God). We then find ourselves with a dry cistern (or even with a dry river bed):
13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. -Jeremiah 2
Consequently, when we forsake the "fountain of living waters," we give up the protection offered by the Spirit of God through His name. Therefore, we are no longer protected from invasion by the enemy (evil spirits). Consequently, we are vulnerable to the work of deceiving spirits, which can lead us into what Paul describes as a "falling away."
The expression, "falling away" is translated from the Greek word,apostasia (apostasia). This word can easily be seen as "apostasy," which means "renunciation of a religious faith" (see "Merriam-Webster Dictionary," Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011). This "falling away" precedes the revealing of the "man of sin" who, while opposing the true God, pretends to be God:
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, unless there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. -2 Thessalonians 2
This "man of sin" is restrained until that which holds him back (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way (dried up) by a falling away from the truth of the Word of God:
5 Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now you know what restrains that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now restrains will restrain, until he is taken out of the way. -2 Thessalonians 2
Without the restraint of the water (the Spirit of God), "three unclean spirits" are released from the mouths of the "dragon," the "beast," and the "false prophet." Ironically, these spirits are described as being "like frogs:"
13 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. -Revelation 16
These "spirits like frogs" are suggestive of an association with ancient Persia, which is modern Iran and is located on the east side of the Euphrates River. The Satanic being (Ahriman) of the pre-Islamic (before the 7th century AD) religion of Persia (Zoroastrianism) was believed to assume the form of a frog (toad)(see A. V. Williams Jackson, Zoroastrian Studies: The Iranian Religion and Various Monographs, New York: Columbia University Press, 1928; repub., Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2003, pp. 77-78).
These unclean spirits are the "spirits of devils," which are demons. They have the power to perform miracles that supernaturally convince the kings of the earth, as well as the whole world, to join together to fight against God:
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. -Revelation 16
These spirits might be described as the "strong delusion," which God sends upon those that do not love the truth:
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: -2 Thessalonians 2
They imagine a "vain thing" as they conspire to rid themselves of the power of Yahweh and His anointed:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands apart, and cast away their cords from us. -Psalms 2
The demonic spirits deceive the "whole world," which literally means the "whole ecumenical world," as it is translated from the Greek words (oikoumenhv olhv). Thinking they are serving God, they join the kings in the global fight against Yahweh and His anointed. Working together, having "one mind," the kings give all their power to the "beast:"
12 And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast. -Revelation 17
(To be continued in Part 3)
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