Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 16:12

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.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Euphrates;   Temple;   Wicked (People);   The Topic Concordance - Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ;   Day of the Lord;   Israel/jews;   War/weapons;   Wrath;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Euphrates, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Euphrates;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Plagues of Egypt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels;   Dayspring;   Euphrates;   River ;   Water ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Euphrates ;   Vials;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Euphrates;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Euphra'tes;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dayspring;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Wolff, Joseph;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Upon the great river Euphrates - Probably meaning the people in the vicinity of this river; though some think that the Tiber is intended.

The water thereof was dried up - The people discomfited, and all impediments removed.

The kings of the east - There seems to be an allusion here to the ruin of Babylon by Cyrus, predicted by the Prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 50:1-51:64. But what city or people is pointed out by this Babylon it is in vain to conjecture.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates - On the situation of that river, and the symbolical meaning of this language, see the notes on Revelation 9:14-21. The reference there was supposed to be to the Turkish power, and the analogy of interpretation would seem to require that it should be so understood here. There is every reason, therefore, to suppose that this passage has reference to something in the future history of the Turkish dominions, and to some bearing of the events which are to occur in that history on the ultimate downfall of the anti-Christian power referred to by the “beast.”

And the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared - That is, as the effect of pouring out the vial. There is an allusion here, undoubtedly, to the dividing of the waters of the Red Sea, so that the children of Israel might pass. See Exodus 14:21-22. Compare the notes on Isaiah 11:15. In this description the Euphrates is represented as a barrier to prevent the passage of “the kings of the East,” on their way to the West for some purpose not yet specified; that is, applying the symbol of the Euphrates as being the seat of the Turkish power, the meaning is, that “that power” is such a hindrance, and that, in some way that hindrance is to be removed as if the waters of an unbridged and unfordable river were dried up so as to afford a safe and easy passage through. Still there are several inquiries as to the application of this, which is not easy, and, as it refers to what is still future, it may be impossible to answer. The language requires us to put upon it the following interpretation:

(a) The persons here referred to as “kings of the East,” were ready to make a movement toward the West, over the Euphrates, and would do this if this obstruction were not in their way. Who these “kings of the East” are is not said, and perhaps cannot be conjectured. The natural interpretation is, that they are the kings that reign in the East, or that preside over the countries of the eastern hemisphere. “Why” there was a proposed movement to the West is not said. It might have been for conquest, or it might have been that they were to bring their tribute to the spiritual Jerusalem, in accordance with what is so often said in the prophets, that under the gospel kings and princes would consecrate themselves and their wealth to God. See Psalm 72:10-11; “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him.” So also Isaiah 60:4-6, Isaiah 60:9, Isaiah 60:11; “Thy sons shall come from far - The forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee - All they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense - The isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them - Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.” All that is fairly implied in the language used here is, that the kings of the East would be converted to the true religion, or that they were, at the time referred to, in a state of readiness to be converted, if there were no hindrance or obstruction.

(b) There was some hindrance or obstruction to their conversion; that is, as explained, from the Turkish power: in other words, they would be converted to the true faith if it were not for the influence of that power.

(c) The destruction of that power, represented by the drying up of the Euphrates, would remove that obstruction, and the way would thus be “prepared” for their conversion to the true religion. We should most naturally, therefore, look, in the fulfillment of this, for some such decay of the Turkish power as would be followed by the conversion of the rulers of the East to the gospel.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sunrising.

And the sixth poured out his bowl ... upon the Euphrates ... Pieters thought that, "The interpretation of this has not been found, and probably cannot be found."[32] Despite this, he mentioned an understanding of it that might well have the key to what is meant:

Dr. Grijdamus looks upon the Euphrates as the symbolical prophetic boundary between Christendom and heathendom.[33]

This must be at least a part of the correct answer. One of the most hurtful and damaging corruptions of the spiritual environment is the breaching of barriers between the church and the world. Of course, that is not exactly what Grijdamus meant, but his comment suggested it. The extent of this breach is seen when a so-called Christian church ordains a homosexual preacher, throws a drinking party in the physical plant of the church itself, or teaches adultery and fornication under the guise of their being a "new morality." Plummer approached this view when he wrote, "It means that a barrier that wards off hostile hosts is lost."[34] The making of sin to be popular and acceptable in churches themselves would indeed be exactly that type of removing barriers. Carpenter's perceptive comment was:

There may come a time, after false principles have been taught, corrupt manners tolerated, and the light of better things darkened, when the public sentiment loses all sense of shame, and when the decorums of life, which have acted as a breakwater against the tide of outrageous evil, are swept away; then is the Euphrates dried up, and then may the hostile powers of evil, unrestrained by any considerations, unchecked by the popular conscience, cross boldly over and invade the whole sacred soil of human life.[35]

Valvoord noted that, "as many as fifty different interpretations have been advanced regarding the dried up Euphrates,"[36] but we are confident that the meaning lies somewhere within the sector indicated above.

That the way may be ready for the kings that come from the sunrising ... When the boundary between right and wrong, between the church and the world, is dried up, "the kings of the east" will come to exploit their advantage. These are not to be understood as allies of righteousness, but as enemies of it. But they come from the east, "the sunrising." In our interpretation, this merely means that they come from "beyond" the violated boundary. Forces of evil will enter and dominate what was once true religion. Their being called kings should not mislead us; their names are given in the very next verse.

[32] Albertus Pieters, op. cit., p. 244.

[33] Ibid.

[34] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 395.

[35] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 608.

[36] Valvoord as quoted by Robert H. Mounce, Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 298.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the sixth angel poured his vial on the great river Euphrates,.... Which is not to be understood literally of the river Euphrates, which ran through Mesopotamia and Chaldea, and by the walls of Babylon; and of the drying of it up to make way for the Jews in the eastern parts of the world, to pass into their own land, and possess it; when a like miracle will be wrought for them as was when they came out of Egypt, by dividing the Red sea for them; and as when they entered into Canaan's land, by laying the waters of Jordan on heaps, so that they passed over as on dry land; in favour of which sense the passage in Isaiah 11:15 is thought to be, which the Targum interprets of God's smiting the river Euphrates; though the river Nile in Egypt seems rather to be meant: but it does not appear that there is any number of Jews beyond the river Euphrates; the far greater number of them is in the western and northern parts of the world; so that there will be no need for the drying up of this river for their passage into their own land; nor, if there were any in those parts, can any reason be given why they should be called the kings of the east, who, wherever they are, are a poor contemptible people, and have never had any ensigns of royalty among them for many hundreds of years; nor can that river be thought much to hinder, were all other impediments out of the way, nor the drying of it up much facilitate their passage to Judea, and much less affect their conversion: besides, this vial, as the rest, is a plague on antichrist, in some branch or other, or on some part or other, of the antichristian state; which, if not designed here, is nowhere in the account of this vial, and therefore this must be understood mystically; there is no doubt an allusion to the draining of this river at the taking of Babylon by Cyrus, according as was predicted in prophecy, Isaiah 44:27 who, making sluices and drains, turned the river another way, and marched through it with his army, and surprised and took the city at once, while Belshazzar and his nobles were indulging themselves in rioting and drunkenness, as Daniel relates, Daniel 5:1. Now some, because that Babylon was situated upon the river Euphrates, and Rome, or the Romish antichrist, is mystical Babylon, think that is here designed, and is the object of this vial; and that the drying up of this river designs the withdrawing of nations and kingdoms, signified by waters, Revelation 17:15 from its jurisdiction and power, which will bring on its ruin; and also the stoppage of dues and tithes, annates, Peter's pence, and of all its traffic in indulgences, pardons, &c. whereby it will be greatly impoverished, and brought to nothing: but it should be observed, that the fifth vial affects Rome, the seat of the beast; and as for the beast himself, he will not be destroyed till the battle of Armageddon; and mystical Babylon, or the antichristian state, in the whole compass of it, will not be destroyed until the pouring out of the seventh vial; wherefore rather the eastern antichrist, the Turks are meant, in whose dominions this river is; for as the Assyrian monarch is signified by the waters of this river, when he was in his glory, and had his seat at Babylon, by which this river ran, Isaiah 8:7 so may the Turks, who inhabit by this river, be intended by it; and the rather, as this sense exactly corresponds with the sixth trumpet; for as the sounding of that trumpet looses the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates, which founded the Turkish empire, as we have seen; so the pouring out of this sixth vial affects the same empire, and brings it to ruin. Mr. Daubuz is of opinion that this plague refers to the depopulation and destruction of the Grecian empire, and the bringing of the Turks into Europe, who have greatly distressed and tormented the corrupted Christians or Papists.

And the water thereof was dried up; the Ottoman empire will be extinct, just as the destruction of the Babylonish monarchy is expressed by the drying up of its sea, Jeremiah 51:36 so the destruction of the Turkish empire is signified by the drying up of the water of this river, which is in the heart of it: and this is the passing away of the second woe, Revelation 11:14

that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared; which some understand of Christians in general, who are made kings and priests unto God, and of Christian kings in particular, whose way will be prepared, by the declining state of antichrist, to express their hatred to the whore of Rome, and burn her flesh with fire; but the Romish antichrist is not here intended: others think, as before observed, that the Jews are designed; that the Jews will be converted in the last days seems manifest from Hosea 3:5 and other places; and that they will return to their own land is suggested in abundance of prophecies, particularly in Ezekiel 37:21 Amos 9:14 and it must be allowed that the eastern, as well as the western antichrist, is a stumbling to them; and especially the advantage which the Turks have gained over the powers that go under the Christian name, and their possession of their land is an hinderance to their return to it; so that the destruction of the Turkish empire will undoubtedly make way for their conversion, and restoration to their own land; but then this will be equally advantageous to the Jews in the west as to those in the east, if there be any numbers of them there, which does not appear, and therefore there seems no reason why they should be pointed at, and be called the kings of the east: rather therefore to me it seems, that, through the fall of the Ottoman empire, way will be made for the kings and princes of the east, literally understood, to have and embrace the Gospel of Christ; for, the Turks being destroyed, the Mahometan religion will decline, the Gospel will be carried into the eastern parts of the world, into those vast kingdoms and countries which lie in those parts, when they will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and the kings and princes of them will come to the brightness of Zion's rising; so that the ruin of this monarchy will pave the way for the spread of Christ's kingdom from sea to sea, and front the river, the river Euphrates, to the ends of the earth; and this also will prepare the way, and lead on for all the saints, who are kings, and shall reign with Christ a thousand years, who is said to come from the east, Revelation 7:2 or from the rising of the sun, as these are said to do, as the words may be rendered, to possess the kingdom under the whole heaven: Philo the JewF26De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1022. has some expressions illustrating the literal sense of this, where he speaks of a Roman army on the banks of Euphrates, which kept the passage of "the eastern kings".

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

9 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river 10 Euphrates; and 11 the water thereof was dried up, 12 that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

(9) The story of the sixth angel, divided into his act, and the event of it. The act is, that the angel cast out of his mouth the plague of a most glowing heat, in which even the greatest floods, and which most were accustomed to swell and overflow (as Euphrates) were dried up, by the counsel of God in this verse. The event is, that the madness with which the wicked are enraged that they may scorn the judgments of God, and abuse them furiously to serve their own turn, and to the executing of their own wicked outrage.

(10) The bound of the spiritual Babylon, and to the fortresses of the same (Revelation 9:14).

(11) So the Church of the ungodly, and kingdom of the beast is said to be left naked, all the defences of it in which they put their trust, being taken away from it.

(12) That is, that even they who dwell further off, may with more convenience make haste to the sacrifice, which the Lord has appointed.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

angel — so Coptic and Andreas. A, B, C, Vulgate, and Syriac omit.

kings of the eastGreek, “the kings who are from the rising of the sun.” Reference to the Euphrates similarly occurs in the sixth trumpet. The drying up of the Euphrates, I think, is to be taken figuratively, as Babylon itself, which is situated on it, is undoubtedly so, Revelation 17:5. The waters of the Euphrates (compare Isaiah 8:7, Isaiah 8:8) are spiritual Babylon‘s, that is, the apostate Church‘s (of which Rome is the chief, though not exclusive representative) spiritual and temporal powers. The drying up of the waters of Babylon expresses the same thing as the ten kings stripping, eating, and burning the whore. The phrase, “way may be prepared for,” is that applied to the Lord‘s coming (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3; Luke 1:76). He shall come from the East (Matthew 24:27; Ezekiel 43:2, “the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East”): not alone, for His elect transfigured saints of Israel and the Gentiles shall accompany Him, who are “kings and priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6). As the Antichristian ten kings accompany the beast, so the saints accompany as kings the King of kings to the last decisive conflict. De Burgh and others take it of the Jews, who also were designed to be a kingdom of priests to God on earth. They shall, doubtless, become priest-kings in the flesh to the nations in the flesh at His coming. Abraham from the East (if Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:8, Isaiah 41:9, refers to him, and not Cyrus) conquering the Chaldean kings is a type of Israel‘s victorious restoration to the priest-kingdom. Israel‘s exodus after the last Egyptian plagues typifies Israel‘s restoration after the spiritual Babylon, the apostate Church, has been smitten. Israel‘s promotion to the priest-kingdom after Pharaoh‘s downfall, and at the Lord‘s descent at Sinai to establish the theocracy, typifies the restored kingdom of Israel at the Lord‘s more glorious descent, when Antichrist shall be destroyed utterly. Thus, besides the transfigured saints, Israel secondarily may be meant by “the kings from the East” who shall accompany the “King of kings” returning “from the way of the East” to reign over His ancient people. As to the drying up again of the waters opposing His people‘s assuming the kingdom, compare Isaiah 10:26; Isaiah 11:11, Isaiah 11:15; Zechariah 10:9-11. The name Israel (Genesis 32:28) implies a prince with God. Compare Micah 4:8 as to the return of the kingdom to Jerusalem. Durham, several centuries ago, interpreted the drying up of the Euphrates to mean the wasting away of the Turkish power, which has heretofore held Palestine, and so the way being prepared for Israel‘s restoration. But as Babylon refers to the apostate Church, not to Mohammedanism, the drying up of the Euphrates (answering to Cyrus‘ overthrow of literal Babylon by marching into it through the dry channel of the Euphrates) must answer to the draining off of the apostate Church‘s resources, the Roman and Greek corrupt Church having been heretofore one of the greatest barriers by its idolatries and persecutions in the way of Israel‘s restoration and conversion. The kings of the earth who are earthly (Revelation 16:14), stand in contrast to the kings from the East who are heavenly.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-16.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up. The angel of the sixth trumpet is connected with the river Euphrates (Revelation 9:14). There a movement is symbolized which ends in the overthrow of the Eastern Roman Empire, the old Roman world power. Here a movement is probably signified which will work to the same end in the case of the Roman dominion revived in the Papal world power. The river Euphrates was the seat of the great city which once oppressed Israel and carried God's people into captivity. It was taken by Cyrus, God's chosen agent, and the means employed was the {drying up of the Euphrates}. Cyrus turned the river, which ran through the city, unto new channels, dried up the old bed, then marched in this bed under the walls where they crossed the river on arches, and took the city. In some way the drying up of the Euphrates shall overthrow, or tend to overthrow, spiritual Babylon. Possibly this may be accomplished by the exhaustion of the resources of that power. The nations which once supplied them have been falling away.

That the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sunrising. In the infancy of the Christ, the wise men of the East, also called kings in the Psalms, came to offer homage to the kingly child. The prophecy implies that when this obstacle is removed, the way of the inhabitants shall be opened. The drying up of the Euphrates will, in some manner, open the way for those that are signified to come to Christ, as those of the old did to the manger.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/revelation-16.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Upon the great river, the river Euphrates (επι τον ποταμον τον μεγαν τον Ευπρατηνepi ton potamon ton megan ton Euphratēn). The sixth trumpet brings up the river Euphrates also (Revelation 9:14), only there επιepi with the locative, while here επιepi with the accusative. Note triple use of the article τονton here.

Was dried up (εχηραντηexēranthē). First aorist (prophetic) passive of χηραινωxērainō (Revelation 14:15). Cf. Zechariah 10:11.

That may be made ready (ινα ετοιμαστηιhina hetoimasthēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the first aorist passive of ετοιμαζωhetoimazō Common verb in Rev (Revelation 8:6; Revelation 9:7, Revelation 9:15; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2).

The way for the kings (η οδος των βασιλεωνhē hodos tōn basileōn). Objective genitive βασιλεωνbasileōn come from the sunrising (των απο ανατολης ελιουtōn apo anatolēs heliou). “Those from the rising of the sun,” the kings from the east (cf. Matthew 2:2) in their march against Rome. Parthia in particular resisted Rome before Trajan‘s day.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Euphrates

See on Revelation 9:14.

Of the east ( ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου )

Lit., as Rev., from the sunrising. See on Matthew 2:2; and see on dayspring, Luke 1:78.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-16.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 the sixth poured out his phial upon the great river Euphrates — Affected also by the sixth trumpet.

And the water of it — And of all the rivers that flow into it.

Was dried up — The far greater part of the Turkish empire lies on this side the Euphrates. The Romish and Mahometan affairs ran nearly parallel to each other for several ages. In the seventh century was Mahomet himself; and, a little before him, Boniface III., with his universal bishopric. In the eleventh, both the Turks and Gregory VII. carried all before them. In the year1300, Boniface appeared with his two swords at the newly-erected jubilee. In the self-same year arose the Ottoman Porte; yea, and on the same day. And here the phial, poured out on the throne of the beast, is immediately followed by that poured out on the Euphrates; that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared - Those who lie east from the Euphrates, in Persia, India, etc., who will rush blindfold upon the plagues which are ready for them, toward the Holy Land, which lies west of the Euphrates.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-16.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

12.] And the sixth poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates: and its water was dried up, that the way of the kings which come from the rising of the sun might be prepared (notice, but not to be blindly led by it, the analogy of the sixth trumpet, also having reference to the river Euphrates. In order to understand what we here read, we must carefully bear in mind the context. From what follows under this same vial, we learn that the kings of the whole earth are about to be gathered together to the great battle against God, in which He shall be victorious, and they shall utterly perish. The time is now come for this gathering and by the drying up of the Euphrates, the way of those kings who are to come to it from the East is made ready. This is the only understanding of these words which will suit the context, or the requirements of this series of prophecies. For to suppose the conversion of Eastern nations, or the gathering together of Christian princes, to be meant, or to regard the words as relating to any auspicious event, is to introduce a totally incongruous feature into the series of vials, which confessedly represent the “seven last plagues.” Andreas explains it as above: and so Bleek, Ewald, De Wette, Düsterd., al.).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-16.html. 1863-1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angel

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 16:12". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-16.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 12. Upon the great river Euphrates] i.e. Upon whatsoever yet hindereth the destruction of spiritual Babylon and the coming in of the Jews, as the Turkish empire.

That the way of the kings] Christians, say some, who are kings in righteousness, and come from the East, or from Christ, "That dayspring from on high," Luke 1:78. Others understand this text of the Jews, who are most of them in the East, dispersed through Turkey, Tartary (the ten tribes especially), and China. {a} Junius saith, that which is called the "land of Sinim," Isaiah 49:12, may probably be meant of China; which if it be the meaning, there may be many of the Jews, whose conversion we daily expect and pray for. See Isaiah 11:15-16, Zechariah 10:10-11.

{a} Tartars of Tothar, a remnant or residue.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-16.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. In the drying up of the river Euphrates, a manifest allusion to the manner of old Babylon's destruction. The river Euphrates ran through old Babylon, and was a greater defence to it than its celebrated walls, which for thickness and height were the wonder of the world. Cyrus, when he took Babylon, cut many ditches, and let the river Euphrates run out, and so he and his soldiers entered the city, then fordable, and took it.

Now, as the drying up of Euphrates, then, was an immediate forerunner of the destruction of Babylon, in like manner the drying up of Euphrates, signify it what it will, shall be the immediate forerunner of the destruction of antichristian Babylon, whenever it shall be. The Romish Erpharates being dried up, the Romish Babylon will hasten amain towards its final ruin.

Quest. But what is meant by Eupharates here?

Ans. Probably the Turkish empire, according to Mr. Mede and Dr. More, the Turks first taking up their habitation about this great river: so that by Euphrates may be understood the people inhabiting about Euphrates; and by drying up its waters, the diminishing and lessening of their empire.

By the kings of the east, the Jews are said to be understood, who inhabit the eastern countries, to whom God made a promise, Exodus 19:6 that they should be a kingdom of priests: so that here seems to be a prophecy of the Jews' conversion to the Christian religion, which two things do chiefly hinder, namely the idolatry of Rome, and the power of Constantinople; the image-worship of the Papists, and the puissance of the Turks: but both these being taken away by the fall of Babylon, and the ruin of the Turks, the way then will seem prepared for the Jews' receiving of the Christian faith.

Taking the words in this sense, the notes are these,

1. That the days will come wherein Christian princes and states shall pour out the wrath of God upon Popish idolatry and Turkish tyranny.

2. That the pouring out of the wrath of God upon both these grand enemies of God, will prepare and make ready the way for the Jews' conversion to him.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-16.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 16:12. ἐπὶ) We render ἐπὶ upon, rather than in, because on account of the drying up of the waters no(180) mixture is here made, as in the case of the sea and the rivers, where the preposition εἰς was used. Marck.— ἐξήρανε, dried up) Thus Alex. Lat. It coheres with ἐξέχεε, and with συνήγαγεν, Revelation 16:16. Most editions read, ἐξηράνθη, either from the rhythm ἑτοιμασθῆ, or from habit.(181) For ἐξηράνθη often occurs in the New Testament, and here also it has been readily caught at by the copyists.— αὐτοῦ, of it) and so of those rivers also, which flow into the Euphrates. The Turks at the present day live near that river. Or if Mahometanism, as some think, is shortly about to receive some injury, it may however possibly happen, that the sixth angel will pour out his vial somewhat later.

Vulg. has “siccavit aquam (other MSS. aqua) ejus.” But Lachm. and Tisch., with the greatest number of oldest authorities, read ἐξηράνθη.—E.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-16.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Upon the great river Euphrates; upon the Turkish empire: See Poole on "Revelation 9:14".

And the water thereof was dried up; their force, power, and strength shall be destroyed.

That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared; that a way may be prepared for the conversion of the Jews. This I find to be the sense of the most learned and judicious interpreters of this mysterious book, amongst whom I count Mr. Mede, Dr. More, Pareus, Mr. Durham; &c. But it will be reasonable to say something further to show the probability of this sense. Euphrates was a great river that ran by Babylon, the depth of it was (as historians tell us) about two men’s height. When Cyrus and Darius came to conquer Babylon, they diverted this river, Jeremiah 51:32,36. Here is an allusion to that history. The Turks first took up their habitation about this great river, as was said in our notes on Revelation 9:14, where the providence of God restrained them for many years, till the sixth trumpet sounded. The Jews, who are observed to be in greatest numbers in the Eastern countries, having had a promise, Exodus 19:6, to be a kingdom of priests, may well be called here the kings of the east. Two things hinder their embracing the Christian faith:

1. The image worship and idolatry of the papists.

2. The power of the Turks, with the success they have had against Christians.

But both these being taken away, by the fall of Babylon and the ruin of the Turks, the way seems to be prepared for the Jews’ receiving of the Christian faith. In a case where nothing can be certainly determined, this seemeth a very probable opinion. To which it contributes a little, that it is probable, that the sixth vial answereth the sixth trumpet; and that as they were the people first let loose by Euphrates, where they were bound, so they are the people to be destroyed under the notion of drying up the waters of Euphrates: and this seemeth to be a work of providence brought forth after the ruin of Rome, and the total breaking of the power and dominion of the papacy. Thus we have foretold the breaking both of pope and Turk, and all their upholders; but we must not imagine them so ruined, but that parties of both should be left in the world, which combining, made up the army to fight the devil’s last battle in Armageddon, of which we shall read, Revelation 16:16.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-16.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Евфрат Назван «великой рекой» пять раз в Писании (ср. 9:14; Быт. 15:18; Втор. 1:7; Нав. 1:4). Течет на протяжении около 1 800 миль (2 880 км) от истока у склонов горы Арарат до впадения в Персидский залив (см. пояснение к 9:14). Служит восточной границей земли, которую Бог обещал Израилю (Быт. 15:18; Втор. 1:7; 11:24; Нав. 1:4). Из-за продолжительной засухи и сильной жары поток воды в реке уменьшится, сверхъестественной силой Бог осушит ее полностью, чтобы войска царей от восхода дошли до Палестины (Ис. 11:15).

царям от восхода Предусмотрительно Бог приведет туда этих царей и их армии, чтобы уничтожить их в битве при Армагеддоне (ст. 14). Причиной их прихода может быть бунт против антихриста: несомненно, что его неспособность облегчить страдания населения земли подорвет его популярность. Или это может быть заключительным действием замысла оголтелых антисемитов разрушить Израиль (возможно, чтобы отомстить за страдания, посланные Богом). Так, вполне вероятно, что солнце растопит снежные вершины Арарата, и воды реки Евфрат выйдут из берегов и затопят долину, которая превратится в болотистую местность. Богу придется осушить ее чудесным образом, чтобы восточные армии добрались до Армагеддона.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The great river Euphrates-the water thereof was dried up; that thus the hinderance to the way of the kings of the east might be removed. Many think that the decay of the Ottoman power, as a preparation for some great movement yet in the future, is here predicted. Compare the notes on the sixth trumpet, chap Revelation 9:13-21.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And the sixth poured out his bowl on the great river, the River Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order that the way may be made ready for the kings who come from the sunrising. And I saw coming out of the mouth of the monster and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits as it were frogs. For they are spirits of devils, working signs, which go forth to the kings of the whole world to gather them together to the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and has his garments ready lest he walk naked and they see his shame). And they gathered them together to the place which is called in Hebrew ‘Har-Magedon’.’

The sixth bowl, like the sixth seal and the sixth trumpet, has in mind the final days of the age (in contrast with the remainder). Here now things are coming to a head. It is noteworthy that the monster, the Beast and the False Prophet have continued on through the centuries, as Satan has used both secular powers and religious powers to attack the people of God.

The drying up of the River Euphrates parallels the drying up of the Jordan for Joshua to cross (Joshua 3:13-17) and of the Reed Sea for Israel to cross (Exodus 14:21-22). Then it carried forward God’s purposes of deliverance. Now it will carry forward God’s final judgment (compare Isaiah 11:15; Zechariah 10:10-11). That the mighty Euphrates should be dried up would have been viewed with the greatest horror by the people of the area. It was a symbol of their life blood being destroyed. There is an indication here of water shortage on a vast scale. But the drying up may also symbolise the final destruction of the great powers who depended on the Euphrates for provision, who are also seen as ‘dried up’ (Zechariah 10:10-11).

The kings who come from the sunrising (that is, from the distant East) represent kings from the furthest parts of the earth. The judgment that is coming is to have worldwide effects. All will gather (or be gathered) for the final judgment. They are in direct contrast with the angel who ascended from the sunrising who sealed the people of God on their foreheads, preserving them from the wrath of God. These kings from the sunrising will contribute to the world’s judgment.

‘The monster, the beast and the false prophet’. These represent firstly the monster of Revelation 12:3, Satan himself, secondly the Beast from the abyss, the scarlet beast (Revelation 17:3), which incorporates within itself the beast of chapter 13, and thirdly the false prophet who incorporates within himself the second beast of chapter 13. Nothing is said after this about the false prophet apart from that he accompanied the beast (Revelation 19:20), but it is clear that there is an assumption that he is the continuation of the second beast. The latter was not actually called the false prophet. He was the beginnings of which the False Prophet was the end. But Revelation 19:20 makes a clear identification. It is obvious therefore that the assumption is made that the beast throughout history continues to have at his side a false prophet (Revelation 19:20) like the second beast (Revelation 13:11-17). The secular and the religious ever go hand in hand. The false prophet therefore refers to those who continue religiously to promote the cause of the beast. (That the first beast had seven heads and ten horns and the second beast had two horns (chapter 13) demonstrates clearly that we are considering more than one person. The beasts represent empire and false religion following in continual succession side by side until the end of time).

The bringing up of ‘frogs’ by the unholy trinity, the three arch deceivers, compares with the production of frogs by the magicians of Egypt (Exodus 8:7). They were false signs but in the end they were futile and ineffective. And they were the production of lies and deceit. Similarly will these evil spirits use false and deceitful signs to achieve their purposes (compare Revelation 13:13-14), whether by astrology, necromancy, sorcery or any other method. We see in our own day the growth of interest in the occult, even in children’s books, preparing for these events. But we need to remember that contact with the occult can only result in deceitful and lying messages, and what is worse, it can result in possession by evil spirits. Just as the days before the Flood were highlighted by the presence of fallen angels (Genesis 6:1-4), so the days before the final judgment will see a predominance of evil spirits.

Thus the deceived world will gather to battle with God, the Almighty. This battle must not be taken too literally. All pictures of it are highly symbolic. When Christ comes in His splendour the nations will cower before Him and seek to hide from his presence (Revelation 6:15). None can stand before the power of the final Word of God (Revelation 19:13). What the picture is saying is that the deceit of Satan and his minions has built up final resistance against God and His claims, but that the coming of Christ will shatter all resistance. Armageddon will not be so much a war as an abject surrender to His authority and power. The Judge will not really need to fight. Any warfare will be between the nations. The point is that the enemies of God are as it were ready to fight because they have not understood the power of the opposition, but find that they are totally deceived.

Har Magedon - the Mount of Megiddo. There was no specific Mount Megiddo that we know of but the city of Megiddo looked out over the valley of Esdraelon where many decisive battles were fought, for it was the way for the kings of the East, thus John may be referring to the mountain overlooking the plain. It may be paralleled with ‘the valley of Jeho-shaphat’, the ‘Valley of Yahweh Judges’. There Joel saw the final scene of judgment as the nations were gathered, the sickle was put in, the winepress was trodden and the multitudes were gathered in the valley of decision (Joel 3:11-14). Either way we have a vivid picture not to be taken too literally geographically. It is the idea that matters.

But in the midst of this powerful scenario a word from the Lord is slipped in, a word of warning. He is coming like a thief, suddenly and unexpectedly. Let each beware and ensure that they have their garments ready so that they will not be found naked. This has in mind the words spoken to the church of Sardis (Revelation 3:3-4) and the words to Laodicea (Revelation 3:17-18) and the parables describing servants waiting for the coming of their Lord, especially Luke 12:35 onwards. His people are to live in readiness for His coming.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 is very apposite here. Paul did not want to be deceived by the god of this world and be found naked, rather He wanted to be clothed with his resurrection body, as a result of seeing the light of the good news of the glory of Christ Who is the image of God, and responding to Him. So those to whom John is writing must recognise in Him the glorious Saviour and live in readiness so that they are not caught out by that day coming as a thief with the result that they are found naked (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 compare Matthew 24:43; 2 Peter 3:10).

So as with the sixth seal and the sixth trumpet, the sixth bowl brings things to a close and is followed by the final judgment. This may raise the interesting question as to whether the number of the beast, 666, has partly in mind these three sixes, the six seals, the six trumpets and the six bowls, each of which leads up to the seventh. Over each series of six the Beast carries on his activities, only to be brought to a sudden halt in each case by the judgment of God. The seventh in each case signals the triumph of God. In each series Satan fails in the end.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-16.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

8. In the history of Israel the armies invading their lands had come from the river Euphrates, and that historical fact was used in verse twelve as the symbol of Judea being over-run from that quarter. The drying of the river Euphrates that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared represented the removal of all barriers which hindered the progress of the powers to strike the final blow of the war against Judah and Jerusalem. It was related in symbolism to the feat of Cyrus in the military operation to divert the same river Euphrates for the capture of the old literal Babylon. This historical basis may be reasonably regarded as supplying the outline of this imagery.

(6) The smiting of the Euphrates which evaporated its waters: "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" --16:12.

It has been noted that the symbol of this verse was based on the history of Israel's enemies invading Judea from beyond the Euphrates in their western aggressions. The drying of the river by the pouring of the sixth vial symbolizes obliterating all deterrents to the hordes overrunning Judea and besieging Jerusalem. An allusion to the Israelites crossing over the emptied bed of the Jordan was not outside the imagery, in which application judgment was executed on the nation there victorious but here apostate.

The verses that follow from thirteen to sixteen describe the gathering armies for the final battle in the overthrow of Jerusalem, with the spiritual overtones of the conflict between the forces of Judaism and heathenism on one side, and Christianity (the church) on the other. Previous comments in verse 16 of this chapter on Armageddon make further discussion here unnecessary.

It is sufficient to add that the sixth plague was descriptive of the battle which destroyed this symbolic Babylon-- the apostate harlot Jerusalem, causing great mourning for Jerusalem among the Jewish tribes everywhere.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-16.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The problem that this judgment poses for earth-dwellers is not a result of the judgment itself but its consequences, namely, war. It does not inflict a plague on people but serves as a preparation for the final eschatological battle. [Note: Ladd, p212.] The Euphrates River is the northeastern border of the land God promised to Abraham"s descendants ( Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 1:7; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4). The Bible calls the Euphrates River (cf. Genesis 2:14), the eastern border of the Promised Land, the great river; and it calls the Mediterranean Sea, the western border of the Promised Land, the Great Sea. Now God dries up this river that had previously turned into blood ( Revelation 16:4) so the kings of the East can cross with their armies (cf. Daniel 11:44; Isaiah 11:15). God earlier dried up the Red Sea so the Israelites could advance on the Promised Land from the west ( Exodus 14:21-22; cf. Isaiah 11:16). He also dried up the Jordan River so they could cross over from the east ( Joshua 3:13-17; Joshua 4:23). Elijah too parted the waters of the Jordan ( 2 Kings 2:8). Cyrus may have conquered Babylon by draining the Euphrates and marching into the city over the riverbed (cf. Jeremiah 50:38; Jeremiah 51:36). [Note: Herodotus, 1:191. But see Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, 3:191.] All these previous incidents should help us believe that a literal fulfillment of this prophecy is possible. A figurative interpretation sees Babylon as the world system and the waters of the Euphrates River as the multitudes of Babylon"s religious adherents who, throughout the world during the inter-advent age, become disloyal to Babylon. [Note: See Beale, p828.]

Some interpreters believe this is an Oriental invasion of Babylon in the future that will be similar to Cyrus" invasion of it in the past. [Note: E.g, Swete, p205.] However, these are probably the Oriental armies that will assemble in Israel for the battle of Armageddon referred to in Revelation 16:13-16. [Note: Walvoord, The Revelation . . ., p236.] The drying up of the Euphrates will be an immediate help to these advancing armies, but it will set them up for defeat, as was true of Pharaoh"s army.

". . . in the Old Testament a mighty action of God is frequently associated with the drying up of waters, as the Red Sea (Ex. xiv21), the Jordan (Jos. iii16 f.), and several times in prophecy ( Isaiah 11:15, Jeremiah 51:36, Zechariah 10:2)." [Note: Morris, p197.]

"A more immediate suggested identification of the kings from the east (i.e, "the rising of the sun") could be the Parthian rulers who were a continual threat to Rome during John"s day, but this was hardly a factor in preparation for the battle of Harmagedon in Revelation 16:16." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p263.]

Presently some sections of the Euphrates River are dry at certain times of the year due to dams that Iraq has built to create reservoirs. These dams generate power for the Middle East. Perhaps when the Euphrates dries up even artificial light will end in that region.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-16.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 16:12. And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the river Euphrates. The sixth trumpet had related to the river Euphrates, chap. Revelation 9:14, and the principles of interpretation necessary there are also to be applied here. The Euphrates is the river of Babylon, the seat of antichristian power, from which proceed assaults upon the people of God.

And the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings from the sunrising may be prepared. At the foundation of this figure of the drying up of the Euphrates may lie the drying up of the Jordan when Israel took possession of the promised land; but it is more probable that the Seer has in view that diverting of the course of this river by means of which Cyrus captured Babylon. When Cyrus is predicted as the destroyer of Babylon he is twice spoken of by Isaiah as from the East or the sunrising (Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 46:11). Cyrus was indeed generally thought of by the fathers as a type of Christ, and it may be observed that, when He is first alluded to, it is in the chapter immediately succeeding that in which Isaiah prophesies of the Baptist as ‘preparing the way of the Lord’ (chap. Revelation 11:3). The figure of drying up waters is one often met with in the prophets, where it is used to express the steps by which God prepares the way for the deliverance of His people and the destruction of their enemies (Isaiah 44:27; Isaiah 51:10; Jer. 1:38; Zechariah 10:11). In addition to this, the words, ‘that the way may be prepared,’ lead us directly to the thought of the ‘preparing of the way of the Lord’ by the Baptist, and thus to a preparation of which the good, not the wicked, shall avail themselves. Further, this very expression, ‘from the sunrising,’ has already met us in chap. Revelation 7:2, in connection with the angel who comes from that quarter with the seal of the living God in his hand; and, as it is always necessary in the Apocalypse to interpret the same expression in the same way, we are once more led to the thought not of evil but of good. This view is confirmed by another remarkable fact, that in the prophets Christ Himself is sometimes designated by the word ‘The East.’ Thus in Zechariah 3:8, where we read in the Authorised Version ‘Behold I will bring forth my servant the Branch,’ the LXX. read ‘my servant the East;’ so also in Zechariah 6:12; while, in Jeremiah 23:5, ‘I will raise unto David a righteous branch,’ is in the LXX. ‘a righteous East.’ Once more, it is difficult to resist the impression that there is a contrast between these kings ‘from the sunrising,’ and those described in Revelation 16:14 as ‘the kings of the whole world,’ who are evidently evil.

Putting these circumstances together we seem compelled to come to the conclusion that the persons described as ‘kings from the sunrising’ are the very opposite of what they are often interpreted to be. They are not ‘the forces of rude and open evil which have been long restrained;’ still less are they the princes who would fain return with a Nero redux for the destruction of Rome. They are representatives of all Christ’s faithful ones who are not only priests but kings unto God, and for whom the waters of the Euphrates are dried up that their march to the destruction of Babylon may be easy and triumphant.

Christ’s people are now gathered together as an army. But they shall not need to fight. We shall see that they do not fight (comp, chap. Revelation 20:9). They shall rest in Christ. God shall fight His own battle. The war shall be that ‘of the great day of God, the Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-16.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

River Euphrates. That is, a passage is laid open for the potentates of the East to lay their destructive hands upon the countries on this side the Euphrates. For they are the spirits of devils working signs, which are sent forth by the eastern princes, to oblige all to unite in arms against the great day of the Almighty God. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-16.html. 1859.

A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

SIXTH VIAL .

(The Euphrates Dried Up.)

Revelation 16:12.

"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."

This means the literal river Euphrates. The other Plagues will be real, and why does not this mean the drying up of the real Euphrates River. The opening up of a dry passage through the Red Sea that the Children of Israel might escape from Egypt, and the parting of the waters of the River Jordan that they might pass over into the Land of Canaan, are facts of history, why then shall not the River Euphrates be dried up that the Kings of the East and their armies may cross over and assemble for the Battle of Armageddon? The prophecy in Isaiah 11:15-16, where "the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea (Red Sea), and . . . shake His hand over the River (Euphrates) and smite its seven streams, so men can go over "DRY SHOD"," refers to this time. The Kings shall journey East from Africa, and West from Asia that they may meet in Palestine for the "Battle of Armageddon." The drying up of the Euphrates will serve a twofold purpose. It will permit the remnant of Israel from Assyria to return, and also allow the nations of the far East to be gathered for the "Judgment of Nations." Matthew 25:31-46.

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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clr/revelation-16.html.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

The sixth trumpet released four angels who had been bound at the Euphrates and they destroyed one-third of mankind with a great army. (Revelation 9:13-16) Remember, during the reign of Solomon, this was the eastern border and represented a barrier to invading armies. Cyrus dried up the Euphrates to capture Babylon, which was prophesied by Isaiah. (Isaiah 44:27-28; Isaiah 46:11) First century Christians should have been familiar with this and likely would have seen this as showing God"s ultimate control and use of even the matters soon to be revealed.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-16.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

that = in order that. Greek. hina. kings. Supply "that come".

of. Greek. apo. App-104.

the east. Literally the rising of the sun.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

Angel. So Coptic, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, omit.

Kings of the east - `the kings who are from the rising of the sun.' So the Euphrates is referred to in the sixth trumpet. The drying up of the Euphrates is figurative, as Babylon itself, situated on it, is undoubtedly so, Revelation 17:5. The waters of the Euphrates (cf. Isaiah 8:7-8) are spiritual Babylon's, the apostate church's spiritual and temporal powers. The drying up of Babylon's waters answers to the ten kings' stripping, eating, and burning the whore. The phrase 'way prepared for' is applied to the Lord's coming (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3; Luke 1:76). He shall come from the east (Matthew 24:27; Ezekiel 43:2, "the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east"): not alone, for His elect transfigured saints of Israel and the Gentiles accompany Him, "kings and priests unto God" (Revelation 1:6). As the anti-Christian ten kings accompany the beast, so the saints accompany as kings the King of kings to the last decisive conflict.

DeBurgh, etc., take it of the Jews, also designed to be a Kingdom of priests to God on earth. They shall, doubtless, become priest-kings in the flesh to the nations in the flesh at His coming. Abraham from the east (if Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 41:8-9 refers to him, and not Cyrus), conquering the Chaldean kings, is a type of Israel's victorious restoration to the priest-kingdom. Israel's exodus after the last Egyptian plagues typifies Israel's restoration, after the spiritual Babylon, the apostate Church, has been smitten. Israel's promotion to the priest-kingdom after Pharaoh's downfall, at the Lord's descent at Sinai to establish the theocracy, typifies the restored kingdom of Israel at the Lord's more glorious descent, when Antichrist shall be destroyed utterly. Thus Israel secondarily may be meant by "the kings from the east," who shall accompany the "King of kings," returning "from the way of the east" to reign over His ancient people. As to the drying up again of the waters opposing His people's assuming the kingdom, cf. Isaiah 10:26; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 11:15; Zechariah 10:9-11. Israel (Genesis 32:28) implies a prince with God (cf. Micah 4:8). Durham, 200 years ago, interpreted the drying up of the Euphrates the wasting away of the Turkish power, which has heretofore held Palestine, so the way being prepared for Israel's restoration. But as Babylon is the apostate church, not Mohammedanism, the drying up of the Euphrates (answering to Cyrus' overthrow of Babylon by marching into it through the dry channel of the Euphrates) must answer to the draining off of the apostate church's resources, the Roman and Greek apostasies having been heretofore the greatest barriers, by idolatries and persecutions, in the way of Israel's restoration and conversion. The earthly kings of the earth (Revelation 16:14) stand in contrast to the kings from the east, who are heavenly.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) And the sixth . . .—Better, The sixth (angel) poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried that the way of the kings who are from the rising of the sun might be prepared. The symbolical meaning of the Euphrates has been touched upon before. (See Notes on Revelation 9:14.) In the great age-long struggle between the kingdoms of Christ and the world the Euphrates represents the great separating boundary between the two kingdoms, as the literal Euphrates formed the barrier between Israel and the hostile northern and eastern kingdoms. It is the great impediment to war. It is true that there is a great interposed boundary of public opinion, which restrains evil from breaking forth in its ruder and more violent forms. Men may be hostile to spiritual religion, yet they scarcely like to shock public sentiment, or to incur the charge of depraving public morals; but there may come a time, after false principles have been taught, corrupt manners tolerated, and the light of better things darkened, when the public sentiment loses all sense of shame, and the decorums of life, which have acted as a breakwater against the tide of outrageous evil, are swept away: then is the Euphrates dried, and then may the hostile powers of evil, unrestrained by any considerations, unchecked by the popular conscience, cross boldly over and invade the whole sacred soil of human life. There have been times like this when shameless sin has walked forth, secure of public favour, to desecrate every sanctuary of purity and faith—when the most barbarous manners and the most unscrupulous violations of public faith and morals have been not only tolerated, but applauded. The “kings of the east” (or of the sun-rising) represent the forces of rude and open evil which have been long restrained. As the four barbarian and tyrant kings (Genesis 14:1-24) from the East invaded the land of promise in Abraham’s days, so the leaders of open and violent hate of right, purity, and Christ, have the way of their advance prepared. But certain agencies go forth to bring about this uprising of rude revolt against every sanctity of life.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
upon
9:14; 11:14; Isaiah 8:7
and the water
17:15; Isaiah 11:15; 42:15; 44:27; Jeremiah 50:38-40; 51:36
that the
Isaiah 41:2,3,25; Ezekiel 38:1-39; Daniel 11:43-45
Reciprocal: Joshua 4:22 - General2 Kings 2:8 - were;  Psalm 74:15 - flood;  Proverbs 21:1 - as;  Isaiah 43:16 - maketh;  Ezekiel 30:12 - I will make;  Daniel 11:40 - with horsemen;  Daniel 11:44 - east;  Habakkuk 3:8 - the Lord;  Habakkuk 3:10 - the overflowing;  Zechariah 10:11 - smite;  Revelation 17:16 - these

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-16.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The great river Euphrates has played an important part in God's dealing with his people in their relation with the nations. The city of Babylon was situated upon its banks. When the time came for the overthrow of the first of the "four world empires" (the Babylonian), it was accomplished by diverting the stream from its regular channel. When that was done the water was lowered (was dried up) so that the soldiers of Cyrus (kings of the east) could march into the city and slay the man on the throne. All of this describes a literal. event in history, but it is used to form the phraseology for the overthrow of another Babylon ("Mystery Babylon the Great"), which had been brought into existence by the union of church and state.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-16.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 16:12

Revelation 16:12 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.

The object of God's wrath and plague poured out of this sixth vial is the great river Euphrates. There was a river which ran through Mesopotamia unto old Babylon, that by way of eminency is called the great river, the river Euphrates, { Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 1:7; Joshua 1:4} unto which this river may bear some allusion. The principal benefits of a great river are three, first, revenue, { Isaiah 23:3} Secondly, strength, { Isaiah 8:7} Thirdly, riches, { Ezekiel 27:12-33} so of mystical Babylon. { Revelation 18:10-17}

And the water thereof was dried up.

By waters we may understand peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. { Revelation 17:15} By the drying up of the waters, we may understand the wasting and destroying of the Turk's dominion, kingdom and power, as the Turk's dominion was enlarged under the sixth trumpet, { Revelation 9:14} so it shall be wasted and destroyed by the pouring forth of the plagues of this sixth vial.

That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

By the kings of the east, we are to understand the Jews, whom God hath promised to bring from the east. { Isaiah 43:5} They are called kings (as all the Lord's redeemed ones are,) { Revelation 5:9-10} for they shall have the first dominion. { Micah 4:8; Isaiah 62:1-3} And kings of the east, because God hath promised to save them from the east country. { Zechariah 8:7-13; Daniel 11:44-45}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-16.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Sixth Vial

Revelation 16:12. And the sixth poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared of the kings from the rising of the sun. From the rising of the sun (that is, the regions whence these risings proceed,)[Note: Wherever the plural ἀνατολαί is used, it refers to the daily recurring act of going forth—comp. Matthew 24:27; Luke 13:29; Revelation 21:13. The ἑ λί ον is always to be supplied, when the ἀνατολαί are mentioned. The reading ἀνατολῆς has merely arisen from the word being token in the sense of eastern regions, in which case ἑ λί ον appeared unsuitable Ch. 7:2 is also to be compared.] from the east, the lands beyond the Euphrates, conquering hordes were wont to come from the earliest times down upon lower Asia, and especially upon Cannan—comp. on ch. Revelation 9:14. (It cannot be accidental, that Euphrates is here mentioned under the sixth vial, as there under the sixth trumpet). From that quarter come here, in vision, the hosts of the enemies of the church, which is represented under the image of Jerusalem (comp. on ch. Revelation 14:20). That the designation of the place, from which the enemies come, is only to be understood typically is evident from comparing ch. Revelation 9:14, from the circumstance that the object of the assault is only typical Jerusalem, and finally from Revelation 16:14, where, in the room of the kings from the rising of the sun, come the kings of the whole earth putting the actual in immediate juxtaposition with the typical description.

The typical preparations of a way through water (the Red Sea and the Jordan) were done for the behoof of the people of God. So also the typical preparation of a way through the Euphrates itself in Isaiah 11:15-16, and the figurative leading through the sea and the Nile in Zechariah 10:11, "And the Lord goes through the sea, the distress, and smites in the sea the waves, and all the floods of the Nile are put to shame." The preparation of the way must serve the same design here, though it seems to have primarily a quite different character (the Lord appears here to do for the enemies of his people what elsewhere he did only for his people), is clear alone from this, that the drying up of the Euphrates is a result of the pouring out of a vial. All the vials were poured out in behalf of the church, for the destruction of her enemies, and to prepare for her final victory. More prominently still does this object discover itself in Revelation 16:16, which so far is immediately connected with the verse before us, as it continues the description of God's share in the matter. Revelation 16:13-15 take into account the hellish- human machinery, the subordinate importance of which is manifest from the single fact, that it is hemmed in on both sides by the divine agency. Bengel: "The text is here wonderfully interwoven together, and is like an artificial web, in which what is covered for a time afterwards comes forth to light again. Revelation 16:12; Revelation 16:16 are connected together, and the three verses between are also of a fine texture." In Revelation 16:16 we see, that the way through the Euphrates is opened to the kings, only that they may get to the place of their overthrow. The Euphrates is mentioned here merely in respect to the hindrance it presented to the march of the ungodly power of the world into the holy land, against the holy city, against the church. This hindrance—to the terror of all persons of little faith, to the triumph of the world and the strengthening yet more of its enmity to God and Christ—is removed by God himself; what would arrest it is by him taken out of the way—as when, for example, in the time of the Seer, Peter and Paul, the pillars of the church, were beheaded, John himself banished to Patmos, and the church, thereby left exposed to the seductions of heathenism. But when faith is well nigh disposed on account of such things to give way, and the world is preparing to deal out the last blow against the church, then comes the place of Armageddon.

Precisely as God here dries up the Euphrates for the enemies of his church, did God, according to Isaiah 43:17, lead forth Pharaoh with his host to pursue after Israel. Scripture brings clearly out the truth, that every step which the ungodly world takes for the destruction of the church, stands under the divine direction—not merely under the divine permission, which a Rationalistic theology would so fain substitute for it,—that God does not simply overthrow the enemies of his church, but also arms them, and that the success of their plans belongs not less to him than their discomfiture; so that we have everywhere to do only with God. (See my Comm. on Psalms 104:25). Here, too, it is not prophesied what was to be done once, but what was to be continually repeated anew, so long as the conflict of the beast with the church should last, which substantially revives again in Gog and Magog. We have also in this vial, as in all the rest, a collective representation before us of that which in history realizes itself by degrees, and in a succession of acts and scenes. He who has properly received into his heart the contents of this book, can look on with painful delight while he sees one bulwark of the church after another laid prostrate, so that it might seem to be going into remediless destruction.— From the false supposition, that the expedition of the kings is directed toward Babylon, an allusion has sometimes been sought here to the warlike manoeuvre of Cyrus, who, according to Herodotus and Zenophon, accomplished the conquest of Babylon by diverting the waters of the Euphrates.[Note: Forbesius shewed a just acquaintance with the peculiar style of the Apocalypse, when he remarks against this idea: Spiritum Dei nihil ex Herodoto vel Xenophonte accersere, sed omnes ejus allusiones esse ad Scripturam sacram.] That the expedition is directed, not against Babylon, that is, Rome, but against Cannan, that is, the church, is rendered manifest by Revelation 16:16;[Note: Bengel: "Armageddon lies in the land of Israel, and from the rising of the sun the way to it is right over the Euphrates."] manifest, too, by Revelation 16:14, according to which the kings assemble together to a decisive battle against God, and of course also against his tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven, the church and believers, (ch. Revelation 13:6). The Euphrates appears here also not as a hindrance to the conquest, but to the way, as the Jordan was and the Red Sea. But it could not have stood in the way of the kings on their march from the rising of the sun, if their course was directed toward Babylon. It would have been quite perplexing, if the prophet had not preserved the relations, as to territorial position, of ancient Babylon, and had removed the Euphrates from the western to the eastern side of the territory. Further, if the expedition was directed against Rome, then, kings from the east would have been mentioned as the instruments of punishment. But against this, it was already remarked by Bengel, "One might suppose, that those eastern kings were to be the instruments of this plague, but in all the seven plagues men are never represented as the instruments of working. It is these kings themselves, that in the plagues are overthrown blindfolded." Finally, an exclusive reference to Rome is against the analogy of all the other vials; they all bear an oecumenical character, sweep over the whole earth, the whole of the God-opposing wickedness, and not merely some particular phase of it. The special reference to Rome in Revelation 16:19 does not comprise the whole contents of the seal, but the universal reference goes along with it. Quite unseasonable is the comparison of ch. Revelation 17:12, instead of ch. Revelation 14:20, Revelation 19:11, ss., Revelation 20:7, ss., where the battle, as here, is directed against God andChrist and his church.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-16.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

c. Sixth vial on the Euphrates, for the kings of the East, Revelation 16:12.

12.Great river Euphrates—Viewed here not as a part of the framework of creation, but as a symbol of the populations (Revelation 18:3) that sustain Babylon and the beast. Revelation 9:14. This symbol is drawn from a signal passage in profane history. When Cyrus the Great came with his mighty armies from the east, with many a king and prince in command of the various sections of his hosts, to conquer old Babylon, he found “the great city” impregnable. At length, in a master-stroke of military genius, he set his men to work to turn the direction of the channel of the Euphrates, which ran through the city. When its channel was sufficiently dry he led his soldiers on its bottom into the city, and so conquered it. So, then, the Euphrates was literally dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. Most beautifully does our seer appropriate this historic event to his symbolic purpose.

Cyrus is styled by God himself (Isaiah 45:1,) “mine anointed,” that is, my messiah, and so, if not exactly a type, is certainly an illustrative figure of our Messiah. One is from the east, and the other is from “the day-spring from on high.” Luke 1:78. One conquered the literal, and the other conquers the mystical, Babylon. Here as elsewhere John’s symbols are taken from sources within the biblical range. The meaning, then, is, that the population and powers of Babylon are wasted away, that the way of our Messiah, with his kings of the east leading his armies, might be prepared to the capture of the mystic Babylon. Alford objects, that to introduce an “auspicious event” like this here, where all is adverse, would be incongruous. But the event is very inauspicious to Babylon, and so is congruous with all the previous plagues.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 16:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-16.html. 1874-1909.