The Book of Revelation 16:12

The Sixth Vial

“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.” (Rev 16:12 KJV)

The river Euphrates is a natural border between the East and West. Drying up this river clears this boundary for the kings of the east to cross and join the Battle of Armageddon. Isaiah prophesied of this event.

“And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.” (Isa 11:15 KJV)

This raises several questions. First, who are the kings of the east, and second, why do they need the river Euphrates to be dried up in order to cross over?

The kings of the east are often thought to be the 200 million man army of China. I would think China would need more than the Euphrates dried up to get to Israel. Isaiah does talk about the seven streams. It is possible that Revelation is only discussing the river in the area rather than all of them. That conclusion would require reading into the verse something that is not there. The Scriptures do not give us enough information to make a positive identification. Whoever they are, it is clear that the east is joining the west for the Battle of Armageddon.

Why do they need the river Euphrates to be dried up in order to cross over? In today’s modern warfare we can battle by land, sea, and air. We don’t have any trouble crossing over a river. There are two explanations that make sense to me. First, with all of the destruction up to this point there isn’t much technology left to fight with. This battle could be on horseback. Second, it could be metaphoric of a peace treaty with the East, similar to tearing down a wall.

Most teachers have assumed it was literal and they’ve pointed to the fact that we can know control the flow of the Euphrates, so now the end can come. What this fails to realize is that it is an angel pouring out the wrath of God that stops the river- not a man and his own technology stopping the river. God did not need man to figure out how to stop the river for the end of time to take place.


Dried Up – 3583 ξηραίνωxeraino {xay-rah’-ee-no}

Meaning:  1) to make dry, dry up, wither 2) to become dry, to be dry, be withered 2a) of plants 2b) of the ripening of crops 2c) of fluids 2d) of the members of the body 3) to waste away, pine away, i.e. a withered hand

Origin:  from 3584;; v

Usage:  AV – wither away 6, wither 5, dry up 3, pine away 1, be ripe 1; 16

Kings – 935 βασιλεύςbasileus {bas-il-yooce’}

Meaning:  1) leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king

Origin:  probably from 939 (through the notion of a foundation of power); TDNT – 1:576,97; n m

Usage:  AV – king 82, King (of Jews) 21, King (God or Christ) 11, King (of Israel) 4; 118

East – 395 ἀνατολήanatole {an-at-ol-ay’}

Meaning:  1) a rising (of the sun and stars) 2) the east (the direction of the sun’s rising)

Origin:  from 393; TDNT – 1:352,57; n f

Usage:  AV – east 9, dayspring 1; 10

Prepared – 2090 ἑτοιμάζωhetoimazo {het-oy-mad’-zo}

Meaning:  1) to make ready, prepare 1a) to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready 2) metaph. 2a) drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable 2b) to prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings

Origin:  from 2092; TDNT – 2:704,266; v

Usage:  AV – prepare 29, make ready 10, provide 1; 40

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.