The day is coming when God will be king over the whole world (Zechariah 14:9). That can only happen after the defeat of every evil force, power, system and ruler in the world. Many people believe that this can only happen by a slow process. However, the Book of Revelation does not agree with that idea. It refers to many events that must happen first; but the defeat of all those evil forces is sudden (18:10). It will happen in a great battle between Christ and his evil enemies (19:11-21).
Revelation 16:12 begins to describe the preparations for that battle. The river Euphrates flows a long way (at least 200 miles or 350 kilometres) north and east of Israel. Some of the most powerful armies in the ancient world went along the route of the Euphrates; the great city called Babylon was on that river. John has already described how one future battle will begin there (9:13-19). He now describes how armies from the east will go along (or through) the river for that great final battle.
The battle, however, will not be at that river (although that battle will affect the whole world). Revelation 16:16 tells us where the battle will be: the place called Armageddon.
This great battle is a battle both in the natural world and in the spirit world. Human soldiers will fight, but so will the devil and the evil spirits. Probably that is true in all battles, but it will especially be true in this greatest battle. The devil will fight there because he wants to defeat Christ. People will fight there because of the devilís lies and because they too hate Christ. Their great armies will gather to fight against Israel, because of its connection to God (Zechariah 14:2). It is not clear whether they also intend to fight against anyone else; however, in the end, they will fight against each other (Zechariah 14:13).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.