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Milepost 52: Vial 6: Call to Destruction

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Milepost 52: Vial 6: Call to Destruction

Primary References: Revelation 16:12-16


Only after God gives people one last chance to repent does He instruct the sixth angel to pour his vial. This vial irrevocably sets in motion a chain of events leading up to the climatic battle of Armageddon and Jesus’ return. The effects of the last two vials are so horrific and far-reaching that God checked twice to be certain they were necessary. Instead of repentance and acceptance of their new King, He finds hardened unrepentant hearts cursing God. When the angel pours out the sixth vial, there are no more chances.

The sixth vial prepares the battlefield for the great tribulation’s final climatic battle. It starts with the preparation of the earth for the deployment of the armies of the kings of the east (previously seen in the sixth trumpet). For these armies, the most formidable obstacle appears to be the Euphrates River, which this vial judgment dries up. When the path is clear, the unholy trinity calls the nations to the battle’s assembly area, Armageddon. Three unclean spirits coming from each member of the unholy trinity gather the armies of the world. This battle is Satan’s last desperate attempt to annihilate Israel. The unholy trinity and their legions gather all nations (Revelation 16:14; Isaiah 13:4; Psalms 2:2; Isaiah 29:7; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 14:2, Micah 4:11) and people of all tongues (Isaiah 66:18) of the world to fight against Israel. These nations fight against not only Israel but also God’s authority and laws (Psalms 2:3). They first camp at Armageddon (Isaiah 29:3) before they lay siege against Jerusalem and build military structures (Isaiah 29:3).

Every nation and every possible ethnic group descends on Israel. Isaiah 29:5-7 describes the armies as a multitude of invaders like fine dust, chaff, and a horde. This suggests a multitude so large that it is as hard to count as individual particles of dust. The number of troops involved makes all other wars pale in comparison (even the war of the sixth seal). Alexander’s dominating armies ranged in size from twenty to sixty thousand. World War II had millions of combatants. This war has hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of soldiers. Moving armies of this size is a formidable task. Even with modern transports, the movement of troops will be a slow time consuming task. In the Second World War, much of the troop movement for the Germans was by foot. It is likely that many of the troops (especially those in the 200 million-man army) in this final war will also deploy through marching. If this is the case, then the elimination of obstacles like the Euphrates River could substantially reduce both the difficulty and time needed to deploy the armies. If marching is involved, the process of assembling the armies could require a fair amount of time to complete. The final assembly of the armies sets the stage for the final vial judgment, the battle of Armageddon.

As the nations gather for war, Jesus pleads once more for people to turn to Him. He reminds them that He comes as a thief in the night, unannounced and unexpected (and unwanted?). This is an urgent plea since He will return soon during the battle of Armageddon, the war of the seventh vial judgment. Just as Jesus warned the churches of Sardis and Laodicea to get garments, Jesus now warns those on earth to keep their cloths so their nudity does not shame them when He returns. Just as Jesus warned the church of Sardis to watch because He returns as a thief at an unknown time, Jesus now warns those on earth to watch for the same reason. His reference to Himself as a thief coming at any time, day or night, makes sense when given prior to the rapture.