Read Revelation 16 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: revelation 16, the sixth bowl of wrath
The pattern followed throughout Revelation has been consistent: three series of judgments, seven judgments in each series, with an interval period describing spiritual events between the sixth and seventh of each series; the seventh, furthermore, rather than being its own judgment, reveals the next series. We have progressed in history from 96 ad when John first received this vision, to 1917, the end of the sixth bowl of wrath. There is not another series after the bowls of wrath, so the seventh bowl is the final judgment. We are coming to the end of the age.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. Rev 16:13-16
Now, we are currently living, I believe, in the interval period between the sixth and seventh bowls. We do not have the benefit of hindsight. But this is what I currently believe these symbols mean:
There are three demonic powers which proceed out of the mouths of three entities: the dragon, who is the devil; the beast (and we are not told which beast this is, but most likely the beast of the land), and the false prophet. The false prophet has not been previously introduced. The image of the beast is not mentioned because it is no more.
Since these demonic powers proceed out of mouths, I believe they are ideas communicated by words. I am going to make a guess at what the three ideas are. First, out of the mouth of the dragon: secular atheism, the denial of God’s existence and that He is Creator and Lord. This idea actually has a long history (see The Long War Against God by Henry M. Morris) but it was not an accepted or majority view until the 20th century.
1859 — publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin gives the ideology of atheism and secularism a scientific foundation
1917 — Russian Revolution leading to the first establishment of atheism as a national religion since the French Revolution (how quickly on the heels of the sixth bowl the frog spirits exert their influence!)
1925 — Scopes Trial in America dealt a blow to biblical Creation in the recent past as a truthful idea and opened the door for darwinism to be taught in public schools
1939-45 — World War II; Nazi superior race philosophy an outgrowth of darwinism
1945 + post war — establishment of secular philosophies and unquestioned acceptance of darwinism as a scientific explanation in academia
1960s-70s — revolution of ideology of secularism spreads from the universities and enters mainstream culture
1961 — publication of The Genesis Flood by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb strikes a great blow to the scientific veracity of darwinism and secularism in general
1979 — Ken Ham founds the Creation Science Foundation in Australia, the parent of Answers in Genesis, the premier teaching and research organization world wide establishing the truth of the Bible in its scientific and historic statements
1985 — publication of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by non- religious Michael Denton strikes a great blow to the scientific veracity of darwinism
1991 — fall of the Soviet Union and communism — the political outgrowth of secularism — as a workable political theory
1996 — publication of Darwin’s Black Box by non- religious Michael Behe explains the natural law of irreducible complexity, which strikes a great blow to the scientific veracity of darwinism
The second idea comes out of the mouth of the Roman beast. By the 20th century the Holy Roman Empire had already ended; so I believe the idea proceeds from the mouth of the Roman church. Now I am guessing here. But I believe the idea is that of paganism or Babylonianism as a religious truth.
1620 — arrival of Puritans in America; Christmas- keeping outlawed as an expression of pagan idolatry
latter half of 19th century — Victorian era, the British queen’s German husband introduced Christmas- keeping to the royal family, Victoria’s popularity helped establish Christmas- keeping in America and other British colonies by the end of the 19th century
20th century — resurgence of wicca, druidism, neopaganism, feminism, and other expressions of ancient paganism following the dragon’s attacks on biblical veracity; growth of Halloween as a universal cultural holiday in America an expression of its increasing popularity
1960s-70s — birth of modern Messianic movement within Christianity; return to Sabbath keeping and biblical holidays; paganism of Roman church holidays such as Christmas exposed
It is interesting that the neopaganists themselves credit the resurgence of their religion to the rediscovery of classical, i.e. Roman, mythology and philosophy beginning with the Renaissance, and gaining since the French Revolution. How does this square with the frog spirit proceeding from the mouth of the Roman church? The Roman religion is in fact, Roman paganism, which is Babylonian in origin, with the face of the Lamb painted over it; however, its words are the words of the dragon. The Roman church and modern neopaganism are bedfellows.
The third idea proceeds from the mouth of the false prophet. Who is this, for this is the first time he is introduced in Scripture. Traditionally, the church has held that the idea proceeding from the mouth of the false prophet is the ideology of a resurgent and virulent Islam, for he whom the Mohammedans call the prophet, the Scriptures call the false prophet. The great scientist Isaac Newton, looking far forward from his own time, believed that the Ottomans, who were the greatest world power in his day, would one day be defeated, and on its heels, an aggressive Islam would reemerge, even though in his time it was generally a mild, liberal, and tolerant religion. He based his opinion on the 16th chapter of Revelation!
This is so remarkable, because today we see this very thing — the resurgence of a virulent and aggressive Islam on the heels of the defeat of the Ottoman empire! In fact, these are the three ideologies: secularism and atheism, neopaganism (even in its expressions of Babylonian religion by the Roman church), and virulent Islam, which are waging war upon the two witnesses today, both in the natural world and the spiritual!
The purpose of these three ideologies is to lead the kings of the earth to battle at Armageddon. Some believe this to be a completely spiritual battle of ideologies, which biblical truth will win; others see it as a physical battle on a physical battlefield. We won’t know for sure until we have the benefit of hindsight. It may in fact be both. Because these three have a common goal, it would not surprise me if the three ideologies link hands in leading all the kings of the earth to battle at Armageddon. If true, we should look for agreements, treaties, or cooperation between the EU or UN, the Roman church, and Islamic powers against the two witnesses.
But please note, in the timelines posted above, that even though the momentum for most of the 20th century has been with the three demonic ideologies, in the 60s and 70s the tide began turning against them. I believe this can only mean that we are close to the end of the third interval period, and we might even see the complete defeat of these three ideologies in our lifetimes.
The very next event after the completion of the third interval period is the pouring out of the seventh bowl. Thus the Lord reminds His saints, especially at this time in history, that He is coming as a thief in the night. His coming is drawing nigh!
Continued in revelation 16, the seventh bowl of wrath