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 I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto 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 come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Revelation 16:12-16.

The Sixth Vial

Part I
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson



Truth Marches On
As the powers of evil and falsity continue to work, even up to our very day and time, God in His love and mercy is working to uncover every deception. Whether God sends forth the sounding of the trumpet or a vial of judgment, every move is to uncover that which is false in order to loose God's people so they can serve Him and Him alone.

Our Scripture text says that the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates. Realizing that the Revelation is written in symbolic language, we must hold the fact that there is something about Euphrates that He is using in symbolic language to talk about Babylon, or where God's people were bound. In the literal sense, Euphrates was the river that literal Babylon was built on. It was her security and her protection.

Let us go to Daniel's prophecy which covers that period of time. God's people were carried away into Babylonian captivity because of their attitude toward God's Word and God's prophets. With them was carried away the furniture and golden vessels of the temple that God had dwelled in among Israel.

They weren't down there very long until the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar made an image. To make a long story short, there were three boys down there who wouldn't go to church in Babylon. It didn't make any difference how much pressure the king put on them. When they were finally thrown into the furnace of fire, those men stood with power over fire. When the king looked in and saw One Who looked like the Son of man standing in there with them, he brought the three Hebrew boys out and gave glory to God.

Daniel proved God true in the lion's den, and he was put up as the next ruler of Babylon. The old king that put him up died. Several years passed. Two or three other kings came into power. Finally a king by the name of Belshazzar ruled Babylon. A number of years had passed between the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Daniel had grown old and had been nearly forgotten. No one even knew he was in the province. Other kings had taken over, and because of it, Daniel was forgotten and moved out of his high position.

The Literal Story
Let's go to Daniel 5:1-8 and read:

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

It says, …his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. Now this was the most powerful man in the kingdom, with the joints of his body shaking and his knees knocking together. Verse 6 tells us that the king's countenance was changed; I would certainly imagine so, a disembodied hand writing on the wall? The king brought in all his "wise men": the soothsayers, the palm readers, the crystal ball gazers, the astrologers, but not a one of them could interpret the words written on the wall. I would imagine he felt very low indeed, until the old queen, the queen of the last generation, remembered the man Daniel. He lost no time at all in finding Daniel and having him brought to the court. Suddenly the fearless had become the fearful:

I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

Before God gave the handwriting on the wall, He had already moved on the Medes and Persians. He already spoken to King Cyrus, and Darius was with him. They walked across a dry riverbed, and entered upon the very festival that was going on. They killed Belshazzar that very night. The message was then given to the people from Cyrus that they could go out on the dry riverbed, take the vessels back to the temple where they belonged, and build the temple back in Jerusalem for God. Now, that is the literal picture.

Euphrates Must Be Dried Up
We have a Euphrates in spiritual Babylon today which has to be dried up. In too many places, however, Euphrates is not being dried up. She is running bank-full. God's people are not getting out of Babylon because the message is not getting in. The kings of the east are not getting in because Euphrates, spiritual Babylon's stronghold, is not being dried up. It is just as it was in literal Babylon's stronghold: God's people couldn't get out until the river was dried up. The kings of the east went in, and they came out on the dry riverbed.

Some of God's people are in spiritual Babylon today, and there is no hope of getting them out until Euphrates is dried up. The kings of the east (knowledge and understanding) have to get in to them and make a way for them to escape. They have to get some knowledge and recognize what they are in. Oh, how God hates it! While they think it is all right, it is an abomination unto God. They must have wisdom to know how to get out. But in order for those two kings of the east to get in, Euphrates has to be dried up.

This Babylon which has God's people in it is Protestantism. God's people were never in Catholicism; there was never any Gospel there for anybody to get converted. Allow me to make the statement that we are dealing with Protestantism. Euphrates is a symbol of spiritual Babylon's stronghold on people, as well as their false security. Protestantism is full of the teaching of "eternal security", and until that is dried up, cleared up from the minds of people, nobody is going to get excited about putting forth efforts to live righteously. Protestantism is full of it.

Not only is that her stronghold and her security, but another of her securities is the false agreement that she makes with hell and death, by causing people to join those churches and line up with their rituals. Isaiah said that when the truth is turned loose, it will overflow the hiding places, and people's agreement with hell and death will not stand (Isaiah 28:17,18).

Another stronghold that she has over the people is lies, by lying to them and telling them we are all the Church of God (body of Christ). They tell people that God has a spiritual church, or a mythical church, and then a literal one. Brothers and Sisters, that makes two, and God has ONLY ONE Church. The same God Who baptizes you by a born-again experience into the spiritual body puts you in the local, working, visible phase of the Church of God. God never puts anybody in Babylon. The Spirit of God never leads anybody to go join a church. The Spirit of God never calls a man from Babylon to preach the Gospel.

According to the 11th Chapter of Revelation, the two witnesses, the Word and the Spirit, rose up and came out of Babylon. From then on, the cry was, "Come on out of her, My people." There may be individuals who are saved in sectarian organizations, and the Spirit of God may be working through their individual lives if they are walking in all the light they have, but the Spirit of God is not blessing the organization or the services.

So Babylon's stronghold, defense, or security is the antitype of the old river Euphrates, and it is used right here. Brothers and Sisters, it takes a heap of preaching to dry up Euphrates. We might as well lay aside the idea that we can just go along and just have services on Sunday and Wednesday night, and get the job done. We are not even starting to get the job done. Babylon is getting stronger all the time, and The Church is getting weaker in most places.

My friends, the only thing that will keep Babylon from taking strength, and it is the same thing that will bring strength to The Church, is the straight pouring out of God's Word, service after service, telling people the Truth just exactly as it is in God's Word. So, spiritual Babylon has a defense, a false security, and a power by which she holds people: all those lies she tells them. Now that river has to be dried up. Truth has to be poured out so the kings of the east can get in.

God Is Not Mocked
I want to show you that spiritual Babylon has the same spirit that ole' Belshazzar had. What did Daniel tell him about his spirit? …Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven… Daniel 5:22,23. He became inflated in himself. He was just as Nebuchadnezzar, when he conquered the whole then-known world. He reared back, took a look at Babylon, and in so many words, said, "Look what a city I have built." About that time, he was ready to go out and eat straw like the ox. Belshazzar came right along and self-esteemed himself right into the same precarious position, and the same spirit is in spiritual Babylon.

We have already studied Revelation 13:4. What did that beast say? Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? Belshazzar, also, felt secure in the great province of Babylon. Right while he was praising the gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood and stone, God had two kings with two armies channeling the river. It was just hours until Belshazzar was going to lose not only his kingdom, but his very life. What did the beast say? Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? Old Roman Catholicism still makes that cry yet today. Brothers and Sisters, she boasts in the newspapers of how many billions belong to the Roman Catholic religion.

In other words, she, too, is saying, "Who can equal the beast? who has made such moves as we have?" But little does she know that God has a few Church of God preachers who are channeling up the river and driving in upon her through the truth of the Word of God. While she boasts in what she can do, little does she know that God already has the Gatling guns of truth turned in upon her.

Revelation 18:7 tells us, …she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. False religion feels they have the world so deceived that nobody will ever get enough understanding to point out the deception that they hold people in. That is exactly the attitude that Belshazzar had, but in the very same hour, there came a hand, writing on the wall, God's divine judgment against that Babylonian kingdom.

Someone might question, "Does it happen the same way in the New Testament Babylon?" Yes sir, just the same. The whole eighteenth chapter of Revelation tells us how Babylon's merchants have waxed rich with the abundance of her delicacies. Oh, what a time they are having, that is until you get down to verses 17 and 19: For in one hour so great riches is come to nought…And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

I want to tie the two together. There was Belshazzar in his pomp and splendor: wealthy, many wives and concubines, having a great feast and really living deliciously. But at the same hour, the handwriting of God came on the wall. Not only that, but that very same night, Belshazzar was slain.

Consider spiritual Babylon: they could not think less about destruction or the judgments of God coming down. But friends, whether you are a little bit wrong or a whole lot wrong, the judgments of God are going to come your way. God is not asleep. God is not mocked. God is very much awake and very much aware of all that is going on. That is why Paul spoke about a people in this very day and time who would cry, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. I Thessalonians 5:3. That was the spirit (attitude) of Belshazzar: "What do we have to worry about?"

Truth Brings Judgment
You might question, "What hour did Babylon's riches fade out, or when is the hour that Babylon's riches come to naught?" The hour that the handwriting appears, or the hour when the truth is revealed. There are plenty of people in Babylon who think that Babylon's riches are great, until you get the truth to them. The same hour that truth reaches their heart and mind, all those riches which they looked on in Babylon have lost all their value. They are ready to walk off from them and leave them like a pile of dirt.

While Babylon today, just as Babylon of old, is making merry (going on in their lasciviousness, loose living, and ungodliness), little do they know that the hour of God's judgment has come and the handwriting of God is appearing.

The handwriting of God appears so that people can see their true condition. When Daniel read the handwriting to Belshazzar, he read out his true condition. He showed him a picture of himself; how Belshazzar appeared to God, how he was as God looked at him. Brothers and Sisters, the handwriting of God will do the same thing today, whether it is on you or me individually, or whether it is on some false system of religion.

Protestant sects are held in high esteem, but the truth of the matter is that they are an abomination unto God. False religion has taken the fear of God off of mankind. I can remember when I was a boy. Men did not smoke in front of some people and women in front of nobody. What took all that fear off? Preachers walking around with stogies in their mouths and their collars on backwards, claiming to be holy people, claiming to be men of God, but living like the devil.

They foam out their devilish doctrine of eternal security. That doctrine teaches that if you are born again and baptized, no matter what you do or what kind of shape you are in when you die, you will never be lost. That kind of doctrine lifts the fear of God off the hearts of man and turns lasciviousness loose. If you get enough truth to people to dry up that river, take away some of the false securities that people are resting in, you can still bring sweat on their brows, cause their ears to get red, and cause their knees to smite together.

You know, ole' Belshazzar was having a mighty grand time. He was having a wonderful time, but suddenly, without pause, the fear of God was "in his face" (throughout his whole body). The handwriting of God and a preacher who wasn't afraid to tell him the truth about what had been written. That will bring back the reverential fear of God in people's hearts and lives today, if/when it can be found. Paul spoke of a cry of "Peace and safety" where there is no peace, of the false call of security when sudden destruction is there instead. My friends, these are both the pictures of the darkness of false religion.

The Word of God let us know that when you join one of these harlot bodies (Revelation 17), you will become a partaker of her sins. Brothers and Sisters, if you go down to where the harlots are, where prostitution is, all that woman has to do is to get you to drink a little out of her cup and it won't be long until she will have you in any kind of corruption she wants to pull you into. This is exactly what the Revelation is picturing here, these harlot women with the cups in their hands. Friends, if they can get you to join them and drink of their wine, it will only be a matter of time until you are a partaker of her evil deeds.

According to Revelation 18, the only way to keep from being a partaker of her evil deeds is to come out of her. Why? She has a spirit and a power. She will take hold on you in such a way that you will turn down known truth and stand by her teachings and her catechisms.

The Vessels
It is just the same as in Belshazzar's day. He got along all right in his feast and in his drinking until he made one move too far: he called for the golden vessels that had been sanctified to be used in purity, and everyone who bore them was to be clean. There was a corrupt old king, in the midst of his lasciviousness, ordering them to bring those golden vessels so they could drink wine in them. He had no more than put it to his lips, however, until the handwriting, the judgment of God, was put forth.

Someone might ask, "What are the vessels?" Let's just take time to consider the golden cup in the harlot's hand. Psalm 116:13 tells us that the golden cup was a cup of salvation, but the harlot has emptied that out and filled it with the filthiness of the wine of her fornication. In other words, she is not reaching out the golden cup of salvation; she is reaching out to get you to join her organization instead of getting your soul saved.

According to Jeremiah, Babylon was a golden cup in God's hand. In the early days of the reformers, they laid the truth down just as it was. They preached justification, holiness, and clean living. They were offering a cup of salvation. God used those reformers, but when they started to pour out that salvation and fill their cup with the filthiness of their fornication, God began to put judgment on it. Everywhere He can get a man with enough nerve, zeal, and inspiration to lay judgment on Babylon, He has been putting it on her ever since. He has never let up.

Someone might then ask, "If that is the picture, why don't more people see it?" I have only one answer, Daniel 5:8. Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Not a one of them could make out what the Words of God said or what they meant, and they still can't today! Brothers and Sisters, you and I can read it only as the Spirit of God unfolds it to us, and He gives it to whomever He wants to.

Babylon's merchants couldn't read it. In other words, they were like a lot of preachers now: they were maintained at the king's expense, but in the time of urgent need, they couldn't help him one bit. Babylon is still full of those kinds of preachers. They are carried along at great expense. They make good wages, but don't earn a hamburger.

People with heavy burdens are going to them for counsel, and what do they tell them? "You've got to get hold of yourself. Maybe you better go see a psychiatrist. See if you can't get your nerves straightened out." And they walk right away from such preachers and go jump in a river or blow their own brains out. Brothers and Sisters, a preacher who can't show you the way to Jesus when you're in the hour of grave need is useless. I said, a preacher who can't show you the way to Jesus when you're in the hour of grave need is useless.

When the handwriting of God appears, things change. The very same God who had a definite message for Belshazzar, still has a definite message for every person who comes into the worship services today. Finding a preacher or teacher in tune with God enough to deliver it is the key. My friend, such a message will be definite and it will strike your heart just as surely as that handwriting on the wall struck ole' Belshazzar's heart. That handwriting was a declaration of judgment: remember, these are vials of judgment, vials of God's wrath. When the message gets through to man, things change. People lose their cavalier, chaffy attitude toward the Gospel. You will act just as King Belshazzar did.

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