The Euphrates River
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.”) Revelation 16:15
Here in this single verse is a declaration of His coming. Notice that it is placed as a parenthesis between the sixth and seventh bowl judgments. The bowl judgments are the worst (the most painful and severe) judgments in the 7-year Tribulation period and will come near the end of that period, and right before His coming.
Here, briefly, are the seven bowl judgments, which are called the seven bowls of the wrath of God (v.1).
THE SEVEN BOWLS OF THE WRATH OF GOD
First bowl; malignant sores. Everyone who has taken the mark of the beast will be given horrible, cancerous sores on their bodies.
Second bowl; death in the seas and oceans. Everything in all the seas and oceans will die, causing the water to be full of blood.
Third bowl; death in the rivers and springs. All the fresh water will turn to blood.
Fourth bowl; the sun’s rays will become very hot, causing everyone to get a sever sunburn.
Fifth bowl; the kingdom of the antichrist will become dark.
Sixth bowl; the Euphrates River will dry up, providing a way for the armies of the east to gather for war. Three evil spirits (from Satan, the beast, and the false prophet) will convince and lure all the world leader (with their armies) to gather for battle in Israel to a place called Armageddon. And since the Euphrates will be dried up, all those armies from the east will have no trouble marching through.
Seventh bowl; the greatest earthquake ever—or a nuclear exchange. As the armies arrive at Armageddon, God will cause a great earthquake to shake the entire earth (but some scholars suggest that the shaking of the earth could be from a full scale nuclear exchange). Jerusalem will split in three pieces; all cities will fall into heaps of rubble; every island will disappear; all the mountains will be leveled; and huge hail will fall, each weighing 75 pounds.
THE MEANING OF REVELATION 16:15
So after the sixth bowl is poured out, and the Euphrates River dries up, and the demonized armies march toward Armageddon, the Lord speaks to all believers, and to Israel in particular—and also to us now. His message is that He is coming like a thief—that is, without warning; and He is coming to judge and kill the enemy.
But then He says, “Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walks about naked and men see his shame.”
What does this mean? I found from my study that there is a spiritual meaning and a symbolic meaning; but I believe that there is also a very literal meaning.
“Garments” here I think are symbolic of God’s protection against all evil. During this time of tribulation and of the antichrist believers are to keep on their garments of His protection (the garments of truth, righteousness and peace), so they will not give into fear and doubt and sin, and be exposed in their shame.
The literal meaning in this context could be this: His believers (Jews and Gentiles) are to expect His coming any day (for He will come immediately after the tribulation, Matt. 24:29), and so they are to be ready. The reason they are told (in this text) to keep their garments on in readiness, is because scripture indicates (in Zech. 14:3-5) that when He comes the Mount of Olives will be split from east to west, creating a large valley in which they will be allowed to flee to safety from all the fighting at Armageddon; thus, apparently, they will only have a small window of time in which to escape—so they will need to keep on their travel clothes and not sleep, so they will be ready to go.