THIRD PART OF MAN KILLED
By Dan Luehrs
"Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, "Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men" (Revelations 9:14-15 KJV).
This verse has troubled me somewhat with its interpretation in the past. Who are these angels and why were they being held at the Euphrates River? I have written several articles on what I believe is the spiritual meaning of the Euphrates River; for the most part the things in the book of Revelation are types and shadows of things going on in the spirit world.
THE GREAT RIVER
"And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east" (Revelation 16:12 NASB).
Notice that this is also the sixth angel dealing with the Euphrates River here again. Six is the number of man, and the difference between man and all of God's other creation is that man has been given a will to obey or rebel. Obedience can only be learned through obeying God in times of great suffering (see Heb. 5:8). Very few people ever learn true obedience to God in this lifetime, because of the rebellion in the heart of man against God. (The man of sin in us) must be done away with, and this can only be done by the power of God's spoken word in His timing.
The Euphrates River in the Old Testament was known as "the great river" (see Gen. 15:18; Josh. 1:4). It flowed through historical Babylon and was the life-blood of the city. Rivers are the life force to many cities even today. Spiritually speaking, as an unsaved person we have one river flowing through us, our spiritual head waters, the Euphrates; (the great head or stream of reasoning and philosophies of men). It has become the channel of the strength and wealth of spiritual Babylon (confusion) in the earth. Even as the rivers of the earth have become polluted, so has the mind of man. But when we are saved, we have two rivers flowing through us, the Euphrates (the natural reasoning and understanding and the river of life). This is why Jesus said in John 7:38, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." When that which flows out of us is bringing death to the people around us, we can be certain that it is not the river of life. If you attend a church service and you leave feeling worse than when you came, you can be certain that the river of life was not flowing there for you.
In Jeremiah chapter 13, Jeremiah was call by God to go to the Euphrates River and hid a waistband there. Now the question is, why would God have Jeremiah go at least three hundred miles away from his home to hid the waistband in this river, when he could have easily hidden it in the Jordan River that was only a few miles away? There is usually a great lesson to be learned in not only the words that God speaks, but also the places of the stories or visions that God gives.
As Jeremiah was obedient to the Lord and hid the waistband in the Euphrates, he was also instructed to go back after many days and retrieve it. He found that the waistband was totally ruined and worthless. "Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Thus says the LORD, 'Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts (minds) and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband, which is totally worthless. 'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they did not listen" (Jeremiah 13:8-11 NASB).
We must understand that the Euphrates River is what caused the waistband to become worthless. It was not the Jordan River or the Tigris River that ruined it, but the Euphrates! God has made us to cling closely to Him in intimacy, but the pride, rebellion, and reasoning of man (the man of sin) causes this relationship with God to be ruined. If we as Christians yield to this Euphrates River in us, we too will backside into the ways of the world that we came from. But if we yield to God and have intimacy with Him we are promised by God, "That they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory."
My greatest desire is to have the fullness of God flowing through me, as Paul spoke of in Ephesians 3:19, "And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." But in order for this to happen, this Euphrates River in us must be dried up, so that the warring of the flesh and Spirit may stop. Then there will no longer be any mixture of light and darkness in us. As Revelation 16:12 said "Then the King (Jesus) of the east may come (not kings)." He comes from the east (meaning a new day) and will reveal Himself in and through His people in the power and glory of His kingdom flowing through us. This river of life flows from God's throne that is in us. Revelation 22:1 says, "And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, (no mixture) coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb." God's throne is in us, for He dwells in us. We are His temple. "And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him" (Revelation 22:3). "The LORD is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven (spirit)…" (Psalms 11:4). His throne and living waters will be in us, the New Jerusalem. Hallelujah!
Now the question is, "How will this Euphrates River (our own reasoning) be dried up?" The answer, a drought! What you water grows and what you don't dies. It's that easy! The more obedient we are to God, the more the Euphrates River dries up in us (our own reasoning). But the opposite is true also. The more we disobey, the more strength we give to our own reasoning and in the end we turn away from the things of God. This is why God has been dealing strongly with our obedience over the last few years. He has been having us do things that we would never choose to do in our natural understanding. But in obedience to Him we have obeyed. And what a fire it has been! Yet He has worked out things miraculously for us. This is to teach us that our own reasoning will cause us to miss the perfect will of God and the farther on we follow the Lord the more difficult it will be on our flesh. These fiery trials are burning out of us that which is not of God. When a fire is burning it must have fuel to make the fire continue to burn; but once the fuel is gone the fire goes out. When God lifts the fiery trial from our life, it is because the fires have burned away from us the things that were not of Him!
We must understand that this great river of human reasoning is what has got us in the mess we are in since Adam and Eve sinned against God. And in order for us to be restored to the fullness of God, our heart and head must agree together and have no more conflict within us. This brings great tribulation inside of our being along with the pressures and trials of everyday life. Thinks about it, what society has ever had to face the great temptations and pressures of our day? Satan is working over time on each of God's children to try and cause them to fall into sin and God is allowing these things to test us with fire. But God is using these great tribulations to cleanse us and prepare us to stand before Him in great glory. As we are in these fires we must rejoice, they are our friends!
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them" (Revelation 7:14-15 KJV).
THE THIRD PART OF MAN DESTROYED
"And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men" (Revelation 9:15 KJV).
Most people interpret this verse to mean that one third of all men are to physically die by these angels. Notice that these are angels or messengers of God that are bringing death to the third part of man and not demon spirits as many teach. Chapter 10:1 says, "And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven…" Notice it says, "Another," the word "another" means liken unto the four other angels that have already been loosed.
These messengers that are loosed will not bring physical death to men, but death to the man of sin, this is the old Adam that is alive in mankind and causes us to sin. The Greek clearly state's, "To slay the third part of man, not men." A human is a three part being, first he is spirit, then soul, and has a body. God has the hour, and a day, and a month, and a year already planned for this for this man of sin to be destroyed. Hallelujah! "And then shall that Wicked (man of sin) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth (words), and shall destroy with the brightness (truth/light) of his coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:8 KJV). For this man of sin in us is what has troubled man and his relationship with God ever since the beginning of time and now God is going to do away with it once His elect have been fully tested by the His fires.
The word angel means messenger, either a human or spirit being. A messenger has a message or word from someone else to deliver. And it will be the very words of God through His deliverers as Moses and Aaron did that will bring deliverance to mankind from sin (see Acts 7:34-35). Revelation 9:16 says, "And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them." These are none other then the army of the Lord riding on white horses to do battle against the man of sin that has controlled mankind for the ages. "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses" (Revelation 19:14). To do what? Destroy people's lives? You know not what spirit you are of! Jesus came not to destroy sinners, but to deliver them from their sinful nature! "And from His mouth comes a sharp sword (word), so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty" (Revelation 19:15). If Jesus has killed the nations with His word, whom will He rule over with a rod of iron?
"And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth (hot bluish color), and brimstone: (This is the glory of God on His people to bring judgment against the man of sin) and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, (glory) which issued out of their mouths" (Revelation 9:17-18 KJV).
The number four is the number for the sons of God. I believe these four angels/messengers to be the Romans 8:19 sons of God that will deliver creation from sin and bondage through the power of their words. They are held up "at," not "in" the Euphrates River (the reasoning of man). But as we have seen there is a day coming that God will speak to all of creation and it will respond to His voice and be changed.
"And it will come about in that day that I will respond (speak)," declares the LORD. I will respond (speak) to the heavens (the elect of God), and they will respond (speak) to the earth (the worldly Christians), and the earth (the worldly Christians) will respond (speak) to the grain, to the new wine, and to the oil (the great end-time harvest of people), and they will respond to Jezreel (God's sowing of His word in their heart)" (Hosea 2:21-22 NASB).
As I see it, first the Lord brings complete deliverance from the flesh to the 144,000 elect of God that have faithfully followed Him in their trials (see Rev. 6:9, 7:3-4). Then the 144,000 bring full deliverance by their words to the two hundred million Christian's (see Rev. 7:9, 9:15-16). Then these deliverers will bring deliverance to the nations from the power of sin, that is those that will repent of their evil works. Whether these are exact numbers of people or symbolic numbers, it makes no difference; God will have a group of deliverers ready in His timing. You can take that to the bank, because it is written!