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Revelation 17:6 What does it mean to be drunk with the blood of saints?

Rev 17:6. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

The word “drunk” in the Greek is “methusan”. It is an accusative, singular, participle, present of “methuo”. The word does not refer to the past as many theologians and commentaries have stated. Because the word is a participle, and parts of the verb are used adjectivally in the construction of subordinate phrases and in the formation of tenses. They exist in two voices, active and passive. The active voice is a present participle e.g. drinking. The perfect participle is e.g. having drunk[i]. This participle in the text is called a “verbal adjective” e.g. I have a splitting headache. This is a present participle and not in the past.

Therefore, when we analyze the word “drunk” in Rev 17:6, it should be translated, drinking or being drunk, in the present and not in the past.

Literally continuing in a state of intoxication e.g. being drunk[ii].

For example we shall look at a few texts clarifying the word being drunk “methusan” in the Greek and in the present.

Mat 24:49. My master is delaying his coming and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards.

Acts 2:15. These are not drunk as you suppose.

1 Cor 11:21. (The Lord´s supper). For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

1 Thess 5:7. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

What does the statement “drinking of the blood of the saints and martyrs” mean?

Rev 16:6. (This takes place under the third plague which shall come upon the earth when the waters will be turned to blood). For they have shed the blood of the saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. (It is very clear from this text that drinking blood is related to shedding the blood of the saints and prophets: That is persecuting and killing them).

In relation to Rev 17: the time setting of this chapter refers to the future and this persecution and killing of the saints or true Christians, also refers to the future. When? At the war of Armageddon.

Rev 17:14. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with him are called, chosen and faithful.

Rev 16:12-16. Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 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. Verse 16. And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

When looking at the traditional Adventist interpretation of the drying up of the river Euphrates: the waters on which Babylon sits on and when it dries up, means the finances to the city of Babylon have dried up, and there is no longer any support to the city and therefore Babylon collapses.

The term Kings from the East is generally defined as Christ´s Second Coming.

Questions to the above interpretation.

Does the River Euphrates mean many waters on which Babylon sits on?

Does the drying up of the river Euphrates mean drying up of financial support?

What is the Biblical meaning of Kings from the East?

Does the River Euphrates mean many waters on which Babylon sits on?

The text used to support this view is taken from Rev. 17:15.The waters which you saw, were the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. This text is referring to Rev 17:1. Come I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.

Does the many waters refer to a rivers or seas in the prophetic writings?

In the book of Daniel 7:2.3. Daniel saw in vision: the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.

The interpretation is in verse 17. Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth. These kings arose from the populated parts of the earth like Europe and Asia Minor. Therefore, the many waters in Rev. 17:15 would be correct in referring to the populated areas of the earth.

As for rivers, meaning populated parts of the earth is just speculation and reading into the text what is not there. Rivers in prophecy refer to life giving waters like the river of life but certainly not many peoples.

Does the drying up of the river Euphrates mean the drying up of financial support?

There is no Biblical text to support this view.

Analysis of the text Rev 16:12-16.

Verse 12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.

Where is the river Euphrates?

The river Euphrates is the lower blue line

It lies on the border between Gods people the Israelites, and their enemies. The border lies on the river flowing from the north and east of Israel. The enemies of Israel who lived on the other side of the border where Fx. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persian etc.

What does it mean when the river Euphrates dries up?

It means that when the water has disappeared, there is no border between Israel and their enemies. Hence, their enemies have direct access to attacking Israel.

What does the statement “kings from the east” mean?

I have read many different commentaries and different interpretations of this text. Most are speculation also from the Adventist traditional approach. The traditional approach states that the kings from the east refer to Christ at his Second Coming from the east. Math 24:27 “For as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” But this interpretation gives a problem with the grammar in Rev 16:12-16. The word kings is written in the plural and not singular. That means there is more than one king. Some theologians have tried to get around the text by saying that the Second Coming involves the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit making three kings. Or even Christ is coming from the east and he will meet his people who are the priesthood of all believers and kings with him. Rev 5:10. Again these interpretations do not agree with the context of the passage and the rest of the Bible.

Kings from the east is an indirect expression used in the Old Testament. It was an expression used for the enemies of Israel, who lived just over the river Jordan or on the other side of the river Euphrates who came from the east of Israel. Fx the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Assyrian and Babylonians. When the river Euphrates and river Jordan dried up in parts, mainly in the summer, then the enemies of Israel marched over the river, which was now dry ground and this made it easier for the enemy to attack the Israelites. The enemy, were referred to as the Kings (Jos 11:2) of the Cannanites, Amorite, Hitite, Perizite, Jebusite, Hivite (Jos 11:3). When all these kings had met together; they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. Jos 11:4 So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude. Jos 11:6. But the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. So it is God who does the fighting for his people in this text.

Jos 12:1 These are the kings of the land whom the children of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed on the other side of the Jordan toward the rising of the sun (the east, “anatolé” in Greek), from the River Arnon to Mount Hermon, and all the eastern Jordan plain.

Jos 12:2 One king was Sihon king of the Amorites.

Jos 12:4 The other king was Og king of Bashan.

In addition, the east or rising of the sun refers to Northern Arabia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. This was the area where the Magi or Wise men came from before visiting the child Jesus with their gifts in Bethlehem. Mat 2:1. Thus Haran was in the land of the people of the east Gen 29:1.4. The king of Moab later brought Balaam from Aram (that is Syria), out of the mountains of the east (Num 23:7. 22:5). Isaiah spoke of Cyrus, the Persian, as the righteous man from the east (Isa 41:2).

What does the text Rev 16:12-14 mean for us today?

It means there will come a time in the future when the border between believers in Christ and non believers will be removed. The enemies of Christ thereafter will have access to destroying and exterminating all Christians who obey the ten commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev 12:17. When the border of security and protection is removed from Christians, then the wicked will go in for the attack, and the last world war Armageddon will take place. This will happen just before the Second Coming of Christ literally, from the heavens and every eye will see him. Rev 1:7.

What else happens at that time according to Rev 16:13?

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the dragon, out of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

OK! We are talking about Bible prophecy here in the text.

Who does the Dragon represent in Bible prophecy?

Rev 12:9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Who does the beast represent in Bible prophecy?

Rev 13:1-10. Rev 17:1-8. 2 Thess 2:1-12. Dan 7:7.8.19-25. Dan 8:9-12. Dan 11:16-45. The Roman Catholic organization and system of worship.

Who does the false prophet represent in Bible prophecy?

Rev 19:20. Rev 13:11-13. First and foremost the Protestant church in the USA, which has stopped protesting against the Roman Catholic Church; it also refers to all the Protestant churches all over the world who follow in the footsteps of the Protestant Church in the USA.

GC page 588 “Through two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome trampling on the rights of conscience.”

Rev 16:14 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.

It is the spirits of demons who gather the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants throughout the whole world, through the means of spiritualism. Through two doctrines: the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness. On top of that these demons are working extra hard because they go out to all the kings of the earth who become the enemies of Gods people and attack them.

Notice “Kings” is in the plural just as kings from the East (rising of the sun) is in the plural in Rev 16:12. When the river Euphrates is dried up; when the border of security and protection of Gods people on earth is removed by civil authorities; then the kings of the earth together with all the wicked go in for the attack against Gods people at the battle of Armageddon.

Should Gods people who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus be afraid?

What did God say to Joshua when the kings from the east, the enemies of Gods people were preparing for an attack on the Israelites?

Jos 11:4-6. So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with many horses and chariots. When all these kings had met together; they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

But the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. So it is God who does the fighting for his people in this text. It is the God of the whole universe, who has everything under control; it is God who wins the battle of Armageddon.

Rev 17:6. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

The apostle John states and “when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.” Why? Because he saw that in the future, during the war of Armageddon, the whole Christian worldwide community will make war against Gods people who keep the ten commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ. How can this be possible? Ellen G, White writes in the book “The Great Controversy” page 628, “By condemning the people of God to death, they (that is Babylon) have truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed since the days of Abel — -.”

When will God´s people be condemned to death? Rev 13:15. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. This is in the future.

 

[i] W. G. Bebbington, An English Handbook (Huddersfield: Schofield & Sims Ltd., 1965), 14.

[ii] Francis D. Nichol, Edit., Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, Vol. 7 (Washington D. C.: Review & Herald, 1957), 852.

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