Spiritual Realms (The Great River Euphrates)

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series Spiritual Realms

The Great River Euphrates

The Term

This name is noted several places in scripture.  It refers to the literal Euphrates River, which begins in Russia and flows through Syria and Iraq, emptying into the Persian Gulf.

The Euphrates is first mentioned in the book of Genesis, being one of the four rivers coming out of Eden.

The Text

The phrase “the Great River Euphrates,” however, is used only one time in a very unique way:  it is noted as a place of containment of angelic beings in Revelation 9.

Revelation 9:13-21 (NIV)
13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. 17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. 20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.


·         The Great River Euphrates is a reference point for a place of angelic bondage

·         To that end, it must be understood that the bondage associated with the Great River Euphrates is a bondage of demonic angels, as righteous angels are never noted in scripture to be bound.  Being holy, their being “bound” would have no purpose.

·         It can also be deduced that these noted angels are demonic because of their descriptions:

o   They rode horses having heads resembling lions, which excrete fire, toxic smoke and sulphur (three characteristics of the punishments associated with other evil spiritual realms)

o   They have tails which have snake heads.  These heads apparently bite and kill those bitten. 

·         This place of bondage is temporary.  It is noted in v14 that these demons are released, and that they have been held for the very point in time described.

·         This place of bondage is paralleled in the narrative with the Abyss, as the first portion of the chapter describes another demonic invasion originating from the Abyss.


While it is not easily proven by a singular text, the evidence of this single text is that “The Great River Euphrates,” as referenced as a spiritual realm, appears very similar to- if not one and the same as- the Abyss.  It is a place of demonic confinement which is temporary in nature.  Because other demons in the same text (earlier in chapter nine) are released from the Abyss, it seems likely that The Great River Euphrates is either one and the same as the Abyss, or is perhaps a unique level or degree of punishment within the Abyss.

Series Navigation<< TartarusThe Demonic Confinement of Jude 6 >>

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