Armageddon

The Eve of Destruction

In the popular culture of today, the word Armageddon refers to a catastrophic and devastating event that destroys the world. That is a reasonably accurate definition of what is going to take place at the end of the current age.

The act that sets in motion the events that culminate in the battle of Armageddon is the Antichrist's declaration that he is God. This causes the Jews in Israel to flee to Jordan, which is the biblical Edom. The Devil-possessed Antichrist will then go on the attack:

"13 And when the dragon [i.e., the Devil] saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:13-17)

The Antichrist then sends a flood after the escaping Jews. This flood probably consists of parts of his army. God will supernaturally protect the Jews from the Devil and his Antichrist by opening crevasses in the earth's surface, which will swallow up his soldiers. After the Devil sees the impotency of his power against God he will then make war against God's people.

While this is going on the 200 million-man army is marching toward the Middle East in the hopes of stopping the Antichrist's war of aggression (Revelation 9:13-19; 16:12-14). If oil is still the mainstay of the world's economy at this time then the kings of the east may be concerned that the Antichrist is trying to monopolize those resources. Regardless of the reason the day of Armageddon is approaching rapidly during this time.

 The prophet Daniel mentions other problems that the Antichrist will soon be facing as the final war looms before him:

"36 And the king [i.e. Antichrist] shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. 40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. 44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. 45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. shall do according to his will." (Daniel 11:36-45)

There are several notable things in this passage concerning the Antichrist and the events leading up to Armageddon.

The Antichrist will magnify himself against God and will speak great things. Daniel says that he will not honor the God of his fathers. This has led to much speculation as to whether the Antichrist will have Jewish roots. He will not regard the desire of women. Though the meaning of this phrase is unclear, it could be that he will remain celibate during his tenure on earth or that he could be a homosexual. Others believe that it was the desire of Jewish women to give birth to the Messiah. Thus, the Antichrist will not acknowledge the Desire or Messiah of Israel. The only god that he will honor is the "god of force" and the "god of riches". I believe the phrase, "Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain", refers to his possession by the Devil who gives to him all his authority (Revelation 13:2). Dividing the Middle East for gain could be a reference to the oil supplies that are located there. All of this results in the other leaders of the world seeking to stop him from expanding his greed to their lands.

Daniel says that the king of the south will push toward him. This king will probably be leading a confederation of African and Arab armies that are marching to Israel. A king from the north will come down toward him like a whirlwind. These could be Russian troops and include soldiers from the Islamic states that surround it.

At first, the Antichrist's armies will gain the upper hand as "many countries shall be overthrown" by him. It is interesting though that Edom, Moab, and Ammon will be protected from his attacks. These areas make up the present-day country of Jordan, which is the area to where the Jews will flee. This would explain why he would be unable to attack these lands because God's supernat ural protection will be over them for the Jews' sake.

He will be successful in fighting back the southern armies into Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia where he will gain control of those countries' wealth.

Just when the Antichrist thinks he is about to be victorious he receives bad news. He has to divert his attention to the coming onslaught of the massive armies from the east and the north. He will go forth to fight these invading armies with a "great fury" and will wipe out many of them. This battle will take place on the plains of Israel in the valley of Megiddo and end in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, as Daniel says "he shall come to his end, and none shall help him".

Armageddon

Even though by this time, the world will have been decimated and billions of people killed, there will still be billions of humans living on the earth. After all they will have gone through by this time, the only hope they may have left is to fight with the armies of the world in order to stay alive. The result of this will be hundreds of millions of soldiers converging on Israel from the north, the south, the east, and the west to fight to gain control of the wealth of the world.

The prophet Joel speaks of this gathering of the nations to the battle of Armageddon:

"9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. 11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more." (Joel 3:9-17)

God tells the nations of the world to turn the instruments they use for peaceful means into weapons of war. Later on He will reverse this process but not until the earth is purged of this final rebellion.

God says for the multitudes of the world to gather in the valley of Jehoshaphat, the valley of decision. Though we do not know whether this is an actual geographical valley or a metaphor for the judgment of God, the nations will come together around Jerusalem. When they do swift judgment will come upon them by the hand of God: "Put you in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great". The Book of Revelation makes mention of this event:

"14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." (Revelation 14:14-20)

The term here, "Son of man", is a title for Jesus Christ. It is used only twice in the Book of Revelation. The other time is in the first chapter where it is clearly speaking of Jesus Christ. It does seem strange that here an angel appears to command Jesus to thrust in the sickle to judge the armies of the earth. Yet I believe it is more along the lines of the angels declaring that they have prepared everything for the Lord to begin His judgment. It could also be that since this angel came out of the Temple in Heaven, he was speaking a command from the Father.

Both the Books of Joel and Revelation liken this final destruction of the armies of the world to a winepress. Just as the press squeezes out the juice from the grapes, so too will the blood pour out of the millions of soldiers who are lying dead and wounded for a distance of about two hundred miles.

The prophet Zechariah spoke an enigmatic prophecy concerning this battle when he said:

"12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." (Zechariah 14:12)

This prophecy states that during the battle of Armageddon the soldiers' flesh, eyes, and tongues will melt away while they are still standing on their feet. Though this could be the result of a supernatural act of God it also is a description of what happens to humans killed by a nuclear explosion. Either way the rebellious armies will be destroyed.

The prophet Isaiah also foretells of the results of this final battle:

"1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. 2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. 3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." (Isaiah 34-1-4)

The smell of the wounded and dead soldiers and animals will cover the land of Israel. The Lord has poured out His final fury upon the armies of the world. This destruction includes that of the Antichrist and his False Prophet.

God states that the heavens will be dissolved. After the devastation and desolation of the Tribulation Period the world will need renovating.

The battle of Armageddon ends with the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:

"1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. 6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one." (Zechariah 14:1-9)

The final battle of Armageddon will take place in and around the city of Jerusalem. The inhabitants will flee the city until the battle is consummated. The Lord will destroy all the armies and will stand on the Mount of Olives, which will cause it to cleave in two and create a new landscape around Jerusalem. We will see this fulfilled when Jesus descends to earth at His second coming with the saints of God.

Zechariah states that this day of the Lord's coming "shall be known to the LORD". This corresponds to what Jesus said: "But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matthew 24:36) When Jesus does come, He will put an end to the battle of Armageddon and to the Tribulation Period and thus end Daniel's seventy weeks.


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