The term Armageddon is one of the best known and least understood four-syllable words in the Bible. Some suggest that the term Armageddon references a battle in the book of Revelation. Others suggest it references two or more conflicts, separated by a thousand years. Some argue that Armageddon does not refer to a battle at all, but merely a location. Those who believe Armageddon is a location typically fall into two groups – one group advocates it is a valley; the other holds it is a battleground in the mountains.
Some teach the Battle of Armageddon is the same as the conflicts mentioned in Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17. While others link the Battle of Armageddon to the engagements mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39, also called the The Battle of Armageddon
The term Armageddon derives from the Hebrew phrase Har Megiddo, which means "Mount of Megiddo." The word Armageddon is found only in Revelation 16:16: "Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon." The term references the final battle of the Tribulation (Revelation chapters 16-20, Zechariah 14; Joel 3).
The word ‘har’ is Hebrew for hill or tell. One possibility is that Har Megiddo translated Armageddon does not indicate a specific hill, but rather, a vast plain that had a notable hill, which over the centuries was the location of several fortified military bases and cities.
Surrounding mountain ranges made this plain a favored trade and travel route, and the perfect staging ground for an attack on Jerusalem. Throughout ancient history, Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been ground zero for many historic conflicts. More than 20 major battles have been fought there.
War will engulf the world during most of the seven-year Tribulation period. During the second three and a half years of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will unleash his fury against Christians and Jews. The severity of persecution will intensify to a crescendo in the Battle of Armageddon. In this battle, the Antichrist will lead the armies of the world to the valley of Har-Megiddo and move to attack Jerusalem.
The Old Testament prophet Joel described the scene:
"I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of My people and My heritage Israel…Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears…Bring down Your warriors, O LORD. Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great" (Joel 3:2,9–13).
The city of Jerusalem will appear to be overwhelmed, but as all seems lost, Jesus will appear. Revelation 1:7a notes that "every eye will see Him." Matthew 24:30 states that "all the people of the earth…will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." This event is often referred to as the Second Coming or the Glorious Appearing (Titus 2:13).
Jesus will come with a myriad of heavenly saints in glorified bodies—those raptured at the beginning of the Tribulation and believers who died during the Tribulation. Jesus will descend from the heavens and place His foot on the Mount of Olives, which will cause an earthquake.
Scripture notes that "half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south" (Zechariah 14:4). Of special note is the fact that Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives, which was the place of His ascension 2000 years ago. The disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven, and after He disappeared, an angel appeared and prophesied: "Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will return in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
Scripture notes that the Battle of Armageddon will not be much of a battle at all. The glorified saints with Jesus witness, but do not engage in the conflict. The armies of the Antichrist watch helplessly as enemies of God fall dead when Jesus simply utters a word (Revelation 19:11-21). The Antichrist will appear to have great power, but all the armies of the world are nothing compared to the awesome power of a Word from God. The Apostle John foresaw the event:
"They [the world’s armies] will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful" (Revelation 17:14).
The Battle of Armageddon will be a teaching moment and time of vindication. Those martyred for their faith will see judgment come to the Antichrist and False Prophet, who will be captured, bound, and thrown into the fiery pit for 1000 years.
Those who chose not to believe the Bible will see Jesus in resplendent glory. God will judge the nations that persecuted Israel and tried to destroy her people. The prophet Joel notes:
"I [God] will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat [Har-Megiddo], and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people…" (Joel 3:2).
After this judgment, Jesus will renew the earth and establish His throne in Jerusalem. The saints who returned with Jesus in glorified bodies will reign with Christ, and believers who survived the Tribulation will live on the new earth, in mortal but rejuvenated bodies, during the glorious Millennial Reign of our Lord.
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