The Battle of Armageddon

Part 1


Dr. John Hoole – June 16, 2013



(Click on images, charts and maps for larger version)



How many of you have ever started a project that you never finished or completed?  The reason for leaving it uncompleted could be many:


         •  It was much harder than you thought it would be.


         •  It cost more than you had planned.


         •  It took more time that you had to give to it.


         •  You got bored with what you thought would be an very interesting project.


These things never bother God.  One thing you see as you read the Bible, is that He has never left anything undone or half-finished.  Much of what we call “End-time  Prophecy” is the period where God brings all the loose ends to a close.


In the future Tribulation period, during which Satan will have command and evil will run rampant on earth, his downfall will occur when he conducts his most foolish move of all.  That is, he will make an all-out attempt to use his evil forces to defeat Jesus Christ in head-on combat.






The Bible says this awesome, climatic battle will occur in “the place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”  The Battle of Armageddon will be a war of such catastrophic proportions, that nothing known to mankind can compare.  It will result in monumental bloodshed and death in the land.




For some, it is a word that strikes terror and foreboding.  Some see it as the end of the world.  Armageddon has become a doomsday cliché in modern literature.  Others who might know a little about the Bible envision Antichrist battling for world supremacy.  Some call it World War III.  Still others see it as a nuclear holocaust.


The term, Armageddon, has often taken on a life of its own, with meanings not at all indicated in the Bible.  The word has entered nearly every type of media and pop-culture as a generic term to describe the destruction of the world by any event.


It wasn’t surprising that Hollywood would produce a movie entitled ARMAGEDDON.  If I remember what I read about it, it was about an asteroid the size of Texas on a collision course with earth.


About fifteen years ago, I remember eating at McDonalds one day, where I was drinking my Coke from a cup with pictures advertising that up-coming Hollywood production.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the movie producer had any idea what the word Armageddon really means.  I also wondered how many of the millions of movie goers had a clue about the true meaning of Armageddon.


William Howard Taft once wrote:


         “The battlefield as a place of settlement of disputes is gradually yielding to the arbitral courts of justice.  The interest of great masses are not being sacrificed as in former times to the selfish ambitions and aggrandizement of the sovereigns.”


That sounds like progress, doesn’t it?  But Mr. Taft wrote his evaluation in 1911.  Too Bad it wasn’t true.


Since then things have only gotten worse.  Now, the feelings of people is more like that of Albert Einstein, when he said:  “There is no defense in science against the weapons which can now destroy civilization.”


J. Robert Oppenheimer


         “In the next war, none of us can count on having enough living to bury our dead.”


On September 2, 1945 aboard the battleship USS Missouri the Japanese government formally surrendered to the Allied forces, and thus brought an end to World War II.


After the instruments of surrender had been signed by all the representatives, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the allied forces in the Pacific, made this powerful announcement.


         “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace.  We have had our last chance.  Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by the crucible of war.  The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative.  We have had our last chance.  If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at the door.”


MacArthur’s words are more true today than ever before.  The world is not getting safer or more peaceful.


Ronald Reagan, May 2, 1982


         “I sometimes believe we’re heading for Armageddon right now.”


From the beginning of man’s history, he has sought peace, but war has been his chief legacy.  Ever since Cain killed Abel, bloodshed and war has been the constant companion of mankind.


At the end of 1999, at a time when many were worrying about the potential problems of Y2K, there existed 193 different countries in the world.  At the moment the 20th century came to a close, more than one-third of these nations were embroiled in conflict.  The National Defense Council Foundation listed 65 nations in conflict on that day.  That was 5 more than the 60 just one year earlier.


That is exactly what the Bible predicts for the last days.  As General MacArthur predicted in 1945, Armageddon is at our door.


Matthew 24:6-7  (NIV) says,


6       You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

7       Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom……


The words of Jesus here and elsewhere tell us that the world and its conflicts will continue to get worse until Christ returns.


While the word, Armageddon, has become synonymous in our culture with the end of the world, it is used in the Bible as something altogether different from that.  Since we take our information from the Word of God rather than from man’s ideas or news headlines or from Hollywood, we are going to look at what the Bible teaches about the Battle of Armageddon.


Even though the Bible has  much to say about the Battle of Armageddon, the word “Armageddon” is found in the Bible only once.


Revelation 16:16 NIV


         16     Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.


This word is made up of two other Hebrew words.


Har ….meaning “mountain” or “hill.”


Megiddo ….. referring to a city in the northern part of ancient Israel, about 50 miles north of Jerusalem and 20 miles southeast of Haifa.


The city of Megiddo was built on a hill, so the hill was called the “hill of Megiddo.” or Armageddon.


The word, Megiddo, means rendezvous, and comes from a root meaning, “to crowd together, assemble.”  The word, Megiddo, also has a second meaning – “to gash, to cut selves.”


The definition of Armageddon gives us a clue as to what this battle will be like.  It will be a place where troops will be gathered and assembled.  It will be a place of great slaughter, like nothing this world has ever seen.


When I showed you photos of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, I showed some photos I took of what is called Robinson’s Arch.  Here is a photo to refresh your memory.  When Edward Robinson stood on the imposing hill known as Tell el-Mutesellim in 1838, he jotted down in his diary the words: “I wonder where Megiddo could have been.”  Ironically, the mound on which  he was standing, rising 70 feet above the surrounding plain and occupying an area of ten acres on its summit soon proved to be the site of Megiddo.


The ruins of the city of Megiddo overlooks a large valley, which, during its history, has been called several different names.




         1.      Jezreel Valley or Valley of Jezreel – Joshua 17:16; Judges 16:33.


                            There was also a city by the name of Jezreel in biblical times.


         2.      Valley of Esdraelon or the Plains of Esdraelon


                            Esdraelon is the Koine Greek form of the Hebrew name Jezreel.


         3.      Taanach – Judges 5:19


                            Taanach is also a town that was located a short distance from Megiddo.


         4.      Valley of Megiddo – 2 Chronicles 35:22.


This valley is also called by the word, EMEQ, in Judges 5:15.  Emeq is a Hebrew word for Valley or Vale, and always translated by these two words 69 times.


Judges 5:15 NKJV


15     And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As Issachar, so was Barak Sent into the valley [emeq] under his command;  Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.


We know this is speaking of the Valley of Jezreel because other biblical references to this war, as well as historical records, indicate the battle of Deborah and Barak against Sisera as taking place here.


While these are some of the names for the Valley of Megiddo, there are a number of other terms for the battle itself.


1.  The Supper of the Great God


Revelation 19:17 NKJV


17     Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,”


2.  Great Winepress of the Wrath of God


Revelation 14:19-20 NKJV


19     So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20     And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.


These verses tell us that the Battle of Armageddon will be like gathering grapes for the winepress.


Revelation 19:15 NKJV


15     Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.


3.  Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty


Revelation 16:14 NKJV


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.


Let’s look at a map so you know where in Israel this valley lies.  This is the only valley in Israel that runs from east to west.  Actually it from northwest to southeast.


Now, let’s zoom in and get a closer look at the vicinity of the valley.  The valley provides easy access from the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan valley.  It separates Galilee, on the north, from Samaria, on the south.  It is bounded on the north by the hills of Nazareth.  The city of Megiddo is located on the southern slopes of the valley.  The valley is about 30-35 miles long and about 14 miles wide at its widest point.


On the south and west, we find the Carmel mountain range.  On the coast, at the western end of the valley, we find the modern city of HaifaHere are a photo of the Valley taken from Mount Carmel.


Mount Gilboa borders the Jezreel Valley on the southeast.  Here is a picture of the valley taken from Mount Gilboa.


The western two-thirds of this valley is drained by that ancient river, the Kishon, which flows westward to the Mediterranean Sea.  The average elevation of the valley is 200 feet above the Mediterranean.  The eastern part of the valley drops significantly to the Jordan River, which is about 700 feet below sea level at the end of this valley.


Megiddo is first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua, chapter 12.  This entire chapter is a list of all the kings that Joshua defeated as Israel entered the promised land.  In Joshua 12:21, one of those kings was the king of Megiddo.


When Joshua divided the land among the tribes, Megiddo was assigned to the tribe of Manasseh.




Before we turn to what the Bible says about Armageddon, I think it is important to discuss what it is NOT.


Firstly, Armageddon is not just a symbolic or figurative battle.


Secondly, Armageddon is not the final battle on earth.


Thirdly, Armageddon is not really a battle.


Fourthly, Armageddon is not the same as the Battle of Gog of the land of Magog which is mentioned in Ezekiel 38 & 39.


In our next session, we will expand on each of these.  We will also investigate other things related to the Battle of Armageddon as they are described in the Scriptures.