The Battle of Armageddon

Part 2


Dr. John Hoole – June 23, 2013





Last week we began looking at what the Bible has to say about the Battle of Armageddon.  From the beginning of man’s history, he has sought peace, but war has been his chief legacy.  And the Bible says it is going to get worse before it gets any better.

In Matthew 24:6-7  (NIV) Jesus is speaking about the end times, and 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 almost become synonymous in our culture with the end of the world, it is used in the Bible as something altogether different from that.


Last week, before we took a look at what the Bible says about Armageddon, we listed four things this battle is NOT.


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


Secondly, Armageddon is not really a battle.


Thirdly, Armageddon is not the final battle on earth.


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


1.      Armageddon is NOT just a symbolic or figurative battle


Some have advanced the idea that most of the Book of Revelation is to be interpreted figuratively, not literally.  Those holding this notion do not see Armageddon as a literal event, but rather, it is a symbolic picture of the final triumph of righteousness over evil.


As you have heard me say several times during this series of lesson, I believe the Bible, including what it says about endtimes, should be interpreted literally unless the context dictates otherwise.


The detailed information which the Bible gives us concerning Armageddon certainly implies a literal interpretation.


1.      Literal places are mentioned – Armageddon, Jerusalem, Bozrah, Mount of Olives, the Tribulation Temple, Babylon.


2.      Geographical direction – north, south and east – imply literal directions.


3.      A known literal river – Euphrates – is said to play a part.


4.      The actual size of the army led by the “Kings of the East” is given – 200,000,000.


5.      Actual names of nations that exist today, in some form, who will play a role at various moments during this lengthy battle are given – Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Edom, Moab, Ammon.


6.      The fact that the army of the king of the north is said to come by land and by sea, certainly implies a literal interpretation.


Again, I believe these events and place and people should be interpreted literally.  That is the only way in which we can, without a doubt, understand Armageddon.


The Battle of Armageddon does have a spiritual nature involved.  In Revelation 16:14  (NIV), we read that spirits of demons......


14    ……go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.


         But even these spiritual entities are to be taken literally.  Satan and his demons will be hard at work in this literal battle.


2.      Armageddon is NOT a battle.


We often think of the Battle of Armageddon as a short battle that occurs at the end of the Tribulation.  The Battle is actually a series of battles, or a campaign, that takes up most of the last 3½ years of the Tribulation.


Dr. Dwight Pentecost says:


         “It has been held commonly that the Battle of Armageddon is an isolated event transpiring just prior to the second advent of Christ to the earth.  The extent of this great movement in which God deals with ‘the kings of the whole world’ (Revelation 16:4) will not be seen unless it is realized that the ‘battle of that great day of God Almighty’  (Revelation 16:14) is not an isolated battle, but rather a campaign that extends (and escalates) over the last half of the Tribulation period..”


The Greek word “polemos,” which is translated “battle” in most Bible versions of Rev. 16:14, really signifies a series of battles or a campaign.  The Greek language has another word for a single combat.  If John meant only a single skirmish, he would have used the word “mache.”  The NAS Bible version actually translates is as “war.”

To a great extent, the majority of the Battle of Armageddon is a desperate campaign by the Antichrist to fend off challenge after challenge to his world rule, culminating in all the armies being gathered to the plains of Jezreel.


3.      Armageddon is NOT the final battle on earth.


I have often heard people refer to the Battle of Armageddon as the last great military conflict on earth.  The Bible, however, never pictures Armageddon as the final battle in world history.  Neither does it associate Armageddon with the end of the world in any way.


According to the Bible, the last war in earth’s history is the one referred to in Revelation 20:7-11, where we find the final revolt of Satan.


Let’s look at a timeline of these events.  Unlike Armageddon which occurs at the end of the Tribulation and before the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth this battle takes place following the Millennium shortly following the release of Satan from the Bottomless Pit.


4.      Armageddon is NOT the same as the Battle of Gog mentioned in Ezekiel 38 & 39.


These two chapters in Ezekiel record an invasion of Israel.  Some have understood this battle as being synonymous with Armageddon.  I believe the details given of these two conflicts reveal that this can’t possibly be true.  Here are a few of the significant differences.


1.      WHO:               The invasion in Ezekiel 38 & 39 is led by Gog.


•  The invasion at Armageddon is led by the Antichrist.


2.      WHO                In Ezekiel 38:13, we find some countries who verbally object to the invasion from

                                     the north.  That shows that not all nations are involved in this war.


•  According to Joel 3:2, Zech. 12:3 and Zech. 14:2, Armageddon involves all the nations of the earth.


3.      WHEN:          Ezekiel 38:11 says that the invasion occurs while Israel is a peace.


•  At Armageddon’s climax, Israel will have been severely crushed for 3½ years. In other words, it is not at a time of peace.


4.      WHEN:            I believe the battle in Ezekiel occurs prior to the 7-year Tribulation.


•  Armageddon occurs at the end of the Tribulation


6.      WHY:               Ezek 38:23 tells us this battle occurs that “all nations will know that I am the Lord.”


•  Armageddon occurs in order to judge the nations.


7.      WHERE:       Ezek. 38:8 and 39:2 & 4, the battle of Gog occurs mainly in the mountains of Israel.


•  Zech. 12:11 and others Scriptures refer to Armageddon as occurring primarily in the Valleys – like the valley of Jezreel and the valley of Jehoshaphat.




Let’s again look at the maps showing where the Jezreel valley is located.  First a map showing a wider perspective, showing its location relative to other places.  The next map focuses primarily on the valley and its surrounding area.


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 is a photo of the Valley taken from Mount CarmelMount Gilboa borders the Jezreel Valley on the southeast.


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.


The History of the Jezreel Valley


During the past 4,000 years, at least 34 bloody conflicts have been fought at Megiddo and the adjacent Valley of Jezreel.  Egyptians, Canaanites, Midianites, Amalekites, Philistines, Hasmonaeans, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamlukes, Mongols, French, Ottomans, British, Germans, Arabs and Israelis have all fought and died there.


Many of the leaders who fought here have recognizable names.  Names like: Thutmose III, Jehu, Deborah, Barak, Sisera, Gideon, Saul and Jonathan,  Joram, Jezebel, Antiochus, Ptolemy, Vespasian, Saladin, Napoleon and the British General Allenby.  General Allenby began his battle with the Ottoman Turks on September 18, 1918.


This has been the site of many great battles, some of which are recorded in the Bible.


King Josiah


 According to 2 Kings 23:29-30, it was on this field that Josiah, the last of the God-fearing kings of Judah, was slain when he went to war against Pharaoh-Necho, king of Egypt.




It was in this valley that King Ahab and his wife Jezebel lived, in the city of Jezreel.  And later, it was also the place of Jezebel’s horrible death (2 Kings 9:30-37).


Ahaziah (king of Judah) and Joram (king of Israel)


It was there, too, according to 2 Kings 9, that Ahaziah, king of Judah, fleeing from the avengers across the plains, was slain as he, together with Joram, son of King Ahab, were fleeing from King Jehu.




It was in this valley that Gideon and his little band of 300 men alarmed and defeated the Midianites, who ended up destroying one another in the fight (Judges 7:18-23)Gideon and his men were at the spring of Harod, at the base of Mt. Gilboa, and the Midianites were across the Harod Valley at the base of the Hills of Moreh.


King Saul and Jonathan


Also, it was here that King Saul was defeated by the Philistines, where he and his 3 sons were slain (1 Samuel 31).  They were killed on Mount Gilboa.


When the Philistines realized they were dead, they took their bodies, and hung them on the walls of Beth She’an, near the eastern end of the Valley of Jezreel.  Within sight of Beth She’an, across the Jordan River, was the city of Jabesh Gilead.  When the people there heard what the Philistines did to their bodies, they snuck in the city by night, took the bodies, burned the bodies, and buried their bones near their city.


Deborah and Barak


It was on this great battlefield, according to Judges 5:19, that Deborah and Barak had their great victory over the Canaanites.  In Judges 4, Deborah, who was both a prophetess and Judge, receives a message from God, and she tells Barak to gather the troops.  Before going into battle, Barak convinces Deborah to accompany them into battle.


The battle is against a general named Sisera, who was from the city of Hazor, where Jabin was the king.  Together they had oppressed the Children of Israel for 20 years (Judges 4:3).


In the skirmish, all in the army of Sisera are killed, except for the general, who jumps off his chariot and flees on foot.  He ends up at the tent of Jael, a Kenite woman, the wife of Heber.  Sisera falls asleep and Jael drives a tent spike through his temple, killing him.


As we can see, throughout its history, Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been Ground Zero for battles that determined the course of civilization.


I have said all this about Megiddo so that you can see that this historic battlefield, which was the scene of some great Jewish victories, and some disastrous defeats, came to be a symbol of bloody conflicts.


Megiddo lies at a strategic junction of roads running north-south, as well as those going east-west.      Whoever had control of Megiddo had control of one of the major trade routes of the ancient world.


This strategically placed road ran between Egypt in the south and Mesopotamia to the east and Turkey to the north, which had all of Europe to its west.  The narrow pass between the promontory point of Mount Carmel and the sea, was not suitable for the transport of great armies.  They would choose the safer route through the mountains at Megiddo.


Preparations for Armageddon begin as the angel pours out the contents of the sixth bowl of God’s judgment.  As we have already studied, God’s wrath on the unbelieving world during the Great Tribulation will be executed in a series of judgments that include breaking seals, blowing trumpets and then pouring out bowls.


There are 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls altogether.  And whether you believe these 3 sets of judgments are sequential or staggered or concurrent, the 6th bowls brings us very near the end of the tribulation.


In Revelation 15, we are introduced to 7 angels coming out of the Temple of Heaven.  Each is carrying a bowl containing the last plagues filled with the wrath of God.  They walk across the sea of glass mingled with fire.


In Revelation 16, the angels are told to pour out the wrath of God in sequential order.


         1.  Sores

         2.  Oceans polluted

         3.  Rivers polluted

         4.  Sun scorches people

         5.  Darkness upon the kingdom of the Antichrist

         6.  Euphrates is dried up

         7.  Earthquake, Hail, Thunder & Lightning.


It is the 6th bowl that we are looking at today.  Let’s see how John describes the 6th bowl of judgment.


Revelation 16:12-16 NIV


12     The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.

13     Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

14     They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

15     "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."

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


Here we see a brief description of armies preparing themselves for the conflict.  Then, three chapters later, John describes the involvement of Christ in this battle.  Actually, Christ’s involvement bring the battle to a climax and to an end.  Several military skirmishes will have occurred previously between various parties on earth.


Let’s look at the sequence of these military maneuvers that lead almost up to the time of Christ’s involvement in this Battle.


Daniel 11:40-44 NIV


40     At the time of the end the king of the South [most likely = Egypt] will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.

41     He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall,but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.

42     He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.

43     He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.

44     But reports from the east and the north will alarm him,and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.


While the Antichrist and his armies are rampaging around the Middle East, he suddenly hears “rumors” that disturb him.  Something about armies approaching from the east and north toward him.


Now notice what Revelation 16:12 (NIV) adds concerning this 200,000,000 (Rev. 9:16) man army from the east.


12     The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.


Back in Daniel 11, we were told, in verse 44, that the Antichrist is actually subduing Egypt and other northern African countries when he receives the “rumors” about the kings of the east.


To confront these invading armies, the Antichrist had earlier set his home base in Jerusalem.  We learn that when we continue reading in Daniel 11, which we were reading a moment ago.  His specific headquarters is in the rebuilt Jewish Temple, where he had earlier proclaimed himself to be god.


Daniel 11:45 NIV


45     He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain [Mt. Moriah – where the Dome of the Rock currently sits]. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.


As the fight ensues, other nations will join in this Battle.  This is quickly leading to the height of the Battle of Armageddon.


The Antichrist’s reign, as Satan’s world ruler, will come to an abrupt end, but not because the armies from the east or north, or any other earthly army, defeats him.  Defeat for the Antichrist will come swiftly and totally when Jesus Christ rides out of heaven with His armies.


In Revelation 19, Christ, followed by his army of saints, will come riding out of heaven to engage the devil, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.  These three make up the unholy trinity which were discussed in an earlier lesson.


Let’s read what John says in Revelation 19.


Revelation 19:12-16 NIV


12     His [Christ’s] eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

13     He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

14     The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

15     Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

16     On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.


                   We will look at this passage more closely in the following lessons on the 2nd Coming.