The Battle of Armageddon

Part 3


John Hoole – June 28, 2013



For the past two weeks we have been looking at what the Bible has to say about the Battle of Armageddon. The prophet Joel declared:


Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war!  Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.  Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears’” (Joel 3:9-10).


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 brings the battle to a climax and to an end.  Several military skirmishes will have occurred previously between various parties on earth.


In the final 3½ years of the Tribulation, with the world suffering under the brutal rule of the Antichrist, a series of wars will be unleashed.  A number of nations will rebel against the tyranny of the Antichrist, and those nations will wage war against the Antichrist’s armies.  Armageddon will consist of a number of these battles.


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 and some of her neighbors] will engage the Antichrist in battle,and the king of the North[possibly Russia, Turkey and others]  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.


We have two groups of nations that rebel the rulership of the Antichrist.  One group under the leadership of a “king of the south,” and another group under a northern king’s leadership, coming by land and sea.  They attack the Antichrist forces gathered in Israel.


We are told in this chapter that the Antichrist will counterattack quickly annihilating the enemy armies from both the north and south.  He will pour over countries like a torrential flood to meet these armies in the “Beautiful Land” of Israel.  In all these devastating skirmishes by the armies of the Antichrist, while Egypt does not escape, Moab, Edom and Ammon will be spared.


Daniel 11:44          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 receives intelligence reports that disturb and greatly anger him.  Something about huge armies mobilizing and 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.


For thousands of years the Euphrates River has stood as a great military barrier between the East and West.  It runs for over a thousand miles from its headwaters in the mountains of Turkey, and flows south into the Persian Gulf.  At some points, the river is more than a mile wide.  The sixth angel causes the river to dry up, removing the barrier for the armies from the east and north.


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.


As stated earlier, to confront these invading armies, the Antichrist had earlier set his home base in Jerusalem.  We learn that when we continue reading in Daniel 11His 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.


The Geographical expanse of Armageddon


According to Revelation 16:12-16, the valley of Jezreel will be a gathering place or staging area as the armies of the world descend upon Israel.  I use the phrase “staging area” because the Battle of Armageddon will cover an area far beyond the borders of the valley of Jezreel.






For instance, we know that the battle will be centered in Jerusalem.  This is 50 miles south of Megiddo.


Zechariah 12:2-3  NIV


2       I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.

3       On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.  And all nations will gather against it.


Zechariah 14:1-2 NKJV


1       Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst.

2       For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.


This verse actually expands this war beyond just Jerusalem.  All Judah is mentioned.


Valley of Jehoshaphat


There is another valley used in connection with the Battle of Armageddon.  It is the Valley of Jehoshaphat.


Joel 3:2 NIV


2       I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.


Verse 12-14  (NIV) adds:


12     Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

13     Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow —  so great is their wickedness!'

14     Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.


The Valley of Jehoshaphat is thought to be another name for the Kidron Valley, which lies just east of Jerusalem, between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.  It is believe to be this valley because it was here that King Jehoshaphat overthrew the enemies of Israel – 2 Chronicles 20:26.  In this valley, once again all the nations coming against Israel will be defeated.


The name “Jehoshaphat” means “Jehovah will judge.”  It is in this valley that Jesus will judge all the nations.


Zephaniah 3:8 (NKJV) puts it this way:


"Therefore wait for Me," says the Lord, "Until the day I rise up for plunder;  My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.


The fact that Jerusalem is the center of this battle is emphasized in the writings of the prophet Zechariah.


Zechariah 14:1-4  (NIV) speaks of the 2nd coming of Christ.


1       A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.

2       I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

3       Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.

4       On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.


This is the same event that we read earlier in Revelation 19, when Christ comes riding on a white horse, and a sword goes out of his mouth with which he strikes the nations.


The sequence of events here seems to imply that Jesus begins fighting the nations even before he sets foot on the Mount of Olives.




Another place where we see the Battle of Armageddon mentioned is the city of Bozrah.  Have you heard of this place?  It is mentioned in the Bible 8 times – all in the Old Testament.


In our study of the 7-year Tribulation, we learned it was divided into two parts – each 3½ years.  Jesus tells us, in Matthew 24:15-21, an event that takes place at the mid-point of the Tribulation.


Matthew 24:15-21 NKJV


15     "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),

16     "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

17     Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.

18     And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.

19     But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!

20     And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

21     For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.


How do we know this is occurs in the middle of the Tribulation?  There are two indicators.  In our studies, we have learned that the two halves of the Tribulation are called “the Tribulation” and “the Great Tribulation.”  This indicates the second half is more severe than the first.  In the verses we just read from Matthew 24, verse 21 tells us we have come to the Great Tribulation.  The “Tribulation” is mentioned in Verse 9 of the same chapter.


The second indicator is from the passage Jesus quotes from the prophecy of Daniel.


Daniel 9:27 NKJV


27     Then he [the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."


Daniel tells us the 7-year-Tribulation begins when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel.  In the middle of the “week,” Daniel tells us the Antichrist breaks his treaty and enters the “Holy Place” and, according to Matthew 24, he desecrates it.  Christ instructs the people in Jerusalem to flee when they see this event happen.


Revelation 12 also adds additional information to this story.  This chapter begins by introducing a woman who is pregnant.  We determined in earlier lessons that the woman is the Israel and she gives birth to a child who is Christ.


As the chapter progresses, we are told of a war in heaven between Satan and his angels with the Archangel and his angels.  Satan loses this war and is cast out of heaven.


Revelation 12:13-14 NKJV


13     Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.

14     But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.


Twice in this chapter, we are given the time element of 3½ years.


         In Verse 6, it reads “one thousand two hundred and sixty day.”


         In Verse 14, it reads “for a time and times and half a time.”


                   That is a phrase that occurs in both the Old and New Testaments and always means 3½ years.


So, according to Matthew 24 and Revelation 12, many of the Jews will flee Jerusalem at the middle of the Tribulation.  The state of Israel will collapse at this time and many will flee.  Zechariah 14:2 adds that half of Jerusalem will go into captivity.




A moment ago, we read Revelation 12:14.  In it we are told there is a place that has been prepared for her.  But not all the Jews in Israel flee to this place.  God always has a remnant he protects.


Most Bible commentaries that I have read say Bozrah is another name for Petra.  Petra is not mentioned in the Bible and is the Greek translation of another Hebrew name for this place – Sela.  Petra and Sela both mean “rock.”  Bozrah means “sheep fold,” which is a perfect description of Petra.  An ancient sheepfold had a very narrow passageway going in so the shepherd would be able to count his sheep to see if any were missing.  This is exactly what Bozrah/Petra/Sela looks like.


Let me show you some photos from our trip to Petra.  First a few showing the very craggy mountains that surround the area of Petra.  It is more than a mile across.  Like a sheepfold, there is only one main entrance to Petra.  In Arabic, the entrance is called the “SIQ” – a word meaning “shaft.”  The sides of this more than a mile long narrow passage rise, in place, more than 650 feet.


Why would the Jews flee to this place?


This is part of the ancient country of Edom, and Bozrah was a royal city of this nation.  Besides being easily defended, we read earlier in Daniel 11, the Antichrist will rampage around the Middle East, but verse 41 says that  Edom, Moab and Ammon escape his wrath.  These three ancient tribes make up the modern country of Jordan.


Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Bozrah.


Isaiah 34:2,3, 6  NIV


2       The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter.

3       Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.


6       The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat-- the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom.


A far more graphic description is given in Isaiah 63:1-6.  In his vision, the prophet Isaiah was standing on some high point or mount in Israel.  He is looking eastward towards the land of Edom, when suddenly he sees a magnificent, but blood-stained, figure approaching him.  And the figure approaches in splendor and the shekinah glory, and he is approaching from Bozrah in Edom.  A conversation ensues between Isaiah and this figure, beginning with a question from Isaiah.


Isaiah 63:1-4 NKJV


1       Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel, Traveling in the greatness of His strength? —  "I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

2       Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?

3       "I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My robes.

4       For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come.


Who is this person?  I don’t think there is any doubt that this is Christ.  And Christ, the Jewish Messiah, is coming from Bozrah to Jerusalem.


When Christ returns from Edom, His clothes will be stained with blood and his sword drenched in blood.  Any armies that have pursued the Jews into Jordan will be slaughtered to such an extent that the mountains will flow with blood and the land will be soaked with it. (Isaiah 34:2-7)


Revelation 14:20 NIV


20     They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 furlongs. 


                 1600 furlongs is about 200 miles.


This verse tells us that the War will extend across a distance of 200 miles.  This is about 25-30 miles more than the distance from Megiddo to Petra.  We will discuss this verse further when we focus on the aftermath of this war.


As you can see, the War of Armageddon will take place in widely dispersed areas in and around Israel.  The battles will rage from the Valley of Megiddo in the north to Petra or Bozrah in the south with Jerusalem right in the middle.  The kings with their armies will come from the north and the south, from the east and from the west.  There will also be an invasion of demons from hell beneath, as we read in Revelation 16.


And entering the scene at the last moment will be an invasion from outer space.  In the most dramatic sense this will be the “valley of decision” for humanity.


Joel 3:12-14 NIV


12     Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

13     Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow- so great is their wickedness!`

14     Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.


It is here, at the Valley of Jehoshaphat, where Christ will judge all the nations that came against Israel.  We will look at this more fully when we study the Second Coming of Christ in a couple of weeks.