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The Battle of Armageddon

John Hoole September 8, 15 & 22, 2002

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

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

o It cost more than you had planned.

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

o 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. God will not leave any loose ends in bringing the Great Tribulation to a close. In fact, this period during which Satan has been in command and evil has 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.

WHAT DO WE CALL THIS HEAD-TO-HEAD COMBAT?

Armageddon.

The Bible says this awesome, climatic battle will occur in "the place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon"

WHAT DO YOU IMMEDIATELY THINK OF WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD "ARMAGEDDON?"

For some, it is a word that strikes terror and foreboding. Some see it as the end of the world. 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.

With all the interest in End time prophecy following the "Desert Storm" Persian Gulf war, 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 four or five years ago, I remember eating at McDonalds one day, where I was drinking my Coke from a cup with pictures advertising this 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 selfishness 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."

John F. Kennedy

"Mankind must put an end to war - or war will put an end to mankind."

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 out 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. In an era of unparalleled education, it would seem that solving things by going to war would be unthinkable. One would think that mankind living in an enlightened era would have forsaken such a barbaric practice.

Yet, what we have found in the 20th century, and now in the 21st, only demonstrates that full heads and empty hearts produce violence.

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. At the end of 1999, at a time when many were worrying about the potential problems of Y2K, there existed 193 different sovereign 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 this 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. And 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.

WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS CONCERNING ARMAGEDDON?

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.

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. I believe the detailed information which the Bible gives us concerning Armageddon certainly implies a literal interpretation. For instance:

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, however, have a spiritual nature involved. In Revelation 16:14 (NIV), we read that spirits of demons "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.

Although the most common expression about this event is to call it a battle, technically speaking, it is a war or campaign involving a series of battles in the Middle East.

Revelation 16:14 NIV

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.

The Greek word translated battle in this passage is "POLEMOS" (POL'-em-os). This word more accurately refers to a series of battles. The NAS Bible version actually translates is as "war." The Greek language has anotgher word for a sinvgle combat. If John meant a single skirmish, he would have used the word "mache."

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 chart 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. But 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 3 years. In other words, it is not at a time of peace.

4. WHEN:I believe the battle in Ezekiel occurs at the mid-point of the 7-year Tribulation. Armageddon occurs at the end of the Tribulation

5. WHY: Ezek. 38:12-13 says the invading armies are coming to take spoil and plunder Israel. According to Zechariah 12:3, the invasion at Armageddon is primarily Anti-Semitic because the Jews are a burdensome stone for all people. Additionally, the armies fighting in Armageddon, eventually combine their forces to fight against Christ which is not mentioned or hinted in Ezekiel's battle.

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.

I believe we have discussed enough differences indicating that the battle in Ezekiel 38 & 39 are not the same as 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."

Megiddo .. referring to a city in the northern part of ancient Israel.

The city of Megiddo was built on a hill, so the hill was called the "hill of Megiddo," or Armageddon. The ruins of the city of Megiddo overlooks a large valley, which, during its history, has been called several different names.

DO YOU KNOW SOME OF THOSE NAMES?

1. Jezreel Valley or Valley of Jezreel.

2. Valley of Esdraelon or the Plains of Esdraelon. Esdraelon is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Jezreel.

3. Taanach - Judges 5:19

4. Valley of Megiddo - 2 Chronicles 35:22

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.

Let's zoom in on the map 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. Mount 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.

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.

Ahaziah and Joram

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

Gideon

It was in this valley that Gideon and his little band alarmed and defeated the Midianites, who destroyed one another in the fight (Judges 7:18-23)

King Saul and Jonathan

Also, it was here that King Saul was defeated by the Philistines, where he and his 3 sons were slain.

Jezebel

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).

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.

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.

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. 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.

The Geographical expanse of Armageddon

DOES THE BIBLE INDICATE OTHER PLACES THAT WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS WAR?

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.

Jerusalem

For instance, we know that the battle will be centered in Jerusalem.

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.

This verse actually expands this ware beyond just Jerusalem. All Judah is mentioned. Let's look at the map as we look at the places involved in Armageddon. 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 (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.

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

Bozrah

Another place where we see the Battle of Armageddon mentioned is the city of Bozrah. One of the first places Christ visits following his return is Bozrah, the royal city of Edom. Bozrah is about 30 miles south and east of the Dead sea and is in the modern nation of Jordan.

Isaiah 34:2,3, 6 NIV

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.

WHY WOULD CHRIST GO TO BOZRAH?

Bozrah is about 20 miles from Petra, the Red Rose city. This is the area to which the Jews will flee, when the Antichrist breaks his 7-year treaty with Israel. At that point, he invades Israel and desecrates the temple and then he begins to persecute the Jews. The Jews will try to escape and run for their lives by fleeing into the Jordanian desert. Jesus, along with his army, will go there to deliver the hiding Jewish remnant.

Earlier, we read the first four verses of Zechariah 14. Now let's look at verse 5.

Zechariah 14:5 NIV

5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

You will remember that this verse follows the description of Christ setting his feet on the Mount of Olives. This verse tells us that Christ, along with his armies, will come to deliver them.

Isaiah 63:1 NIV adds:

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."

Who is this person? It is Christ. 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 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.

God is still in Control

Rev 16:13-14 NIV

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.

WHO GATHERS THE NATIONS?

These verses tell us that demonic spirits are involved in gathering the nations of the whole world. Demons rarely come out and say, "we are the demonic forces of the devil, and we want you to prepare for battle in Israel."

HOW DO THESE DEMONS CONVINCE THE KINGS TO DO THEIR BIDDING?

Each king will make his decision believing it is his idea and in his best interest. The Antichrist will come and set up his headquarters in Jerusalem because he feels he needs to put pressure on Israel to get back in line with him. The kings of the east and north are coming to the mid-east in order to throw off the tyranny of the Antichrist. Other countries will be represented in these multi-national forces, probably under the auspices of the United Nations in order to bring Israel to her knees because she would not concur with the resolutions passed by that body. Much of the early stages of Armageddon will be totally anti-Semitic in nature.

Although Revelation 16:13-14 indicates that the kings of the earth are gathered to this battle by three unclean spirits, and although the kings will probably believe they are gathering in their own best interest, God is in control and is making use of the work of unclean spirit to motivate them.

Zechariah 14:1-2NIV

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.

God is the One gathering these nations. The nations have their own agenda. The demons have a different agenda. But God has the ultimate and overriding agenda.

Earlier we read 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.

Once again, God is in control during the Battle of Armageddon. Their efforts against Israel and the God of Israel will be brought to nothing since God is orchestrating the outcome. It is important to realize that the Satanic Trinity will not dominate the whole world simply on the basis of their own strenth. Rather, it is because God has permitted it to be so. The Tribulation will last only as long as God has ordained it to be.

While the Antichrist is strutting in triumph across the lands, and the tribulation is running the final days of its lethal course. Suddenly, and without warning, like a bolt of lightning that rends the vaults of heaven, Jesus will break through the clouds.

Revelation 19:11, 14 (NIV( tells us about this event.

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.

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

There are not very many places in the Bible where we are told that God actually laughs. The Battle of Armageddon is one of those places.

Psalms 2:1-4 NKJV

1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision.

God actually laughs at the puny efforts of the mighty kings of the earth. They are no match for him. These nations are being brought into the land of Palestine because the moment has come when God is going to judge them.

Revelation 19:11 says He has returned to "judge and make war." Matthew 25 tells us that He has come to judge the nations.

God will punish the nations in an unprecedented way.

Micah 5:15 NKJV

15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury On the nations that have not heard."

The most horrible plagues will fall upon them.

Zechariah 12:4 NIV

4 "On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness", declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations."

Zechariah 14:12-13 NIV

12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.
13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other.

Israel's enemies will be totally demoralized by God. Panic will quickly set in and like the Midianites of the Old Testament, they will begin to fight and destroy their own comrades.

The enemies of Israel will be crushed like overripe grapes.

Isaiah 63:3, 6 NIV

3 "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.

6 I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."

A moment ago, we read Psalm 2. In verse 4, it said that God will "hold them in derision." That means they will become the object a great ridicule.

A tremendous light will produce astonishment and blindness.

Zechariah 12:4 NKJV

4 In that day," says the LORD, "I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

The armies of the earthly kings will literally have their flesh melt away while they are still standing.

Zechariah 14:12 NIV

12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

The Battle of Armageddon, which may have lasted 2-3 years, will be brought to a climax, and a sudden end. The battle will be terminated by the action of Christ.

Revelation 19:14-15 NIV

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.

As the apostle John presents the final moments of this battle in Revelation 19, it looks to the world like it will turn into the "heavyweight battle of all eternity." John first introduces the "fighter in the white trunks" - Jesus Christ. As heaven opens up, John describes the awesome majesty of Jesus returning to earth with the armies of heaven following him (verse 14). Jesus is the defending champion, and He is wearing the title "King of kings and Lord of lords."

The scene shifts, and an angel summons those who are going to be the observers of the battle. WHO ARE THE OBSERVERS? They are the birds that are gathering to get their fill. These feathery friends will observe the climax of all battles as they watch the best army on earth fight the best army from heaven. The birds are invited to feast on the carcasses that will cover the battlefield following the conflict. John also writes in such a way, that we, the readers of his book, are also observers.

Then John introduces the "fighter in the black trunks." We are told "the beast (Antichrist) and the kings of the earth and their armies gather to make war against the rider on the white horse and his army." The Antichrist and his army represents all the might the world can muster. They have come to Jerusalem, and they will be the final challenge to Jesus as He returns to earth to claim His heavyweight crown.

We settle down in our front-row seats expecting to watch the greatest fight ever held. The opponents are the champions in their respective divisions. The Antichrist is the best that Satan has to offer, and he comes representing the evil empire that controls the world. Christ is the best that God the Father has to offer, and He comes as Savior and Sovereign who has God's authority to rule the world.

The bell sounds and the fighters step toward the center of the ring. And with one punch, the contest is decided.

Revelation 19:20-21 NIV

20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

The battle is really over before it begins. The Battle at Jerusalem is the most anticlimactic battle in history. As John described the armies mustered on both sides, we expect to witness some epic struggle between good and evil. Yet, no matter how mighty someone on earth is, that individual is no match for the power of God.

The prophet Isaiah described how the greatest power mustered on earth compares to the power of God.

Isaiah 40:15-17 NIV

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

This battle is the most lopsided struggle in history. Compared to the power of God, the awesomeness of the Antichrist and his army quickly fades. And Christ retains His eternal title: "King of kings and Lord of lords."

The Aftermath of the Battle

WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE IN ISRAEL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING ARMAGEDDON?

God uses vivid language to portray not only the beauties of heaven, but also the heinousness of the battle of Armageddon. After Armageddon is over - a battle where just from the East alone, 200 million will participate - Israel will be one bloody putrid mess of stinking carcasses of horses and hundreds of millions of soldiers. Along with all the destroyed armament, this will be the greatest military junkyard you could ever imaging.

Revelation 14:20 (NIV) says.

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.

Again, 1,600 furlongs is about 200 miles. That means that the entire length of Israel will be a killing field. But only the soldiers of the Antichrist and other early kings will die. Jesus will not lose even one.

Revelation 19:21 NIV

21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse [Christ], and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

A moment ago, I said that God uses very vivid language to describe the aftermath of Armageddon. In this verse, we are told that the birds will gorge themselves on the flesh of men and animals. Yes, according to what we just read, as well as a number of other references, God will direct birds and even field animals to Israel to eat up the remains. With hundreds of millions of human casualties and tens of millions of horses, the task of taking care of the dead will be too great a task for the surviving Arabs and Jews. God will have the angel summon the birds to clean up the carnage of rotting bodies left behind.

According to Isaiah 34:1-3 (NIV), the place will stink to high heaven.

1 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! 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.

The corpses of the men and horses will give off a putrid odor. Man, for all his talents and power, is still man. And God is God - eternal, almighty and infallible. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and holy. There is no one like Him.

Earlier we read the first 4 verses of Psalm 2. In verse 4, it said God laughs at man's puny efforts. When the last peal of God's chilling laughter dies away, it will be replaced by a tide of fearful, holy wrath. He then adds in verse 5 of Psalm 2, "Yet have I set my King on my holy hill of Zion."

Notice that God uses the past tense. As far as He is concerned, the appearance of Jesus on the Temple Mount is a done deal. It will not be the Antichrist or any other earthly king. It will be King Jesus sitting on the throne in Zion.

Closing

The final outcome of the Battle of Armageddon is assured and never in doubt. Jesus will win - Satan will lose.

In these verses, we have 5 things happening in this event.

o Christ returns from heaven with his saints.

o The Antichrist and the kings of the earth make war against Christ.

o Christ destroys the armies of the Antichrist.

o The Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire.

o The birds are summoned to the battlefield.

Revelation 20:1-3 (NIV) says,

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

According to the last few verse of Chapter 19, both the Antichrist and the False Prophet will immediately receive their eternal judgment, for they shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. The Son of God will win a total, final, crushing victory.

   
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Last Updated: Thursday September 08 2011
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