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The War of Armageddon

By Merrill Olson

A careful study of the Book of Revelation (Rev. 16:12-16) reveals that at the end of the Tribulation the armies of the world will gather in the Middle East to do battle. Their purpose will be to come against the nation of Israel in a final death effort to finally eradicate the Jewish people. The Bible refers to this campaign as “Armageddon.”

Armageddon has become a popular word in our culture. Even movies have been given the name in portraying a terrible, devastating event on the earth. However, there truly will be such an occurrence with destructive results for the world’s armies.

The word appears only once in the Bible, in Revelation 16:16: “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.” This word comes from two Hebrew words, “har Megiddo.” It literally means “Mount Megiddo.”

This is a place in northern Israel called Megiddo. It sits on a raised area that overlooks a huge valley that is known as the Valley of Armageddon, the Valley of Jezreel, or the Plain of Esdraelon. It is approximately 14 miles wide and 35 miles long and forms what was described by Napoleon as “the most natural battlefield of the whole earth.” If a person stands on Mount Carmel overlooking the great plain, the same feelings are clearly felt. I experienced that sense of understanding and agreement.

The gathering of the armies of the world to do battle against each other will appear from a human standpoint that they are assembling on their own. However, it will be the demonic powers that will influence the rulers of each nation to bring their militaries together for the confrontation against each other (Rev. 16:13-14). The demons will emanate from Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet (v. 13). Therefore, the armies will be energized by Satan to rid the Jews from Israel and thwart God’s promises.

Yet, everything will occur according to God’s sovereign plan for it will be a time that is called “that great day of God Almighty” (v. 14) for the armies are like grapes in “the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:19). One of the most vivid descriptions of the brutality and severity of Armageddon are described in Revelation 14:17-20. It will cover approximately 200 miles from Megiddo in the north to Bozrah in the south. The massive extent of the slaughter is described by the amount of blood that is shed (v. 20).

There are different titles and descriptions for Armageddon given throughout Scripture that indicates clearly that this has to do with the wrath of God. Some are: “the great and terrible day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31); “the winepress” and “the harvest” (Joel 3:13); “the day…burning like an oven” (Malachi 4:1); “the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5); and “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14).

The battle will end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Rev. 16:15: 19:11-21). The armies of the world, including the Antichrist, will suffer a total, cataclysmic defeat. He will slay them by the sword of His word. To Him and Him alone be glory and praise!

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