Who-what-when-where-why? Armageddon:Battle for the Earth
Armageddon:Battle for the Earth
by T.M. Smith
The word Armageddon conjures up images of violence, destruction and general mayhem. Many popular movies have drawn on the almost surrealistic ideas that abound about the word. The post Armageddon world is usually portrayed as a desert wasteland populated only by the unlucky survivors pitted in a desperate battle for the meager resources that remain. The Planet of the Apes series and Mel Gibson’s Mad Max portrayed such a world destroyed by a nuclear World War Three. This image is commonly confused with the biblically described battle of Armageddon. Many people, even Christians, have only a very vague idea of what Armageddon is. For many it’s just a word used to describe cataclysmic events such as war or natural disasters. The purpose of this paper is to dispel common myths about the Battle of Armageddon and to then search out the truth about it in the Bible. We will learn that the Bible has clear answers about who the combatants are, what the battle is about, when and where the battle occurs, how and why it occurs the way it does, and what the outcome is. We don’t have to rely on men’s suppositions about this because God has clearly told us everything we need to know in his inspired written word.
In the book of Revelation Chapter 16, towards the end of the seven year time of judgment called the Great Tribulation, the apostle John observes the following vision:
In this vision we get to see the earthly preparations for the battle and we get our first look at who is involved. The kings of the earth and of the whole world are called by unclean spirits that proceed directly from the mouths of Satan’s false trinity. Men and demons are gathered together into an unholy alliance against God. At first it might seem redundant to say “of the earth and of the whole world” but I believe the spirit is speaking of the earthly rulers well as the demonic princes of the world. Through deceit and wonderful miracles these three unclean spirits will manage to convince them to gather together against God to a placed called Armageddon. The word Armageddon means in Hebrew, the Mount of Megiddo. Megiddo is the name of both the mountain and a wide open nearby plain that runs from the Mediterranean Sea to Jordan in the north of present day Israel. It has been the site of many ancient battles because of its favorable topography and now we see that it will be the site of the mother of all battles, which is called here the battle of that great day of God almighty. The Lord had kept back Satan and his minions from completely controlling the world during the age of grace so that all who would choose to follow him would have a chance. At the end of the chronology of the Book of Revelation the world will be taken totally over by Satan, and his unholy trinity, gathering all the powers of the world to wage war against God. The lie of Satan, that men would be as gods, is now fully accepted by those remaining on the earth to the point that they now actually believe they can defeat God. It is an incredible deception, admittedly, but despite his terrible judgments poured out earlier (and described in prior chapters of Revelation), the world and its remaining populations refuse to repent and be saved. This unbelievable defiance reveals the truth about men’s hearts described by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned, who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess. 2:8‑12
In chapter 19 of Revelation we get more information about the battle from the perspective of the opposing heavenly forces as well as information about the eventual outcome. All of the heavenly host are gathered together to praise and worship God. His judgments are praised as “true and righteous”. The saved in heaven, unlike the lost in the world, recognize that God is still in control, “And I heard as it were a voice of a great multitude and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of many thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Rev. 19:6. Then the marriage supper of the lamb (Jesus) with his bride (the part of the church that has kept itself pure for him) is described. What a joyful scene this will be with Jesus in his glorified state and the saints dressed in fine linen, clean and white. What a contrast to the suffering, rebellion, and hate that abounds among those who have chosen to forgo God’s mercy; in heaven, a beautiful wedding feast before the battle and on earth, grim preparation.
Next we see the event that all who love justice and righteousness have always yearned to see: Jesus in all his glory riding on a white horse followed by the armies of heaven, going forth in righteousness to judge and make war. His eyes are like fire and on his head he has many crowns. The armies of heaven follow on white horses dressed in “fine linen, white and clean”, a clear reference to the saints. An angel calls all the fowls of the heaven together to ready themselves for the coming slaughter. Then the Antichrist and his false prophet are cast into the lake burning with fire and brimstone and the remnant of the kings of the earth, that have gathered themselves against God, are slain with the sword of Jesus. In Chapter 20 of Revelation we see the judgment of Satan as he is chained and thrown into a bottomless pit and sealed there for a thousand years. Sin is purged and the earth is cleansed by fire. Alleluia!
There are many other biblical references to these events in both the new and old testaments and the reader is encouraged to seek them out by prayer and study. However in these two chapters of Revelation (16 & 19) we have been able to discover the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the battle of Armageddon. These are not difficult to understand if one reads these passages literally. One does not have to be a great intellect or a great bible scholar to follow the events of this battle. It reads like a newspaper story.
The ultimate end of the battle of Armageddon is that the world is purged of sin and of the influence and power of Satan. Jesus comes back to earth and receives his rightful ownership of the world over which he and his saints will reign righteously with a rod of iron. The prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 tells us of the six cleansing things that are accomplished upon Christ’s return at the finish of the Tribulation. He is anointed King of kings, puts an end to transgression, sin and iniquity, cleanses the Temple from the abomination of the antichrist image, and establishes the rule of ‘everlasting righteousness’ when he is installed as ruler of the world. This is far from the hopeless desolation so often portrayed in popular media when it concerns itself with apocalyptic matters. We who have our hope in God’s prophetic promises, and not in the false promises of this world, should rejoice and praise God for his righteous judgments as the heavenly hosts are seen doing in Revelation Chapter: l‑2. Maranatha (Come Soon) Lord Jesus!
We exhort the reader to keep in mind God’s promise in Revelation Ch 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.” We must read and seek to understand the words the Lord has given us concerning this decisive battle. Furthermore we must strive to live our lives now as if we really do believe this prophecy. We will not be deceived by false ideas about it and we will be ready to preach it correctly when called to. In doing this we will receive the blessing the Lord has promised us.
See the detailed chart of the seven year period known as the Tribulation in which the Antichrist will reign in terror over the earth. The Tribulation begins with the false peace signed by many nations and initiated by the Antichrist. It ends with Armageddon and the return of Christ.