THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Many people have a mistaken notion, if they have any notion at all, about the Battle of Armageddon. Some thought the late World War was the Battle of Armageddon.
Others have advanced the idea that it will be a war between Catholics and non-Catholics. Still others teach that it is to be a mere spiritual conflict between good and evil without any literal reality. Yet others confuse it with the siege that is alluded in Rev. 20:8, which is to be after the Millennium. All of these ideas are unscriptural and unworthy of serious consideration.
Let us study this battle by noting the following:
I. WHY THE BATTLE IS SO NAMED
The battle is named for the place in which it is to be fought. See Rev. 16:13-16. The Revised Version renders the name Har-Magedon. Har-Magedon is defined as meaning the "mountain of Megiddo," which is located in the southwestern edge of Galilee. By this is meant, perhaps, not merely the mountain itself, but the mountain and the surrounding section. This section is described as "a high tableland surrounded by hills" (Carpenter). It forms a pass to the North, and so was famous as a battlefield. This vicinity was the scene of two notable victories and three notable deaths. The victories were that of Barak over the Canaanites and that of Gideon over Midianites. The deaths were that of Saul, that of Ahaziah (slain by Jehu), and that of Josiah. But the most famous event of all is yet to occur there.
II. WHO THE COMBATANTS ARE TO BE
The combatants are to be the kings of the earth and their armies under the leadership of the Beast and false prophets on one side, and King of Kings and Lord of Lords and His people- the Jews and the glorified saints- on the other. See Joel 2:11; Zech. 12:2, 3, 8, 9; 14:3; Rev. 19:11-21.
III. THE DETAILS OF THE BATTLE
Near the close of the great tribulation period the Beast and the false prophet (the second beast- Rev. 13:11) will send out their emissaries to stir up the nations of the earth to gather against Jerusalem (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:19). In this they will be but fulfilling the purpose of God, for it is His design to gather all nations together for the purpose of judging them (Joel 3:2) and pouring out upon them His indignation and fierce anger (Zeph. 3:8). The armies of the nations will be allowed to capture Jerusalem and work great destruction therein (Zech. 14:2). In the approach of the armies and the capture of the city, two-thirds of the Jews in Jerusalem that are not killed will be either captured or driven out of the city (Zech. 14:2). Then the Lord will appear to deliver His people (Zech. 14:4). Then, judging from the fact that Rev. 16:16 says that the nations are to be gathered in a place called Armageddon, we take it that the armies of the nations, alarmed by the events that will presage the coming of the Lord, will desert Jerusalem and retreat northward. At Armageddon the Lord will overtake them and visit His vengeance upon them as described in Isa. 66:15, 16; Zech. 14:12, 13; Rev. 16:17-21; 19:-90, 21.
IV. THE VENGEANCE OF THE LORD IN CONNECTION WITH THIS BATTLE WILL BE WORLDWIDE
The vengeance of the Lord will be visited, not only upon armies of the nations that come against Jerusalem, but also upon all the wicked throughout the world. We believe this is shown in the following passages: Jer. 25:15-33 Isa. 24:17-21; 26:20, 21; 34:1, 2.
We believe that the judgment of the nations, as depicted in Matt. 25:31-46, will take place in connection with the Battle of Armageddon. We believe that Matt. 25:31-46 is a figurative description of God's dealings with the nations in the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction that shall attend it. It is in this all the tares are to be gathered out of His kingdom and burned (Matt. 13:40-43). No one will survive this ordeal except the righteous. For the relation between this battle and the judgment of the nations see Joel 3:2, 12, 13. Also note Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15, 16; Isa. 13:10, 11 in connection with Matt. 24:29.
VI. THIS PERIOD OF WORLDWIDE DESTRUCTION WILL BE "THE DAY OF THE LORD"
VII. A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH WILL EMERGE FROM THE DAY OF THE LORD
See Isa. 34:4, 65:17-25; 2 Pet. 3:10-13.