< back to previous
see more >

The Bible's Battle of Armageddon

Printer + Reader Friendly
swipe

“Armageddon” is a name that stirs thoughts of apocalyptic end-of-the-world events. It has inspired movies, books, and countless doomsday speculations. Many people know Armageddon is referenced in the Bible, but what Scripture says about the topic may be surprising.  

In English Bibles, the word Armageddon appears only one time. It is found in the Book of Revelation as the Apostle John recorded a prophetic vision:

Revelation 16:13-16  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, [which] go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty… 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Many modern biblical scholars interpret Revelation and Armageddon figuratively as symbolic descriptions of the Roman Empire in John’s time. Others believe John’s description is just an allegory of Christ’s victory over evil, or perhaps John’s attempt to reassure persecuted believers that good eventually will prevail. However, if we take the words as written, this is a literal prophecy about where and how the world’s armies will gather to fight against Christ before the Kingdom of God is established on earth. 

Is a future Armageddon event real or symbolic? Does Armageddon have anything to do with you? 

swipe

Armageddon is a Place with a Bloody History.

The Bible says Armageddon is a Hebrew name for a place, but our modern word Armageddon is actually a Greek variant of the Hebrew word, Har Megiddon. This refers to the hill or mount of Megiddo which is located in the Jezreel Valley of Israel, roughly 60 miles north of Jerusalem. 

The city of Megiddo was founded in the early Bronze Age as a strategic location along one of the most important ancient trade routes in the Middle East. Known in Roman times as the Via Maris, or “Way of the Sea,” this trade route ran past Megiddo through the Jezreel Valley, connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Today, Megiddo’s ancient ruins are known as Tel Megiddo – a ‘tel’ is an archaeological mound composed of successive settlements built on top of each other. Tel Megiddo is now protected as a United Nations World Heritage Site due to its archaeological significance.

The historical importance of Megiddo can be traced to its long, blood-stained past. The earliest recorded battle in the Jezreel Valley dates back to roughly 2,350 B.C. as part of a successful campaign of Pharaoh Pepi I to suppress so-called “rebels” of the Egyptian dynasty. Records indicate at least 34 significant conflicts have taken place there, many of which had civilization-changing impacts. Secular and biblical history record more known battles fought in that small geographic area than almost any other single place on earth: from Gideon to Saul and Jonathan, Deborah and Barak, Antiochus III of Greece (218 BC), and Napoleon (1799).

“All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain. . . . There is no place in the whole world more suited for war than this. . . . [It is] the most natural battleground of the whole earth” (Cline 2002: 142; ellipses and brackets original). - Napoleon

While Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have a well-established reputation for famous historical battles, not one historical event has yet matched John’s vision of Armageddon.

aerial view of tel megiddo where the battle of armageddon will be fought
Aerial View of Tel Megiddo, AVRAMGR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Map of Israel and Tel Megiddo
Map of Tel Megiddo's location, User:Zunkir, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Armies of Armageddon Attack Jerusalem.

Revelation outlines a series of calamitous events that will precede “the kings of the earth” gathering their armies at Armageddon. These include the opening of seven devastating seals, the first four known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  After these seven seals, angels from God sound seven trumpet blasts to announce a chronological progression of world-shaking events, culminating with the arrival of Jesus Christ to rule on the earth at the seventh trumpet (Revelation 8-11).

Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

With the seventh trumpet, along with Christ’s return, God pours out seven last plagues (described as bowls or vials) as punishment upon the unrepentant wickedness of humanity.

Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

With the sixth of these plagues (bowls/vials) John introduces the role of Armageddon. This is the place where three miracle-performing demonic spirits from Satan the Devil influence the beast and false prophet to assemble the armies of the world to fight against Jesus Christ – who they falsely believe is the Antichrist! 

Revelation 17:12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

Many people think of Armageddon as the ultimate battle itself, but Scripture simply says it is the place where the armies gather. While in our current day there is little value to possessing Megiddo or the Jezreel Valley, at the time of the end the assembled armies will have another primary objective: to conquer Jerusalem.  

In John’s time, a Roman legion would have been able to reach Jerusalem from Megiddo following a two-to-three day march. But, today’s armaments can cover the same distance in mere minutes, making Armageddon an excellent location as a staging ground from which to attack Jerusalem.

Details of the battle for Jerusalem on that “great day of God Almighty” are provided by John in Revelation 19 as well as by earlier Hebrew prophets. 

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse [Christ] and against His army.
Zechariah 14:1-4 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…. 3 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.

Armageddon is a Prelude to Peace.

The apostle John and earlier prophets left no doubt about the outcome of that future battle for Jerusalem.

Revelation 19:20-21 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.

After Christ conquers the forces of evil that conspired against Him, there will be a one-thousand year period of peace on earth ruled by Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16; Revelation 20:1-5). During this time period, often referred to as the Millennium, the deceiving influence and power of Satan will be removed from the earth.  

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is [the] Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. 

Shockingly, despite the 1,000 years of peace and prosperity that follow Christ’s victory over Satan and the rebellious armies that attack Him from Armageddon, one final battle eventually will be launched by armies of men against God.  

Revelation 20:7-10  Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number [is] as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city [Jerusalem]. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [were]. 

These graphic prophetic descriptions are warnings for those who allow themselves to become deceived by Satan and rebel against God. While there is punishment for those who reject God and His way of life, our loving Father, through Jesus Christ, also told us how to avoid this fate.

Luke 21:34-36  But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

The good news is the story for mankind does not end with Armageddon. For those who follow and obey God, it ends with eternal life in His Kingdom as part of the very family of God.

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them [and be] their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

swipe

The Bible's Battle of Armageddon

Printer + Reader Friendly
swipe

“Armageddon” is a name that stirs thoughts of apocalyptic end-of-the-world events. It has inspired movies, books, and countless doomsday speculations. Many people know Armageddon is referenced in the Bible, but what Scripture says about the topic may be surprising.  

In English Bibles, the word Armageddon appears only one time. It is found in the Book of Revelation as the Apostle John recorded a prophetic vision:

Revelation 16:13-16  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, [which] go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty… 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Many modern biblical scholars interpret Revelation and Armageddon figuratively as symbolic descriptions of the Roman Empire in John’s time. Others believe John’s description is just an allegory of Christ’s victory over evil, or perhaps John’s attempt to reassure persecuted believers that good eventually will prevail. However, if we take the words as written, this is a literal prophecy about where and how the world’s armies will gather to fight against Christ before the Kingdom of God is established on earth. 

Is a future Armageddon event real or symbolic? Does Armageddon have anything to do with you? 

swipe

Armageddon is a Place with a Bloody History.

The Bible says Armageddon is a Hebrew name for a place, but our modern word Armageddon is actually a Greek variant of the Hebrew word, Har Megiddon. This refers to the hill or mount of Megiddo which is located in the Jezreel Valley of Israel, roughly 60 miles north of Jerusalem. 

The city of Megiddo was founded in the early Bronze Age as a strategic location along one of the most important ancient trade routes in the Middle East. Known in Roman times as the Via Maris, or “Way of the Sea,” this trade route ran past Megiddo through the Jezreel Valley, connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Today, Megiddo’s ancient ruins are known as Tel Megiddo – a ‘tel’ is an archaeological mound composed of successive settlements built on top of each other. Tel Megiddo is now protected as a United Nations World Heritage Site due to its archaeological significance.

The historical importance of Megiddo can be traced to its long, blood-stained past. The earliest recorded battle in the Jezreel Valley dates back to roughly 2,350 B.C. as part of a successful campaign of Pharaoh Pepi I to suppress so-called “rebels” of the Egyptian dynasty. Records indicate at least 34 significant conflicts have taken place there, many of which had civilization-changing impacts. Secular and biblical history record more known battles fought in that small geographic area than almost any other single place on earth: from Gideon to Saul and Jonathan, Deborah and Barak, Antiochus III of Greece (218 BC), and Napoleon (1799).

“All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain. . . . There is no place in the whole world more suited for war than this. . . . [It is] the most natural battleground of the whole earth” (Cline 2002: 142; ellipses and brackets original). - Napoleon

While Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have a well-established reputation for famous historical battles, not one historical event has yet matched John’s vision of Armageddon.

aerial view of tel megiddo where the battle of armageddon will be fought
Aerial View of Tel Megiddo, AVRAMGR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Map of Israel and Tel Megiddo
Map of Tel Megiddo's location, User:Zunkir, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Armies of Armageddon Attack Jerusalem.

Revelation outlines a series of calamitous events that will precede “the kings of the earth” gathering their armies at Armageddon. These include the opening of seven devastating seals, the first four known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  After these seven seals, angels from God sound seven trumpet blasts to announce a chronological progression of world-shaking events, culminating with the arrival of Jesus Christ to rule on the earth at the seventh trumpet (Revelation 8-11).

Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

With the seventh trumpet, along with Christ’s return, God pours out seven last plagues (described as bowls or vials) as punishment upon the unrepentant wickedness of humanity.

Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

With the sixth of these plagues (bowls/vials) John introduces the role of Armageddon. This is the place where three miracle-performing demonic spirits from Satan the Devil influence the beast and false prophet to assemble the armies of the world to fight against Jesus Christ – who they falsely believe is the Antichrist! 

Revelation 17:12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

Many people think of Armageddon as the ultimate battle itself, but Scripture simply says it is the place where the armies gather. While in our current day there is little value to possessing Megiddo or the Jezreel Valley, at the time of the end the assembled armies will have another primary objective: to conquer Jerusalem.  

In John’s time, a Roman legion would have been able to reach Jerusalem from Megiddo following a two-to-three day march. But, today’s armaments can cover the same distance in mere minutes, making Armageddon an excellent location as a staging ground from which to attack Jerusalem.

Details of the battle for Jerusalem on that “great day of God Almighty” are provided by John in Revelation 19 as well as by earlier Hebrew prophets. 

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse [Christ] and against His army.
Zechariah 14:1-4 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…. 3 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.

Armageddon is a Prelude to Peace.

The apostle John and earlier prophets left no doubt about the outcome of that future battle for Jerusalem.

Revelation 19:20-21 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.

After Christ conquers the forces of evil that conspired against Him, there will be a one-thousand year period of peace on earth ruled by Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16; Revelation 20:1-5). During this time period, often referred to as the Millennium, the deceiving influence and power of Satan will be removed from the earth.  

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is [the] Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. 

Shockingly, despite the 1,000 years of peace and prosperity that follow Christ’s victory over Satan and the rebellious armies that attack Him from Armageddon, one final battle eventually will be launched by armies of men against God.  

Revelation 20:7-10  Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number [is] as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city [Jerusalem]. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [were]. 

These graphic prophetic descriptions are warnings for those who allow themselves to become deceived by Satan and rebel against God. While there is punishment for those who reject God and His way of life, our loving Father, through Jesus Christ, also told us how to avoid this fate.

Luke 21:34-36  But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

The good news is the story for mankind does not end with Armageddon. For those who follow and obey God, it ends with eternal life in His Kingdom as part of the very family of God.

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them [and be] their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

swipe