The battles of all battles. This is the closing battle of 3 1/2 years of skirmish in the Middle East. It begins with Russia’s invasion of Israel after the peace contract of
(Dan 9:27) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
"Armageddon" has come to stand for the most terrible of all wars. The word actually means "mount of Megiddo," referring to a small mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The great valley there has been a battlefield for many conquerors and it will be the focal point of the earth's final conflict.
Since the fall of man, earth's population has been training for Armageddon. Every tiny skirmish and world war has been a preliminary to the battle of battles: Armageddon.
Following the defeat of Russia and her armies by Israel, the final world dictator, the Antichrist, will be revealed for who he is -- a ruthless, satanically controlled, evil person. The length of his reign after the Israeli defeat of Russia will be three and one-half years (forty-two months; see Rev. 13:5) and during that time he will bring the world to its most violent hour.
The World's Most Violent Hour
There is considerable speculation as to just what triggers the Battle of Armageddon. Why do the armies of the world gather in the Middle East at the end of the Tribulation period? Is there a rebellion in the kingdom of the Antichrist? What precipitates the final conflict? Although there is mystery surrounding some of these questions, there are a number of certainties about Armageddon.
1. It takes place at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 16:16).
2. It involves all the nations of the world (Joel 3:12).
3. It pits all nations against the Lord and His anointed (Ps. 2).
4. It ends with the revelation of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:11 -- 21).
While many events of the end time are hidden from us, it is not difficult to sort out some important developments during the Tribulation period that lead to the Battle of Armageddon.
1 The Consolidation of the Power of the Antichrist
When the Beast (the Antichrist) makes peace with Israel and guarantees her security at the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week, he is not in complete control of the world. Although he is headed for ultimate dictatorship, the earth is at that time still given to considerable nationalism. The Beast will have to fight for total control of the earth. To gain unchallenged dominion, he will have to face the military might of both the Russian confederacy and a powerful Eastern force, probably China. Writing of this international turmoil, Daniel explained: "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over" (Dan. 11:40).
That this crisis is not confined to the northern alliance is made clear by Daniel 11:44: "But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many."
Following the miraculous defeat of the Russian armies and their allies for Israel's sake, the Antichrist will vent his fury against the massive Eastern force of 200 million that is moving toward the Middle East to challenge his power. The casualties in this confrontation will total one-third of the world's population. Here is John's description of the struggle and slaughter:
"And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For this power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt" (Rev. 9:15 -- 19).
It is not difficult to envision nuclear weaponry here, and in the populous Eastern nations the destruction unleashed by the Antichrist will be dreadful.
With all the world subservient to him, the final world dictator will deify himself, demanding worship in the Jews' temple in Jerusalem. He will then assume total economic control, requiring his mark in the hand or forehead in order for a person to transact any business. The Beast will rule the earth, assisted by the false prophet and energized by Satan. The entire world will be under the control of a satanic trinity:
"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:4 -- 8).
It is clear then that all opposition to the Beast will finally be put down, making him a world dictator. Threats from the north, the south, and the east will be overcome. "...therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious mountain..." (Dan. 11:44,45).
The Antichrist will have accomplished the dream of Hitler, Napoleon, the Caesars, and others. He will be dictator of the world.
2. The 144,000 Converted Jews
Another important factor as the world moves toward Armageddon will be the conversion to Christ of 144,000 Jews -- 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (see Rev. 7). The result of their missionary activity during history's most difficult time will be phenomenal. They will reap converts from all nations, even though conversion will mean martyrdom for many (Rev. 7:9 -- 17).
The message of these 144,000 Hebrew Christian evangelists will be the gospel of the kingdom -- that is, it will be the gospel with a kingdom emphasis. They will be announcing the coming kingdom of Christ, and during their ministry Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
In his book, The Jews and Armageddon, Milton B. Lindberg describes the work of the 144,000 Jews as follows:
The Gospel of Christ has a number of descriptive designations because of a variety of emphases. In Matthew 24 it is called the "gospel of the kingdom" because the emphasis in its proclamation will be upon the Saviour's near return to set up His kingdom.... How these redeemed sons of Israel will delight to proclaim the good news of salvation with the added emphasis that at last the long-looked-for kingdom is about to be established. At long last, the Messianic hopes of Israel are to be realized. Jerusalem is to be the capital of Messiah's kingdom. Israel's Messiah is to be king over all the earth (Zech. 14:9).
An added dimension to the kingdom message of the 144,000 servants of God will be their ability to announce the approximate time of the Lord's return. Tribulation chronology will make this possible.
A number of prophecies state that the rule of the final world dictator will continue for three and one-half years after breaking the agreement for peace with Israel. Daniel described this period as "a time and times and the dividing of time" (Dan. 7:25). John similarly spoke of "a time, and times, and a half a time" (Rev. 12:14). Becoming more specific, he wrote: "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months" (Rev. 13:5).
Armed then with the evidence of fulfilled prophecy and the unfolding Tribulation drama, these end-time messengers will reap a great harvest. To quote Lindberg again:
When the 144,000 begin to preach the Gospel, they will be given a hearing. Even today the world loves to hear the testimony of those who, like Paul, having hated Christ and persecuted the church, now proclaim the grace of God. Not only will these transformed Jews have a hearing, but as Revelation 7 indicates, their preaching will result in "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" coming out of the Great Tribulation, having "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." What a mighty revival will result when these enemies of Jesus Christ become His devoted servants! Onward sweeps the revival in mighty power, drawing multitudes to faith in Christ.
It is not difficult to imagine the reaction of the world dictator to these who publicly proclaim the end of his reign and announce the coming kingdom of Christ. His anger will explode in an avalanche of persecution. Multitudes will be martyred. There will be no Sunday-go-to-meeting Christians during the Tribulation. Great numbers will be called upon to seal their testimonies with blood.
It is broken!
(Eze 38:15, 16)
15. And these shall be the measures thereof; the north side four thousand and five hundred, and the south side four thousand and five hundred, and on the east side four thousand and five hundred, and the west side four thousand and five hundred.
16. And the suburbs of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, and toward the south two hundred and fifty, and toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty.
Additional participants include the ten kings under the antichrist from the west.
(Dan 7:24) And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
(Rev 13:1) And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Kings of the East under China
(Dan 11:44) But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
The kings of the south, involving much of Africa.
(Dan 11:11) And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
Miracles preformed through satanic power will convince the leaders of the earth, who are subservient to the Antichrist, to move all of their military might to the Middle East to do battle with Christ at His return to the Mount of Olives.
(Zech 14:4) And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
(Rev 16:14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
They won’t be disappointed: Christ will arrive!! The Battle of Armageddon climaxes the campaign as the Lord and His armies appear from heaven. The armies of earth will march to their doom, expecting to destroy the Christ they have rejected.
9. Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
10. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
11. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord.
12. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
14. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
(Ps 2:2, 3)
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 bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Christ, the living Word of God returns, riding on a white horse. His eyes are as a flame of fire and his vesture dipped in blood bears the name, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Followed by the armies of heaven, He will smite the nations and cause the Beast and the False Prophet to be cast into the Lake of Fire.
It will be the bloodiest battle in the history of the world. Militarists from the four corners of the earth will battle Almighty God and the hosts of heaven.
(Ps 2:2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
(Isa 34:2) For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
(Zech 14:3) Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
(Rev 9:16) And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
God will engage in the earth’s greatest power struggle. So great will be the destruction resulting that the blood will reach to the horse’s bridles for 200 miles and it will require mankind seven months to bury the dead.
(Rev 14:20) And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
(Eze 39:12) And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.