The Battle of Armageddon

The Salvation of Israel

Many people believe that the last war will be at a place called Armageddon, which is otherwise known by the Hebrew name Megiddo. This belief comes from the literal reading of Revelation 16:16, which says, “and they gathered them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”

The real meaning of Armageddon is found in Zechariah 12:11—“In that Day, there shall be mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” John is telling us that Israel’s repentance must precede Christ’s return. When Israel realizes that they have crucified their God, they will mourn as they did at Megiddo.

The apostle Paul said that when the fullness of the Gentiles has come, all of Israel will be saved. Zechariah said that after Israel repents, they will see Him returning on the clouds: “then they will look on Me whom they pierced.” John described this in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, saying, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced Him.”

Jesus said, “When the fig tree puts forth her leaves … this generation shall not pass away.” The prophet Joel described Israel as God’s “fig tree” in the Day of the Lord. Isaiah said the end-time gathering of Israel would be the day of Israel’s salvation. Ezekiel described the restoration of Israel and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Israel in the last days, saying, “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves; and bring you into the land of Israel … I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.”

Israel will be the last, but the last will be the first.

The 144,000

The end-time salvation of Israel is described as the sealing of 144,000—12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. “An angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God,” seals the servants of God, who are numbered 144,000. The angel from the east is the end-time Church, which will bring salvation to Israel before Jesus returns.

In fact, the 144,000 represent all the elect who have the seal of the living God. In Revelation 7, God’s elect are divided into two groups: those who came out of the Great Tribulation and those who have the seal of God. The Spirit of God is the seal on God’s elect. The apostle Paul compared the Spirit of Christ to a guarantee or scroll sealed by the Spirit of God. Our speaking in tongues is proof that we have been sealed by God.

In A.D. 180, Irenaeus said that all who were baptized were born into the kingdom of God. But only those who had received the Spirit of God as evidenced by speaking in tongues have been made “perfect” because they are sealed. Irenaeus said this when he made the last testimony regarding the true evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit—before the place of God’s sanctuary was cast to the ground.

In Revelation 14, the 144,000 are described as a Lamb on Mount Zion. This is the mountain of the Lord’s House prophesied by Isaiah. In verse 2, we hear the sound of harpists and much water. These are the sounds of prayer in the Holy Spirit. The 144,000 “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” They follow the commandments and example of Jesus. John said they had never been defiled with women—the false teachings of the great harlot.

Is the Battle of Armageddon a Real Battle?

Before Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948, very few Bible commentators believed there was going to be a real battle in the last days, when Israel would be attacked by countries from the north. Nor did anyone believe that the armies of 200 million men recorded in Revelation 9:16 were possible. Most people thought that the restoration of Israel, as described by Ezekiel, was only an allegory of the end-time Church. Today, however, you can take a tour of Israel and they will show you the valley of Armageddon. Armies of 200 million men are now a real possibility.

The prophecies of Zechariah 12 make it clear that the city of Jerusalem is the target of Satan’s attack. Verse 6 tells us that God will make “the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile … for they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.” The attack on Jerusalem comes after the repentance of “the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Here, the house of David represents the end-time Church, but it is only one house of the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” who repent in Zechariah 12.

We can also see that the Battle of Armageddon is a real war in Daniel 11, which lists Egypt, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Libya, and Ethiopia as the other countries in the battle. It is difficult to imagine symbolic meanings for all these countries.  

Revelation 16:18 describes this battle as “a great earthquake.” The earthquakes prophesied in Revelation 8:5 and 11:13 were real wars, and we have no reason to doubt that the earthquake describing the Battle of Armageddon is a real war. The weapons of war are described. The riders on the horses have fire and brimstone proceeding from their mouths, the sky is split back as a scroll, and hailstones of a hundred pounds fall to the earth. The meanings of these cannot be explained as figurative by other Bible passages.

An Attack on a Peaceful People

In the Book of Ezekiel, God said, “I will seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.” Today, we are all familiar with the atrocities of the Holocaust—the cloudy and dark day that restored Israel as a nation.

But before the final attack on Israel, there will be time of peace and safety.

Isaiah said, “In the latter days, the mountain of the Lord’s House will be established above all the mountains.” “He will judge between the nations and rebuke many people. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.”

However, Joel informed us that suddenly the command will come to “beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.” Ezekiel said the attack would be on “a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls and neither bars nor gates.” He described the enormous army that would attack Israel: “You shall ascend, you shall come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you, and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.”

The Book of Revelation describes these armies as “as the sands of the seashore” and numbers them as 200 million.

In Revelation 20:9, we read that the armies “surrounded the camp of the holy.” This is the camp of the Angels of YHVH described by Joel: “YHVH gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great.”

Zechariah said, “YHVH, my ELOHIM, shall come, and all His holy ones (angels) with Him.” He will then judge the nations.

The Host of Stars Will Fall Down

The “host of heavens” in Genesis 2 is understood to mean the army of angels lighting up the night sky. The word “host” literally means “armies” in Hebrew. The host of heavens is thus the army of heaven’s angels.

Before the battle of Armageddon begins, all these angels will fall to the earth. Isaiah described this as being like the rolling up of a scroll: “The host of heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens rolled up like a scroll, and the host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine.”

Isaiah gave us a picture of stars being rolled up like a scroll and dropping to the earth. Angels as stars falling to the earth are also found in Daniel 8 and Revelation 8 and 12.

Isaiah described the great battle that will take place after the armies of heaven fall: “My sword shall be bathed in heaven, indeed it shall come down on Edom; and on the people of My curse, for judgment, the sword of the LORD is filled with blood.”

In Revelation 9, the angel with the sixth trumpet was told to “release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates, and the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and the day and the hour and month and year, were released that they should kill a third of mankind.”

These four angels from the four directions of the earth represent all the angels of God. They will become the “invisible” army that will fight for Israel, as they did in the Old Testament. They will kill a third of mankind using the weapons of men—that are described as fire and brimstone and great hailstones.

The King of the North and the Kings of the East

The prophets described the nations who will gather for the final great battle.

Isaiah prophesied God’s judgment “on Edom, and on the people of My curse.” Edom represents all the enemies of God.

Joel warned: “Egypt shall be a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness.” Egypt represents the defender of Israel.

Daniel said that the king of the north “shall enter the glorious land, and many shall be overthrown, but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.”

God described His opponent as “Gog in the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meschech and Tubal.” The land of Magog is today’s Russia, and we assume that this is why Magog is called the prince of Rosh.  Meschech and Tubal are the two sons of Noah’s son Japheth.  According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the descendants of Meschech settled in Turkey, and Tubal was the father of the Latins in Italy and Spain.  God continued, saying, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Lybia are with them…Gomer and all its troops.” Gomer is another son of Japheth. Gomer is the father of the Armenians, Celts and Germans.

God described the foolishness of Gog, saying, “Are you he of whom I spoke in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?”

John prophesied that an angel would dry up the Euphrates to make way for the kings from the east. Ezekiel described the end-time salvation of God from the east. Just before the battle began, “an angel ascending from the east … cried out, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bondservants of God.’” Thus, we believe that the kings of the east must be on the side of God. Daniel said that rumors from the north and the east would trouble the king of the north and cause him to attack with great fury, “yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

My Fury Will Show in My Face

God warned us that when the nations attack Israel, “My fury will show in My face.” Of course, here we understand that His face is Christ. Isaiah called Christ “the Messenger of His face”—the image of the invisible God, the face that Cain could no longer see after he killed Esau.

On that Day, Jesus Christ will bring God’s fire down from heaven, as He did in Sodom and Gomorrah. As Moses told us, “then He WILL BE rained brimstone and fire … from He WILL BE out of the heavens.”

Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” 

Zechariah described Him as the warrior for Israel: “Then He WILL BE shall go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that Day, His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives.”

He will stand on the Mount of Olives as the great archangel who leads the angels of God in battle. Isaiah said, “The Day of He WILL BE of the Armies shall come upon the proud and lofty.” And Joel said, “He WILL BE gives voice before His Army, for His Camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word.” The Camp of the Angel of the Lord was first seen by Jacob when he fled from his brother Esau, who is called Edom and represents the enemies of God.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul told us, “The Lord will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.” In that day, Christ will be the savior of Israel and will punish the ungodly.

Isaiah said, “He WILL BE will come with fire and render with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.”

The Resurrection of the Saints

Jesus told us that the elect of God would be spared from the battle of Armageddon. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus quoted from the Book of Isaiah, saying, “Where the corpse is, there the eagles shall gather.” The eagles are the end-time saints.

Isaiah set the stage for this great battle. He described the angels that would fall to the earth. Then he prophesied the wrath of the Almighty God, saying, “My sword shall be bathed in blood … there shall the falcons be gathered.” The Greek word aetoi describes the falcon family of birds. Most English Bibles translate aetoi in Matthew’s Gospel as “vulture,” but they translate the same word as “eagle” in the Book of Revelation.

Paul warned us that Jesus would come like a thief in the night. In the Gospels, Jesus said, “If the owner of the house had known what day the thief is coming, he would have kept watch—[on that day] there will be two men in a field; one will be taken and one will be left behind.” In Revelation 16, before the battle of Armageddon begins, Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief.”

Zechariah described the deliverance of the saints, saying, “The Mount of Olives shall be split in two—then you shall flee through my mountain valley.”

Jesus promised that “He will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet … the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”  Paul explained this, saying, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Flooding Rain, Great Hailstones, Fire and Brimstone

The symbolism of the battle of Armageddon begins in the book of Ezekiel: “In that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of IsraelThe mountains shall be thrown downI will rain down on him, on his troopsgreat hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

From Ezekiel’s description, it seems that God is going to use the whole arsenal of nature. But as we go through the Book of Revelation, we find more and more evidence that these weapons of nature are just metaphors of weapons of mass destruction.

From Revelation 8:5 and 11:13, we understand that an earthquake is a war.

Revelation 6:14 tells us that “the sky was split apart like a scroll when rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Here, John gives us a very good description of the effect of a nuclear blast.

The hailstones that Ezekiel mentioned are described by John as “about a talent in weight [about 75 to 100 pounds and perhaps 20 inches in diameter].” But are these really hailstones, or are they missiles that appear as large hailstones to John?

Finally, Ezekiel describes “fire and brimstone.” This was explained in John’s vision of horses in Revelation 9. The riders had breastplates of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone. The heads of the horses were like the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceeded fire and brimstone. As early as the 17th century, Joseph Mede concluded that these could only pertain to guns, saying that there is no such description of this anywhere else in the Bible.