Armageddon and the last Middle East war against Israel
At the end of this age, Bible prophecy says all nations will rise up against Israel
See also Middle East War and Gog-Magog War
Understanding Armageddon (Har-Magedon)
The Bible mentions the word Armageddon just once (Rev 16.16). It comes from two Hebrew words ‘har’ (a mountain or range of hills) and ‘megiddo’. Megiddo was one of the fortified cities of the Canaanites overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. It lies about 30Km south east of Haifa, and is located at a strategic entrance through the eastern Carmel/Manasseh hills, see pictures. Two great mountains stand to the northeast and southeast of the hill of Megiddo: Mt. Tabor and Mt. Gilboa. Between these two mountains runs the valley of Jezreel, which is fifteen miles wide at its widest point. So, as Rev 16.16 says, Armageddon is a place, not an event. The event associated with Armageddon is ‘the great Day of the Lord’ (Rev 16.14).
Understanding the event helps to understand the prophecies often associated with Armageddon. Consider:
Proclaim this among the nations: prepare for war … assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around (Joel 3.9,11)
I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone … though all nations of the earth are gathered against it (Zech 12.3)
I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle … (Zech 14.2)
The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them (Rev 9.16)
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east (Rev 16.12)
spirits of demons, performing signs, (will) go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty … And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon (Rev 16.14-16)
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (Rev 19.19)
From these texts it is clear that huge armies gather for war in the Armageddon plain. Why? Some see an end-time man-man war as a huge army from the east rebels against the World Dictator (the first beast of Rev 13). Taking a futuristic view of prophecy they note that he will have already conquered some parts of the Middle East and will have established a foothold in Israel (Dan 9.27, 11:40-45). Others read these texts, particularly Dan 11, as being already fulfilled and furnish historical detail to support their claim, link. Others note that Dan 11.40 refers to ‘the time of the end’ and point to the common ‘dual interpretation’ of prophecy.
An end-time man-man war may occur, but a majority view is that these texts refer to a man-God war as the godless nations war against God and His returning Christ (Psalm 2.1-3), link. According to Rev 16.14, demonic spirits call all nations (all ‘kings of the earth’) together to war against Christ. And since Christ returns to the Mt of Olives, the focus of the battle moves to Jerusalem. The timing of this Middle East war against Israel appears to be at the very end of this age (the sixth bowl and sixth trumpet), just prior to the return of Christ to the earth.
The following slides illustrate the increasing hatred of the nations against Israel.
What of America?
The term ‘all nations’ appears to be precisely that (rather than Middle East nations local to Israel) if it is to be consistent with Zech 14.9; the Lord cannot be King over part of the earth! Now if all world leaders attack Israel, this implies a change of policy in America, or even the absence of America on the world scene! Indeed, it is difficult to find America in end time prophecy. How can this be? To answer this we again turn to prophecy.
Bear in mind that at this time the nations will be under the World Government which will be vehemently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. The United Nations (HQ New York) is already vehemently anti-Israel, link. The leader of this invasion is the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7.20, the ‘abominator’ of Daniel 9.27 and Mat 24.15, the ‘king’ of Daniel 11.36, the ‘king of the north’ of Dan 11.40, the ‘man of sin’ of 2 Thes 2.3, the ‘lawless one’ of 2 Thes 2.8, the ‘beast’ of Rev 13.1-8, the ‘conqueror’ of Rev 6.2, and the ‘beast’ of Rev 19.19.
This despicable person is the end time World Dictator, who many believe will arise from a Revived Roman Empire in Europe. The implication is that America is effectively absent from the world scene!
What of China?
As discussed, the World Dictator is also a military leader with total military supremacy over mankind (Rev 13.1-4). He readily wages war on the earth, and a quarter of the world’s population dies as a result of war at the time of the 4th seal (Rev 6.8). Later, as already suggested, at the sounding of the 6th trumpet he may engage in another major man-man war, this time in Israel. Using a dual prophetic interpretation of Daniel 11 some see an army from the north and east rebelling against the World Dictator (Dan 11.40-45). Recall that at the pouring out of the 6th bowl of wrath, the Euphrates dries up and provides a way for the ‘kings of the east’ (Rev 16.12). It is interesting to note that the Euphrates is already ‘drying up’, link. Then at the 6th trumpet, demonic activity draws a massive army (200 million strong) and the resulting war kills a further third of mankind (Rev 9.13-21).
Even if there is no man-man war, many speculate that the ‘kings from the east’ is a prophetic reference to the army of modern China, link. Today, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest army in the world (2.3m) with increasing hi-tech weaponry. This is well below 200 million, but note that the total population of china is 1.4 billion (2016). Furthermore, China has been building ‘The New Silk Road’ that will run from China’s coastline to Europe, through Central Asia and Iran. Train and road networks have been built across northern Iran to link Afghanistan with Turkey. The New Silk Road has now gone straight from the Shenzhen industrial zone on the South China Sea to the heart of Eastern Europe, link. Is this modern infrastructure a route for the ‘kings of the east’?
The Battle of Armageddon (Har-Magedon)
So what happens? As the 6th bowl of Revelation is poured out, demonic spirits entice the leaders of all the nations to gather for battle (Rev 16.12-16). As mentioned, the armies gather at a place called Armageddon in northern Israel (the valley or plain of Jezreel, near Mount Carmel). Whilst it may be the location of the last war between human armies, it is certainly the gathering place for the world’s armies as they prepare for the final war against Jerusalem and in particular for war against Christ and His armies – a unique man-God war (Rev 19.19)(Zech 12.2-9). Prophecy also suggests the type of weaponry used in this war. It could involve neutron bombs, since these vaporize flesh at close range (Zech 14.12), and nuclear devices since Malachi 4 refers to a time of fierce heat when attackers will be burnt to ashes.
This man-God war is the final war of the age – ‘the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev 16.14). The important point here is that Israel will not be alone since her God, the ‘Lion of Judah’ protects her:
As a lion roars … so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight for Mount Zion
The LORD will go forth and fight against those nations … and the armies of heaven follow Him
(Zech 14.3, Rev 19.14)
The battle is described in detail in Rev 19.11-21 and Zech 12-14. The world armies are defeated, the two beasts of Revelation 13 are cast into the lake of fire (Rev 19.20,21), the godless World Government is crushed and becomes ‘chaff’ in the wind (Dan 2.34,35), this present age ends and the millennial age starts. From this time onward Christ reigns from Jerusalem as King over all the earth (Zech 14.9)!
Israel’s Refining – Just One-third Survive
As mentioned, the last attack on Israel will focus on Jerusalem. Speaking of this traumatic time, the God of Israel says:
In that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (Zech 12.9)
But this war is not without great cost to the people of Israel. It is a final time of the refining of Israel such that they at last call upon their God:
It will come about in all the land, declares the Lord, “that one third shall be left … I will bring the one third through the fire, will refine them as silver … and test them as gold. They will call on My name … and they will say ‘the Lord is my God'” (Zech 13.8,9)
A Possible Timeline
There are many interpretations of the end time events described in Bible prophecy. But the popular futurist and pre-tribulation views of prophecy align well with the current world scenario and suggest the following timeline. It is concentrated around the last week of Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy (just seven years):
- the Gog-Magog war and humiliation of the Arab-Islamic nations (Ezek 38)
- the true church is removed (‘raptured’) from the earth (Mat 24.36-44)
- the world ruler (false messiah) is revealed (2 Thes 2.3)
- the world ruler makes a (false) covenant (Peace Treaty?) with Israel (Dan 9.27a)
- The world enters a few years of unparalleled trouble (wars, famine, death and martyrdom)
- Israel realizes she has made ‘a covenant with hell’ (Isa 28.15)
- the world ruler invades Israel (Dan 9.27b)
- the world ruler gathers all nations for war against Israel (Armageddon) (Rev 19.19)
- Jerusalem and Judah will be the focus of the invaders (Zech 12.2-3, 14.2)
- God strengthens Israel (Judah in particular) to defend Jerusalem (Zech 12.4-9)
- Ultimately, it is Christ and the armies from heaven who defeat the invading armies (Rev 19.20,21)
- Christ rules the millennial world from Jerusalem (Zech 14.8,9)
- In subsequent years, the Gentile nations go up to worship Christ in Jerusalem (Zech 14.16)
- After 1,000 years Satan again deceives the nations, leading to the ‘final’ Gog-Magog war (Rev 20.1-2, 7-10)
For an in-depth discussion of end time events and the ‘world ruler’ see world government.
See also Middle East War and Gog-Magog War
The Implications for YOU
End time prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes; the emergence of a World Government, the emergence of Israel, the emergence of electronic ID, and the ubiquitous climate change. You are being swept into a humanistic, godless and potentially brutal World Government or New World Order. Sooner or later this system will require you to receive the mark of Revelation (the ultimate electronic ID) in order to buy or sell. And because of its hatred towards the God of the Bible, Christians and Jews, this world system will conspire against Israel. National armies will be mobilized for war against Israel. You may even be asked to have some part in this invasion.
The turmoil in the Middle East and the anger against Israel are signs that an invasion will take place in the foreseeable future. Within just 100 years Israel has gone from insignificance to the vortex of the world. The significant point is that when the invasion starts Jesus will return to earth. In fact, there is strong biblical support for the view that Christians (believers in Christ) will be taken from the earth prior to the emergence of the World Dictator and the coming world wars.
ISN’T IT TIME TO FIND THE REAL PURPOSE OF LIFE?
ISN’T IT TIME TO TRUST IN JESUS?