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 the coming Gog-Magog War
Threats from the nations
The timing of this last Middle East war against Israel appears to be at the very end of this age, just prior to the return of Christ to the earth. God says:
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 gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle … (Zech 14.2)
I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone … though all nations of the earth are gathered against it (Zech 12.3)
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! 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:
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war …
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 implied, this person 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, at the sounding of the 6th trumpet, he may engage in another major war, this time in the Middle East. Recall that at the pouring out of the 6th bowl of wrath, the Euphrates dries up and provides a path for the ‘kings of the east’ (Rev 16.12). 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). In total, perhaps half of mankind die as a result of these end time wars. Some speculate that this battle involves China (kings from the east), link. As of 2012, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was the largest army in the world (2.3m) with increasing hi-tech weaponry.
The Battle of Armageddon
It is this last gathering of forces that is especially significant. As the 6th bowl of Revelation is poured out, demonic spirits entice the leaders of the nations to gather for battle (Rev 16.12-16). The armies gather at a place called Armageddon (Hebrew ‘har megiddo’ or ‘Mountain of Megiddo’, Rev 16.16). This is located in northern Israel in the valley or plain of Jezreel, near Mount Carmel. It is an ideal location for amassing large armies and may also be the location of the last war between human armies (the Gog-Magog war). But 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.
What Happens? A Possible Timeline
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 14. The world armies are defeated (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. This is the time when Christ reigns from Jerusalem as King over all the earth (Zech 14.9)!
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:
- the true church is removed from the earth (Mat 24.36-44)
- the world ruler (false messiah) is revealed (2 Thes 2.3)
- the world ruler makes a (false) Peace Treaty with Israel (Dan 9.27a)
- Israel realizes she has made ‘a covenant with hell’ (Isa 28.15)
- the Gog-Magog war and humiliation of the Arab-Islamic nations (Ezek 38)
- 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)
Another interpretation of Daniel and the tribulation period can be found in the recent book: “The Coming War of Jesus Christ and the Ten Year Tribulation Beginning in 2016”, link. The book is about prophecies in the Bible, mostly from the book of Daniel, that include interpretations quite different to those found in books about end times.