Chapter 13



The awful culmination of the Great Tribulation will be the Battle of Armageddon. This battle gets it's name from Revelation 16:14-16. Actually it might be better to speak of the "campaign" of Armageddon, since it is not one single battle but a series of events in which all the nations of the world are drawn in as participants. The word "Armageddon" is formed from the Hebrew Words "Har" or mountain, and "Megiddo," a city on a hill--actually a tell--in the northern part of the Holy Land, inland from Mount Carmel (near the modern seaport of Haifa). It is at the "crossroads of the crossroads" where the ancient Via Maris ("Way of the Sea") crosses the central transverse highway of Israel. This commands a view of the Valley of Jezreel, the "breadbasket of Israel." It was a strategic command post for control of the entire area for many centuries. The transverse highway led to the other major caravan route of the day, "The King's Highway." Travelers from Egypt to Syria, Babylon, Persia, and Asia Minor would normally pass this way, and could be taxed by whoever controlled the city. For this reason, the city was often conquered by the various powers which occupied the Holy Land.

Two important issues need to be considered. As may be seen from the following section, Jerusalem is actually the focus of the battle, but Megiddo, is 55 miles away from Jerusalem. This may be understood when the huge numbers of soldiers involved in this battle are considered. This area, Megiddo, and the Valley of Jezreel, (also known as the Plain of Esdraelon) will be the staging area where the multi-national troops will assemble prior to their advance on Jerusalem. Haifa, at the West end of the Valley, is the logical seaport for major troop landings.

The other issue is the question of who is fighting whom in this battle. It is apparent that at the end of his career, Antichrist is fighting against various alliances, and his empire appears to be crumbling. On the other hand, according to Revelation 19, all the forces gathered for that battle will be arrayed together against Jesus Christ. Verse 19 states "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army." The probable scenario is that Antichrist, realizing that his power is waning, manages to unite all the forces of earth together against their common enemy--The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Like all non-believers do, they think they can prevail against Him!

This dreadful battle is the subject of many Old and New Testament passages. It is actually a series of inter-related disasters. In this section we will first look at some of the Old Testament predictions about this terrible day. These passages remind us that God's chosen people, Israel, and her capital, Jerusalem are the focus of the campaign. They also show God's compassion for Israel. We will then examine the steps which lead to the battle, and to the glorious return of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Old Testament Previews of The Battle of Armageddon


The post-exilic prophet Zechariah had much to say about the close of the age in which we live. God Himself will fight against those who will gather against Jerusalem.

This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem." (Zechariah 12:1-2)

The term on that day used frequently by prophets, is a clue that the passage is referring to the Day of the Lord, i.e. the great tribulation period:

"On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

"On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.'

"On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.

"The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah.

"On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.

"On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem."
(Zechariah 12:3-9)

Near the end of the coming tribulation period, Jerusalem is to come under military siege and be overrun by foreign armies one more time. Zechariah announces that this will happen just prior to Messiah's final return to the city,

A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
(Zechariah 14:1-5)



The Book of Daniel is known as "The Apocalypse of The Old Testament." The visions of this book establish the framework of the entire history of evil world empires, from the time of Nebuchadnezzar (and even before), until the final despotic rule of Antichrist. In the ninth chapter there is a brief allusion to the Battle of Armageddon where he will be defeated. This one verse covers three and one half years: from the "middle" of the "seven," until the end of that time.

He [the man of sin] will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:27)

The eleventh chapter of Daniel apparently foretells some of the activity of Antichrist's military campaigns, leading up to his bold establishment of himself as ruler, and the "abomination of desolation" at the mid-point of the Tribulation. The first twenty verses of this chapter describe the rise of Alexander's Greece (verse 3) at the end of the Medo-Persian era, then the emergence of the Roman Empire as a "King of the North." At verse 21 the scene shifts from the ancient Roman empire to the future appearance of a contemptible person who will seize the kingdom by intrigue (conspiracy).

At the height of his power he will decide to break his covenant with Israel. At that time he will abolish the daily sacrifice (in the newly rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem), and the False Prophet will set up the "abomination of desolation," which Revelation 13:14-15 reveals will be an image of the First Beast which is to be worshiped.

Most conservative commentators find the events of Daniel 11 were fulfilled to some degree by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

"At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation."
(Daniel 11:28-31)

A great gap or "parenthesis" is found in Daniel Chapter 11. The first part of this chapter is a long history of ancient rulers, the Selucids and the Ptolemies, who struggled back and forth for many years between one another--with Israel in the middle. At verse 36 there is a sudden break in the text and Scripture leaps over centuries of intervening history down to "the time of the end." Then the final war will begin by a final Egyptian king invading Israel from the South and being met by the opposing forces of the last king of the North.

"The king [man of sin] will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.

"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land
[Israel]. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas [the Mediterranean and Dead Seas] at the beautiful holy mountain [Jerusalem]. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him." (Daniel 11:36-45)



The prophet Joel also describes this final invasion,

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand--a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste--nothing escapes them.
(Joel 2:1-3)

Joel wrote of the approaching invasion of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar in his own day, and also about the final invasion of foreign armies that would come just prior to Messiah's appearance in power and glory. The clue to the end-time application is the phrase "the Day of the LORD" which occurs again at the end of the following section:

They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountain tops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle. At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.

Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
(Joel 2:4-11)

God in mercy has previously saved the godly remnant in Israel at the mid-tribulation point and taken them safely to refuge in Petra for the last half of the tribulation period. Still, Yahweh calls to the remaining Jews in Israel to turn to Him, even at the late hour in which they are now living.
Joel's words apply well to both the approaching captivity in Babylon--which was on the near horizon in Joel's day- - but are even more relevant to the situation during the end time period. God pleads with His people to come back to Him, even at the midnight hour.

'Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing--grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, 'Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?''
(Joel 2:12-17)

Joel also foresees the final conversion of Israel at the very last minute--just preceding the final return of Messiah. In mercy and grace God will at that time turn one third of the nation back to himself. In fact the prayers of this remnant are necessary for Messiah's return to His own land for the final time. This eleventh-hour conversion of great numbers of Jews to Messiah could well amount to more than one million new believers coming into the kingdom just as the Messiah is returning to the land for the final time:

Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. The LORD will reply to them: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. I will drive the northern army far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land, with its front columns going into the eastern sea and those in the rear into the western sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise." Surely he has done great things.

Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things. Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm--my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls."
(Joel 2:18-32)

Joel's apocalyptic warning is but one of many in the Old Testament which has a double fulfillment. Joel warned against the devastating invasions of Nebuchadnezzar that lay just ahead in his own day. But the Spirit of God also had in mind a greater and more complete fulfillment of this passage at the end of the age in which we now live.


The Seven Vials of God's Wrath

These vial judgments seem to come in rapid succession, leading up to the Battle of Armageddon. Little detail is given, but they are supernatural judgments that seem to affect the whole earth.

The First Vial - Damaging Sores

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."

The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.
(Revelation 16:1-2)

The first vial will cause ugly and painful sores. If mankind has the ability to develop biological warfare, just imagine what the Creator could do in this area. The result is painful, but evidently not deadly. Actually, all of these plagues cause torment rather than death.

The Second Vial - Deadly Seas

The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died. (Revelation 16:3)

This is reminiscent of the plague of Exodus 7 in Moses' times, when the Nile River and all the water in Egypt was turned to blood. In this case, it will affect "the sea," meaning at least the Mediterranean, and perhaps all of the oceans of the earth.

The Third Vial - Deplorable Springs

The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve."

And I heard the altar respond: "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments."
(Revelation 16:4-7)

This judgment is a continuation of the last one, spreading the horror of bloody water from the seas to all sources of water. As repugnant as this plague is, it is just because rebellious mankind has shed the blood of the saints and the prophets.

The Fourth Vial - Dangerous Sunlight

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. (Revelation 16:8-9)

Many natural causes could account for this scorching by the Sun. Violent eruptions of the Sun itself, a slight change of orbit, or even depletion of the ozone layer. around the earth, could cause this.

It is very significant that, even with these stern reminders of the power and anger of God, rebellious people still refuse to repent.


The Fifth Vial - Dark Seizure

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. (Revelation 16:10-11)

Coming on the heels of terrible burns from the Sun, there will be complete darkness and the cold that comes from this lack of light. Chills are common among those who have suffered burns, and this will make their situation worse yet. However, instead of repenting, mankind will curse God.

The Sixth Vial - Drying of the Strait

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (Revelation 16:12)

These events will lead up to the great confrontation with Christ: The Battle of Armageddon. The drying of the Euphrates River by angelic agencies will make it easier for far eastern troops to enter the Middle East to prepare for the battle.

Demonic Spirits

Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."
Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
(Revelation 16:13-16)

The invitation to this battle is not by conventional political alliances, but by a demonic seduction.

The Seventh Vial - Destructive Scourge

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men.

And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible
. (Revelation 16:17-21)

This judgment is identical to the Great Earthquake which will be described below.


The "Campaign" of Armageddon

As we have said, it is obvious that the final conflict of the Tribulation is not one simple battle, but a complex series of military movements and engagements. Biblical scholars have proposed a variety of possible steps in this process. It is not wise to be dogmatic about the exact sequence. Like the prophecies of the first coming of Messiah, the various aspects were known, but there were many ways it could be envisioned. No one could have written the specific order and details of the Gospel before Christ came to fulfill the predictions about His earthly life and ministry.

Here are key elements of Christ's second coming, and a proposed sequence. Some of these features have already been discussed, and some of them will be explained more fully in the next chapter.

1 - Antichrist will invade Israel, then take his troops to the South (North Africa, including Egypt and Libya - Daniel 11:40-43). His economic dictatorship will be challenged, involving military activity during the second half of the Tribulation. Toward the end, the "King of the South" (probably Egypt, with Libya and others) will rebel. He will bring his troops through Israel, and quell the disturbances.

2 - Antichrist will be disturbed by news from the East and the North, so he will return to establish a staging area in the Valley of Armageddon ("between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain" - Mt. Zion - Daniel 11:44-45). He will return to Israel and set up his command post in the bread basket of Israel. The Valley of Armageddon is just 20 miles inland from the port city of Haifa, through which sea-borne armies of the world can enter.

3 - Kings and armies of all nations will be summoned to the battlefield. The Euphrates River will be dried up to enable the huge armies from the East to come (Revelation 9:14-16; 16:12-16). In a last futile effort to unify the armies of the Earth, and to divert attention from the fact that his strangle-hold on world powers is weakening, Antichrist will declare war against Jesus Christ Himself, the common enemy of all the debased people of the Tribulation. The object of his wrath will be the chosen people in Jerusalem.

4 - Destruction of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-3; 14:1-2). Jerusalem will be devastated by the overpowering might of Antichrist's forces.

Many fine Bible teachers, including the late Ray C. Stedman, see the fulfillment at this point of the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39. In this view, the war, one of the campaigns of the Last War, will be against Israel, and will be provoked by Russia and her allies. See Daniel by Ray C. Stedman.

Other respected prophecy scholars believe that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Antichrist will mount a futile attempt to attack the protected remnant who have fled, probably to the Petra/Bozra area (Micah 2:12; Jeremiah 49:13-14). Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, following the lead by Arnold Fruchtenbaum, believe this will be part of the campaign of Armageddon. Ray Stedman held to this view as well.

5 - Ominous signs will turn men's attention to the skies (Luke 21:25-27). Jesus will appear in the heavens, coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, utterly destroying the gathered enemies with the sword from His mouth (Revelation 19:11-16). As suggested before, He would likely have been present on the Earth since the time of His parousia ("coming") at the Rapture, appearing and disappearing as needed for the benefit of persecuted believers, like He did before His ascension. But at this momentous event He will make His presence known in such a way that "every eye will see Him" (Revelation 1:7).

The annihilation of Christ's enemies will include the harvest judgments (of wheat and of grapes) described in the next chapter.

6 - Jesus will appear, blood-stained from the battle, to the sheltered remnant at Bozra, near Petra, presumably to lead them from exile, back to the Holy City (Isaiah 63:1-6; Micah 2:12-13).

7 - When Christ's feet actually touch ground it will be at the Mount of Olives, and this event will trigger the great Earth-changing earthquake which is discussed below (Zechariah 14:4-5; Acts 1:9-12; Revelation 16:17-19).

8 - Babylon will be destroyed (Revelation chapters 17 and 18). Revelation 16:19 implies that the destruction of Babylon takes place at the time of the great earthquake. There is considerable debate about whether or not the Babylonian system of world commerce and spiritual prostitution will have anything to do with a literal, rebuilt city of Babylon in Iraq. However, since Saddam Hussein, the greatest builder of our time, has managed to restore the city somewhat, and plans to do more, only time will tell how this facet of the prophecy will unfold. Isaiah 13:1-20 indicates that the literal city of Babylon still has a devastating destruction coming, after which, it will never be inhabited again. Zechariah 5:5-11 also indicates that there will be future "wickedness" in a restored city of Babylon.

More likely both the destruction of the literal city of Babylon (and the nation of Iraq) as well as the destruction of "Mystery Babylon" are implied. This was Ray Stedman's view for instance. The latter (Revelation 17 and 18) aspects of Babylon include the apostate church in league with the western confederacy of nations, and also the world-wide institutions of trade and commerce which are part of the present world order. False religion sprang from the ancient city of Babylon after the Flood, and now has polluted the entire world, spiritually speaking. But commerce, trade and economic systems in the world, including capitalism, have likewise become corrupted and must be replaced by righteous means of economics under Messiah's reign.


Harmony of Passages In Revelation About Armageddon

The Book of Revelation can not be taken in strict chronological order. The various sequences of events, such as the Messages to the Seven Churches, the Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, etc. are chronological, but each section stands alone to describe some aspect of the future. (See the charts in the Appendices to see how these segments fit together.)

The Battle of Armageddon certainly comes at the end of the seven years of the Tribulation, but references to it may be found in six places in the Book of Revelation. It serves as the end point of several of the separate sequences found in the book. A study of these six references helps us understand the total picture of the future.

You will notice that most of the Scripture references in this section are also quoted in another place. We repeat them here for the sake of clarity.

The Sixth Seal - Revelation 6:12-17

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great
day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

This first description comes very early in the Book of Revelation, but it is near the end of the Seven Seals. The Seventh Seal - Silence in Heaven - is not an event in itself, but is the introduction to the next segment of the book, the Seven Trumpets. "When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)

Signs in the heavens and a great, geography-changing earthquake are part of the description of the Sixth Seal, indicating that it actually does take place at the end of the seven years. Some commentators take this to be an earlier occurrence of these things, but if that were the case, the Battle of Armageddon with it's accompanying signs would be anticlimactic.

From this it may be concluded that the Seven Seals cover the whole period of the Tribulation. This is perfectly fitting since it is given at the beginning of the events of this period, and serves as an overview of the entire seven years.

The Sixth Trumpet - Revelation 9:13-21; 11:13

The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.

A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
(Revelation 9:13-21)

Everything about this battle is too grand to be a minor campaign of the Tribulation Period. It can not be the final carnage of the Battle of Armageddon, since all the destruction of that climactic event will be accomplished by Jesus Christ Himself! (See Revelation 19:11-21 below.)

It could, however, very well be a major aspect of the military events which frustrate Antichrist and cause him to refocus the attention of all the world's forces on their common enemy in Israel: The Lord Jesus Christ. (See notes on Daniel 11:36-45 above.)

It is also very significant that this battle is called the Second Woe. The Seventh Trumpet, which is The Third Woe, in chapter 11, is Christ taking control of the kingdoms of the world and the coming judgments. This, of course will take place immediately after the Battle of Armageddon.

The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great--and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
(Revelation 11:14-19)

The Winepress of God's Wrath - Revelation 14:14-20

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.
Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe."
The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
(Revelation 14:14-20)

This is the next place in the Book of Revelation which evidently refers to the Battle of Armageddon. It is called "the great wine press of the wrath of God" (v.19). The battlefield is some 200 miles long! There will be blood up to the horses' bridles (v.20). We have a picture given to us of utter destruction!

Sixth and Seventh Vials of God's Wrath - Revelation 16:12-21

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.

Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
(Revelation 16:12-21)

Again, the similarities between this passage and the earlier ones in Revelation can only be explained by the fact that this pivotal event is given in relation to several separate sequences so that the reader will know how to put them all together. The Battle of Armageddon is the common anchor of all of these segments.

War Against The Lamb - Revelation 17:14

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

This verse is part of the description of the ten kings who will form Antichrist's governmental alliance.

The Coming of Christ as King of Kings - Revelation 19:11-21

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great."

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
(Revelation 19:11-21)

In the next chapter we will discuss the Glorious Return of Jesus Christ to the Earth. As this passage shows, His coming in glory will take place at the very end of the Battle of Armageddon. Antichrist and kings of earth will be assembled to make war against Him. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be thrown in to the Lake of Fire, and rest of the rebels will be killed with the sword from Christ's mouth, which is symbolic of His Word.

Signs in the Sun, Moon and Stars -- Luke

The remainder of the events described below either happen at the same time, or in rapid sequence.

"Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
(Matthew 24:29-31)

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:25-27)

Jesus Himself gave this sign which actually accompanies His return. Notice that there is a gathering of the elect associated with this event also. This can not be the Rapture of the church. As shown before, the church, as such, is never mentioned during the Tribulation period. This event, immediately after His return to Earth, will be the gathering of the believers who are left on the Tribulation-torn planet.

Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

"'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

"'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
(Matthew 13:24-30)

Believers will be "gathered into the barn" so they can populate the Millennial Kingdom which will begin immediately after this. Non-believers will also be gathered together for destruction at this time so that the Millennium may begin with only believers. More will be said about this judgment in the next chapter.

The Great Earthquake

When we listed the various portions of Revelation which refer to the Battle of Armageddon, it was obvious that one of the major aspects of this great judgment would be an earthquake of such magnitude that there has never been such a great one before! It will literally sink every island and shake down the mountains, and will transform the geography of the Earth completely. (Revelation 6:5; Revelation 9:19; Revelation 11:13, Revelation 16:18-21).

The Promised Land, in the providence of God, lies immediately adjacent to the African Rift Zone, the deepest known break in the earth's crust. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah at the Southeastern shores of the Dead Sea in the time of Abraham (c. 2100-1900 BC) is vividly described in Genesis 19. Archaeological research suggests that a great earthquake opened the rift zone releasing "brimstone" (sulfur) and volatile petroleum gases which caused a terrible firestorm.

In Zechariah 14:4-5 we are told:

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Consider this amazing Old Testament prophecy in the light of what the angel promised the Disciples on the day that Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives,

"This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)

This ultimate earthquake will evidently be preceded by others, leading up to "the big one." Jesus gave earthquakes as one of the signs of the "beginning of birth pains," the period before the beginning of the Tribulation, between His First and Second Advents. (Matthew 24:7-8).

The great earthquake of Ezekiel 38:19-20 could be a fore shock, coinciding with the war at the Second Seal of Revelation 6, or it could yet be another reference to the Battle of Armageddon, depending on where this battle occurs. There are good Bible scholars on both sides of this issue.

While some people seek to demonstrate that current earthquake activity is increasing dramatically, there is need for caution on this point, earthquakes are not yet increasing. For balance on this issue, see Appendix- Earthquakes, Signs and Wonders.

Next Chapter

 Index Page Prefatory  Chapter 1
  Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4
  Chapter 5   Chapter 6   Chapter 7
  Chapter 8   Chapter 9   Chapter 10
 Chapter 11   Chapter 12   Chapter 13
 Chapter 14   Chapter 15  Appendices