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Armageddon - The End of The World?

Will our generation see the end of the world? What form will it take? Will there be any survivors?

The same source that gives us the word “Armageddon” also provides the answers to the above questions. The strange thing is, that Armageddon is not the end that most people imagine. When the word “Armageddon” is mentioned, most think of nuclear war or meteors. Some fear worldwide plagues or ecological disaster. What does the Bible actually say about Armageddon? Is it any of these things? In fact, is it actually a terrible event or, have people misunderstood the Bible’s message?


First of all, the Bible tells us that Armageddon is taken from the name of a valley in Israel. The valley is called “Meggido” and it is the site of many historically decisive battles of the past. Many faithful kings of Israel defended their nation in this valley. The first mention of this event comes in the chapter of the book of “Revelation” in the Bible. There it tells us that “They gathered them together in the place that is called, in Hebrew, Har Mageddon” (Revelation 16.16). Now, at first glance it may seem that the Bible writer (the Apostle John), is referring to the actual place, the valley of Megiddo but, this is a mistake that is commonly made by those that read the Bible.

In the first chapter of “Revelation” we are informed that Jesus presents these visions “in signs” or, to put it another way, in symbolic language. To give an example to prove that most of the contents of Revelation is symbolic, consider two passages from that book. One is a description of “The lake of fire” or, as some Bible translations read, “Hell“. The Bible says that “Death and hades were hurled into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20.14). Now, this cannot be a real lake because “death” and “Hell” are not physical entities. The lake obviously represents something, in this case, destruction or an end. What the scripture is telling us is that death and the grave (the Greek word “Hades“) will come to an end when God’s kingdom comes (Matthew 6.10, Revelation 21.3,4).

Consider further the account in “Revelation” which says “I saw a wild beast ascending from the sea and it had seven heads and ten horns” (Revelation 12.3). Once again, this is not an actual living creature but a representation of something (for more information on what this beast represents please see my article about the prophecies in the “Apokalypse”). With this in mind, it is possible to decipher the real meaning of the Bible’s description of Armageddon.


When we read the preceding verses before the mention of Armageddon we see that this is an event, a battle. It involves the whole world “The kings of the earth”. But is it an actual physical military battle and does it take place at the location of the ancient Har Magedon in Israel?

The Bible also describes Armageddon as “The war of the great day of God, the Almighty” so, this is God's war. Who is God waging war against? “The kings of the earth”, earth's leaders, all of them. Now, it doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that all the nation's armies would not fit into the valley of Megiddo. In “Revelation” chapter 16 verse 13 and 14 it tells us that the nations are led and provoked by “Unclean spirits (or expressions), like frogs, that come out of the mouth of the dragon." According to “Revelation” 12.9, the “dragon” is none other than Satan, the Devil.

Throughout history, human beings have been segregated by nationalism and racism. This has come about because of pride of race or country. The devil has capitalized on this aspect of human nature and has manipulated the world into a situation where every nation is defensive, paranoid and aggressive in it's patriotism. No nation is willing to surrender it's sovereignty, even to our creator. But in the book of “Daniel”, there is a prophecy which runs parallel to the one about “Armageddon.” There Daniel warns us that God's kingdom will “Break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms” (Daniel 2.44). This is the cause of the war of Armageddon, namely that God's kingdom comes, as promised in the Lord's prayer. But the kingdom is rejected by the majority of mankind, and particularly by mankind's leaders. Of course, it is futile for humans to resist Almighty God, and the outcome of this war is inevitable.

Some believe that this will be an actual physical battle but, based on the above, this cannot be possible. God does not roam the earth using mankind's pathetic arsenal of weaponry. Man may have split the atom and created disgusting tools of destruction but, God is the actual designer of the atom and the maker of the awesome universe, which mankind cannot even fathom the size of. “Armageddon” is no battle, it is a formality, an execution.


Many point to the Bible's references to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and, they claim that there is where Armageddon takes place but, this is another misunderstanding of the symbolic language of the Bible. Jesus clearly told us that “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth fruits thereof” (Matthew 21.43). He was speaking to the leaders of physical Israel, the nation God had adopted and protected for centuries. Because of the unfaithfulness of the nation in general, and their rejection of the Messiah, God now offered the privilege of being part of the coming kingdom to “People of all the nations” (Zechariah 2.11). This is confirmed elsewhere in the Bible when God promises Abraham that “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22.18). Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah foretold that “All the nations” or, at least, people from out of all the nations, would be drawn to God at the end of man's failed systems (Isaiah 2.1-3).


The description of the “Tribes of Israel” given in “Revelation” is also symbolic. Upon close examination of the description it can be seen that the list does not match the original one of the tribes of Israel. The tribes of “Levi” and “Joseph” were not listed among the original tribes of Israel yet, the tribes of “Dan” and “Ephraim”, which were actual tribes, are not even mentioned in the Revelation account (Revelation 7.4-8). So why does the Bible mention Israel and Jerusalem in the prophecies of “Revelation”? The Apostle Paul reveals the answer in the book of “Galatians”. In chapter 3 verses 27-29, Paul tells us that “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek.” He goes on to reveal that “If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” So the physical nation of Israel was replaced by people of all nations who accept Jesus as the Messiah.

Many have pointed to the establishment of the state of Israel, in 1948, as fulfillment of Bible prophecy, pointing to, among other scriptures, “Ezekiel” 37.21-22, where it is written “I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel.” Once again, this is misunderstood by most. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Persian King Cyrus released the Jews from captivity in Babylon and sent them back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. It does not refer to the modern state of Israel, for the following reasons;

It was human governments that established the modern state of Israel, not God. There was no evidence of divine intervention, in fact, one of the reasons that the modern state of Israel was created was to make amends for the inhuman treatment of Jewish people during the second world war. Also, reading further in the book of “Ezekiel”, it says “One king shall be king to them all.” Modern Israel has never had a king and is very unlikely ever to have one. Jesus himself proclaimed to the nation of Israel, “Look, your house (the temple) is abandoned to you” (Matthew 23.38). “Isaiah's” prophecy speaks of many people “Going up to the mountain of the Lord”, on mount Zion but, before they do that, those people must “Beat their swords into plowshares” and “Learn war no more” (Isaiah 2.4). Does modern Israel, and it's allies, look like they will fulfill that part of the prophecy at any time in the future? Hardly, Israel is armed to the teeth with the most deadly weaponry available. Of course, individual, faithful Jews have since joined Christ, denounced warfare, and will be among those who “Inherit the kingdom”(Matthew 25.34).

Regarding the “city” and the “temple” which are referred to in the book of “Revelation”, this cannot be the literal city of Jerusalem because the dimensions given for it are too big. According to the description of Jerusalem, the city is “12,000 furlongs” (about 1,380 miles) in perimeter. This city would be about 14 times as large as modern Israel and it would tower almost 350 miles into outer space! (Revelation 21.15-17). No, the prophecy in Revelation is not speaking of the physical nation of Israel or the physical Jews. So what is it referring to then?

"A Great Multitude"

The mystery is finally solved when we read Paul's words at “Galatians” 6.15-16 where he writes “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many who walk according to this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” This is a spiritual nation, a new creation made up of people from all nations. In “Acts” chapter 10, Peter tells us that “God is not partial (prejudiced) but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” The book of “Acts” later reveals that “God at the first, did visit the gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15.14). Paul confirms this when he writes “Ye are come unto Mount Sion (Jerusalem) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12.22). This Jerusalem is made up of people who are “Bought from the earth.” What is their purpose? “To rule as kings over the earth” (Revelation 5.10). This was part of the “New covenant” that God made with the first Christians. When Jesus validated this covenant, with his blood, the old covenant ceased to exist, and Israel, as a nation, ceased to be part of God's eternal purposes. The temple was destroyed, never to be rebuilt. Paul announced to the Athenians "God dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17.24), and that the physical temple was a "shadow" of the heavenly one (see Hebrews chapter 8).


“Armageddon”, the real “Armageddon”, is not a nuclear war, and it is not an asteroid or a plague. The Bible clearly says that, at the end of the world, “They shall know that I am the LORD (Jehovah)” (Ezekiel 38.23). If the world were to end in a nuclear war, no-one would consider it an act of God but, the foolishness and evil of men! Furthermore, God will not allow this earth to be ruined or destroyed. At Revelation 11.18, Jesus reassures us that “God will bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” Some have quoted the scripture at “2nd Peter” chapter 3 as evidence that this earth will be destroyed by God but, once again, this is a misunderstanding. First of all, why would God stop humans from “Ruining the earth”, only then to destroy it Himself?! When the Bible speaks of a “New earth” it is using symbolic language again. To prove this, consider the further words of Peter in the same letter. He goes on to say that there are also “New heavens.” Now, we could all understand why God might want to replace the earth, after all the human antics of the past thousands of years but, why would he replace the heavens, the sky, planets and stars? Also how does one “burn” the sun? Psalm 104.5 assures us that “God laid the foundations of the earth, That it should not be removed for ever.” The use of the word “earth” in the second letter of Peter obviously isn't referring to the literal earth. Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus promises that “The meek shall inherit the earth” but, how can they inherit something that will be destroyed? The Bible sometimes uses the word “earth” to describe people or rulers (see 1st Kings 2.1,2 and Psalm 96.1). The literal earth will never be destroyed, by man or God.

Armageddon is God's mechanism for removing wickedness, selfishness and pollution. It will be accompanied by supernatural events on a global scale. A different translation of Revelation 11.18 reads “God will destroy them that destroy the earth”, quite a statement, for a prophecy written thousands of years before global warming! (Revelation 11.18).

Jesus warns that, unfortunately, “Most will not listen” to God's pleas for people to change their selfish ways. Once the earth is cleansed, a remarkable future awaits those that are faithful. That future is discussed in the my other article “A Gift For Everyone.”

Armageddon is God's war, the real “War to end all wars.” It is good news for those that love God and are searching for him. It is bad news for the selfish, the wicked and the proud. When will it come? Jesus made it clear that we will never know the exact date (Matthew 24.36) but, he did give us strong indicators of it's arrival. To name just two, “Great earthquakes in divers places" (or as another translation puts it, "In one place after another”), (Matthew 24.36), and the “Ruining of the earth” (Revelation 11.18). The words "divers" and “one place after another" literally mean subsequently, ongoing, regular. The word “great” emphasizes the severity of these events. Seismologists have confirmed that during the past century, and particularly in the last 10 years, earthquake activity around the world has intensified in frequency and severity. Experts can offer no explanation for this phenomenon.

Good News

Ours is the first and only generation to witness the “ruining” (or spoiling) of the earth”. Of course, these are just aspects of the whole prophecy. Jesus gave us a composite prophecy, which meant that all aspects of the sign would have to occur at once, in the same generation. The Apostles later added to the prophecy with other aspects, all of which are being stunningly fulfilled today (see 2 Timothy 3, 1 Timothy 4.3, Matthew 24.14).

Jesus said “When you behold these things, lift your heads and rejoice for your deliverance (Armageddon) is near” and “Truly I tell you, this generation (those that witness these events) will by no means pass away until all these things occur” (Matthew 24.34). Our generation will witness the greatest, most momentous day in human history, the awe inspiring day of Armageddon.{/justify}
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