Where is Armageddon?

Category: The End Times 260 13

The Battle of Armageddon is perhaps the most famous battle that anyone has ever heard of. Interestingly, it has not happened yet. We learn of this great battle in Revelation 16:16 where John tells us: “Then they gathered the kings together to the place in Hebrew called Armageddon.”

There is widespread agreement among most Bible scholars that this is a reference to the great final battle before the second coming of Christ. It is here that the Antichrist will gather his army to destroy the people of God. He will nearly succeed but Christ’s return will bring his plan to an end. Where exactly is Armageddon? What information does the Bible provide us with concerning its location and meaning? This article will examine the place called Armageddon.

The Mount of Megiddo

Revelation 16:16 tells us that the place is called Armageddon in the Hebrew language. This naturally points us to the land of Israel for the location of the place. The Hebrew name for Armageddon is har-megiddon. This means “mount” or “mountain (har) of Megiddo.” Megiddo (see picture at top of page) was an ancient city about 60 miles north of Jerusalem near the plains of Megiddo and Esdraelon (large plains in northern Israel) [see map]. It was here that the Old Testament saw some of its greatest battles (Judges 4; 7; 5:19; 2 Kings 9:27; 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:20-22).

Source: http://www.lifeishid.com/ARMAGEDDON.html
Source: http://www.lifeishid.com/ARMAGEDDON.html

Since the plains around Megiddo are not large enough for the world’s armies to gather to, then it seems that Megiddo must be the central point for the final battle. Scholars typically point to Revelation 14:20 which describes a 180 mile area for the final battle.[1] Scholar G. K. Beale, in his commentary on Revelation, has a different view. He believes that Armageddon is a symbol for the whole world. He says, “The battles in Israel associated with [Megiddo] and the nearby mountain become a typological symbol of the last battle against the saints and Christ, which occurs throughout the earth.”[2]

However, evidence seems to point to Armageddon to being a symbol, not for the whole world, but a symbol for Jerusalem. Beale notes that the battle of Armageddon must be a symbol, and not a literal battle at Megiddo, since the Old Testament, without exception, places the final battle at Jerusalem (Ezekiel 38 and 39; Zechariah 12:2-9; 14:2). Ezekiel 39:2, 17 speak about the Antichrist fighting against the “mountains of Israel.”[3] The “mountain of Megiddo” may be a reference to the “mountains of Israel” in Ezekiel.[4] Beale says:

“A figurative view of ‘Armageddon’ is also apparent from the fact that no ‘mountain’ of Megiddo has ever existed, though even in OT times the city of Megiddo would have sat prominently on a tell.” A tell is an artificial mound that dots the landscape of the Middle East. A tell is essentially the ruins of ancient towns and cities. In the Ancient Middle East, people would build their cities on the ruins of older cities. These cities would naturally get higher and higher to the point where it looks like they lay on top of a hill or small mountain. It is possible that har could refer to the tell that of Megiddo but it is equally possible that “the mountain” of Megiddo may be a symbol to the “mountains of Israel.”[5]

Why was Megiddo used as a symbol for a battle at Jerusalem? It was at Megiddo in Old Testament times that the Israelites were attacked by wicked nations: Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 9:27; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:20-22 (these last two passages have a connection with the Euphrates River like Revelation 16 does). It is also possible that “the mountain of Megiddo” may refer to Mount Carmel, which is in the area. This is where the prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Ball, a pagan god (1 Kings. 18:19-46). Beale says:

“All the passages mentioned above recording events occurring in the vicinity of Megiddo may stand behind the reference in Rev. 16:16, so that John’s reference to this place name may ring with the following typological and prophetic associations: the defeat of kings who oppress God’s people (Judg. 5;19-21), the destruction of false prophets (1 Kgs. 18:40), the death of mislead kings, which led to mourning (2 Kgs 23:39; 2 Chron. 35:20-25), and the expectation, in direct connection with the one ‘whom they have pierced,’ of a future destruction of ‘all the nations that come against Jerusalem’ and mourning by all Israel’s tribes (Zech. 12:9-12).”

It is also interesting to note that it may be Zechariah 12:11 that stands behind “the battle of Armageddon.” It is in this verse that we find the only other mention of Megiddo in an end-time text. It is also here that we find Megiddo spelled in Hebrew as megiddon instead of the common Megiddo.[6] This chapter also refers to the last battle taking place at Jerusalem and not anywhere else.

This information shows us that “the battle of Armageddon” will not take place at Megiddo, but at Jerusalem. Since Megiddo was a place that stuck in the minds of ancient Israelites because of its great battles. Megiddo is used in Revelation to symbolize the last great battle where God will destroy his enemies and set up his eternal kingdom.

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[1] John Walvoord. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966.) Pg. 239. John MacArthur. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005.) Pg.  2026.

[2] G. K. Beale. The Book of Revelation. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. (Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Publishing, 1999.) Pg. 838.

[3] Beale, 838.

[4] Ibid., 841.

[5] Ibid., 838-839.

[6] Ibid., 840-841.

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13 thoughts on “Where is Armageddon?

  1. Tim C

    But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem – Hebrews 12:22

    Good article but are we referring to a natural Jerusalem or the Heavenly Jerusalem, which Paul refers to in Hebrews 12:22? Remembering that the old has passed away, and the natural came first, now the spiritual is revealed.

    Do we really think that this is about a war on earth ? “my kingdom is not of this world”

    I think you’ve made some good inroads to the whole Megiddo error but need to take it a step further. Armageddon is as you say to be taken figuratively, but also needs to be seen ‘spiritually”

    IN seeing this the people of God are far better placed to discern the day and manner of this battle.

    God Bless

    Reply
  2. mmcclellan2

    I would like to start out by asking you what you mean by “spiritually?” This can mean a couple different things depending on who you talk to? Whether or not Armageddon is a battle against the natural or heavenly Jerusalem is an interesting topic. Whenever Old Testament (OT) passages are taken in their historical-literary context they are clearly pointing to the natural Jerusalem (in Israel). The main question one needs to ask is whether or not we should allow Hebrews 12:22 to completely reinterpret everything that the OT prophets spoke about?

    I believe in taking scripture in its historical-literary context and allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. The only way I believe that an OT passage should be taken in a way that is contrary to its original context is if the New Testament (NT) demands another interpretation. Does the New Testament demand that the Jerusalem at the final battle be the church? I think a case can be made for either interpretation and I am open to both. Another possible interpretation is that the Jerusalem at Armageddon (and in Zechariah) is the earthly city of Jerusalem after the time when a remnant of Jews has converted to Christianity which Paul tells us about in Romans 11 (thus being a combination of both views). Whatever the case Armageddon has become a symbol for the final battle just before the second coming of Christ.

    Reply
    1. timc62

      Hi there and thanks for your reply. What I mean by saying “spiritually” is nothing more than seeking to discern the will of God according to the Spirit of God.
      As well as using Hebrews 12:22 as a guide to interpretation I would also add Colossians 2:17; These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

      But we also know that the manner/weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2Cor10:4) Human warfare is of the flesh (James 4:1). A literal battle that is in accordance with the powers of this present world must be ruled out. Even as Peter sought to defeat the enemies of Christ with a sword only to hear Christ declare “my kingdom is not of this world, if it were my servant would fight to prevent my arrest” (john 18:36)

      Armageddon speaks of that place where the people of God (Jerusalem) battle against evil. And that battle is according to grace and truth. It is the place where God gathers that nations of the earth together to ultimately defeat evil but that place is not a geographic location limited to a 7 year timeframe, or whatever we might perceive.

      Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage,
      And the people plot a vain thing?
      2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
      And the rulers take counsel together,
      Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
      3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
      And cast away Their cords from us.”

      This psalm is in essence is a reference to Armageddon. Christ is the centre and purpose of all these things. As you rightly point out, Spiritual Jerusalem is at the heart of this battle, and so too are all of the peoples of the world in every generation since Christ.

      We have been taught and believed many end-time doctrines that conspire against the children of God coming to maturity. It is as both Paul and Christ foretold, that “many” false teachers and false prophets would come to Christendom to deceive the very elect. When we suppose that this battle is simply a worldly battle on hold until a period briefly prior to His Coming we are misleading the flock and fooling them into a sense of complacency.

      There is certainly as sense of this fight intensifying in our day as the people of the earth, particularly western culture, take their stand against the Lord by seeking to remove truth, understanding and knowledge concerning all manner of things. But this is the battle, they are being drawn into unbeknown to them.

      Hope that all makes some kind of sense, I agree with much of what you wrote in the article but it’s present reality is much closer perhaps than many perceive.

      Blessings in Christ

      Reply
  3. mmcclellan2

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry for taking all week to get back to you, but it seems more and more that weekends are usually the best time for me to sit down and reply to comments. First, I just want to say that I believe that Colossians 2:17 should be understood in its context. That context is the Old Testament Law. The Law looked forward to Christ and was fulfilled by Christ. But how does this allow us to reinterpret everything that appears in the Old Testament? Second, why must a literal battle be ruled out because of 2 Corinthians 10:4 and James 4:1? The same goes with Psalm 2:1. Just because a Christian does not fight with the weapons of this world does not mean that there will not be a battle in the future where Satan and the Antichrist will try to destroy God’s followers. Just because Christians do not use earthly weapons does not mean Satan does not. In fact, Satan has done this over and over again throughout history (physical persecution).

    James 4:1 speaks about the battle against our sin nature. How does this verse demand a complete reinterpretation of the battle of Armageddon? Psalm 2:1 is speaking about man’s rebellion against God, but once again, how does this rule out a literal battle in the future? Yes, Christ is at the center of the entire Bible, but that doesn’t mean that we go and find some kind of “spiritual” meaning in every single verse and use that to reinterpret everything according to these meanings.

    Yes, I agree that Christians do not use the weapons of this world and that we battle our sin natures, but I fail to see how that demands a “spiritual” interpretation of Armageddon. Yes, our fight is “spiritual” as it is against sin and Satan, but, as I mentioned earlier, Satan’s battle against Christians also includes physical persecution (sometimes with the use of armies). We simply take the Bible in context and use Scripture to interpret Scripture.

    Here is why I believe that Armageddon is a real battle. Revelation 16:16 tells of the kings of the east coming to Armageddon. In context, the “kings” in this passage are a reference to the ten kings of Revelation 17:12-14. These ten kings will give their authority and power to the Beast to fight against the Lamb (Jesus). Is this only a “spiritual” war that they are fighting against Christ and his church? I interpret this to mean that they are going to persecute God’s people.

    Also, these kings are the same ten kings in Daniel 2 and 7. Daniel 2:44 specifically says that God will set up his kingdom “in the time of those kings” (the ten toes/kings in the chapter). Daniel 7:24 tells about the same ten kings as coming from the same kingdom as the Antichrist. These kings are overthrown by Christ at his second coming. The Antichrist and the ten kings cannot be taken “spiritually” since the other kings and kingdoms in the book of Daniel (such as Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great’s empires) were real kings and kingdoms. So if these kings are real should not the battles they fight against Christians be real as well?

    I agree that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. It seems that when you say this you take it to indicate that since Christians do not fight with earthy weapons than the enemies of God must not either. But they do. Throughout history they have used weapons (guns, swords, etc.) against us – so why not at Armageddon. Armageddon is just the final attempt by Satan (using the Antichrist) to kill as many of God’s people as he can before Christ’s return.

    Lastly, you mentioned that looking at Armageddon as a literal battle comes from false teachers and that it has caused Christians to become complacent. Maybe some have, but not all. I haven’t. I believe that Satan fights against us now, but, once again, this does not prove that Armageddon is “spiritual.” Some Christians have become complacent because Christians have been elected by God. Since Christians are elected we do not need to preach the Gospel. I, of course, don’t believe this, but some Christians do. Does this make the fact that God elects us a false doctrine coming from false teachers?

    Reply
    1. timc62

      My apologies also for the delayed response….time, I agree, need more of it! You have asked several questions in your reply and we could discuss this matter on many levels. I’ve just picked one particular question which you asked and will respond to this, hopefully in answering this question it may make my approach clearer.

      Your question ; James 4:1 speaks about the battle against our sin nature. How does this verse demand a complete reinterpretation of the battle of Armageddon?

      That is a good question but goes to the very heart of the matter. James asked; from whence come wars and fighting amongst you? Answer: They come from the lusts at war in your members.

      As you rightly stated this subject revolves around the sin nature within, but it is also the very reason the nations of the earth war and fight one another. All earthly warfare is a manifestation of the sin nature of man, it is that inner man from which all evil comes forth. As such, in Christ we are commanded to no longer live according to the dictates of the flesh. The problem with a literal battle in which God’s people are expected to war against the enemy with a literal sword, is that it seeks to undermine the foundation of the words of Christ.

      I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

      God would not expect and will not in any way, shape or form now expect you or any other believer to pick up a sword and take the life of another in a battle of Armageddon. It goes against every teaching of Christ. He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

      As you would have read God loves His enemies! It would be a grievous error to suppose that the weapons of His wrath are likened to guns, bombs and swords. Christ is the means by which He will bring an end to rebellion and sin…… Christ is the centre, purpose and manifestation of all of these things.

      Again, any teaching which seeks to contradict or lessen the command of Christ to “love your enemies” is a false teaching.

      A literal battle of Armageddon in a literal location upon the earth has missed the purpose and point of God’s glory in Christ and the hope of bringing many sons to glory. God is warring against the nations in Christ and will bring an end to wickedness through this battle.

      In summary, focusing on the work of God in earthly and literal terms will lead the believer to suppose that a “literal war” is an act of God and justified in Christ.

      Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you!

      Reply
  4. mmcclellan2

    Sorry for the late reply again. I completely understand the way that you understand Armageddon, and I believe it does make sense. However, does calling Armageddon a “battle” imply that both sides are killing each other? Not necessarily. Revelation 13:7 says that the Beast is permitted to make war against the saints. Does this require that the saints use swords, guns, nukes, etc. to fight back? Not necessarily. Daniel 7:25 says that the Antichrist will oppress the saints and that the latter will be handed over to him. Daniel calls it oppression while John calls it a war. A battle does not require that the followers of God pick up a sword and kill. Armageddon is the final attempt by Satan to annihilate the saints from the earth. The way you have interpreted James 4:1 in light of Armageddon is interesting, but I do not think it demands a “spiritual” interpretation of Armageddon.

    Reply
    1. timc62

      Excellent! That’s exactly right. Antichrist is not manifest to kill the faithful but to deceive them. Therefore discussion of earthly wars is a distraction.
      The key to the work of antichrist is found in the original word “pseudo christos” or as Christ would say “false Christs”

      A pseudo Christos is one who “falsely lays claim to the name and office of messiah”

      In this way he, and I use that word in a corporate sense, is able to oppress the saints, and as you say, they are given in to his hand for a time.

      For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Mat 24:24

      The spirit of Antichrist is was and will always be associated with Christendom, they appear as angels of light and ministers of righteousness. 2 Cor 11:15

      Here is the “battle” and “war” which is able to destroy the life of Christ within the believer, corrupt the faith and usurp the throne of God.

      Reply
  5. mmcclellan2

    I do not agree with you about the Antichrist not killing the followers of Jesus. Revelation 20:4 specifically talks about those who have been beheaded by the Antichrist. The Antichrist will both kill and deceive the saints.

    Reply
    1. Tim C

      Hi there, my apologies if you receive this reply twice…not sure if I sent the earlier one.

      You may be interested to know that Rev 20:4 is often associated with the concept of “Dying to self” To presume that it is Antichrist who kills the believer is misleading. It doesn’t actually say that. It says that they were “beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God”

      Take a look at this list of KJV references on dying to self. The reference to Rev 20:4 is about halfway down.
      http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Dying-to-Self/

      Everything must connect with Christ’s teaching and as such you will note that He makes it clear that in order to follow Him one must die. But He is not talking about death to the physical body but rather death to the flesh and self life.

      Mark 8:35 – For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. – This is not a verse about physical death, but alludes to that command of picking up ones cross. In Paul’s words to “die daily”

      Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts – This is not a verse about literal crucifixion of the physical body, but putting to death the flesh with all of it’s lusts and desires.

      Listen to Paul’s words : “I am crucified in Christ and I no longer live” Gal 2:20

      Paul counted himself as DEAD knowing full well that in order for Christ to live, He must die.

      To lose ones life, crucify the flesh, or been beheaded for Christ, in the context of all of these verses is alluding to those who will in the fullest sense of the term forsake all and follow Him.

      Only those who are “dead” can truly live as a witness for Christ. They have beheaded themselves!

      Reply
  6. mmcclellan2

    Hi, I do not think that Revelation 20:4 has anything to do with the “dying to self” passages. Yes, Luke 9:23; 14:26, Galatians 2:20; 5:24; and 1 Corinthians 15:31 have to do with denying oneself and “dying” every day for the sake of the gospel, but this does not mean that every single time a Christian is suffering or dying in Scripture it has to have a spiritual meaning. We need to look at the immediate context.

    Most of the passages in that list you linked do have to do with denying oneself, but I’m cautious as to the whole list. Acts 5:40-42 tells us that the Apostles were flogged. This was a real flogging (persecution), not some kind of spiritual flogging. Just because Revelation 20:4 is on that list does not prove that the verse is about “dying to self.” Someone put it on that list because they interpreted it to be on that list. I would disagree with whoever did that.

    What about passages such as Acts 7:54-8:1; 8:1, 3; or 12:2? 7:54-8:1 tells us that Stephen was stoned to death; 8:1, 3 tell us that a great persecution broke out against the church; and 12:2 says that James, the brother of John, was put to the sword. Do we have to interpret these passages in a spiritual way? Do they actually mean that Stephen, James, and the church were killed or persecuted in a “dying to self” kind of way? Context is the key to understanding Scripture. I do not see any reason to interpret Revelation 20:4 in a spiritual way. It seems clear to me that the Antichrist will not only try to convert Christians to his religion, but will also persecute and kill as many as he can. Even Jesus, in Matthew 24:9, tells about persecution and execution for believers at the time of the end. There is nothing in this verse that speaks about “dying to self.”

    Reply
    1. timc

      I understand your difficulty in seeing that Rev 20:4 text in the light of dying to self but let me add a few more arguments….personally, I think it’s significant.
      I’m not trying to win an argument here but rather seeking to highlight a point which is very relevant to our salvation.

      When you understand what it is to “worship the beast” and be marked accordingly, then you will also understand why it is not uncommon to see the text in the light of denying oneself.

      In the Rev 20 verse John was looking at those who had not worshipped the beast or taken the mark. By His grace they had avoided such and now in the heavenly vision John is looking at those who will reign with Christ in the age to come.

      These ones have been victorious in their faithful obedience to the gospel.

      To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Rev 3:21

      The reason that they were victorious was found not in their Christian confession but their faithful obedience to the commands to crucify the flesh, deny oneself, pick up their cross, lose their (self) life.

      In these commands is found the key to avoiding worship of the beast ;
      Only those who have crucified the flesh with all of it’s lusts will not worship the beast.
      Only those who have died to there selfish nature and put on Christ will not worship the beast.
      Only those who love not the things of the world will not worship the beast.

      Therefore “beheaded” to have “lost ones life” is relevant to the text.

      You must understand that God will not be mocked. Any man who proclaims to be in Christ will faithfully fulfil the commands of Christ and be victorious or he will be allowed to believe a lie. And how great the deception will be for in that day many will expect to enter in but will not be able – depart from me you who work iniquity.

      And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thess 2:10

      These deceived ones did not love the truth. To love the truth is to forsake all, keep His commands and follow Christ.

      Worship of the beast is the method and purpose by which He separates the wheat from the chaff. It is closely connected with obedience or lawlessness.

      Further to your reply, clearly many have and will be killed by Antichrist, but again, in understanding the purpose and manifestation of Antichrist it is critical to be aware that the goal is deception.

      This is my only real contention with our discussion, it is absolutely essential to understand that the end goal is to deceive and yes, those who get in the way are killed.

      For example, you stated that Antichrist will “try to convert Christians to his religion” Yes and no!

      Antichrist appears as an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness. Antichrist will only ever show himself to be Christlike, i.e. Christian.

      Here is the foundation by which the multitude, were, are and will be deceived.

      Perhaps you may find this article helpful in understanding his role.

      http://www.therealchurch.com/articles/the_antichrist_spirit.html

      Many false prophets will rise up and lead multitudes astray; and because of the prevalent disregard of God’s law (lawlessness/disobedience), the love of the great majority will grow cold; but those who stand firm to the End shall be saved. Mat 24:11-13

      Again, in this verse you will note that it is the disregard for God’s law, the lack of any interest in keeping the commands of Christ, which is the law of love and separates the sheep from the goats.

      Knowledge of scripture alone will not arm you with the ability to avoid beast worship, only obedience ; God will not be mocked!

      Reply
  7. mmcclellan2

    So you agree that the Antichrist will kill Christians. That was my whole point. I never said anywhere that the Antichrist will not try to deceive Christians. You seemed to have misunderstood something that I said. By the way, I agree with you on much of what you said, although I do disagree about Revelation 20:4 (it seems that we are going to have to agree to disagree on that passage). Thanks for the conversation.

    Reply
  8. Kim

    The plains of Meggiddo will be the gathering point of all the armies, but the actual battle will be fought at Jerusalem.

    Reply

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