Armageddon: Place or Event?
Is there a literal place called Armageddon? If there is, where is it? If Armageddon is not a literal place, then what is it? First, let's look at what it is or is not.
Pentecost (p. 340) and others, especially the pretribbers, call it a campaign. " It has been held commonly that the battle of Armageddon is an isolated event transpiring just prior to the Second Advent of Christ to the earth. The extent of this great movement in which God deals with 'the kings of the earth and the whole world' (Rev. 16: 14) will not be seen unless it is realized that the 'battle . . . is not an isolated battle, but rather a campaign that extends over the last half of the tribulation period.'" Pentecost defends his belief by showing that the Greek word polemos is used to denote "battle" (Rev. 16: 14) and notes that it "signifies a war or campaign, while mache signifies a battle, and sometimes even single combat." Strong's Dictionary further says that polemos is the war and mache signifies the battles that make up the war. Pentecost further observes that "this distinction is observed by Trench (New Testament Synonyms), and is followed by Thayer (Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament) and Vincent (Word Studies in the New Testament). The use of the word polemos (campaign) in Rev. 16:14 would signify that the events that culminate in the gathering at Armageddon at the Second Advent are viewed by God as one connected campaign. On the other hand Gundry (pp. 28-29) and others hold that regardless of all the events leading to Armageddon that might qualify it as a campaign, it is viewed by God as a final, single battle signaling the end of the age. "A reading of Revelation 16: 12-16; 17: 14; 19: 11-21 shows that least in this book of the Bible, the Battle of Armageddon is just that—a battle, not a war taking place over a more or less prolonged period in the last part of the tribulation (as taught by some pretribulationists). These texts indicate that the battle will take place right at Jesus' coming after the tribulation.' Regardless of whether it is a "campaign" or a "battle", evidence tends to point to the latter. Stewart (p. 2) says that it is "more an event than it is a place. It is ' the battle of that great day of God Almighty'" (Rev. 16: 14).
As far as "where" Armageddon is, if we could attach a location to this battle, where would it be? Again, referring to Stewart (p. 2), "As a location it relates to the mount of Megiddo, in the northern part of Israel. It also relates to Meggido, a city located in the Valley of Jezreel (also called the Plain of Esdraelon).
A Brief History
These sites are very important to understanding just what Armageddon is and where it will take place. The "mount" or "hill" of Megiddo lies west of the River Jordan in north central Palestine, about ten miles north of Nazareth and fifteen to twenty miles inland from the Mediterranean seacoast. Before it on the east is an extended plain on which many of Israel's battles have been fought. Pentecost (p. 341) quotes Vincent as saying, "Megiddo was in the plain of Esdraelon, which has been a chosen place of encampment in every contest carried on in Palestine from the days of Nabuchodnozzor, king of Assyria, unto the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from Egypt to Syria." Haggith (p. 309) says that It was likely that upon Har-Mageddo that Elijah the prophet bested the false prophets of Jezreel, calling down fire from heaven to burn a water-sodden sacrifice . . . and it was here that at Megiddo that a young Jewish king wrested control of the land back from the conquering Assyrians . . . Perhaps the king's first great battle, which led to a spiritual victory for Israel, is the reason this site is chosen for the final battle."
Walvoord in his article in Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, p. 346, says that "Megiddo is designated the Tell El Mutesellim in the Plain of Esdraelon. At one time it was a city of massive fortifications and an important city for the Canaanites until Israel took it over about 1100 B.C." In 1 Kings 9: 15; 10: 26-29 we find that it was one of Solomon's chariot towns and included huge horse stables, a governor's palace, and a complicated water system. This ancient walled city rested on top of the hill called Megiddo where it controlled one of the most important military/trade routes of ancient history. According to Haggith (p. 308) it lay halfway on the route between Egypt and Assyria, at a crossroads less than one hundred miles from Jerusalem. In fact, Lambert Dolphin (p. 1) describes it as being at the "crossroads of the crossroads' where the ancient Via Maris (Way of the Sea) crosses the central transverse highway of Israel." As already noted, the city overlooks the Valley of Jezreel, the "breadbasket of Israel" and served as a strategic command post for control of the entire area for many centuries. As a result, the Valley of Jezreel was bathed in blood from one imperial conquest to another.
We need to consider two very important issues here. First is the fact that Jerusalem is actually the focus of the battle of Armageddon and that Megiddo is 55 miles north. Thus, we may conclude that Megiddo and the Valley of Jezreel is the staging area for millions of multinational troops. Haifa, located at the west end of the valley is the ideal and logical seaport for major troop landings. Second, we must determine who is fighting whom in this battle. Megiddo, as we shall see, is very important in prophecy as the central point for the great armies that will participate in Armageddon.
Where Do We Get the Word "Armageddon"?
The word "Armageddon" is mentioned only once in the book of Revelation (Rev. 16: 14). There are several theories about the origin of the word "Armageddon" so let's look at a couple of them. The prevailing theory is that the word is that it comes from the Hebrew Har-Megiddo (mountain of Megiddo). Revelation 16: 16 says, "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Walvoord, writing in Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crises (p. 182) says that the word is formed from the Hebrew word "arm" meaning mountain, and "Megiddo" which refers to a location in northern Palestine. However, on page 346 in Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, he says that it is the Aramaic translation of"the Mountain of Megiddo."
What is important to notice is that according to Rev. 16:16 that the term is interpreted in the "Hebrew tongue." Hebrew is the language of Modern Israel so we can conclude that at the time this prophecy is fulfilled it will again be a modern language, as it is today in Israel. So, "Armageddon" in the Hebrew is a compound of three words: Arema (a heap of sheaves), gai (valley), and dun (judgment). Putting these all together we get "A heap of sheaves in a valley of judgment. This is significant because the battle of Armageddon is described this way in Joel 3: 2, 11-13.
"I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. 11Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great."
Armageddon and The Valley of Jehoshaphat
Several other geographical locations are involved in the so-called Armageddon campaign. We see in Joel 3: 2, 13 that the judgment is to take place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Haggith (p. 363) says, "there is no known valley with this name . . ." How then, did this valley get its name? There was a Jehoshaphat in Israel's history who was king of Judah and who went to a valley in the south of Palestine to view the destruction of Edom. The Valley of Jehoshaphat, then, could refer to this valley near Edom where Jehoshaphat and his people celebrated the defeat of Edom. The meaning of the name could be enough for it means "God judges." 2 Chron. 20: 24 says that the destruction was one of total desolation for "none escaped." In Revelation the valley to which God gathers the nations for judgment is the valley of Armageddon. God calls it the "valley of decision" in Joel 3: 14. Maybe He calls it the Valley of Decision because that is where the fate of all who remain is decided.
However, Pentecost (p. 341) places the valley in an extended area east of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 39:11 speaks of the "valley of passengers". Pentecost speculates that this may refer to the same area as the Valley of Jehoshaphat because that area constituted the traveled route away from Jerusalem. Ezek. 39: 12-16 speaks of the carnage that will occur there. It will be so great that it will take seven months to bury all the dead. The name of the place will be Hamongog (the multitude of Gog) because of the multitude of Gog's people killed and buried there.
Another location of the battle is focused around Edom or Idumea because Isa. 34 and 35 picture the Lord coming from there when He returns from judgment. In addition, Jerusalem itself will be the center of conflict (Zech. 12: 2-11; 14: 2). Whatever this Valley of Jehoshaphat is or wherever it is, it seems that the battle associated with it will encompass all of Palestine. Armageddon will be the main staging area for all the troops and from there the battle will spread out to cover the entire land of Palestine (Ezek. 38: 9, 16). The carnage will be so great that the blood will flow as deep as the horses bridle for 1600 furlongs. That's about 200 miles! Christ is shown coming from Edom with blood-stained garments and Edom is south of Palestine. Thus, it appears that the Battle of Armageddon will cover an area from the Valley of Jezreel (Esdraelon or Megiddo) in the north to the Valley of Jehoshaphat to the east of Jerusalem, and on down to Edom at the extreme southern part of Palestine (Sims, The Coming War and the Rise of Russia, 7: Pentecost, Things to Come, pp, 341-42).
The Final Countdown
Before the Battle of Armageddon can take place the Middle East must become the prime hot spot in the world. It is out of the chaos of nations jockeying to gain control that a new world order will emerge setting the stage for a new ten-nation group that will superimpose its rule for a peaceful solution to a seemingly impossible situation (Walvoord, p. 27). However, the precise countdown of seven years begins with the signing of a "final" peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. The balance of power will then concentrate in a confederacy of Middle East nations. Out of this a new international leader will emerge and impose a peace settlement between Israel and the more militant Arabs. All of this will occur without a shot being fired (Dan. 11; 21). Through his flatteries he will bring an era of peace in which will see a move toward disarmament and a major push of a new world economic system. It will only be the calm before the storm. The last three and a half years will witness a series of almost inconceivable catastrophes. According to Walvoord and other pretribbers, Russia will attack the Middle East in a final attempt to control it (Armageddon, oil, and the Middle East, p. 28). However, According to Ezek. 38-39, the Russian coalition will be supernaturally destroyed. After this the Antichrist will break the covenant (Dan. 9:27) and attempt to destroy Israel now disarmed and living in peace. The Antichrist will deify himself and command that the world worship him or die.
What will it be like in those days? According to Walvoord (p. 28-29), "The world will begin to come apart at the seams—worse than any ecologists nightmare. Acts of man, resulting in thousands of martyrs, and acts of God will combine to cause great disturbances in the world and in the solar system. Stars will fall and planets will run off course, causing chaotic changes in climate (Rev. 16: 13-14; 16: 8-9). Unnatural heat and cold, flooding and other disasters, will wipe out much of the food production of the world (Rev.6: 6-8). Great famines will cause millions to perish (Matt. 24: 7). Strange new epidemics will sweep the world, killing millions . . . As the period draws to a close, earthquakes will level the great cities of the world, and geographic upheavels will cause mountains and islands to disappear into the sea (Rev. 16: 17-20). Disaster after disaster will reduce the world population in the course of a few years to a fraction of its present billions." All these things, then, will happen in the last three and one half years of Daniel's seventieth week as the tribulation counts down to the final conflagration, the Battle of Armageddon. But who are the armies that participate in this final battle?
Pentecost (p. 342) says that there will be "four great "world powers involved in the final battle. (1) the ten kingdom federation of nations under the Beast that constitutes the final form of the fourth great world power; (2) the northern federation, Russia and her allies; (3) the kings of the East, the Asiatic peoples from beyond the Euphrates; and (4) the king of the south, a north African power or powers. Another great power must be added because of His active participation in the campaign; (5) the Lord and His armies from heaven. Ezekiel 38: 1-7 speaks of Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah. Traditionally, scholars have identified Gog with Russia (the Rosh of Ezek. 38 and 39).
Duck, in his article Wars and Rumors of Wars, in James' Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, p. 59, says that Ezekiel 38 and 39 record an amazing prophecy yet to be fulfilled. These chapter talks about a great power that scholars almost always identify as Russia, that will form a coalition of nations in the last days, and come out of the north parts to attack Israel (Ezek. 39: 16). We must keep in mind that the final war is the result of lust. Ezekiel says that this Russian leader will "think an evil thought" and attack Israel " to take a spoil and a prey" (Ezek. 38: 10, 12). His aim will be to take Israel's silver, gold, cattle, and goods (Ezek. 38: 13).
Who are Gog and Magog?
Ezekiel 38: 2 gives us a description which makes Gog sound like an individual. "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him . . . " However, Revelation 20: 8 makes Gog sound like a kingdom in that Gog is described in connection with the four corners of the world (represented by east, south, and west—Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya, Ezek 38: 5), but especially the north: Gomer and Togarmah (Ezek. 38: 6).
Magog was a son of Japheth (Gen. 10: 2), and his lands are the lands of the north. According to Josephus (Antiq., 1: 6, 1), Magog was anciently identified with the Scythians and Meshech the Cappadocians. Gomer founded the lands the Greeks called Galatia. Tubal is apparently another tribe from the same region, and Togarmah was understood by the Jews to be the Turks, inhabitants of modern Turkey in Asia Minor. W. F. Albright said that the term Magog was a blend of Manda which was the regular Mesopotamian designation for the northern barbarians and that Gog was its equivalent. Thus, the terms Gog and Magog have exactly the same meaning as the words Keltoi or Celt. Therefore, Gog and Magog are the same barbarian northern tribes seen in the context of the "little horn" of Dan. 8: 9.
Ryrie (QuickVerse Electronic Database) says of Gog that the derivation of the word is uncertain. He speculates that it probably refers to the ruler of the people who live in Magog. Magog, he notes, was identified by Josephus as the land of the Scythians, the region north and northeast of the Black Sea and east of the Caspian Sea (now occupied by three members of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Russia, the Ukraine, and Kazakhstan). Rosh, in Ryrie's estimation, is not Russia but the area of modern Iran, and Meshech and Tubal comprise the area of modern Turkey. If this is true we cannot identify Rosh as Russia and certainly cannot connect Meshech with Moscow and Tubal with Tobolsk. An interesting Internet article by Chris Tolworthy entitled Gog and Magog and Armageddon, p. 2, includes the following analysis of Gog and Magog by Murrell G. Seldon. "Now, what about Magog. Magog was an ancient land of false gods—a place of idolatry and false worship . . . It was located above Jerusalem and may have included all or part of Syria, and it extended around the Black Sea . . . So, although this land does not exist now, it metaphorically represents a people of a land of false gods and false worship . . . So, the land of Magog would be any peoples or organization of (peoples) devoted to false worship. For example, the Bible refers to the "god of fortresses." In other words, those who put their faith in military power alone would be worshippers of a false god . . . so, on a global basis, I believe Gog of Magog means representatives of governments who have set themselves up as surrogates for false worship. Magog are their followers. So, simply stated, gogs are surrogates for false gods. They are the leaders of the people of Magog (false god worshippers). So, at the Battle of Armageddon, Almighty God makes war against Gog and Magog. Or simply stated, Jehovah judges and destroys false worship (both leaders and followers)." If this analysis could be accepted it would clear up any controversy about the two instances of Gog and Magog attacking Israel at the Battle of Armageddon and after the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a short while to influence the nations.
The Timing of Armageddon
Duck, in Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, p. 74, says "The war of all wars will take place at the end of the tribulation period." Gundry (First the Antichrist, p. 24), agrees with Duck. Says he, " . . . the sixth bowl deals with preparations for the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16: 12-14, 16), which takes place at the coming of Christ after the tribulation" (Rev. 17: 14; 19: 11-21). In referring to "the hour of testing " spoken of in Rev. 3: 10, Gundry (First the Antichrist, p. 55) explains that this phrase "is usually taken to mean the whole tribulation, or at least three and a half years of it. However "hour" carries a much narrower meaning in other parts of Revelation. In 3: 3 it refers to the hour of Jesus' return, and in 9: 13-19 it refers to what might be the Battle of Armageddon, connected with Jesus' return (cf. 16: 12-16). In Rev. 11: 13 the word "hour" refers to the great earthquake that occurs at the end of the tribulation second half . . . and shakes "the great city ";. In chapters 14: 7-8; 17: 12; and 18: 10, 17, 19, "hour" refers explicitly to the fall of Babylon at the close of the tribulation and in chapter 17: 12 to the related battle of Armageddon.
There are several theories as to the time of the Battle of Armageddon, but I will deal with only two here. On pages 347 and 348 of Things to Come, Pentecost mentions that the invasion [Battle of Armageddon] takes place at the end of the tribulation. He says, however, that there are some difficulties with this interpretation that make it impossible to accept. He outlines these as follows: (1) The passage in Ezekiel does not mention a battle. The destruction there is at the hand of the Lord through the convulsion of nature (38: 20-33) . . . In the conflagration of Armageddon there is a great battle fought between the Lord and His hosts and the assembled nations, in which the King of Kings emerges as victor. (2) In Ezekiel the invasion is by the king of the north with his allies which are limited in number. In Zech. 14 and Rev. 19 all the nations of the earth are seen to be gathered together for the conflagration. (3) In Ezek. The destruction takes place on the mountains of Israel (39: 2-4). The events of Armageddon are said to take place at Jerusalem (Zech. 12: 2; 14: 2), at the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3: 12) and Edom (Isa. 63: 1). (4) In Ezek. Israel is said to be dwelling in her land in peace and safety (38: 11). We know from Revelation 12: 14-17 that Israel is not going to dwell in the land in peace and safety during the latter half of the seventieth week, but will be the special target of Satan's attack. It is concluded, therefore, that the invasion cannot be identified as the events of Zech. 14 and Rev. 19 at the end of the tribulation.
A second theory is that the Battle of Armageddon takes place at the end of the Millennium and that the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel and that of Rev. 28 are the same. Pentecost (Things to Come, pp. 349-350) disagrees with this also because of the following considerations: (1) Ezekiel mentions only a northern coalition as being engaged in the invasion. In Revelation all the nations of the earth are gathered together. (2) In Ezek. there is no specific mention made of the instrumentality of Satan, nor of his being bound for a thousand years prior to this invasion, while both things are emphasized in the Revelation account. (3) The context in Ezek. shows that this invasion is before the institution of the Millennium. In Revelation the Millennium has been in existence for a thousand years. (4) In Ezek. the bodies of the slain require the labor of seven months to dispose of the dead (39: 12). In Rev. 20: 9 the Slain are said to be "devoured" by fire so that no disposal is necessary. (5) In Ezek. the invasion is seen to be followed by the Millennium (ch. 40-48). In Revelation this movement is followed by the new heaven and new earth. Certainly the new earth could not conceivably by corrupted by unburied corpses for seven months.
If the Battle of Armageddon, according to Pentecost and other pretribbers, does not occur at the end of the tribulation or at the end of the Millennium, when does it occur? The only option left to us is at the end of the first half of Daniel's seventieth week. Pentecost (p. 350-355) gives us several considerations in favor of this view. We will deal with only three of these here. (1) The invasion takes place at a time when Israel is dwelling in their own land. Whether they have the right to occupy the land is academic. They now occupy the land and will be occupying the land at the return of Christ. Pentecost's supposition proves nothing. (2) The invasion takes place when Israel is dwelling in peace in the land. This certainly will not be true during the second half of the seventieth week, but will be true of the millennial reign of Christ and the saints. Thus, this scenario could take place at the end of the Millennium, not the beginning. Pentecost ascribes the "peace" to the false peace of the covenant between Israel and the Antichrist. (3) Ezekiel uses two expressions in chapter thirty-eight which may give an indication as to the time of the invasion. In verse eight there appears the expression "latter years" and in verse sixteen is the "latter days" of Israel's history . . . The term latter days or latter years is related to the time prior to the last days or the millennial age, which would be the tribulation period. This admits only to an occurrence prior to the millennial age and not to the beginning of the tribulation in the middle of the seventieth week (see Things to Come, pp. 352-355 for the remaining considerations given by Pentecost).
What has been presented thus far does little to establish the timing of the Battle of Armageddon. Given a choice of theories it seems that the post-trib, premillennial position is the one that makes the most sense. The Battle of Armageddon, whatever it may be or wherever it may occur is the culmination of the Tribulation at the return of Christ. This is Gundry's position and I believe he proves it quite well in The Church and the Tribulation.
Armageddon and Babylon
Haggith (pp. 370-372) presents an interesting theory that connects the destruction of Babylon with Armageddon. Says he, "The battle at Armageddon may be just another way of describing the destruction of Babylon the Great, for Armageddon is world war." Although Babylon and the Battle of Armageddon are closely associated, they are not the same. The destruction of Babylon is a part of the Battle of Armageddon, but not a description of the battle itself. He further suggests that World War III includes all nations of the earth, or what remains of them after the Tribulation, attacking Jerusalem. However, just as the destruction of Jerusalem seems assured, the skies open and the Lord reveals Himself along with His angels and His resurrected saints. Christ destroys the armies by the brightness of His coming and the age comes to a close.
The holocaust described could be nuclear or celestial, but it is more likely to be nuclear (Matt. 24: 22; Mk. 13: 20). Regardless, we know that Christ will cut them short sometime during the Tribulation. The destruction of the offending armies is complete.
Walvoord (Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, p. 347) speaks of a strange paradox in the scenario of Rev. 16: 13-14, where three unclean spirits come out of the mouth of the Dragon. These entice the leaders of the world to come together for the Battle of Armageddon or the "battle of the great day of God Almighty." Satan wants all the armies of the earth available to fight against the armies of heaven. The Old Testament mentions Megiddo often but principally in connection with Josiah, the king of Judah. In Revelation 9: 16 we discover that at least 200 million soldiers cross the Euphrates and join the army already encamped on the Plain of Esdraelon.
Simultaneous with the events leading up to Armageddon is the rebuilding and destruction of Babylon. Some think that this is symbolically Rome but it is obviously a location distinct from Rome, for it is described as a great commercial city, which does not now exist. This Babylon will be the economic capital of the final world government that will transform it into a commercial city. Many prophecies hold that Babylon will be completely destroyed just prior to the Second Coming and that it will never be inhabited again (Isa. 13: 19-22; Jer. 50: 2-3, 39-46; 51: 37-48). This has never happened historically. Jeremiah 50: 1-51: 8 gives us a complete picture of this destruction and ultimate desolation of the city.
Pink (p. 257-258) argues that Babylon is a literal city. Says he, "The first time Babylon is mentioned in the Apocalypse is in 14: 8 . . . now what is there here to discountenance the natural conclusion that "Babylon" means Babylon? . . . what is there in Rev. 14: 8 which gives any hint that "Babylon" there refers to the Papal system? The next reference to Babylon is in Rev. 16: 18-19 . . . Surely it is a literal city which is in view, and which is divided into three parts by a literal earthquake . . . More than a hint of the literalness of this great city Babylon is found in the context, where we read of the River Euphrates (v. 12).
Now that we have determined that Babylon is a literal city, where will it be located? Pink (p. 234) quoting Col. VanSomeron in The Great Unfolding, says, "The site of old Babylon is known at the present day; it covers a wide extent of ground, and parts of it are inhabited, as for instance Hillah, where there are some five or six thousand people. When the long-talked-of Euphrates Valley railway becomes a reality, Babylon will be one of the most important places on the line." Will the "New Babylon" be built on this spot, and if so, why will it be so important in the future? When one considers VonSomeron's prediction, it is logical that Babylon will be a railhead for the transport of oil to the Persian Gulf, making it one of the most important commercial cities of the world and of the end times. It is in this commercial city that the Antichrist will set up the commercial headquarters of his newly acquired empire.
In Zechariah 5 there is a remarkable prophecy concerning the Babylon of the future. Pink (pp. 282-283) says, "That events predicted in this remarkable passage is still unaccomplished is sufficiently evident from the fact that Zechariah prophesied after Babylon received that blow under which it has generally waned. Zechariah lived after Babylon had passed into the hands of the Persians, and since that time, it is admitted by all, that declinsion—not 'establishment'—has marked its history. From that hour to the present moment there has been no 'preparation of an house', no establishment of anything—much less an ephah in the land of Shinar."We must be aware that Pink wrote this before 1952 and that the rebuilding of Babylon had not begun, and would not begin until 1979 under the guidance of Saddam Hussein.
What about the ephah spoken of in Zech. 5 that is to be established in the land of Shinar? yes" What is its significance and symbolism? Pink says that it "is to be established there, and a house to be built for it there, and there it is to be set firmly upon its base. 7quot; Zechariah says that the ephah will "go forth". In doing this it will exert its sovereign influence on the nations and imprint on them a self-derived character as the formative power of the ruling government's institutions. Commerce will, for a short time, reign in the world. Pink (p. 283) says, "It will determine the arrangements and fix the manners of Israel, and the of the prophetic earth. The appearance of every nation that falls under its control is to be merchantile."
Zechariah 14: 4 plainly teaches that another Babylon, which will eclipse the importance and splendor of the past Babylon, and will be the commercial headquarters of the Antichrist (cf. Isa. 10-11, 13-14; Jer. 49-51; Zech. 5 and Rev. 18).
Dr. Charles Dyer in his article Babylon: Iraq and the Coming Middle East Crisis, The Road to Armageddon, pp. 105-106, gives us an eyewitness account of the rebuilding of Babylon. He was in Iraq in 1987 and 1988 for the Babylon Festival. He relates that Saddam Hussein began rebuilding Babylon in 1979 shortly after he became ruler in Iraq. Eight years later he held his first Babylon Festival. Why? He wanted to "wrap himself in the mantle of Nebuchadnezzar and the glories of ancient Babylon and to promote what he wants to do with the nation of Iraq."
Most people today think that there is nothing left of ancient city of Babylon but a haunt of Jackals, that no one can live there, and that no Arab will pitch his tent there. Nothing could be farther from the truth. True, parts of Babylon are in ruins but since 1979 Saddam Hussein has been rebuilding the city on its original foundations. He has rebuilt some of the temples and one, called the Ninmach Temple, was rebuilt on its original foundation. There is a theater there that was built by Alexander the Great and that restored theater was used for the opening night of the Babylon Festival. "The performance began," writes Dyer, "with some music and ended with a tribute to Ishtar, the mother goddess of Babylon, who was credited with bringing this eternal city back. A man bowed down before a woman who represented Ishtar as the words in French and Arabic and English extolled this eternal city's return under Saddam Hussein . . . Every September he holds the Babylon Festival, extolling what he's doing to rebuild the city of Babylon."
In Rev. 17 and 18, Babylon is pictured as a place of sea captains and merchants. It is pictured as a place that controls world economy and has a relationship to Antichrist as a military power. Babylon will be there in the last days as an economic powerhouse. It is not there yet but could become what the Bible says it will be in a matter of weeks. All that is required is the control of the oil wealth of the Middle East. However, she will be utterly destroyed at Christ's Second Coming.
Isaiah 13 and 14 contain a remarkable prophecy termed "the burden of Babylon". It pictures the horrible judgment that God will send on this city. It speaks of total and final destruction, and declares that "Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldee's excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah." Verses 19-20 declare that it will never again be inhabited or dwelt in from generation to generation. Isa. 13 speaks of this "burden of Babylon" as being fulfilled in the "Day of the Lord", a future day. Chapter 14 continues from 13 and completes the "burden of Babylon", supplying further proof that there is to be another Babylon that is to be utterly destroyed.
The Invader from the North—Armageddon and the Antichrist
Isaiah 30: 31-33; 31: 8-9, and Micah 5: 5 speak of an invader from the north called the "Assyrian." God used Assyria as a rod of punishment against Israel and will do the same in the future. Isaiah 28: 18 speaks of a "covenant of death" and the "agreement with hell" for which God will punish Israel. "This," says Pentecost (p. 352), ^quot;must refer to the covenant of Dan. 9: 27, when Israel seeks peace from the hands of men rather than from the hand of the Lord." Isaiah says that because they make this covenant, an "overflowing scourge will pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." According to Pentecost this cannot be the occupation of the Beast who will be a party to the covenant. It must, therefore, refer to the invasion of the "Assyrian" whom God will use to chasten Israel. The destruction of this "Assyrian" seems to parallel the destruction of Gog and Magog and his armies recorded in Ezek. 38-39. According to Pentecost, God cannot punish Israel for making this false covenant until after the covenant is ratified.
The Antichrist will rise from within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire, but can we determine which part, the Eastern or the Western (Dan. 8: 8-9, also vv. 21-22 and Dan. 7)? In Dan. 7 we discover that the Grecian Empire disintegrates into four separate kingdoms, but from which of these part can we expect the Antichrist to come—Macedonia, Egypt, Syria (a part of the old Assyrian Empire), or Thrace? Dan. 8: 9 gives us a hint—the "south" refers to Egypt, the "east" to Persia and Greece, and the "pleasant land" to Palestine. Thus, it would seem that he will come out of the "north" or Syria. Notice that Dan. 8: 9 says nothing about the little horn "waxing great" towards the north. Pink (pp. 96-97) believes that the north is the quarter from which the Antichrist will arise and that Isa. 10: 12 confirms that the Antichrist is none other than "the King of Assyria."
Because of this, Pink (pp. 31-32) asserts, "The Antichrist will be a lineal descendant of Abraham, a Jew . . . suffice it . . . to say that none but a full-blooded Jew could ever expect to palm himself off on the Jewish people as their long expected Messiah . . . The Antichrist will be received by the Jews. This is clear from the passage which heads the first paragraph of this chapter" (Jn. 5: 43). He does admit, however, that "there is no express declaration of Scripture which says in so many words that this daring rebel will be "a Jew." Nevertheless, Pink (pp. 41-45) gives seven reasons why the Antichrist must be a Jew. (1) Ezek. 21: 25-27 (See Dan. 8: 23 and cf. 11: 36) . . . At that time Israel shall have a "prince", a prince who is "crowned" (v. 26), and a prince whose "day" is said to be "come" when "iniquity shall have an end". Now as to who this "prince" is, there is surely no room for doubt. The only "Prince"l whom Israel will have in that day, is the Son of Perdition, here termed their "Prince" because he will be masquerading as "Messiah the Prince" (see Dan. 9: 25)! Another unmistakable mark of identification is here given in that he is expressly denominated "thou, profane wicked Prince"—Assuredly, it is the Man of Sin who is here in view, that impious one who shall "oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God". But what should be noted particularly, is, that this profane and wicked character is here named "Prince of Israel". He must, therefore, be of the Abrahamic stock, a Jew! (2) In Ezek. 28: 2-10 a remarkable description is given us of the Antichrist under the figure of "the Prince of Tyrus" . . . There is only one thing that we would now point out from this passage: in v. 10 it is said of him "Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD", which is a very strong hint that he ought not to die the deaths of the "uncircumcised" because he belonged to the circumcision! Should it be said that this verse cannot apply to the Antichrist because he will be destroyed by Christ Himself at His coming, the objection is very easily disposed of by a reference to Rev. 13: 14 . . . (3) In Dan. 11: 36-37 . . . This passage, it is evident, refers to and describes . . . the coming Antichrist. But what we wish to call special attention to is the last sentence quoted—"The God of his fathers". What are we to understand by this expression? Why, surely, that he is a Jew, an Israelite, and that his fathers after the flesh were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob— . . . (4) In Matt. 12: 43-45 we have another remarkable Scripture . . . "The Unclean Spirit" here is . . . the Son of Perdition, and . . . the "house" . . . is the nation of Israel. If this can be established, then we have another proof that he will be a Jew, for this "house", which is Israel, is termed by Antichrist "my house." (5) John 5: 43 . . . the Lord Jesus referred to him as . . . "Another shall come in his own name" . . . in Jn. 5:43 (the word is) "allos", another of the same genus, not "heteros", another of a different order . . . If the coming Antichrist were to be a Gentile, the Lord would have employed the word "heteros"; the fact that He used "allos"; shows that he will be a Jew. (6) The very name "Antichrist" argues strongly his Jewish nationality. This title "Antichrist" has a double significance. It means that he will be one who shall be "opposed" to Christ, one who will be His enemy. But it also purports that he will be a mock Christ, an imitation Christ, a pro-Christ, a pseudo-Christ. It intimates that he will ape Christ. He will pose as the real Messiah of Israel. In such case he must be a Jew. (7) This mock Christ will be "received" by Israel. The Jews will be deceived by him. They will believe that he is indeed their long-expected Messiah. They will accept him as such . . . if this pseudo-Christ succeeds in palming himself off on the Jews as their true Messiah he must be a Jew, for it is unthinkable they would be deceived by any Gentile."
In summary, we have learned then, that (1) Armageddon is more of an event than it is a place. (2) It is likely that it will take place throughout the entire land of Palestine from the Plain of Esdraelon in the north past Jerusalem and down to Edom in the south. (3) That the Middle East will become the prime hot spot before the Battle of Armageddon will occur. (4) Most likely the armies that fight against Christ at the Battle of Armageddon will be Gog and Magog and their allies, barbarian peoples of the north, and that the gogs are simply the leaders of these idol-worshipping peoples. (4) The time of the Battle of Armageddon will be at the end of the Tribulation and just prior to the beginning of the Millennium. (5) Babylon and Armageddon are intimately connected and Babylon will be rebuilt, and is being presently rebuilt, by Saddam Hussein of Iraq. (6) Babylon will become the world commercial center and a place of the renewed worship of Ishtar and other false gods and goddesses. (7) Babylon will come to utter destruction along with the Antichrist and his armies. (8) The invader from the north will be an "Assyrian" and the Antichrist will emerge from the region of modern Syria and will be a Jew, otherwise the Jews would not receive him. (9) The destruction, the judgment of God on the nations and the end of the historical age as we know it will culminate at the Battle of Armageddon with the return of Christ to set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth and bring peace to the world for a thousand years
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8. Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958. 633 pp.
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10. Walvoord, John F. Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crises. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990. 234 pp.
11. Walvoord, John F. From Armageddon to the Millennium, Foreshadows of Wrath and Redemption, William T. James General Editor. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1999. 389 pp.