Armageddon is a different kind of war. All of the nations in the world will be involved. The events leading up to this battle have been predicted in the Bible – some of which have been fulfilled in this generation. In the Bible, we find a curious story replete with divine judgment.
Zechariah 12:2-3 covers the action of the war and gives in ominous tones the perennial hazards of making war on Jerusalem and Israel: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.”
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12: 2 & 3).
All those who tangle with Jerusalem will be “cut in pieces” indeed, and then some! Despite the best efforts of the world’s most capable and fanatic invaders through 4,000 years of bloody conflict, Jerusalem has survived, and it will continue to survive.
The armies of the world will come together to do their fearsome work – in the valley of Megiddo in quiet Galilee. In that valley, “called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon,” at least two hundred million soldiers, armed with the ultimate weapons of war, will stage mankind’s most effective attempt at suicide. Blood will flow, according to Revelation 14:20, “up to the bridles of the horses.”
Jerusalem, nearly 100 miles away from the combat zone, will not be spared the effects of this horrifying conflict. Zechariah 14:2 laments: “The city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity” (Zechariah 14:2).
Considering the pure numbers of the invading forces, no portion of little Israel will be safe from actual combat. And Jerusalem, God’s city, veteran of invasions, rapings, and lootings from time immemorial, will have to endure this one last catastrophe.
But in this final hour of terrible conflict, something miraculous will transpire among the people of Israel. Pressed to the wall; with their Promised Land torn apart by a vicious war; with their historic fears of national annihilation coming to reality before their eyes…
…the Jews turn to God.
They have always done this, but in this case,
they turn to their Messiah at last!
Jesus said clearly enough in John 14:6: “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
In a time when their need for divine help is greater than ever before, the Jewish people will turn to their native Son, the Carpenter of Nazareth. Jesus will be accepted as the true Messiah of Israel.
Isaiah 53 (the conscience of the Jewish people) will be read with a new understanding in Israel.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not…But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.”
Whether out of the desperation of the tragic moment, or from the testimony of the Christian witnesses, or from a national realization that disaster has ever followed the Jews since the time of Christ, the Jewish nation will completely awaken to Christ. They will finally say, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”
This is the password to salvation for the Jews. Jesus told them while He was on the subject of the destruction of Jerusalem in His prophecy recorded in Matthew 23:37-39 that He would not return until they welcomed Him in the words of Psalm 118:26: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
It will be the greatest spiritual awakening in all of history as the Jewish people come to Christ by the millions. It will be a true Day of Atonement in Israel as Zechariah 13:1 prophesies: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.” Also, Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel will be saved.”
God is practical. He promised deliverance to Israel when the nation is faithful. He demonstrated this by bringing them out of Egypt with a miraculous deliverance in the time of Moses. He will do no less in the time of the Armageddon.
The Jewish people will receive Christ. There will be no time to build a lot of churches or to ponder a lot of Scripture when Armageddon is going on in your land! The nation will be saved, as a nation, instanteously – and on the battlefield. It is as if an electric current of truth is shot through everyone at once.
God’s rewards are immediate. The tide of Armageddon will change abruptly as the Lord empowers Israel with new-found military strength. The weakest buck private in the field will fight like King David, and the generals will be like God in battle, as Zechariah 12:8-9 describes it: “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God. “…and it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12: 8-9).
The Israelis have been tough before – in the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, but the world hasn’t seen anything yet. The Lord Himself will come to lead His people in this final world war according to Zechariah 14: 3-4: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives” (Zachariah 14: 3-4).
Jesus will return to His beloved Mount of Olives, adjacent to the Jerusalem Temple site, where He used to retire in the evenings for prayer. And cataclysmic things will happen. Militarily, those who attacked Jerusalem are in for a bad time of it, to say the least. Zechariah 14:12 says: “…the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”
John’s description in Revelation 19:11 & 14 sees a magnificent scene of Jesus arriving on a white horse at the head of a heavenly army: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Revelation 19 goes on to picture fowls eating the flesh of kings, captains, and mighty men. The antichrist “and the kings of the earth, and their armies” in verse 19 attempt war with Christ and His heavenly troops with predictable outcome. John sees no scenes of lengthy battle, and Revelation goes immediately to the disposal of the antichrist and his schemes for world domination. He gets the “lake of fire” in verse 20: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
The troops of the antichrist, who represent the enormous armies of the Gentile nations of the world (told of in verse 21), are “slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse…and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
This supernatural ending to the Battle of Armageddon is not new in biblical accounts. We may say that there are natural wars and supernatural wars in connection with Jewish history, which is the story of a people whose destiny is controlled by God. The deliverance of the Jews from Egypt showed the loss of the Egyptian forces when they tried to cross the Red Sea on the dry land used by the Jews.
David experienced a supernatural victory over Goliath in response to his faithfulness. Joshua demolished the walls of Jericho with trumpets. The Maccabees experienced the miraculous touch of God when they defeated Antiochus and rededicated the Second Temple.
Armageddon follows suit, demonstrating that God responds to true faith. When the Gentile nations first march against the Holy Land, they certainly have no fear of the little Israeli army. They plunder Jerusalem and set up their blood-letting in Galilee, indifferent to the great people whose land they desecrate.
But what a different story when the Jews turn to Christ! How shocking for the Gentiles to suddenly face an army of King Davids with Jesus Christ at the head of it!
We have heard of supernatural events in Israel’s recent wars with the Arabs, but the final conflict will be the most spectacular and supernatural war in history. On that occasion, the issue will be atheism versus faith in God, and as we have seen, God takes a hand in it. It is a picture of vicious Armageddon.
Armageddon, thankfully, is the end of every kind of war. It marks the return of Jesus to the earth for an extended stay and a new kingdom.
The great age of “peace on earth, good will toward men” will be ushered in at the climax of Armageddon, and Jesus Christ will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords!