The Battle of Armageddon! What extravagant speculations have been indulged concerning it! What unscriptural theories have been entertained respecting it! To begin with; this appears from the term employed. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of |The Battle of Armageddon.| The Scriptural expression is |The Battle of that great day of God Almighty| (Rev.16:14). This Battle of the great day of God Almighty will bring the Tribulation period to a close and will witness the return of Christ to the earth to usher in the Millennium. This |Battle| is the subject of numerous prophecies, several of which we shall briefly examine.
The Battle of that great day of God Almighty will terminate the most blatant movement of all in the impious career of the Anti-christ. After he has thrown off the mask, denied both the Father and the Son and openly defied Heaven, he will seek to exterminate everything which either directly or indirectly, witnesses to God. His first effort in this direction is brought before us in Rev.17:16 -- |And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the Beast (the |ten kings| vs.12), these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire| -- in other words, completely abolish her. Who this |whore| is we learn in the previous verses. It is |Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth| (vs.5). It is the Papacy, which before this time will have succeeded in gathering within its fold the whole of apostate Christendom. After the Rapture of the Church, the whole of Christendom will render allegiance to the Pope who will still claim to be Christ's |vicar| on earth. Then it is that |the whole| of the three measures of meal will be completely leavened (Matt.13:33). At first, Christendom (the |Whore|) will be supported by the Beast (Rev.17:3), but at the end he will turn against her and cause his ten satellites to bring about her destruction. Having accomplished the destruction of the one system in Europe which still professed the name of Christ, the Son of Perdition will then turn his attention toward Palestine where the last witness of God on earth will be found. The godly remnant of the Jews will still refuse to worship him. This enrages the Beast and he gathers together his forces and leads them against the Holy Land in a determined attempt to annihilate those who dare to defy him, in fact it would seem from several Scriptures that the Gentiles headed by the Man of Sin will aim at the complete destruction of all of David's descendants. Unknown to himself, however, he will be but carrying out the eternal purpose of God -- |Now also many nations are gathered against thee (the daughter of Zion), that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion, But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel, for He shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor| (Micah 4:11, 12). The time for God to take vengeance on the nations who have flocked to the banner of the Anti-christ has come, and He employs the Beast to concentrate his forces so that He may pour out His wrath upon them -- |Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy might ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down: for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more| (Joel 3:9-17).
But to go back a little. Unknown to himself, it is the Lord, who shall cause the Anti-christ to assemble his forces in Palestine where they shall both meet their just doom. But at first the evil project of the Beast will appear to succeed. He besieges Jerusalem and captures it -- |Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished: and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city| (Zech.14:1, 2). Jerusalem falls and its people are led forth captives. The success of the Anti-christ seems complete. The last witness against the Beast now appears to be silenced. But his triumph will be short-lived. As the above prophecy continues, |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, which is before Jerusalem| (vss.3, 4). The Anti-christ has now to meet One with whom he cannot cope, yet, incredible as it may appear, he will make the attempt. Just as of old, Pharaoh gathered his chariots together and went forth against Israel, though he knew that Jehovah was with them, so shall his great Anti-type gather his forces to |make war with the Lamb| (Rev.17:14). The last desperate movement of the Beast will be a determined effort to prevent the Lord Jesus returning to the earth itself. It is to this Psalm 2 refers -- |Why do the nations tumultuously assemble, and the people meditate a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Christ, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion| (vss.1-6). God is about to set His King upon Mount Zion, and the Anti-christ will gather all of his forces together in the vain attempt to frustrate the Divine purpose. At the head of his armies, the Beast marches forth in open hostility against God -- |And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon| (Rev.16:16) which is explained in Rev.19:19 -- |And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.| The daring challenge of the Beast is accepted. The heavens open and Christ appears in flaming fire (cf. Matt.24:27) ready to take vengeance. As it is written, |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. In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem (i.e. the |residue| of 14:2); and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem| (Zech.12:3, 4, 6-9). How all this will be accomplished we shall see under our last heading, namely,