Dispensationalism's 'Battle' of Armageddon is not Mentioned in the Bible!
A great deal of speculation has been written about major events predicted in the Book of Revelation. Inevitably, the result is a misconstrued scenario of the 'end times'.
It may surprise readers to learn that some of the most popular 'end times' topics taught today, do not actually appear in the Scriptures.
The Thousand Years Reign of Christ
The Battle of Armageddon
My articles 'Dispensationalism's 'The Antichrist' is not Mentioned in the Bible', and 'Jesus Never Mentioned the Millennium Reign?' explain my view in detail.
There is no doubt we are living in uncertain times; sadly, a world war is within the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, political leaders should not succumb to the promulgators of grossly exaggerated 'end times' theories. Dispensationalism's 'Battle of Armageddon' has no bearing on the calamities that may befall our generation.
The purpose of this article is to examine whether Dispensationalism's claim is justified that 'the Battle of Armageddon' is an impending, world ending event. I will attempt to explain what John meant by 'Armageddon', and affirm its AD 70 timeline.
The History of Armageddon
Adam Clarke (1760-1832) predicted future 'self-inspired prophets' would continue 'Armageddon' speculation whenever a warmongering dictator appears on the scene.
A Quote from Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
'Armageddon - The original of this word has been variously formed, and variously translated. It is הר־מגדון har-megiddon, "the mount of the assembly;" or חרמה גדהון chormah gedehon, "the destruction of their army;" or it is הר־מגדו har-megiddo, "Mount Megiddo," the valley of which was remarkable for two great slaughters: one of the Israelites, 2 Kings 23:29, the other of the Canaanites, Judges 4:16; Judges 5:19. But Mount Megiddo, that is Carmel, is the place, according to some, where these armies should be collected. But what is the battle of Armageddon? How ridiculous have been the conjectures of men relative to this point! Within the last twenty years this battle has been fought at various places, according to our purblind seers and self-inspired prophets! At one time it was Austerlitz, at another Moscow, at another Leipsic, and now Waterloo! And thus they have gone on, and will go on, confounding and being confounded.'
Predictions continue to this day, the only difference is the greater degree of exaggeration. Some leading authors, preachers, and TV personalities, who insist on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, now claim John and the prophets described 21st century helicopters and nuclear bombs!
The 'Battle' or the 'Gathering' of Armageddon?
A Quote from raptureready.com
Revelation 16:16 'Armageddon comes from the Hebrew word meaning "the Mount of Megiddo." This ancient fortress is located in northern Israel, across the Plain of Esdraelon from Nazareth. Armageddon will be the gathering place for the final great battle, which bears its name.'
It is important to understand the context of Revelation 16:16 because it is the only occasion Armageddon is mentioned in the New Testament. It is astounding the innumerable sermons, books, and movies inspired by one verse of Scripture.
- Rev 16-16 KJV And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
John wrote they 'gathered' at Armageddon, the 'battle' of Armageddon is not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, it has not deterred imaginations from running wild.
Revelation 16:16 doesn’t say the battle on the great day of the Lord was fought at Armageddon, just that that is where the kings of the earth gathered their troops for the battle. The Mt. Carmel range (the closest mountain to Megiddo) was near to where Titus gathered the Roman armies for the final assault on Jerusalem on the ultimate day of the Lord.
Duncan W McKenzie
The Gathering at Armageddon
Rev 16:1-2 KJV And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
In my opinion, the Armageddon timeline was during the 1st century AD when the wrath of God was unleashed upon unrepentant Old Covenant Israel. The religious leaders and their misguided flock were the recipients of God's judgement. The first vial of judgement was poured out on those having accepted the mark of the beast. The final outcome was the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation.
My article 'Dispensationalism's 'The Antichrist' is not Mentioned in the Bible' explains my view on the beast and his mark.
200,000,000 Army of Horsemen
I agree with Frank Di Mori, the 'Bible Prophecy Man', that the gathering at Armageddon was not to battle, but to commence a campaign against Jerusalem.
- Rev 9:16-17 KJV And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
However, I disagree with him that 200,000,000 horsemen from the East will literally gather in the near future.
A Quote from Frank Di Mori the Bible Prophecy Man
'These nations include, Iran which at the present time has an army that numbers 954,000, Afghanistan has an army of 70,000, Pakistan has an army of 619,000 with a reserve of 528,000, Iraq has an army of 273,000, Kazakhstan has an army of 65,000 with a reserve of 237,000, India has an army of 1,414,000 with a reserve force of 1,155,000, and China has any army of 2,255,000 with a reserve force of 800,000. As you can see, if these nations want to attack together they won’t have any problem forming a huge military force of 200,000,000 men.'
Frank Di Mori attempts statistically to support Dispensationalism's view that a literal 200 million army could be formed by eastern nations, obviously, maths is not his forte. His statement accounts for 8,370,000, apparently the outstanding 191,630,000 have gone AWOL.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/armies.htm, makes interesting reading on this subject.
Is there any need for an army of 200,000,000 horsemen from China and eastern nations in this technological age? It is logistically unlikely, since there aren't that many horses in the world. Surely, he doesn't believe this army will literally travel and fight on horseback. On a positive note, it would be a good year for the roses.
John described figuratively an overwhelming demonically inspired army!
God's Method of Judgement
I believe the campaign was the Roman/Jewish war of AD 66-AD 70.
The Roman Empire was God's instrument of wrath during the final judgement upon Old Covenant Israel in AD 70. There are numerous examples in the Old Testament where God used neighbouring nations to fulfil His promised judgement on a wicked nation. For example, Isaiah 13.
My article 'The Great and the Terrible Day of the Lord Is History' examines this subject in detail.
The Army of the Roman Empire
Rev 16:14 KJV For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
A Quote from Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
World G3625 οἰκουμένη oikoumenē oy-kou-men'-ay Feminine participle present passive of G3611 (as noun, by implication of G1093); land, that is, the (terrene part of the) globe; specifically the Roman empire: - earth, world.
'and of the whole world' According to Strong's translation, the armies of the Roman World/Empire gathered for the battle of that great day of God.
It was not unusual for the Romans to conscript the armies of subjugated nations to fight their wars. On this occasion, the Roman army mainly consisted of the nations surrounding Old Covenant Israel; all had a vested interest in its destruction, hence the extent of the devastation.
A Quote from Josephus 'The Wars of the Jews'
'So Vespasian sent his son Titus [who], came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood'.' Book III, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3.
A Quote from Tacitus 'The Annals & The Histories'
'He (Titus) found in Judaea three legions, the 5th, the 10th, and the 15th, all old troops of Vespasian's. To these he added the 12th from Syria, and some men belonging to the 18th and 3rd, whom he had withdrawn from Alexandria. This force was accompanied by twenty cohorts of allied troops and eight squadrons of cavalry, by the two kings Agrippa and Sohemus, by the auxiliary forces of king Antiochus, by a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews with the usual hatred of neighbours, and, lastly, by many persons brought from the capital and from Italy by private hopes of securing the yet unengaged affections of the Prince. With this force Titus entered the enemy's territory, preserving strict order on his march, reconnoitring every spot, and always ready to give battle. At last he encamped near Jerusalem.' Book5 (1)
The Timeline of the Great Tribulation
It is possible to ascertain the 1st century Armageddon timeline from Scripture, since it would be at the close of the 'great tribulation'. Therefore, if we identify the timeline of the 'great tribulation', we will establish when the Armageddon gathering took place.
- Mat 24:29-30 KJV Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power land great glory.
'Immediately after the tribulation of those days' Most scholars object to the view that the 'tribulation of those days' and Christ's return took place by AD 70, due to the lack of empirical evidence. However, if the stars were to literally fall from heaven, the earth would not survive the impact. Jesus used prophetic, figurative language commonly spoken by the Old Testament prophets.
- Isa 13:10 KJV For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isaiah used prophetic language to describe the downfall of the Babylonian Empire. This was similar to the language used by Jesus during the Olivet Discourse.
- Isa 13:17 KJV Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
Isaiah's prophecy was not fulfilled literally; he explained the Lord's method of fulfilment was the invasion of the Medes.
- Rev 1:9 KJV I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John and his generation lived during the great tribulation initiated by Caesar Nero. John encouraged the original recipients of the Revelation by aligning himself with them through the dreadful reign of the 'man of sin'.
Jesus described the great tribulation about to unfold during His generation's lifetime.
- Mat 24:20-21 KJV But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
'But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day' If the great tribulation is a 21st century calamity involving the whole world, why would we pray that our flight not be on the sabbath day? It is obvious, the sabbath restrictions applied to Old Covenant Israel, not to the world 2000 years in the future. Jesus warned His generation of impending doom.
'such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be' Some futurists contend that the tribulation during the 1st century foreshadowed a 21st century tribulation. If so, why did Jesus declare there would never be another like it?
- Luk 21:12 KJV But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
'and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues' Luke wrote that those persecuted would be delivered to the synagogues. If the great tribulation is in the 21st century, will believers be delivered up to the synagogues?
- Mat 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
In Matthew 24, Jesus said all these things would be fulfilled during the lifetime of His generation. Many today insert a 2000 years gap in a vain attempt to negate the impact of the simplicity of Jesus' statement.
The Timeline of the Blood of the Martyrs
- Rev 16:6 KJV For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Not only had Old Covenant Israel forsaken the Lord and the Law, the nation was guilty of shedding the blood of the martyrs.
- Rev 7:14-15 KJV And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
The faithful who paid the ultimate price for their faith during the 'great tribulation', rejoiced in the presence of God.
Rev 17:5-6 KJV And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Who shed the blood of the saints and prophets? It was Jerusalem's religious leaders. Mystery Babylon was not Rome; it was Jerusalem.
- Mat 23:33-34 KJV Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for killing the prophets the Lord had sent.
Mat 23:35-36 KJV That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Jesus warned of impending judgement on all who refused to repent...Luke 11: 50-51.
The Arch of Titus
The Timeline of the Great Day of God Almighty
- Rev 16:14 KJV For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
A Quote from Duncan W McKenzie ‘The Antichrist and the second Coming: A Preterist Examination’
‘Revelation 16:16 doesn’t say the battle on the great day of the Lord was fought at Armageddon, just that that is where the kings of the earth gathered their troops for the battle. The Mt. Carmel range (the closest mountain to Megiddo) was near to where Titus gathered the Roman armies for the final assault on Jerusalem on the ultimate day of the Lord. Ogden writes the following on this:
Josephus [The Jewish War, 5, 1, 1] tells us that when Titus left Egypt with orders from his father to subdue the Jews that he returned “to Caesarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his other forces together at that place.” Bear in mind that Caesarea was within sight of Mt. Carmel, the mountain of Megiddo, and that those armed forces coming from the northern regions must pass through Megiddo before reaching the appointed place of gathering. Titus stayed in the regions around Caesarea until most of the forces from the north arrived, and then moved on to Jerusalem for the battle of the great day of God Almighty.’ Page 321
- Zec 14:1-2 KJV Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 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.
Titus was about to fulfil Zechariah's prophecy. The utter destruction of the temple and Jerusalem was accompanied by the death of an estimated 1,100,000 Jews and the enslavement of 97,000.
Titus refused the victory wreath, and reportedly said he had not won the victory, but was only the instrument of their God's wrath upon them.
- Zec 12:11 KJV In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
The great mourning was reminiscent of the mourning for King Josiah, who was killed in battle against King Necho of Egypt, in the valley of Megiddon.
A Quote from Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible
'Zechariah 12:11 As the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon - This was the greatest sorrow, which had fallen on Judah. Josiah was the last hope of its declining kingdom. His sons probably showed already their unlikeness to their father, whereby they precipitated their country’s fall. in Josiah’s death the last gleam of the sunset of Judah faded into night.'
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Josephus described the visible collateral damage, but not the spiritual warfare. However, John also witnessed the war in the unseen world between Christ the King and Satan with the forces of darkness.
'The Day of God Almighty' brought an end to Old Covenant Israel, and the establishment of the New Covenant Age. Jesus defeated all His enemies, it is time those 'in Christ' lived in the victory.
Many appear to be continually swayed by every false prediction of Dispensationalism's impending 'Battle' of Armageddon, with its doomsday scenario that is void of scriptural support.
Having examined Armageddon and its timeline, I am convinced the event is history.
What do you think?
Don K Preston
- Jerusalem was Babylon the Great, the Mystery Is History!
There are many theories as to the identity of Babylon in the Book of Revelation. The Lord expected the 1st century Church to understand the Revelation, so why should it be so difficult today?
© 2015 Alexander Gibb
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