Summary: Armageddon: Is It About to Happen. Should you and I be preparing for earth’s final battle? Absolutely—but how? (Revelation 16:13, 14, 16).
Many Christians today are convinced that Armageddon—Revelation’s name for earth’s last battle—is due to break out in the very near future. Armageddon is presumed to refer to the valley of Megiddo in Israel (though the word itself means “Mount Megiddo”), and all the conflict that’s gone on in that region of the world the last few years makes it attractive to suppose that Armageddon is, indeed, about to happen. Consider:
•Terrorism, emanating from the Middle East, is a global threat.
•The Israelis and the Palestinians seem to be in a life-and-death struggle.
•Afghanistan is embroiled in conflict.
•Iraq has become the scene of an intractable war with no apparent end in sight.
Armageddon suddenly begins looking like an attractive explanation for all that’s going on! But is global terrorism and the current conflict in the Middle East what Armageddon is all about? I’ll begin our examination of this important topic by quoting the four verses in Revelation where we learn about Armageddon:
Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; . . . They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. . . .
Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (Revelation 16:13, 14, 16).
War in heaven
For starters, notice that Revelation calls it the battle of Armageddon, not the war of Armageddon. That’s because a battle is always part of a war, not the other way around. We speak, for example, of the Battle of the Bulge, which was part of the larger conflict we call World War II. And just as the Battle of the Bulge can’t be fully understood apart from the larger context of World War II, so Armageddon can’t be understood apart from a much larger conflict that dominates Revelation and, indeed, the entire Bible.
This war began in a place you’d never expect—in God’s own home, a place we call heaven. We read about it in Revelation 12: “There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.”1 Michael is the name the Bible gives to a heavenly being who’s also called “the archangel.”2 The dragon is a symbolic name that Revelation gives to Satan, “the devil.”3 Revelation goes on to say that Michael prevailed over the dragon, and the dragon and his angels were cast out of heaven.
All wars involve a spiritual component, especially the desire on the part of the aggressors for power, control, and perhaps material gain. This was particularly true of the war in heaven, for Isaiah informs us that Lucifer coveted political power—he aspired to take over God’s throne, His government.4 He wanted authority over the angels. That’s why he was fighting Michael and His angels. And from Ezekiel we learn that Satan was very proud.5