Summary: Revelation is about a war to end all wars. But what is this about Armageddon and what does it mean to us?
OPEN: Years ago I received a flyer for a Revival to be held in Richmond, Indiana.
The “Revivalist” was going to tell us about 2nd coming of Christ. His topics would include the “rapture”, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the battle to end all battles – Armageddon.
Part of his flyer bragged that he was working to bring about the 2nd coming of Christ. He said he had personally gone to Jerusalem and had tried to lay stones in the Temple area that he declared would be the beginning of the rebuilding of the new Temple. And he boasted that this action had caused a riot and several people had been hurt.
Now there were a couple of problems with that.
First was a theological problem.
According the theology this man embraced – before Christ could come again there needed to be a Temple built in Jerusalem where various animal sacrifices would be made to please God.
God don’t need no temple.
YOU are God’s temple now. 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
And God don’t need no animal sacrifices. You know why?
Because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Hebrews 9:12 tells Christ “did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” There’s no longer any need for any other sacrifice. Jesus offered the best and there’s nothing to be added.
That’s the theological problem with this man’s claims… but there was also a psychological problem.
As I read the flyer for that Revival it occurred to me:
“This guy’s off his nut!
More than that – he’s dangerous.”
He believed that by creating that kind of conflict in Jerusalem he could usher in a war that would culminate in Armageddon and that this would bring about the return of Christ to earth. And he was so committed to his delusional theology that he bragged about creating a riot! He was excited about hurting people!
He was delusional.
But where did he get his delusional ideas?
Well, he probably got his ideas the same place I got mine when I was younger and bought into this kind of thinking.
ILLUS: Back when I was younger, there was a really popular book written by Hal Lindsey.
Does anyone remember what it was called?
That’s right: “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
It was an exciting and fairly well-written book – that is, if you didn’t know much about Scripture.
The story was well crafted and his reasoning seemed so convincing.
And do you know what Lindsay taught?
He taught that Jesus would return by 1988 and that after a seven year period of tribulation, Jesus would visibly appear in 1995 and fight the final Battle of Armageddon and thus would begin His millennial reign on earth. (1000 yrs)
Well, just in case you didn’t get the paper that morning… that didn’t happen.
Then along came Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and they believed Lindsay had missed things by just a few years. They predicted that by the year 2000 Russia would lead a vast horde of armies that would descend on Israel at a place called “Armageddon” and THAT would bring about the final battle.
That didn’t happen either!
You know after a while - after these folks have missed such crucial dates - you begin to realize that maybe these guys don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
So, what is this about Armageddon?
Revelation 16:12-16 says “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”
And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”
According to folks like Lindsay, Falwell and Robertson - Armageddon is a place otherwise known as Megiddo.
Armageddon is a compound word.
“Ar” means mountain, “mageddon” could be rendered Megiddo.
Megiddo was Biblical city that was built on a large hill in the northern part of Israel (just south of Nazareth). It overlooks a beautiful sprawling valley that’s been the site of numerous bloody battles during the days of Joshua, and the Judges and the Kings of Israel. In fact, the last known battle to have taken place there was during WWI when the Allies fought the Turks in 1918.