“And he gathered them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16). The battle of Armageddon is rivaled only by the mark of the beast as a theme that piques the public interest. The mass media versions usually have nothing to do with the Biblical issues involved. The battle of Armageddon is simply the culmination of Satan’s great controversy with God and his last attempt to destroy God’s people before the Second Coming of Christ.[1] The history of this controversy has already been detailed in previous chapters, but an overview will help put the battle of Armageddon into its context.

The controversy began sometime before the creation of the world when "Lucifer, son of the morning...said in [his] heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God...I will be like the most High (Isaiah 14:12-14). "That ancient serpent, called the Devil and Satan" was "in Eden, the garden of God" where he precipitated the fall of Adam and Eve and all of their descendents afterward (Revelation 12:9, Ezekiel 28:13, Genesis 3). Not contenent to limit his fiendish activities to this earth, Satan imposed his presence into the heavenly councils where he brought grief and perplexity by accusing God, His government and His children "day and night" (Job 1,2, Zechariah 3:1-3, Revelation 12:10).

The book of Revelation picks up the story after the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, when "war broke out in heaven...and the dragon fought and his angels; and they did not prevail...and Satan, who decieves the whole world...was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9), in other words, he no longer had access to heaven.[2] “When the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman…and to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness” (Revelation 12:13,14). This was the medieval period during which the apostate church, the “beast rising out of the sea…was given authority to continue for forty-two months…to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Revelation 13:1,5,7 NKJV).[3] During the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church utilized “holy” wars, crusades, campaigns against heretics and the Inquisition to maintain her power and influence. But John saw “one of his heads as if it was wounded to death” (Revelation 13:3)—with the Protestant reformation and particularly the French and Italian revolutions, the oppressive stranglehold was broken. This allowed the great reforms of the nineteenth century (the Philadelphia period) described in chapter 3. But “his deadly wound was healed” (Revelation13:3)— the apostate religious system recovered its political power, and Satan began to put into place his plans for his last great effort.

Daniel and Jesus called the final struggle the “time of trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:21). The time of trouble is summarized in the pivotal text Revelation 11:18, “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.” In this text we see that the time of trouble is divided into two phases. “The nations were angry” refers to the first six trumpet plagues. “Your wrath has come” refers to the seven last plagues.

The trumpets are Satan’s attempt to use war and chaos to create the conditions in which he can destroy God’s people and thwart God’s plans. But during this time the ministry of the two witnesses (described in chapter 11) results in the winning of a great multitude who come out of Babylon— a crushing defeat for Satan.

By this time Babylon will have a new and important ally—“another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).[4] The United States of America began as a haven of democracy and religious liberty. But Revelation 13:11-17 predicts that the United States will enforce the agenda of the beast, including the war against the saints

The apostate American "Protestants" will set up “an image to the beast” (a union of church and state like the medieval papacy), that will deceive the multitudes “by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” It will force “them that dwell on the earth to make, to make an iage to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and lived" (Revelation 13:11-14). Economic pressure will be brought to bear against those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast [5] (“No one could buy or sell except he that had the mark…of the beast” Revelation 13:17). But it is the death threat (“as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” Revelation 13:15) which provokes the seven last plagues. This is the second phase of the great time of trouble—“You have taken Your great power…and Your wrath has come, and the time…to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).

The plagues of sores, blood, scorching heat and darkness will throw Satan’s kingdom into disarry severing the allegiance of the masses to the Babylon religious leaders (the drying up of the river Euphrates). But Satan is not finished yet. Sending “three unclean spirits like frogs…to the kings of the earth and of the whole world,” the unholy trinity will “gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty…And he [will gather] them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” In this text Satan’s armies are gathered in “Armageddon” to fight against God’s people, but the battle itself takes place in chapter 19: “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war...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. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived those that had received the mark of the beast… And the rest were slain with the sword of Him that sat on the horse” (Revelation 19:11-14, 19-21).

What or where is "the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon?" In order to understand the symbolism we must study three battles that took place on three mountains near the ancient Hebrew city of Megiddo.

Continue to next section: THREE MOUNTAINS OF MEGIDDO

[1] It will be seen in chapter 20 that this is not Satan’s last attempt to war against God. After the millennium, when the unrepentant have been resurrected, he will make one last desperate attempt (See 20:7-10).

[2] Revelation 12:10, Job 1:6-12.

[3] See chapters 2: Thyatira and 13 for a more detailed history of the papal period.

[5] In chapter 13:11-18 the mark, name and number of the beast are identified, which the beast from the earth will set up.