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. And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Revelation 16:12-14,16
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. Revelation 19:11-15, 19-20:3
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. Zechariah 14:1-7, 9
Who is Involved:
The antichrist, the false prophet, satan (the dragon), and their deceiving spirits collect a vast army from ALL the functioning nations of the world. The Euphrates river appears to dry up to allow the “kings from the east” access. This is done under the authority and at the command of God as indicated in Zechariah 14.
Jesus will appear on a white horse, backed by all the armies of heaven (also mounted on white horses).
Where Is This Battle?
The antichrist and his armies assemble in a Valley called Armageddon. In Hebrew, this word is Har-Magedone, meaning “mount” or “hill” called Megiddo. A possible location is the hill country surrounding the plain of Meggido, about 100km north of Jerusalem. Many battles have been fought in this region historically. Michael Heiser sees this differently, and believes the Battle of Armageddon is in and around the end-times city of Jerusalem (reference his book Unseen Realm). This would correlate with the destruction of Mystery Babylon, which is also the end-times city of Jerusalem (reference Chris White’s book Mystery Babylon). This connection is made in Zechariah 14, when the Lord gathers all nations against Jerusalem to battle.
When Does This Occur:
The battle of Armageddon is FUTURE. It is placed at the end of the Day of the Lord, which is also the ending of the 70th week of Daniel (the very end of what is called the 7-year “Tribulation”). It follows the 6th Bowl of Wrath, and is likely coincident with the 7th Bowl. While the armies spend some time mustering between the 6th and 7th Bowls, when Jesus appears on His white horse in the heavens – “It is Finished”. “Battle” turns out to be a misnomer, as all God’s enemies are destroyed immediately with no fighting on the part of the armies of heaven. (Thus, it’s over in a matter of minutes, all in one day).
Since we have been told that the antichrist is given exactly 1260 days of authority over the nations, and this authority begins at the “abomination of desolation” when he sets himself up as god in the Jewish Temple, this “Battle” would seem to occur 1260 days after the antichrist claims to be god. It can also be calculated as 2520 days after the signing of a peace covenant by Israel and many nations, including either this antichrist or his false prophet.
Why Does This Battle Occur?
The antichrist, empowered by satan, likely deceives the world into believing he is the “true messiah”, or the “true god”. In order for his rule to be complete, or for humanity to evolve spiritually (or whatever he’s going to claim), humanity needs to collectively fight against and defeat Jesus. It’s the ultimate battle between good and evil, the climax of the age of humanity.
The antichrist and his crew of deceiving spirits riles humanity up for the final battle between good and evil. He will claim to be the one on the “good side”, with God/Jesus on the “bad side”. He will assemble his armies in or around Jerusalem.
While the armies are assembling, it will be a horrible time for Jerusalem. Zechariah states at this time “Jerusalem shall be taken” – it seems that this may be when the antichrist turns on the “harlot” (the end-times city of Jerusalem) and Mystery Babylon is destroyed. This would place the destruction of Mystery Babylon (Jerusalem) between the 6th and 7th bowls, which is consistent with the placement of the detailed description of its’ fall in Revelation 17-18 (right before the Second Coming). It also explains why God seems to provide an escape route for His people to flee at the last second (Come out of her, my People!), when the Mount of Olives is split right before the Battle of Armageddon. This gives the kings of the earth (different individuals than the 10 kings ruling with the antichrist) a bit of time to mourn over her destruction, before the final battle ensues.
I really feel badly for deluded humanity, because they are about to find out they fell for the biggest lie of all time. Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven in power and great glory, mounted on a white horse. He comes in judgment. First, the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire. Then, satan is thrown into the abyss and chained for 1000 years – the duration of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
In Daniel 7, we see a more detailed view of the judgment of the antichrist and the rest of the beasts (fallen angels). God is set up with His counsel as in a court of judgment. The antichrist (beast) is judged and thrown into the lake of fire. The rest of the beasts (fallen angels, including satan), are thrown into the abyss and locked up for the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom:
“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn [antichrist/beast] was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9-14
After the fallen supernatural beings have been dealt with, Jesus will defeat the human armies gathered at Armageddon with one swift fiery blast from His mouth: “And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse” (Rev 19). The sword is the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God. It’s not going to be a good death – “And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.“ (Zechariah 14:12-13).
Contrasting the Battle of Armageddon VERSUS Ezekiel 38-39 Gog War:
There is some misinterpretation that the battle described in Ezekiel 38-39 (which occurs at the BEGINNING of the Day of the Lord) is the same as the Battle of Armageddon (which occurs at the END of the Day of the Lord). This confusion is likely deliberate on God’s part. The delusion that God sends to humanity (2 Thessalonians 2), will be to believe satan’s lies. Satan’s lies will likely involve the antichrist being the “true messiah”, attempting to appear to fulfill Biblical prophecy about the Messiah and Messianic Kingdom. This deception would include that the events marking the BEGINNING of the Day of the Lord (including the Gog Magog war and the events of the Seals – Seal 6 in particular) are actually the Armageddon battle that ushers in the Messianic Kingdom. Satan will then attempt to usher in his own “golden age” – thinking to change the course of the end (He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law – Daniel 7:25). We know that God’s truth will prevail, and the true battle of Armageddon will come at the end of the Beast’s rule (which is 1260 days in length).
John’s mention of “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20 at the description of the Final Rebellion (which is again, completely separate from Armageddon), is likely a reference to the deceiving spirits (the princes and principalities) that act behind the scenes to influence the leaders and peoples of the world.
Let’s examine the differences between the wars of Gog/Magog, Armageddon, and the Final Battle to see why they cannot be the same (summary from The Silence is Broken! by Douglas Berner):
The Battle of Gog in Ezekiel 38-39:
- Gog doesn’t operate by deception, but by military might.
- Gog is on the scene for a very short period of time – God intervenes immediately upon his invasion.
- Gog is given no authority or rule.
- There is no description of satan empowering Gog, or even influencing him.
- God destroys him on the mountains of Israel.
- Gog is buried in a mass unmarked grave with his armies in the valley of “Hamon-gog.” (Ezekiel 39:11)
- There is no mention at all of: satan, the antichrist, the false prophet, deceiving spirits, demons, the mark of the beast, a beast, 10 kings, a 7-year covenant, two witnesses, 144,000 sealed Jews, the Jewish Temple, a sacrificial system of worship, an abomination of desolation, drying up of Euphrates river, Megiddo, Armageddon, a Jewish remnant, war against saints, signs and wonders, the church, Jesus Christ appearing, a messiah, judgment, lake of fire.
- This battle involves a specific but limited alliance.
- Israel will be dwelling securely, or at least perceive to be so, at the time of the invasion.
- The direction of attack will be primarily from the north.
- There is mild protest from a few nations against this attack, either out of concern for Israel or out of their own fear of Gog’s intentions.
- Gog’s intent is to “take a spoil”.
- There is emphasis on the mountains of Israel, and Gog’s forces will fall on the mountains.
- Gog and his armies are slain through a combination of supernatural judgments (earthquake, fire, brimstone, hailstones, torrential rain, pestilence).
- This battle is followed by a very specific 7 month cleanup period.
- This battle is followed by a very specific 7 year time period for burning the weapons of Gog’s armies.
The Battle of Antichrist:
- The antichrist (“lawless one”) operates by deception. (2 Thessalonians 2)
- The antichrist will emerge on the scene as a leader desiring peace. He will be involved in signing a covenant with Israel for peace that Israel may herself initiate. (an alternate view is that possibly his supporter, the false prophet, signs the covenant with Israel. “The coming prince” could be the antichrist or the false prophet; will be discussed in a different post).
- 3.5 years into the covenant with Israel, the antichrist is granted authority by God over the nations (the whole world) for 3.5 years (Revelation 13:5). Thus he is on the world scene for 7+ years. (Revelation 13:7)
- The antichrist will be empowered by satan
- Jesus defeats the antichrist in the plains of Megiddo, or alternately, in and around Jerusalem
- Isaiah 14 and Daniel 7:11 state that the antichrist will be trampled by his troops and killed in the panic that ensues when Jesus appears.
- His body will be captured and resurrected from the dead into an immortal body (as we all will be), and cast alive into the lake of fire – to burn forever. The beast (antichrist) and false prophet are the only ones to receive their eternal judgment at this time.
- All the armies of the world are involved. There is no mention of Gog or his alliances.
- Israel will not be dwelling securely – this is the time of Jacob’s trouble – at this time Jerusalem will be taken, the houses plundered, and women raped.
- There is no focus on attack coming from the north. It does describe the kings of the East coming across the dried up Euphrates river.
- There is no protest against this battle from any nation – they are all involved.
- The beast (antichrist)’s intention is to face Jesus. There is no goal of taking spoil – they have already plundered Jerusalem and collected from the nations of the world.
- There is emphasis on the plain of Megiddo and the armies will fall on the plain.
- The antichrist and his armies are slain directly by Christ at His Second Coming.
- There is no mention of a clean-up period or procedure following Armageddon.
- There is no mention of burning weapons following Armageddon.
- Armageddon is directly followed by a 75 day period before the Millennial Kingdom begins. (This likely allows for the Sheep & Goats judgment as to who will enter the Kingdom; as well as purification of the Temple.) Interestingly, there are 75 days between Yom Kippur (one of the 7 Feasts of God) and Hanukkah (feast of lights celebrating the re-dedication of the Second Temple after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, a “type” or “prequel” to the antichrist).
The Last Battle
- God “hooks the jaws” and directs the rebellion in Ezekiel 38-39. Satan is not mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39. Satan will come out to deceive the nations and direct the rebellion at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
- All nations, from the “four corners of the earth” are involved; not just “from the north” or the specific coalition mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39.
- The nations march up over the broad plain of the earth to surround Jerusalem (the beloved city). This broad plain is created at the time of the Second Coming via the largest earthquake ever; Jerusalem will be rebuilt at that time during the Millennial Kingdom. Currently, Jerusalem is not on a broad plain.
- The battle of Gog/Magog is specifically said to be on the mountains of Israel, and the last battle is specifically said to be on the broad plain.
- No mention of a covenant.
- No mention of rulers or kings or generals, “Gog and Magog” refer to the “nations” (synonymous with gentiles).
- There is no mention of spoil as a goal.
- There is no clean up procedure or burning of weapons; fire simply comes down from heaven and consumes the armies.
- No mention is made of Gog’s death; satan is cast into the lake of fire and the great white throne judgement follows.
Although there are several small similarities, the differences between the three battles are too significant and glaringly obvious for them to be the same. These are 3 separate events.
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!