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Armageddon: How Close?


"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Rev 16:15


Armageddon is the battle that every one talks about as being the battle to end all battles. A Giant cataclysm that many incorrectly believe will end the world. That is only a half-truth, Armageddon is a cataclysmic battle, but it will not end the world. It will however usher in an age of peace where Jesus Christ will reign. But when and how will this battle take place? This article will explore this question and shed light from God's word on the subject.

Armageddon is actually Hebrew for the mount of Megiddo. It is located on the south side of mount Carmel. Located on the entrance to a pass across the Carmel mountain range, it's importance historically made one ancient Egyptian Pharaoh note, "Megiddo is worth a thousand cities"



The Winepress.






 

Revelation 14:19  And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Revelation 14:20  And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Revelation 19:15  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.




Jesus spoke of a Winepress in his parables that seems to fit what the wine press of God's Wrath is really all about. Many expositors wish to attempt to show which armies will use what routs and determine which battles will be fought as the armies are enroute to the mount of Meggido. Yet the more important spiritual aspects of the battle are often not looked upon with any depth. The battle of Armageddon is referred to as the "great winepress of the wrath of God". Just like wine flows from man's winepress, God's winepress will cause blood to flow, the blood of those armies whose nations have rebelled against the Living God.

Matt 21:33 - Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.






This verse is almost never cited as being a prophetic piece of scripture, yet  two critical pieces of the story are present which fit into directly into the book of Revelation.

1. The Winepress

2.  Rebellion Against God

3.  God's Anger

 
The Winepress of God is God's dealing and pleading with Israel over its rejection of Christ and its rebellion against God. Despite all the miracles that Israel had seen they still have rejected the Messiah. He is also very angry at the nations (International Community) for they parted the land (Israel) and forced Israel to be scattered. Keep in mind that the Gentile kings of old (dark, and middle ages) were at least nominally Christian and honored God in their Lands at to varying degrees. This has changed in the past 100 years especially. Now the rulers of our time, have openly ridiculed God, and Christ and sought after many strange and foreign God's to honor. Israel, when it sinned, was exiled and large portions of it's population were killed in the many dealings God had with Israel. This is true from the Babylonian Exile to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes; the Roman Invasion by Titus and through 2000 years of Exile and persecution. God dealt harshly with those who had the truth and rejected it. Now the nations are being judged for their hatred of Christ and their treatment of Israel, forcing them to part(divide) their land and their rejection of the truth.

The LORD is explicit as to who and who alone will tread the winepress of the fiercenss of the wrath of God.

Isaiah 63:1-6 - Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and [there was] none to help; and I wondered that [there was] none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.


Joel 3:2 - I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

Joel 3:9 - Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
10  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
11  Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

12  Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.





The Day of the LORD


Zechariah 14:1  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.
3  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Isaiah 13:9 - Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10  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.
11  And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.





The Day of the LORD and the battle of Armageddon are inextricably linked. While the Day of the LORD is used in the in the Old Testament as a day of Judgment against God's enemies at various times in Israel's History. The most common and important usage is the Day of Messiah's (Christ) to cleanse the earth of evil, sinners and Israel's enemies and usher in a new age of righteousness, truth and justice.

The Kings of the Earth are to be deceived into fighting the battle of Armageddon. This is accomplished by deception. This is a spiritual deception that will deceive the kings of the earth and cause the 'kings of the east' to march on Jerusalem.


Revelation 16:12 - And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Re:16:13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Re:16:14: 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.
(note: Dragon is Satan {Rev 20:2} not the national symbol for modern china)


Zechariah 12:2 - Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4  In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.




Jerusalem is the Issue that will bring the nations to do battle against Israel. Deceivers will be sent out to the kings of the earth in order to (attempt to) destroy her. The three unclean spirits will perform miracles to the kings and deceive them. The Scriptures do not say what these spirits are exactly other than to liken them to frogs. They do not know that God is gathering them together for their destruction. Blood will flow, hence the spiritual metaphor of God's winepress.

In Short the battle of Armageddon is a massive battle in which the Forces of Jesus Christ miraculously and violently intervene in human affairs to:

1. Deliver Israel from the nations (International Community)
2. Destroy those who have parted God's land (Israel/Jerusalem)
3. To usher in everlasting righteousness

As horrible as the battle may seem, it must be clearly understood in the context of God's purpose. It is to bring in righteousness and do away with evil. God holds his hand of fellowship out to all men and women everywhere.  However, that hand will one day be permanently withdrawn. At that time the forgiveness of Christ will no longer be available.

Gog and Magog


Ezekiel 39:1 - Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
6  Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
7  Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
8  After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
9  Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.




        This battle has been a point of some contention by some bible scholars. The main question is weather the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel Chapter 38 &39) is the same as the battle of Armageddon. In other words are there two major battles or only one. Some expositors maintain that there are actually two different battles. While some of the things that were revealed to Ezekiel in his book seem somewhat (though not significantly) different from what we find in Daniel and Revelation, it must be noted that Ezekiel was not given the divine word and interpretation that Daniel was given in addition to the broad panorama of the rise and fall of future empires. Many have surmised that this is the same battle as Armageddon. I see the the imagery as similar though not identical. Yet there is another possibility that most expositors do not want to contemplate. That is, the battle of Gog and Magog does not happen before the Second Coming of Christ. The book of Revelation makes it abundantly clear when the battle of Gog and Magog will transpire, it is after Christ has returned.


Revelation 20:7-10 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.




One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the book of Ezekiel describes Jerusalem as dwelling securely. While it is quite true that Israel has been gathered out of the nations where she was driven, her position in the world today is anything but secure, with problems with the Arabs, Palestinians, and the likes, They must remain ever vigilant against terrorist attacks, wars and uprisings. This is hardly a situation that can be described as 'dwelling securely' and being at rest (Ezekiel 38:11, 38:8). Having studied prophecy for years, I often see the last days as being like a storm building up to a climax of Christ's return. Israel is the key to end times events and I do not see here situation improving much at all in the days to come. I could be wrong, I speak here from no special divine unction. Yet sometimes, modern prophecy teachers are so bent on finding mysteries and obscure meanings in scripture that sometimes simply are not present. Revelation tells us plainly, as plainly as possible when the battle of Gog and Magog will happen. Yes, there may very well be two fulfillments to this prophecy and then again there may only be one. Many prophecy students often leave out the obvious in their never-ending search for the obscure. It is important not to be too dogmatic and to not study these important prophecies with preconceived notions.

A picture a a new security wall being built by Israel

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, (Eze 38:11)1


Does the picture above line up with the prophecy? Are they not building walls in Jerusalem at this time? Is Israel dwelling securely?

Yet and still there are some similitude's that can not be ignored in the passage that harken back to the great battle of Armageddon. One that first comes to mind is the Great Feast that the LORD prepares for the birds of the air (Rev 19:17, Ezekiel 39:4). Additionally the destruction of Gog and Magog are as the result of direct intervention by God, as with the battle of Armageddon. There are also parallels that are in Zechariah (Zech 14:13 – cf Eze 38:21).

The destruction of Gog is a monumental event just like the battle of Armageddon, it will take seven months just to bury the dead and the fuel obtained by Israel just from the destruction of the weapons will be enough to last seven years (Ezekiel 39:8-10).

Who is Gog?

Gog is the leader of (chief Prince of) Meschech and Tubal. This is an important factor in understanding who and when this will take place. Many expositors believe this land of Magog to be Russia (and those allied with Russia). This is almost certainly the case insofar as Russia is part of the invading Army. Meschech and Tubal have largely been associated with Russia through the work of widely disseminated anthropological and linguistic research. The two names have been found together on inscriptions of the Assyrians. They were largely driven northwards to the area of the Black Sea. This does not necessarily mean Russia, as the actual place of there dwelling is the area between the Back and Caspian Seas, an area which has recently had a upswing of violent anti-Israeli Islamic fundamentalism. The same can be said of Tubal who is seen to have settled in Georgia (former USSR). This has led many to conclude that the invading armies are Russian (former Soviet). The rest of the band of marauders are from:


-Persia - Modern Iran
-Ethiopia - (Modern Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea)
-Libya - Modern Libya
-Gomer - The nations of Western Europe
-Many People (Lots of Others!)

God will destroy them. And leave one sixth remaining. Such a broad destruction of so many armies (including western Europe's) would not leave much left for another army to be raised for the battle of Armageddon.

This has led many to believe that these battles 1) Gog and Magog and 2) Armageddon are one in the same. Gog can be described in two ways he appears to be 1) a chief hater of Israel and 2) he is a thief.

I am not able to say with absolute certainty that the Battle of Armageddon and the Battle of Gog and Magog are one in the same. But it appears to be the stronger of the arguments from a purely scriptural standpoint. Yet it may be that this scripture will probably not be completely fulfilled until the end of the millennium reign of Christ.





The Problem of Overspiritualization

Or 'The Two Israels'.



Israel is made up of two Branches. The Natural Branch which comprises the Jews and the nation of Israel and the wild olive branch which comprise the regenerated gentile Church. Each is important in God's eyes even though the Natural Branches have rejected the Messiah.



(Rom 11:16-32) For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.




Today there is a growing anti-semitism in the Church. There is also a new heresy going about that is sometimes called 'replacement theology'. It says, in essence, that God is finished with the Jews and that the Church has replaced Israel in God's plan. Romans chapter 11, when read in its entirety clearly shows the heretical nature of that view. It must be noted here that satan has always hated the children of promise, be it after the flesh or the spirit. If God has made a promise to any group of people, the devil works to keep that promise from being fulfilled. He often uses the Church to do it with. It was the Church that persecuted the Jews in the middle-ages so badly that many Jews have nothing but contempt for Christianity and their own Messiah. The so-called Christian nobles of the middle-ages were brutal and merciless on Jews and consequently have proven to be one of the greatest stumbling blocks that keeps many Jews from hearing the Gospel... even after all these centuries. This is because in the minds of many of the Children of Jacob, Christianity and anti-semitism are interchangeable terms. This replacement theology makes the prophecies of the end times nonsense because Israel is then reinterpreted to mean, Britain or th Celts or Aryans, Africans or America or any other group that wants to wrest the scriptures to their own certain destruction. Israel, when spoken of relation to the final battle is the regathered Israel (modern nomenclature – Jews) which consists of the regathered Jews and the nation of Israel, who, just like the ancient prophecy said, would be regathered out of the nations would return to their own land. It does God's word one of the greatest disservices to ignore such a monumental event and prophetic fulfillment in order to satisfy a twisted theology.



The Battle of the end of the age, or Armageddon as it is called will be fought in Israel, just like the Bible says. It will consummate the age and bring in everlasting righteousness. But Satan's man must first come on the scene in order to lie, kill, steal and destroy. An entire book could be written on this issue alone. Reading the book of Romans is most edifying and enlightening on this issue. The Jews are the Jews (as they are called today) and the Church is the Church and both regenerated Israel and the regenerated Church are the True Israel, the redeemed, the saved, the Saints of God. As we enter into these times I exhort all of my readers to understand and know this subtle but important distinction. it will save you from great error in the future.



 


 

 By,

Mark S Watson

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1I know may fine bible scholars who believe that this is a reference to an invasion of America that is to take place at the same time as an invasion of Israel. The text of this verse in particular clearly implies that while Israel (the Israel of the Middle East) is the prime target, there is something else going on at the same time, another invasion of another land that is not defended. The text is not crystal clear, but this is an intriguing possibility that cannot be ignored.