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Evangelist John of Patmos writes the Book of Revelation. Painting by Hieronymus Bosch (1505).

Armageddon (Greek Αρμαγεδων; [armagedôn] also spelled Har-Magedon, came from Hebrew [Har-Megiddo] or, in some modern English translations, the Mount of Megiddo), is the site of the final battle (or campaign) between God and Satan (whose name means 'adversary'), also known as the Devil. Satan will operate through the person known as the "Beast" or the Antichrist, written about in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. More generally, it can also refer to an apocalyptic catastrophe.

The word Armageddon in scripture is known only from a single verse in the Greek New Testament,[1] where it is said to be Hebrew and is thought to represent the Hebrew words Har Megido (הר מגידו), meaning "Mountain of Megiddo" in Israel. Megiddo was the location of many decisive battles in ancient times (see Battle of Megiddo).


[edit] Christianity

[edit] Dispensationalism

The Dispensational viewpoint interprets biblical prophecy literally and expects that the fulfillment of prophecy will also be literal, depending upon the context of scripture.

In his discussion of Armageddon, J. Dwight Pentecost has devoted an entire chapter to the subject, titled "The Campaign of Armageddon", in which he discusses Armageddon as a campaign and not a specific battle, which will be fought in the Middle East. Pentecost writes:

It has been held commonly that the battle of Armageddon is an isolated event transpiring just prior to the second advent of Christ to the earth. The extent of this great movement in which God deals with "the kings of the earth and of the whole world" (Rev. 16:14) will not be seen unless it is realized that the "battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14)[2] is not an isolated battle, but rather a campaign that extends over the last half of the tribulation period. The Greek word "polemo", translated "battle" in Revelation 16:14, signifies a war or campaign, while "machē" signifies a battle, and sometimes even single combat. This distinction is observed by Trench, (see Richard C. Trench, New Testament Synonyms, pp.301-2) and is followed by Thayer (see Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 528) and Vincent (see Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, II, 541). The use of the word polemos (campaign) in Revelation 16:14 would signify that the events that culminate in the gathering at Armageddon at the second advent are viewed by God as one connected campaign.[3]

Present-day highway sign indicating the approach to Megiddo Junction, nearby Har Megiddo

Dr. Pentecost then discusses the location of this campaign, and mentions the "hill of Megiddo" and other geographic locations such as "the valley of Jehoshaphat"[4] and "the valley of the passengers"[5], "Lord coming from Edom or Idumea, south of Jerusalem, when He returns from the judgment"; and Jerusalem itself.[6][7]

Pentecost then continues in his writing to further describe the area involved:

"This wide area would cover the entire land of Palestine and this campaign, with all its parts, would confirm what Ezekiel pictures when he says the invaders will 'cover the land'.[8] This area would conform to the extent pictured by John in Revelation 14:20."[9]

In mentioning the "participants in the campaign", Dr. Pentecost lists the following:

1) The ten kingdom federation of nations under the Beast
2) The northern federation consisting of Russia (see also Gog and Magog) and her allies
3) The kings of the East, the Asiatic peoples from beyond the Euphrates
4) The King of the South, a north African power[10]

Pentecost then outlines the biblical time period for this campaign to occur and with further arguments concludes that it must take place with the 70th week of Daniel. The invasion of Palestine by the Northern Confederacy "will bring the Beast and his armies to the defense of Israel as her protector". He then uses Daniel to further clarify his thinking: (Dan. 11:40b-45).[11]

Again, events are listed by Pentecost in his book:

1) "The movement of the campaign begins when the King of the South moves against the Beast-False Prophet coalition, which takes place 'at the time of the end.'"[12]
2) "The King of the South is joined by the Northern Confederacy, who attacks the Wilful King by a great force over land and sea (11:40). Jerusalem is destroyed as a result of this attack,[13] and, in turn, the armies of the Northern Confederacy are destroyed"[14]
3) "The full armies of the Beast move into Palestine (11:41) and shall conquer all that territory (11:41-42). Edom, Moab, and Ammon alone escape. . . ."
4) ". . . a report that causes alarm is brought to the Beast"[15]
5) "The Beast moves his headquarters into the land of Palestine and assembles his armies there."[16]
6) "It is there that his destruction will come. (11:45)."[17]

After the destruction of the Beast at the Second Coming of Jesus, the promised Kingdom is set up, in which Jesus and the Saints will rule for a thousand years. Satan is then loosed "for a season" and goes out to deceive the nations, specifically, Gog and Magog.[18] The army mentioned attacks the Saints in the New Jerusalem, they are defeated by a judgment of fire coming down from Heaven, and then comes the Great White Throne judgment, which includes all of those through the ages[19] and these are cast into the Lake of Fire, which event is also known as the "second death", not to be confused with Hell, which is Satan's domain. Pentecost describes this thusly:

The destiny of the lost is a place in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). This lake of fire is described as everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41)[20] (Matt. 18:8)[21] and as unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43-44[22], 46-48,[23] emphasizing the eternal character of retribution of the lost.[24]

[edit] Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Armageddon is a battle where Satan unites the kings of the Earth against God's appointed King, Christ. In the Bible it is called "the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Unlike many Christian groups, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that an individual 'Antichrist' will be involved. Satan himself will move the kingdoms of the world to wage war on God's chosen people. Revelation says that "expressions inspired by demons" cause the kings of the entire inhabited Earth to gather together for the war of the great day of God the Almighty (Revelation 16:14). But then, the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" because of his righteousness will defeat them for the glory of the Almighty God. (Revelation 17:12-14)

The Witnesses believe it is evident from this text that this war is not one of nations fighting against one another with nuclear, biological, or other weapons of mass destruction, since it says that the kings of the Earth "gather together" against Christ.[25] It is also evident that there is no way that all of the armies of the world could gather around the relatively small area that is Megiddo in modern-day Israel.[26] Finally, Revelation 16:16 calls Har-Mageddon (Mountain of Megiddo) (mountain of the assembly of troops), "the place" where these kings are gathered for this final showdown.

Since the Mountain of Megiddo is not a literal place, they feel the Bible uses Megiddo as the "symbolic" place of gathering of all the kings of the Earth, where they will try to do battle against God and his forces. This action on the part of the kings of the Earth is provoked by expressions and signs inspired by demons.[27]

Jehovah's Witnesses believe the collective action to persecute God's chosen people on earth is what finally triggers this war. Ezekiel 38 prophesies that Gog, king of Magog will collect an army of many nations to attack God's people, believing them to be vulnerable and unprotected.[28] God responds by causing them to fall one against another's swords; he strikes them with pestilence, floods, hailstones, fire and sulphur. The chapter ends with God declaring that the nations "will have to know that I am Jehovah".

Armageddon is followed by the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth[29] – a period commonly referred to as "Christ's Millennial Reign", when "Satan is bound for a thousand years" (See Rev. 20:1,2). The final judgment and purification of the earth's sin occurs at the end of the Millennium, when Satan is "loosed for a little season" (20:3, 7-9) and allowed to "go out to deceive the nations ... and gather them to battle" against "the camp of the saints and the beloved city". When Satan loses this battle he is finally cast into the "lake of fire and brimstone" (representing complete, eternal destruction, Rev 20:14). Those who join him in this battle will, likewise, be eternally destroyed. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe a prelude to Armageddon will be the attack on all religions by the Prominent World Powers very soon under their own laws and statutes left to be put into effect.[30][31][32]

[edit] Seventh-day Adventist

Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Revelation 13-22

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the terms "Armageddon", "Day of the Lord" and "The Second Coming of Christ" all describe the same event.[33] They teach that John the Apostle borrowed what was local and literal in the Old Testament and gave it a global and spiritual application in the New Testament. The historical event John borrowed to explain Armageddon is Cyrus the Great's conquest of Babylon. The historical Cyrus came from the East, dried up the river Euphrates to conquer Babylon and thus enabled the Jewish people to return from exile. Literal Cyrus represents Christ, literal Israel represents spiritual Israel (God's commandment keeping church) and literal Babylon becomes an end-time spiritual coalition. The water of the river Euphrates represents "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues"[34] or the inhabitants of the entire earth. The "three unclean spirits" represents the method used to persuade the earth's inhabitants ("miracle working") and is countered by the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14. Seventh-day Adventists further teach that the current religious movements taking place in the world are setting the stage for Armageddon. They believe that the end-time spiritual coalition will threaten religious liberty, and are particularly concerned about the growing unity between spiritualism, American Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. A further significant difference in Seventh-day Adventist theology is their teaching that the events of Armageddon will leave the earth desolate for the duration of the millennium.[35] They teach that the righteous will be taken to heaven while the rest of humanity will be destroyed, leaving Satan with no one to tempt and effectively "bound."[36] The final re-creation of a "new heaven and a new earth."[37] then follows the millennium.

[edit] Islam

The Islamic Prophet Muhammad has prophesied about several events that will occur just before the advent of the Day of Judgment (Qiyamah). A false claimant to divinity (the Dajjal) will attempt to misguide humanity into worshiping him and will perform miracles.The people that doubt their religion will follow him and people that have faith will not. That is the biggest sign of judgment day for Muslims. Jesus will descend from the sky . Jesus (Isa) and his followers will bring peace and brotherhood to the world. Christians will recognize the truth and accept him only as a Messenger of God, the religion of God (Islam) will rule the world justly.

[edit] Bahá'í Faith

As part of the overall theology of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'í literature and research interprets the fulfillment of the expectations surrounding the Battle of Armageddon in three ways, all of which have happened.[38]

The first interpretation deals with a series of tablets written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, to be sent to various kings and rulers.

The second interpretation relates to the detailed events near the end of World War I of the Battle of Megiddo (1918) - a kind of literal fulfillment wherein World Powers were in battle. Specifically, General Allenby's victory at Megiddo, which prevented the Ottoman Empire from crucifying `Abdu'l-Bahá, then the head of the Bahá'í Faith, is viewed by Bahá'ís as having been the literal Battle of Megiddo.

The third interpretation reviews the whole progress of the World Wars (though these can be viewed as one process in two phases), and their derangement of the means and norms of the world before and after.[38]

[edit] Rastafari movement

According to the Rastafari it is Haile Selassie who appears in the Book of Revelation. Armageddon (or rather "Amagideon") is a slightly different theological concept, meaning not so much a specific battle, but rather the general state the entire world is in now, and has been getting progressively deeper in since 1930, and especially since 1974. However, Selassie's role in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War is in many ways seen as a fulfillment of some prophecies.

[edit] Literature and film

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Revelation 16:16
  2. ^ Revelation 16:14
  3. ^ Pentacost, p.340
  4. ^ Joel 3:2
  5. ^ Ezekiel 39:11
  6. ^ Zech. 12:2-11; 14:2
  7. ^ Pentacost, p. 341
  8. ^ Ezekiel 38:9-16
  9. ^ Revelation 14:20
  10. ^ Pentecost, p. 342
  11. ^ "Daniel 11:40-45 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Daniel 11:40 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  13. ^ Zechariah 12:2
  14. ^ Ezekiel 39, Zeckariah 12:4
  15. ^ Revelation 11:44, Revelation 16:12
  16. ^ Daniel 11:45
  17. ^ Pentacost, p. 356
  18. ^ Revelation 20:8
  19. ^ Revelation 20:11-15
  20. ^ "Matthew 25:41 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  21. ^ "Matthew 18:8 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  22. ^ "Mark 9:43-44 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  23. ^ "Mark 9:46-48 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved on 2007-11-16. 
  24. ^ Pentacost, p. 555
  25. ^ Watchtower 12/1/05 p. 4 "Armageddon—A Happy Beginning" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania "Armageddon cannot be just a conflict among earthly nations, since Revelation 16:14 states that "the kings of the entire inhabited earth" form a united front at "the war of the great day of God the Almighty."
  26. ^ Watchtower 12/1/05 p. 4 "Armageddon—A Happy Beginning" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania "In his inspired prophecy, Jeremiah stated that "those slain by Jehovah" will be scattered "from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth." (Jeremiah 25:33) Thus, Armageddon is not a human war confined to a particular location in the Middle East. It is Jehovah’s war, and it is global."
  27. ^ Armageddon - A Happy Beginning Revelation 16:13
  28. ^ Revelation—Its Grand Climax at Hand!. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania| chap. 39 pp. 279-280 par. 2 The Warrior-King Triumphs at Armageddon "The Devil’s vicious assault is vividly described in Ezekiel chapter 38. There, the debased Satan is called "Gog of the land of Magog." Jehovah puts figurative hooks in Gog’s jaws, drawing him and his numerous military force to the attack. How does he do this? By causing Gog to see His Witnesses as a defenseless people "gathered together out of the nations, one that is accumulating wealth and property, those who are dwelling in the center of the earth." These hold the center stage on earth as the one people to have refused to worship the wild beast and its image. Their spiritual strength and prosperity enrage Gog. So Gog and his numerous military force, including the wild beast out of the sea with its ten horns, swarm in for the kill. … —Ezekiel 38:1, 4, 11, 12, 15; Revelation 13:1."
  29. ^ The Marvelous New World of God's Making
  30. ^ The End of False Religion is Near
  31. ^ Watchtower 9/15/05 p. 19 par. 13 "Walk by Faith, Not by Sight!" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania "Bible prophecy indicates that militarized powers within the United Nations will see religion as a disturbing element and will act to destroy modern-day Jerusalem — Christendom — as well as the rest of Babylon the Great. (Revelation 17:12-17) Yes, the entire world empire of false religion stands on the brink of destruction."
  32. ^ Watchtower 6/1/96 p. 18 par. 20 "Flight to Safety Before the "Great Tribulation"" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania "The religions of Babylon the Great continue to be a violently disruptive force in the world. News headlines frequently identify warring factions and terrorist groups by naming the religion that they espouse. Riot police and soldiers have had to force their way into temples to stop violence between rival religious factions. Religious bodies have financed political revolution. Religious hatred has frustrated efforts by the United Nations to maintain stable relations between ethnic groups. In pursuing the goal of peace and security, elements within the United Nations would like to see the elimination of any religious influence that stands in their way."
  33. ^ "Seventh-day Adventists believe" 1988 by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  34. ^ Revelation 17:15
  35. ^ "Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology" 2000 Review and Herald Publishing Association and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  36. ^ Revelation 20:1
  37. ^ Revelation 21:1
  38. ^ a b Lambden, Stephen. "Catastrophe, Armageddon and Millennium: some aspects of the Bábí-Bahá'í exegesis of apocalyptic symbolism". Bahá'í Studies Review Volume 9. Retrieved on 2007-06-10. 
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