Many people have trembled thinking of the last battle on Earth: The Battle of Armageddon. There is probably no greater mystery about any other Bible prophecy. Here is what the Bible tells us about this great final battle.
The word Armageddon is a Greek word derived from the Hebrew word Megiddo or Megiddon. This was simply a location in ancient Palestine. But this location has nothing to do with the final battle of Armageddon. We can find the importance of this word within its actual meaning.
The Hebrew meaning of the word Megiddo is a “place of crowds” or a “rendezvous.” This meeting of crowds is spoken of by Joel when he says, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.”
“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. 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.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:12-14
Multitudes will gather in the Valley of Decision. Could this “Valley of Decision” have any relationship to the Battle of Armageddon? It would help to understand a little more about these verses in Joel.
At first, this valley is called the “Valley of Jehoshaphat.” This Hebrew name Jehoshaphat means, “Jehovah has judged.” This makes sense when we look at the rest of the sentence which says, “There I will sit to judge all the heathen round about.” This Valley is a place or a time of judgment.
Then we see that this valley is also called the “Valley of Decision.” This whole discussion in Joel 3 is about a future time in Earth’s history when God will sit to judge a great multitude of people—a time when they will be faced with making their final decision over who is the True God.
Elijah explained this time of decision when he said to the Hebrews,
“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal [is god], follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21
Joshua also spoke of this decision when he spoke with the children of Israel on the borders of the promised land. He said,
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
Jeremiah also speaks directly of this time of choice. He gives us a view of God “pleading” with mankind for their salvation. He also tells us the outcome of those who will refuse the mercy of God. Yes, it may be a tumultuous time on earth, but essentially, the Battle of Armageddon is the time of God’s final pleading with mankind.
“A noise will come to the ends of the earth—For the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. ‘He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 25:31
And in the Book of Revelation we see the saved people who have come out of this time of decision. Here they are in heaven after the Battle is over. As they look back at the great salvation God has given them ,they praise His name.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!’” Revelation 7:9-10
When asked, “Who are these people?” We are told, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14 What did they do to make it out on the right side of this Battle? They allowed the Lord to cleanse them of their sins—both seeking forgiveness for their past and also allowing God to change their lives.
In the end, the people of the world will face a Valley of Decision as in Elijah’s day. This time they will be standing on the borders of the Heavenly Canaan, and they will be forced to choose their god. This is what the Battle of Armageddon is all about. It is an intellectual battle when the time will come for great multitudes to make their final decision about whom they will choose to follow as God. And that choice is sealed by their willingness to be cleansed of their sins.
“See that you be not troubled”
This time of decision will be met with turmoil as everyone is asked to take their final stand for or against righteousness. And yet, we do not need to be afraid of some terrible, impending world war. Jesus Himself told us that war is not a sign of the end of time. He said, “There will be wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matt. 24:6) There may be wars, but these are not the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation.
We can learn more about this Valley of Decision when foreign troops surrounded Israel, intent on destroying them. King Jehoshaphat prayed unto God,
“O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?”
And the Lord answered him saying,
“Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:6, 15.
We are not to think of this battle as a war of soldiers with clashing arms, but a battle of conscience. The Battle is between us and God in which God is fighting for our allegiance and our trust. The nations will be angry and they will be afraid as God presents them with a choice between two masters. But Jesus counselled us not to fear him who can kill the body, but rather him who can destroy the soul. Again He tells us not to fear death itself, but to be a people who cling to a faith in the God who loves us and who can save us.
“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered? Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:28-31
God does not want us to fear those who can inflict on us simply death. Why not? Because that kind of death to our bodies is a death that God can reverse. But if we make the wrong choice when it comes to choosing between the true God and the false god, or between truth and lies, we will have made a decision that will cost us our souls.
In another place in Scripture Isaiah speaks of the same future time in Earth’s story when the multitudes are banding together, a time when “men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things that are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26) And yet again God ends with words of comfort. God says,
“Say ye not, ‘A confederacy,’ to all them to whom this people shall say, ‘A confederacy;’ neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary. …” Isaiah 8:12-14
The multitude of people in the world may ban together out of fear. But no matter what they are afraid of, whether it is war or disease or a giant meteor hurtling toward the earth, we must turn our eyes to God and direct our fear only towards whether or not we have made the right choice in choosing to place our trust in the One True God. For the hour of His judgment is near and our salvation is soon to come.
There is yet another important place in Scripture that refers to the Battle of Armageddon. This passage is sometimes called “The Three Angels’ Messages.” In its words we can see the same battle of choice. Revelation 14:6-13 shows the two “gods” who are battling for our allegiance: the Creator God and the Image created by the Beast.
“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7
“If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God … and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11
This shows us that taking the Mark of the Beast is the same thing as choosing to worship the false god instead of the True God.
But let us not miss two important points in this passage. First, the chapter in Revelation 14 starts with the description of the 144,000 soldiers of God who will be there to help people make the right choices by showing them a true witness of God and His character. Second, the passage ends in verse 13 with a special heavenly blessing on anyone who might have to give their lives when standing up for the True God.
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.” Revelation 14:13
Multitudes, Multitudes in the Valley of Decision, the Valley of Judgment, the Battle of Armageddon. Choose ye this day whom you will serve. And be ye not afraid, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
What must we do to survive the Battle of Armageddon?
- Choose the True God and reject the god of lies.
- Put our complete faith in God no matter what is going on around us in the world. Remember that God is the only one we must fear.
- Make the choice to put away our sins and seek God’s mercy for our past sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us of our past sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
- Do not be afraid if there will be some who must give their lives for truth because these will be resurrected with a special blessing upon them.
- Realize that the Battle is not ours, but God’s.
- Remember that every passage about this time of judgment—this time of decision-making—is followed by words of comfort and hope.
Brown, Driver, Briggs (BDB) Definition: H3092 Jehoshaphat = “Jehovah has judged”
5) A priest and trumpeter in the time of David (noun proper masculine)
6) Symbolical name of a valley near Jerusalem which is the place of ultimate judgment; maybe the deep ravine which separates Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives through which the Kidron flowed (noun proper locative)
Strong’s Definition: H1995 Multitude, Hebrew: hâmôn (pronounced haw-mone’)
Fom H1993; a noise, tumult, crowd; also disquietude, wealth: – abundance, company, many, multitude, multiply, noise, riches, rumbling, sounding, store, tumult.
H4023 Megiddo or Megiddon
BDB Definition: = “place of crowds”
Strong’s Definition: From H1413; rendezvous; Megiddon or Megiddo, a place in Palestine: – Megiddo, Megiddon.
Strong’s Definition: Of Hebrew origin [H2022] and [H4023]; Armageddon (or Har-Megiddon), a symbolical name: – Armageddon.