Despite the confusion surrounding this event, you can understand the plain biblical truth.
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Nearly everyone has heard of “Armageddon.” Hundreds of authors have written books on the subject, and dozens of movies have been produced depicting the “final battle between good and evil.” Scientists and world leaders also use the term, generally to reference the possible annihilation of mankind through nuclear, chemical or biological means.
Some thought Armageddon would be the final battle of World War I. They were wrong! Others thought World War II would end with this battle. They were also wrong! More recently, during the Gulf War, supposed Bible “experts” were announcing, “Armageddon is here!” Again, they were wrong!—as have been many other scenarios.
The Bible mentions Armageddon in only one verse: “And He [God] gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16). Though the New Testament was written in Greek, Armageddon is not a Greek word. It comes from two Hebrew words “har” and “megiddo.” Har means “hill” or sometimes figuratively “hill country.”
The site of Megiddo is within the borders of the modern state of Israel, about 55 to 60 miles north of Jerusalem and about 20 miles east of the port city of Haifa. The location of up to 30 different cities over thousands of years, Megiddo is today little more than a 15-acre pile of rubble on a hilltop. In ancient times, this area included a main highway between Africa and Asia. It provided a natural gathering place due to the flatness of the surrounding topography. Archaeology shows evidence of frequent, extremely heavy defense facilities there.
The key to understanding the significance of the area in the future lies in two key points contained in this verse. First, God brings certain people to Megiddo, and second, the Bible says Armageddon is a gathering place, not an event—and not a battle. When the Bible speaks of Armageddon, it is not referring to either the end of the world or the final battle between “good and evil,” as so many believe. This is critical to understand. There is no battle foretold at Armageddon!
There is, however, a battle referred to as “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14), but God does not call this Armageddon. This is God’s battle and as such it is named after Him.
Armies that will have already gathered at Armageddon and then traveled to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (read Joel 3:2) will fight in this last great clash. Today this valley is called the Kidron Valley. It is located east of Jerusalem and 60 miles south of Armageddon. Thus, the battle does not take place at Armageddon, or the Hill of Megiddo, but at the Kidron Valley.
These two major forces that are gathered will see Christ coming out of the clouds. Considering Him a threat, they will join forces, forming an alliance to fight their common adversary. These men will be angry. They will not submit to God’s government. Thinking Jesus Christ is actually the “ANTIchrist,” they will “make war with the Lamb” (Rev. 17:14).
But what will be the outcome of this last battle?
Continue in Zechariah 14: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth” (vs. 12).
This terrible picture shows that Christ will be victorious against those opposing Him—ending mankind’s failed attempts to govern itself.
But there is good news!
Shortly after His Return, Christ will establish God’s kingdom on Earth (not in heaven) and He will enforce worldwide peace. Suffering will disappear. War will be a thing of the past—so will terrorism. Crime will vanish. Children will play safely everywhere. Drug and alcohol addictions will no longer enslave people. Poverty will be gone, as will illiteracy. Mass healings will occur. A pure language will help re-educate the population. Earth’s polluted environment will finally be restored. Air will be clean. Pure drinking water will be abundant. Even the nature of animals will be changed.