10 - Armageddon

One day soon, I believe an evil world ruler whom Christians call the Antichrist is going to rise on the world scene. The apostle Paul calls him the "man of lawlessness" and the "son of perdition".1  The first appellation refers to the fact that he will disregard God's laws. The prophet Daniel said: "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."2

The second term, "son of perdition", is literally "son of destruction". As we read in the last chapter, when he comes to power the world will essentially be destroyed.

The reign of Adolph Hitler, in which the people (and particularly the Jews) lived and suffered, will pale in comparison to what will happen under the reign of the Antichrist. Hitler came to power during the economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s. One tool that he found indispensable was to create a scapegoat for Germany's problems. He told the people that the Jews were the cause of their troubles. This allowed him to persecute them since the German people wanted their hard economic times to go away. Similarly, I believe that the Antichrist will rise to power during harsh economic conditions as described in the Third Seal judgment. He too will find a convenient scapegoat for all the woes of the world. As Daniel said above, he will blame the followers of God and wear them out through persecution.

Some people wonder if the Antichrist is alive on the earth at this time. If the events that I have spoken of are in the near future, then it is very possible that he is indeed living somewhere on the earth at this moment. However, I would like to submit another possibility.

In previous generations what I am about to say would have been unthinkable. However, with modern science it is not only possible but also feasible. This idea revolves around the cloning of human beings. Currently there is a theological debate concerning the ethics of cloning. One aspect dealing with this issue is whether a cloned human would have a soul. If human cloning ever does take place then I submit that it is possible that such a man would indeed be soulless. The Bible's description of the Antichrist would also indicate that such a possibility is tenable.

Satan is an imitator of God yet he perverts God's designs. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin woman without the occurrence of a sexual union between a man and a woman. A cloned human being would also be the result of a human life that did not occur from the natural human procreation process. This concept fits well the Devil's ways of fulfilling his plans. If a scientist did successfully clone a human in the very near future, the process would take several years for the cloned baby to reach adulthood. This of course would delay the end-time events for probably twenty years. Either way the Antichrist is going to come to power in God's timing.

He will begin the process of his ascendancy to world domination through some sort of agreement or peace treaty. He will seemingly have the answers to the world's economic and spiritual problems. Meanwhile, he will be raising an international army to suppress opposition, particularly those who are followers of God.

Some believe that the Antichrist will come to power in the continent of Europe. There are primarily two biblical reasons for this assertion. Both of them are in the Book of Daniel.

The first has to do with an interpretation that Daniel gave concerning a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had. In that dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a great or giant image, which may have been a statue. This statue had a head of gold, its chest and arms were made of silver, its stomach and thighs were brass, the legs were iron, and its feet and toes were part iron and part clay. Daniel stated that each of these sections of the image represented a world empire.3

Daniel said that the head was the Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar. The chest and arms would be the Medo-Persian Empire, the stomach and thighs represented the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, and the legs of iron were the Roman Empire which would trodden down the people. Daniel prophesied concerning this fourth or Roman Empire, "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise."4 This is an apt description of the Roman Empire which did conquer the known world with its mighty and disciplined armies. Daniel then states that the toes were made of iron and clay. This means that this final kingdom would be partly strong and partly broken or weak. These ten toes represented ten future kings. Daniel speaks of these kings in a later chapter.

In a vision that he himself had Daniel saw four beasts which represented the same four world empires of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.5 Concerning the fourth beast Daniel said:

"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth

beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it

had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and

stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse

from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten

horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up

among them another little horn, before whom there were

three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and,

behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a

mouth speaking great things."6

This section again refers to the dreadful power of the Roman Empire. There are two things to notice in this passage. The first is that the beast had ten horns of which three fell. The second is the little horn was a man who spoke great things. An angel interprets this vision for Daniel:

"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom

upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and

shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and

break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom

are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after

them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall

subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against

the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most

High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall

be given into his hand until a time and times and the

dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall

take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto

the end."7

Both the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the vision of Daniel spoke of the Roman Empire. The ten toes of the statue and the ten horns of the beast are ten kings. Then a great king comes along who will subdue three of the ten kings and will magnify himself against the most High God. This little horn or king will be the Antichrist.

The Book of Revelation also refers to these ten kings and the Antichrist who shall come from among them:

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise

up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and

upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of

blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a

leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his

mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon [i.e., the Devil]

gave him his power, and his seat, and great


Since the Roman Empire and its people gravitated to Europe, some believe that the descendants of the Romans comprise the majority of the Europeans. This leads to the belief that from them the Antichrist will rise to power.

The second passage in Daniel that seems to allude to the Antichrist coming out of the Roman Empire and therefore Europe states:

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut

off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that

shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the

end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the

war desolations are determined."9

The "prince" who destroyed Herod's Temple in 70 A.D. was the Roman General Titus. Thus, the "people of the prince" were the Romans who made up his army. Since this was only a foreshadow of the final destruction of the third or Tribulation Period Temple, the fulfillment of this prophetic passage has yet to occur. However, this too appears to be a reference to the Roman Empire and a future "prince" who will arise out of it.

This has led some end-times scholars to believe that the Antichrist will rise to power through a confederation of European countries such as the European Union. He may indeed ascend to the leadership of the European Parliament since Europe has been historically anti-Semitic and he will be the greatest anti-Semite who ever lived. He will have the support of ten other leaders of whom three he will overcome. At some point early on, he will use his newfound power to insert himself into the politics of Israel and the Middle East. He will make a covenant or peace treaty with Israel (anti-Semitism notwithstanding in order to further his true agenda) and possibly the other nations of the world. Finally, he will oversee the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and will be proclaimed and worshiped by the world as the messiah.

After three and one-half years of his reign he will be possessed by the Devil and declare himself God while sitting in this newly rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Several things occur as soon as he commits this flagrant and nefarious act.

The Jews in Israel will realize they have followed a false Messiah and will flee to the wilderness (possibly Petra in Jordan) where God will supernaturally protect them. The other leaders in the world will determine that he is a megalomaniac and will send their armies toward Israel to make war against him. This will result in the final war of human history, which will take place in and around Israel and will end in the holy city of Jerusalem.

God foretold of this event in the Book of Zechariah:

"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. 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. In that day, says 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. And the

governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants

of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts

their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah

like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of

fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round

about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem

shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in

Jerusalem...And it shall come to pass in that day, that I

will seek to destroy all the nations that come against


- Zechariah 12:2-6, 9

The prophet Joel also prophesied concerning this final war that is to take place in Israel and Jerusalem:

"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My

holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is near at hand; A

day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of

thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains:

a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the

like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of

many generations. A fire devours before them; and behind

them a flame burns: the land is as the garden of Eden

before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea,

and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is

as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall

they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of

mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire

that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle

array. Before their face the people shall be much pained:

all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty

men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they

shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not

break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they

shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon

the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to

and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall

climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the

windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them;

the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be

dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the

LORD shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp

is very great: for He is strong that executes his word: for

the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who

can abide it?"

- Joel 2:1-11

You will notice that Joel mentions several of the final bowl judgments of Revelation as taking place just before and during this war. Darkness will come upon the earth, multitudes of horsemen (mechanized vehicles will probably be obsolete after the devastation of the Tribulation Period) will appear leaving destruction behind them and a great earthquake will shake the world.

This final war on earth will end with the coming of the army of the Lord. As we will see in the next chapter, this army consists of the saints of God who have been raptured or have died in Christ. Jesus Himself will lead them into battle.

The Eve of Destruction

In the popular culture of today, the word Armageddon refers to a catastrophic and devastating event that destroys the world. As we have read to this point, that is a reasonably accurate definition of what is going to take place at the end of the current age.

The act that sets in motion the events that culminate in the battle of Armageddon is the Antichrist's declaration that he is God. This causes the Jews in Israel to flee to Jordan, which is the biblical Edom. The Devil-possessed Antichrist will then go on the attack:

"And when the dragon [i.e., the Devil] saw that he was cast

unto the earth, he persecuted [i.e., through the Antichrist]

the woman [i.e., Israel] which brought forth the man child.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle,

that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where

she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time,

from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his

mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might

cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth

helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and

swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his

mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and

went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep

the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus


The Antichrist then sends a flood after the escaping Jews. This flood probably consists of parts of his army. God will supernaturally protect the Jews from the Devil and his Antichrist by opening crevasses in the earth's surface, which will swallow up his soldiers. After the Devil sees the impotency of his power against God he will then make war against God's people.

While this is going on the 200 million-man army is marching toward the Middle East in the hopes of stopping the Antichrist's war of aggression. If oil is still the mainstay of the world's economy at this time then the kings of the east may be concerned that the Antichrist is trying to monopolize those resources. Regardless of the reason the day of Armageddon is approaching rapidly during this time.

 The prophet Daniel mentions other problems that the Antichrist will soon be facing as the final war looms before him:

"And the king [i.e., Antichrist] shall do according to his will;

and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every

god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of

gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be

accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the

desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify

himself above all. But in his estate shall he honor the god

of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he

honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and

pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds

with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and

increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over

many, and shall divide the land for gain. And at the time of

the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the

king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind,

with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships;

and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow

and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land,

and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall

escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the

chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his

hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall

not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of

gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of

Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his

steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall

trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to

destroy and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant

the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the

glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and

none shall help him."11

There are several notable things in this passage concerning the Antichrist and the events leading up to Armageddon.

We have already seen how he will magnify himself against God and will speak great things. Daniel says that he will not honor the God of his fathers. This has led to much speculation as to whether the Antichrist will have Jewish roots. He will not regard the desire of women. Though the meaning of this phrase is unclear, it could be that he will remain celibate during his tenure on earth or that he could be a homosexual. Others believe that it was the desire of Jewish women to give birth to the Messiah. Thus, the Antichrist will not acknowledge the Desire or Messiah of Israel. The only god that he will honor is the "god of force" and the "god of riches". I believe the phrase, "Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain", refers to his possession by the Devil who gives to him all his authority.12 Dividing the Middle East for gain could be a reference to the oil supplies that are located there. All of this results in the other leaders of the world seeking to stop him from expanding his greed to their lands.

Daniel says that the king of the south will push toward him. This king will probably be leading a confederation of African and Arab armies that are marching to Israel. A king from the north will come down toward him like a whirlwind. These could be Russian troops and include soldiers from the Islamic states that surround it.

At first, the Antichrist's armies will gain the upper hand as "many countries shall be overthrown" by him. It is interesting though that Edom, Moab, and Ammon will be protected from his attacks. These areas make up the present-day country of Jordan, which is the area to where the Jews will flee. This would explain why he would be unable to attack these lands because God's supernatural protection will be over them for the Jews' sake.

He will be successful in fighting back the southern armies into Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia where he will gain control of those countries' wealth.

Just when the Antichrist thinks he is about to be victorious he receives bad news. He has to divert his attention to the coming onslaught of the massive armies from the east and the north. He will go forth to fight these invading armies with a "great fury" and will wipe out many of them. This battle will take place on the plains of Israel in the valley of Megiddo and end in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, as Daniel says "he shall come to his end, and none shall help him".


Even though by this time, the world will have been decimated and billions of people killed, there will still be billions of humans living on the earth. After all they will have gone through by this time, the only hope they may have left is to fight with the armies of the world in order to stay alive. The result of this will be hundreds of millions of soldiers converging on Israel from the north, the south, the east, and the west to fight to gain control of the wealth of the world.

The prophet Joel speaks of this gathering of the nations to the battle of Armageddon:

"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: Beat your plowshares into swords and your

pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather

yourselves together round about: there cause Your mighty

ones to come down, O LORD. 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. The

sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall

withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of

Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens

and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of

His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So

shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in

Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and

there shall no strangers pass through her any more."13

God tells the nations of the world to turn the instruments they use for peaceful means into weapons of war. Later on He will reverse this process but not until the earth is purged of this final rebellion.

God says for the multitudes of the world to gather in the valley of Jehoshaphat, the valley of decision. Though we do not know whether this is an actual geographical valley or a metaphor for the judgment of God, the nations will come together around Jerusalem. When they do swift judgment will come upon them by the hand of God: "Put you 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". The Book of Revelation makes mention of this event:

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the

cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head

a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And

another angel came out of the Temple, crying with a loud

voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in your sickle,

and reap: for the time is come for you to reap; for the

harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud

thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And another angel came out of the Temple which is in

Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel

came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and

cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle,

saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters

of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 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. 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."14

The term here, "Son of man", is a title for Jesus Christ. It is used only twice in the Book of Revelation. The other time is in the first chapter where it is clearly speaking of Jesus Christ. It does seem strange that here an angel appears to command Jesus to thrust in the sickle to judge the armies of the earth. Yet I believe it is more along the lines of the angels declaring that they have prepared everything for the Lord to begin His judgment. It could also be that since this angel came out of the Temple in Heaven, he was speaking a command from the Father.

Both the Books of Joel and Revelation liken this final destruction of the armies of the world to a winepress. Just as the press squeezes out the juice from the grapes, so too will the blood pour out of the millions of soldiers who are lying dead and wounded for a distance of about two hundred miles.

The prophet Zechariah spoke an enigmatic prophecy concerning this battle when he said:

"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."15

This prophecy states that during the battle of Armageddon the soldiers' flesh, eyes, and tongues will melt away while they are still standing on their feet. Though this could be the result of a supernatural act of God it also is a description of what happens to humans killed by a nuclear explosion. Either way the rebellious armies will be destroyed.

The prophet Isaiah also foretells of the results of this final battle:

"Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, you people:

let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all

things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the

LORD is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their

armies: He has utterly destroyed them, He has delivered

them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out,

and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the

mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the

host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be

rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall

down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig

from the fig tree."16

The smell of the wounded and dead soldiers and animals will cover the land of Israel. The Lord has poured out His final fury upon the armies of the world. This destruction includes that of the Antichrist and his False Prophet as we will see.

God states that the heavens will be dissolved. After the devastation and desolation of the Tribulation Period the world will need renovating. In Chapter 12, I will discuss this transformation of the earth into a beautiful and fruitful world.

Lastly, we read that the battle of Armageddon ends with the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:

"Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall

be divided in the midst of you. 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. Then shall the

LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he

fought in the day of battle. 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. And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for

the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, you

shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the

days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall

come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass

in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it

shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not

day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening

time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living

waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward

the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in

summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be

King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one

LORD, and His name one."17

The final battle of Armageddon will take place in and around the city of Jerusalem. The inhabitants will flee the city until the battle is consummated. The Lord will destroy all the armies and will stand on the Mount of Olives, which will cause it to cleave in two and create a new landscape around Jerusalem. We will see this fulfilled when Jesus descends to earth at His second coming with the saints of God.

Zechariah states that this day of the Lord's coming "shall be known to the LORD". This corresponds to what Jesus said: "But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only".18 When Jesus does come, He will put an end to the battle of Armageddon and to the Tribulation Period.

As horrible as the events of this and the previous chapter were, there are still two horrific judgments of God that will take place. The first is the judgment by Jesus Christ of those who survive the Tribulation Period. The second will take place 1000 years after Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom. I will discuss the former in the next chapter and the latter in Chapter 13.


1    II Thessalonians 2:3

2    Daniel 7:25

3    Daniel 2:1-45

4    Daniel 2:40

5    Daniel 7:1-27

6    Daniel 7:7-8

7    Daniel 7:23-26

8    Revelation 13:1-2

9    Daniel 9:26

10  Revelation 12:13-17

11  Daniel 11:36-45

12  Revelation 13:2

13  Joel 3:9-17

14  Revelation 14:14-20

15  Zechariah 14:12

16  Isaiah 34-1-4

17  Zechariah 14:1-9

18  Matthew 24:36

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