Sunday, June 22, 2014

It Ends at Armageddon

And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”     Revelation 16:16-17  NKJV
I think it’s fair to say that the events of Daniel's Seventieth Week, and especially the last half which the Bible refers to as the Great Tribulation, grow in frequency and intensity until the world arrives at the point in time where God decides to put an end to it in a rather forceful, if not spectacular way.  He does this by gathering together all of the worlds’ armies at a place called Armageddon where He will exercise His power and glory by sending His Son, Jesus Christ  to not only soundly defeat, but also judge the nations and banish the antichrist and his false prophet into the lake of fire.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.     Revelation 19:11-21  NKJV

I can’t help but notice the fate of these who chose not only to follow the antichrist, but to fight against God at this place of His judgment.  Did you notice we are told that after the beast and his false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire “the rest were killed with the sword”?  This is what we could accurately call a “one sided” fight because no one opposing God will survive.  One thing I have never been able to understand after so many years of studying this passage is just what is going through the minds of these men that they can look at Jesus Christ Himself coming down from Heaven and actually believe they can make war against Him?

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.    Psalm 2:1-8  NKJV

Is it any wonder that God laughs?  His created beings actually believe they can throw off their “bonds” and free themselves from God’s authority.  You can call it arrogance or just plain stupidity, but whatever it is the result is foreordained.  Rebellion against God has only one result and that is the expectation of His righteous judgment.

I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.    Joel 3:2  NKJV

The event most often called the Battle of Armageddon is in truth no battle at all, but more accurately called a campaign because while all the armies gather and prepare for a fight, in the end they are simply all killed where they stand.  The name Armageddon comes from the name of a mountain which overlooks the valley of Jezreel, and it is here where many scholars believe these events will take place.  Although the location of the Valley of Jehoshaphat is uncertain due to a lack of historical references, because of the description of what will take place there, most scholars believe it refers to the Jezreel valley.  Yet before Jesus deals with the antichrist and his armies at Armageddon, He first needs to save the remnant of Israel which have been pursued to their refuge in Jordan.

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.             Matthew 24:15-16  NKJV

When the remnant of Israel flees the persecution of the antichrist and his armies, many scholars believe they find refuge to the southeast in the country of Jordan, specifically the ancient city of Petra which was part of the ancient nation of Edom.  It is located in a large basin within Mount Seir and is surrounded by large cliffs and sheer walls of rock.  It is only accessible by navigating a narrow passageway which is about a mile long and is only wide enough for horses to walk in single file.  In biblical times, a sheepfold always had a narrow opening so the shepherd could protect his flock, and in Hebrew, the word for sheepfold is bozrah.  Micah tells us that the remnant of Israel will be gathered and protected in a sheepfold.

“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the LORD at their head.”     Micah 2:12-13  NKJV

With the nation of Israel saved, Jesus now turns His attention to the armies gathered at the Valley of Jezreel for the final conflict most often referred to as Armageddon.

Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel, Traveling in the greatness of His strength?— “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come.                      Isaiah 63:1-4  NKJV

With the remnant of Israel saved, the armies of the antichrist defeated and judged, there is only one more thing left for God to do, and it is something the world has looked forward to since the Garden of Eden.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.       Revelation 20:1-3  NKJV

For the next one thousand years there will be peace on earth during a time we know as the Millennium.  Next week we will look closer at these one thousand years and just what we might be doing during that time.

Keep watching.