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Armageddon: Past of Future?

By John Noē

John Noe Study Archive | The Only Defense in the Major Case Against Christ, Christianity, and the Bible. | Armageddon: Past or Future? | Restoring the Kingdom-of-God Worldview to the Church and the World | 12 Most Common Mistakes People Make About Bible Prophecy and the Endtimes | 7 Demanding Evidences Why Christ Returned As and When He Said He Would | What About Paul's Man of Sin? | Are the End Times Behind Us? | The Millennial Book Awards

 

Are Millions Being Misled, Again?

Armageddon is coming April 8th! According to proponents, that’s the publicized date when it will be “unleashing everywhere” and “no one will escape!” The only question now being asked by a multi-media promotional campaign is, “Are you prepared for Armageddon?”

Fortunately, this alarming announcement is not about a future USA vs. Iraqi conflict or for the real so-called final “battle of Armageddon” at the supposed end of the world. I am speaking of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ tenth and latest blockbuster title in their wildly popular Left Behind series. It is provocatively titled Armageddon.

Even though this is another work of fiction, LaHaye contends that his works of fiction are conduits of “God’s end-times truths.” There is no question that he is seriously committed to equipping “Christians with the prophetic knowledge that God expects His children to have.”1 The Left Behind series has proven to be the best vehicle to achieve his goal. Its 50,000,000 books sold-to-date are designed to reach people in a way his “non-fiction” books can not. And, they are doing just that—literally influencing and convincing multiple millions toward his view.

Unfortunately, his books are based upon an eschatological view that is not held by many Christians, and for good reasons. A case in point is this latest book. Below are ten biblical reasons why the theology behind Armageddon’s story line is biblically flawed.

1. The name of the battle is NOT “Armageddon” or “the battle of Armageddon.” It’s “the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). Armageddon is the location of this battle. Big difference!

2. The location is NOT in Israel’s largest valley, 50 miles north of Jerusalem, as is commonly thought. Yet this 20-mile long and 14-mile wide valley (presently known as the Valley of Jezreel or the Plain of Megiddo) remains one of the popular stops on most tours of Israel. According to Scripture, the location of this battle “in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon/Megiddo” (Rev. 16:16). But “har” is the Hebrew word for mountain. A mountain is the exact opposite in meaning from a valley.2Since in Hebrew the ‘h’ is silent, the Greek rending became “Armageddon.”

3. This battle is part of the whole prophecy of the book of Revelation. According to Revelation itself, its whole prophecy were things that “would shortly take place” (Rev. 1:1; 22:6), were “at hand” (Rev. 1:3; 22:10), and were obeyable, heedable, keepable (Rev. 1:3; 22:7) in the lives of this book’s original recipients in that 1st Century time frame.

4. Likewise, the whole of this prophecy was not to be sealed up (Rev. 22:10). But LaHaye and Jenkins have, in essence, sealed it up for over nineteen centuries and counting via their postponement interpretation. Now, however, they want to unseal it by claiming that these events will finally and soon occur in our day and time.

5. A strong case can be made that the book of Revelation was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.3

6. Har-Magedon/Megiddo, where this great end-time battle takes place, is a composite name and, most likely, symbolic. It is contained in a book filled with signs and symbols. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to conclude that it, too, is symbolic of a real battle. BAGD rightly recognizes that “Armageddon is a mystic place-name” and “has been identified with Megiddo and Jerusalem.” Yet they lament that “its interpretation is beset with difficulties that have not yet been surmounted.” 4 Or, have they? Read on.

7. The most likely case is that Revelation’s “Har” is Jerusalem. Geographically, Jerusalem sits on top of a mountain. To get there from any direction one must go “up to Jerusalem” (2 Sam. 19:34; 1 Ki. 12:28; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Chron. 2:16; Ezra 1:3; 7:7; Zech. 14:17; Matt. 20:17, 18; Mark 10:32, 33; Luke 18:31; 19:28; John 2:13; 5:1; Acts 11:2; 15:2; 21:12, 15; 24:11; 25:9; Gal. 1:17, 18). Jerusalem is also called God’s “holy mountain” (Psa. 43:3) and the “chief among the mountains” (Isa. 2:2-3; also 14:13; Exod. 15:17; Joel 2:32; 3:16-17).

8. Based on other Scriptures, one can also make a case for “Magedon/Megiddo” pointing to Jerusalem. During the time of Jesus and Revelation’s subsequent writing, large crowds of devout Jews would gather three times a year to celebrate their religious feasts in this central city. Other related Hebrew terms support this identification:

Har Mo’edh, the mount of assembly

Ar himdah, God’s city of desire

Har migdo, His fruitful mountain (Mount Zion)

megiddow, rendezvous – from gadad, to crowd, assemble, gather.

9. “Magedon/Megiddo” may also be comparative imagery. A great slaughter once took place in the valley of Megiddo (2 Ki. 9:27; Zech. 12:11). Throughout ancient history, this valley was also a favorite corridor for invading armies and the scene of numerous famous battles (Jud. 4-7; 1 Sam. 29-31; 2 Sam. 4; 1 Ki. 9:15; 2 Ki. 9-10; 22; 2 Chron. 35). So much blood was shed in this valley of Jezreel or Megiddo that it became a synonym for slaughter, violence, bloodshed, and battlefield, as well as a symbol for God’s judgment (Hos. 1:4-5). In our day, Armageddon has also become synonymous with and a symbol for the ultimate in warfare and conflict.

In a similar fashion, the word “Waterloo” has garnered a symbolic use. Back in 1815, this town in Belgium was the battleground and scene of Napoleon’s final defeat. Today, we have a saying that some one or some thing has met their “Waterloo.” We don’t mean they have met that city in Europe. We mean, by way of comparative imagery, that they have met a decisive or crushing defeat, or their demise. I suggest Revelation employs the word Magedon/Megiddo in this same manner.

10. History records that a great slaughter took place on a mountain in Palestine within the lifetime of the original recipients of the book of Revelation. In A.D. 70 the Roman armies of Titus totally destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. According to Eusebius, 1.1million Jews were killed. Even more perished in the Galilean fighting, died of starvation or disease, and/or were taken into captivity.

This event was certainly a judgment of God. I submit that it was more than that. First, it was a day of the Lord judgment of God and in keeping with Jehovah God’s many comings “on the clouds” in day-of-the-Lord judgments in Old Testament times:

  1. Isaiah 13:10, 13—judgment of Babylon (539 B.C.)

  2. Isaiah 34:4—judgment of Edom (late 6th century B.C.)

  3. Ezekiel 32:7—judgment of Egypt (568 B.C.)

  4. Nahum 1:5—judgment of Nineveh (612 B.C.)

  5. Joel 2:10—judgment of Judah (586 B.C.)

  6. Amos 8:9---judgment of the northern kingdom (722 B.C.)

  7. Secondly, since the New Testament states that all judgment has been given by the Father to the Son (John 5:22), I submit that this A.D. 70 coming in judgment, was the coming of Jesus “on the clouds” (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Rev. 1:7) and “in the Father’s glory” (Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), as Jehovah God had come many times before (see above bullets).

    Consequently, in speaking of his coming again, Jesus used exactly the same language of the Prophets (cosmic-darkening and collapsing, earth-shaking), described it exactly the same way (“on the clouds”), for exactly the same purpose (judgment), to accomplish exactly the same thing (destruction of a nation), and employed exactly the same instrumentality (foreign armies).

     

In sum, this decisive battle of the “last days” period in which they were living back then and there (Heb. 1:2) was totally relevant to, took place during, and was fulfilled within the lifetime of Revelation’s original readers. Hence, Revelation’s “Armageddon” took place in Jerusalem. Historically, its fulfillment is behind us, and not ahead of us. It is past, and not future.5

A strong case also can be made that all of the literal and symbolic end-time details portrayed in the book of Revelation were precisely fulfilled during these same events and in keeping with the time-restricted context this last book of the Bible imposed upon itself.

Of course, there is more, much more. But the biblical facts seem to indicate that LaHaye and Jenkins are over nineteen centuries off in their timing and topologically (valley vs. mountain) far afield in their location of this “battle on the great day of God Almighty.” They, and others, have erroneously termed it “the battle of Armageddon.”

I further suggest that it is time for God’s people to “wake up, O sleeper . . .” (Eph. 5:14) —i.e., those who love biblical truth, and not fiction or fantasy. We must stop abdicating this area of our faith to the likes of LaHaye and Jenkins. Everyday, millions are being adversely affected and many more deeply entrenched by their biblically flawed view. But as Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). First, truth must get a hearing. If it doesn’t, it can get left behind.

Will you be an ambassador for this truth at this critical time (2 Cor. 5:20)? If so, please discuss this short article with others, and pass it along.

[1] Advertisement – “Introducing the LaHaye Prophecy Study Group,” Christianity Today, February 2003, 13.

[1] The ancient town of Megiddo was situated on a small mound a few hundred feet high and adjacent to this valley on the west.

[1] See Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell (Atlanta, GA.: American Vision, 1998).  John A.T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia, PA.: Westminster Press, 1976).

[1] Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1958), 107.

[1] Possible ongoing applications (not fulfillments) of this prophecy are beyond the scope of this article.

For further biblical corrections of ‘Left Behind’ theology see:

  • 10 Reasons why the Paul’s “caught-up” (1 Thess. 4:13-17; also 1 Cor. 15:51-54) is not a rapture-removal of a group of alive believers from the surface of planet Earth—see pages 15-31 in my book, Shattering the ‘Left Behind’ Delusion.

  • Many reasons why Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27) is not a future 7-year period of tribulation orchestrated by the Antichrist, but instead was a 7-year period of covenantal confirmation perfectly fulfilled by Christ—see pages 71-109 in my book, Beyond the End Times.

  • For many reasons why the Great Tribulation and the biblical “last days” are behind us and not ahead of us—also see pages 131-162 in my book, Beyond the End Times.

 

What do YOU think ?

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Date:
2 Feb 2003
Time:
09:28:21

Comments

Great one.  Thank you!


Date:
04 Feb 2003
Time:
01:05:09

Comments

Interesting. But what about the voice of the seven thunders?


Date:
05 Feb 2003
Time:
03:39:54

Comments

Thank the Lord for some wisdom and understanding. Great job. Wish more folks could see and hear.


Date:
06 Feb 2003
Time:
05:22:34

Comments

We have not applied the basic precepts of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ in our world,the same precepts cited by Paul: (1) The LOVE of money is the basis of ALL EVIL. (2) Do not set your affections on the WORLD, the THINGS in the world because the FATHER is not in them,i.e., power, wealth and prestiege. (3) Godliness with satisfaction is immensely and utlimately profitable. (4) What advantage can anyone gain, even if they acquired the entire universe? What will a man give for his LIFETIME? As Believers are we constantly learning, and yet never coming to the intrinsic perception of God's Truths? Bro. Williams usmc1div@earthlink.net


Date:
28 Jun 2003
Time:
17:24:02

Comments

Does'nt Josefhus speak about Armaghedon. If he does, can you please tell me where to find it in the book of Josephus. I tried to find it but to no avail.


Date:
07 Jan 2004
Time:
17:17:45

Comments

Sometimes I shutter to think what this world is actually coming too, especially when I consider the complicated matter from a Biblical perspective. On the one hand, we’ve got the vast moral majority i.e. The Christian community asserting that Jesus Christ is coming back a second, and final time, so every eye can see Him. Only this time, however, He will not be feeble or imbecilic as a sacrificial lamb. But, sitting on a throne in the clouds with a legion of angels, herald as conqueror, King of kings, and Lord of Lords. Too visibly and physically setup by force a heavenly kingdom here on earth, in the sight and undeniable presents of all mankind. However, with one small exception! That this tale, is yet future, and also at hand, to every generation succeeding the next. In fact, my mother, (God rests her soul) who passed away twenty-six years ago, sincerely believed that Jesus Christ was coming back in her own lifetime, as did her mother, and her mother, before her. The list goes on, and on! Moreover, the first century Christians felt the same identical way, that Christ would return to their generation during their lifetime. In retrospect, the noted author C.S. Lewis writes, that the apocalyptic beliefs of some Christians have been proven to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. He goes on to say; and worse still they had reason! One that you will find very embarrassing, their master had told them it was so! He goes on to say they all expected it because Jesus taught them that. In fact, He shared and indeed created their delusion. He said in so many words that this generation would not pass until all these things are done, and was wrong! He clearly knew no more about the end of the world then anyone else. This is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. So I ask you, where is Jesus? Where is He? It would seem by now after many generations of people anticipating His triumphant return He would have shown His face by now, don’t you think? Or, could it be as CS. Lewis determined? That He was clearly wrong about the whole situation and knew no more about the end of the world or His Second Coming, then anyone else. In fact, history also records a classic error in 1844, by a man named William Miller, who single-handedly predicted the end of the world and the Second Advent of Christ, by means of, an egotistical discernment of scripture! As a matter of fact, this classical error was dubbed: The Great Disappointment. Why? Because William Miller cautioned believers to sell off all their hard earned consumer goods and property to miraculously be whooshed or rocketed away into heaven, with the credulous understanding that, where they were going they'd have no further need of them. Of course, when the time came for the climatic event to occur, nothing happened. Like clockwork, again, believers were left out in the cold and greatly disappointed. Now, in this, the twenty-first century of credulous believers, it is my generational rotation to observe the same insane ideology occurring all over again. However, this time, mind you the medium with which to ascertain the coming apocalypse and the Second Advent of Christ is the evening news, with Dan Rather, or Coaky Roberts. Rather than actually referring to scripture alone to fully ascertain a better working knowledge of what the scriptures absolutely articulates concerning the matter. By the way, if Christians around the globe continue to use the world, and it’s Satanic system of benighted intelligence as a measuring-rod to usher in the Heavenly Kingdom of God, then quite frankly, Christ will never come. That, you can bank on. Why? Because the worldly system that you and I, repulsively endure at this time, is unequivocally, and undeniably, antichrist. A scary thought, isn’t it! Nonetheless, it’s true... Like the man said, the Kingdom of God came already! It is a spiritual Kingdom that reside in you. In fact, Jesus told this very thing to the Pharisees during His day! Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Brothers and sisters of the faith, that is the very reason why C.S. Lewis believe Christ was wrong. Because he was looking for a physical, tangible, Kingdom that he could touch with his hand and see with his eye. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Therefore, I implore you to stop looking and realize that the Kingdom of God already exist within you. You happen to be the brand new temple that He has chosen to resides in, the temple not made with human hands. For more information regarding this subject, click on (Matrixlll.com) And the truth will be reveal.


Date:
24 Feb 2005
Time:
12:26:54

Comments

very good,if only more "left behinder "would read the Bible with an open mind


Date: 29 Jul 2007
Time: 07:23:19

Comments:

This is a liberating perspective. Indeed, the concept men Jesus came to turnaround are still with us. I agree with another comment that we must focus on the precepts of God. A challenge that can only be met by keep close to our Lord on a daily basis.
 


Date: 06 Aug 2007
Time: 08:29:51

Comments:

Here's an idea....get rid of the self proclaimed apostle Paul or should I say Saul of Tarsus. He is the man of sin....the first anti-christ on a world stage....He will be revealed in the future. The man who crept in unaware's as written and described by the Apostle James, and foretold by God while he walked this earth in the flesh. God's view of Evil is much different from man's. Let's remember God deals on the spiritual plane.....not earthly. Who do you fear one who can take your life....or one who can destroy the soul as well. Paul has destroyed and perverted millions upon millions of souls through all his deception and lies. He is the common thread to most confusion in the church of the world.....the 28,000 plus different denominations of christianity....all confusion....no truth. The Gospel or the Truth is so simple....Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.....forgive those who transgress against you so God will forgive you.....recognize The only begotten Son of God and what he did for you (died a sacrifical death so that we might live and he lives today) the best part he's coming back to make everything right. That's the good news. Why do people always study God's word from man??? Read so and so's book....etc. Most people today only study what other men have to say about God and God's word....they listen to some 1 or 2 verse preacher every Sunday and never open the Bible other then at that time. Lazy Christians looking for supernatural power, signs, miracles, and MONEY. Sounds and looks more like witcraft then christainity to me. Knock seek and you will find....do you think that God was talking about material earthly things??? No I think not. If you truley seek God and his Truth you will find it. You won't find it with man or man's church....all you end up serving if you go that way is the god of mammon. Whether you believe it or not God says there are only 2 masters in this age. The one True God the I am......or Satan. The god of mammon is Satan.
 

 

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