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Hasten The Day!
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. [See Table of Contents for all End-Time Prophecies covered here, best viewed on a big screen]
Future Prophesies - During the Tribulation & Beyond
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
What is the Battle of Armageddon?
The Valley of Jehoshaphat and ‘Armageddon’
Armageddon: Who’s Who in the Lineup
The Battle of Armageddon - The Final Showdown
Revelation 19:17-21 - The Beast and His Armies Defeated
Rev 19:17 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, 18 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.”
19 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. 20 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. 21 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.
Battle of Armageddon
Revelation 16:12-16 - Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up
Rev 16:12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Joel 3:3-God Judges the Nations
3 “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 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.
9 Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ ”
11 Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.
12 “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow—For their wickedness is great.”
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness.
16 The Lord also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem;
The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.
Zechariah 12:9-11 - Mourning for the Pierced One
Zec 12:9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
Hosea 1:2-5 - The Family of Hosea
Hos 1:2 When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the Lord.”
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 Then the Lord said to him:
“Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while
I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5 It shall come to pass in that day That I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
What is the Battle of Armageddon?
The word Armageddon is used generically today to refer to any type of catastrophic conflict, especially if it’s seen as likely to result in widespread destruction or the annihilation of human life. In the Bible, Armageddon refers to a climactic future battle between God and the forces of evil, as recorded in the book of Revelation. The word ultimately comes from the Hebrew word Har-Magedone, which means “Mount Megiddo,” the predicted location of the battle.
Revelation 16:12–16 is the record of what will happen toward the end of the tribulation, when an angel pours out the sixth bowl judgment on the earth. The word Armageddon makes its only appearance in the Bible in this passage:
“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. . . . Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”
In Revelation 19:11–20, a final battle occurs at Christ’s second coming as the conquering Christ defeats the forces of the Antichrist. We take this to be a description of the Battle of Armageddon mentioned in Revelation 16:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.’
“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
The exact location of Armageddon is unclear because there is no mountain called Meggido. However, since Har can also mean “hill,” the most likely location is the hill country surrounding the plain of Meggido, some sixty miles north of Jerusalem. Throughout history, armies have fought countless battles in that region: Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Crusaders fought in Megiddo, as well as the armies of Napoleon. Megiddo was the site of battles during World War I and the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 (Weintraub, P., “Rewriting Tel Megiddo’s Violent History,” Discover, Sep 30, 2015). In the future, the plain of Megiddo and the nearby plain of Esdraelon will also be the focal point for the battle of Armageddon.
The plain of Megiddo, or Armageddon, was famous for two great victories in Israel’s history: 1) Barak’s victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4:15) and 2) Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7). Armageddon was also the site of two great tragedies: 1) the death of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:8) and 2) the death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29–30; 2 Chronicles 35:22).
According to the futurist interpretation of Revelation, which is our view, the Battle of Armageddon will be a real battle in the future, near the end of the tribulation. Demonic influences will cause the kings of the earth to gather their armies for an all-out assault on Jerusalem. The Antichrist will be leading the charge (Revelation 16:13–16). Jesus Christ will return to earth with the armies of heaven (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19:14); His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4); He will defeat the forces of evil (Revelation 19:15–16); He will cast the Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20); He will bind Satan; and He will set up His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1–6). At Armageddon the Lord Jesus Christ “treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:19), and all things will be made right.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat and ‘Armageddon’ :: By Mark A. Becker
This study is essentially a follow-up to two previous articles, A Study of Zechariah 14:1-11 and A Study of Zechariah 14:12-21, and is very helpful that the readers familiarize themselves with these two articles before continuing on.
Another article, The Meaning of “Armaged[d]on” by Jeff Van Hatten, should also be read to aid in the reader’s complete understanding of the topic being discussed.
The first part of this article will focus on where the end-times battle, commonly referred to as ‘Armageddon1‘- when Jesus comes back to destroy His enemies – will be fought, and why the location of this battle cannot be where most believe it will occur.
The second part of this article will focus on a summary overview of Joel chapter 3 and its relationship to this end-times battle.
The Valley of Jezreel / The Plain of Megiddo
The Valley of Jezreel, also known as the Plain of Megiddo in northern Israel, is ordinarily thought to be the location where the end-times battle – commonly known as ‘Armageddon1‘ – will be waged when Christ comes back at His Second Coming to destroy His enemies.
According to biblestudytools.com: The Jezreel Valley is what many call the Valley of Armageddon. “So what is known as the Valley of Armageddon in Christian circles is actually the biblical Valley of Jezreel. The term Armageddon is never applied to the valley itself, but only to the mount at the western end.” 2
Whether one thinks of the Valley of Megiddo or the mountain at the western end, the fact is, this is the place where most teachers and students of the Bible believe this last battle will take place. But is this true, and are there any other passages of Scripture that support this view?
Prophetic Valley of Jezreel Verses
The only place in Scripture where the Valley of Jezreel is ever spoken of in seeming end of days prophetic terms is found in Hosea. Let’s look at this passage of Scripture.
“The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel“ (Hosea 1:1-5). (emphasis mine)
The phrase “at that day” – usually synonymous with “in that day” – is often a term associated with the phrase “the day of the LORD.” This is one of those instances where it is not.
This prophecy is clearly speaking of the coming conquest of the northern 10 tribes of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians in approximately 722 BC. This is not an end-times prophecy.
The closing verses of Hosea chapter 1 read:
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel“ (Hosea 1:10-11). (emphasis mine)
These verses are referring to Christ’s Kingdom as Israel and Judah will be living as one people “and appoint themselves One head [Jesus Christ].”
“… [T]hey shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” In Hosea’s prophecy, the northern 10 tribes of Israel were conquered by their enemies; in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, they will be reunited with their brothers of Judah and, truly, great shall be that day of Jezreel!
Jezreel had once been a royal throne for some of the kings of Israel and will have turned into a place of despair for the northern kingdom when she was exiled. What once had been a curse of defeat and deportation in the Valley of Jezreel for their rebellion against the Lord will have become a blessing for all of the tribes of Israel as they are regathered to that same place. What was once a place of death and despair when the Assyrians conquered them will become a place of peace and joy with their Messiah!
Prophetic Megiddo Verses
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon“ (Zechariah 12:9-11). (emphasis mine)
While Zechariah 12:9-10 is prophetic future, the reference to the Valley of Megiddo in verse 11 is a reminder of what happened in a past event and is not future. The event this passage refers to is when good King Josiah was killed in battle and “Hadadrimmon” was a town in the Valley of Megiddo:
“Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah“ (2 Chronicles 35:22-24). (emphasis mine)
As we can see, Zechariah 12:11, “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon” is using this past event as an analogy to the mourning that the people of Jerusalem will experience when she is regathered after Christ’s Second Coming and recognizes Him as their Messiah, and nothing else. There’s no end-time prophecy here regarding Megiddo.
Other than these verses, I know of no other passage of Scripture that speaks of Megiddo in a future prophetic sense. Nowhere are we told that the Lord will be coming back to northern Israel to battle in Megiddo or the Valley of Jezreel.
The Final Battle for Jerusalem/Zion
An important note to keep in mind as we proceed on is that many times throughout Scripture, we are told that the Lord will be coming back to save Jerusalem or Zion.
Let’s take a look at a few of these Scriptures that express this very concept.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem“ (Zechariah 12:9).
“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad“ (Psalm 14:7).
“For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein“ (Psalm 69:35-36). (emphasis mine)
“Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion“ (Isaiah 29:6-8). (emphasis mine)
“For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it“ (Isaiah 31:4-5). (emphasis mine)
“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion“ (Isaiah 34:8).
“Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor“ (Micah 4:11-12).
Prophetic Valley of Jehoshaphat Passages
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is believed to be synonymous with the Kidron Valley and the King’s dale. This famous valley is also referred to as “the valley of decision” in Joel 3:14.
This valley that runs east of, and descends south of, Jerusalem will provide the starting point that will wrap around the Dead Sea and go east into modern-day Jordan, is indicated to be the location of the enemy participants in the futile attempt to defeat Christ at His Second Coming in Scripture. (A map later in this article will show the reader what this area looks like.)
An Overview Study of Joel Chapter 3
Here are few important verses in Joel chapter 3 concerning the location that will most certainly be where the battle commonly referred to as ‘Armageddon1‘ will take place:
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land“ (Joel 3:2).
There are some who think this chapter is speaking of the separation of the sheep from the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. For me, there is a blending of Christ’s Second Coming to destroy the nations of the world gathered in and around the Valley of Jehoshaphat at His Second Coming, as well as the separation of the sheep from the goats very soon afterward. After all, these two events happen relatively soon, one after the other.
The fact is, the entire “day of the Lord” seems to be in view in Joel chapter 3 – immediately after the rapture of the church through the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Some may even say that Joel 3:1-8 refers to prophecy fulfilled in the past.
But there can be no doubt to the Second Coming ‘Armageddon1‘ references when we read:
“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 pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong“ (Joel 3:9-10).
There is no war at the separation of the sheep and the goats – the war has already been waged, and Christ has destroyed his enemies with the Spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8).
[For more information on my views of the separation of the sheep and the goats, please see my articles “The Eagles be Gathered Together” and The Mystery of the Last Sheep.]
“Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy 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“ (Joel 3:11-12).
These two verses seem to have a blended view of both the last battle at Christ’s Second Coming and the separation of the sheep and the goats – the separation of the people of the nations.
“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 3:13-14). (emphasis mine)
These two verses are clearly describing the Second Coming battle and are perfectly descriptive of the same event recorded in Revelation 14:
“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 thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee 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 thy 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” (Revelation 14:14-20). (emphasis mine)
Joel continues on:
“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“ (Joel 3:15-16). (emphasis mine)
Notice the “Zion” and “Jerusalem” references – no Megiddo or the Valley of Jezreel.
Again, this is a Second Coming reference to the last battle also spoken of by Christ:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30). (emphasis mine)
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously” (Isaiah 24:21-23). (emphasis mine)
Joel 3:17-21 gives some details of the Millennial reign of Christ.
“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad” (Psalm 14:7 & 53:6).
The Bozrah Connection
The following is from my article A Study of Zechariah 14:1-11:
When the Lord comes back, the armies of Antichrist and the world will be stationed to the south-east of Jerusalem in the Valley of Jehoshaphat and will wrap around the Salt Sea, moving east to the ancient city of Bozrah.
Map #1 is showing where these armies will, more than likely, be stationed with Sela Petra or Mt. Seir and Bozrah.
In other maps, I noticed that the ancient city of Petra is a little farther south of Bozrah. Map #2 helps to show this distinction.
Either way, the mountain range where the Jews will flee is relatively close to Bozrah in either direction. This would help explain why the Lord will begin His campaign in Bozrah and work His way toward Jerusalem at His Second Coming.
The Israelis, who have been supernaturally protected in the Petra/Mt. Seir mountain range of ancient Edom, will be in dire straits as it appears the armies of the earth are not only waiting to do battle against the Lord when He comes to Jerusalem, but are simultaneously advancing to where the remnant of Judah is.
Isaiah put it this way:
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth“ (Isaiah 63:1-6).
The Lord will destroy His enemies’ futile attempt to destroy Him when He comes back in that last battle commonly called ‘Armageddon1‘ to save Zion – the city of the Great King – which will begin at Bozrah.
What once was an enigma to me – prophecy teachers teaching that the end-times battle of ‘Armageddon1′ was in the Plain (or Mountain) of Megiddo, and yet Scripture repeatedly attesting that this battle would be waged near Jerusalem – has been made clear now from my own studies and my friend Jeff Van Hatten’s excellent article The Meaning of “Armaged[d]on.”
I would add, though, that it is quite possible that many of the nation’s armies may very well go through the Plain of Megiddo on their way to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; but the battle itself, Scripture makes very clear, will not be waged there.
I’m sure this will be a difficult teaching among prophecy students and teachers to come to grips with, as tradition has a way of holding strong in the face of new interpretations. But, really, this shouldn’t be regarded as “new” as much as something that seems to have been lost through the years. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has looked at this subject and thought, “Something’s just not right here.”
Regardless, I pray that this article has a positive effect on the body of Christ and that prophecy circles will have inspired and healthy debates with constructive analysis of this issue based solely upon the Scriptures themselves.
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
See The Meaning of “Armaged[d]on” by Jeff Van Hatten for an excellent article on this topic.
5.3.3. Jezreel Valley Commentary – A Testimony of Jesus Christ (biblestudytools.com)
If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ and are seeking answers about God, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and salvation, please email me at email@example.com for information.
Armageddon: Who’s Who in the Lineup :: By Sally Law
This is a very important piece of real estate situated in Israel, also referred to as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, otherwise known as Armageddon. Perhaps you have heard of this place, even if you did not attend Sunday school or graduate with first-class honors. It is located in Jezreel, just to the east of Megiddo in northern Israel. The word Armageddon actually means “Mount of Megiddo.”
Armageddon is both a battle and a place. So, in the context of today’s article, I will be referring to this as the very last war described in the Bible, within its location bearing the same name.
This war, or battle, will be a one-sided victory, although it appears to be two equal sides of strength in attendance. It will wrap up rather quickly. The ones fighting against Jesus Christ and His armies are heavily outnumbered and outranked. The armies of darkness will be creamed as soon as they lay their eyes on Jesus. They have a zero percent chance of military success. Their collective fate is doom and is sealed for all eternity.
This war has been long predicted and the justice delivered there seems even longer in coming. Sometimes it feels like it’s never going to happen.
Pleadings and petitions in both heaven and earth from those who belong to God say, “How much longer, O Lord.” But—it will happen— and all of heaven will be in attendance as well.
This final war has a specific purpose not discerned by the casual observer—even among Christians. It has to do with the “apple of God’s eye,” His people, Israel.
He gave them a land gift long ago through a covenant with Abram; thus, calling him Abraham. It is a gift from God to them. God made a covenant with Abraham and blessed him with offspring and a beautiful land in which to dwell.
Unfortunately, many dispute and war against this fact—this truth—and deny the claim that Israel has in the possession of their homeland. It’s already coming to an end-times boiling point as I am writing this article. It is cooking up to be a real whopper!
The attendees of the battle of Armageddon are an angry bunch of folks because they have somehow made it to the very end of the seven-year tribulation. This final battle will start just as the tribulation is wrapping up.
The Bible has described in accurate detail the many judgments that have been poured out, literally, upon the God/Christ-haters that are still living on the earth in this future time. It has been truly awful. I am surprised there are people still standing after this seven-year go round. But, in the Bible it says that yes, indeed, they are—and lots of them.
They are heavily armed for battle and making their way across Asia and Europe into the Middle East, marching down the dried-up Euphrates River to assemble together for this prophesied war to end all wars—Armageddon!
I think it’s a God thing, but notice this is where it all started—in the Garden of Eden at the creation of Adam and Eve, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flow together. This is now modern-day Iraq.
And now, it will come to a close in a region known for its origins and connection to Almighty God, our God, and the birthplace of His son, Jesus Christ.
There will be personalities that have risen to evil prominence upon the earth during the seven-year tribulation that will be leading the pack— still goin’ at it. They are all driven by Satan and evil controlling spirits, driving them like half-dead horses up a steep incline and over a fiery cliff to their destruction. They are all going over the cliff together in the largest suicide pact the world will ever witness.
Here is the lineup. You know who they are by now, my dear readers:
- Evil, fallen spirits
- The Antichrist
- The False Prophet
- Kings and military leaders of all nations coming by way of Europe and Asia from the East and the North, most likely traveling down the Euphrates through Turkey and Syria—arriving at Israel’s northern border. Probably, anyone that has a pulse will be dragged along by these demons who will not be refused. “Be careful who you hang out with” applies here.
- All Israel’s enemies— yep, there will still be willing representatives from each nation ready to get their hands on God’s capital city and call it theirs yet again. Jerusalem, as well as the whole world, has been devastated by mega earthquakes at this point in the future—but, they probably think they can rebuild and occupy God’s cherished city and land.
Also coming on this day, through the clouds in majesty and holiness, is Lord of heaven and earth:
- Jesus Christ and the armies of God with Him – flanked by His bride, the raptured church.
“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” (Revelation 19:11-16).
The evil Armageddon attendees have a lot in common, but specific to each one coming with battle axe in hand is their hatred for God’s people, desire to divide up Israel’s’ land, and intent to send the Jews into captivity, slavery and annihilation.
Those nations that have been a willing party to the dividing of Israel’s God-given land are getting judged severely—here and now, in this place. Notice in the following scripture that God refers to Israel’s land —as His land!
“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land” (Joel 3:2).
They are all dead upon arrival—and I do not exaggerate here when I say it will be a bloodbath.
“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 19:17-21).
Many people, including Christians, think Armageddon will be a nuclear war. I do not share this opinion. It will look like a nuclear bomb went off when Jesus Christ finishes with them, as He is bearing the full wrath and fury of Almighty God.
These armies bit off more than they can chew. Jesus shows up and they know who He is—instantly. There will be no mistaken identity here. We are with Him, along with all of the armies of heaven. He delivers a lethal blow to them all and executes judgment right then and there. I told you it was going to wrap up quickly. The Antichrist and the False Prophet are thrown, still alive, into the lake of fire.
You know, I do not feel sorry for this group. That may sound terrible or unmerciful, but is it?
I think not, and apparently neither does God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and all of heaven and earth in this futuristic scene. We will be on the winning side watching our Lord wipe the earth clean of every speck of sin that this unbelieving crowd has refused to repent of.
An expensive gift was offered to them, and they all collectively refused. They held hands and spit in the face of God’s only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. Every person in this group willingly chose hell and eternal separation from God, even though God offered them forgiveness of sin and eternal life in His Son.
Hell is a real place, and it’s a place that God originally prepared for the Devil and the fallen angels. A person actually chooses hell— it’s that simple. God gives us all a choice. In this future Polaroid, we see the result of a very bad eternal choice.
Choose wisely and choose life in the Son of God if you have not done so, please….
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household’” (Acts 16:30-31).
The Battle of Armageddon - The Final Showdown :: by Tom Steward
“The battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).
Armageddon is mentioned only once, by name, in Scripture– in Revelation 16:16. “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).
The scenario for Armageddon. The Seventieth Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) has all but completed, when the 6th Vial is poured out. Antichrist presented himself as God, to be worshipped in the Temple, at the center of the Tribulation Week (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Tribulation Saints have been raptured at the 7th and Last Trump, approximately 8 days before the End of the Week. With all of God’s people removed from the planet, the LORD God Almighty has the greatest liberty to deal with mankind.
Remember how the LORD refused to pull up the tares (weeds) out of His wheat field? Why? Because He was concerned about harming His own. The Tribulation Saints must be completely removed by a Pre-Wrath Rapture. “He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto Him, Wilt Thou then that we go and gather them up? But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn” (Matthew 13:28-30). This describes the final harvest of the nations of the world. The Pre-Wrath Rapture (which is the final harvest of the Church) occurs before the separating of the sheep from the goats (which is the final harvest of all the nations of the world) (Matthew 25:31-46).
Antichrist represents “the kings of the earth and of the whole world” (Revelation 16:14). The “kings of the east” (16:12) are a significant part of Antichrist’s army from the Far East. They are not his opponent at Armageddon. Who do they really think they are going to fight? Not each other. As much as they may hate each other, they are coming to fight the KING of Kings. Unreasonable? Yes. “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD” (Proverbs 21:30). Still, if they won’t repent, they must oppose the Living God. “He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).
Armageddon is the showdown between the LORD Jesus Christ and the Antichrist. In Antichrist’s corner are all the weapons of the world, as well as Satan’s lying wonders. “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). The LORD Jesus is armed with only His person– “and His name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13)– however, “out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15).
The world is watching this engagement. “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7). The kings, which represent the whole world, and their armies will be there– gathered by Satan’s demons. “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). And all of God’s angels will be there. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the LORD Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the LORD, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). And also, all of God’s Saints will be there. “And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:14).
Armageddon is more an event than it is a place. It is “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). As a location, Armageddon relates to the Mount of Megiddo, in the northern part of Israel. It also relates to Megiddo, a city located in the Valley of Jezreel (also called the Plain of Esdraelon). Blood will flow thick and deep. 1,600 furlongs is about 200 miles. “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” (Revelation 14:20). The entire length of Israel will be a killing field– but only for the dead bodies of Antichrist’s troops. “And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:21).
Though the Campaign of Armageddon lasts 5 days (Tishri 10 to 14), the actual Battle will probably take place in one day. When the LORD Jesus Christ begins to slay His enemies, it will probably be ended the same day. “And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15). However, if an extra day is needed to complete Armaggedon, the LORD Jesus could do for Himself what He did for Joshua– give Himself an extra, supernatural day! “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (Joshua 10:13). On Antichrist’s part, just the logistics of amassing his forces will take a good part of those 5 days– as well as the last part of the Tribulation Week after the 6th Seal Judgment.
The final outcome of the Battle of Armageddon is assured. Jesus will win. Satan will lose. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3). Both the Beast (the Antichrist) and the False Prophet will immediately receive their eternal judgment, being cast into the Lake of Fire. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
Judgment in Jehoshaphat - The Wrath of God By Dr. David R. Reagan
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is mentioned twice in the Scriptures, both times in the book of Joel, chapter 3. Let’s begin by reading those Scriptures from the New Living Translation:
1) “At the time of those events,” says the LORD, “when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2) “I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land…
9) “Say to the nations far and wide: ‘Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack.
10) ‘Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors.
11) ‘Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.'” And now, O LORD, call out your warriors!
12) “Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the LORD, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all.
13) “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.”
14) Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive.
15) The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine.
16) The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.
Location of the Valley
Let’s get into this topic by first of all identifying the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Since the 4th Century, it has been identified with the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem, and continues to be until this day. The Kidron Valley runs north and south and separates the Temple Mount on the west side from the Mount of Olives on the east side.
But, the Kidron Valley is not a valley. It is what would be properly classified as a gorge or a ravine.
I was recently at a true valley when I went to California to preach at a church located in the magnificent Imperial Valley. That’s a true valley! It reminded me of the Valley of Jezreel in Israel, or the Valley of Armageddon, as Christians call it.
In addition to the Kidron Ravine, many have tried to identify the Valley of Jehoshaphat with one of the sites where King Jehoshaphat fought one of his battles. But I don’t believe the name has anything to do with King Jehoshaphat.
The word, Jehoshaphat, means “Yahweh Judges,” and in the context in which it is used, I think it is an obvious symbolic term for the judgment of God that is going to be poured out in the end times during the Great Tribulation — a judgment that will culminate in the Valley of Armageddon, which Joel also refers to as “the valley of decision.”
So, the Valley of Jehoshaphat is a symbolic term for the end time wrath of God during the Great Tribulation that will culminate in the Valley of Armageddon.
The Wrath of God
But before we consider the judgment of God that the world will experience during the Great Tribulation, we need to first consider the concept of the wrath of God. The reason we need to do that is because I have discovered that most Christians, if not most pastors, do not believe in the wrath of God.
If any mention is made of God’s wrath, there is usually an immediate and vehement response that God is a God of love, grace and mercy. And if you point to the wrath of God in the Hebrew Scriptures, as, for example, when He destroyed the world with the Noahic Flood, the response usually is, “But that was the God of the Old Testament. The God of the New Testament is a God of grace, mercy and love.”
One of the most memorable times when I encountered this attitude was in about 1995. I was contacted by the producer of a popular radio talk show in Oklahoma City. He said the host of the program had seen an article I had written about the financial accountability of Christian ministries, and he had liked it. He wanted to interview me about it. I agreed to the interview.
The host began the interview by graciously giving me the opportunity to summarize the fundamental message of my ministry. I responded by saying that God had called me to proclaim “the soon return of Jesus.”
I then explained that this message was like a two-edged sword, with a message for both believers and unbelievers. I pointed out that the message for believers is to commit themselves to holiness and evangelism. I then added, “The message for unbelievers is to flee from the wrath that is to come, by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now.”
Before I could proceed with my explanation, the host cut me short. “What do you mean when you refer to ‘wrath’?” he asked.
The Imperial Valley of California.
“I mean that Jesus is going to return very soon to pour out the wrath of God upon those who have rejected God’s love and grace and mercy.”
He responded by saying, “I happen to be a Christian, I go to church every Sunday, and I have never heard anything about God ‘pouring out wrath.’ My God is Jesus, and He wouldn’t hurt a fly!” Then he literally yelled at me, “Your God is a monster!”
That was the end of the interview. He hung up on me. I was not given an opportunity to respond to his misrepresentation of our Creator. If I had been given a chance to respond, I would have quoted the warning Jesus gave in the book of Revelation to the church at Thyatira which was tolerating a false prophetess who was corrupting the whole church. Jesus warned:
20) “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols.
21) “I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
22) “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds.
23) “I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.” (NLT)
These verses pretty well destroy the concept of a meek and mild Jesus who wouldn’t hurt a fly!
Of course, I could also have pointed to the fact that the Tribulation begins with Jesus Himself launching the Seal Judgments. In fact, in Revelation 6:16, those judgments are referred to as “the wrath of the Lamb.”
Let me give you another example that occurred more recently, in 2005. It is the example of an enraged pastor.
I was invited to speak to a large church in the Dallas area where I had spoken several times before. The date of my presentation fell on a Sunday about three weeks after hurricane Katrina had devastated New Orleans.
I decided I would speak about the hurricane, with the intention of pointing out that I believed it to be a remedial judgment of God upon this nation for two reasons. The first reason I mentioned was our nation’s strong-arming of Israel to surrender the Gaza Strip to its enemies. I noted that the hurricane had started forming very suddenly near the Bahamas on the last day of the Israeli withdrawal.
The second reason I gave was the immorality of our nation and particularly the city of New Orleans, a city that calls itself, “Sin City USA.” The hurricane hit the city just as it was preparing to conduct its annual festival called “Gay Mardi Gras.” The 2005 theme of this sexual orgy was “Jazz and Jezebels.” In 2004, the event had attracted 125,000 revelers who proudly flaunted their perversion publicly in a garish parade. The event was sponsored by a group called, “Southern Decadence.”
All hell broke loose during the following week. You see, the pastor was out of town when I delivered the message. When he returned home and watched a video of the message, he went ballistic! He even checked my speaking schedule on our website and called the next church where I was to speak and warned them about allowing me to present my sermon.
What was he so mad about? Two things. First, he felt it was wrong for me to attribute a disaster to God when it should have been assigned to Satan. Second, he objected to my characterization of the hurricane as being a manifestation of the wrath of God. He insisted that the “God of Wrath” was the Old Testament God, whereas the God of the New Testament is a “God of Grace.” The idea of God pouring out His wrath was entirely foreign to him.
These are only two examples of many experiences I have had where Christians have reacted with revulsion against any mention of God’s wrath.
Four points need to be made concerning the modern day Church’s view of God — four very important points:
1) We need a balanced view of God.
Yes, He is a God of love, grace and mercy. But He is also a God of holiness, righteousness and justice. The prophet Nahum provides us with that balanced view: “The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). That is the God of love, grace and mercy.
But consider what else Nahum has to say about the nature of God (Nahum 1:2-3):
2) The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose Him and continues to rage against his enemies!
3) The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
The Valley of Jezreel (Armageddon).
2) The second thing we need to keep in mind is that God has not changed.
There is no such thing as “the God of the Old Testament versus the God of the New Testament. God has always been a God of love, grace and mercy, just as He has always been a God of holiness, righteousness and justice.
God is immutable. And that means He never changes. He declares this in Malachi 3:6 where He says, “I, the LORD, do not change.” The point is reiterated in the New Testament in Hebrews 13: 8 where it says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
3) The third thing we need to understand is that because He is a God of holiness, righteousness and justice, He is going to deal with sin.
I’m convinced that most people think of God as a Cosmic Teddy Bear who winks at sin. That is not the true God of the universe. The Bible makes it crystal clear that God takes sin very seriously and that He deals with it in one of two ways: Grace or Wrath.
Everyone knows John 3:16; few seem to be aware of John 3:36, taken from a sermon of John the Baptist: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
4) The fourth thing we need to understand about God is that He is sovereign.
God is on His throne. He is in control. Psalm 2 says he laughs at all the plots and schemes of the world’s political leaders. He is not laughing because He does not care. His laughter is provoked by the fact that He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Satan and Mankind to the triumph of His Son.
People like to attribute all bad things to Satan. But the interesting thing is that the Bible never does that because the writers believed in the sovereignty of God. They therefore understood that when bad things happen, God allows them either to discipline us or to refine us in righteousness — or for purposes known only to Him.
Satan is not free to do as he pleases. The book of Job makes this clear. Satan could not touch Job or his household or his possessions without God’s permission, and even when that permission was granted, Satan was told he could not take Job’s life.
Some people argue that the first half of the Tribulation will consist of the wrath of Man and Satan and that the wrath of God will be manifested only in the Bowl Judgments that occur near the end of the Tribulation. But that is not true.
Even during the first half of the Tribulation, when Satan and the Antichrist will be rampaging around the world, they will do so under the sovereignty of God. They will be used by God as instruments of His wrath, just as the Babylonians were used by God to pour out His wrath on Judah (Habakkuk 1:5-11).
Types of God’s Wrath
One other thing we need to understand is that there are several types of God’s wrath.
Consequential Wrath — This is what might be called “sowing and reaping wrath.” It is the wrath we bring upon ourselves when we reap what we sow through sinful living. Thus, a smoker might be afflicted with lung cancer, and a drunkard may lose his job and family and die of cirrhosis of the liver.
Cataclysmic Wrath — As evidenced in disasters, either natural or man-made, like the 9/11 attacks. God allows these as a way of calling people and nations to repentance. They are usually referred to as “remedial judgments.”
Abandonment Wrath — The wrath exhibited by God when He turns His back on a person or a society, allowing self-destruction (Romans 1).
Eschatological Wrath — The wrath God unleashed on all the world with the Noahic Flood, and the wrath He has promised to pour out on the world during the Great Tribulation that is yet to come.
Eternal Wrath — The ultimate punishment God will inflict upon those who are consigned to Hell.
End Time Wrath
The Judgment in Jehoshaphat is going to be the ultimate example of God’s Eschatological Wrath.
It is going to be a seven year period of unparalleled violence, misery and suffering from beginning to end — far worse than Noah’s Flood when the suffering ended rapidly as people drowned. God is going to pour out His unmitigated wrath over a period of seven years on those who have rejected His love, grace and mercy.
Because the Bible pictures such incredible horror, I am always astounded when people, including pastors, ask me, “Do you think we are in the Tribulation now?” I can guarantee you that once the Tribulation begins, no one will have to ask that question.
A Tribulation Myth
And that brings me to a myth about the Tribulation that must be addressed. Because Jesus in Matthew 24 referred to the second half of the Tribulation as “the great tribulation,” a misconception has become established that the first half of the Tribulation will be relatively peaceful and that most, if not all, of the horrible judgments described in the book of Revelation will occur in the second half.
That simply is not true. Jesus referred to the second half as the “great tribulation” because He was speaking to a Jewish audience — and for them, the second half will be the time of their great travail — what Jeremiah referred to as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Daniel called it “a time of distress such as has never occurred until that time…” (Daniel 12:1).
But the first half of the Tribulation will be a time of peace for the Jews. That’s because the book of Daniel reveals that the Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews that will protect them during the first half of the Tribulation, even enabling them to rebuild their Temple.
This period of peace will end when the Antichrist goes to Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation and declares himself to be God. The Jews will reject him and revolt. The Antichrist will be so enraged that he will spend the next three and a half years trying to annihilate the Jewish people.
He will do this because he will be possessed by Satan, and Satan is determined to annihilate the Jewish people. Keep in mind that Satan hates the Jews with a passion because:
They are the Chosen People of God.
Through them, God gave the Bible to the world.
Through them, God provided the Messiah.
And God has promised He will bring a great remnant of the Jews to salvation in the end times.
In fact, Jesus Himself said He would not return to this earth until the Jewish people are willing to accept Him as their Messiah (Matthew 23:39).
The Timing of Jehoshaphat
This brings us to the timing of Jehoshaphat. When will the Judgment of Jehoshaphat most likely begin?
Some believe it will begin immediately after the Rapture of the Church. But I think that is a misconception. I believe there must be a gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
I suspect that two major things will happen during this gap period:
The Antichrist will rise to power in Europe.
The War of Gog & Magog will occur.
Regarding the rise of the Antichrist, it is true that he will rise to power in Europe through diplomacy, intrigue, cleverness and the charismatic power of his personality. He will also have supernatural knowledge that will be supplied to him by Satan. But his ascension to the control of the revived Roman Empire will take some time.
And while that is going on, I think it is likely that the Russian invasion of Israel that is prophesied in Ezekiel 38 & 39 (the War of Gog & Magog) will take place.
Traditionally, this war has been placed at the beginning of the Tribulation, and for a good reason. Ezekiel declares it will take place at a time when Israel is living in peace, and the Tribulation is going to officially begin when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel that will guarantee its safety.
But the Ezekiel account also says that when the Gog & Magog War is over, the Jewish people will spend seven years burning the weapons from the battlefield. That raises a problem because the Jews are going to be evicted from their land in the middle of the Tribulation when they reject the Antichrist as God and he turns on them in wrath and seeks to annihilate them.
Thus, I have concluded — along with Ron Rhodes — that the War of Gog & Magog will most likely begin at least 3½ to 4 years before the Tribulation begins, during the gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
This war will result in the destruction of the military power of the Russians and its Arab allies, including the non-Arab nation of Iran. Ezekiel says the armies will be totally destroyed by the Lord on the mountains of Israel.
Ezekiel further states that the Lord’s weapons of destruction will be torrential rains, hail, fire, brimstone, pestilence and a great earthquake — all of which will produce battlefield confusion that will cause the troops to end up killing each other (Ezekiel 38:19-22).
Incidentally, regarding the earthquake, Ezekiel says it will be a “great earthquake” that will shake the entire Middle Eastern area, “collapsing mountains and walls” (Ezekiel 38:19-20). I believe this earthquake will destroy the Dome of the Rock and pave the way for the Jews to rebuild their Temple.
Once the War of Gog & Magog is concluded, I believe the Antichrist will rush to fill the vacuum left in the Middle East by signing his treaty with Israel. And with that area peaceful, he will then launch his campaign to conquer the world.
That campaign will be the beginning of the Judgment of Jehoshaphat.
The Need for Violence
Some seem to think that the world will be so entranced by the Antichrist that the nations will be willing to submit voluntarily to his sovereignty. I do not believe that for a moment.
For one thing, the Muslim world is not going to bow down to a European ruler who is insisting on a one world religion and who thinks he is god. Keep in mind that although the Muslim nations of the Middle East will be devastated by the War of Gog & Magog, the vast majority of Muslims in the world live outside the Middle East in countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Nor will the nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America rush to submit to him. After all, they have spent the last 200 years fighting to free themselves from European colonialism.
So, once the Antichrist has established his power base in Europe, he will have to resort to force — overwhelming force — to conquer the world. And through his maniacal rampage to conquer all the world, God will pour out His wrath.
The entire Tribulation is going to be a time of unparalleled violence and death, which is the reason that both Jesus and one of the heavenly elders refer to the entire period as “The Great Tribulation” in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:22 & 7:14).
Yes, the Antichrist will have to conquer the world with military power, and I believe that is what the Seal and Trumpet Judgments of Revelation are all about.
God will unleash the Antichrist as His weapon of wrath, beginning with the Seal Judgments, which I believe constitute a conventional world war that will result in one-fourth of Mankind being killed (Revelation 6:8).
And I believe the book of Revelation indicates that this war will morph into a nuclear one called the Trumpet Judgments that will result in one-third of the earth being burned up and another one-third of Mankind being killed (Revelation 8:7 and 9:15).
These are mind-blowing statistics that we need to pause to consider.
The current population of the world is 7 billion.
Let’s assume that 1 billion are taken out in the Rapture, leaving a total of 6 billion.
One-fourth of those left behind will die from the Seal Judgments, equaling 1.5 billion, leaving a total of 4.5 billion.
One-third of those will die from the Trumpet Judgments, equaling another 1.5 billion, leaving 3 billion.
This means that one-half the world’s population is going to die in the first half of the Tribulation!
This is why Jesus said in His Olivet Discourse that the Tribulation would be so terrible that all life would cease to exist if God did not put an end to it (Matthew 24:22).
I think it is also the reason that Jesus said that “men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things which will come upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26). That sounds to me like a reference to a nuclear exchange.
The Jews During the Tribulation
Meanwhile, while the Antichrist is conquering the world, the Jewish people will be living in peace, and I believe that will draw Jews from all over the world to return to their homeland, concentrating them for Satan’s final attack.
In the middle of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist has conquered the world, and after the Temple has been rebuilt, the Antichrist will come to Jerusalem — probably for the dedication of the Temple. He will astonish the Jewish people by entering the Temple and declaring himself to be God!
The Jews will, of course, reject this blasphemy, and the Antichrist will turn on them with a vengeance, determined to annihilate them.
The Purposes of the Judgment in Jehoshaphat
This brings us to the purposes of the Judgment in Jehoshaphat.
Although it will serve to pour out God’s wrath on a God-hating Gentile world and a depraved Muslim world, the main purpose of the Tribulation is to bring the Jewish people to the end of themselves so that they will finally turn to God, repent and accept His Son, Yeshua, as their Messiah.
Remember, the seven years of the Tribulation constitutes the last week of Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks of years (Daniel 9:24). Daniel was told that during those 490 years God was going to achieve six things among the Jewish people:
“Finish the transgression” — The Jews’ acceptance of their Messiah
“Make an end of sin” — The sins of daily life
“Make atonement for iniquity” — Repentance for rejecting Yeshua
“Bring in everlasting righteousness” — Establishment of Messiah’s kingdom
“Seal up vision and prophecy” — The fulfillment of Messianic prophecies
“Anoint the most holy place” — Anointing of the Millennial Temple
Daniel’s 70 weeks of years was put on hold at the end of 483 years when the Jews rejected their Messiah and demanded His crucifixion. That was when God set the Jewish people aside in discipline and began working through the Church.
It was like a timeout in a football game. Well, the timeout is about to end. God is about to send His Son for His Bride, the Church, and then resume the countdown of the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, when all the goals will be achieved.
Resumed Focus on the Jews
Zechariah says that during the second half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will succeed in killing two-thirds of the Jewish people, resulting in a holocaust greater than that of the Nazis (Zechariah 13:8-9).
Many of the Jews will flee to the area of modern day Jordan, perhaps to the city of Petra. Daniel says that the Antichrist will be prevented from entering Jordan in pursuit of them (Daniel 11: 41).
Others will evidently flee throughout the Middle East and continue their revolt against the Antichrist. I say that because Daniel says the Antichrist will ultimately gather an army for a major invasion of the Middle East (Daniel 11:40- 45).
While he is doing this, the indication of the Scriptures is that many Jews will return to Israel and Jerusalem. Also, a revolt throughout Asia will occur, producing an army of 200 million that will start marching toward Israel to challenge the Antichrist (Revelation 9:16).
Daniel says that when the Antichrist arrives back in the Middle East with his army, he will rampage from Syria down through Israel to Egypt and then, according to Zechariah 14:1-2, he will return to conquer Jerusalem. And just as he has conquered half of Jerusalem, he will hear that the Asian army has reached the Euphrates River. This news will motivate him to retreat from Jerusalem to the Valley of Armageddon where he will prepare to confront the invading armies (Daniel 11:14-15).
Sometime during these concluding days of the Tribulation, God will pour out His final wrath in the form of the Bowl Judgments which will destroy the European Empire of the Antichrist in one hour of one day (Revelation 16:1-12 & 18:8- 10).
The Second Coming of Jesus
It is at this point that Jesus will break from the heavens in His Second Coming. Revelation says the Church Age saints in their glorified bodies will come with Him (Revelation 19:8 & 14).
He will return to the Mount of Olives from which He ascended into Heaven (Zechariah 14:4). The Jewish people will come out of the city, bow before Him, repent of their rejection of Him and receive Him as their Messiah, crying out, “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai!” (“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” — Matthew 23:39).
Then according to the prophet Zechariah, Jesus will strike the Antichrist and all the armies gathered in the Valley of Armageddon with a supernatural plague that will instantly annihilate them, as if a neutron bomb had gone off (Zechariah 14:12). Zechariah says their eyes and tongues will melt and their flesh will fall from their bodies, resulting in blood up to the horses bridles (Revelation 14:20).
Incidentally, you and I are going to witness these events of the Second Coming personally because hundreds of millions of us who were taken up in the Rapture will return with Jesus in our glorified bodies. We will fill the Kidron Ravine and the sky above as we watch Jesus replay a day in His life.
Once before He came to the Mount of Olives riding a donkey as He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life (Matthew 21:1-11). Thousands who had heard of His resurrection of Lazarus filled the Kidron and waved palm branches in worship and cried out “Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!” A week later many of those same people were crying out, “Crucify Him!”
It will be very different when He returns. He will be riding a white war charger, the symbol of a victorious general. After He has spoken the plague on the Antichrist and all the armies gathered at Armageddon, He will ride that horse down into the Kidron Ravine and up to the Eastern Gate which has been closed for over 400 years. And as He approaches it, the Gate will blow open, allowing Him to enter the Temple Mount.
That event is described in Psalm 24 in these words:
7) Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!
8) Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
The Good News
In conclusion, I must point out that the Judgment in Jehoshaphat is not all bad news. For the book of Revelation clearly teaches that in addition to the Jewish remnant, a great host of Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation — so many, in fact, that John says they could not be counted (Revelation 7:9).
How will they be saved?
Responding to the Rapture
The testimony of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses
The Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Revelation 11)
The proclamation of the Gospel Angel (Revelation 14:6)
Responding to the wrath of God
Regarding this last point, Isaiah says, “When the earth experiences God’s judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). Although most will curse God for the judgments, some will be brought to repentance and salvation by the judgments.
As Billy Graham used to say, “The same sun that melts the butter, hardens the clay.” And thus, while the judgments of God will harden the hearts of most, they will melt the hearts of some, bringing them to repentance and salvation.
Let’s end where we began by picking up where we left off in our reading of Joel chapter 3. It describes the result of God’s Judgment in Jehoshaphat. And that, of course, is the Messiah’s glorious Millennial reign which will flood the earth with peace, righteousness and justice, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). Here’s how the prophet Joel describes it in chapter 3 of his prophecy:
17) “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, live in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy forever, and foreign armies will never conquer her again.
18) “In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the LORD’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias…
20) “Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations.
21) … and I The LORD will make My home in Jerusalem with my people! (NLT)
And that, of course, is the reason that Ezekiel tells us that the name of Jerusalem will be changed from Yerushalayim to Yahweh Shemmah, which means “The Lord is There!” (Ezekiel 48:35).
I want to end with the cry of Isaiah. It’s a cry he uttered from the depths of his heart at the end of his book (chapter 64) after having been given vision after vision of the Lord’s Millennial Reign —
1) “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence —
2) …to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence!”
Maranatha! And Hallelujah!