by John R Ecob DD
The final battle before Christ returns will be fought in the “place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” according to Revelation chapter 16 and verse 16, but where is Armageddon and how will the final conflict be fought?
Halfway through the Tribulation Antichrist will occupy the rebuilt Temple and install his idol image there. Many Jews from Jerusalem will flee into the mountains of Judea (Matt.24:16) to a “place prepared of God, that they should feed her (Israel) there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Revelation 12:6).
The mountains referred to are no doubt the mountanous country east of Jerusalem known as the Judean wilderness but may include other mountainous areas to the north. Israel has much limestone country and abounds with caves. David and his 600 men hid in one of these and King Saul slept in it without knowing David was there. The escarpment at Jericho is pockmarked with caves and has an ancient monastry built on the side of the cliff. Abraham was buried in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron.
It has been reported that the Israeli military is building an underground control centre in the Judean wilderness estimated to cost nearly one billion dollars.
It would appear that not all Jews will flee from Jerusalem when Antichrist sets up his idol in the Temple. Special mention is made of those who are with child or have young children. It may be that the women and children will flee and many men will remain to carry on a guerilla war.
Jerusalem has been divided before and we well remember the conflict when Jordanian troops occupied the Arab part of the city including the Temple Mount until it was liberated in the six-day war.
We know the Jews will still have a presence in Jerusalem because Zechariah tells us that “Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:14). God also says that:
In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left (Zechariah 12:6).
In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8-9).
There is no doubt that Jerusalem and Judea will be in a state of siege because Zechariah states:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2).
From these verses we may deduce that though Antichrist will be in control of the Temple site the land will be in a state of war. All Jews will be believers and may have access to the most modern weapons including WMDs.
In order to resolve the issue Antichrist will gather an army from the entire world and, using demonic delusion (Revelation 16:14), bring them to Jerusalem. Joel states:
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 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 3:1-2).
Zechariah has similar words:
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives… (Zechariah 14:1-4).
It is clear from these Scriptures that the conflict known as the battle of Armageddon will rage from the valley of Esdralon where Megiddo is situated in central Israel, to Jerusalem and south to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is generally assumed to be the brook Kidron between the city of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives but those who have been to Jerusalem will instantly know that this could not be the case.
There is no place called the Valley of Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament but we know that in the days of Jehoshaphat, Moab, Ammon, and Seir (Edom), sent their armies to attack Judah. They assembled at En-Gedi on the western coast of the Dead Sea where there is a plentiful supply of water. They then proceeded up a long valley that rises in a NNW direction, to the wilderness of Tekoa.
Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat sought council from the Lord and went out with his army to the wilderness of Tekoa. Tekoa is about 17 km S-E of Jerusalem.
As the invading armies approached the wilderness of Tekoa, a journey of 25 km, the Lord caused them to turn against each other and by the time Jehoshaphat arrived on the scene they were all dead corpses lying on the ground.
It took three days for Jehoshaphat’s men to gather the spoils of battle and
on the fourth day they gathered in the valley and named it Barachah meaning, “blessing”. It has continued to be called by that name and there
is no doubt that this is the Valley of Jehoshaphat mentioned by Joel located about 20 km SSE of Jerusalem on the way to En-Gedi.
It will therefore be natural for some of the invading armies that come to the final battle of Armageddon to approach up this valley as part of a multi-pronged attack on Jerusalem. When Isaiah described the Second Advent in chapter 63 he asked,
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 (Isaiah 63.1-3)
If we were to draw a line on the map from Jerusalem through En-Gedi and extend it across the Dead Sea we would come to Edom. But even more amazing, the line would pass through Bozrah!
So Isaiah foresaw the scene when Christ returns. He will appear in the heavens over Edom and destroy the armies gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat as He approaches Jerusalem. Zechariah states that “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4)
Meanwhile the battle will be raging in the north of the land and Joel writes:
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel (Joel 3:14-16).
Having come to Jerusalem and rescued the besieged remnant, the Lord will then deal with the other invading armies from Jerusalem. He will roar out of Zion and it is then that the great battle will be fought in the Valley of Jezreel near Megiddo. This is the decisive battle where the vast majority of Antichrist’s forces will be gathered and for that reason it is called, “The Valley of Decision” (Joel 3:14).
The vast 200-million-man army of the Kings of the East will cover the land but their objective will be Jerusalem and it is there, “outside the city”, that the winepress is trodden by the Lord Himself and the blood will flow “even unto the horses bridles” (Revelation 14:19-20).
The scene will not be pleasant for just as the wine splashes on the garments of those who tread out the grapes, so we read:
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 (Isaiah 63:3).
Fearful days lie ahead for this world and we sound out the warning to those who have not yet received Christ as Saviour and Lord. Once the Rapture has taken place these things will come upon men and will culminate in what we have described. Take heed to the appeal from God’s Word:
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).