Bible prophecy describes armies gathering at a place designated as Armageddon in the Middle East, where the last great battle before Christ’s return will take place. So, not surprisingly, Armageddon has come to portray mankind’s worst nightmare: the end of the world.
The origin of the word “Armageddon” can be traced to Megiddo, a fortified town in Palestine during ancient times. Megiddo overlooked the narrow entrance to Israel's northern mountains from the Plain of Megiddo, also known as the Valley of Esdraelon, or Jezreel. This expanse, approximately 20 miles long and 14 miles wide, was strategically important historically with the great powers of Assyria and Babylon contending with Egypt for control of the area.
More than 200 battles have been fought at or near there (Alan Johnson, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1981, Vol. 12, p. 551), with one scholar calling the area "the battleground of the centuries" (Merrill F. Unger, Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, 1966, p. 89).
The Bible contains prophecies about Armageddon and describes future events to take place in that area. Scripture says nothing about armies actually attacking each other there, but it does indicate armies will assemble on the Plain of Megiddo, utilising the large, level area as a staging ground to prepare for a great battle (Revelation 16:16).
At that point in history, many national leaders will have banded together to support the mighty "beast" power mentioned in Revelation 17. In describing this confederation of peoples, nations and rulers as a beast, God is likening this powerful alliance to an animal driven by ungodly instincts and motivations. They "are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13).
Satan, as "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the adversary of humanity (1 Peter 5:8), will have deceived all nations (Revelation 12:9) and the massive armies will seem to him to be the ideal vehicle for accomplishing the destruction of the human race. But God will prove He is all powerful, not Satan nor those whom he deceives.
Under the influence of the Devil, these military powers will invade the Middle East in a showdown to determine who will control the world. However, instead of fighting each other, they will be faced with the returning Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His angelic armies.
Amazingly these military powers turn to fight Jesus Christ who is intervening in human affairs because mankind is on the brink of wiping all humanity from the face of the earth with the terrible weapons they have developed (Matthew 24:22, New English Bible).
In the end this great battle will not be much of a contest. There will be no question God rules supreme, with Armageddon becoming the symbol of a great battle, not between mighty nations and military alliances, but between the forces of good and evil.
Jesus Christ will finally be recognized as humanity's Saviour and Deliverer, its King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16) and mankind will realise the futility of rebellion against God. Human misrule will come to an end.
Armageddon is therefore not the end of the world, but the preface to 1,000 years of peace and prosperity for all as the earth becomes immersed in peace and prosperity in the Kingdom of God.
The Good News Magazine