Sunday, March 7, 2010

Revelation 16:16

Verse 16 "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

The word Armageddon appears only once in the New Testament. It comes from the Hebrew word har Megiddo meaning "Mountain of Megiddo". Megiddo was where many important ancient battles were fought. The town of Megiddo is approximately 25 miles west of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Megiddo is a tel (hill or mound) made of 26 layers of the ruins of ancient cities in a strategic location at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge, which overlooks the Valley of Jezreel from the west. The Jezreel Valley is a large fertile plain in the south of the Lower Galilee region of Israel. The word Jezreel means "God sows". The phrase "valley of Jezreel" was sometimes used to refer to the central part of the valley, around the city of Jezreel, while the southwestern portion was known as the "valley of Megiddo", after the ancient city of Megiddo, which was located there. The central Jezreel Valley is roughly 380 square kilometers (or 236 sq. miles) in size.

Today the Jezreel Valley is Israel’s breadbasket, sprouting wheat, cotton, sunflowers and even fish ponds. Among its many attractions are historical and biblical treasures such as Tel Megiddo (Armageddon) national park, as well as numerous other sites and museums. (Info courtesy of Wikipedia)

While it says that everyone is gathered to Armageddon, which is the mountain on which the city of Megiddo is located, the vast armies of the world would not all fit in the city. Therefore it has been deduced that this is referring to the Jezreel Valley (part of which is known as the Valley of Megiddo). It is expected that the battle will be fought in this vast plains area. As the blood is supposed to run the length of Israel according to chapter 14, the armies will probably sprawl throughout the land, but will mostly be stationed in the valley. Added to this is the fact that there will be the major earthquake, which will change the topography according to Scripture, so it is hard to say exactly how these troops will be dispersed throughout the area.

Everyone is brought to Armageddon or the Valley of Megiddo (Jezreel) for God's judgment. While the battle is not described here in Revelation, there is a graphic description of it in Zechariah 14:1-21 "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the woman 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 which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah kind of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saint with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD: and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts."

There is a lot of information in the above verses. First it describes what will be going on in Jerusalem. Houses will be rifled, women ravished, neighbors will rise against neighbors and kill each other. What is interesting is how it describes the Lord's return at Armageddon. First Christ will appear and plant His feet on the Mount of Olives and the mountain will split and move apart. This would be the cause of a great earthquake, and just as we might expect, it will be seen in the next few verses in Revelation that this is exactly what will happen. Israel is told to flee to the valley of the mountains. This is for safety reasons. The people who would be the target of any enemies within the city plus the armies on their way, and the earthquake will be the greatest earthquake in the history of the world according to the next few verse, so the city will be devastated and a dangerous place. We know that this is describing the battle at Armageddon, as it says that the Lord will come with all the saints with him. This exact picture of how the Christ returns with the saints at Armageddon will be described in a later chapter in Revelation. So what is described in these verses in Zechariah can be compared to what is being related to us in Revelation.

Something that would seem to be a puzzle if one only reads this passage in Zechariah, and has not understood all that has been happening from Genesis through Revelation, would be the statement that it will be neither day nor night, nor light nor dark, but a day like no other, as in the evening it will be light. With all the information we have now covered, this can be easily and sensibly explained. We know from Genesis that with the vapor canopy being crystalline, it acted as a fiber optic network for the sun's light to wrap around the entire earth. Thus during the antediluvian days, there was no dark night as we know it now. The nighttime would have had a twilight glow throughout the night with the light from the day side traveling through the canopy network. Thus in the evening it will be light. Now at this time at Armaggedon, we know that the sun has gone out and darkness has been covering the earth for a period of time (bowl judgments). We suspect that the vapor canopy has been restored (or the world would not survive the sun getting seven times hotter), so when light hits it again, it will act as it did in the antediluvian days, and the light will wrap around the world. This will come out of utter darkness. The source of the light, as speculated before, will no doubt be the appearance of New Jerusalem. It will be a day like no other in that the present world, as it exists today, has never seen this phenomena. Now it appears that the Shekinah glory of God which will be shining out of New Jerusalem will start to shine upon the earth. Since the saints are living there, and they are about to descend at the same time that this different source of light starts to shine upon the earth, it would appear that New Jerusalem is now revealed or is brought from a distance or another dimension to shine upon the earth.

It is mentioned that a river of living waters will flow forth from Jerusalem toward the seas. We will see later in Revelation and in passages in the Old Testament, that these living waters heal the waters that have been contaminated by all that has been going on in the judgments. It is also mentioned that from this point on there will be one king, Christ. This definitively puts the events of this passage as occurring at this point in time in our timeline of events. After briefly mentioning how Jerusalem will be safely inhabited in the millennium, it returns to the events at hand.

The people who come up against Jerusalem will be smitten with a plague. This plague makes one think of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis open the ark. The flesh will melt or rot away from their bodies, their eyes will disintegrate in their sockets, and their tongues will dissolve in their mouths. Their bodies will literally disintegrate before their eyes. Whether this comes directly from the Lord or He is again using mankind's own evils against themselves with the chemical and bacterial warfare or some sort of bomb that we have created today isn't clear. Whichever though, the Lord is the instigator. This would explain why the blood runs so high in the valley. People are literally coming apart and blood will be gushing. It will not be a pretty sight. It also appears that the Lord will have them turn on each other. This may be how the plague begins, with the various military leaders of each group turning on each other and releasing their mass weapons of destruction.

In the meanwhile, in Jerusalem the Jews who did not flee will be fighting. In the process they will be gathering the wealth of gold, silver, and apparel. I am guessing that much of the gold and silver will be donated to the temple. As for the clothing, after hiding out in the wilderness for three and a half years, and not having been able to stop and even pack a bag, the Jews will need new clothing to wear.

There is also information and a warning given having to do with the millennium. Here again we see that the temple worship and Messianic Judaism will be established as the religion of the world. We also see, as mentioned earlier, that a river will flow out of Jerusalem, (specifically it will flow from the Temple Mount). A warning is given that everyone has to come to Jerusalem once a year to observe the Feast of the Tabernacles. If they do not, the consequences are no rain and even more. Egypt in particular is specifically mentioned in this warning (there may be a reason for this which we will go into later, concerning Babylon) and told that beyond the loss of rain, if they ignore that warning and still refuse to come, they will be struck with a plague. God really does not seem to like Egypt. It is possible this warning is given to them in particular because they will be guilty of this sin. The other nations are warned that this will happen to them too, though, if they do the same thing. There will be heathen, according to God, even during the days when Christ will be reigning here on earth. It mentions that even the pots in Jerusalem will be holy and those who sacrifice can use them. So here we have more confirmation that sacrifices will again be instituted, not for sins, but for memorials and remembrances.

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