God has mapped out in the Scriptures that the Holy Land is the stage upon which two crucial events take place. One was on a mountain, and one will be on a plain. The mountain is MountCalvary. The plain is the Plain of Megiddo. Taken together these may be described as the two altars of sacrifice that dominate the history of the world. We saw last week that the Holy Spirit of God inspired five capable authors to describe for us in clear and chilling language that most famous of all battles — Armageddon!
What happens at Armageddon is the result of a world’s headlong abandonment of God. On Mount Calvary God declared His gracious plan to redeem the world by the sacrifice of His Son; on the plains of Megiddo God’s vengeance is poured out on the armies of the world in a sacrifice of doom.
Both are blood baths and each is the descent of God’s holy wrath upon sin.
Calvary and Armageddon are brought about as God”s bitterest enemies work out, despite themselves, His perfect and sovereign will. Peter painted across both these sacrifices the words of Peter, “The Gentiles, and peoples of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever they hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).
From each proceeds a supper: Calvary begets a feast of remembrance for the people of God, and Armageddon becomes a feast of retribution for the scavenger birds of the earth.
At Calvary there rang up to the gates of heaven the triumphant and victorious cry from the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, “It is finished!”
Then to Armageddon there crashes down to earth a thunderous answering cry from the temple in Heaven, “It is done!”
God violently shakes the earth each time. In Matthew 27-28 there are earthquakes surrounding Calvary at the Cross-and at Christ’s Resurrection. In Revelation 16:18 Armageddon prompts the greatest earthquake of all time, destroying the realms of mankind.
Both events are an attack and conquest of Satan’s domain. Christ’s death opened the graves of saints, and God raised many from death (as a show of Satan’s powerlessness) and in Revelation 16 the bowls are poured on the present headquarters of Satan who is the “Prince of the power of the Air”.
This evening we celebrate the Supper God ordained to remember Jesus Triumphed over sin, death, and Hell. Let’s worship our Triumphant Christ as we stand and read Revelation 19:11-21.
What Seems to Happen at Armageddon?
There appear to be 13 events concluding the seven-year period
- Two witnesses slain by the Antichrist (Rev. 11:7)
- Two witnesses resurrected (Rev. 11:11-12)
- The king of the South (Egypt) and the king of the North fight against the Antichrist (Dan. 11:40a) ““At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships”
- Antichrist enters Palestine and defeats Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia(Dan. 11:40a-43) Daniel 11:40b-43 “and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.41 “He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.42 “He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.43 “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.
- Armies from the East and the North move toward Palestine (Dan. 11:44; Rev. 16:12) Daniel 11:44 “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
- Jerusalem is ravaged (Zech. 14:1-4)
- Commercial Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 16:19; 18:1-3, 21-24)
- Signs appear in the earth and sky (Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:10, 30-31; 3:15; Matt. 24:29)
- Christ returns with the armies of heaven (Matt. 24:27-31; Rev. 19:11-16)
- Jews flee Jerusalem facilitated by topographical changes (Zech. 14:5)
- Armies unite at Armageddon against Christ and the armies of heaven(Joel 3:9-11; Rev. 16:16; 19:17-19)
- Armies are destroyed by Christ (Rev. 19:19, 21)
- The ”beast“ (Antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20)
John says, “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Babylon and all it stands for is about to be overthrown.
Why dry up the Euphrates? Ancient Babylon was overthrown when the armies of Cyrus the Persian diverted the waters of theEuphrates to allow them into the city. But here before the armies of the east can converge on the capital of the beast, a hindrance must be removed. That hindrance is described as “the great riverEuphrates.” They drying up of the Euphrates could be literal, for the river is indeed a great river. It is eighteen hundred miles long and in places it is thirty-six hundred feet wide and thirty feet deep. In ancient times it was a formidable barrier to an invading force from the east, and for centuries it has been the dividing line between east and west.
The Euphrates River will be dried up, and the barrier to invasion from the East will be removed. You may remember from news reports of the 1991 Gulf War how the Euphrates River formed an impassable barrier to the armies of Saddam Hussein as they attempted to retreat from U.N. forces. They were bottled up with the armies of 30 countries before them and the Euphrates at their backs. But in the day of the sixth bowl of judgment, invading armies will roll across the cracked, dry riverbed of the Euphrates–right into the jaws of World War III!
Who are the kings of the east? As the bowl is poured out, the river dries up, preparing the way for invading armies of the “kings of the East”–that is, from nations which possibly include China, India,Japan, and other Asian countries. “We have seen in recent years that some of these countries have risen to great prosperity and military power. The transformation of Japan from a humiliated and devastated nation in 1945 to one of the most powerful economic forces of the late twentieth century is nothing less than amazing. The transformation of China from a backward agrarian economy to near-superpower status is equally amazing. We can be virtually certain that these historical changes have been in preparation for the day of judgment that is coming at the end of this age.
“Here we are given insight into the way nations are moved by unseen forces. Leaders of nations think that they control events, when it is actually they who are controlled by events–and by unseen spiritual forces. In this passage we see three evil spirits in the appearance of frogs which proceed out of the mouths of the satanic trinity–the red dragon, the scarlet beast, and the false prophet. With demonic miracles they deceive the nations, manipulating and maneuvering them into launching the final war of human history.
“It is a time of terror and unparalleled destruction. All the arsenals of the world will be unleashed. The armies of the world– million warriors–will gather into Palestine to bathe the Holy Land in blood.”
In his little booklet entitled Profiles of Prophecy, Dr. S. Franklin Logsdon writes, “A former president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, helped by historians from Britain, Egypt, Germany andIndia, and using a computer, has found that since 3600 B.C. the world has known only 292 years of peace. In this period of more than 55 centuries that have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which more than 3.6 billion people were killed. Since 650 B.C., there have been 1,656 arms races, all except 16 ending in war, and those 16 ended in economic collapse for the countries concerned.”1
This coming War of Armageddon will be by far the biggest, boldest, bloodiest, most brazen, and most blasphemous of all times! We shall now consider the negative and positive elements of this war.
Why would god allow an armageddon? To show Jesus as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquerors – 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
Is this the final battle? No it isn’t. One more is in Revelation 20. Armageddon is not the same as the Russian invasion of Ezekiel 38. Note the differences: Russia invades from the north, but at Armageddon the nations come from all directions. Russia invades to capture Israel’s wealth, but this invasion is to destroy the Lamb and his people. Gog leads the Russian invasion, but the antichrist leads this one. Armageddon is not the final war in the Bible — the final war occurs after the millennium (Revelation 20:7-9). Armageddon takes place at the end of the Tribulation.
Why JERUSALEM? It is A LESSON IN GOD’S KINGSHIP: When you are chosen by God there is no limit to what all He can do with you! When God picked Jerusalem it was unknown and would have ended up like any other of the vanished cities whose ruins dot the globe. But no, He said I put My name here forever! And what has happened? JERUSALEM has become:
- The NERVE center of the world GEOGRAPHICALLY (Ezek. 5:5) “Thus says the Lord God: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.
- The SALVATION center of the world SPIRITUALLY (Jn. 4:22) “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
- The STORM center of the world PROPHETICALLY (Zech. 14: 1-8) Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, 1 And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish.7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light.8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.
- The GLORY center of the world ULTIMATELY (Isaiah 2:1-5) The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways,And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the Lord.
The Destruction of Jerusalem:
Perhaps the saddest event during the Tribulation will be the siege and destruction of the Holy City. This will be the 47th and last take-over of the beloved city of David. The following passages bear this out:
- “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege…” (Zech. 12:2).
- “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 the city shall go forth into captivity…” (Zech. 14:2).
- “And when ye sill see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20).
How are we to do this? Simply as His Word has instructed us:
- Give Jesus your CONSECRATION: Focus on the reverent presentation of all we have to God as Rom 12.1-2 says is our spiritual worship.
- Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- Give Jesus your DEVOTION: Let Jesus show Himself to you in every page of His book as He did to the two on the road to Emmaus inLk. 24:27-31 and I Peter 1.10-11.
- YIELDEDNESS: Luke 24:27-31 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
- EARNESTNESS: 1 Peter 1:10-11 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
- PRAYERFULNESS: Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
The reasons for the battle:What will draw all the nations of the world into the area of Armageddon? They will gather themselves there for perhaps various reasons. It would seem that the following are three of the more important reasons:
What will draw all the nations of the world into the area of Armageddon?
- Because God sovereignly fulfills His word.
- Because Satan wickedly deceives the world.
- Because humans were born God-hating sinners
- Because God sovereignly fulfills his word. In at least five distinct passages we are told that God himself will gather the nations here:
- “…he hath delivered them to the slaughter” (Is. 34:2).
- “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat…” (Joel 3:2).
- “…For my determination is to gather the nations….to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger…” (Zeph. 3:8).
- “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle…” (Zech. 14:2).
- “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16).
- Because Satan wickedly deceives the world God’s Word says that three special unclean spirits will trick the nations into gathering at Armageddon.
- John 10:9-11 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
- Revelation 16:13-14 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.
- Because humans were born god hating sinners. A number of passages tell us of this devilish hatred
- Psalm 2:1-3 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”
- Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
- The nations, led by the antichrist, will doubtless realize the imminent return of Christ (Revelation 11:15; 12:12).
- They will also be aware of his touching down on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:9-12).
- Thus it is not unreasonable to assume they will gather in that area to destroy Him at the moment of his return to earth!
The end is coming. The world is going to fall apart. Mankind will cease to be as we now know life to be. So what about it. What does God want now that we are listening? He wants us to worship His Son.
On Mount Calvary grace redeemed the world by the sacrifice of God’s Son; on the plains of Megiddo vengeance offers up the armies of the world in a sacrifice of doom.
- Both are blood baths:
- Both are the descent of wrath upon sin;
- Both are brought about by God’s bitterest foes who work out, despite themselves, God’s perfect and sovereign will.
- Across both can be written the words of Peter, “The Gentiles, and peoples of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever they hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27-28).
- From each proceeds a supper: one a feast of remembrance for the people of God, and the other a feast of retribution for the carrion.
- At Calvary there rang up to the gates of heaven a victorious cry, “It is finished!”
- And at Armageddon there rings down to earth an answering cry from the temple gates in glory, “It is done!”
- Both events shake the earth in Mt. 27:51-54 Quake + Christ’s Res.; Revelation 16:18 The Greatest Quake
- Both events attack and conquer Satan’s domain at Christ’s death the graves opened and saints raised from death (contrary to Satan’s power) and in Revelation 16 the bowls are poured on the air the present headquarters of Satan
Revelation 16 is an art gallery with seven divinely inspired PORTRAITs OF CHRIST. Against the darkened screen of Christ’s wrath poured out upon sin, are seven glowing pictures. Look at these riveting portraits of Jesus. Pause with me before each one:
- In v. 1-2: Jesus has SANCTIFYING POWER as the One who cleanses and keeps (Jude 24-25) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
- In v. 3: Jesus has LIFE GIVING POWER as the One who gives abundant life (Jn. 10:10) “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
- In v. 4-7: Jesus has SATISFYING POWER as the One who promises us we will never thirst (John 7:37-39) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
- In v. 8-9: Jesus has LIBERATING POWER as the One who sets us free (Jn. 8:31-36)
- In v. 10-11 Jesus has ENLIGHTENING POWER as the One who gives us daily light and true spiritual sight (Jn. 8:12;acts 26:18)
- In v. 12-16: Jesus has CONQUERING POWER as the One who always leads us into triumph ( I Cor. 2:14)
- In v. 17-21: Jesus has SECURING POWER as the One who gives us our ultimate eternal security (Rom. 8:31-39,heb. 7)