What Does The Bible Teach About Armageddon?

by Douglas Hoff


The religious world has a lot to say about Armageddon and ardently advocates it too.  Because of its sensational nature people are often enthralled by this subject.  It is a key component of the false doctrine known as Pre-Millennialism.  Many, if not most, denominational churches subscribe to various aspects of Pre-Millennialism.  Few question it.  The sermon from two Sundays ago briefly showed that Pre-Millennialism is wrong because it takes literally what ought to interpreted figuratively. Armageddon is no different.

Mention Armageddon and most people think of some horrific global battle preceding the end of the world.  According to the theological system of Pre-Millennialism the church is currently in the end times and various signs throughout the world indicate the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  Supposedly, the Lord will come again secretly to "rapture" the righteous.  This means Jesus will take them out of the world for a period of seven years to be with Him in heaven.  This includes the righteous dead who were raised in the "first resurrection."  The seven year period following the rapture will be a time of great tribulation in which the "Anti-Christ" will persecute those "left behind" on the earth.  The "Anti-Christ" will play a significant part in political and religious changes which will lead many astray.  Then, with his followers he will instigate the bloody battle of Armageddon.  At this time Christ will return again with His saints to do battle against the armies of the world.  (Note this will be His third coming about which the Bible is silent!)  This battle will take place in the plain of Megiddo which is located near Mount Carmel in Israel.  Following His victory Jesus will establish His kingdom and will reign over the earth for a thousand years from Jerusalem.  At the end of this period the wicked dead will be raised along with those who lived during the millennium and they shall stand before the Lord in the so-called "Great White Throne Judgment" (Revelation 20:11-15).

One of the most influential writers of Pre-Millennial doctrine in recent years is Hal Lindsey.  In 1970 he authored the 192 page book The Late Great Planet Earth in which he set forth his ideas about the return of Jesus Christ in our times. He interpreted world events as "proof" that the end is near.  Keep in mind that 38 years have elapsed since the writing of his book and yet Christ has not returned. Anyone who attempts to set a date for the second coming of the Lord is doomed to failure because there are no signs regarding that event (Matthew 24:35-36).

With so much written about Armageddon a person would assume the Bible has a lot to say about the topic.  However, in this case, the assumption would be incorrect.  The Bible mentions Armageddon only once in Revelation 16:16.  How then could entire books be written about Armageddon?  Much of this doctrine is based on speculation, taking symbolic passages literally and by trying to connect other passages to Revelation 16:16 which actually deal with other events.  Granted, some of the passages come from the book of Revelation but they are misused and misapplied.  Passages from the Old Testament are also misused to support Pre-Millennialism.  Many of them deal with the captivity of the Jews and their eventual restoration to the land of Israel.  This event already happened beginning with the decree of Cyrus in 536 BC (Ezra 1:1-4) and later with the return under the leadership of Ezra in 458 BC (Ezra 7:1-7).  The book of Daniel addresses the coming of the Lord's kingdom but again this event has already transpired with the establishment of the church on the day of Pentecost (Matthew 16:18-19; Acts 2).

Any complex doctrine which is built upon one verse of scripture ought to be scrutinized to see if the verse was handled correctly (II Timothy 2:15).  In the case of Armageddon Revelation 16:16 has been seriously abused!


You may use this article for any non-commercial purpose. Please do not edit it without asking first. Feel free to forward this e-mail, post the article text to a web site or print it out for others to read.