Ruins atop Tel Megiddo.
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Armageddon (from Hebrew: הַר מְגִדּוֹ‎, Har Megiddo, lit. Mount Megiddo; Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn,[1][2] Late Latin: Armagedōn[3]) is, according to the Bible, the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end-of-the-world scenario.

According to some premillennial Christian interpretations, the Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (the "beast"), Satan the Devil, in the battle of Armageddon. Then Satan will be put into the "bottomless pit" or abyss for 1,000 years, known as the Millennial Age. After being released from the abyss, Satan will gather Gog and Magog (peoples of two specific nations) from the four corners of the earth. They will encamp surrounding the "holy ones" and the "beloved city" (this refers to Jerusalem). Fire will come down from God, out of heaven and devour Gog and Magog after the Millennium. The Devil, death, hell, and those not found written in the 'book of life' are then thrown into Gehenna (the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone).[4]

The word Armageddon appears only once in the Greek New Testament at Revelation 16:16. The word may come from Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), meaning "Mountain of Megiddo". "Mount" Megiddo is a Tell on which ancient forts were built to guard the main highway, the Via Maris, which connected Ancient Egypt with Mesopotamia. Megiddo was the location of various ancient battles, including one in the 15th century BC and one in 609 BC. Modern Megiddo is a town approximately 25 miles (40 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee in the Kishon River area.[5]



Evangelist John of Patmos writes the Book of Revelation. Painting by Hieronymus Bosch (1505).

Megiddo is mentioned twelve times in the Old Testament, ten times in reference to the ancient city of Megiddo, and twice with reference to "the plain of Megiddo", most probably simply meaning "the plain next to the city".[6] None of these Old Testament passages describe the city of Megiddo as being associated with any particular prophetic beliefs. The one New Testament reference to the city of Armageddon found in Revelation 16:16 in fact also makes no specific mention of any armies being predicted to one day gather in this city, but instead seems to predict only that "they (will gather) the kings together to .... Armageddon.[7]" The text does however seem to imply, based on the text from the earlier passage of Revelation 16:14, that the purpose of this gathering of kings in the "place called Armageddon" might be so that these kings could do battle with one another. Because of the seemingly highly symbolic and even cryptic language of this one New Testament passage, some Christian scholars conclude that Mount Armageddon must be an idealized location.[8] Rushdoony says, "There are no mountains of Megiddo, only the Plains of Megiddo. This is a deliberate destruction of the vision of any literal reference to the place."[9] Other scholars, including C. C. Torrey, Kline and Jordan argue that the word is derived from the Hebrew moed (מועד), meaning "assembly". Thus, "Armageddon" would mean "Mountain of Assembly," which Jordan says is "a reference to the assembly at Mount Sinai, and to its replacement, Mount Zion."[8]


The Dispensational viewpoint interprets biblical prophecy literally and expects that the fulfillment of prophecy will also be literal, depending upon the context of scripture. In his discussion of Armageddon, J. Dwight Pentecost has devoted an entire chapter to the subject, titled "The Campaign of Armageddon", in which he discusses Armageddon as a campaign and not a specific battle, which will be fought in the Middle East. Pentecost writes:

It has been held commonly that the battle of Armageddon is an isolated event transpiring just prior to the second advent of Christ to the earth. The extent of this great movement in which God deals with "the kings of the earth and of the whole world" (Rev. 16:14) will not be seen unless it is realized that the "battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14)[10] is not an isolated battle, but rather a campaign that extends over the last half of the tribulation period. The Greek word "polemo", translated "battle" in Revelation 16:14, signifies a war or campaign, while "machē" signifies a battle, and sometimes even single combat. This distinction is observed by Trench, (see Richard C. Trench, New Testament Synonyms, pp.301-2) and is followed by Thayer (see Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 528) and Vincent (see Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, II, 541). The use of the word polemos (campaign) in Revelation 16:14 would signify that the events that culminate in the gathering at Armageddon at the second advent are viewed by God as one connected campaign.
—Pentecost, p.340

Pentecost then discusses the location of this campaign, and mentions the "hill of Megiddo" and other geographic locations such as "the valley of Jehoshaphat"[11] and "the valley of the passengers",[12] "Lord coming from Edom or Idumea, south of Jerusalem, when He returns from the judgment"; and Jerusalem itself.[13][14]

Pentecost further describes the area involved:

This wide area would cover the entire land of Israel and this campaign, with all its parts, would confirm what Ezekiel pictures when he says the invaders will 'cover the land'.[15] This area would conform to the extent pictured by John in Revelation 14:20."[16]

Pentecost then outlines the biblical time period for this campaign to occur and with further arguments concludes that it must take place with the 70th week of Daniel. The invasion of Israel by the Northern Confederacy "will bring the Beast and his armies to the defense of Israel as her protector". He then uses Daniel to further clarify his thinking: (Dan. 11:40b-45).[17]

Again, events are listed by Pentecost in his book:

  1. "The movement of the campaign begins when the King of the South moves against the Beast-False Prophet coalition, which takes place 'at the time of the end.'"[18]
  2. "The King of the South is joined by the Northern Confederacy, who attacks the Wilful King by a great force over land and sea (11:40). Jerusalem is destroyed as a result of this attack,[19] and, in turn, the armies of the Northern Confederacy are destroyed"[20]
  3. "The full armies of the Beast move into Israel (11:41) and shall conquer all that territory (11:41-42). Edom, Moab, and Ammon alone escape. . . ."
  4. ". . . a report that causes alarm is brought to the Beast"[21]
  5. "The Beast moves his headquarters into the land of Israel and assembles his armies there."[22]
  6. "It is there that his destruction will come. (11:45)."[23]

After the destruction of the Beast at the Second Coming of Jesus, the promised Kingdom is set up, in which Jesus and the Saints will rule for a thousand years. Satan is then loosed "for a season" and goes out to deceive the nations, specifically, Gog and Magog.[24] The army mentioned attacks the Saints in the New Jerusalem, they are defeated by a judgment of fire coming down from Heaven, and then comes the Great White Throne judgment, which includes all of those through the ages[25] and these are cast into the Lake of Fire, which event is also known as the "second death" and Gehenna, not to be confused with Hell, which is Satan's domain. Pentecost describes this as follows:

The destiny of the lost is a place in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). This lake of fire is described as everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41)[26] (Matt. 18:8)[27] and as unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43-44),[28] 46-48,[29] emphasizing the eternal character of retribution of the lost.
—Pentacost, p. 555

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Armageddon is the means by which God will finally realize his purpose for the Earth to be populated with happy healthy humans free of sin and death.[30] They teach that the armies of heaven will eradicate all who oppose the kingdom of God and its rule, wiping out all wicked human and spirit creatures on Earth, leaving only righteous mankind.[31]

They believe that the gathering of the all the nations of the Earth refers to the uniting of the world's political powers, as a gradual process beginning in 1914 and seen later in manifestations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations following the First and Second World Wars.[32] These political powers are influenced by Satan and his demons in opposition to God's kingdom.[33] Babylon the Great is interpreted as the world empire of false religion, and that it will be destroyed by the beast just prior to the great tribulation.[34] Witnesses believe that after all other religions have been destroyed, the governments will turn to destroy them, and that God will then intervene.[35]

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the armies of heaven, commanded by Jesus Christ, will then destroy all forms of human government and rule Earth for 1000 years.[36] They believe that Satan will be bound for that period, unable to influence mankind. After the 1000 years are ended, and the second resurrection has taken place, Satan is released and allowed to tempt the perfect human race one last time. Those who follow Satan are destroyed, along with him, leaving the Earth, and humankind at peace with God forever, free of sin and death.[37]

Seventh-day Adventist

Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Revelation 13-22

The teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church state that the terms "Armageddon", "Day of the Lord" and "The Second Coming of Christ" all describe the same event.[38] Seventh-day Adventists further teach that the current religious movements taking place in the world are setting the stage for Armageddon, and they are concerned by the growing unity between spiritualism, American Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. A further significant difference in Seventh-day Adventist theology is the teaching that the events of Armageddon will leave the earth desolate for the duration of the millennium.[39] They teach that the righteous will be taken to heaven while the rest of humanity will be destroyed, leaving Satan with no one to tempt and effectively "bound."[40] The final re-creation of a "new heaven and a new earth."[41] then follows the millennium.


The idea that a final "Battle of Armageddon" will be fought at Tel Megiddo has had a wide influence, especially in the US. According to Donald E. Wagner, Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University, Ronald Reagan was an adherent of "Armageddon theology," and "seemed to blend his political analysis with his Armageddon theology quite naturally."[42]

Some militia groups in the US, such as the Hutaree,[43] are reported to have prepared for violent action associated with related apocalyptic beliefs.


Armageddon - From Hebrew - "hur"(mount),"Majdoo" (name of a valley in Palestine) - According to the Islamic faith, this valley Majdoo by the mount will be the battlefield of the final battle.[citation needed] Muslims believe that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad prophesied several events to occur just before the advent of the Day of Judgment (Yawm al-Qiyāmah). Al Dajaal (the Antichrist) will create bad and/or misleading thoughts in a persons head to guide them away from the straight path. True believers (Muslims) will reject these misleading thoughts, but will not be able to defeat him on their own. God (Allah) will then send Prophet Isa (Jesus) to earth and together with Al-mahdi they will fight the Antichrist in the battle of Armageddon, and he will defeat Al Dajaal (the Antichrist) and his followers. This war is given the name "Al-Malhama Al-Kubra" (the biggest battle) in the Hadith (appearing in the Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim collections).[citation needed]


In Ahmadiyya, Armageddon is viewed as a spiritual battle or struggle in the present age between the forces of good, i.e. righteousness, purity and virtue, and the forces of evil. The final struggle between the two comes as satanic influence is let loose with the emergence of Gog and Magog. Satan gathers all his powers, and uses all his methods to mislead people, introducing an age where iniquity, promiscuity, atheism, and materialism abound.

Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that God appointed Promised Messiah and Mahdi for the spiritual reformation and moral direction of mankind. This age continues for approximately one thousand years as per Judeo-Christian and Islamic prophecies of the Apocalypse; it is characterised by the assembling of mankind under one faith, Islam in Ahmadiyya belief.[44]

Bahá'í faith

From Bahá'í literature a number of interpretations of the expectations surrounding the Battle of Armageddon may be inferred, three of them being associated with events surrounding the World Wars:[45]

The first interpretation deals with a series of tablets written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, to be sent to various kings and rulers.[45]

The second, and best-known one, relates to events near the end of World War I involving General Allenby and the Battle of Megiddo (1918) wherein World Powers are said to have drawn soldiers from many parts of the world to engage in battle at Megiddo. In winning this battle Allenby also prevented the Turks from killing 'Abdu'l-Baha, then head of the Baha'i Faith, whom they had intended to crucify.[46]

A third interpretation reviews the overall progress of the World Wars, and the situation in the world before and after.[45]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins, 3rd ed., p. 81
  4. ^ Book of Revelation in the New Testament, Rev. 19: 11-20, Rev. 20: 1-3, 7-15.
  5. ^ Maps and pictures of Megiddo mountain and the surrounding plain (in Spanish)
  6. ^ "Bible Keyword Search Results: megiddo (KJV)". 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-15.  Listing of the 12 Biblical Old Testament passages containing the word "Megiddo".
  7. ^ "Revelation 16, The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath". 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-15.  New Testament excerpt describing various apparent calamities of nature with respect to Armageddon.
  8. ^ a b James B. Jordan, Biblical Horizons, No. 85
  9. ^ Rousas John Rushdoony, Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation, 190.
  10. ^ Revelation 16:14
  11. ^ Joel 3:2
  12. ^ Ezekiel 39:11
  13. ^ Zech. 12:2-11; 14:2
  14. ^ Pentacost, p. 341
  15. ^ Ezekiel 38:9-16
  16. ^ Revelation 14:20
  17. ^ "Daniel 11:40-45 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  18. ^ "Daniel 11:40 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  19. ^ Zechariah 12:2
  20. ^ Ezekiel 39, Zeckariah 12:4
  21. ^ Revelation 11:44, Revelation 16:12
  22. ^ Daniel 11:45
  23. ^ Pentacost, p. 356
  24. ^ Revelation 20:8
  25. ^ Revelation 20:11-15
  26. ^ "Matthew 25:41 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  27. ^ "Matthew 18:8 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  28. ^ "Mark 9:43-44 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  29. ^ "Mark 9:46-48 (King James Version)".;&version=9;. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  30. ^ Armageddon - A Happy Beginning
  31. ^ Armageddon—God’s War to End All Wars
  32. ^ "What Does the Bible Really Teach" pp. 215-218 '1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy'
  33. ^ The Watchtower 12/1/05 p. 4 Armageddon—A Happy Beginning Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
  34. ^ The End of False Religion is Near
  35. ^ Watchtower 9/15/05 p. 19 par. 13 "Walk by Faith, Not by Sight!" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
  36. ^ The Marvelous New World of God's Making
  37. ^ Watchtower 6/1/96 p. 18 par. 20 "Flight to Safety Before the "Great Tribulation"" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
  38. ^ "Seventh-day Adventists believe" 1988 by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  39. ^ "Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology" 2000 Review and Herald Publishing Association and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  40. ^ Revelation 20:2
  41. ^ Revelation 21:1
  42. ^ Donald E. Wagner, The alliance between fundamentalist Christians and the Pro-Israel lobby: Christian Zionism in US Middle East policy
  43. ^ "US 'Christian militants' charged after FBI raids" BBC, 30 March 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  44. ^ The Review of Religions, January 2009, Vol.104, issue 1. p. 18-22
  45. ^ a b c Lambden, Stephen. "Catastrophe, Armageddon and Millennium: some aspects of the Bábí-Bahá'í exegesis of apocalyptic symbolism". Bahá'í Studies Review Volume 9. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  46. ^ Maude (1997). The Servant, the General, and Armageddon. George Ronald. ISBN 0853984247. 

Coordinates: 32°35′4.64″N 35°11′0.58″E / 32.5846222°N 35.1834944°E / 32.5846222; 35.1834944

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