Three fifths of the world’s population killed. Two thirds of the Jews annihilated. The earth ravaged with horrible conflagrations, pestilence, and famine. The worst conflict the world has ever seen. It will make WWI and WWII look like a “picnic.” It is the holocaust of Armageddon: and it is not far off…or so we are told. But is it?
What does the Bible really say about Armageddon? Well, actually, a good bit, but, not in the manner or at the time that popular prophecy teachers are telling the story.
Revelation 16:14 speaks of how the kings of the earth would gather to a place “Har-Megiddo” for “the war.” The use of the Greek article “the” war, informs us that what is being discussed is a well known event. In fact, the Old Testament is the source for the prediction of “the war.” While several passages speak of that event, one particular last days prophecy specifically foretold “the war.”
Isaiah 2-4 is a singular, united prophecy, and is parallel with Revelation. Both deal with the last days (Isaiah 2:2f). Both foretold the Day of the Lord when men would run to the hills (Isaiah 2:9f, 19f; Revelation 6:12f). Revelation 6:12 is a direct allusion to Isaiah. (By the way, if this Day of the Lord is an earth burning, time ending event that takes place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” there would hardly be time to run to the hills, would there?) Both prophecies foretold “the war” (Isaiah 3:25/ Revelation 16). Both prophecies foretold that in the last days, Israel would be “Sodom” (Isaiah 3:9f; Revelation 11:8). And, both prophecies said that in the last days, Israel would be judged for her guilt of shedding innocent blood (Isaiah 4:4f; Revelation 11:8; 18:20, 24). Take a closer look at this last point.
Isaiah said that in the last days, Israel’s guilt for shedding innocent blood would be purged “by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire.” John foretold the judgment of the city “Babylon,” the city, “where the Lord was slain” (Revelation 11:8). Any doubt about where Jesus was crucified? The time of this judgment, when Israel would be judged for shedding the innocent blood of Jehovah’s saints, would be “the war,” it would be Armageddon (Revelation 16:6ff)! The question is, when would “the war” to judge Israel for her blood guilt be? Is it past or still future?
In Matthew 23:29f, Jesus castigated the Jews “you bear witness against yourselves that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets.” He said that Israel had killed all the prophets sent to her in the past. He also said they were going to kill him (Matthew 21:33f). And, they were going to kill the apostles and prophets that Jesus sent (Matthew 23:34f). In continuing in the bloody ways of her forefathers, Israel would fill up the measure of her sin, and be judged for that blood guilt. When would this take place? When would “the war” foretold by Isaiah and Revelation, the war in which Israel would be judged for her blood guilt take place? Read the words of the Master: “Verily I say unto you, all of these things shall come upon this generation!” (Matthew 23:36). Jesus’ “this generation” is not some future generation, nor our generation. Israel was judged for all her blood guilt, in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. (She is not under any kind of curse today!) Jesus said “the war” (Armageddon!) would be in his generation, and it happened just as he said! Armageddon is past.