Armageddon (from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn, Late Latin: Armagedōn) will be, according to the Book of Revelation, the site of gathering of armies for 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.
The word "Armageddon" appears only once in the Greek New Testament, in Revelation 16:16. The word may come from Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), har meaning "[at the] Mountain" and Megiddo - Strong מְגִדּוֹן /meg-id-do'/ "place of crowds". "Mount" Tel Megiddo is not actually a mountain, but a tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot) on which ancient forts were built to guard the Via Maris, an ancient trade route linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and 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.
According to one premillennial Christian interpretation, the Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (the "beast") and 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 Millennium. After being released from the abyss, Satan will gather Gog and Magog 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. 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).
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". None of these Old Testament passages describes 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. " 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" is "for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty". 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. 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." 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."
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) 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" and "the valley of the passengers", "Lord coming from Edom or Idumea, south of Jerusalem, when He returns from the judgment"; and Jerusalem itself.
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'. This area would conform to the extent pictured by John in Revelation 14:20."
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).
Again, events are listed by Pentecost in his book:
- "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.'"
- The King of the South gets in battle with the North King and the Northern Confederacy (Daniel 11:40). Jerusalem is destroyed as a result of this attack, and, in turn, the armies of the Northern Confederacy are destroyed.
- "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. . . ."
- ". . . a report that causes alarm is brought to the Beast"
- "The Beast moves his headquarters into the land of Israel and assembles his armies there."
- "It is there that his destruction will come. (11:45)."
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. 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 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) (Matt. 18:8) and as unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43-44), 46-48, emphasizing the eternal character of retribution of the lost.—Pentacost, p. 555
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. They teach that the armies of heaven will eradicate all who oppose the kingdom of God and its rule, wiping out all wicked humans on Earth, leaving only righteous mankind.
They believe that the gathering of 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. These political powers are influenced by Satan and his demons in opposition to God's kingdom. Babylon the Great is interpreted as the world empire of false religion, and that it will be destroyed by the beast just prior to Armageddon. Witnesses believe that after all other religions have been destroyed, the governments will turn to destroy them, and that God will then intervene, precipitating Armageddon.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the armies of heaven, commanded by Jesus Christ, will then destroy all forms of human government and then Jesus with a selected 144,000 will rule Earth for 1000 years. They believe that Satan and his demons 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.
The religion's current teaching on Armageddon originated in 1925 with former Watch Tower Society president J. F. Rutherford, who based his interpretations on the books of Exodus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Psalms as well as additional material from the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. The doctrine marked a further break from the teachings of Watch Tower Society founder Charles Taze Russell, who for decades had taught that the final war would be an anarchistic struggle for domination on earth. Tony Wills, author of a historical study of Jehovah's Witnesses, claimed that Rutherford seemed to relish his descriptions of how completely the wicked would be destroyed at Armageddon, dwelling at great length on prophecies of destruction. He claimed that towards the close of his ministry Rutherford allocated about half the space available in Watchtower magazines to discussion of Armageddon.
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. 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. 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." The final re-creation of a "new heaven and a new earth." then follows the millennium.
For Christadelphians, Armageddon marks the "great climax of history when the nations would be gathered together 'into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon', and the judgment on them would herald the setting up of the Kingdom of God." 
The same meaning of Armageddon was mentioned in many Islamic Hadith, following are three examples:
Hudhaifah b. Usaid al-Ansari said: We were sitting in the shade of the chamber of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) discussing (something) and when we mentioned the last hour, our voices rose high. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: The last hour will not come or happen until there appear ten signs before it : the rising of the sun in its place of setting, the coming forth of the beast, the coming forth of Gog and Magog, the Dajjal (Antichrist), (the descent of) Jesus son of Mary, the smoke, three subsidence’s, one in the will issue forth from the Yemen, from the lowest part of Aden, and drive mankind to their place of assembly. Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 4311. In-book reference: Book 39, Hadith 21, English translation: Book 38, Hadith 4297
Al-nawwas b. Sim’an al-Kilabi said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) mentioned the Dajjal (Antichrist) saying: If he comes forth while I am among you I shall be the one who will dispute with him on your behalf, but if he comes forth when I am not among you, a man must dispute on his own behalf, and Allah will take my place in looking after every Muslim. Those of you who live up to his time should recite over him the opening verses of Surat al – Kahf, for they are your protection from his trial. We asked: How long will he remain on the earth ? He replied : Forty days, one like a year, one like a month, one like a week, and rest of his days like years. We asked : Messenger of Allah, will one day’s prayer suffice us in this day which will be like a year ? He replied : No, you must make an estimate of its extent. Then Jesus (peace be upon him) will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus. He(peace be upon him) will then catch him(Antichrist) up at the gate of Ludd and kill him(Antichrist). Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 4321. In-book reference: Book 39, Hadith 31. English translation: Book 38, Hadith 4307
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He(Jesus) will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 4324. In-book reference: Book 39, Hadith 34. English translation: Book 38, Hadith 4310
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 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.
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. 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. A third interpretation reviews the overall progress of the World Wars, and the situation in the world before and after.
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."
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- 1 Maccabees
- Antiochus Epiphanes
- Apocalyptic literature
- Armageddon (novel)
- Dagor Dagorath
- Futurist view of the Book of Revelation
- Historicist views of Revelation
- Megiddo: The Omega Code 2
- Preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation
- Siege of Jerusalem (70)
- Waiting for Armageddon
- Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins, 3rd ed., p. 81
- "Amateur Archaeologists Get the Dirt on the Past", New York Times
- Maps and pictures of Megiddo mountain and the surrounding plain (in Spanish)
- Book of Revelation in the New Testament, Rev. 19: 11-20, Rev. 20: 1-3, 7-15.
- "Bible Keyword Search Results: megiddo (KJV)". 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-15. Listing of the 12 Biblical Old Testament passages containing the word "Megiddo".
- "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.
- James B. Jordan, Biblical Horizons, No. 85
- Rousas John Rushdoony, Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation, 190.
- Revelation 16:14
- Joel 3:2
- Ezekiel 39:11
- Zech. 12:2-11; 14:2
- Pentacost, p. 341
- Ezekiel 38:9-16
- Revelation 14:20
- "Daniel 11:40-45 (King James Version)". BibleGateway.com. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- "Daniel 11:40 (King James Version)". BibleGateway.com. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- Zechariah 12:2
- Ezekiel 39, Zeckariah 12:4
- Daniel 11:44, Revelation 16:12
- Daniel 11:45
- Pentacost, p. 356
- Revelation 20:8
- Revelation 20:11-15
- "Matthew 25:41 (King James Version)". Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- "Matthew 18:8 (King James Version)". Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- "Mark 9:43-44 (King James Version)". Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- "Mark 9:46-48 (King James Version)". Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- Armageddon - A Happy Beginning
- Armageddon—God’s War to End All Wars
- "What Does the Bible Really Teach" pp. 215-218 '1914—A Significant Year in Bible Prophecy'
- The Watchtower 12/1/05 p. 4 Armageddon—A Happy Beginning Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
- The End of False Religion is Near watchtower.org
- Mankind’s Search for God chap. 16 p. 371 par. 13 "the destruction of Babylon the Great will usher in a period of “great tribulation” that culminates in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty . . . Har–Magedon.” "
- Watchtower 9/15/05 p. 19 par. 13 "Walk by Faith, Not by Sight!" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
- The Marvelous New World of God's Making watchtower.org
- Watchtower 6/1/96 p. 18 par. 20 "Flight to Safety Before the "Great Tribulation"" Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
- Alan Rogerson (1969). Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Constable. p. 47.
- Wills, Tony (2006), A People For His Name, Lulu Enterprises, p. 154, ISBN 978-1-4303-0100-4
- "Seventh-day Adventists believe" 1988 by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
- "Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology" 2000 Review and Herald Publishing Association and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
- Revelation 20:2
- Revelation 21:1
- The Christadelphian: Volume 107, 1970, pp. 555-556.
- The Review of Religions, January 2009, Vol.104, issue 1. p. 18-22
- 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.
- Roderic Maude and Derwent Maude (1997). The Servant, the General, and Armageddon. George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-424-7.
- Donald E. Wagner, The alliance between fundamentalist Christians and the Pro-Israel lobby: Christian Zionism in US Middle East policy
- "US 'Christian militants' charged after FBI raids" BBC, 30 March 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010.