“And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16, ESV).
After the trumpet judgments, the focus of Revelation changed from a somewhat chronological account to descriptions of certain events and people including a woman clothed with the sun, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the mark of the Beast.
In Chapter 15 John sees one final vision before he is shown the rest of the tribulation judgments, represented by bowls. The first vision John sees here is that of seven angels. These carry the last judgments God will use during the tribulation. The scene is one of celebration as redeemed believers sing a song of worship to God echoing similar songs of praise offered by Israel after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt in Exodus 15.
The end-time judgments described in Chapter 16 symbolically as bowls filled with the wrath of God are the third and last set of seven judgments against humanity’s rebellion described in Revelation. Some regard the presentations of these groups of seven as recapitulations (describing the same events but with additional details or from a different perspective). The first set of judgments was represented by the opening of seals on a scroll (Revelation 5:1). The second set was represented by trumpets (Revelation 8:6). All of these judgments vent God’s wrath and are recognized as the day of his wrath and the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:17). (Chapters 17 and 18 further describe the destruction caused by the bowl judgments.)
Armageddon is the name of the place where the kings of the earth gather to battle against God. This Hebrew name means “mountain of Megiddo” and Megiddo is an actual place in northern Israel. But, the symbolism in the name Armageddon is not so much to provide geographical information about the location of this battle but rather is used in a symbolic sense.
Megiddo is a place where the opponents of God meet their defeat!
Megiddo was militarily important. It was the site of epic battles that decided the fate of western Asia. The Bible lists the king of Megiddo among the Canaanite rulers defeated by Joshua in his conquest of the land (Josh. 12:21). An invading army of Canaanites were defeated there (Judges 5;19). King Josiah was killed there when he refused to heed God’s warnings (2 Chronicles 35:22). So, to say that the forces opposing God gather at Armageddon means that they gather for their own defeat.
The battle of Armageddon is described in Chapter 19. The Antichrist (the Beast) will unite the world during the Tribulation. All those who have taken his mark and worshiped him will join his armies to battle against the Lord. And, Armageddon is where evil will make its last stand against the Lord and all that is good. The Antichrist will fight with all the strength of Satan and his evil ones but they will be no competition for Jesus the King.
The Antichrist and his False Prophet will be captured and cast into the lake of fire. and with the sword from His mouth, Jesus will kill all the rebellious souls that remain. While Armageddon will likely be the largest, bloodiest battle in history, it’s quite possibly the shortest war in history! In fact, the three-verse description in Revelation 19:19-21 of the battle of Armegeddon is almost anti-climactic. It’s over almost as soon as it started. And, it appears that Christ’s army doesn’t do much fighting if any at all because “from His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” (vs 19:15, ESV).
Armageddon demonstrates that God will finally have enough of the rebellious beings that have rejected Him and He will assuredly annihilate the cosmic evil that has infiltrated humanity. Rather than annihilating humanity, however, Armageddon is a prelude to peace and humanity is given the opportunity to live on. The Battle of Armageddon establishes Christ as supreme ruler on Earth and during His reign the earth will become permeated with peace and prosperity.
They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”Revelation 17:14, ESV