Though most people, including many Christians, don’t know much about the book of Revelation, one image or word from it has reached popular culture: Armageddon (see Rev. 16:16). Even in secular culture the word has come to stand for a final struggle in which the fate of the earth hangs in the balance. Hollywood produced a movie called Armageddon about a giant asteroid poised to destroy the planet. To some degree, the idea of the world’s end is in the minds of secular people, as well.
Many Christians who are familiar with the book of Revelation and believe in it see the battle of Armageddon as a literal military conflict in the Middle East near the end of the world. One version has a 200 million-man army from Asia sweeping into Northern Israel. Others are fixated on the various military and political conflicts in that part of the world that will, in their understanding, set the stage for the final military battle of Armageddon in the area of Megiddo.
However, the Bible gives a totally different picture. Scripture presents Armageddon as the ultimate climax, not between squabbling nations, but between the two sides of the cosmic controversy. It’s a religious struggle, not economic or political, however much economic and political factors might come into play.
Read Revelation 16:12-16. From these texts alone, what can we learn about Armageddon?
First, notice just how symbolic the language is here. Spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the false prophet, and the mouth of the beast (references to the powers of Revelation 13; the “false prophet” here must be a reference to the land beast of Revelation 13:11). The great controversy is seen here, too, as the “spirits of demons” (Rev. 16:14, NKJV) go out to battle on the “great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). In whatever manner Armageddon will unfold, it’s a worldwide conflict between the forces of Christ and Satan. It is not a local battle in the area of Megiddo any more than Babylon in Revelation is talking about events in a corner of modern-day Iraq.
|Read Revelation 16:15. How fascinating that in the midst of these events, Jesus encourages us with the gospel message, both with the promise of His coming and the need to be covered in His righteousness. How does this help us understand the spiritual nature of the battle that we are in?|
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons