The Battle of Armageddon
by Pastor Lee Roberson, D.D. (1909-2007)
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." — REVELATION 16:16
"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." — REVELATION 19:19
In the last message we discussed the portion of Scripture found in Revelation, verses 11 to 16. This pictures the coming of Christ upon a white horse. A vivid description is given of our Saviour as He comes in power and glory. Back of Him are His armies. They also ride upon white horses, and are clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The purpose of the coming of Christ is given in verse 15, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Christ is coming to make war, to smite the nations with a sword, and to rule with a rod of iron. In order to do these things, it is necessary that 'He tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.'
Consider three things in this message.
I. The Battle of Armageddon
First, what is the battle of Armageddon? As we find in Revelation 19:19, it is a battle between the Antichrist and the kings of the earth and their armies against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.
At the close of the tribulation period, the Antichrist and his false prophet, with the armies of the earth, will besiege the Jewish remnant in Jerusalem. The coming of Christ will alarm the world powers, and they will fall back to Armageddon, the ancient hill and valley of Megiddo, west of Jordan, in the plain of Jezreel.
The battle of Armageddon will be the last world war. The little uprising instigated by Satan after the thousand years, cannot be called a world war. This will be the last one.
The battle of Armageddon is truly a direct warfare of Hell against Heaven, for you remember that Satan gave his power unto the Antichrist and the false prophet, and now we find that the beast and the prophet are doing the foolish thing of trying to fight against Heaven itself. We need to remember that the puny arm of flesh can never fight against God and win. Man is slow to learn this, and in spite of defeat after defeat, he continues to war against God.
We have already mentioned where this battle will be fought. It will be in the valley of Megiddo, southeast of Mt. Carmel, in the land of Palestine.
When will this battle be fought? It will come at the close of the tribulation period, and will climax that awful time of judgment.
This battle is referred to in a number of Old Testament passages, but I want you to hear this one in Joel 3:9-14:
"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty one to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
The battle of Armageddon is also a further fulfillment of the promise which God gave in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
These words were spoken by the Lord to the serpent, old Satan. Here is the promise that Satan's head will be bruised, and all he can do is bruise His heel. When a person's heel is bruised, it causes pain but does not bring about death. But when you bruise the head, you destroy a person.
Someone has said that the great purpose of the battle of Armageddon will be to attempt to annihilate Christ. Satan has always wanted the rulership of this earth, but it has been promised unto the Son of God. But the Devil has attempted on many occasions to do away with Christ.
His first attempt was made through Herod, who had all the children up to two years of age slain in an effort to kill the Christ child. The second attempt made by Satan was when he took Christ up to the pinnacle of the temple and urged Him to jump off. The third effort was made through the Pharisees who tried to stone Christ to death. The fourth attempt was made by having Christ condemned by the Sanhedrin and crucified. The final attempt is in the battle of Armageddon, and again Satan fails.
II. The Doom of the Beast and the false Prophet
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." -- Revelation 19:20
When Christ came to make war against the beast and his army, there was no delay in obtaining victory. We are not told how the beast was taken, but we do read that Jesus came with a sharp sword going out of His mouth. This speaks of the Word of God. Therefore, it would seem that Christ gave the order and immediately these two men were taken and sentenced to their eternal doom.
And now notice, ". . . these both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." The word "alive" signifies existence in a body. It is not only a state of conscious existence, but life in a body. The Lord spoke of Himself after His resurrection in this way, "I am alive for evermore." The saints who will reign with Christ are identified in this way, "They lived and reigned with Christ."
It is interesting to note that these two, cast alive into Hell, went there before Satan himself. The doom of the Devil is given in Revelation 20:10. And we find that when the Devil is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, the beast and the false prophet are still there.
This subject of Hell is one to solemnize all our hearts. The Scriptures indicate that the beast and the false prophet are tormented day and night for ever and ever. After a thousand years, there is no letup, but a continuation of the same torture.
When men persist in sin, despise the mercies of God, and follow in the steps of Satan, there is nothing left for God to do but to allow them to choose their own place -- Hell.
III. The Sad Supper
"And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. Come, and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God." -- Revelation 19:17
"And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." -- Revelation 19:21
In the first part of Revelation 19 we saw a glad supper. This was the marriage supper of the LAMB. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."
Here is another supper mentioned in the same chapter. This is the supper of the flesh-eating birds of the earth who come to clear away the carcasses of those who rebel against God and against Christ.
The invitation extended by the angel to the birds that fly in the midst of Heaven is this, "That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great."
The word "flesh" is mentioned five times. The people of the earth who chose to walk after the flesh spiritually must now have their flesh devoured literally. This is not a very beautiful picture, but it is one that will be fulfilled to the very last word -- a literal call will go out to the birds of the air, and a literal feast will be given to them with the flesh of those who fall in the battle of Armageddon. Thousands, perhaps millions, of these birds will come to clear away the flesh of the dead. A number of vultures will doubtless get hold of one body and tear off every bit of flesh. The land must be cleared of the slain carcasses before Jesus begins His reign.
You have your choice as to which supper you will take part in -- the marriage supper of the Lamb, or the sad supper of the flesh-eating birds. God grant you will choose wisely and receive Christ as your own personal Saviour. Trust Christ and be present at the marriage supper. Reject Him, and the birds of the air will pluck out your eyes and eat the flesh from your dead body.
SOURCE: Chapter 9 from the excellent book, Some Golden Daybreak, by Dr. Lee Roberson, D.D. (copyright 1957)
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