Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 10, 1968
NUMBER 23, PAGE 2b-3a

Armageddon (Concluded)

Jimmy Tuten, Jr.

We continue this week with a discussion of "Armageddon." The subject deserves our attention in spite of the numerous outlandish expositions which are offered regarding this subject. Last month, reference was made to the various interpretations of this battle. In this writing let's take a closer look at "Armageddon."

A Closer Look At Armageddon

The meaning of "Armageddon" is very difficult to grasp for it is found only one time in the New Testament (Rev. 16:16). "Armageddon" appears in the King James Version while "Har-magdeon" appears in the Revised Version, but these differences rest upon variant readings in the Greek manuscripts and are of no consequence concerning its meaning. It is generally agreed that "Har" means a "mountainous region" and "magedon" refers to the Biblical city in the Northwestern Canaan, known as Megiddo (or, Esdraelon). This plain is famous for its great slaughters. Here, Barak and Deborah overthrew the Canaanitish host led by Jebin (Judges 4-5); here Gideon and his three hundred defeated the Midianites (Judges 7); here Josiah fell under the attack of Pharoah-Necho (II Chron. 35), and here Ahaziah died of the arrows of Jehu. The term has come to mean a symbol for decisive and final conflicts and does not refer to any specific location, or carnal battle. In fact, there is no literal place as "Ar-mageddon" today. It fitly symbolizes final and/or decisive conflicts just as Waterloo in modem English usage has become synonymous with defeat. The difference being that Armageddon is a symbol of victory for the forces of right. "Thus Megiddo fitly symbolized the world wide distress of righteousness and evil engaged in deadly combat" (Rom Summers, Worthy Is The Lamb, Nashville, Broadman Press, p. 89). Armageddon is not a literal place of battle "for in this battle of truth against error, and God against Satan, all the world is the field of battle" (Johnson, op. cit. p. 201).

Discussion Of The Figure

The context of Revelation 16:12-16 depicts two classes of combatants: the forces of righteousness made up of God's people who are Kings (Rev. 1:6; I Pet. 2:5-9), and the forces of unrighteousness (Rev. 16:13-14). God's forces come from the "sun-rising," a term denoting the region of light and hope (Rev. 7:1-2; Matt. 2:1). These challenge the three anti-christian powers, the latter being described as "three unclean powers" coming out of the mouth of the "dragon," out of the mouth of the "beast," and out of the "false prophet" (Rev. 16:13-14). Their origin indicates their nature and are understood to represent the spirit of infidelity of the world, and false religion. They, too, have royalty, but are of the "whole world" and not from the "sun-rising" (Rev. 16:14, cf. W. Hendrikson, More Than Conquerors, Michigan, 1949, Baker Book House, pp. 196-198).

In verse 15, a solemn warning is issued: "Behold, I come as a thief." This coming is expected and is to the unrighteous for the purpose of overthrow. The righteous are asked to keep themselves in readiness. In view of this, the context goes on further to describe the victory of truth. This is reserved for chapter 19 where the overthrow of the beast, the False Prophet and their forces is by sudden stroke (Rev. 19:19-21; 21:8). These are punished "day and night forever."


The conclusion, therefore, is this: Armageddon is a symbol foretelling complete victory of the forces of right over forces of evil. The battle occurs again and again, the enemy taking various forms. The following quotation sums up this adequately.

"It is a vivid picture of a complete victory an entire conquest that we have here: and all the imagery of war and battle is employed to give it life. This is the symbol. The thing symbolized is obviously the complete victory of the Son of God over all the hosts of wickedness. Only a single hint of this signification is afforded by the language of the description, but that is enough. On two occasions, we are carefully told that the sword by which the Victory is won proceeds out of the mouth of the conqueror. We are not to think, as we read, of any literal war or manual fighting, therefore; the conquest is wrought by the spoken word — in short, by preaching the gospel." (Pieters, op. cit. p. 277). — 3800 Blaine Ave., St. Louis, Mo.