The Battle of Armageddon
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
How are we to understand Revelation 16:16, which speaks about this Armageddon?
In verse 15 God gives us a clue as to when this takes place: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Any place in the Bible where God talks about coming as a thief is talking about Judgment Day; He’s talking about the end of the world. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, where God talks about coming as a thief, and then He says, “Sudden destruction will come upon them, and there is no escape.”
He’s talking about Judgment Day.
In 2nd Peter chapter 3 God is talking about the destruction of the world, that the elements will melt with fervent heat, and He talks about this happening at the time that He comes as a thief.
And so this is Judgment Day that’s in view.
He’s speaking here in Revelation chapter 16 of the final wrath of God being poured out upon all of the wicked of the world, and He speaks of it as a battle. In verse 14 He is talking about the unsaved of the world, headed up by Satan. And they’re gathered together to the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. That’s Judgment Day. And God insists that this is so because of the next phrase, “Behold, I come as a thief.”
Ordinarily when two nations are at war with each other, they go along, and they go along, fighting their skirmishes and their individual battles, and so on. And finally there is a final battle that ends the war. One nation has become decisively victorious, and the other nation is completely destroyed. And God of course is speaking here of the warfare that exists between the Kingdom of God on the one hand, headed up by Christ, and the kingdom of Satan on the other hand, headed up by Satan. This warfare has been going on.
But the end of this warfare is Judgment Day, when Satan is judged and all the wicked of the world are judged and removed into hell. And God speaks of this as a battle. And that is the Battle of Armageddon. God uses other language in Revelation 19, where He speaks about Christ coming on a white horse with His sword protruding from His mouth, which is the Word of God. And then He calls all the birds of prey to feed upon the corpses of the slain, that is, indicating that Judgment Day has come, and the wicked are destroyed. That is, they are removed into hell.
God uses the figure of Armageddon because the plains of Megiddo were a place where many decisive battles were fought. And particularly from the Biblical vantage point, this is pointing to the victory of the nation of Israel over the wicked Canaanites, headed up by Cicera, during the days of Judges 4 or Judges 5, when Cicera had 900 chariots of iron and the Israelites had none, but 10,000 of the Israelites marshaled together, and they brought great victory over Cicera and all his hosts. And this was in the plains of Megiddo. It was a type of Judgment Day itself.