Armageddon the OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain

This series of posts will address the term “Armageddon” from a Hebrew Bible perspective as it applies to Christian eschatology. This presentation was originally a research paper for an Old Testament seminary course under Dr Micheal Heiser who was very helpful and influential in my research. I am going to publish it here in a series of  four posts. First, will be a summary and overview of the Old Testament use of the “Day of the Lord” terminology. This naturally leads to the term “Armageddon” because of the book of Revelation’s detailed exposition of the Day of the Lord. Solutions to the meaning of the cryptic term will be offered on the basis of plausible Hebrew transliterations as well as contextual and geographical coherence. Then the relationship to the cosmic mountain and Antichrist figure will be explored. Finally, the battle itself will be examined and a novel solution offered in light of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 descriptions of an end time war. This presentation will demonstrate that while the topic is enigmatic, the Hebrew background to the term Armageddon reveals a confrontation over the divine mountain and a more defined picture of the prophetic scenario.

DAY OF THE LORD

The Day of the Lord is a key theme found in the Old Testament prophetic books. It carries a context of future judgment and foreboding darkness. However, one should not read all of the passages into our future, as some have come and gone. The first appears in Amos and is speaking of the coming Assyrian invasion of the Northern Kingdom (Amos 5:18-20). Zephaniah uses the term to refer to the imminent Babylonian invasion of Judah (Zeph. 1:7, 14). Nevertheless, other passages do refer to a time of ultimate judgment upon the nations and indicate a much wider scope (Eze. 30:3; Joel 3:14; Oba. 15). Most germane to the task here are instances when the prophet seems to speak of an eschatological Day of the Lord (Mal 4:5; Joel 3:2). Even more, the New Testament authors Peter and Paul appropriated the term for the future return of Christ (2 Pet 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:8). Accordingly, we can connect the Day of the Lord to the tribulation and the battle of Armageddon.

The day is to be understood in a broad and a narrow sense.[1] The broad sense encompasses a span of time known in the Hebrew Bible as “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jer. 30:7) and also in Daniel as “a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” (Da 12:1). Jesus referred to it as the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Rev.7:14) just prior to his return. A time described by him in Matthew’s gospel (24:15-28) and in detail through John with the trumpet and bowl judgments found in the book of Revelation. Prior to Armageddon, a substantial part of the broad Day of the Lord’s judgments have occurred concurrent with the trumpets and bowls. Then armies of the nations will only begin to be gathered by the demonic hordes to Armageddon after the sixth bowl is poured out (Rev. 16:12–16). The Hebrew Bible supplies more detail.

Joel 3:9–16 and Zechariah 14:1–5 both indicate that after the armies of the nations have gathered in Israel, then a specific day will come, e.g. the “Day of the Lord is near” (Joel 3:14) and “a day is coming for the Lord” (Zech. 14:1).  It is apparent that this narrow Day of the Lord will not take place until the armies have gathered in Israel by the miraculous sign working demonic pack (Rev 16:14).  Thus, this special day will be within the broad Day of the Lord but utterly distinct. Both Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 indicate that their Day of the Lord will be the specific day when the Lord comes to fight against and destroy the armies gathered in Israel. Also, Jesus revealed to John that this will be when he returns to the earth (Rev. 19:11–21). Thus, the narrow Day of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 will be the day on which Christ comes to the earth for the battle of Armageddon.

The prophecy of Zechariah 14 gives us specific details about this future day. At the end of the Tribulation, during the battle of Armageddon and after it, the following will occur. First, the nations of the earth will surround Jerusalem (v.2). Second, Jerusalem will be captured, plundered, and women raped (v.2b). Third, a remnant will flee via a valley created by an earthquake (v.5a).  Fourth, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives as was promised by the angel after the ascension (Acts 1:11; Zech. 14: 4). Fifth, he comes with an Angelic army to fight the nations (Zech. 14:5b).  Revelation 19 parallels this section and indicates that “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, “(Re 19:15a). Furthermore, the text describes a horrible plague cursed upon the combatants (Zech. 14:12). Finally, the Lord will be King and the whole world will worship him (v.16).

What is central to this presentation is that these events are unanimously purported to occur in Jerusalem near Mount Zion. According to Biblical scholar Charles Torrey, “In Hebrew eschatology Jerusalem was the center of all the predicted gatherings, whether of the people of God or of the heathen nations.”[2] The Hebrew Bible is unequivocal in its testimony.  Joel 2:32 proclaims that “in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape…” Obadiah 21 describes the culmination with “Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” Isaiah 24:23 declares “Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.” With this prophetic unanimity, one wonders why Armageddon is typically located on the plain of Megiddo.


to be continued by part 2: Armageddon in Revelation 16:16


[1]Renald E Showers, Maranatha Our Lord, Come! (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1995),

[2] Charles C. Torrey, “Armageddon,” Harvard Theological Review 31, 3 (1938):  246.

 


About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Nat says:

    One thing you are forgetting is that you are reading the “mountin” thing physically. All through the old testament, in prophetic language, mountains are symbolic of governments, or kingdoms. For instance in the prophecy Daniel gave in interpretting the dream of the great statue, he states that the stone cut without hands comes and smashes the statue, and the stone becomes a great mountain that fills the earth, which Daniel says is the kingdom of God. Most of the things (rituals, names (Israel for example), and events) were physical types of what was to come spiritually. For instance, David was told that a son of his would build a dwelling place for God. Solomon built a physical temple, but Christ built a church (the greek word for “church” means a called out people, not a building) that God could dwell in through His Holy Spirit. The physcial temple was only a type, and that one thing alone trips so many people up, thinking a physcial temple needs to be rebuilt for certain prophecies to come to pass in the end times, when Paul, who gave that prophecy, stated time and time again that the temple of God is now the church of God.

    Anyway, back to the “Mountain of God”. Again, mountains are uses in prophetic language as governments/kingdoms, so ask yourself once again “What is the Mountain of God, what is Mount Zion? Is it refering to the mountain in Jerusalem?” It is simply prophetic language for the coming Kingdom of God! Jerusalem itself is simply a type of what is coming spiritually, remeber revelation talks of a NEW Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

    When people look at prophecy physically, they completely miss the message.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The context is that it is a place where armies gather for a war, to take it as some sort of allegory for a government would do violence to the obvious meaning.

  2. Gene Bray says:

    That’s correct. Hebrews 12: 18, 22 “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burns with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest…But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels”. An even more fundalmental example of misunderstanding physical for Spiritual is to observe two things the Lord called His own, the Law and the Church. The priest’s turned God’s Law into their own in order to sieze dominion over men and so called ministers of the church have turned the church into their own for the same purposes, dominion over men. Hebrews states that in times past that God spoke to the fathers by the prophets and in these last days has spoken to us through His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through whom He also made the worlds. That is why the priest had to kill the prophets and the ministers have to kill the Holy Ghost. I am not saying that physical Israel will not be the center of attention in the latter days, it probably will. What I am saying is the reality of the Jews not understanding the first coming will be somewhat repeated by the Church not understanding the second coming.

  3. AntiLieGuy says:

    This story is full of church brainwashing lies. The Bible is much simpler. America is the Mountains of Israel in Ezekiel, or Zion. Half the Bible is about one war and that is the war in which America will be annihilated by Russia, China and the SCO on October 10. You can know the war of Armageddon is now because of Planet X and the chemtrails that theyve sprayed every day globally for the past four years to hide it.

  4. AntiLieGuy says:

    Cris, you are dead wrong. America is unmistakably described. The land that goes from sea to sea, has a north country and a south country, the land of mixed and mingled people that rules the world, that chants to the sound of the viol (rap music), they will be taken with the devices which they created (nukes) has an image of jealousy in the northern gate (statue of liberty), has an obesity epidemic, has lost their freedom, and more. This is the land that God promised to Jacob back in the day. This is the country that will be annihilated by the 10-horned beast (SCO) on Oct 10.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Really that is supposed to be convincing? Unmistakably? You must be kidding! Every continent in the world goes from sea to sea… every single country has a north and south. How can that be an argument for anything specific? I am sorry but you are just typing more nonsense, you haven’t provided any evidence from the Biblical text at all. I suppose on October 10 you’ll make an excuse and move the date forward like every other date setter in history. Date ‘setting has an undisputed 100% failure rate, ask Harold Camping.

  5. Kirk Domitrovic says:

    Hey Cris, Thanks for all the time and work you and Tom Horn and others put into the last two huge written works of research…Petrus Romanus and Exo-Vaticana. I have been listening to just about everything you guys have put on the Internet and I will say there are SOOO many subjects that are coming together in this short season of time.
    I am dumbfounded when I hear people say we will be here for another 100 years or so,
    and that it’s NOT bad yet.
    I mean, REALLY, are they so ignorant of the events happening in our world…natural and weather related things,
    economic upheaval, social chaos, religious fervor….AND EYES ON ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST !!!!
    The Scriptures make all of these things OBVIOUS to this time.
    BUT … I guess you have to ACTUALLY READ & STUDY THE BIBLE….”to see if these things be so”…huh?
    Others like Gary Stearman, L.A. Marzulli, Russ Dizdar, Steve Quayle, Perry Stone, J.D. Farag, and so many others really do have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening…and happening fast !!!
    Jesus said there would be Signs in the sun, moon, and stars, etc etc,…WELL, it surprises me that soooo many
    pastors don’t speak of these things to their congregations….it is little wonder why they are mostly ignorant
    of the times in which we live. Hosea 4:6 My people PERISH for the lack of knowledge! HOW TRUE IT IS…sadly.

    If you want to contact me some time, I have some insights on several passages of Scripture that really seem
    to fit regarding The Day of The Lord. A few are Joel 2:31…Acts 2:20…Revelation 6:12…all say the SAME thing!
    Could this be “a time marker” for those who are AWAKE and not sleeping…like it says in 1 Thess 5:1-9 and
    Romans 13:11-14, and Luke 21:34-36 ?? Is Revelation 6:15 referring to Isaiah 2:10-21 ?? Could Luke 21:35
    be referring to Ezekiel 38:20 ?? Could Revelation 6:12-17 be the same event as Ezekiel 38:18-23 ??
    Could this be when the pole shift happens as inferred from Revelation 6:13-14 ?? Could Revelation 6:15 be
    a reference to all the Deep Underground Military Bases that are furiously being built all over the world ??
    Is Revelation 6:16-17 telling us WHEN the “Tribulation/Day of The Lord” will begin ?? Take note of Rev 6:17
    “WHO is able to stand?” … then note Rev 7:9…”a great multitude…STANDING before the Throne”…I believe THIS
    GREAT MULTITUDE is THE CHURCH that was just raptured out of harms way! ….as noted in Luke 21:34-36.
    luke 21:36 says “that you may have strength TO ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS that are about to take place….
    and TO STAND before the Son of Man.” I think this fits nicely with Revelation 7:9. Also, Revelation 6:17 is in
    direct contrast to Revelation 7:10…the first group ON EARTH speaks of “THEIR WRATH HAS COME” while the
    second group IN HEAVEN speaks of “SALVATION TO OUR GOD WHO SITS ON THE THRONE,
    AND UNTO THE LAMB.” Remember what these say: I Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 and Romans 5:9, plus
    Romans 1:18 and Romans 2:4-10….SOOO Then, if you want to respond that would be great. Open to your
    thoughts too! Be blessed !!!! n

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