Armageddon OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain 5

By Cris D. Putnam


The Antichrist figure finds his counterpart in the Hebrew Bible as Gog in Ezekiel 38-39. To demonstrate this point, a brief examination of the name גּוֹג Gog is required. In Ezekiel, Gog is clearly the enemy of Israel from the land of Magog or possibly “from the land of Gog.” In scripture, the proper names Agag and Gog were rendered somewhat interchangeably from the Hebrew.  For instance, Agag appears in 1 Samuel: “And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword”(1 Sa 15:8). He was the King of the Amalekites, a nephilim tribe, who was defeated and spared by Saul, but later killed by Samuel. It is interesting that the Septuagint translators rendered the name “Gog.” Yet, modern translations render it Agag. For instance, Numbers 24:7 which is a poetic oracle by Balaam concerning Israel and how they have God’s favor.

Remember, Balaam was a sorcerer hired to curse Israel but his diabolical efforts were frustrated by God. Thus, in the traditional rendering, the context is appropriate that Israel’s king will be superior to Gog. For instance,the ESV renders it,“Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; his king shall be higher than Agag (Gog), and his kingdom shall be exalted”(Nu 24:7). Well enough, this traditional rendering of the prophecy is assuredly concerning Saul’s defeat of Gog, nephilim king of Amalekites. Yet strangely the LXX translation by Brenton reflects a different manuscript which makes it seem as if Gog is from Jacob’s seed:

And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and sees Israel encamped by their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable and said, Balaam son of Beor says, the man who sees truly says, he says who hears the oracle of the Mighty One, who saw a vision of God in sleep; his eyes were opened: How goodly are thy habitations, Jacob, and thy tents, Israel! as shady groves, and as gardens by a river, and as tents which God pitched, and as cedars by the waters. There shall come a man out of his seed, and he shall rule over many nations; and the kingdom of Gog shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. ( Num 24:5-7 LXX Benton 1851 )[1] (emphasis added)

The kingdom of Gog will be exalted? This is astonishing! Is this just a bad translation or could this reading infer the sorcerer Balaam was predicting the kingdom of Antichrist? Many have speculated he must be Semitic for the Jews to accept him as Messiah. Balaam is an odd character for a pagan sorcerer as he also predicted Christ and the star of Bethlehem in his final oracle (Num 24:17). The prophetic literature gets even stranger.

Missler makes reference to the name Gog being used in the Septuagint while drawing a parallel to its use Ezekiel and Revelation. The LXX Translation by Brenton 1851 renders, “Thus has the Lord God shewed me; and, behold, a swarm of locusts coming from the east; and, behold, one caterpillar, king Gog” (Am 7:1). The original context of this passage is that judgment is coming to the Northern kingdom, Israel. It is a vision given to Amos of a locust army invasion similar to that in Joel. Yet, Amos begs the Lord to repent of it and the Lord does not carry it through (cf. Am 7:3). The thing that makes this use of Gog distinct is that it is not a variant translation from the Masoretic text because the Masoretic uses no name at all. See a comparison here.  Missler draws significance from juxtaposing “locusts have no king” (Pr 30:27) against the “locusts” in Amos and Revelation who do have a king, arguing that it implies Amos and John must not be talking about insects:

The locusts in Revelation 9 have a king, Apollyon or Abaddon, but Proverbs 30:27 says that locusts have no king. So these locusts are not natural locusts; they are demon locusts. If that’s the case, then Gog, who is the king of the locusts, is a demon king.[2]

While the purpose of proverbs was not entomology, this reasoning seems quite reasonable. The terms grasshopper and locust are interchangeable as their is no taxonomic difference between locust and grasshopper species. In English the term “locust” is used for grasshopper species that change morphologically and behaviorally to form swarms. Research at Oxford University has identified that swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Clearly the prophet is using locusts and caterpillar symbolically for invading hoards. The ancient Israelites had an agrarian economy. Invading armies are destructive to cities as insects are to crops. It implies annihilation. In the case of Amos’s original context, it would be the Assyrians who did in fact completely destroy the Northern kingdom. But the future context of Revelation speaks of a devastation by demonic entities.

Yet the only use of the proper name Gog in the NT appears in the book of Revelation and applies to a war after the millennium when Satan is released after being bound for 1,000 years. The locust imagery also recalls imagery from the book of Revelation 9 and the locust army of Joel:

In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,(Re 9:7)

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle.(Joe 2:4–5)

The two passage must refer to the same event because their really can be only one ultimate Day of the Lord. The locusts/war horses here are thought to represent the demon hoards who attack during the tribulation. The descriptions harken chimeric monstrosities. Tom Horn explores possible biotech avenues for making these monsters a reality in his books Apollyon Rising and Forbidden Gates. In the former he ponders Joel’s insectoid horde:

When the numerous ancient texts from inerrant Scriptures to extra-biblical sources are added up, there is persuasive evidence that Joel’s army could indeed be more than simple grasshoppers, and that this massive Gibborim army that runs upon the wall from which nobody can escape could be the result of man’s willingness to play “god” in reviving forbidden science and opening “gates” to what lurks beyond.[2a]

Others see what is widely believed to be “aliens” also taking part in this scenario. There does seem to be cultural trend toward belief in extraterrestrial life. It seems a likely cover story for demonic entities. In fact, the entities that gather the worlds armies for the battle of Armageddon bear an uncanny resemblance to what are commonly believed to be aliens.

“And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.(Re 16:13–14)

Many believe this is the strong delusion mentioned by Paul (2 Thes 2:11). Dr. David Allen Lewis and Robert Shreckhise postulate that these demonic spirits that look like frogs are indeed what the popular media deems “greys.” [2b]  Paradox Brown carries this line of thought a little further offering:

But note that John doesn’t say the three evil spirits “ARE three frogs”. He says they “looked like frogs”… Let’s say that John was shown in his Revelation vision an image of something he had never seen before… It makes sense that if John didn’t know what this creature was, and had never seen anything like it, that he would describe it as “looking like” something he was familiar with. [2c]

Thus, it appears we have a menagerie of insectoid and reptilian transgenic entities involved in the Armageddon scenario. The secular world will likely assume they are from outer space as they have been heavily propagandized in that direction. We can infer that since Gog is the “caterpillar king” of this army, he is likely one and the same as Apollyon or Abaddon (cf. Am 7:1 LXX ; Rev 9:11). It seems likely that Gog in Ezekiel 38 & 39 is the Satanically empowered general in the end time war, the Beast.

Much has been written associating the Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39 with the battle of Armageddon. There are demonstrable parallels yet seemingly the book of Revelation explicitly places it one thousand years after Armageddon (cf. Rev 19:19; Rev. 20:8 ). Amillennialists (those who deny the 1000 year kingdom) like Kline attempt to conflate the battles described in Revelation 19 and 20.[3] Yet this lacks coherence as Heiser points out several insurmountable difficulties to this view. [4] Still, both Kline and Heiser agree that Gog can be associated with the Antichrist. This finds support in the Qumran War Scroll (1QM), which reveals it is Satan and his powers that are behind the usurpers:

For this shall be a time of distress for Israel, [and of the summons] to war against all the nations. There shall be eternal deliverance for the company of God, but destruction for all the nations of wickedness. All those [who are ready] for battle shall march out and shall pitch their camp before the king of the Kittim and before all the host of Satan gathered about him for the Day [of Revenge] by the Sword of God.[5]

The Qumran War Scroll reflects the same end time war as the Ezekiel text and accredits it to Satan. However, in Revelation 20 the Antichrist has been defeated and what is described is the release of Satan. Heiser convincingly solves this by viewing Gog as both. He writes, “I have argued that Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled in two events: (1) Armageddon, which also is the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-45; and (2) The subsequent, separate battle of Rev. 20:7-9.”[6]

“He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites.(Da 11:41)

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.(Re 20:7–8)

Thus the Satanically possessed Beast of Revelation is Gog in the battle of Armageddon and Satan himself is Gog in the post-millennium war. While Heiser argues that the Magog war is fulfilled in two stages of the “already but not yet” fulfillment scenario, this present treatment suggests a similar but novel solution.

One of the better arguments against placing the Magog war prior to the tribulation as many traditional dispensationalists do as well as against the recapitulation view of Amillennialists is that Ezekiel 38 describes Israel as already completely regathered in the land (Eze 38:8, 12) and dwelling securely without defenses (Eze 38:11).[7]  This certainly does not apply to Israel’s current situation or to the preconditions for the battle of Armageddon. Today Israel is under constant threat and has very real barrier walls. It is also inconsistent with Armageddon because it is in the latter part of the great tribulation. Surely after enduring the trumpet and bowl judgments they will not be together in a secure peaceful state. Furthermore, the dry bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37 describes Israel’s rebirth contingent with the Messiah (Eze 37:15-28). Interestingly, Ezekiel 39:28 is a world wide call to Jews to return from the diaspora. Accordingly, it seems that chapter the 39 war precedes what is described in 38. Only after Ezekiel 39:28 will the diaspora be completely undone and the nation at peace. While others have postulated an earlier Psalm 83 war, The Ezekiel 38 war makes more sense in light of it being post millennium exactly as it says in Revelation 20. The biblical text solves the problem without an extra war. Thus, I completely agree with Heiser that Ezekiel 38 is the satanic showdown after the millennium. However, from this point forward an alternative interpretation is offered.

It is the proposal here that Ezekiel 39 describes the battle of Armageddon which temporally precedes the Magog war of chapter 38.  The prophetic books are in a state that makes it extremely challenging to determine where one oracle ends and another begins. The modern chapter divisions are arbitrary and were imposed during the thirteenth century AD. While, the traditional view is that chapter 39 is restatement of 38, this is a tacit acknowledgement that chapter 38 resolves satisfactorily.[8] In other words, because they are both complete units and not dependent upon each other, they can arguably represent distinct battles. In Ezekiel 38, some of the Nations question and do not battle (Eze 38:13) but at the battle of Armageddon (Zec 14: 12) it seems all the nations of the world will be gathered against Jerusalem. The Ezekiel 39 battle is addressed to all the nations (Eze 39:7). Furthermore, chapter 39 is inaugurated with a new “Thus says the Lord God.” This interpretation suggests that chapters 38-39 are two distinct wars for the following seven reasons: One, Gog and his armies are described as brought out to battle at the beginning of each chapter in unique circumstances (38:4-9; cf. 39:2). Two, chapter 38 clearly states that the land was restored from war (Ez 38:8). It is suggested that this refers to the Ezekiel 39/Armageddon war. Three, the chapter 38 war ties together with the post millennium release of Satan (Rev.20:7-10; cf. Eze 38:16, 22) and the white throne judgment (Rev.20:11-15) with “I will enter into judgment with him” (Eze 38:22). Four, the nations will know that their defeat was by the Lord and that Israel will know the Lord from that day forward (Eze 39:21-22). This arguably convenes the inauguration of the millennium. Five, the nations will understand why Israel was exiled and abandoned by God (Eze 39:23). This explains the tribulation. Six, the Lord will restore and gather Israel (Eze 39:25-27). This seems to be concurrent with the return of Christ in Ezekiel 37:15-28 and is a precursor to the chapter 38 war. Seven, Israel knows their God from that day forward and God never hides his face from them again (Eze 39:28-29). Consequently, the prerequisite regathered and secure status of Ezekiel 38 (Rev. 20) is arguably the result of the previous Ezekiel 39 (Rev. 19) war. All that is required for one to accept is that these are two oracles in a non-chronological order, a contention which is hardly unprecedented.

It is also compelling that in the Ezekiel 39 war, Gog is described as coming “from the uppermost parts of the North” and “against the mountains of Israel” (v.2). This language strongly concurs with the “mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north” interpretation of Armageddon. Brevard Childs’ scholarship on the enemy from the north and the chaos tradition suggests a possible connection:

Isa 14:12 ff. is a taunt against the king of Babylon and not directly related to the enemy tradition. Nevertheless, it is quite remarkable that the king who dared to “sit on the mount of assembly in the far north is described as the one “who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms.”[9]

It may be helpful to view this as cosmic north referring generally to the supernatural realm. In the aftermath, Gog falls on the mountains of Israel. In light of the case for supernatural warriors, it is interesting to note the distinction made between his hordes and people (Eze 39:4). In other words, his hordes are not necessarily human. There is a massive feast of carrion for the birds (39:4; cf. 17-20) which is correlated directly with Revelation 19:17-19. This also finds a parallel in Isaiah 18 and oracle addressing the inhabitants of the world (Is 18:3) and which culminates with the inauguration of Gods’ millennial kingdom (Is 18: 7ff).

Isaiah 18 Ezekiel 39 Revelation 19
 “They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.”(Is 18:6) “You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.(Eze 39:4)“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood.” (Eze 39:17) “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.(Re 19:17–19)

There is only one time on the prophetic timeline in which one could say that God will reveal himself to all the nations and no longer tolerate his name being profaned (Eze.39:7; cf. Rev. 19:15). There is really only one day that he will regather all of Israel to their land while pouring out his spirit (Eze.39: 29;  cf. Joel 2:28).  Because these things are established “from that day forward”(Eze 39:22), this war will necessarily conclude just prior to the Millennium (Rev 20:4). That necessitates that this war happens on the narrow sense Day of the Lord, Armageddon or the battle of Har Mô∙ʿēḏ – the Cosmic Mountain of God.

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!

Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming;

it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;

their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.

Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns.

The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness,

and nothing escapes them.

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run.

As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains,

like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,

like a powerful army drawn up for battle.

Joel 2:1-5

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[1] Septuagint Online, (accessed 9/03/2011).

[2] Chuck Missler, “Hosea and Amos: Prophets to the Northern Kingdom,” (accessed 9/02/2011).

[2a] Thomas Horn, Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (Crane, MS: Defender, 2009), 221.

[2b] David Allen Lewis and Robert Shreckhise, UFO: End-Time Delusion (Green Forest, Ark.: New Leaf Press (AR), 1991), 46.

[2c] Paradox Brown, A Modern Guide To Demons And Fallen Angels (Roswell NM: Seekye1 Publishing, 2008), 255.

[3] Kline, “Har Magedon,” 219.

[4] Heiser, Islam, 98-101.

[5]Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 141. [1 QM 15.2-3]

[6] Heiser, Islam, 102.

[7] Heiser, Islam, 100.

[8] Ralph H. Alexander, “Ezekiel” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 6: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 934.

[9] Brevard S. Childs “The Enemy From the North and the Chaos Tradition.” (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1959), 196

Armageddon OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain 4

Apollyon by Gbrush


There is an interesting parallel involved with the term Armageddon in that the phrase “in Hebrew” only appears in one other instance within the book of Revelation. According to Alan Johnson, “it is better to understand the term [Armageddon] symbolically in the same manner as ‘in Hebrew’ in Rev 9:11 alerts us to the symbolic significance of the name of the angel of the Abyss”[1]  This is the angel of the bottomless pit namely Abbadon in Hebrew or Apollyon in Greek. Thomas Horn reveals:

Abaddon is another name for Apollo (Rev. 9:11), identified historically as the king of demonic “locusts” (Revelation 9:1-11). This means among other things that Apollo is the end-times angel or “King of the Abyss” that opens the bottomless pit, out of which an army of transgenic locusts erupts upon earth. [1a]

According to Kline, the technique of juxtaposing a Greek and Hebrew term is called Hebraisti and was favored by John. It is also used four times in his Gospel, three of which are also place names (Jn. 5:2; 19:13, 17). Because the book of Revelation is full of symbols, word plays, juxtapositions and parallels, it is not too fanciful to postulate that the Holy Spirit was making a prophetic statement between these two Hebraisti.

The “Antipodal to the Abyss” argument offered by Kline further supports the “mount of Assembly” hypothesis.[2] This line of reasoning derives from the fact that both accounts juxtapose polar opposites in the cosmic scheme of things: the Mountain of God on one end and the pit of hell on the other. For example the Isaiah passage contrasts the ambition “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God…” (v.13) against “But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (v.15). Similarly, we find in the book of Revelation’s two Hebraisti: the divine mountain and the bottomless pit. This is a compelling correlation between the two accounts. Kline argues,

In short, then, we find that in Isaiah 14 and the book of Revelation there are matching antonymic pairings of har môcëd and har magedön with the pit of Hades. Within the framework of this parallelism the har môcëd of Isa 14:13 is the equivalent of the har magedön of Rev 16:16 and as such is to be understood as its proper derivation and explanation. Accordingly, har magedön signifies “Mount of Assembly/Gathering” and is a designation for the supernal realm. (Kline, 1996, 208)

The evidence is compelling that the term Armageddon speaks well past the gathering of earthly armies for war and to a deeper supernatural battle for the cosmic mountain of God.

The context of the assembling the armies by demonic spirits (Rev. 16:14) is practically a word play to the “mount of assembly.” Furthermore, the allusion to the taunt song in Isaiah 14:12- 15 creates astonishing parallels. The Hebrew phrase “הילל בן־שׁחר” (Helel Ben-Shachar) in verse 12, meaning “morning star, son of dawn” has been interpreted to be varying entities. Many scholars agree that this is related to Ugaritic mythology concerning Baal and Athtar.[3] While Isaiah could be simply borrowing from local mythology for an illustration, it seems as if the prophet sees through the King of Babylon to the wicked spiritual power behind him. The book of Daniel suggests that earthly kingdoms have cosmic overlords (Dan. 10:13; 20). A paradigm which fits nicely with the Beast of Revelation who is similarly empowered by the great red dragon identified as Satan (Rev. 12:9; 13:2).

In Ugaritic lore this usurper is argued to be Athtar, who was referred to as Venus (morning star), who seeks to displace Ba’al.[4] The ancient Near Eastern context strongly favors this as the original source material. Other scholars relate this passage to an ancient Babylonian or Hebrew star-myth similar to the Greek legend of Phaethon.[5]  Even so, one can imagine that in a cosmic sense all of these myths stem from a common event. There was an angelic rebellion. The New Testament is clear that Angels rebelled (Matt. 25:41; Rev 12:9) and the earth is currently under the power of a usurper (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Jn 5:19). While the King of Babylon could hardly hope to “ascend to heaven above the stars of God” it certainly speaks to his extreme hubris. C.S. Lewis famously said, “it was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”[6] Helel Ben-Shachar’s frustrated divine ambition harkens the account of a war in heaven in Revelation 12:7-17 where Satan is thrown to earth suggesting “the man who made the earth tremble…” (Isa. 14:16).

In fact, this taunt song is where the popular name for the devil, Lucifer, is derived from “morning star” as it is rendered in the Latin Vulgate.[7] During the intertestamental period, this account of the angels fall was associated with the morning star was subsequently associated explicitly with the name Satan, as seen the Second Book of Enoch (29:4; 31:4). The Qumran War Scroll describes this activity of Satan and his powers:

But Satan, the Angel of Malevolence, Thou hast created for the Pit; his [rule] is in Darkness and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and iniquity. All the spirits of his company, the Angels of Destruction, walk according to the precepts of Darkness; towards them is their [inclination].[8]

The association of Lucifer to Satan continued with the church fathers because he is represented as being “cast down from heaven” (Rev. 12:7–10; cf. Lk. 10:18).[9] This event likely took place at the cross when Jesus disarmed the powers (Col 2:15). Because Peter ascribes “morning star” to Christ (2 Pet 1:19) and the fact that it is also a title John uses for Jesus (Rev. 22:16), it has been suggested that this, “Lucifer,” could be pointing to the Antichrist’s parody of Jesus.[10] Accordingly, the prefix “Anti” means “instead of” as well as “against.”[11] Paul expounds on this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 writing he is the, “man of lawlessness, the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” Of course, that would likely be on Mount Zion, the cosmic mount of assembly, as well.

This is where my research paper for Dr Heiser left it but interestingly, just last week, my friend Peter Goodgame posted a commentary on Isaiah 9-14 where he came to a similar conclusion. Goodgame argues:

The name “Morning Star, Son of the Dawn” is Helel ben Shakar in Hebrew, or “Lucifer, Son of the Morning” in the KJV. If we view this person as the end-times Antichrist rather than Satan then it makes perfect sense. He is taunted by Israel after his final attempt to rule over the nations comes to an end.[12]

Recalling Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, the King of Babylon is a well-known prophetic type of the Antichrist. Considering that the Isaiah taunt song was originally directed at the King of Babylon, a man, this seems likely. Please follow the footnote to read Peter’s thoughts. Even more, I also have been corresponding with Tom Horn, who wrote me just  week or so ago about the spirit who rises from the Abyss. In his book Apollyon Rising, Horn points out that the Antichrist as a man is indwelt by the spirit Apollyon which rises from the abyss (Rev 9:11). This brings a remarkable conjunction in world mythologies:

In view of these texts, we recall how Zeus—the Greek identity for the father of Apollo—was acknowledged as ‘Satan’ in Rev. 2:12-13. The fallen angel ‘Apollo’ who unlocks the bottomless pit and unleashes the thunderous hoards of Great Tribulation locusts is therefore none other than the son of Satan and the spirit that will inhabit Antichrist.[13]

Indeed, there is a convergence of mythologies and prophecies pointing to the same event. It seems that the Isaiah taunt song is speaking on multiple levels. First, Isaiah directed it overtly to the King of Babylon, on another level it was a polemic against the neighboring Ugaritic pantheon which was also hinting at the primordial fall of the biblical Satan, and even more intriguing it is a prophecy of a demonically possessed man, who as a “morning star” will come in battle against Israel in the last days and then claim to be God on the divine mountain.  That battle is Harmageddon.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed,

saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.

Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,

“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

(Ps 2:1–6)

….to be continued with part 5: The Battle

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[1] Johnson, “Revelation”, 551.

[1a] Thomas Horn, Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (Crane, MS: Defender, 2009), 140.

[2] Kline, “Har Magedon,” 208.

[3] Michael S. Heiser, “The Mythological Provenance of Is. XVIV 12-15: A Reconsideration of the Ugaritic Material.” Vestus Testamentum LI,3,( 2001): 356-357.

[4] Heiser, “The Mythological,” 356-357.

[5] Kaufmann Kohler, “Lucifer,” (accessed March 5 20011).

[6] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: Harper Collins. 2001), 122.

[7]G. J. Riley. “Devil.” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2nd extensively rev. ed. K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter Willem van der Horst (Leiden; Boston; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 246.

[8] Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Revised and extended 4th ed. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 139.

[9] Tertullian, Contra Marcionem,  11, 17.

[10]M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1989), 177.

[11] L. J. Lietaert Peerbolte, “Antichrist” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible , 62.

[12] Peter Goodgame, The Giza Discovery: Pete’s Commentary on Isaiah 9-14, (accessed 08/31/2011).

[13] Thomas Horn, Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (Crane, MS: Defender, 2009), 142.

Armageddon OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain 3


First, I would like to offer a quick word about the use of the term myth or mythology.  In popular usage the term has come to mean a story which is necessarily false but that is not the way scholars often use the term. For instance the Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies defines myth as, “A story, usually relating the actions of supernatural beings, that serves to explain why the world is as it is and to establish the rationale for the rules by which people live in a given society. In classical Greek, myths were simply stories or plots, whether true or false;” In other words, please do not read into my use of “myth” that I  think the events described have no historical basis. It is my thesis here that the mythologies referenced by the prophets do have a real space time point of reference to actual events whether earthly or cosmic. With that being said, the “mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north” (Is 14:13) was originally a mythological meeting place for the pagan gods and corresponds to Mount Zaphon in Ugaritic (Canaanite) texts. These texts describe Mount Zaphon as Baal’s “holy mountain”, “beautiful hill” and “mighty mountain.”[1] According to John Walton:

Saphon/Zaphon  is identified with a mountain, Jebel al-ʿAqra, or Casius in classical sources (deriving from the Hittite Chazzi), which lies north of Ugarit. It is considered holy because it is capped by Baal’s palace in the Baal Epic and is also the site of his burial. (Walton 2009b, 73)

Isaiah was drawing on imagery from Baal-Athtar mythology to make a point about the king of Babylon as well as a divine usurper we know as Satan. It may seem odd that Isaiah would reference a Canaanite holy mountain, yet the Hebrew prophets were famous for juxtaposing Yahweh against the Canaanite deities. For instance, the biblical account of Elijah pronouncing a drought on the land was an assault on Baal as fertility god (1 Kings 17:1). His subsequent showdown with the prophets of Baal was a further demonstration of their god’s impotence (1 Kings 18:38). In the same way, the prophets appropriate the property of a foreign god to assert Yahweh’s superiority.

Jerusalem was located at a higher elevation than much of the surrounding region. The temple was on a conspicuous summit in Jerusalem, his holy hill Mount Zion (Ps. 2:6; 99:2, 9). Psalm 48 is an explicit example of the connection to Zaphon “…His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.” (Ps 48:1b-2) This “far north” reference connects to the Isaiah taunt song. Heiser notes that,

Yahweh’s sanctuary is on a mountain, Mount Zion (Ps 48:1-2) which is located in the “heights of the north (saphon),” or on a “very high mountain” (Ezek 40:2). Zion is the “mount of assembly” again located in the “heights of the north (saphon),” (Isa 14:13).  (Heiser 2004, 42)

It is important to note that it is described as “in the far north” yet Jerusalem is hardly the extreme geographic north. There is something much bigger going on. The ancient Near Eastern cosmology was a tripartite conception in which the abode of the gods was “the heights of the north.” Thus, the cosmic north is being alluded to designating the divine mount Zion.[2]

Yahweh was associated with a holy mountain from the very beginning in Eden.[3] Ezekiel 28:13-16 equates the garden of God with the mountain of God. Then during in the interim he relocated to Mount Horeb or Sinai (Ex. 3:1). The assembly or mô∙ʿēḏ terminology alludes to the “tent of meeting” which served temporarily and then later the temple proper in Jerusalem on Mount Zion is associated with the mô∙ʿēḏ terminology (Ps.74:4; Lam. 2:6). [4] According to Ezekiel, Yahweh vacated the mountain prior to the temples destruction by the Babylonians (Eze. 10:18).  Lamentations 5:16 describes Mount Zion as utterly desolate. Jesus was the fulfillment of Yahweh’s return for the second temple period. However, the second temple was also destroyed. Still yet, the Shekinah is promised to return to a new temple in the end time after the nation has repented and been cleansed (Eze 43:1-9). It will be argued that this corresponds to what we know about Armageddon and the Day of the Lord.

It seems likely that Armageddon refers to the end time battle for Yahweh’s holy mountain. Mounce comments, “Still others interpret the term in reference to some ancient myth in which an army of demons assault the holy mountain of the gods.”[5] And indeed various texts support the idea that this will be a war with divine, demonic and earthly soldiers. Zechariah describes the Lord returning with his “holy ones” likely angel warriors (Zech. 14:5). Other Old Testament passages also support the idea (Is. 13:16; 24:1-21; Joel 3:9-12). The book of Revelation describes the involvement of demonic hordes (Rev. 16:14) and armies from heaven dressed in white linen which accompany the Lord (Rev. 19:14). Finally, the Dead Sea Scrolls also support this future event. Heiser argues, “The conflict described in the War Scroll involves both men and heavenly beings fighting side-by-side and against one another.”[6]  Accordingly, it seems appropriate to believe that just as Jesus leads an army, the Antichrist or Beast is Satan’s incarnate general.


For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head.
For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
and shall be as though they had never been.
Obadiah 15-16
….to be continued with part 4: The Divine Usurper

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[1]John H Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament) Volume 5: The Minor Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 362.

[2] H. Niehr, “Zaphon” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible DDD, 2nd extensively rev. ed. K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter Willem van der Horst (Leiden; Boston; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 927.

[3] Michael S. Heiser, “The Divine Council in Late Cannonical and Non-Cannonical Second Temple Jewish Literature,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004), 43.

[4] Torrey, “Armageddon,” 246.

[5] Mounce, The Book of Revelation, 301.

[6] Michael S. Heiser, Islam and Armageddon, (Self-published book, 2002):111.



Armageddon OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain 2


“And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” (NRSV)

This may come as a shock to many of you but a principle tenet of this treatment is that Armageddon has nothing to do with the valley of Megiddo. Bear with me, I realize this might challenge some long held prophetic scenarios but it is actually more coherent with scripture. It involves some technical discussion of original languages but the end result is worth the trouble. The cryptic passage in question reads “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Re 16:16)  Remember that the book of Revelation was composed in Greek. The term in Greek, Ἃρ Μαγεδών, is problematic in that it is a transliteration of a Hebrew term yet we find no immediate Old Testament analog. The rough breathing mark before the vowel is an ‘h’ sound. Thus, it is better represented in English as Har Magedon. In fact, the NRSV translation reads “…that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” Torrey argued that the division into two words is required by the Semitic trilateral root structure. The former word Ἃρ or “Har” means “mountain”, הַר  in Hebrew.[1] Accordingly, the remainder is Μαγεδών but the last two letters ‘ών’ are merely a suffix for a place name.[2] Hence, all that remains is a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew word for a mountain which was written as Μαγεδ.

Many respected dispensational scholars (Missler; Pentecost; Walvoord; Fruchtenbaum) identify Armageddon with the area of the Galilean city of Megiddo and believe that a literal military battle will be fought in that area. For instance the respected Messianic scholar, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, argues:

Megiddo was a strategic city located at the western end of the Valley of Jezreel, guarding the famous Megiddo Pass into Israel’s largest valley. One can see the entire Valley of Jezreel from the mount upon which the city of Megiddo stood. So what is known as the Valley of Armageddon in Christian circles is actually the biblical Valley of Jezreel. The term Armageddon is never applied to the valley itself, but only to the mount at the western end.[3]

This sounds convincing at first. Yet, the western end of the Jezreel valley consists of Mount Tabor and Mount Gilboa. It is flanked on the south by Mount Carmel. “Mount Megiddo” appears to have been posthumously entitled to fit the interpretation. The thing that sticks out in his comment is “in Christian circles.” Apparently this idea became widely accepted in dispensational scholarship since it appeared in the New Scofield Reference Bible notes for Judges 5:19 and Revelation 16:16.[4]  Don’t get me wrong, I hold a dispensational view. But the difficulty is that there are no scholarly sources that corroborate this naming convention prior to modern dispensationalism. Of course, this view has now become a meme through the bestselling LaHaye and Jenkins Left Behind book series. The idea behind the traditional “Megiddo” rendering is that the Greek appears as if it could be a possible transliteration for מְגִדֹּו (meḡid∙dô), and that it was the site of some important battles in Israelite history (Josh 12:21; Judg 5:19, 2 Kings 9:27, 23:29-30).[5]  However, the problems demonstrably outweigh the advantages.

The ten thousand pound elephant in the room is that there simply is no such place as Mount Megiddo. In the Bible, Megiddo is twice represented as “the plain of Megiddo” (Zech 12:11; 2 Chron. 35:22). The only mountains near it have their own well established names. In truth, during the Apostle John’s day the only actual hill at Megiddo was a measly seventy foot high artificial mound known as a ‘tell’ in archeology.[6] Furthermore, by using Google earth for geographic investigation, one can see that the town of Megiddo is a full 54 miles in a straight line from the Mount of Olives where the Lord defeats the armies in Zechariah 14. Thus a rendering of Megiddo makes the Day of the Lord passages centering on Jerusalem unrealistically distant. In contrast, the Mount of Olives where the Lord lands with his army is a mere one third mile from Mount Zion. Because of the geography and the fact that the text specifies a mountain, the Megiddo plain or Jezreel valley is not a viable option. We now explore the more plausible alternatives which have been suggested for a reverse Hebrew rendering of the Greek Μαγεδ.

The reference is cryptic and has long evaded unambiguous definition. In effect, scholars must now attempt to reverse transliterate from Greek back to Hebrew. The early commentators Origen, Eusebius and Jerome did not even think Armageddon was the name of an actual place.[7]  R.H. Charles ventured,” it is possible that Ἅρ Μαγεδών may be a corruption either for הַר מִגְדּוֹ = ‘his fruitful mountain.’”[8] This connects it to Jerusalem and coheres nicely to Old Testament “Day of the Lord” texts. Another suggestion is that the Hebrew gādad, (a marauding band, troop)[9] appended to har (“mountain”) would mean “marauding mountain” and would perhaps allude to Jeremiah’s “destroying mountain” (Jer 51:25).[10] Another similar idea suggested by Johnson stems from the secondary sense of the Hebrew gādad that means “to gather in troops or bands” because one can make a noun form a verb in Hebrew by adding the prefix ‘ma’ rendering magēd, “a place of gathering in troops,”[11] which coheres nicely with the context of Revelation 16. While these all seem plausible, in seeming frustration, Robert Mounce surmises:

Wherever it takes place, Armageddon is symbolic of the final overthrow of all the forces of evil by the might and power of God. The great conflict between God and Satan, Christ and Antichrist, good and evil, that lies behind the perplexing course of history will in the end issue in a final struggle in which God will emerge victorious and take with him all who have placed their faith in him. This is Har-Magedon. [12]

While this is surely correct, God has given us this strange name for some purpose albeit enigmatic. Still yet, there is a solution which offers more explanatory scope than the above.

Biblical scholar Charles C. Torrey proposed a solution based on Hebrew mythology back in 1938 which is gaining wider acceptance. Torrey refers to an article in the Hastings Dictionary of the Bible that posited an alternate rendering by Hommel. As far back as the nineteenth century German scholars had made a connection to Isaiah 14:13 but ancient Near Eastern scholarship was still in its infancy. He pointed out that interpreters lacking an intimate knowledge of both Hebrew and Greek miss that the Greek letter gamma, ‘γ’ in Μαγεδών or the ‘g’ in Megiddo can represent the Hebrew consonant ayin, ע.  In other words, New Testament interpreters  think only “Megiddo” being unaware of the possibility that John was Hellenizing as well as transliterating. Accordingly, Torrey postulated מֹועֵד (mô∙ʿēḏ) which infers the “Mount of Assembly” mentioned in Isaiah 14:13. The increasing consensus amongst modern scholars suggests that this view has much to commend it. Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages scholar Michael Heiser argues:

The Hebrew letter ע. מֹועֵד (mô∙ʿēḏ) is transliterated with the sign (ʿ ) because the English alphabet does not have this sound or letter in its alphabet. Neither does Greek, and the Greeks used “g” to denote its sound. Hence “Gomorrah” in English letters is spelled עֲמֹרָה in Hebrew. Therefore there is every reason to suspect that “Armageddon” does in fact mean har mô∙ʿēḏ / “Mount of Assembly.”[14]

Thus, we have an actual mountain referenced in the Hebrew Bible which matches John’s transliteration. American theologian and Old Testament scholar Meredith  Kline concurs stating “Representation of the consonant cayin by Greek gamma is well attested. Also, in Hebrew -on is an affirmative to nouns, including place names.”[15] This rendering was also suggested by Mathias Rissi in his Revelation study Time and History published in 1966.[16]  Because of its scholarly support and convincing explanatory scope the “mount of assembly” rendering is the focus of this presentation.

You said in your heart,
I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
Isaiah 14:13-15.


….to be continued with part 3: The Cosmic Mountain

[1] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[2] Meredith Kline, “Har Magedon: The End of the Millennium.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39, 2.I (1996): 208.

[3]Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, Rev. ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 311.

[4] Alan F. Johnson, “Revelation” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews Through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 551.

[5]Johnson, “Revelation,” 551.

[6]Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 301.

[7] Torrey, “Armageddon,” 238.

[8]R.H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John (Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920), 2:50.

[9]R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 150.

[10]Johnson, “Revelation,” 552.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Mounce  Revelation, 302.

[13] Torrey, “Armageddon,” 245.

[14] Michael Heiser, Islam and Armageddon. Self-published book, 2002, 101.

[15] Kline, “Har Magedon,” 208.

[16] Mathias Rissi, Time and History (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1966), 84–85.