The Eight Stage Campaign of Armageddon

    According to the Bible, great armies from the west and the east will gather and assemble on this plain in the Valley of Armageddon. As the antichrist and his armies approach Jerusalem, God will intervene and Jesus Christ will return to rescue His people Isra'el. The LORD and His angelic army will destroy the armies, capture the antichrist and the false prophet, and throw them alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 19:20).

    In a sense, Armageddon is a battle that never really takes place. That is, it does not take place in accordance with its original human intent. Its human purpose is to gather the armies of the world to execute the antichrist’s “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.” This is why Yeshua Messiah chooses this moment in history for His return to earth, to thwart the antichrist’s attempted annihilation of the Jews and to destroy the armies of the world. It seems only fitting, in light of mankind’s bloody legacy, that the return of Christ should be precipitated by a worldwide military conflict against Israel. Thus, history is moving toward Armageddon.252 Here, then, are the eight stages of this coming Campaign of Armageddon gleaned from Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s landmark book, The Footsteps of the Messiah.253

    1. The Gathering of the Armies of the Antichrist: This stage will begin with the sixth bowl of judgment recorded in Revelation 16:12-16. With the outpouring of that bowl, the Euphrates River will be dried up. This drying process will be for the purpose of making it easier for the antichrist to assemble his forces for the Armageddon Campaign. The word Armageddon is a combination of two Hebrew words that mean, the mountain of Megiddo. The city of Megiddo was strategically located on the western end of the Valley of Jezreel (Joshua 17:16). The Bible nowhere refers to this valley as the Valley of Armageddon. Therefore, what is known as the Valley of Armageddon for many believers is actually the Biblical Valley of Jezreel. No fighting takes place there. Here the armies of the world will gather for the purpose of destroying all the Jews still living at that time. This will be the program of the counterfeit trinity, but they will unwittingly accomplish the purpose of the triune God.

   2. The Destruction of Babylon: Today Babylon is in ruins. But one day it will be rebuilt and become the political, economic, and religious capital of the world (Zechariah 5:5-11). With the armies of the antichrist out of Babylon, the sheep Gentiles of the Tribulation (see my commentary on Revelation Fc – The Sheep and the Goats) take the opportunity to destroy his capital city. Although there are many more, we will limit ourselves to several important passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah regarding the destruction of Babylon.

    The prophecies of Chapters 13 and 14, and of Jeremiah 50 and 51 regarding the destruction of Babylon have never been fulfilled in the manner required by the Bible. The Babylon of past history died out slowly and was inhabited again in other generations. But the Babylon of the Great Tribulation will suffer sudden destruction. The means of destruction is explained in 13:1-5. Isaiah saw the gathering of many people in his prophecy against Babylon. The first stage saw the gathering of the forces loyal to the antichrist and Babylon; however, the second stage will see the gathering of those who wish to destroy Babylon. The details of this destruction are given in 13:6 to 14:23. It is extremely important to realize that Babylon has never been destroyed in the manner described by in the Bible. For example, the context of 13:6-22 clearly puts the destruction of Babylon during the time of the Great Tribulation. In addition, Babylon’s destruction is connected with the final redemption of Israel in 14:1-2. Babylon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah in that it will be uninhabitable for any human (13:19-22). In fact, unlike other nations, Babylon will have no surviving remnant.

    Jeremiah 50 and 51 also give clear details regarding the destruction of Babylon. Jeremiah 50:9-10 tells of a gathering army and then in 11-16, the graphic destruction of Babylon. Once again, this annihilation is so final that Babylon will be uninhabitable for any human. According to Jeremiah 50:39-40, it will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Once again in Jeremiah 50:41-42, the prophet speaks of gathering many people against Babylon and the chapter ends in verses 45-46 with God’s decree against Babylon and the Gentile nations’ distress over the destruction of their world capital. An even more detailed description of the fall of Babylon occurs in Jeremiah 51. Babylon’s negative influence on other nations will cause ADONAI to judge her according to Jeremiah 51:7-9, and judgment will be especially severe due to Babylon’s persecution of the people of Israel. Because Babylon led the world to ruin, the LORD will now ruin her (Jer 51:25-26). This will bring about rejoicing from the faithful remnant and will be viewed as God’s vengeance against Babylon for her abuse of the Jews in Jeremiah 51:48-49. Jeremiah’s destruction of Babylon closes with a summary of the obliteration of Babylon.

    There are two indications, both in Jeremiah, that the antichrist will not be present in Babylon when it is destroyed (Jeremiah 50:43 and 51:32). The very fact that he will have to be told that Babylon is destroyed, points to the conclusion that he will not be there when it falls. Otherwise, he would not need to be told. Then, where is he? While he was gathering with the armies of the world in the Valley of Jezreel, his enemies took the opportunity to destroy his capital city.

    Before Babylon is destroyed, ADONAI will give five warnings to the Jews still living in Babylon to flee the city before it is too late. All the warnings are in the book of Jeremiah. The first is in Jeremiah 50:6-8, and the second is in Jeremiah 50:28. Those Jews who escape from Babylon will run away to Bozrah. The destruction of Babylon will be God’s vengeance on Babylon for their abuse of His people and His Temple. As the fugitives and refugees arrive from Babylon, they announce the destruction to the Jews living there (Jeremiah 50:10 and Jeremiah 51:45). These are the third and fourth warnings. The fifth and last warning is Jeremiah 51:50. Therefore, the Jews living in Babylon will be given warning to flee. They will fervently make their way to Bozrah.

    The unexpected devastation of the world’s political, economic, and religious capital of the world will cause great anguish on the earth, but not in heaven (Revelation 18:9-24). For when Babylon is destroyed, it means that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close at hand, and along with it, the regeneration and restoration of Israel.

   3. The Fall of Jerusalem: Although his entire army is intact when he receives the news that Babylon has fallen, the antichrist does not move east to demolish his enemies. At this point Satan controls him, and he is fixated on the annihilation of the Jews; the final solution that Hitler was unable to accomplish. So, instead of moving east, the antichrist and his army move south against Jerusalem from the Valley of Jezreel (Zechariah 12:2-3, 14:1-2). All the armies of the world will converge against the Jews in Jerusalem. Once again the City will fall into the hands of Gentiles. Half of the Jews will be made slaves and the other half will remain in the city to await their fate (Zechariah 14:2-4).

    Because the LORD will greatly energize the Jews, the antichrist and his army will not have an easy time of it. They will suffer heavy losses. God will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves (Zechariah 12:3). The temporary empowerment of the Jews is described in Zechariah 12:4-9 and the battle is further described in Micah 4:11-5:1. Although the Jewish forces prove very formidable, the antichrist, his army, and the armies of the world prevail. After their victory, his soldiers will ransack the houses and rape the women of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). With this, the third stage ends.

   4. The Armies of the Antichrist Descend on Bozrah: The main concentration of Jews will be in Bozrah, in the land of Edom, in what today is Jordan. Satan continues to control the antichrist and as far as he is concerned, the main objective of the Campaign of Armageddon is to eradicate the Jews; the armies of the world move from Jerusalem to Bozrah as recorded in Jeremiah 49:13-14. “I swear by Myself,” declares the LORD, “that Bozrah will become a ruin and an object of horror, of reproach and of cursing; and all its towns will be in ruins forever.” I have heard a message from ADONAI: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Assemble yourselves to attack it! Rise up for battle!” So the nations of the world gather at Bozrah to destroy the remnant of Israel that will be gathered there (Micah 2:12). With the completion of the fourth stage, the last three days of the Campaign of Armageddon and the Great Tribulation will begin.

   5. The Regeneration of Isra'el: Because of the rejection of the messiahship of Jesus Christ by the nation of Israel, there is a condition that must be met before Messiah will return to establish His kingdom. The Jews and the Jewish leaders must ask Him to come back. There must be a national regeneration and acceptance of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. For this to happen, two conditions must be met. First, there must be a confession of Israel’s national sin (Leviticus 26:40-42; Isaiah 53:1-9; Jeremiah 3:11-18; Hosea 5:15), and secondly, a pleading for the Messiah to return (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 23:37-39).

    First, there must be a confession of Israel’s national sin. With the armies of the antichrist surrounding the city of Bozrah, the Campaign of Armageddon will begin its last three days according to Hosea the prophet: Come, and let us return to the LORD; He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun arises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth (Hosea 6:1-3). It is at that time that the leaders of Israel will finally recognize the reason why the Great Tribulation had come upon them. Whether this will be done by the study of the Scriptures, or by the preaching of the 144,000 (Revelation 7:1-8), or by the two witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13) is not clearly stated. In reality, it will probably be a combination of these things. But the leaders will come to a realization of the national sin in some way. Just as the Jewish leaders once led the nation to the rejection of the messiahship of Jesus, they will then lead the nation to the acceptance of His messiahship by issuing the call of Hosea 6:1-3. The national confession of Israel is given with its actual words in Psalm 79 and 80; Isaiah 53:1-9, 63:7 to 64:12.

    The second facet leading to the Second Coming is the pleading of Israel for the Messiah to return and save them from their predicament of having the world’s armies, intent on their destruction, gathered outside of Bozrah. The pleading of the Jews for their Messiah to save them is described in Zechariah 12:10 to 13:1. This pleading will not be confined to the Jews of Bozrah but will include the Jews still in Jerusalem. It will begin with the confession of the national sin, and then they will plead for His return to save them from their plight. They plead for the One they have pierced. This will be the result of the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32). Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, and here the nation of Israel will be regenerated, creating some dramatic manifestations in their midst (Joel 2:28-29). This will be accompanied by wonders in the heavens as well (Joel 2:30-32). The result of all this is that the Jews of Jerusalem will be delivered and escape as well as the remnant of Bozrah (Isaiah 64:1-12; Psalm 79:1-13; Psalm 80:1-19). In conclusion, during the fifth stage, Israel, as a nation, will be regenerated and saved after two days of national confession of sin. On the third day (Hosea 6:1-3) they will plead for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

   6. The Second Coming of Christ to Bozrah: Yeshua will return at the Jewish request for Him to do so. The initial place of His return will not be the Mount of Olives as is traditionally thought, but the place known as Bozrah (Isaiah 34:1-7, 63:1-6; Habakkuk 3:3; Micah 2:12-13). Zechariah declares that: ADONAI will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah (Zec 12:7). With His return to the remnant of Israel at Bozrah, Jesus will indeed save the tents of Judah first before saving the Jews of Jerusalem. The term tents points to temporary dwelling places rather than permanent housing. The fact that Judah is living in tents shows that her home is temporarily elsewhere. The elsewhere is Bozrah. Revelation 19:11-16 describes the manner of His return.

   7. The End of the Fighting at the Valley of Jehosaphat: Today the world is uncomfortable with Jesus Christ being a righteous warrior. That is why Christmas is more popular than Easter. At Christmas we see a little helpless baby in a manger, but at Easter we are forced to look at the God-man dying for our sins. Before the fall of Jericho, Joshua had an encounter with a theophany, or the preincarnate Jesus Christ. Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of Him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua went up to Him and asked, “Are you for us or our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied, “but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked Him, “What message does my lord have for His servant. The Commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15). The fact is that Jesus is the Commander of the army of the LORD. He had the Israelites walk around Jericho seven times, while ADONAI fought the battle alone. The same will be true when the Arm of the LORD (51:9, 52:10, 53:1 and 59:1), Jesus Christ Himself, will defeat the armies of the world alone.

    Revelation 19:17-20 deals with Christ as the righteous warrior, for we see Him defeating Satan’s armies in what is often called “the Battle of Armageddon,” but in reality is the War of the Great Day of the LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (Revelation 16:14 CJB). Armageddon means Mount of Slaughter. This war will take place in a single day, and the battle of Armageddon will be just one of the battles of that war. Actually, this war will encompass more than just the Valley of Megiddo (Jezreel), but as we shall see, it will cover practically all of the land of Palestine. The battle starts at Bozrah and will continue all the way back to the eastern walls of Jerusalem which overlook the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

    Among the very first casualties of the battle will be the antichrist himself. Having ruled the world with great power and spoken against the true Son of God, the counterfeit son will be powerless before Christ (Habakkuk 3:13b). The ease with which Messiah will slay the antichrist is described by Paul in Second Thessalonians 2:8, And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The one who has claimed to be God, the one who has been able to perform all kinds of miracles, signs and wonders, the one who exercised all authority of Satan as he ruled the world, will be quickly dispensed with by the word of the righteous warrior. The arrival of the antichrist into hell is described in 14:3-11. And later Isaiah describes the fate of his dead body on the earth in 14:16-21. The antichrist and the false prophet will spend a thousand years in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14-15) together before the end of the Millennium. The unsaved that die prior to this time are cast into Hades, a place of torment, but not into the lake of fire, which is reserved for those who have rejected Jesus Christ. The rest of the wicked dead will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (see my commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment) and follow the antichrist, the false prophet, and Satan into this eternal torment.

    After the death of the antichrist, the slaughter of his army will continue. The Commander of the LORD’s army will continue marching through the Land in indignation, as if treading the winepress of His wrath, causing blood to be sprinkled on His garments. Zechariah 14:12-15 describes the manner in which this massive army will be destroyed. This carnage will continue all the way back to Jerusalem, coming to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat as Joel 3:12-13 states. The nations that have gathered against the Jews (Joel 3:9-11) will now find themselves being slaughtered by the King of the Jews. The blood from this encounter with the living God will run about one mile wide and one hundred and eighty miles long, from the Valley of Jezreel in the north of Israel, to Bozrah in the south and will literally reach to the horses’ bridles (Revelation 14:20). A sea of humanity will become a sea of blood. It will practically cover the length of Israel, and when this battle comes to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, so does the seventh stage of the Campaign of Armageddon.

   8. The Victory Ascent Upon the Mount of Olives: After the actual fighting is completed, there will be a victory ascent upon the Mount of Olives described in Zechariah 14:3-4a. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. Here the Lord is seen fighting against the nations that had gathered against the Jews. It is only after the fighting that His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.

    Along with this victory ascent, a number of cataclysmic events will occur as the Great Tribulation comes to an end. These cataclysmic events will be a result of the seventh bowl of judgment described in Revelation 16:17-21, and the fact that Christ will physically place His feet upon the Mount of Olives. With the seventh bowl, a voice cries out: It is done (Revelation 16:17), because the seventh bowl brings the Great Tribulation to a definite end. This declaration will be followed by convulsions of nature including the greatest earthquake ever to occur in the history of the earth (Zechariah 14:4b-5). This will cause the city of Jerusalem to split into three divisions, while the city of Babylon will suffer the full wrath of God. Many geographical changes will take place and hail will fall weighing about 100 pounds each. Not only will Jerusalem be split in three divisions, but the Mount of Olives will be split into two parts creating a valley running east and west. This newly formed valley will provide a way of escape for the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem from the earthquake that will destroy the city. In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will be rescued following the deliverance of the Jews in Bozrah.

    Another cataclysmic event that will take place at this time is the blackout described in Matthew 24:29. The earthquake and the blackout are both described in Joel 3:14-17. All this will happen on the same day, the multitudes slaughtered in the Day of the LORD in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the blackout, and the earthquake. But a refuge will be provided for the Jews to escape, by means of the valley cutting through the Mount of Olives spoken of by Zechariah. With these cataclysmic events, the Great Tribulation and the Campaign of Armageddon will come to an end.


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