ARMAGEDDON (Revelation 16:16)
by Charles S. Meek
The word “Armageddon” is a compound word (“Har-Megiddo”) that means the hill (or mountain) of Megiddo. Armageddon is mentioned only in Revelation, but Megiddo (sometimes described as a plain or valley) is mentioned 12 times in the Old Testament. Megiddo is about 66 miles north of Jerusalem. It was the scene of important battles in Jewish history. So much blood was shed there that Megiddo became a symbol for war, slaughter, and destruction― similar to the modern use of the term “Waterloo.”
Armageddon could be a symbol for Jerusalem, which sits on a hill in the region, and was the scene of the horrible destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans in AD 70. It has also been noted that Megiddo was the region that the Roman army under Titus assembled in AD 67 prior to the final siege of Jerusalem. The conclusion that Armageddon was God’s judgment upon Old Covenant Israel/Jerusalem makes sense in the context of Revelation.
Let’s explore this. In Revelation, Armageddon is applied to God’s judgmental wrath upon the harlot “Babylon” (Revelation 16-19).
WHO IS THIS BABYLON of Revelation? Scholars agree that the major theme of Revelation is the judgment upon “Babylon,” but disagree on what Babylon represents.
BEST ANSWER: Revelation is filled with symbolism and allegory. Babylon was an historic enemy of God’s people, and it is used symbolically in Revelation to represent Old Covenant Israel/Jerusalem who had become unfaithful.
Can we be sure of this? I believe we can! Let’s use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Follow me on this:
- God’s wrathful judgment, promised in Revelation 6:16-17 and 16:1, would come against “the GREAT CITY BABYLON” (Revelation 18:9, 21-24).
- The “Great City” is clearly identified elsewhere as the “CITY WHERE THE LORD WAS CRUCIFIED” (Revelation 11:8)! This unambiguously confirms that Babylon was Jerusalem.
- Babylon is described as a harlot (Revelation 17:1, 5, 15; 19:2). Whenever Israel was unfaithful in the Old Testament, she is described as a harlot (Deuteronomy 31:16-18; Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; 3:6-9; Ezekiel 6:8-9; 16:15, 26, 28; Hosea 1:2; 6:10; 9:1). So that also identifies Babylon as Old Covenant Israel, Jerusalem being its center.
- Just as God judged nations in the Old Testament by sending opposing armies to execute his justice, God sent the Roman army to judge apostate Israel/Jerusalem in AD 70 (Matthew 3:7-12; 23:29-24:2, 34; Luke 21:20-24, 32; etc.).
- The Armageddon Judgment was against Old Covenant Israel/Jerusalem. It is not about the end of the world, or about a generic “evil vs. good.” It was fulfilled in finality in AD 70. But there is more proof:
WHAT ARE THE 7 JUDGMENTS of Revelation?
ANSWER: Revelation 16 is in the context of the Seven Judgments (“bowls”)―Revelation 6, 8, 11, 16. Notice that there are 4 sets of 7 judgments. This is likely a reflection of Leviticus 26:14-33, where there are 4 sets of 7 judgments which God would levy against the Israelites if they disobeyed. The number 7 is often used in the Bible for completion. The Revelation judgment was extracted against Old Covenant Israel in AD 70, ending once for all the Judaistic system of the Old Covenant.
WHAT IS THE TIE WITH THE book of Zechariah?
Megiddo is mentioned in Zechariah 12:11 in the context of a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem in Zechariah’s future (Zechariah 12:2, 11: 14:2, 11). Revelation 16:16 fulfills the Megiddo prophecy in Zechariah about the destruction of Jerusalem. Zechariah, written about 520-518 BC during the restoration back to Judah, is undeniably about the future fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Zechariah 12:2, 11; 14:2, 11)―not about judgments in Zechariah’s past. AD 70 fulfills God’s wrath upon apostate Old Covenant Israel―as promised by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7-12) and Jesus (Matthew 16:27-28; 23:29-24:2; etc.).
AD 70 was indeed Armageddon for the Jewish nation. According to Josephus, 1.1 million Jews were killed. Some 97,000 more were sent into slavery. The temple was reduced to rubble and along with it the demise of the sacrificial system of Judaism. The priesthood ended forever. While Judaism survives to the present day, AD 70 marked the end of biblical Israel in her last days, as foretold all through the Old Testament, beginning in Deuteronomy 28-32.
There is much more supporting evidence! See my article about the Harlot Babylon for more detail: