Revelation 16: 13-16
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
It’s generally thought that the battle of Armageddon will be fought in the Middle East in the Plains of Megiddo. Popular books and movies depicting this battle have the armies of the world converging there to fight the battle.
But the size of the area doesn’t allow for this scenario to take place. The world’s armies couldn’t possibly fit in such a small locale. Furthermore, battles aren’t fought like that anymore. In today’s time, bombs fly through the air by remote control from thousands of miles away.
A different picture altogether emerges when the above scriptural passage is dissected.
Who’s in Charge?
On one side of the battle, the leaders are the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. On the other side is God Almighty.
Where is the Battle Fought?
Spirits of demons sent forth by the dragon, beast and false prophet create various spiritual manifestations in order to deceive. Additionally, these spirits speak false ideas and doctrines that are carried to and impressed upon the political leaders of the earth (Rev. 16: 14). In turn, the politicians wield their influence and power to affect the populace within their political realm.
In other words, the battle is worldwide. This is a battle for all of earth’s inhabitants. God is working to draw all to Him through Jesus (John 12: 32). Satan works to draw all through deception and coercion (Rev. 13: 13, 14).
In this battle, there aren’t any neutral bystanders. Jesus stated that people are either for Him or against Him. In the end, all on earth will take a stand on one side or the other. One group will be sealed by God; the other marked by the beast.
Scripture says all will be drawn to a place called Armageddon. I believe that the place of Armageddon, which means the mountain of Megiddo, is in the mind. It is there that who is to be worshiped is determined.
Nature of the Battle
Megiddo, a famous Jewish battlefield (Judges 5: 19; 2 kings 23: 29), was a city located in the northern part of Israel. It was located in a plain. It didn’t have a mountain. So the Mountain of Megiddo probably refers to the mountain closest to Megiddo: Mount Carmel, the site of the well-known conflict between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 kings 18: 20-40).
It appears that John uses the term Armageddon to symbolize the two sides having their own idea as to who God is. In the end, just as it was on Mount Carmel, the true God is identified. What Elijah proclaimed then is the same for the end-time battle of Armageddon: “If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18: 21).
The battle between Elijah and the priests of Baal had each side, in prayer, calling on its god to perform the same supernatural act. After Baal failed to do so (couldn’t because he wasn’t real), the true God revealed Himself by doing what was asked for.
The nature of that battle was spiritual. In the same way is the battle of Armageddon spiritual. After all, the battle is being waged by spiritual beings portrayed as the dragon; the beast; and the false prophet (Rev. 16: 13). They release spirits that speak spiritual deceits and that perform spiritual signs and wonders, all to convince the world to worship and follow the beast.
That the overriding issue of the battle is spiritual is irrefutable. For on the other side is Jesus’ gospel of salvation. To combat it, Satan’s ministers – appearing as ministers of righteousness, are able to sway many into believing another Jesus; another gospel; another spirit. Satan’s false teachers turn many from the gospel by spreading the inventions of many religions, including atheism, the occult, evolution, Catholicism, and apostate Protestantism; all of which make-up the end-time, world-wide religious system that Revelation calls Babylon.
When Does the Battle Take Place?
The four verses that lead off this article are written between the sixth and seventh plagues of God’s wrath. However, like other parts of the book of Revelation, the verses’ placement don’t appear to be in chronological order. This is evidenced by the fact that all of the seven plagues poured out upon the earth constitute the great tribulation period.
The Great Tribulation period begins after the close of probation. In other words, Christ has finished His ministry as our High Priest and mediator in the heavenly sanctuary. The proclamation of the end of that role is in these words: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev. 22: 11.
At that point, the seven angels receive their bowls of the plagues. The heavenly temple is filled with smoke, and no one is able to enter into the temple. This is because the fate of all is determined. Everyone has made a choice for or against Christ. All who would accept salvation have done so; all who have not, never will.
The plagues are then poured out, only affecting the unsaved. The saved are preserved through the tribulation by God’s sealing (Ps. 91: 7). Then Jesus returns to take them to heaven.
The period of the verses (Rev. 16: 13-16)) pertain to the time before probation ends, a time in which minds have decided and are still deciding which side to choose. So in a sense, that means Armageddon is taking place right now! Jesus’ appeal to His people to be ready and not be deceived, for He is coming as a thief (meaning unexpectedly), is in connection with the final battle of Armageddon. His return is the climax of the battle of Armageddon. The actual battle is described in Rev. 16: 17 – 19: 21.
The battle of Armageddon is a spiritual battle taking place in the minds of all around the world. It is the end-time issue of who is to be worshiped — God or Satan. It is a quickened, escalated, and climatic fight that determines the two end-time groups. The results, before the return of the Lord, will lead to one group being sealed by God; the other being marked by Satan.