Armageddon has come to mean total destruction, shorthand for the end of the world. What does the Bible say about the armies that will gather at Armageddon?
The word Armageddon appears only once in the Bible, referring to a critical moment at the end of this age. Armageddon is the gathering place for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14, 16).
Interest in Armageddon is strong, and for good reason. Considering world events, it seems the fulfillment of this end-time prophecy is not far off (see “Where Are We Now in Bible Prophecy?”).
Armageddon comes from Hebrew words that mean hill or mountain of Megiddo, the scene of many battles about 80 miles (about 130 kilometers) north of Jerusalem by road.
Who will gather at Armageddon?
Armies from around the world will gather. Revelation 16:13-14 describes the involvement of evil spirits in gathering these armies:
“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. 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.”
The armies gathered at Armageddon will include:
- The beast’s army (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:19). The beast’s forces will primarily come from Europe.
- Kings from the east with vast armies (Revelation 16:12). This likely represents a conglomerate of Asian powers.
- All nations, including mighty men of war (Joel 3:9-11).
To understand why all the armies gather at Armageddon, we must understand how the end-time wars start. Many events are prophesied to occur in the years before the gathering at Armageddon.
Spirit forces of Armageddon
The armies gathering at Armageddon will be provoked by powerful spirit forces. The Bible tells us wicked spirits rule this age of darkness from high places (Ephesians 6:12).
In a way, the gathering at Armageddon is the culmination of old wars. For example, Daniel 11 describes the long-running conflict between the king of the North and the king of the South over hundreds of years and through different human leaders. The end-time king of the North is the one referred to as “the beast” in Revelation (see our article “Daniel 11: The Most Detailed Prophecy in the Bible”).
War starts in heaven
When war breaks out in heaven, Satan and his fallen angels will be defeated by Michael and his angels. Satan will be cast to the earth and will be extremely angry, knowing he has only a little time left as the ruler of the earth (Revelation 12:7-8, 12). The world will soon no longer be subject to fallen angels.
Satan will use signs and lying wonders to deceive humanity (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Ten leaders in Europe will suddenly unite for a brief time to give authority to the beast (see “Who Is the Beast?”). The world will marvel at the revived Holy Roman Empire. Adoration and praise will be given to the beast, as the darkest chapter in history begins, called the Great Tribulation.
The beast’s rule will last 42 months—3½ years—before the gathering at Armageddon (Revelation 13:5-7).
God’s rescue mission begins
God’s rescue plan will work to eventually separate man from the devil’s evil influences. For people to really understand that the evil Babylonian system does not work, mankind must come to the brink of extinction. Without God’s intervention, all human life would be lost (Matthew 24:21-22).
God is preparing to move heaven and earth to save humanity. Seven trumpets will unleash massive changes on earth to show humanity that we need God. The first three trumpets will start to take away elements needed for life. The fourth trumpet will bring partial darkness. (See “How 7 Trumpets of Revelation Will Affect Humanity.”)
Armies of the beast unleashed as the fifth trumpet sounds
The fifth trumpet will unlock the bottomless pit, releasing armies like locusts led by the fallen angel called Abaddon or Apollyon (Hebrew and Greek words meaning Destruction and Destroyer) (Revelation 9:1-11).
The torment they inflict will last five months.
Armies from the east unleashed as the sixth trumpet sounds
Then the sixth trumpet will unleash four angels bound at the Euphrates River (verses 14-17). They will prepare the way for a vast army of 200 million that will kill one-third of mankind.
For more information, see our article “China and Russia Forming an Alliance in the East.”
God clears the road to Armageddon
Despite the carnage, mankind will not turn to God. Man will continue to sin and worship false gods, including demons (verse 20).
The seventh trumpet blast will be followed by an announcement that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).
Rather than being happy, the deceived people of the earth will mourn.
Without God’s revelation and guidance, people will be influenced to fight God. Draw close to God and don’t fall for the deceptions.God’s wrath will continue to be unleashed with the seven last plagues. These include sores on the beast’s followers, the sea and fresh water being turned to blood, scorching heat and total darkness. Still men will refuse to repent and will blaspheme God (Revelation 16:11).
The sixth plague will dry the River Euphrates to prepare a way for the kings of the east to come to Armageddon.
Armageddon is about a nine-hour drive (835 kilometers, or 518 miles) from the Euphrates at Ramadi, Iraq. However, the Bible does not indicate where the Euphrates crossing will take place.
Where will the so-called battle of Armageddon take place?
Though the armies will gather at Armageddon, the climactic battle will actually be at Jerusalem.
The trumpet blast will be a call to war from God to all the nations (Joel 2:1; 3:9-12). A great multitude will travel south about a 1½-hour drive (132 kilometers, or 82 miles) from Armageddon to Jerusalem. The armies will enter the Valley of Decision (verse 14).
The Valley of Decision is between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. The valley is also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat or Kidron Valley (verse 12) on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Who will fight in the battle of that great day of God Almighty at Jerusalem?
The armies that had gathered at Armageddon—including kings, captains, mighty men and people, small and great—will fight at Jerusalem (Revelation 19:17-19).
Who else will fight at Jerusalem?
- Jesus Christ: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Zechariah 14:3; Revelation 19:11-19).
- Michael: the great angelic prince who watches over God’s people (Daniel 12:1).
- The armies of heaven: a powerful army of supernatural beings (Revelation 19:14).
- The resurrected saints (Psalm 149:5-9).
- The people of Judah will also fight at Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:14).
What happens in the battle?
All eyes will turn to the sky to witness the Son of Man returning in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). The Lord will come to fight the nations (Zechariah 14:3). Christ will descend from heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and land on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:9-11) with the resurrected saints (Matthew 24:31; Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Jude 1:14).
The flesh of the human armies of Armageddon will suddenly begin to dissolve while they stand on their feet, leaving a valley of corpses (Zechariah 14:12; Revelation 19:21).
The beast and false prophet will be captured and thrown “into the lake of fire burning with brimstone,” where they will be burned up (Revelation 19:20).
What can we learn from Armageddon?
Those who will come to Armageddon will be filled with a strong delusion and believe Satan’s lie. They will not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11) and instead will end up fighting God.
Those who resist God will become enemies of God. They will be destroyed by Almighty God at the end of this age.
Armageddon has captured the imagination of men, but have we learned the lessons of Armageddon? Included in the passage about Armageddon, there is a warning:
“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” (Revelation 16:15).
Without God’s revelation and guidance, people will be influenced to fight God. Draw close to God and don’t fall for the deceptions.
For more information, see our article “What Is Armageddon?”