Truth, Understanding, Insight

Armageddon and the Valley of Jehoshaphat

27th September 2005, seh


1) What Does Armageddon mean?

Armageddon is one of those magic words that of itself, in the English language, have no actual meaning. It has been given, thanks to the dollar driven movie moguls and a few sensationalizing authors, a meaning which is partly correct and yet so seriously flawed, that very few people have any idea what it is actually about, other than some form of warfare or catastrophe. Some believe that it is about an asteroid that destroys life on the earth. Some believe that it is about a war with an anti-Christ ruling in Jerusalem. Because of this total confusion, people write it off as too difficult. This attitude leads to the live now, pay later, grab for yourself, materialistic, self-gratifying life we live today.

In relation to Armageddon, we need to ask four questions.

  1. What is going to happen?

  2. Where will it happen?

  3. When will it happen?

  4. Why will it happen?

When we know the answers to these questions, we can decide what our options for survival are.

Let us project to reality and something that we can relate to: the World Trade Centre in New York, the 11 September, 2001. The impossible had occurred. It was absolutely incredible. The news looked like a movie, a bad movie, a high stress movie. If you had been an office worker in the Trade Centre and somebody had told you that the two towers would be destroyed by Muslims crashing 747 jumbo jet liners into them on purpose, would you have heeded the warning? What would you have thought? Would you have said “no way, it is not possible.” There are many questions that would come to mind. The Muslims are religious people and would not be expected to do things like that. How could they fly an American jet and get through security? Surely no one would dare to do this in an American city. The point is, that the whole thing seemed so impossible, that many might not have heeded the warning. Not only that, the person giving the warning might be accused of stirring up religious hatred.

If you had heard the warning, what would you have done?

  1. Ignored the warning,

  2. Not gone to work,

  3. Run when you heard a plane coming,

  4. Or wait till the plane comes in the window?

2) The Bible's Warning About Armageddon.

The Bible gives a warning. The Bible tells us what is going to happen. It also tells when and where it is going to happen. It even tells us why it is going to happen.

The workers in the Twin Tower Trade Centre had no warning. But, the whole world, thanks to the movies, has been warned that ‘Armageddon ‘ is a Biblical term, which spells disaster on a grand scale. Every individual has a responsibility to check it out and search it out for themselves if they wish to survive!

Do You Want To Survive?

If so, you owe it to yourself and your family, to search out the matter.

Throughout the Bible, there are frequent allusions, in the prophecies, to a great battle that will be fought. However, reference to ‘Armageddon’ is found in only one place in the Bible, Revelation 16:16.

We read,

Revelation 16:13-14: I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Here we see that a spirit of warfare will arise among many nations, leading them to that “battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

At that time, Christ returns, as a thief, to the world. Christ, speaking to the apostle John in the book of Revelation states “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.”(Revelation 16:16) That is the time of Christ’s (Christos/ anointed/ Messiah) return to this earth. It is then that they, the nations, “are gathered into a place called in the HEBREW tongue ARMAGEDDON.”

3) The Word 'Armageddon' is Hebrew for a Place

Armageddon is the centre of this crucial conflict of world powers. This verse states clearly that this word ARMAGEDDON, MUST be understood in the “HEBREW tongue.” This is very significant. In modern times, the Hebrew language has been revived from a dead language to a living language. It is the national language of Israel - of the Jews

The word ‘Armageddon’ is made up of three Hebrew words presented below in an anglicised form:

Arema – a heap of sheaves

Gai – valley

Dan – judgement.

When all these elements are combined, the word is found to mean:

‘A heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement,’

At this point, prophecies in the Old Testament supply more clues to the location of this battle and its time frame. Joel 3:1 states that, “In those days and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations.” This refers directly to the nation of Israel.

The Jews have been brought back again into the land of Israel. This is an historical fact since 1948, since World War 2, since Hitler and the Holocaust. As refugees from Europe they struggled to settle again in what was their original homeland, from which they had been driven out by the Romans. Since 1948, the Jews have been a nation in the land of Israel and brought back from captivity and dispersion among the nations. Their survival and return to their national homeland is a modern day miracle.

Joel 3:2 further tells us that at the time when the Jews are regathered again into their own land that all nations will be gathered and “I will bring them down into the VALLEY of JEHOSHAPHAT, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” Many Jews today are still scattered among the nations of the world. Their homeland is a constant source of contention among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Jerusalem is considered a holy city by the three major religions of the world and a source of conflict. Daily, the news reports and current affairs programs inform us of continuing bloodshed, suicide bombings and violence in Israel.

It is in this verse also that the place of an impending battle is given, the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It is here that we find a connection with the name, Armageddon in Revelation 16. In both instances, a valley is referred to.

In Joel 3: 11-17, details of a major conflict in the Valley of Jehoshaphat are given. This account runs parallel to that battle of Armageddon recorded in Revelation 16:14-18. In Joel 3: 11 it is recorded again that the nations “gather yourselves.” Where are they gathered? “Come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.” (Joel 3:12) It is in this valley that the judgement of the nations is to take place. “For their wickedness is great.” (verse 13)

Joel 3:14 connects this valley of Jehoshaphat closely to Rev 16:16 and Armageddon. “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” The “valley of decision” is more correctly translated, valley of “threshing”. Armageddon, as heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement , can be linked in Joel 3 to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the valley of threshing, where the sheaves are threshed. At that time,

Joel 3:15-16 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel.

We are told that the “earth will shake” also in the prophecy given in Revelation 16:18.

Following a major battle among the nations and worldwide upheaval, the Lord will dwell in Zion ruling over the world. “So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no stranger pass through her any more.”(Joel 3:17)

As mentioned previously in this article, there are numerous places in the Bible that prophesy of a cataclysmic upheaval and war involving the nations of the world. It is stated

Zechariah 12:Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all people of the earth be gathered together against it.

There can be no denying that Jerusalem today presents the world’s leaders with an insoluble problem, as prophecy requires.

4) The Modern Political Situation Fits These Prophecies

Israel is a tiny country of only about 8,000 square miles (~22,000 km2). New York is bigger and more than 40 Israels would still be smaller than Texas. Japan, a small nation in area, is almost twenty times bigger than Israel with thirty times its population. The countries that surround Israel and threaten to destroy it and drive its inhabitants into the sea present an amazing contrast. Syria has nine times the area and three times the population. Iraq is twenty times bigger in area with seventeen million people and Iran is eighty times larger with about fifty million people.

Under these Arab lands, long vandalized, degraded and desolated, by their peoples, lies a commodity which is essential to that resource intensive lifestyle that the western world likes to live. Our civilization runs on oil. Increasingly the major nations want to have access to, if not control of, the massive oil resources of the Middle East. Increasingly both France and Russia are politically involved in the Middle East. In 1997, President Chirac of France visited Boris Yeltsin in Russia and they committed themselves to a “great partnership” to reduce American influence in the Middle East. Both Russia and France are strongly allied with Iran, Iraq and Syria and oppose American interference in Iraq. The nations of the world are aligning into two clear divisions, the U.S.A. and its allies and the European confederacy.

Ezekiel 38 has the same themes as those in Joel 3, but Ezekiel lists the contestants. Ezekiel 38:1-5 enumerates the nations that will rise up to invade the land of Israel. “Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal…” (R.V) have been identified by historians with Russia. An all powerful Russia, dominating Europe, is shown as being confederate with Gomer (France, Germany, Spain, Belgium etc.), Persia (Iran, Iraq), Ethiopia, Libya and Togarmah (Ancient Armenia and part of Turkey). These nations gather their military might to invade the Middle East.

Ezekiel describes this invasion as coming out of the “north parts” against God’s people, Israel. The time is given as “the latter days” when Israel is inhabited by a people “gathered out of the nations,” in the land that was once “desolate places but now inhabited.” (Ezekiel 38: 8-12) There will be a great shaking in the earth (verse 19) and manifestation of God’s power against the nations and the establishment of his authority in the earth. Ezekiel 38:18,23, in the same way as Joel’s prophecy, makes these predictions. “It shall come to pass at that same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face…and I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

In Zechariah 14, another prophet speaks of a battle. All these prophets are speaking of the same battle, the same destruction, but from a slightly different aspect or perspective. It’s like a giant jig-saw puzzle, with each of the pieces precisely fitting and integrating, and producing a larger picture as they are joined together. Verse 1 states that the “day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil (note: sp-OIL) shall be divided in the midst of thee.” As in Joel and Ezekiel, Zechariah locates the place of a great battle. “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (verse 2) and “the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”(verse 3) It was in the days of Jehoshaphat that the Lord fought against Israel’s enemies and the nation of Israel had victory without having to fight the battle themselves. (2 Chronicles 20) Zechariah (verse 4) gives details of a massive earthquake that will shake the earth at this time. “His (Messiah’s, Christ’s) feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley.” This place is geographically on one of the earth’s major fault lines, the Great Rift Valley, of which the Dead Sea is part. A large movement in this fault line will almost certainly cause movement in the other plates that make up the earth’s surface. The result could be widespread devastation.

Isaiah predicts that “the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,” (Isaiah 24 :20) and that Yahweh will reign in Mt Zion and in Jerusalem gloriously. (verse 23) Jeremiah also prophesies that there will be a great battle and the nations will be overthrown. “Yahweh hath a controversy with the nations…and the slain of Yahweh shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth…they shall not be lamented, neither gathered , nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” (Jeremiah 25: 31-33) The devastation is so terrible and widespread and there is none to help. This vision is not confined to the Old Testament. The apostle Paul gives a warning in 2 Thessalonians 1: 8. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

5) Answering the Questions and options for Survival

In answering the questions about Armageddon posed at the beginning of this article, conclusions can be made on the basis of Biblical prophecies.

What is going to happen?

A confederacy of nations will invade Israel, to come to take something of economic value, most likely occupy the oil lands and control oil supplies.

Where will it happen?

The Middle East will be the focal point of the battle of Armageddon in the southern part of Israel, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Berachah).

When will it happen?

The Bible specifically states that when the Jews have been established as a nation again in their homeland and suffering oppression, the confederation of nations will be drawn to invade Israel.

Why will it happen?

Yahweh will judge the nations for their wickedness. He will establish world peace at last and a just and righteous government, with the Messiah as King in Jerusalem.

How can we survive Armageddon?

The acceptance of the prophetic word in the Bible, the hope of Israel, the promises of the coming kingdom on this earth and baptism into the saving name of Yahshua, Yahweh’s anointed son are essential for salvation and an escape from the judgement and calamities that will come upon mankind.

The only other alternative is wilderness and survival skills in preparation for the widespread calamities that will come upon this earth, following the devastating earthquakes that will “shake” the earth and when “the earth shall reel to and fro”, when Yahweh rises in judgement upon the nations “for their wickedness is great.” (Joel 3:13)

6) Armageddon To Occur In The Valley of Jehoshaphat

The prophecy related to Armageddon predicts “he gathered them into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”(Rev16:16)

Armageddon is a place that is to be the focal point of a world conflict where the nations will be gathered for war.

As noted before, the prophet Joel refers to the Valley of Jehoshaphat twice in chapter 3 as a place where the nations will be gathered for judgement (Joel 3:2, 11-13). In a third place in this same chapter, Joel refers to “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the LORD (Yahweh) is near in the valley of decision.” The word “DECISION” is more accurately rendered “concision” or “threshing.” This establishes a very clear link between Revelation 16:16 referred to before, and the references in chapter 3 of the prophecy of Joel.

The reference to Armageddon in Rev 16:16, “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” is very closely linked to Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (or threshing).”This link can be related to the battle that will take place when Yahshua returns to set up God’s kingdom on earth. The connection is established by the meaning of the word Armageddon, which as already shown signifies, “a heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement.”

In relation to the Valley of Jehoshaphat in Joel 3, it is recorded, “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,”(verse 2) and “let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge round about.” (verse 12)

Geographers tell us that there was no such physical place as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This seems to be an anomaly, but it appears to have an important connection with Armageddon considering the strong connection between the references in Revelation and Joel to “a heap of sheaves in a valley for judgement,” and “a valley of threshing.” Both references are to a battle of the Lord like no other recorded in the Bible.

We need to refer to 2 Chronicles 20. This is where it is recorded that Yahweh destroyed, without the people of Israel having to fight, the enemies of Judah, in the time of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. This was a miraculous victory for Israel, and brings to mind that reference in Zechariah 14:3, which says, “then shall Yahweh go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle.”

From 2 Chronicles 20, the following facts emerge. Jehoshaphat, whose name means “Yahweh will judge”, witnessed a battle which required no fighting by the people of Judah, Israel. Forces led by Ammon, Moab and Mt Seir had assembled in Engedi against Judah. The people of Judah were in great fear and gathered with Jehoshaphat before the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and seek Yahweh’s help. It is interesting to note here that this was in accordance with the prayer of Solomon at the time of the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8). Jahaziel in “the spirit of Yahweh” revealed to them that “the battle is not yours but God’s.” We should note here that Jahaziel’s name means ‘he will be divided of el (i.e. God)’ and showed the purpose of Yahweh on this occasion. Jahaziel was the son of Zechariah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph. The people were told to go to the cliff of Ziz and to be “still and see the salvation of Yahweh…for Yahweh will be with you…and Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before Yahweh worshipping Yahweh.”(2 Chron 6:16-18)

The people went to the wilderness of Tekoa and witnessed the destruction of their enemies as the armies of Amon, Moab and Mt Seir engaged in battle amongst themselves. It is here that we recall Jahaziel’s name, “he will be divided of El.”

In the aftermath of the battle in which, not they but Yahweh had fought for the people, the people, with Jehoshaphat, assembled in the valley of Berachah (which means ‘blessing’), where they “blessed Yahweh…for Yahweh had made them to rejoice over their enemies.” (verse 27) This why the valley was called Berachah and not Jehoshaphat, The victory was Yahweh’s, not Jehoshaphat’s.

Armageddon (Rev 16:16) and Joel 3 appear to have a close association, which is worthwhile considering. Bible students have often puzzled over the significance of the statement in Isaiah 63: 1-4. “Who is this that comes from (the direction of) Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah?...I will trample them in mine anger…blood shall be sprinkled on my garments…for the day of vengeance is in my heart.” This appears to suggest that when the Messiah returns to fight Yahweh”s great battle against the nations, that the Messiah comes from the south. It may mean that there is a logical connection between this vision described by Isaiah coming from the south of the area , where this most significant battle occurred in the reign of Jehoshaphat. Zechariah also tells us that “Yahweh shall save the tents of Judah first.” Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and Judah was located in the southern part of Israel.

Many commentators place the Valley of Jehoshaphat between Jerusalem and the Mt of Olives, but there is no historical or geographical evidence to support this. The only valley in which Jehoshaphat was historically involved (2 Chron 20:26) was subsequently named the Valley of Berachah/Blessing, in honour of Yahweh’s victory in that place over the combined enemies of Israel, typical of the Battle of Armageddon. Whether the Valley of Berachah will be significant at the return of Yahshua, or whether we learn spiritual lessons from Jehoshaphat’s experiences, it is valuable to consider this victory against and judgement of Judah’s enemies and the time to come , when “Yahweh shall go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle.” (Zechariah 14:3)

The Valley of Berachah, the Ascent of Ziz, Tekoa and Engedi were significant in the time of Jehoshaphat, and could again be significant in the future battle.