Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
Standing on Tel Megiddo, Israel, in December 2019, I photographed – through an opening in this Tel (an ancient mound composed of remains of successive settlements) – the vast Jezreel Valley.
This is the location where the future battle of Armageddon will be, as it is written in Rev 16:16, “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon”. The New Testament does not mention Megiddo, but the term Armageddon in the original Hebrew language is Har Megiddo or “Mount Megiddo.” The Jezreel Valley will be the place where the armies of the world will assemble and engage with each other in the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21). The armies of the world which converge upon this place will be induced to engage in this final conflict via satanic influences. The apostle John says:
“And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty” (Rev. 16: 13-14)
I am relieved that I won’t be around to witness this horrible and tragic event. This event will take place after those of us, who are believers, are gone to be with the Lord in the rapture of the saints (1 Thess. 4:16–17). This event will be the time of the Great Tribulation or what is known as the Bowl Judgement (Rev. 16-19). The Battle of Armageddon will take place before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
I often hear Christians talk about the Second Coming of Jesus as though the event is imminent. Is it imminent? Revelation 19 introduces the second coming of Christ, which is after the great tribulation (Rev. 16-19). The reader is challenged and urged to look at Jesus, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds (glory), and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Rev. 1:7). When Jesus was first received by a cloud into heaven in His ascension (Acts 1:9), Luke recorded that Jesus will also return the same way in Acts. 1:11: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” The ascension scene that took place in the book of Acts was on the Mount of Olives. In the Old Testament, the prophet Zechariah predicted that the Messiah will come back again one day on the Mount of Olive, saying that “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem….” (Zech. 14:4). This is a prediction of the Second Coming of Jesus. And where will the place be? On the Mount of Olives! This will be the Lord’s personal and visible return to earth in glory. This is one of the great doctrines of the Christian faith. Even Jesus Himself announced His second coming:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:29-30).
The Second Coming will happen when Jesus Christ returns to defeat the antichrist, overthrow the armies of the world and then establish His thousand-year reign on earth (Rev. 19:11–16). Accompanying Jesus in His Second Coming will be the “… armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses” (Rev. 19:14). Who are the armies of heaven? They will be the redeemed saints who are in heaven. ( Rev. 19:14; Rev. 7:9).
The Rapture of the Saints
The Rapture (meaning: caught up) will occur when Jesus Christ returns for His church. This is when all true believers in Christ will be taken from the earth by God into heaven (1 Cor. 15:51–52; 1 Thess. 4:16–17). At that moment of the rapture, they will receive new, glorified bodies. In the study of Eschatology, these two events are often confused because they are similar. Both happen during the end times, and both describe the return of Christ. Yet they have important differences. The rapture of the saints will take place before the Tribulation period and beforethe Second Coming of Jesus on the Mount of Olives.
What are the biblical lessons for us?
1. We must not neglect Bible prophesy.
I hear some Christians telling fellow believers not to study Bible prophesy. Why not? They say it is confusing and full of controversies. Is that true?
Bible prophesy is in the Bible. It is part of God’s instructions for the believers. How can we not study it? How can we neglect it? To do so is detrimental to the soul of the Christian. The apostle John says: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3). John says there is blessings in knowing Bible prophesy. So don’t neglect it. Read through the Book of Revelation. Do a thorough study on it even though it may be a challenge to do so. It will bless you greatly. In fact, Jesus says: “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22: 7). “Approximately one-fourth of the Bible was prophetic when it was written. If God devoted that much space to the subject, certainly we should pay attention to it” (J. Dwight Pentecost).
2. Let us be prepared for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Bible prophesy gives us hope.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13 KJV).
I look forward to the day when I meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17) in the rapture of the saints. Life on earth is short. Life in heaven will be eternal. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (Jn. 10:28). So how do we prepare for the coming of Jesus?
“Before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave the church its marching orders: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The very next verses report that the disciples just stood there looking up into the sky. Two angels appeared and spoke the words the church today needs to hear: Why are you standing there gazing into heaven? Jesus is coming back—so get busy! (vv. 9-11)” (Mike Livingstone, Lifeway Christian Resources)