The Middle East War -- Speculations

As the war in the Middle East continues, so do the voices of modern prophets exclaiming that the end of time is upon us, that the Battle of Armageddon is imminent. Speculators continue speculating. One of the latest speculations comes from a web site predicting the unveiling of the “AntiChrist” on June 6 of this year (6-6-06). Please be reminded of a failed “prophecy” that in September of 1988, Jesus was scheduled to return. He didn’t. The prophecy failed. So will “Pastor Harry’s” prophecy fail. It will not happen on June 6, 2006, or any other date in human history. (Please open our article on “The Mark of The Beast.”

Be reminded that on January 19, 1991, Mr. John Walvoord, chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, answered inquiries in USA Today, relative to all that is happening around the Middle East. After offering his speculations that the state of Israel is the Old Testament Israel restored to her ancestral homeland (which obviously is false) he added that a 10-nation confederacy will be formed out of which will come a dictator the likes of which the world has never known -- the imaginary “AntiChrist” no less. This dictator will convince Israel to join him in a peace pact. After three and a half years, Walvoord thinks the pact will be broken, and -- well, read his own words: “Those 3 1/2 years are a final countdown to the second coming of Christ. Just before the second coming, there’s going to be a world war as nations rebel against the world ruler, and Armageddon is the physical place where they’re gathered. So that’s why it’s called the Battle of Armageddon.”

Mr Walvoord and others fail to realize just how self-contradictory they are. If a war is a world war -- how can it be localized to one battle? If it is the War of Armageddon, then how could it be a world war? Further, there is no such thing at all as “The Battle of Armageddon” mentioned anywhere at all in the Bible. Mr. Walvoord gave no biblical reference. There is none. Should any reading this think of the whereabouts of such a passage in the Bible, please send it to me. I will publish it right here on this Web Page in Bold letters.. The truth is there is not a single reference to a battle of a future war or battle involving “Armageddon.”

Another dispensationalist prophet is Mr. Richard DeHaan, well known preacher for the Radio Bible Class of Grand Rapids, Michigan. DeHaan says, “In that location, the Valley of Megiddo, the war of Armageddon will end with the defeat of the evil armies. This will bring about the close of the great tribulation and end the rule of Antichrist.” The foregoing is taken from a reprint of a radio sermon called, “The Middle East: Watch It!”, page 13.

It is interesting that the location of the battle site is identified as “The Valley of Megiddo.” DeHaan and others read Revelation 16:16 and think it refers to a valley where this great battle is to be fought. The verse reads, “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

The thing missing is what kind of a place it is. It is not a valley. Actually, the word Armageddon is a composite of the prefix “Har” and “Mageddon” which means “Mountain of Megiddo.” Here is the explanation given in the Pulpit Commentary. “The correct reading, ‘Harmagedon” signifies ‘Mountain of Megiddo’ geddon, ‘City of Megiddo.’ Mount Megiddo possibly refers to Carmel, at the foot of which lay the Plain of Megiddo, which was well known to every Jew as a gathering place for hostile hosts and as the scene of many battles.” The reference in Revelation is symbolic -- not literal. But if it is to be understood literally, the modern day prophets should move the battle site up to the mountain out of the valley.

It is really amazing to learn where these modern day prophets look in the Bible for some scrap of evidence to bolster their theories. Mr. Tim LaHaye’s book, “The Coming Peace in the Middle East” cites Ezekiel 38 as a prophecy of things that are beginning to take place today in the Middle East. LaHaye wrote, “The logical conclusion to all these conditions is a war in the Middle East to end all wars. And according to biblical prophecy it will happen -- but not for some time.” (Obviously LaHaye didn’t take the famous prisoner, Saddam Hussein, into his theory.) Continuing, he said, “Before that a peace treaty will put a stop to the terrorism, the fighting, the fear, and the human suffering of both sides. Both the Arabs and Israel will temporarily enjoy safety and harmony. ...

Some 2,500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel declared that peace and prosperity would come to Israel before Russia invades her country.” It is here that LaHaye and others begin a literal interpretation of Ezekiel 38.

They get Russia into Ezekiel 38 via the prophet’s reference to “Gog, prince of Rosh.” Surely everyone knows that Rosh means Russia. Magog in the Ezekiel 38 surely means Moscow. I say that with a bit of tongue-in-cheek because these men insist on interpreting Ezekiel’s prophecy literally.

A reading of the chapter reveals that whatever war was under consideration would have the following features:

1. The warriors wear bucklers, helmets and shields (38:4).

2. They ride horses (verses 4 and 15).

3. They wield swords, spears, bows and arrows -- even handstaves as weapons
             (chapter 39:9-10).

4. The war ends not by armed victory but through pestilence, fire and brimstone (38:22).

5. There are so many dead bodies on the field that all of Israel are occupied for seven
             full months just burying them (39:2-13).

Again, this is to be taken literally, if those like “Pastor Harry,” Hal Lindsey,  Walvoord and LaHaye are correct in their theories. Let me show you how it is literally impossible to take this prophecy literally. There are approximately 3 million people calling themselves Israelis today. Do you realize how many people they would have to bury, if they were all occupied in a burial detail for a full seven months? A very conservative estimate would be around 700 million dead bodies! It is impossible to understand this as a prophecy to be literally fulfilled yet in the future.

What about the weapons of the prophecy? Who, in his or her right mind. would even imagine that a war to end all wars would be fought with primitive weapons? It is absurd. This, however, is merely a sample of the vagaries of the millennial theories about the end of time and the imaginary Battle of Armageddon.

Finally, Armageddon has a meaning for the whole world -- but not that of a literal war to end all wars. It is used in the Bible as a figure of conflict. Much the same as some might use the term “Waterloo” so the Bible uses the term Armageddon. It became a symbol of great struggle -- usually of good against evil. Once, at least, it is used in the Bible as a symbol of wretchedness. The prophet Zechariah said, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication: then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Mediddo” (Zech. 12:10-11). The woe of this verse is directly related to the death of Josiah (2 Kings 23:29). Ahaziah also died there (2 Kings 9:27). Judges 5:19 reminds us that the kings of the Canaanites were defeated there.

The truth of Armageddon is that it is a symbolic term that denotes conflict, slaughter, sorrow, and woe. In the one place it is found in the New Testament it figuratively tells us that evil will be overcome by righteousness. It does not, and cannot mean, that there will be an actual world war to end all wars.

Remember that Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world, thus He prevented His servants from fighting to defend Him (John 18:36-37). Paul said our weapons are not carnal, but spiritual (2 Cor. 10:4). I sincerely hope you allow none of these wild and unfounded guesses  mislead you. None of us knows one thing about when time will end. Our life must be one of consistent and constant preparation so that whenever it comes, we will be ready.

If you have any question at all about this topic, or if you would like extra study materials on it, contact us. valleychurch@vscoc.org

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