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 The Battle of Armageddon (Part 4) (Part 73 of our series)

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PostSubject: The Battle of Armageddon (Part 4) (Part 73 of our series)   Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:57 pm

The Battle of Armageddon (Part 4) (Part 73 of our series)

At some point during the Tribulation and before Jesus returns with all of His saints, Jesus is going to take part in the Battle of Armageddon, battling against all of the wicked nations that are attacking Jerusalem. Jesus will go solo in this battle. The time that Jesus returns with all of His saints will mark the end of the Tribulation period and hence, the end of Armageddon, but before that happens, Jesus is going to return by Himself and participate in the battle of Armageddon. Zechariah 14 describes this event.

Zechariah 14:1 says, “A Day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.” Zechariah’s intended audience (the “you”) is Jews and this prophecy is referring to Jerusalem, which will be plundered during the Tribulation. The NIV is not worded correctly in verse 1, as it sounds ambiguous. It sounds like the Jews have plunder that they are dividing among themselves. The English Standard Version reads, “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.” That is clear that the plundered are the Jews. Verse 2 says, “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.” We saw last time that this is very similar to how Zechariah 12 begins, which leads me to believe that these 2 chapters run in parallel, describing the same event using different details. In chapter 12 we saw that the 144,000 had their eyes opened to the true identity of Jesus Christ just after they experienced a great tragedy that brought them to their knees. If these 2 chapters really are describing the same event then Zechariah 14:1-2 occurs just prior to the 144,000 Jews discovering Jesus and converting to Christianity because Jesus will save them from their enemies right after that. Both chapters start off describing Judah being temporarily defeated by invaders before going on to describe the LORD rescuing them from their captors.

Verse 3 says, “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.” Verse 4: “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.” This is one of many verses that point to the Deity of Jesus. Most interpreters and scholars agree that verse 4 is describing Jesus. Verse 3 called Him Yahweh, as the word “LORD” is the same as Yahweh and verse 4 says “His feet” will stand on the Mount of Olives. The LORD (in the form of Jesus) will touch down to the Earth one day and stand on the Mount of Olives. Jesus stands alone in this passage; He is off to Himself. Later on in Revelation 19, Jesus will return with His saints, but in this passage He returns early without the Church to fight against the enemies of God. A possible conjecture is that Jesus shows Himself to the 144,000 Jews just after they realize that He is the Messiah—and then while the nations are marching towards Judah, Jesus stands at the Mount of Olives to block their progression while the 144,000 look on. Certainly eyes will gaze upon Him as He stands on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. He will not be standing in a spirit, invisible form, but rather, will be standing visibly in a bodily physical form, the same as His resurrected body. Jesus comes here at this place and time specifically to protect Jerusalem and the 144,000 that chapter 12 describes as being there. It is no difficult task for Jesus to split a mountain ridge just as Moses split the Red Sea for Israel’s escape from Egypt.

The Mount of Olives, also called Mount Olivet, is a mountain ridge that peaks at 2,710 feet. It extends across about for 2.2 miles. We learned a couple of lessons ago that it is just east of the Kidron Valley, an area called the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds about 150,000 graves. It is still being used as a cemetery today. Ironically, its southern peak is called the Mount of Corruption. This name was derived from King Solomon’s idol worship at that location, where he built idols in tribute to the gods of his Moabite and Ammonite wives. The Mount of Olives is where Jesus journeyed down on His donkey during His Triumphal Entry according to Luke 19:29-37. It is also the same place that Jesus ascended to Heaven soon after His resurrection from the grave according to Acts 1:12.

This splitting of the mountain ridge of the Mount of Olives will not only defeat the enemies who are trying to invade Jerusalem by a great earthquake and rocks falling on them, but it will also create a path of escape for the 144,000, and even change the entire geography of the area. Skipping quickly to verse 10, it reads, “The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses.” It says that all of these places except for Jerusalem will become like Arabah. What we need to know here is that Arabah is a leveled land with a valley. When Jesus splits the mountain ridge, it will somehow lower the surrounding areas of Jerusalem, leaving Jerusalem standing taller than its leveled neighbors. Geba is 6 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Rimmon, A.K.A. En Rimmon, was about 35 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

Although Isaiah chapter 2 is concerning the Millennium, it says something similar to what we just read. It says, “In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.” The Mountain of the LORD refers to Jerusalem in the Old Testament times. Please note that even though Isaiah is speaking of the Millennium in this passage, he is still regarding the same Jerusalem that got lifted up during the Tribulation period. It is raised up during the Tribulation period and all nations will stream to it to worship the LORD during the Millennial period. Isaiah 2:3 says, “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob...’” This entire passage is stated almost identical in Micah chapter 4. And of course, this physical raising of Jerusalem and lowering of its surrounding vicinities represents the debasing of the nations and the exaltation of God’s chosen Kingdom City. Spiritually speaking, Isaiah 40:4-5 predict, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, and the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” This tells us that one day all pride will be brought down and God will exalt the humbled. All mankind will one day stand on level ground to each other where no one is above their neighbor and no one is below their neighbor and all flesh will equally see the glory of the LORD together as God reveals Himself to saved mankind.

Verse Zechariah 14:5 says, “You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him.” This great earthquake is also mentioned in Amos 1:1. Again, the “you” here is the people of Jerusalem at this specific future time and place; and, more specifically, as we have seen, it refers to the 144,000 that will be rescued by the LORD. Jesus is going to split the mountain ridge creating a path so that the 144,000 will escape safely. In Revelation 7:3, God puts a protective seal on the foreheads of the 144,000 so that they will be protected throughout their time on Earth during the Tribulation period. Azel is located east of Jerusalem, which makes Azel the eastern end of the newly formed valley. This verse tells us that after Jesus splits the mountain, He will later return with all of His holy ones. We know from Revelation chapter 19 that Jesus is going to do just that at the end of the Tribulation period. Interestingly, according to Jude, Enoch was the first to make this prophecy. Jude 14 says, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: ‘See, the LORD is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” Although God spoke the first prophecy (Genesis 3:15) in history, Enoch was the first human to prophesy. God’s prophecy in Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled at the Cross; Enoch’s is yet to be fulfilled.

It should also be noted that there is an alternative translation to Zechariah 14:5. Wikipedia states: “According to the Masoretic Text, people will flee through this newly formed valley to a place called Azal (Zechariah 14:5). The Septuagint (LXX) has a different reading of Zechariah 14:5 stating that a valley will be blocked up as it was blocked up during the earthquake during King Uzziah's reign.” It is important to note however, that the Septuagint is an early Greek translation of the Hebrew language. The Masoretic text should be considered the more accurate witness as it is an early manuscript written in Hebrew. It should go without saying that the earliest witness to the original text and one that is written in the same language as the original should be considered the more accurate witness than later dated material written in other translated languages.

Putting Scripture together, we discover that when Jesus does return again with His saints in Revelation 19, well after this event of splitting the mountain ridge, that Jesus and His saints will also be accompanied by His angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 discloses that His angels will be there too. It reads, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you [7] and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels.” I’ll dissect these two verses now since I mentioned them, but please keep in mind that these verses occur at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus returns with His saints. The time period we are covering in this lesson occurs sometime during the Tribulation, but before Revelation 14:16. Revelation 14:16 marks the point where all those who got saved during the Tribulation are raptured off the Earth to be with the Lord in Heaven. After that, there are no more saved on the Earth until Jesus returns with His saints in Revelation 19 (and as we see here in Thessalonians, with His angels also). The time period where we are covering in this lesson where Jesus splits the mountain ridge occurs while the 144,000 are still on the Earth. Jesus is currently saving their lives by creating a path of escape when He creates the earthquake which creates their passageway to escape.

2 Thessalonians 1:6 begins with “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when...” If we are really honest with ourselves and read that very carefully, we’d admit that that part is confusing. Paul is going to talk about end times eschatology when he says, “This will happen when...” but he is at the same time referring to his current day Thessalonian audience when he says the words “you” and “to us as well.” One thing we often forget when we read seemingly confusing Scripture like this is that life does not end when we die. Paul is talking to his Thessalonian audience, but he is not referring to them in this life, but in the one to come. In the next life, the Christian Thessalonians that he is speaking to will still be waiting for God to pay back those who troubled them—and God will pay them back. Even at this hour today, this time is yet to come and will take place in our future. Sometimes in Scripture when God speaks of us, He is not referring to His plans for us in this lifetime, but sometimes He is referring to His plans for us after we breathe our last in these current bodies. Consciousness continues when we die, and so does God’s plan and will for us. So with that, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 should be clearer to the reader. Interestingly, this passage gives us some added details that we don’t get in Revelation 19. In addition to learning about the angels accompanying us, we also learn here that Jesus will come in blazing fire. “Fire” does often refer to judgment in the Bible, but it seems clear here that Jesus will literally come in blazing fire when He returns to Earth at the end of the Tribulation.

We are covering only up to Zechariah 14:7 in this lesson because beginning at verse 8 the scene switches to the Millennium. Please note that verses 4, 6, 8, and 20 all begin with “On that day...” This phrase means “during that time period,” or “at that time.” Zechariah 14 covers both the Tribulation period and the Millennium. We know from other Scripture that these are 2 distinct periods, as the Millennium (1,000 years) is just subsequent to the Tribulation (of 7 years). Therefore, “On that day...” does not mean that all of these things take place on the same day; however, the chapter does maintain chronology for the most part. Verse 9 is proof that the events of verses 1-7 do not take place on the same day as verses 9-11. Verse 9 says, “The LORD will be king over the whole Earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and His Name the only Name.” There are still more Tribulation days (and years) to go before Jesus becomes king over the whole Earth. Jesus does not take His rightful place as King over the whole Earth until the start of the Millennium. So the events of Zechariah 14 unfold in the order that is described. The one exception to the chronological order is Zechariah 14:12-15. Verses 8-11 describe the Millennium. Verses 12-15 recaps back to the Tribulation. We are not going to cover verses 12-15 today because although it refers to the Tribulation, it is describing the very end of the Tribulation, which we will not get to until we cover Revelation 19.

Zechariah 14:6-7 read, “On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. [7] It will be a unique day without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes there will be light.” God predicts a special elemental day of which we have not seen before. In this day the sunlight and the moonlight will be confusing and people will not be able to determine whether it is daytime or nighttime by just observing the sky. The daytime, it says, will have no light, but some light will show up in the evening. Apparently this event will not happen during summertime, because God wants us to observe and be amazed that there will be no cold or frost on this day. If it is 90 degrees the day before, no one will expect cold or frost on this referenced day—but God is saying that the unexpected will happen. This means that it will be a cold, frosty day the day before, but people will suddenly wake up to a day with no cold or frost. The chill will suddenly disappear on this day. Furthermore, frost typically occurs in the early morning of a Spring day also—if this is describing springtime, God is saying that the 24 hours Earth rotation cycle will be altered on this day. There are many examples in the Bible of atmospheric changes and supernatural phenomena when God shows up to reveal Himself to mankind.

Verses 6 through 8 are tricky when trying to distinguish between the Tribulation period and Millennium. Verse 5 definitely describes the Tribulation; and verse 9 certainly describes the Millennium. Admittedly, verses 6 through 8 could go with either the Tribulation or the Millennium. It seems however, that verses 7 to 8 are describing separate time periods. Verse 8 says, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.” Verse 8 is describing seasons, whereas verse 7 was describing a day. Also, verse 8 is describing new life in the seas, whereas verse 7 is describing a confusing day—and apparently, a day meant to confuse God’s enemies. That is why I section verses 6-7 with the Tribulation and verse 8 with the Millennium.

Finally, Micah 5:5-15 seem to be describing this same event as in Zechariah 14. We will quickly cover just a few of these verses. Daniel 7 says that the Anti-Christ will come from the Roman Kingdom. A few have suggested because of Micah 5:5 that the Anti-Christ might be a genetic mix of Rome and Assyria. It is an interesting thought, but I won’t go much further into it. Micah 5:5b says, “When the Assyrian invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.” Obviously, “7...even 8” is not designating a precise number, but rather is an idiom meaning “complete” or “perfect.” Seven means complete; eight is more than complete. Ancient Assyria refers to Northern Mesopotamia. In 855 B.C. to 625 B.C, its borders expanded into Palestine. Ancient Assyria includes current day Iran, southeastern Turkey, eastern Syria, and northern Iraq. Recall that Zechariah 14:2 says that God will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it. Assyria will be one of many (as we will see in Micah), but will likely be the main nation in charge of the invasion, namely, Assyrian’s leader will be operating the invasion. Some interpreters believe that here in Micah, “Assyria” represents all of God’s enemies during the end times, but I think that God is being specific here, as the next verse mentions the “land of Assyria” and “the land of Nimrod.”

Micah 5:6 says, “They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrian when He invades our land and marches into our borders.” Nimrod is the father of Assyria and his accomplishments are recorded in Genesis 10:8-12. Please note that Micah 5:6 qualifies the 7, even 8 shepherds as “he,” and also qualifies the Assyrian as “he.” Instead of multiple shepherds, Micah is really referring to one Person, and instead of an Assyrian nation or army, Micah is describing a particular Assyrian leader who is possibly, as we mentioned, the Anti-Christ. Where some argue that the Anti-Christ is from Rome and others argue that he is from Assyria, I suggest that he could just as well be a mix of both, which would satisfy all of the prophecies. An alternative interpretation is that this Assyrian is not the Anti-Christ, but rather one of his unnamed generals who is not mentioned in the rest of Scripture. One thing for sure is that this Assyrian leader is fighting on the same side as the Anti-Christ, and Jesus is the one who will deliver Judah from this invader. And just like what we read in Zechariah 14:2, Micah 5:7-8 says that Assyria will not be alone, but will be among many nations that will gather to flank and siege Judah. The rest of Micah 5 is pretty straightforward. Verse 14 mentions God destroying the Asherah poles. Jews at the time of Micah’s writing knew of the false goddess Asherah and the poles erected throughout the land to pay her tribute. This being a prophecy of the end-times, the Asherah poles here represent all idols. The Millennium will be idol-free when Jesus reigns.

There will be just one more Armageddon subpart lesson before we continue where we left off in Revelation 16.

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The Battle of Armageddon (Part 4) (Part 73 of our series)
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