The fall of Babylon definitely occurs early in Armageddon. In Revelation 16:19, John said of Babylon: “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.” Hence, Babylon’s destruction is something that God does. He may do it by a nuclear attack from an enemy nation, or He may do it by His own means—whatever that will be. It seems clear from Scripture that Babylon will be completely destroyed just as Sodom and Gomorrah was (Isa. 13:19; Jer. 50:40). And since Genesis 19:24 states, “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,” this seems to me that He may do it through the great earthquake (of verse 18). And we suggested earlier that the earthquake may be triggered by a nuclear exchange. I will talk much more about the fall of Babylon in a later blog.
It seems to me, according to Revelation 16:16 and following, that sometime after the gathering of the armies of the world, this great shaking will begin, followed by all the results of it. I suppose we can’t be certain when exactly it will begin, but I would guess that it will be sometime around the beginning of the Armageddon war and will continue at least until Christ appears in the sky (Matt. 24:30). For just before He appears, verse 29 tells us that “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
I don’t think we can be absolutely sure that this so called “great earthquake” is in fact what we know of as an earthquake. The Greek word seimos, translated in verse 18 as “earthquake,” literally means “a shaking.” And when “great” is added it means “a great shaking,” or a great shaking of the earth.
But what else could it be besides an earthquake? Well, Hal Lindsey said that this shaking could be the result of “a fullscale nuclear exchange.” He said, “I believe that when these powers [of the world armies] lock forces here, there will be a fullscale exchange of nuclear weapons, and it’s at this time that ‘the cities of the nation’s fall.’”1
Now we can’t be sure that there will be nuclear weapons used; however, I think it is more likely than not that they will be used. And it is my guess that they will use them earlier rather than later. In fact, why would they shoot nuclear rockets at each other if they are going to battle anyway. Hence, it would make more sense to use them before they gather for a battle. Also, I have a feeling that it is likely that a nuclear attack will trigger an earthquake—the large earthquake mentioned in verse 18. And then, as the Scripture indicates, the cause of it will be the destruction of all cities (and all buildings), and the shifting of the land masses, so that all islands and mountains will plunge beneath the earth.
And while this destruction is happening, there will be thunder and lightning and hail like people have never seen before—hail about three feet in diameter, weighing up to one hundred pounds each. My question is: how in the world will the military forces be able to manage battling each other with all of this commotion and destruction all around them?
1 Hal Lindsey, There’s A New World Coming, p. 214.
I found five Scripture passages from Joel, Zechariah, Daniel, and Revelation that speaks of the gathering of armies (or nations). Interestingly, I found from my reading that there is not one clear purpose for the gathering. There will actually be four different purposes or goals. As we read from the following passages, I’m sure we will be able to see the different intentions.
Joel 3:1-3, 9-16
1″For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all the nations
And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
Then I will enter into judgment with them there
On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
And they have divided up My land.
3 “They have also cast lots for My people,
Traded a boy for a harlot
And sold a girl for wine that they may drink.
9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men!
Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”
11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations,
And gather yourselves there.
Bring down, O Lord, Your mighty ones.
12 Let the nations be aroused
And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat,
For there I will sit to judge
All the surrounding nations.
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
Come, tread, for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
16 The Lord roars from Zion
And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
And the heavens and the earth tremble.
But the Lord is a refuge for His people
And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
It seems here, from verse three, that the nations will be coming to raid Israel—to take their “fortunes.” But the rest of the passage tells a different story. God will be using their greed to gather them together in order to judge them for their sins against Israel.
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.
Here is a similar situation. The nations will gather to capture and plunder Jerusalem; but the Lord will take advantage of their greedy gathering, to judge and destroy them.
“At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. 41 “He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 “Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. 44 “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.
In this passage, which is describing the final conflict, the objective in battle seems to be to gain power. And for the most part, it will be the Antichrist and his forces against the rest of the world. Here we see that the Antichrist is winning—until the end (see verse 45).
Revelation 16:12-14, 16
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.
13 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; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.
16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.
In this sixth bowl judgment the gathering of the nations of the world are demonically engineered through the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. I wonder what the message will be that the demons will send. We don’t know whether it will be a clear, direct message like, “Let’s all gather together to destroy the Jews.” Or perhaps there won’t be any clear message; perhaps the demons will put them in a mindless trans, and by demonic power they will be pulled to the place of war with a great hook in their jaw (see Ezek. 38:4).
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
These three verses describe what happens at the very end of the Battle of Armageddon and the Tribulation. Here we see a fourth purpose for the gathering, to make war against Christ.
To review the different purposes: 1) coming from the nations, to raid and destroy the Jews; 2) again, from the nations, to gain power over other nations; they will gather to fight each other; 3) the purpose of God will be to judge the nations for their sin; and 4) from the nations, to make war against Christ.
As it appears from the text, the nations will probably not think that Christ will show up. But when they see Him coming, riding on a white horse, they will stop fighting each other; and verse 19 says that “their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
Can you imagine it? You know, there is nothing like the ultimate enemy (Christ) to make you shake hands with the ones you are fighting with. That is what will happen. All the nations—the beast and the kings of the earth (v. 19)—will come together and make peace with each other, and thus combine forces, in order to destroy their real enemy—Christ. Of course, it will happen the other way around!
I have been writing a book on the Tribulation, and I am at the end of it. The last chapter, which I am beginning now is entitled: Armageddon, The Fall of Babylon, and The Judgement of the Nations.
When we think about Armageddon we should think of it first as a war, or as an extended, escalating conflict. Then at the very end it will be a bloody battle, normally called the Battle of Armageddon.
In my research I found that some of the most popular authors on this subject seem to be quite sure that the campaign of Armageddon involves eight phases or stages: 1) the gathering of the armies of the Antichrist, 2) the destruction of Babylon, 3) the fall of Jerusalem, 4) the Antichrist moves against the Jewish Remnant, 5) Israel is saved, 6) Jesus Christ Returns, 7) the final battle, and 8) Christ ascends to the Mount of Olives.
Using the same Scriptures, I came up with a slightly different and shorter list of stages. Here are my five stages: 1) the gathering of the armies, 2) A Great Earthquake, or a nuclear exchange, 3) the fall of Babylon, 4) the fall of Jerusalem, and 5) the climax of the battle, or the return of Christ. Also note that I am not positively sure about the order of stages two, three, and four; but I will do my best to explain things as I see them, as you will read in upcoming blogs.
I have a great idea for this New Year! I am assigning Monday as News Day. It will be U.S. and World News—but mainly World News. I intend to gather all the news that pertains to how the world is progressing toward globalism and toward an antichrist government. I think this will be an encouragement for Christians—because we will be able to more clearly see that our Lord’s coming is near.
I have already set up a new page on my blog so you are welcome to look at all the news articles that I will gather from various sources. I think I will probably post up to three articles from the previous week on Sunday afternoon, and then I will pick out one of them to comment on for Monday’s news. I am excited about it! Today I am thinking about the December 30th article, “Putin invites Xi to Moscow to ramp up military cooperation.”
Russian leader Vladimir Putin told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday he was keen to ramp up military cooperation and hailed the two countries’ efforts to counter Western influence.
The relationship between Russia and China, which the two sides have hailed as a “no limits” partnership, took on great significance since Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine some 10 months ago. Though Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia, China has refrained from condemning Moscow’s military campaign, instead stressing the need for peace.
The Russian leader said he expected Xi to visit Moscow in the spring.
Putin said military cooperation has a “special place” in the relationship between their countries. He said the Kremlin aimed to “strengthen the cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China.”
Anytime bad countries—Communist countries—get together for “military cooperation” I immediately perk up my ears, because I know they are up to no good, especially since they intend to counter Western influence.
In Revelation 16:12-16, we read that in the end (during the Great Tribulation) demons will convince the world leaders to gather to a place called Har-Magedon (or Armageddon). That will turn out to be the end of the world as we know it.
But after that, God will bring in His new kingdom and His Son will rule over the earth for one-thousand years of peace. We should all look forward to that!
Here is the plague in which we see the beginning of the end of things. It encompasses the preparing of the way for all the armies of the world to come into the holy land for war against God. Hence this plague is not a plague that will immediately produce any more suffering, as was the case in all the other plagues. It is a plague that opens the way for the final judgment. It comes in two parts.
First, this sixth bowl is poured out on the great river Euphrates, causing it to be died up, so that armies from the east will be able to cross over with ease into the holy land for war.
The second part of the plague will come on the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, by way of unclean spirits of demons. These spirits we must believe will be directed by God to carry a message through the three to all of the kings of the world (the kings of the east who will cross over the dried-up Euphrates, and also the kings of the north, south, and west), instructing them to gather together for war against God in Israel. And verse sixteen says that “they [the demons] gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon” (or Armageddon). Warren Wiersbe comments on this place:
The name Armageddon comes from two Hebrew words, har Megiddo, the hill of Megiddo. The word Megiddo means ‘place of troops’ or ‘place of slaughter.’ It is also called the Plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel. The area is about fourteen miles wide and twenty miles long, and forms what Napoleon called ‘the most natural battlefield of the whole earth.’ Standing on Mount Carmel and overlooking the great plain, you can well understand why it would be used for gathering the armies of the nations.
It was on this plain that Barak defeated the armies of Canaan (Jud. 5:19). Gideon met the Midianites there (Jud. 7) and it was there that King Saul lost his life (1 Sam. 31). Titus and the Roman army used this natural corridor, as did the Crusaders in the Middle ages. British General Allenby used it when he defeated the Turkish armies in 1917.7
Verse fifteen, which is parenthetical, is written to believers to be faithful and vigilant, constantly ready for His return. Hence this verse assures us that there will be faithful believers during the Tribulation—believers that will survive and go into Christ’s Kingdom.
Last, I want to pose two questions: First, when does the sixth bowl end? Does it end with the gathering, or does it include the battle of Armageddon? It seems to me that it stops with the gathering, but I’m not sure.
Secondly, we have said all along that all the plagues will be accumulative and ongoing. Is that true here? Does this sixth bowl, and also the seventh bowl, contain an accumulation of all the previous plagues? Should we assume in these last plagues that this is a climax and the greatest of the suffering? I’m not sure, but part of me feels that it is; that people are still suffering from all the pervious plagues: from famine and pestilence and wild beasts, and from martyrdom, and from natural/cosmic disturbances, and from demonic activity, and from boils and bloody water and scorching heat, and darkness.
7 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Victorious (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books) 1985. pp. 117-118.