Sunday, March 15, 2015

Does Armageddon Symbolize Jerusalem?

PART 3 of 3

Some Bible commentators believe that the identity of Armageddon is disclosed in the Book of Joel. The prophet foresaw a great battle taking place at the end of the age. “Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Let the nations be aroused and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.”

But where is the Valley of Jehoshaphat? Some suggest it is reference to the location of the thanksgiving celebration following Jehoshaphat’s victory over his enemies.

Jehoshaphat was another of Judah’s godly kings. His enemies assembled themselves at En-gedi, 30 miles southeast of Jerusalem, to wage war against him. They included the Moabites, Ammonites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir, called Edomites.

After praying for God’s deliverance, Jehoshaphat was told to station himself in a watchtower, six miles south of Bethlehem, so he could witness the salvation of the Lord. God spread dissention among Judah’s enemies. The Moabites and Ammonites completely destroyed the Edomites. Then, they turned on each other. In the end, all three tribes were utterly annihilated.

It took three days for the Judeans to collect the spoils of victory from among the corpses. On the fourth day, Jehoshaphat assembled his subjects in a valley where they blessed the Lord and celebrated His divine providence. However, that valley was called the Valley of Beracah, not the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

Jewish tradition reveals that the Valley of Jehoshaphat separates Mount Moriah from the Mount of Olives. Hence, it can be identified as the upper part of the Kidron Valley which continues south, running along the eastern slope of Jerusalem. Therefore, according to Jewish tradition, Joel’s prophetic “battle of the end times” will be waged in Jerusalem.

Interestingly, the word Jehoshaphat literally means, “God shall judge.” Indeed, God shall pass judgement on the beast and the false prophet at the Battle of Armageddon. And at what location will the beast make his headquarters? According to the Apostle Paul, his headquarters will be at the Third Temple in Jerusalem. Thus Joel’s prophecy is in keeping with the New Testament.

Of further note, Revelation describes a devastating holocaust with flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, huge hailstones weighing one hundred pounds, and a great earthquake of unprecedented magnitude. Islands will be swept away, mountains felled, and “the great city, where also our Lord was crucified,” will be split into three parts. Surely, this is a description of a violent cataclysm in and around Jerusalem.

Finally, the imagery in the Book of Revelation clearly fits Jerusalem’s geological profile. In Revelation 14:20, John says, “And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of 180 miles.” The Kidron and Hinnom channels surround Jerusalem on three sides. They continue east as the Valley of Fire merging with the Jordan rift that runs from Lebanon to the Gulf of Aqaba.

1 comment:

  1. Scriptural references: Joel 3:9,12; 2 Chronicles 20:1-26; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Revelation 11:8; 16:18-21