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Milepost 54: The Battle of Armageddon Begins

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Milepost 54: The Battle of Armageddon Begins

Primary References: Revelation 16:18-21

 

The seventh vial introduces a series of ‘acts of God’ that are as great or greater in their scope and effect as any catastrophe previously seen throughout the entire seven-year tribulation.These catastrophes may be a direct result of the armies’ vengeance, ‘acts of God’, or both. While these verses provide no direct evidence of the beginning of the battle of Armageddon, the following imply its start:

  • The sixth vial’s troop movements
  • The seventh vial’s massive destruction
  • The fall of many cities in many nations (presumably by force)
  • The backlash against Mystery Babylon in Revelation 18
  • The absence of any clear war descriptions prior to Jesus’ return in Revelation 19

Much Old Testament prophecy deals unambiguously with this battle and these passages form the basis for the battle’s descriptions.

To fully appreciate and understand the devastation unleashed by this vial, it is first necessary to explore this part of the seven-year tribulation in general terms. The Bible uses several unique terms to describe the seventh vial’s time:

  • Day of destruction (Isaiah 13:6)
  • Cruel day with both wrath and fierce anger (Isaiah 13:9)
  • Day of distress and trouble (Zephaniah 1:15)
  • Day of devastation and ruin (Zephaniah 1:15)
  • Day of God's anger (Zephaniah 1:15)

While each of these applies to the seven-year tribulation as a whole, they are never any more valid than during the seventh vial’s battle of Armageddon. It is a terrible time unlike anything before or after (Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19). It is so bad that if left unchecked, no one would survive and over six billion people would perish. The devastation does not stop with people as Zephaniah 1:2-3 indicates that all life would die including beast, fowl, and fish. Fortunately, motivated by God’s compassion for His people (the Jews), Jesus’ return interrupts (shortens) the seventh vial’s effects and spares half of the earth’s population. (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20).

By the end of the seventh vials’ plague, God virtually eliminates sin and its corrupting effects. His jealousy and anger are clearly visible as He:

  • Subdues Jesus’ spiritual and physical enemies (Hebrews 1:13)
  • Punishes sin:
    • The world for their evil (Isaiah 13:11)
    • The wicked for their iniquity (Isaiah 13:11)
    • Ends the arrogance of the proud (Isaiah 13:11; Isaiah 2:17)
    • Breaks the pride of the terrible (Isaiah 13:11)
  • Abolishes false gods and worship:
    • Destroys hypocritical worshipers (Zephaniah 1:5)
    • Removes the prophets and unclean spirits (Zechariah 13:2)
    • Destroys those who worship false gods (Zephaniah 1:5)
    • Abolishes idols (Isaiah 2:18; Zechariah 13:2; Zephaniah 1:3-5)
    • Destroys idol worship (Zephaniah 1:3-5)
  • Destroys men’s confidence in the wealth of the world:
    • Gold and silver will not save them (Zephaniah 1:18)
    • Riches do not profit (Proverbs 11:4)
    • Wealth fails (James 5:1-2)
    • Wealth witnesses against its owners (James 5:3-5)
    • Wealth consumes its owner (James 5:3-5)

The focus of these actions is the subjugation of the world for its new King. People remaining on earth face two options: God’s crushing wrath in His winepress or submission to Jesus’ authority. God leaves no other options and there is no compromising. They either learn the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10) or perish because God’s longsuffering patience has now ceased (2 Peter 3:9-10).

What is so horrific about these judgments that people throw idols and wealth away like detestable garbage? The seventh vial’s judgments give the first clues:

  • The greatest, most devastating earthquake ever
  • Tremendous storms: voices, and thunders, and lightning
  • Huge hail