Revelation 16: Armageddon

I knew little prior to this class about Armageddon. What I did hear always centered around Armageddon a place of the decisive end time battle, the place where evil would make its final last stand and good would ultimately triumph. Now, after studying this section and seeing how our authors have treated this word, my understanding is enriched. Reddish and Boring note the etymology of the word, “har,” meaning mountain and Megido or Magedon “an ancient city that guarded the pass through the central Highlands at the Jezreel Valley” (Reddish, 312). Megiddo was in a strategic location and as such was an important military outpost. Reddish notes the history of the area and the association of the town with warfare, “Near Meggido was where Deborah and Barak defeated the armies of Jabin… (Judg 5:19). When King Ahaziah…was attacked by Jehu, he fled, wounded, to Megiddo where died (2 Kgs 9:27). Megiddo was also the place where Josiah…was killed in battle against Pharaoh Neco of Egypt ( 2 Kgs 23:29)” (Reddish, 312).

The problem with the etymology of Mt. Megiddo is that there is no mountain there, the city was in a valley (Jezreel). Reddish, provides a couple of interpretive summaries for understanding Megiddo. He frist draws upon the work of H.B. Swete, who “explained the designation of Megiddo as Mount Megiddo based on John’s desire ‘to bring the final conflict into connexion with Ezekiel 29:2, 4,’ a text that describes the eschatological battle against Gog of the land of Magog as a battle that occurs in ‘the mountains of Israel’ “(Reddish, 313). Another way to understand the etymology of the word, is by considering “har megiddon is a variation of har-mo ed, meaning ‘mount of assembly,’ the mythical mountain of the gods in Isaiah 14:13 that the king of Babylon boasted he would climb in order to exalt himself” (Reddish, 313-314). We must not lose sight of the fact that Revelation is a high symbolic book, and here as else where John is using symbolic language. What we are meant to see, think, feel, and hear is a place of final battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Armageddon is a place of victory for God.

*Mitchell Reddish. Revelation, Smyth and Helwys: Macon, 2001.

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About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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