The Battle Of Armageddon (Part III)
By: Jimmy Swaggart
THE AFTERMATH OF THE GREAT VICTORY
“And they who dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years (to think of something being burned ‘with fire seven years’ allows us to know the extent of the destruction)” (Ezek. 39:9).
Most weapons are made of iron, steel, or other types of metals. Still, there will be enough material that is combustible that it will keep a contingent of people, no doubt appointed for this very task, busy for some seven years.
All of this gives us an idea of how large the army of the Antichrist will actually be, as well as the extent of the destruction that the Lord will bring upon this army.
Even as we have been saying, the Battle of Armageddon will be different than any other battle that has ever been fought. In fact, there has never been anything in history remotely like this, with the exception of when Joshua fought the Amorite Confederation. Concerning that, the Scripture says:
“And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goes up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
“And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the Children of Israel slew with the sword.
“Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the Children of Israel, and he (Joshua) said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand you still upon Gibeon; and you, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
“And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? (A book no longer in existence, nor any of its copies.) So the Sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (It is said that this is confirmed by state documents of Egypt, China, and Mexico, which record this double-day. It is said that Herodotus and Lord Kingsborough, in his history of the Mexicans, and the Chinese philosopher Huai-nan-Tzu quoted these records. The hill of Gibeon, at the moment when Joshua spoke, was behind him to the east, and the sun was setting in front of him to the west. It was evening, and a continuance of the daylight was needed in order to complete the victory.)
“And there was no day like that before it or after it (through the time of the Bible but not pertaining to this present time), that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. (God is a Miracle-working God. The Bible opens with Miracles, continues with Miracles, and concludes with Miracles, i.e., ‘proclaims them into the eternal future’)” (Josh. 10:10-14).
THE SPOILING OF THE ENEMY
“So that they shall take no wood out of the field, and neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those who spoiled them, and rob those who robbed them, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:10).
In the so-called “Peace for Galilee” campaign, when Israel attempted to destroy the PLO, I, along with several of my associates, was invited to Israel where we would be taken into Lebanon at the very height of the conflict. This happened in 1983, if I remember correctly, and was the closest to war that I had ever personally come.
Of all the things seen and experienced, the mile after mile of Israeli tractor-trailers hauling back captured equipment, both damaged and undamaged, was a scene I will not soon forget. Some of the battle tanks looked like they had been opened with a giant can opener, while others seemed to be untouched. As well, there were myriad truckloads of other captured war material, which, no doubt, if usable, was placed in Israel’s inventory. At any rate, the amount was staggering, which, at least, gives one an idea as to the fulfillment of this Verse. Whereas the armies just mentioned only numbered tens of thousands, the armies of the Antichrist will number hundreds of thousands, if not millions!
So, if one could multiply what I witnessed those years ago by a thousand, one would have an idea as to what is meant by these predictions. In fact, much, if not most, of the weaponry of the world will be gathered at the Battle of Armageddon.
What is little known by the rest of the world is, at this moment (2011), Saudi Arabia has armed itself, proverbially speaking, to the teeth. In fact, over the last several decades, they have developed several underground bases in their vast land, with the very latest in technological military equipment, and much, if not most, purchased from America. As well, we have just sold Egypt over 100 of the Abrams Battle Tanks, the most sophisticated tanks in the world at this time.
For what does Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for that matter, need such a vast array of the most technologically advanced equipment? She need have no fear from Israel but most probably fears her own fellow Arabs!
The likelihood of a conflict between Arab states, at least, of this magnitude, is unlikely; therefore, the fact that this vast array of weaponry will fall into the hands of the coming Antichrist is a definite possibility. Daniel did say, “But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver . . .” (Dan. 11:43). All of that, of course, refers to what gold and silver can purchase.
SEVEN MONTHS TO BURY THE DEAD
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it the Valley of Hamon-gog.
“And seven months shall the House of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.
“Yes, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:11-13).
No doubt, several millions of men are going to be killed in that which is known as “the Battle of Armageddon.” Even employing modern equipment to hasten the burial of so many human bodies, still, the stench will “stop the noses of the passengers.”
Down through the many past centuries, battle after battle has been fought in the land of Israel. The conflict has been almost unceasing for the last 3,500 years, but this will be the last conflict and will, in fact, be the greatest of them all. It will be a conflict totally different than any that has been waged at that particular place or anywhere else, for that matter.
While Israel will definitely be a participant, it will be the Coming of the Lord which will decide this conflict. He will fight in a manner He has not fought since days of old, and will do so in no uncertain terms (Zech. 14:3). Among all the dead, on that great day of Battle, will be “Gog,” the Antichrist.
His death will herald the demise of Satan’s greatest and final effort to usurp authority over Christ. As well, and at that time, Christ will bind Satan with a “great chain” and “cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3).
The phrase, “And they shall call it the Valley of Hamon-gog,” refers to the Valley of Megiddo, which will be called, at least, for a time, “the multitude of Gog.” It actually will refer to the multitude slain by God at this great occasion.
The skeptic and unbeliever would have nothing but criticism for the actions of the Lord regarding the deaths of so many in this momentous conflict. However, such will come about only after repeated efforts by the Lord soliciting Repentance, but to no avail! (Rev. 9:20-21)
The destruction of those who have vowed the destruction of God and all that belongs to Him, as well as taking peace from the Earth, thereby, causing the suffering and death of untold hundreds of millions, will be an act of much needed surgery.
Only those who desire unrighteousness and, thereby, further pain and suffering, will take exception to these happenings. At long last, the question, “How long?”, will be answered (Rev. 6:10).
As it refers to it taking seven months to bury all the dead, of course, modern equipment could accomplish this task in a few days. However, the latter phrase, “That they may cleanse the land,” refers to every bone being found and gathered, which will take “seven months.”
THE LORD WILL BE GLORIFIED
The phrase of Verse 13, “And it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, says the Lord GOD,” links this spectacle to the sanctifying of the Name of the Lord.
Normally, the Lord sanctifies His Name by love freely offered and freely received. However, if it is not freely received but, instead, spurned and blasphemously denounced, His Name is “sanctified” and “glorified” by Judgment.
Therefore, all men will answer to God in one way or the other, whether by Mercy and Grace or by Judgment, but answer, they shall!
THE CLEANSING OF THE LAND
“And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those who remain upon the face of the Earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search” (Ezek. 39:14).
The executive government of Israel will employ and pay the men described in this Verse to collect the human bones, wherever found, and bury them in the huge trench or area of Verse 11. This project, as stated, will require seven months.
Also, the phrase of Verse 14, “Those who remain,” indicates that at least some of the “sixth part” left of the armies of the Antichrist will be employed in this effort of cleansing the land.
THE VALLEY OF HAMON-GOG
“And the passengers who pass through the land, when any sees a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog” (Ezek. 39:15).
From this Verse, it seems that all the bones will be collected and taken to “the Valley of Hamon-gog” and there buried. If this is the case, it will be done for a reason, the portraying of such as a monument of Satan’s defeat and the Victory, even the great Victory, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, this Battle will cover large parts of Israel, with the slain covering many miles, perhaps the entire length and breadth of that country. Quite possibly, it could even spill over into surrounding countries.
“And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land” (Ezek. 39:16).
The name “Hamonah” means “multitude.” No doubt, it will be a “city” of graves, housing the silent dead, and not a city of the living. As stated, it will be a constant reminder of Satan’s defeat and the Victory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A SYMBOLIC GESTURE
“And, you son of man, thus says the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to My Sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh, and drink blood.
“You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the Earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
“And you shall eat fat till you be full, and drink blood till you be drunken, of My Sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
“Thus you shall be filled at My Table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:17-20).
Verse 17 is the same command as Revelation 19:17-18, 20.
The words, “the mighty,” and, “princes,” signify the military and political elite of the army of the Antichrist. As well, the “rams, lambs, goats, and bullocks” signify the same!
The idea of all of this is, if they would not accept the Sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, then they would be made a sacrifice, which they were. However, it would not save their souls but would serve as a part of the salvation of the world.
Verse 20 refers to the fact that the Antichrist will think to set a “table,” portraying the defeat of Israel, but, instead, he and his army will be the “table,” i.e., “My Table,” i.e., the “Table of the Lord.”
The idea of all of this is, the powerful confederation of forces gathered by the Antichrist had made plans for the subjugation of the entire world, with certain areas of the world already parceled out to these “mighty.” These plans have all, and without fail, been foiled by the Coming of Christ. As well, as the Antichrist will be killed, likewise, most, if not all, of his leaders will be killed!
Four times in Verses 17 through 20, the word, “sacrifice,” is used by the Holy Spirit. It is done for purpose and reason.
Christ died as a Sacrifice to save humanity. All who receive that Sacrifice unto themselves and have Faith in its Atoning Offering will be Saved (Jn. 3:16). However, all who refuse to receive it have, in essence, set themselves against God and His Plan for the human family. They will, therefore, be made a sacrifice themselves, as stipulated here, in order that the world rid itself of its malignancy. The sacrifice recorded here in no way saves the victim but, instead, cleanses the world in order that the Righteous may enjoy the Blessings of God.
THE PURPOSE OF GOD
“And I will set My Glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see My Judgment that I have executed, and My Hand that I have laid upon them” (Ezek. 39:21).
The Bible regards as “the heathen” all who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour; therefore, that includes almost all of the world.
In effect, every single person in “Christian America,” as well as any place else in the world, who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, is regarded by the Lord as “heathen.” Living in a country, such as America, which adheres, at least, somewhat, to the principle of Christianity, in no way changes the status of the individual person. Only the acceptance of Christ as one’s Saviour will change this designation as given by the Holy Spirit.
As well, the idea is put forth in this Passage that the Antichrist has planned to set his glory over the entire world, but, instead, “Christ will set His Glory among the heathen.”
The phrase, “And all the heathen shall see My Judgment that I have executed,” refers to the entirety of the one thousand year Millennial Reign when Christ will rule this world exclusively, and the government shall be upon His Shoulder (Isa. 9:6-7).
However, as previously stated, it, as well, includes most of the world actually “seeing” the Second Coming portrayed over television even as it happens.
THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
“So the House of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward” (Ezek. 39:22).
Along with “the heathen” seeing this glorious spectacle, likewise, “the House of Israel” will now “know” exactly Who the Messiah is. They will know that the One they rejected and crucified is actually “the LORD their God.” They will know it “from that very day and forward.”
As it regards the identification of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Second Coming, there will be no argument. His identity will be obvious, and more specifically, because of the nail-prints in His Hands.
The Scripture says, “And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Your Hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My Friends” (Zech. 13:6).
THE REASON FOR THE TERRIBLE TROUBLES OF ISRAEL
“And the heathen shall know that the House of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against Me, therefore hid I My Face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword” (Ezek. 39:23).
With the dispersions under the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans having been effected by the sword, as well as all who have been exiled through the centuries, and more particularly, the terrible Holocaust of World War II, it can justly be stated, “They all fell by the sword.”
“They trespassed against Me,” refers to Israel’s rebellion from the very beginning, which finally necessitated their destruction and dispersion; however, the crowning “trespass” of all was their rejection of Christ and His Crucifixion. As a result, they were given over “into the hand of their enemies,” where they remained for nearly 2,000 years.
The equity of God’s Action with Israel in all periods of their history—past, present, and future—is declared in Verses 23 through 29.
The phrase, “They trespassed against Me,” as stated, refers to Israel’s rebellion from the very beginning, which finally necessitated their destruction and dispersion. This included the Babylonian captivity, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70. However, again, the crowning “trespass” of all was their rejection of Christ and His Crucifixion.
Israel refused to believe Christ, and said, “Let His Blood be upon us, and upon our children” (Mat. 27:25), and referring to His Kingship, “. . . We have no king but Caesar” (Jn. 19:15). As a result of them not wanting Him, He “hid His Face from them.”
In the early 1980’s, the Jewish community in the United States grew angry with me because I brought out these very things over our worldwide telecast. They were loath to admit that their terrible problems of the past and present were because of their rejection and Crucifixion of Christ. I answered them as follows.
It is not that the Lord instituted the terrible persecutions that came upon Jewish people down through the centuries, but instead, that they did not desire Him, therefore, He gave them “into the hands of their enemies.” It was not the Lord Who did these things to them, but their enemies.
They did not want Him, so the only alternative was Caesar, and Caesar has been a hard taskmaster!
“I HID MY FACE FROM THEM”
“According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid My Face from them” (Ezek. 39:24).
As they did not desire Him, He “hid His Face from them.” This was all He could do! Regrettably, this scenario has not yet ended. Continuing to reject Him, Israel will, instead, accept “another” as their Messiah (Jn. 5:43). This will happen in the very near future and will bring Israel yet another Holocaust! (Mat. 24:21-22)
However, Israel will finally come out of the darkness into the light and will accept Christ as their Saviour and Messiah. The next Passages tell us how!
It is not that the Lord placed the demonic impulses in the madness of Adolf Hitler that he institute the Holocaust, but that he was the one that Israel chose instead of Christ. They made their decision, and succeeding generations have continued to make the same decision; therefore, as they did not desire Him, He “hid His Face from them.” This was all He could do! No one can force himself on someone else who does not desire Him. Israel did not desire Him, and they made it very plain as to their wishes; therefore, they, as all others, have reaped the results.
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have Mercy upon the whole House of Israel, and will be jealous for My Holy Name” (Ezek. 39:25).
He will have “Mercy” because of their Repentance, which will take place at the Second Coming. The phrase, “And will be jealous for My Holy Name,” is a fiercesome statement. “His Holy Name” stands behind His Word. He is “Jealous” that His Honor be protected and that every single Prophecy be fulfilled, which they shall!
The word “now” of Verse 25 gives us the time that this will happen. It will be after the Battle of Armageddon and at the Second Advent of Christ. This will be the occasion of their humbling before the Lord and His lifting “the captivity of Jacob.” That “captivity” has lasted for about 2,500 years.
Regrettably, none of it had to be but was only because of their “uncleanness” and “transgressions.”
As a result, His Mercy will be so extended that it will include “the whole House of Israel,” because “the whole House” will repent and accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.
The phrase, “And will be jealous for My Holy Name,” as stated, is a fiercesome statement. “His Holy Name” stands behind His Word. He is “jealous” that His Honor be protected and that every single Prophecy be fulfilled; and, to be sure, that it shall be!
The Hebrew root meaning “jealousy” portrays a very strong emotion, a passionate desire. The word is used in both a positive and negative sense.
The strong emotion represented by this word can be viewed positively as a high level of commitment when it describes the feelings of a person for something that is rightly his or her own. Here, “jealousy” has the sense of intense love. When applied to God, “jealousy” communicates the fierce intensity of His Commitment to His People, even when they turned from Him.
In giving the Mosaic Law, the Lord announced to the people of Israel that they must remain committed to Him and not turn to idolatry, and He gave this reason for it:
“I, the LORD your God am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5). Therefore, the “jealousy” of God is expressed in Old Testament history, both in “punishing” and in “showing love.”
“After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against Me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid” (Ezek. 39:26).
The idea of this and succeeding Verses is the explanation of the word “now” in the previous Verse; the “shame” resulting from the “trespasses” is now over. “Now” they can “dwell safely in their land, and none shall make them afraid.” This will take place in the coming Kingdom Age.
The implication of Verse 26 is that all the “shame” was unnecessary and did not need to be. Sadly and regrettably, the Jew has carried this “shame” for nearly 2,000 years. They have steadfastly refused to admit that it was because of their “trespasses.” Consequently, many have been ashamed of their Jewishness or puzzled by the persecutions, thereby, blaming Christ and Christians when, in reality, it’s their own “trespasses,” which have caused the “shame.”
Even though the “trespasses” are the cause, still, the real cause is the refusal to repent of the trespasses. “Trespasses,” sadly and regrettably, are incumbent upon all (Rom. 3:23). It is the lack of the admittance of the “trespasses,” and the refusal to come to Christ in order that these “trespasses” be handled correctly by Faith in His Atoning Shed Blood, which brings Judgment. Jesus said:
“And you will not come to Me, that you might have Life (all Life is in Christ; to have that Life, one must accept what Christ has done at the Cross)” (Jn. 5:40).
IN THE SIGHT OF MANY NATIONS
“When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations” (Ezek. 39:27).
This great gathering will take place after the Second Coming of Christ and will include every Jew from every country in the world. They will be brought gladly to Israel. “And am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations,” refers to God’s Plan for them finally being realized.
In every nation of the world, including America, the Jew is looked at, in many cases, with hostility. This is very wrong but very real!
However, the main reason this phrase, “Their enemies’ lands,” is used is because the Lord intends for all Jews to be in the land of Israel. That will be totally and completely realized in the coming Kingdom Age.
THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD
“Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, Who caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there” (Ezek. 39:28).
So certain is the future Restoration of Israel that the past tense is used in Verse 28 in predicting it.
Verse 28 has reference to Israel finally recognizing Christ as the Messiah and Lord and Saviour. For some 2,000 years, they have steadfastly denied this fact, but, “Then shall they know.” The word “then” signifies the time, as previously stated, as the Second Coming of the Lord.
The phrase, “And have left none of them anymore there,” refers to lands other than Israel.
As well, this will not be a forced return but a joyful return, inasmuch as most Jews, if not all, will accept Christ at that time.
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD
“Neither will I hide My Face anymore from them: for I have poured out My Spirit upon the House of Israel, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:29).
As previously stated, so certain is the future Restoration of Israel that the past tense is used in Verse 29 in predicting it.
At the Second Coming, indication is, every single Jew on the face of the Earth, the young and old alike, shall come to Israel. All, and without exception, will want to be near their True Messiah. Then they will know Who He is and will have repented of the terrible sin of crucifying Him. The past will be forgotten, and the future will be glorious, but only after the proper Repentance of Israel. In fact, this Repentance is proclaimed in Zechariah, Chapter 12, Verses 11
THE POURED OUT SPIRIT
“Neither will I hide My Face anymore from them: for I have poured out My Spirit upon the House of Israel, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 39:29).
This Passage and many others emphatically state that Israel will never again go astray because of the “poured out Spirit of God” upon them. This Vision opens and closes with a valley of dry bones, which we will address next.
The first Vision saw the resurrection of those bones (Chpt. 37); in the second part of the Vision, nothing but bones will remain, signifying the catastrophic end of the armies of the Antichrist.
So, these two valleys contrast the one with the other—the one, a testimony to God’s Faithfulness and Love; the other, to His Fidelity and Judgment.
Verse 29 promises the poured out Spirit of God upon Israel in that coming day. However, it must be understood that the Spirit of God cannot be poured out on anyone until the sin question is first settled. This can only be done by the individual evidencing Faith in Christ and what Christ has done at the Cross. Going God’s Way will guarantee the benefits of all His Benefits, which are glorious, to say the least!
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, “Armageddon”.)