Scripture does not give great detail concerning the sequence of events during the Campaign of Armageddon. Most of the passages concerning this time are sprinkled in various prophetic passages which combine both a near-term and a far-future referent. This complicates matters for the interpreter because he must determine which portions of the passage are clearly fulfilled in historic events near the time of the prophet and whether portions of the passage speak down the corridor of prophetic vision to the time of the endremaining yet unfulfilled. In some cases, such as the final and complete destruction of Babylon, it is not too difficult to see that aspects of the destruction described by the prophets have not yet come to pass. In other cases, things are more complex. Because of these difficulties, we should approach any proposal concerning the sequence of events with caution and an open mind, for there are a considerable variety of views on this matter:
There are a number of theories as to the events in the campaign of Armageddon: (1) Armageddon will be a conflict between the Roman empire and the northern confederacy [Sale-Harrison]; (2) it will be a conflict between the Roman empire and the kings of the east, or the Asiatic powers [Ironside]; (3) Armageddon will be a conflict between all nations and God [Pettingill]; (4) it will be a conflict between four great world powers [McClain]; (5) it will be a conflict between the Roman empire, Russia, and the Asiatic powers [Lindberg]; (6) it will exclude Russia, but will take place between the Roman, eastern, and northern powers which will exclude Russia [Feredy], based on the theory that Ezekiel Eze. 38:1 and Eze. 39:1 takes place in the millennium; (7) Russia is the only aggressor at Armageddon [Rimmer], based on the theory that there will be no revived form of the Roman empire. One can see what a wide divergence of opinion there is as to the chronology of events in this campaign.1
The Campaign of Armageddon
Fruchtenbaum suggests a sequence of events as follows:3
- The Assembling of the Allies of Antichrist - When the sixth bowl is poured out, the Euphrates river is dried up and the kings of the earth are gathered to the valley of Jezreel (Rev. Rev. 16:12-16+; Joel Joel 3:9-11).
- The Destruction of Babylon - Babylon is rebuilt on the banks of the Euphrates to become the world economic capital (Zec. Zec. 5:5-11). While the Antichrist is away at Megiddo, Babylon undergoes catastrophic destruction (Isa. Isa. 13:1, Isa. 14:1; Jer. Jer. 50:1, Jer. 51:1; Rev. Rev. 15:8+; Rev. 17:18+; Rev. 18:1+; Rev. 19:2+).
- The Fall of Jerusalem - The Antichrist receives news that his capital city has been destroyed and moves south against Jerusalem (Zec. Zec. 12:1-3; Zec. 14:1-9; Mic. Mic. 4:11-Mic. 5:1). The Jews will put up a mighty defense, but Jerusalem will eventually fall (Zec. Zec. 14:2).
- The Armies of the Antichrist at Bozrah - The Jewish remnant flees to the mountains (Mtt. Mat. 24:15) and then to the wilderness in Edom (see Sheep in Bozrah ). The armies under Antichrist will move against the Jews in Bozrah (Mic. Mic. 2:12).4
- The National Regeneration of Israel - The Jews confess their national sin, the rejection and crucifixion of Messiah Jesus (Lev. Lev. 26:40-42; Jer. Jer. 3:11-18; Hos. Hos. 5:15). They then plead for His return (Ps. Ps. 79:1-13; Isa. Isa. 64:1-12; Hos. Hos. 6:1-3; Zec. Zec. 12:10-Zec. 13:1; Zec. 13:7-9; Mtt. Mat. 23:39).
- The Second Coming of Messiah - Christ returns to Bozrah, where the remnant have been preserved (Isa. Isa. 34:1-7; Isa. Isa. 63:1-6; Mic. Mic. 2:12-13; Hab. Hab. 3:1-19; Zec. Zec. 12:7; Rev. Rev. 19:11-18+).5
- The Battle from Bozrah to the Valley of Jehoshaphat - Christ fights the forces of Antichrist from Bozrah continuing all the way back to the eastern walls of Jerusalem, which overlook a section of the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Antichrist is destroyed. (Joel Joel 3:12-13; 2Th. 2Th. 2:8; Zec. Zec. 14:12-15; Rev. Rev. 14:19-20+; Rev. 19:20+).6
- The Victory Ascent Up the Mount of Olives - This is not the initial return of Christ, for He will save the tents of Judah first (Zec. Zec. 12:7). Nor will his initial return be to the same place He ascended, the Mount of Olives, but merely in the same manner (Acts Acts 1:11). His ascent to the Mount is attended by cataclysmic events associated with the seventh bowl judgment (Mtt. Mat. 24:29; Zec. Zec. 14:4-5; Rev. Rev. 16:17-21+).
Pentecost suggests a less detailed sequence of events as follows:7
- Covenant with Antichrist - Prince of Roman empire [the Antichrist] makes a covenant with Israel for a seven year period (Dan. Dan. 9:26-27). (Although this covenant is broken three and one-half years later.) See Events of the 70th Week of Daniel.
- Invasion of Palestine - The King of the North and the King of the South invade Palestine (Dan. Dan. 11:40).
- Antichrist Responds - Because of his covenant with Israel, the Antichrist will come to Israels defense (Dan. Dan. 11:40-45).
- News from East and North - News from the east and the north troubles the Antichrist (Dan. Dan. 11:44). Perhaps it is the approach of the kings of the east (Rev. Rev. 16:12+). (The troubling news may be the destruction of Babylon, although Pentecost does not mention this.)8
- Headquarters in Palestine - The Antichrist moves his headquarters into the land of Palestine and assembles his armies there (Dan. Dan. 11:45).
- Christ Returns - Before he can engage the kings from the east, Christ returns. All the armies combine to fight against God (Rev. Rev. 19:19+).
- Antichrist and Armies Overthrown - The armies and the Antichrist are destroyed without human means (Dan. Dan. 9:25; Dan. 11:45; Rev. Rev. 19:20+).
1 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 343.
2 Copyright © 2003 Ariel Ministries (www.ariel.org), P.O. Box 3723, Tustin, CA 92781. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works. [Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 314].
3 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 315-364.
4 Since the main purpose of the Campaign of Armageddon is the annihilation of the Jews, the armies of the world will move southward from Jerusalem to Bozrah, as Jeremiah Jer. 49:13-14 makes clear.Ibid., 336.
5 It must be noted that the angels did not prophesy that Jesus would return to the same place [Acts Acts 1:9-11], but rather in the same manner in which He had left. Jesus left in the clouds of Heaven and according to Matthew Mat. 24:30, He will return in the clouds of Heaven.Ibid., 349.
6 Zechariah Zec. 14:12-15 describes the manner in which these massive hordes of Antichrists armies will be destroyed . . . the fight continues all the way back to Jerusalem, coming to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel Joel 3:12-13). The nations that have gathered against the Jews (Joel Joel 3:9-11) will now find themselves being trodden by the King of the Jews. It is of this treading in the Valley of Jehoshaphat that Revelation Rev. 14:19-20+ speaks . . . The city spoken of in these verses is Jerusalem, and the winepress is just outside the city, meaning it is in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. From here the armies of Antichrist will leave for Bozrah, and they will return here as the conflict comes to an end.Ibid., 359.
7 Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 343-358.
8 The ultimate destruction of Babylon would appear to involve forces from the north (Isa. Isa. 13:17; Jer. Jer. 50:3, Jer. 50:9; Jer. 51:11, Jer. 51:27-28, Jer. 51:48). Although Babylon was captured from the north (by the Medes, Jer. Jer. 51:28) in 539 B.C. (Dan. Dan. 5:31), her fall did not involve physical destruction as these passages indicate.