Armageddon, What is It?
Is this the name of a real place, or a war, or is this just a symbolic reference to a future event that will be particularly destructive? Does this future event give anyone cause to dread what may come? What is this name in Hebrew and can the ancient pictographs reveal any mysteries to us? Does anything in them direct us to Messiah?
We all want to know the future. Whether good or bad is expected, if we know beforehand we can prepare for either outcome. This is a valuable reason to study the Bible for it is filled with prophecies that describe many remaining future events in great detail.
One of these future events mentioned in the Bible concerns what is often called the Battle of Armageddon. It is described in the scriptures as not just a battle but a place where a war the likes of which the world has never seen will transpire. The word Armageddon only occurs once in the Greek New Testament and is used by the apostle John in the Book of Revelation Chapter 16 verse 16 where he writes:
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."
Who is doing the gathering and who is being gathered? John tells us in verse 14:
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
This war of destruction is the culmination of God’s wrath that John earlier described in Chapter 6 verse 17:
"For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
Armageddon is the Greek rendering of two Hebrew words. They are Har and Megiddon. Har is the word for mountain and Megiddon means a place of crowds. What will we discover in the Hebrew pictographs about this war and place of destruction? Let’s start with Har which is spelled Hey Reysh.
Hey is the picture of the man with outstretched hands to the heavens and means behold or pay attention to what follows.
Reysh is the picture of the head and means the leader or the prince.
When look at Har we think behold the prince. To what prince is this referring and what is the connection to mountains?
In Genesis Chapter 22 verse 14 Moses wrote about the Akedah where Abraham was to bind and offer his only son Isaac to the LORD, but at the very last moment God provided another sacrifice:
"And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh as it is said to this day. In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen."
This mount was identified as being in the land of Moriah which is today believed to be the very spot Solomon’s temple was built in Jerusalem. What was seen in this mount? God provided a ram to substitute for Abraham’s son. Because the ram died in his place, Isaac would live. This was a picture of the future substitutionary death for us by the Prince, the perfect Lamb of God, at this same spot more than 2000 years later.
The Hebrew Scriptures don’t actually say in the mount of the LORD it shall be seen, they say one shall be seen. Moses is referring to the personhood in the Godhead. On the Har God shall be seen.
Now let’s examine Megiddon which is spelled Mem Gimel Dalet Vav Noon.
Mem is the picture of waters that can be waters of destruction like a tsunami or gentle waters that bring life.
Gimel is the picture of the camel and means to lift up, to be lifted up with pride, or to lift up the name of the Lord.
Dalet is the picture of the door and means a doorway or a place of decision that can lead to life or death.
Vav is the picture of the wooden hook or iron nail and means to fasten or secure two things together that are separated from one another.
Noon is the picture of the fish and means life or activity.
The first thing to notice in these pictures is that for this crowd this will be a place of decision: there will be a doorway that will lead to either life or death. These doorways will be connected to one of two possible groups. Those who are lifted up with pride will suffer destruction like a tsunami. Those that lift up the name of the Lord will receive the gentle waters of life.
In Revelation Chapter 6 verse 15 and 16 John tells us to which group most of those in this crowd belong and which doorway they will choose:
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."
Those two doorways are open to us now just as they will be to those John wrote about in the book of Revelation. God will bring His wrath to force the reluctant to choose. Everyone will go through one door or the other. Choose the doorway to life now before the wrath becomes unbearable.
Har Megiddon. Behold the Prince. Lift Him up and enter the doorway that is connected to life.