The Final Battle
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. (NKJ)
When the sixth angel brings the bowl of judgment upon the earth, it is primarily the armies of the world that come into view. Since time immortal mankind has had their great armies. We have become much more proficient in our ability to kill each other but the strategy is still the same. Wars and armies are the make of man and not of God. And in the final days of earth's rebellion against God, God will gather them together as if to dispose of them more efficiently.
We must remember who these armies answer to. It will be none other than the anti-chirst. The anti-christ is Satan's man, but he is also mans supposed greatest hope. He comes on the scene during the world's darkest days with great swelling words of promise of prosperity and peace. With flattery he sways the powers that be, in order to obtain his position. He uses the world's religions, and the world's political system to thrust him to the pinnacle of human achievement.
But when he has arrived, he soon takes on a different color. He soon subdues those who do not submit to him willingly. His political power leads to military power of ever increasing magnitude. After gaining dominion over the ten governments that make up the revived Roman Empire as described in Daniel 2:45-45 and Rev 17:12-14, he tries to force the entire world to follow him.
Although he uses world religion as a means to obtain his position of world dictator, he then turns around and destroys all religions, calming that he himself is the true god and is the only one worthy of worship. Daniel 11:36
He will focus on the Christian's and the Jews in his fury against God.
Dan 7:20-22 21 I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. NKJV
Rev 13:6-7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. NKJV
Paul tells us that at this time he will usurp God's temple in Jerusalem and proclaim himself as God.
2 Thess 2:3-4 the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. NKJV
And he will be successful.
Rev 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" NKJV
He will not only demand worship there in Jerusalem but will establish his government there "between the seas" Dan 11:45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. NKJV This has reference to his making Jerusalem his center of operations.
He will spread his fame to all people everywhere.
Rev 13:7-9 And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. NKJV
The false prophet will cause all both small a great to receive a mark as sign of allegiance to him. Only those who have the mark will be allowed to buy or sell.
Rev 13:15-17 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. NKJV
But once the anti-christ establishes his government in Israel trouble begins to brew. The one thing you can always count on is the pride and sinfulness of man. For now the other armies of the world begin to converge on Israel. The first we notice is the "kings of the East" as seen in our text, v-12. Here most people think this refers to either the nations of India or China. This may correspond with the sixth trumpet and the 200,000,000 man army mentioned there.
Rev 9:13-16 13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. NKJV
If these two armies, both connected with the Euphrates River and with the kings of the east, are the same, we see that they kill one-third of mankind on their dreaded march to fight the anti-christ.
But Daniel tells us that at the same time a king will come from the north and another from the east.
Dan 11:40-41 40 "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; NKJV
These may be the armies of Russia or some of the Arab neighbors and Egypt or other African kingdoms. As we can tell things are getting out of control. With the armies of the anti-christ, the kings of the east, north and south all converging on Palestine, it will set itself up as the greatest battle ever to be fought. The number of soldiers will number in the hundreds of millions. They all thing they are gathering there to fight the anti-christ but there is a more sinister character at work in all of this, Satan.
Behind the backdrop is a more diabolic character, Satan. He is the inspiration behind all of this. Since the day his pride lifted him above the place where God had placed him, he has planned and worked for this day. The day when he would make his ultimate bid to dethrone God. He is represented in Rev. 16:13 by the dragon. He is the one who gives power to the beast and the false prophet. He is behind the scenes working in the hearts of the kings of the earth to give their authority to the beast, the anti-christ and ultimately gather to gather to make war with the Lamb.
Rev 17:12-14 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." NKJV
This is nothing new though. Even the Psalmist understood man's inclination to rebel against God.
1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."
But do you notice God's response? God is not distressed.
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion."
7 "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me,'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.' "
Zechariah tells us what happens next. As these armies come to destroy God's people and to make war against Him, the Lord is not silent.
Zech 14:1-4 1 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, ... 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; .... 3. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.
Joel tells us more.
Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; NKJV
9 Proclaim this among the nations:"Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, 'I am strong.' " 11 Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD.
12 "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow--For their wickedness is great."
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. 16 The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel. NKJV
Zechariah explains how this will convert the Jews, not only that their God miraculously intervened for them and kept them from being annihilated. But hey will now for the first time as a entire nation recognize the Messiah whom they crucified.
8 "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (NKJ)
But we need to see the end of the matter. After Revelation 16:16 the event actually moves to Revelation 19:11.
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18"that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things (NKJ)
Where is the application? What can we take from this? First we need to be wise and humble ourselves before such a powerful God.
Psalm 2:10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. NKJV
You know many people think it is so foolish of Satan and the anti-christ to rebel against God, but I see people do it every day. You see the last sentence of Psalm 2. It says, "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."
Do you know that blessing, to have put your trust in Him.
Notes and other Scriptures
Revelation 16:16 PP2
[Into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon] The word "Armageddon"-- [Armageddoon] (grk 717)-- occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is not found in the Septuagint. It seems to be formed from the Hebrew [har] (heb 2022) [Mªgidow] (heb 4023) Har Megiddo-- Mountain of Megiddo. Compare <2 Chr. 35:22>, where it is said that Josiah "came to fight in the valley of Megiddo." Megiddo was a town belonging to Manasseh, although within the limits of Issachar, <Jos. 17:11>. It had been originally one of the royal cities of the Canaanites <Jos. 12:21>, and was one of those of which the Israelites were unable for a long time to take possession. It was rebuilt and fortified by Solomon <1 Kings 9:15>, and thither Ahaziah king of Judah fled when wounded by Jehu, and died there, <2 Kings 9:27>. It was here that Deborah and Barak destroyed Sisera and his host <Judg. 5:19>; and it was in a battle near this that Josiah was slain by Pharaoh-Necho, <2 Kin. 23:29-30; 2 Chr. 35:20-25>. (from Barnes' Notes)
36 "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 "He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 "But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 "Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. 40 "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 "He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 "He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 "He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 "But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 "And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (NKJ)
II Th 2:3-8
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (NKJ)
26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate." (NKJ)
ESDRAELON, PLAIN OF
ESDRAE'LON, PLAIN OF (es-dra-e'lon). This name is the Gk. modification of Jezreel ("God sows"). It is a large plain about twenty miles long and fourteen miles wide, famous for its fertility due to soil washed down from the neighboring mountains of Galilee and the highlands of Samaria. Esdraelon drains into the Mediterranean by the Wadi Kishon where Deborah's ancient battle was fought <Judg. 4:7; 5:21> and Elijah conducted his contest with the priests of Baal <1 Kin. 18:40>. Important towns in ancient times, such as Taanach, Megiddo, and Bethshan, were built around the edge of the plain by Canaanite chariot kings. The valley has been a famous battleground through the centuries. Here the great Egyptian Thutmose III fought the confederate princes of Syria and Palestine. Here King Saul was slain by the Philistines <1 Sam. 31:1-3>, and here the conquering Israelites faced the Canaanite kings <Josh. 17:16>. In the prophetic Scriptures the last great battle of the age will be fought at Armageddon, the ancient hill of the valley of Megiddo W of Jordan in the plain of Jezreel <Rev. 16:14-16>. This great conflict will be that in which Christ and His coming glory will deliver the Jewish remnant besieged by the Gentile world powers under the Beast and the False Prophet <16:13-16; Zech. 12:1-9>. Apparently the besieging hosts, alarmed by the signs preceding the Lord's advent <Matt. 24:29-30>, fall back to Megiddo after the events of <Zech. 14:2>, where their destruction begins, with the decimation completed in Moab and the plains of Edom <Isa. 63:1-6>. (m.f.u.)
bibliography: D. Baly, Geography of the Bible (1957), pp. 148-54; id., Geographical Companion to the Bible (1963), pp. 70, 74-76, 84-86.
(from New Unger's Bible Dictionary)
(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (C) 1988.)
MEGID'DO (me-gid'o; "place of troops"). One of the royal cities of the Canaanites <Josh. 12:21>, first assigned to Issachar <17:11> but afterward belonging to Manasseh <Judg. 1:27>. Megiddo did not become firmly occupied by the Israelites until the time of Solomon, who placed one of his twelve deputies over Taanach and Megiddo <1 Kin. 4:12> and erected some costly works there <9:15>. The valley of Megiddo was a part of the Plain of Esdraelon. It figured as a battlefield, and here Barak (which see) gained a notable victory over the king of Hazor, whose commanding general was Sisera <Judg. 4:15>. To this place Ahaziah king of Judah fled, and there he died <2 Kin. 9:27>. But the chief historical interest of Megiddo is concentrated in the death of Josiah. He endeavored to stop Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, while the Egyptian was passing through the glens of Carmel into the plain of Megiddo. He was defeated, as he fled was shot by the Egyptian archers and died on the road to Jerusalem <23:29-30; 2 Chr. 35:20-24; Zech. 12:11>. In the last passage the mourning mentioned is on account of Josiah's death. (from New Unger's Bible Dictionary)
(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (C) 1988.)
MEGIDDO (Mih gihd' doh) Place name perhaps meaning, "place of troops." One of the most strategic cities of Canaan since it guarded the main pass through the Carmel mountain range. This range was an obstacle along the international coastal highway which connected Egypt with Mesopotamia and even further destinations. Identified with current tell el-Mutesellim, Megiddo had approximately twenty-five different eras of occupation during its life from the fourth millennium to the time of the Persian Empire. The city was very active while under Egyptian authority from the time of the patriarchs through to the judges (2000-1100 B.C.), but this golden age came to an end about 1125 B.C. when it was destroyed.
The city was allotted to Manasseh (Josh. 17:11; 1 Chron. 7:29) after the partial conquest of Joshua (Josh. 12:21), but neither it nor its surrounding villages were secured by the tribe. Due to its obvious strength, it was among many cities whose overthrow was delayed until later (Judg. 1:27). Deborah and Barak fought the Canaanites and their leaders King Jabin and Sisera near the "waters of Megiddo," possibly the wadi Qina running through the surrounding hills (Judg. 5:19).
When Megiddo was finally annexed to the nation Israel is not known. Probably by the time of David the city was serving Israel's defensive and security purposes. Certainly by the time of Solomon the city was firmly Israelite, since he fortified the city (1 Kings 9:15), including his mighty six chambered gate which followed the pattern of his other two key fortress cities of Hazor and Gezer.
Megiddo was under the jurisdiction of Solomon's deputy, Baana (1 Kings 4:12). Buildings of current controversy have been excavated and explained variously as Solomon's or Ahab's stables, or storehouses where animals were loaded and unloaded.
During the divided monarchy, Megiddo's authority changed from Egyptian to Israelite to Assyrian. Five years into Jeroboam I's reign, (about 920 B.C.), Pharoah Shishak burst into both Israel and Judah, taking control of the coastal highway including Megiddo. However, the Egyptian grip was not long lasting. Later, the city was the place of death for the Judean king, Ahaziah, who was killed at the command of Jehu while fleeing from the scene of Jehoram's assassination (843 B.C., 2 Kings 9:27). Over a century later, the conquering Tiglath-pileser III chose Megiddo to be the seat of the Magidu administrative district in the Assyrian Empire (733 B.C.).
After about 650 B.C. the city was no longer strongly fortified; however, it was still strategically important. Josiah attempted to head off Pharoah Neco II as he advanced along the coastal plain on his way to Carchemish (609 B.C.), but Josiah's attack ended when Neco II's archers fatally wounded him (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chron. 35:22-24).
After returning from Exile, Zechariah prophesied that the mourning for the false deities of Hadad and Rimmon (Hadad-rimmon) that took place in the plain below Megiddon (Megiddo) would be matched by Israel's mourning for its smitten Lord (Zech. 12:11).
Finally, in the New Testament, the Mount of Megiddo (har-Megiddon thus "Armageddon") will be where the kings of the world are gathered for that final battle in the last day of the Lord. Where Israel was initially frustrated during their conquest of Canaan is exactly where they will be victorious with Christ in the end (Rev 16:16).
See picture of a model of Solomonic Megiddo in the museum at Megiddo. Also see picture of a portion of the Solomonic gateway at ancient Megiddo, and see picture of the side of a deep trench cut down to bedrock at Megiddo revealing over twenty layers of occupation.
Daniel C. Fredericks Holman Bible Dictionary
ESDRAELON, PLAIN OF
(es-dra-e'-lon), (yizre`e'l; in Apocrypha the name varies: Esdrelon, Esdraelon, Esdrelom, Esrelon, Esrechon): The Greek name of the great plain in Central Palestine (Jth 3:9; 7:3, etc.).
1. The Name: It is known in Scripture by the Hebrew name "valley of Jezreel" (Josh 17:16; Judg 6:33, etc.). It is called `emeq in Judg 5:15, which properly denotes "a depression," or "deepening," and is used more commonly of the vale running eastward between Gilboa and Little Hermon. Biq`ah is the term usually employed (2 Chron 35:22, etc.), which accurately describes it, "an opening," a level space surrounded by hills. The modern name is Merj ibn `Amr, "meadow of the son of Amr."
2. Position and Description: It lies between Gilboa and Little Hermon on the East, and Mt. Carmel on the West. It is enclosed by irregular lines drawn from the latter along the base of the foothills of Nazareth to Tabor; from Tabor, skirting Little Hermon and Gilboa to Jenin, and from Jenin along the North edge of the Samaritan uplands to Carmel. These sides of the triangle are, respectively, about 15, 15 and 20 miles in length. North of Jenin a bay of the plain sweeps eastward, hugging the foot of Mt. Gilboa. An offshoot passes down to the Jordan valley between Gilboa and Little Hermon; and another cuts off the latter hill from Tabor. The average elevation of the plain is 200 ft. above the level of the Mediterranean. The Vale of Jezreel between Zer`in and Beisan, a distance of about 12 miles, descends nearly 600 ft., and then sinks suddenly to the level of the Jordan valley. The chief springs supplying water for the plain are those at Jenin and at Megiddo.
The former are the most copious, and are used to create a "paradise" on the edge of the plain. Those at Megiddo drive mills and serve for irrigation, besides forming extensive marshes. The springs near Zer`in, three in number, `Ain Jalud, possibly identical with the well of Harod, being the most copious, send their waters down the vale to the Jordan. The streams from the surrounding heights are gathered in the bed of the Kishon, a great trench which zigzags through the plain, carrying the water through the gorge at Carmel to the sea. For the most of its course this sluggish stream is too low to be available for irrigation. The deep, rich soil, however, retains the moisture from the winter rains until far on in the year, the surface only, where uncovered by crops, being baked to brick in the sun. When winter sets in it quickly absorbs the rain, great breadths being turned to soft mud. This probably happened in the battle with Sisera: the northern cavalry, floundering in the morass, would be an easy prey to the active, lightly armed foot-soldiers. The fertility of the plain is extraordinary: hardly anywhere can the toil of the husbandman find a greater reward. The present writer has ridden through crops of grain there, when from his seat on the saddle he could no more than see over the tops of the stalks. Trees do not flourish in the plain itself, but on its borders, e.g. at Jenin, the palm, the olive and other fruit trees prosper. The oak covers the slopes of the hills North of Carmel.
3. Part Played in History: This wide opening among the mountains played a great part in the history of the land. This was due to the important avenues of communication between North and South that lay across its ample breadths. The narrow pass between the promontory of Carmel and the sea was not suitable for the transport of great armies: the safer roads over the plain were usually followed. So it happened that here opposing hosts often met in deadly strife. Hardly an equal area of earth can so often have been drenched with the blood of men. No doubt many conflicts were waged here in far-off times of which no record remains. The first battle fought in the plain known to history was that in which Sisera's host was overthrown (Judg 5:20). The children of the East were surprised and routed by Gideon's 300 chosen men in the stretches North of Zer`in (Judg 7). Near the same place the great battle with the Philistines was fought in which Saul and his sons, worsted in the plain, retired to perish on the heights of Gilboa (1 Sam). In the bed of the Kishon at the foot of Carmel Elijah slaughtered the servants of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). Dark memories of the destruction of Ahab's house by the furiously driving Jehu linger round Jezreel. Ahaziah, fleeing from the avenger across the plain, was overtaken and cut down at Megiddo (2 Kings 9). In the vale by Megiddo Josiah sought to stay the northward march of Pharaoh-necoh, and himself fell wounded to death (2 Kings 23:30; 2 Chron 35:20 ff). The army of Holofernes is represented as spreading out over all the southern reaches of the plain (Jth 7:18,19). Much of the fighting during the wars of the Jews transpired within the circle of these hills. It is not unnatural that the inspired seer should place the scene of war in "the great day of God" in the region so often colored crimson in the history of his people-the place called in the Hebrew tongue "Har-Magedon" (Rev 16:14,16).
Esdraelon lay within the lot of Issachar (Josh 19:17). The Canaanite inhabitants were formidable with their chariots of iron (17:16,18). The tribe does not appear to have prosecuted the conquest with vigor. Issachar seems to have resumed the tent life (Deut 33:18), and ignobly to have secured enjoyment of the good things in the land by stooping to "taskwork" (Gen 49:14 f).
4. Arab Raids: Through many centuries the plain was subject to raids by the Arabs from the East of the Jordan. The approach was open and easy, and the rich breadths of pasture irresistibly attracted these great flock masters. The Romans introduced some order and security; but with the passing of the eastern empire the old conditions resumed sway, and until comparatively recent times the alarm of an Arab invasion was by no means infrequent.
The railway connecting Haifa with Damascus and Mecca crosses the plain, and enters the Jordan valley near Beisan.
W. EWING (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)
JEHOSHAPHAT, VALLEY OF
Joel 3:2,12, parallel to Zech 14:2-4, where the mount of Olives answers to the "valley of Jehoshaphat" in Joel. Possibly "the valley of BERACHAH" (which see), where between Tekoa and the main road from Bethlehem to Hebron Jehoshaphat assembled the people to bless Jehovah for the victory over Ammon, Moab, etc. (2 Chron 20:20-26). The valley with the Kedron at its foot is now called "the valley of Jehoshaphat." But it was not anciently so; Jerome and the Onomasticon of Eusebius first call it so in the fourth century A.D. As the Jews bury worn out rolls of Scripture (for which they have such a deep reverence) here, it is likely the Jehoshaphat from whom the valley is named was a rabbi held in veneration. The tomb called Jehoshaphat's tomb (an excavation with an architectural front) is certainly not that of the king Jehoshaphat, for he was buried in the city of David (2 Chron 21:1). However, the phrases "the city of David" and "Zion" are applied in a general sense to the site of Jerusalem and to the hills around, among which the same name, "sunny mountain," still lingers.
The word "city" comprises the surrounding suburbs (Num 35:25-28; 1 Kings 2:36-37). Also "in" often means at or near (Conder, Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, Oct. 1877, pp. 178,195). Thus the burial "in the city of David" may apply to burial in the vicinity. The enemies Tyre, Sidon, the Philistines, Edom, and Egypt (Joel 3:4,19), are types of the last confederacy under antichrist (Rev 16 Rev 17; 19), which shall assail restored Israel and shall be judged by Jehovah. As Jehoshaphat means "the judgment of Jehovah," "the valley of Jehoshaphat" is probably the general name for the scene of His judgment, Jehoshaphat's victory over the godless horde that sought to dispossess Judah typifying the last victory over the anti-Christian host that shall seek to dispossess restored Israel (Ezek 38-39). That this shall be in the Holy Land seems likely from Zechariah's definite mention of Mount Olivet (Zech 14:1,4-5) as the scene of Christ's return and from its having been the scene of His ascension; the angels moreover announced, "this same Jesus ... shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
The word in Joel is `eemeq (OT:6010), which means a "spacious valley", not a narrow ravine (for which the term is nachal (OT:5158)) such as the valley of the Kedron. In Joel 3:14 "the valley of Jehoshaphat" is called "the valley of decision" or "excision," where the foes shall meet their determined doom. "ARMAGEDDON" (which see) in Rev 16:16 corresponds: from har a mountain, and Megiddo the valley of Jezreel, the great battle field of Canaan, where godly Josiah fell before Pharaoh Necho. Some great plain anti-typical to the two valleys will probably be the scene of the last conflict. Its connection with Jerusalem appears in the context; so "come up," the regular phrase for going to the theocratic capital, is used, but "down into the valley of Jehoshaphat" also (Joel 3:2,12). The Muslims bury their dead on one side of the valley; the Jews on the other. Absalom's tomb and Zechariah's, besides Jehoshaphat's, are pointed out, but without good grounds for the tradition. The king's (Melchizedek's) dale or valley of Shaveh (Gen 14:17; 2 Sam 18:18) is identified with "the valley of Jehoshaphat." Josephus (Ant. 7:10) says ABSALOM'S (which see) monument was two stadia from Jerusalem, probably in the valley of the upper Kedron, where were the judges' tombs, a likely site for his erecting his sepulchral monument.
(from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1998 by Biblesoft)
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com