The Second Coming of Saturn Part 32: Armageddon

The long war by the Fallen against their Creator is for control of God’s har môʿēd, His mount of assembly, Zion. That’s His prize jewel, and that’s why Saturn wants it:

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.

Psalm 48:1–2

So you shall know that I am the Lord your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.

Joel 3:17

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”

Psalm 132:13–14

Plenty of other verses support this idea, but you get the point: God’s holy mountain, His mount of assembly, is Zion—the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Yes, some believe Solomon’s Temple was in the City of David, south of the Temple Mount. There are a number of reasons, including recent archaeological excavations in the City of David at the alternate location proposed for the Temple, that do not support this theory. The most obvious bit of evidence is the testimony of first-century Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote that the platform supporting the Temple measured five hundred cubits square. That’s roughly a hundred feet wider than the City of David, which sits on a small, narrow hill south of the Temple Mount.[1] Had the platform been there, it would have hung out over the Kidron Valley, which is bad design to say the least.

Placing Armageddon at Jerusalem makes the most sense from a spiritual standpoint. It’s the home of God’s mount of assembly. Besides, other apocalyptic prophecies in the Old Testament point to Jerusalem at the site of the final showdown between good and evil.

The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.…

And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:1–3, 9, emphasis added

For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Zechariah 14:2–5, emphasis added

For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.

Joel 3:1–2, emphasis added
Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog prophecy means the whole world–from north, south, east, and west–will come to Israel for the final battle of the age, Armageddon just as Zechariah and Joel prophesied.

The phrase “on that day” refers to the Day of Yahweh, or Day of the Lord, the time of God’s judgment against a rebellious and unbelieving world. Zechariah and Joel saw the same final battle as Ezekiel. God personally intervenes to destroy the army assembled against Israel. That’s the Second Coming, the return of Messiah.

When He arrives, the Mount of Olives splits in two, creating “a very wide valley.” This is probably the Valley of Jehoshaphat mentioned by Joel. This valley doesn’t exist on any known map—at least it doesn’t exist today. The name of the valley is not a reference to the king of Judah during the days of Ahab; Jehoshaphat’s name means “Yahweh will judge,” so the Valley of Jehoshaphat is literally the “Valley of Yahweh’s Judgment.” That’s where the Battle of Armageddon ends—between the west slope of the Mount of Olives and the eastern gate of Jerusalem, through which the Messiah will triumphantly enter His city once again.

The location is not random. As mentioned in an earlier article, this is probably where David buried the head of Goliath, thus turning the rosh (“head” or “summit”) of the Mount of Olives into Golgotha (“Goliath’s head”), the site of the Crucifixion. It’s where an Ammonite princess convinced King Solomon to build a high place for the “king” god, Milcom, another name for El, one of the many identities worn by this entity over the centuries. Our Lord used the mount as His base of operations for the final week of His human life. Christ was buried on the Mount of Olives, descended from there to the abyss to declare His victory over the imprisoned rebels, and was taken from there up into heaven. And Zechariah has prophesied that when He returns, the Messiah will land there, at the Mount of Olives.

If you’ve studied end-times prophecy at all, you’ve probably been taught that Armageddon will be fought at Megiddo, not Jerusalem. It’s a popular teaching, but it’s based on the difficulty of transliterating from Hebrew to Greek to English. As famous as it is, the name “Armageddon” is found in only one verse in the entire Bible:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

Revelation 16:12–16

John used slightly different terminology to describe the Day of the Lord, but “the great day of God the Almighty” clearly refers to the same event described by Zechariah and Amos. It’s the same battle described by Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39 of his book, about which we’ll have more in an upcoming article.

English speakers trying to decipher the Hebrew words behind “Armageddon” concluded that it’s a compound name based on the Hebrew har magedōn (“Mount Megiddo”), where the “-on” suffix indicates a place name. In fact, several English translations, such as the NASB, NRSV, and ASV, render the name either “Harmagedon” or “Har-Magedon.” This has convinced respected prophecy teachers like Chuck Missler, Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum to place har magedōn near the city of Megiddo in the Valley of Jezreel.

 King Josiah of Judah died at Megiddo in 609 BC in battle against Pharaoh Necho. Courtesy (click to enlarge).

To be fair, that’s a logical conclusion from a military standpoint. Megiddo overlooks the valley, which connects the Jordan valley to the Mediterranean, and it guards a key pass through the Carmel mountain range. Several decisive battles were fought at or near Megiddo. In the fifteenth century BC, a little more than a decade before the Exodus, Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated a confederation of Canaanite city-states there.

In 609 BC, Judah’s King Josiah was killed in battle at Megiddo against Pharaoh Necho, who was leading an Egyptian force north to fight alongside the remnant of the Assyrian army against the rising power in the Near East, the Chaldean kingdom of Babylon. Things went badly for Josiah, who was killed by an Egyptian archer. Despite his efforts, less than twenty-five years later, Nebuchadnezzar’s army sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. Some gratitude.

But with all due respect to the prophecy scholars named above, whose teachings I value highly, placing Armageddon at Megiddo just doesn’t fit. First of all, there’s no mountain at Megiddo. The ancient site of Megiddo is elevated above the plain, yes—but it’s not a mountain. It’s a tell, a mound created when people build and rebuild a settlement over centuries on the same spot. Second, it’s unlikely that God would descend on the Mount of Olives when the armies of the world, led by the Antichrist, are fifty miles away at Megiddo. Most important, a battle at Megiddo doesn’t fit the apocalyptic prophecies of Zechariah, Joel, Ezekiel,[2] and Jesus Himself,[3] all of whom pointed to Jerusalem as the site of the climactic battle.

The problem of identification comes from the difficulty in transliterating from Hebrew to Greek. In 1938, scholar Charles C. Torrey proposed a solution: Armageddon is based not on har magedōn, the name of a nonexistent mountain, but on a phrase we’ve used throughout this book, har môʿēd (“mount of assembly”):

How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly [har môʿēd]
in the far reaches of the north” [yarkete tsaphon—Mount Zaphon, the mountain sacred to Baal].

Isaiah 14:12–13, emphasis added

Torrey argued that scholars who weren’t expert in Greek and Hebrew missed the fact that the Hebrew character ayin, transliterated into English with the character ʿ (sort of a reverse apostrophe), was usually represented in Greek by the letter gamma. This is only an approximation, because there is no letter or sound in Greek that corresponds to ayin. Likewise, there’s no corresponding sound or letter in English for ayin, either. In modern Hebrew, ayin is vocalized as a glottal stop. So, when John wrote Revelation, he transliterated the Hebrew mem-ayin-daleth (M-ʿ-D) into the closest Greek approximation, mu-gamma-delta (M-G-D).

 Armageddon is coming to Jerusalem, not Megiddo.

Torrey’s point was that those who were unaware of the difficulty of transliterating the ayin into Greek—and, more importantly, the critical role of the har môʿēd (“mount of assembly”) in Hebrew theology—assumed that John’s gammarepresented the Hebrew gimel, and concluded the original Hebrew name must have been mem-gimel-daleth (M-G-D) instead of mem-ayin-daleth (M-ʿ-D). Thus, môʿēd became magedōn and the battle of Armageddon was transplanted from Mount Zion in Jerusalem to Megiddo—a place of no supernatural significance where no mountain exists.

Make no mistake: Armageddon is the battle for control of the har môʿēd—Zion, God’s mount of assembly. The final conflict of the age will be fought at Jerusalem.

Next: Return of the Titans


[1] Gordon W. Franz, “Cornuke’s Temple Book: ‘The Greatest Archaeological Blunder of All Time.’” Life and Land, Nov. 1, 2015., retrieved 5/9/21.

[2] Ezekiel 39:11 locates the destruction of the army of Gog (the Antichrist) in “the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea.” I explained why that refers to the Plains of Moab, the Jordan valley between Mount Nebo and Jericho, in my book Last Clash of the Titans (pp. 164–178).

[3] Luke 21:20–24. Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem is an example of an “already but not yet” prophecy fulfillment. The city was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans, but it also refers to the Tribulation before His Second Coming.

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