As Napoleon stood on Mount Megiddo looking out over the adjacent valley of Megiddo in what was then northern Palestine, he reportedly turned to one of his commanders and said, “This is the most natural battlefield in all the world.”
We know the valley of Meggido by a more familiar name. Revelation 16 verse 16, Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called……Armageddon. Most scholars agree that Megiddo and Armageddon refer to the same place.
And the Bible tells us in Revelation that one of the last great battles of all time will be waged at the valley of Armageddon.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
While it’s not the absolute last battle that will be fought, the Battle of Armageddon is the decisive battle that will signal the end of the seven year tribulation period and usher in the thousand year reign of Christ. There’s a reason it only took John a couple of paragraphs to describe what will happen. Though it will be fierce (for those on the losing side), it’s not going to last very long. In Revelation 19 verse 21, after the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire, John tells us what becomes of those who followed the beast and the false prophet into this conflict:
The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse……
With just His word alone, Jesus Christ will defeat all the world’s armies when they gather at Armageddon to try to destroy the people of God. How do I know this? Ephesians 6 verse 17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Jesus will say the word, and all His enemies will be destroyed.
Satan will stage one last desperate rebellion against God after the thousand year reign of Christ, at the battle of Gog and Magog. But God will intervene and destroy Satan’s army with fire from Heaven, almost in an instant.
So the book of Revelation tells us about the last two great battles that will take place on earth. The first precedes the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, and the last one will bring about Satan’s final defeat. God will secure the victory in both conflicts.
But as I read the account in Revelation, it got me to thinking, when did the first battle take place? When did men begin mobilizing armies and fighting wars? Well, we don’t know exactly when kings and rulers began building armies and waging war. But the first time one of God’s people mobilized an army is recorded in Genesis chapter 14, when Abram gathered a small force to go get his nephew Lot after Lot and his family had been captured by the armies of kings Kedorlaomer, Tidal, Amraphel, and Aioch.
From Genesis 14:
When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
There’s someting else that’s interesting about this account. The Bible goes on to say in Genesis 14:
After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High,
who has defeated your enemies for you.”
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.
Now read what the author of Hebrews wrote about Jesus:
Chapter 5 verses 9 and 10:
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
From the 7th chapter of Hebrews:
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
And there are other passages in Hebrews, as well as in the 110th Psalm, that speak of Jesus as a great high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
I thought it was interesting that after Abram led the first battle in which a man of God took up arms to fight for a just cause, he was met by Melchizedek as he returned from the battlefield. And Jesus, who will lead one of the last great battles that the world will ever see, for the most righteous and just cause ever, was described in Hebrews as a great high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
That’s not just a coincidence. It’s in the Bible for a reason. In the fifth chapter of Hebrews we’re told:
Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins.
Melchizedek (whose name means ‘king of righteousness), met Abram as he returned from what would be the one and only time he would lead a military engagement. The Bible says Melchizedek he blessed Abram and credited God for the victory and in return, Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of the goods he had recovered.
Abram knew, probably with help from the Holy Spirit, that Melchizedek was more than mere man. He must have sensed that he was a representative of God. And as such, he had the authority to accept Abram’s gift which in reality, was a gift to God. So not only did Melchizedek represent God before Abram, he also represented Abram before God. That’s what a high priest does, according to that passage in Hebrews.
Also, Melchizedek was both a king and priest. By comparison, Jesus is also a king and a priest. Like Melchizedek, Jesus was God’s representative here on earth, and Jesus also represents us before God. Hebrews 9 verse 24 tells us He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
And Ephesians 5 verse 2 says that Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Whereas an earthly priest like Melchizedek was authorized to offer sacrifices for sin, Jesus is our sacrifice. Make no mistake; Melchizedek was only a forerunner of the one to come. Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest.
Just like Abram, Jesus will be victorious when He leads His one and only military campaign. From the time Abram fought that first battle, until the day comes that Jesus leads the army of saints at Armageddon, there has been and always will be a need for warriors, for men trained in combat, whether it’s temporal (that is, earthly) or spiritual.
The reason for this is simple: We live in a fallen world. However, there’s an important truth to remember. God did not create the evil behind the motives that causes leaders of nations to pursue war with other nations. Evil entered the world through the original sin. We serve a holy and righteous God. But as long as there are those who are willing to fight for evil causes, we will need soldiers who are willing to fight for just causes. It’s been that way almost from the very beginning, and it will remain so until the end.
End part 1