The Armageddon war will begin with the sixth Bowl Judgment as recorded in Revelation 16:12-16. The Euphrates River will be dried up, making it easy for the kings of the east (and all their armies) to cross over with their forces to gather in the Valley of Megiddo (which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon – the mountain of Megiddo) in order to destroy the Jews once and for all. This will just be a gathering place, for the major battles will be fought in Jerusalem and around Bozrah/Petra.
Megiddo was a major city located at the western end of the Valley of Jezreel, guarding the famous Megiddo Pass into Israel’s largest valley. I believe the kings of the east are not strictly Chinese and oriental kings but are the 7 remaining kings of the 10 kings/kingdom/regions spoken of in Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12. Of course, the 8th king, the Antichrist, will be with them. Once the Euphrates River is dried up, He will bring his forces stationed in Babylon with him.
While the kings of the east (east of the Euphrates) are in the land of Israel, a coalition of nations will attack and destroy Babylon. They will be led by an ancient people the Bible names as the Medes. “See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there” (Isaiah 13:17-20). Many scholars think the Kurds of today’s time are descendants of the ancient Medes.
This future destruction of Babylon is described further in Isaiah 13:1-22; 14:1-11,22-23, and in Jeremiah chapters 50 & 51. Babylon was never destroyed in the way Isaiah and Jeremiah described when the Medes and Persians took the Babylonian Kingdom in 538 BC. When Darius the Mede assumed the throne in Babylon, he did so without having fought a battle for the right. A contingent of the Medo-Persian armies had slipped into the city at night after they had diverted the River Euphrates far upstream. With the river reduced to knee-high depth, they crawled under the bronze bars that descended into the river to keep the city secure, and they opened the gates for their armies to capture the mighty Babylon fortress without an arrow being shot.
Upon hearing the news of his capital city, Babylon, being destroyed, the Antichrist will attack Jerusalem. This battle is described in Zechariah 12:1-3 and 14:1-2. “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zechariah 14:1-2). The city of Jerusalem will be taken along with the spoil, and the women will be raped. Half of the population will go into slavery, but the remnant will remain in the city for a time.
From Jerusalem, the Antichrist and his armies (of all nations) will move south to Bozrah, in the land of Edom (southern Jordan) in an attempt to annihilate the remnant of Israel that are taking refuge in the rock fortress of Petra. The remnant Jews have been there since fleeing the Antichrist’s army during his abomination of desolation, approximately 1,260 days. The Jews’ true Messiah has other plans, however. Once the remnant Jews finally realize Jesus was (and is) their true Messiah and call on Him to save them from total destruction, Jesus will return to earth and will fight for them as in the days of old. His return (2nd Coming) will take place in Bozrah, not the Mount of Olives as is commonly taught.
“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? ‘I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered That there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth'” (Isaiah 63:1-6).
The remnant of Israel gathered in Bozrah and the 2nd Coming are found together in the Old Testament book of Micah, chapter 2, verses 12-13. A New Testament passage of scripture regarding the 2nd Coming is found in Revelation:
“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. 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. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 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. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
“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, 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.’
“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. 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. 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” (Revelation 19:11-21).
Two great Old Testament prophecies that describe the 2nd Coming are found in Habakkuk 3:1-19 and Psalm 18:8-16. These passages vividly describe the Lord’s wrath on his terrified enemies. At His coming, nature will be greatly affected, as will the terrestrial heavenly sphere. He will come with the wrath of God, riding upon a cherub (with horse-like features). The entire world is illuminated by the brightness of His glorious return.
The Battle of Bozrah will continue all the way back to Jerusalem, which overlooks a part of the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. “Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the nations round about. Put you in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe; come, tread you; for the winepress is full, the vats overflows for their wickedness is great” (Joel 3:12-13). This winepress of Israel’s enemies’ blood is also spoken of in Revelation 14:19-20 and is said to stretch for 1,600 furlongs (200 miles) and to be as high as a bridle on a horse.
Zechariah also describes the manner in which the Antichrist’s armies will be destroyed in Zechariah 14:12-15. After the slaughter is finished, there will be a victory ascent up the Mount of Olives. “Then shall Jehovah (Lord Jesus) go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:3-4). It is interesting that the Lord Jehovah fought for Judah (in the day of battle) in the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat, and the battles might have taken place in the same valley (later renamed the Valley of Jehoshaphat).
The 7th Bowl Judgment will occur at this time and is described in Revelation 16:17-21. This judgment will include the greatest earthquake that has ever occurred in the history of mankind. It is not the same earthquake mentioned o Ezekiel 38:19. It will cause the city of Jerusalem to split into three parts and will cause the cities of the nations to fall. “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail, every stone about the weight of a talent, comes down out of heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail: for the plague thereof is exceeding great” (Revelation 16:19-21). The 7th Bowl Judgment will bring an end to God’s judgments (Seals, Trumpets, Bowl) upon Israel and the nations and peoples of the earth.
This earthquake and the destruction and geographical changes it causes is also described in Zechariah 14:4-5. “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. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.”
There will also be a brief blackout during this time. “It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the Lord— neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light” (Zechariah 14:6-7). The earthquake and the blackout are also described in Joel 3:14-17. The blackout is described in Matthew 24:29.
The geographical changes to the land of Israel and Jerusalem are also described in Zechariah 14: “And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—The Lord is one, And His name one. All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (Zechariah 14:8-11).
In my opinion, the Rapture will bring about the conditions for Russia, Iran, Turkey, and others to attack Israel to take a ‘spoil’ of gas, minerals, cattle, etc., as the removal of millions of people will affect the U.S.A. more than any other country and will leave her in a very weak and vulnerable position. The U.S.A. will not be able either mentally, financially, or militarily to come to the rescue of Israel at this time. The only One that will help Israel in their time of need will be the Great I AM, and that’s the only help you really ever need.
The Rapture and the Gog-Magog war results will bring about the necessary conditions for the 10 Kings/Kingdoms to initiate a one-world government, one-world religion, and a one-world currency. They will make a covenant with the ‘many’ which includes Israel. The A.C. will appear on the scene and will confirm (make stronger) the covenant, and its duration will be for 7 years. These will be the last 7 years on earth before Jesus’ 2nd Coming and is known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week/Seven (Daniel 9:24).
Of course, we know at the mid-point (approximately) of the Tribulation, the A.C. will kill 3 of the kings and will break his covenant with Israel. He will put an end to the Jews’ practice of sacrificing animals to the Lord; and his partner, the false prophet, will set up an image of the A.C. and command everyone to worship him. “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” (Daniel 9:27).
This is the moment the A.C. shows his true colors and intentions. He will begin his campaign of murder and persecutions against the Jews. During the Olivet Discourse, Jesus prophesied about this future time. “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15-22).
The remnant Jews will flee to Petra in Bozrah to escape the wrath of the Satanically possessed Antichrist. They will not have time to take any weapons/fuel with them. They will be fleeing for their lives. The only way any weapons/fuel could be gathered to Petra would be if they had foreseen this moment and carried their cache there beforehand. I am in agreement with Mr. Fruchtenbaum that there will be no burying of the dead or burning of weapons during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. The Gog-Magog war must start before Daniel’s Seventieth Week, and is not a part of the Armageddon war.
I believe this war will begin relatively soon, as Russia needs this ‘spoil’ (gas, minerals, cattle) to finance its wars, and the Muslim nations allied with Russia will not be able to contain their demonic hatred of the Jews much longer without making good on their promise to annihilate them. Of course, they are in for a rude awakening. “For we know Him who said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:30-31,37).
Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus!