And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”
The Figurative “Mountain of Megiddo”
11. (a) What does the name Armageddon mean, and was there ever a geographical location so named? (b) Why was the ancient city of Megiddo of historical importance? (c) What double meaning did the name Megiddo take on?
11 The Hebrew name Har–Magedon, or Armageddon, means “Mountain of Megiddo.” No geographical location in ancient or modern times has been called Mountain of Megiddo. Thus in a book like Revelation that is filled with figurative language, the term has symbolic meaning. What must that be? Well, the elevated city of Megiddo, the name of which place means “assembly of troops,” was of historical importance. In secular and in Biblical history the name stirred up memories of decisive battles. Why? Because the city then dominated a strategic land passageway between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and invaders could advantageously be challenged and halted there by the inhabitants. Thus Megiddo took on a double meaning—that of tragic defeat for one side and of glorious victory for the other side.
12, 13. (a) How did the God of the Bible become associated with Megiddo and its nearby river during the days of Judge Barak? (b) How does the victory song of Barak and Deborah describe God’s role in the victory?
12 The God of the Bible became associated with Megiddo and with the nearby river Kishon during the period of the Israelite judges. In the days of Judge Barak and the prophetess Deborah, God gave a signal victory to his chosen people in the neighborhood of Megiddo. Judge Barak had only 10,000 men, whereas the enemy under General Sisera had, besides ground troops, 900 horse-drawn war chariots. Jehovah stepped into the battle in behalf of his chosen people and caused a flash flood to immobilize those formidable chariots of the enemy. In the victory song that Barak and Deborah sang to God after the miraculous defeat of Sisera’s army, they called attention to God’s part in this overthrow of the enemy:
13 “Kings came, they fought; it was then that the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. No gain of silver did they take. From heaven did the stars fight, from their orbits they fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon washed them away, the torrent of ancient days, the torrent of Kishon.”—Judges 5:12, 19-21.
14. What closing words of that inspired victory song are no doubt a prayer with regard to the coming war at Armageddon?
14 Without doubt, the inspired words with which Barak and Deborah closed their song after that ancient victory at Megiddo apply as a prayer with regard to the coming war at Armageddon. They sang: “Thus let all your enemies perish, O Jehovah, and let your lovers be as when the sun goes forth in its mightiness.”—Judges 5:31.*
Nations Being Gathered to Armageddon
15. (a) What kind of place, then, is Armageddon? (b) What is one of the sources of the unclean propaganda that mobilizes the nations to the war at Armageddon?
15 So Megiddo was a place where decisive battles were fought. Logically, then, Armageddon would be the battlefield to which all the worldly nations of today would march under the inciting forces described at Revelation 16:13, 14. The “expressions inspired by demons” that mobilize the nations are the propaganda that is today croaked forth, unclean like the Biblically unclean frog. One of the sources of such unclean propaganda is the “great fiery-colored dragon.” Revelation 12:1-9 identifies “the dragon” as Satan the Devil.
16. At Revelation 16:13, what does “the wild beast” symbolize?
16 Another source of unclean propaganda is “the wild beast.” At Revelation 16:13 this symbolic “wild beast” is associated with the devilish “dragon.” According to Revelation 20:10, this “wild beast” will be destroyed forever because of its cooperation with the symbolic “dragon.” “The wild beast” symbolizes the entire political system of this world of which “the dragon” is the god. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It takes in all the various political governments of this world.—Compare Daniel 7:17; 8:20, 22.
17. What is the effect of the froglike propaganda issuing forth from “the wild beast”?
17 Such a world system of political rule has its distinctive propaganda. And this croaking, froglike propaganda is an inspired expression that serves with the inspired expression of “the dragon” to gather “the kings,” or political rulers of the world, to “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” that will be fought at Armageddon.
18. (a) What does the name Har–Magedon denote? (b) What would a mountain symbolize?
18 Har–Magedon thus signifies a world situation that involves a decisive war. It denotes that ultimate state to which world affairs come where the political rulers unitedly oppose God’s will, so that God must react with a counterforce according to his purpose. So the future is to be determined by what results from this confrontation. At Megiddo itself, the geographical location, there was no mountain. But a mountain would symbolize a prominent place of assembly that would be easily discerned from a distance by all the military forces gathering there.
19, 20. What strategy will the General of Jehovah’s heavenly forces use at Armageddon, and with what result?
19 Jesus Christ, the General of Jehovah’s fighting forces, has for some years looked upon the gathering of the rulers of the world and their fighting forces to Armageddon. But he has not tried to single out any particular king and his military forces to strike them down singly and thus finish off the enemy forces piecemeal. On the contrary, he is allowing them sufficient time to mass together and to unify their forces to the greatest military potential. His bold purpose is to take all of them on at the same time!
20 He will thereby gain a more resounding victory over them, to the glory of his own Commander in Chief, Jehovah God, and to the verification of himself as, indisputably, the “King of kings and Lord of lords.”—Revelation 19:16.