Armageddon – on earth and in heaven
For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that the battle of Armageddon is a great war that is going to take place somewhere in Israel in the very last days. In fact, it is one of the very last events that is to take place before the Lord returns. If the battle of Armageddon has commenced, then you know that time is about up.
Well, not really. Time will continue, but for any wicked who are living on the earth at that time, their time is up and they are about to be destroyed. In fact, we know that time exists even where God is although it is after a different order than our time, but that’s a discussion for another day and another essay.
I think you will agree with me though that the battle of Armageddon is surely one of the great signs that we need to be aware of as being a harbinger of the coming of the Lord to the earth in power and great glory. We call this the Second Coming or the Second Advent. To many people it is a day of rapture, rising to meet the Lord.
More than an earthly battle
I’ve thought long and hard about this great battle that is to take place and have just about decided that some of the tings I assumed or was taught growing up regarding this great battle were simply wrong. I think my teachers missed some fundamental points about what is prophesied to take place during this great and terrible battle.
Some of my gospel tutors had more of an understanding of what was to take place and made it clear that in addition to the earthly armies to be gathered that there would be many cataclysmic events transpiring in the heavens about the same time. They whetted my appetite to understand the heavenly wonders, but had no details.
The Battle of Armageddon is said by many, even by scholars within the church to be comprised of an army of 200 million. This is one of the interpretations of the scriptures that I find to be less than clear. I now wonder if Revelation 9:16 was referring to something other than the warriors comprising any earthly army.
The armies of the Lord
I have no doubt that there will indeed be millions upon millions of men and their terrible weapons of war amassed upon the Plain of Esdraelon. Those gathered will be from all nations and will come up to besiege Israel, but I just can’t see the need for 200 million warriors all gathered in that one place. It just doesn’t make sense.
I have written previously about my views of Revelation chapter 9, in conjunction with Joel chapter 2 in which I discussed one interpretation of the armies of the Lord. I am now more convinced than ever that John was not describing an earthly army in Rev 9:16. So I dismiss the idea that there will be 200 million gathered.
I know that I am going against what many LDS scholars and curriculum writers have surmised about this verse, but I just don’t feel that it is correct to interpret that number as referring to earthly armies. I invite you to provide me with a quote from a general authority that identifies the size of the army in the battle of Armageddon.
The battle in the heavens
Because we tend to be so focused on the political battle that so many have said will be happening in the plains below, we often overlook the great battle that the Lord has told us will be going on in the heavens above at that same time. Scholars have made passing reference to it but in terms that make it seem almost inconsequential.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The cataclysmic and catastrophic events in the heavens just before the return of the Lord will be among the most destructive and powerful forces to ever come upon this planet. In the words of the scriptures, the earth shall reel to and fro, the heavens shall shake and all will be in commotion.
It will be a day of great destruction with earthquakes the magnitude of which we have not experienced in our lifetime. These earthquakes are not caused by normal tectonic activity but by the approach of one of the creations of God as an agent of destruction. In other words, it will be a great planet that at first looks like a comet.
Sign of the Son of Man
I can hear you now. “Yeah, right, whoever heard of such a thing? If a planet or comet was going to come near to the earth in the last days, God would have told us about it.” Well, he has. The prophet Joseph Smith made it clear that there will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do?
They will say it is a planet, a comet or some other celestial object. Maybe they will identify it as such because that is indeed what it will be. Can you imagine what will happen when a huge planet approaches this earth, not on a collision course, but in a manner that it will come alongside us or actually above us?
Stars shall fall from heaven
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what is going to happen. When the Lord says that he will come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, I can’t think of anything more powerful and glorious than to see a huge planet come upon us and take up residence over the Northern magnetic pole of planet earth.
As the planet approaches, it will bring with it much celestial debris that will reign down destruction upon us in the form of meteorites and burning hail from the sky. No, you and I have never seen this before in our lifetimes, but prophets of the past have seen it and have foretold it in vivid and descriptive language as a warning.
I have written about this previously in an essay quoting what some of the early leaders of our church commonly taught in their day. For some reason, we are not as familiar with these quotes as we should be. Perhaps it is because we do not believe them or we think that such statements were just conjecture on their part.
Summary and conclusion
Yes, Armageddon will be a great and terrible day, but not necessarily for the reason that most of us have come to believe. There is no doubt that there will be armies encompassing Jerusalem in the last days just before the return of the Lord. But as terrible that that battle will be, it will be eclipsed by events in the heavens.
I do not believe that the army that is gathered against Israel at that day will be numbered in the hundreds of millions as some scholars have led us to believe. I am convinced that they have misinterpreted Rev 9:16. It does not refer to armies of men but to falling debris from the sky, accompanying the approaching planet.
You can read more about that in Joel chapter 2 where he described swarms of meteorites flying in bands and taking various shapes, like horses racing in the sky or hosts of warriors leaping. Study it for yourself. I think we’ve been mislead. Armageddon is much more than a battle of men. It is also a battle in the skies.