In our conclusion of the lectures on “The Interpretation of Prophecy” by Dr Paul Lee Tan, we will be looking into the final battle between the world’s armies and Israel:
o The Battle of Armageddon
The tribulation period will end with a fitting climax at the Battle of Armageddon when the armies of the world will unite under the antichrist to do battle with Israel: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. … And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16: 13-14, 16).
This unprecedented World War will make the valleys of Jezreel and Meggido literally turn red with the blood of the slain: “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs [160 miles]” (Rev. 14: 19-20).
“The staging ground for the Battle of Armageddon – when all the nations line up and attack Israel in the end – might be in the Valley of Jezreel, but the target and focus of this war is Jerusalem – the City of the Great King. If this battle is to take place mainly in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which begins in and around Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea Valley; and if this valley will turn into a river of blood whose length is 160 miles/257 km, then it will reach as far as Bozrah, which lies towards the southern end of the Dead Sea. This is remarkable, considering that Isaiah 63:1-6 describes the Lord – who in His wrath has tread these nations underfoot – as ‘the One coming from Bozrah; His garments stained with blood!’” (http://israelmybeloved.com/armageddon-in-the-valley-of-jezreel-or-jehoshaphat/).
This will be the time when the Lord God Almighty will appear to deliver His people, Israel out of the hands of the antichrist: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. … 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. … 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19: 11, 14, 19-21).
As described above, Christ and “the armies which were in heaven” (v. 14) will totally annihilate the antichrist and his allied forces. The Battle of Armageddon will end with the glorious coming of Jesus Christ to establish His millennial kingdom on earth.
o The Millennium
The Millennium will signal a time of unprecedented peace upon the whole earth. This is because Satan the deceiver, the accuser of the brethren and of all mankind, will be rendered inoperative for a thousand years: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20: 1-3).
During the Millennium, the earth will be full of the joy of the Lord. Peace, harmony and righteousness will prevail. The curse upon the ground – “thorns … and thistles” (Gen. 3: 18) – will give way to fruitful abundance as the earth will be very fertile (Isa. 30: 23). The animal kingdom will undergo a drastic change, as predicted by the prophet Isaiah: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11: 6-9).
The Bible records many prophecies concerning the end-times. It is important for us to know how to interpret these prophecies so that we can prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming. We are expecting “the rapture” to happen any time soon. We may not know the exact time of our Saviour’s coming. But the end-time signs – famines, natural disasters, moral perversions, escalating violence, religious unity, wars, pestilences and natural disasters – are clearly manifesting themselves today. Christ’s coming “is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24: 33).
Scottish hymnwriter and preacher, Dr Horatius Bonar, having served the Lord for some 60 years, had this wonderful habit: As he drew the curtains at night, he would say to himself: “Perhaps tonight, Lord!” When he woke up each morning, he would say, looking up into the sky: “Perhaps today, Lord.” This faithful aged saint was waiting for the Lord to return at any moment. How about us? Are we also eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return? Let us examine our hearts and be sure that we are ready to meet our Lord if He should return today.