In 2002, the CBS television news show 60 Minutes ran a segment on what it proposed motivated evangelical support for Israel. The broadcast claimed we believe that once all Jewish people return to Israel, Armageddon will occur as Jesus returns to Earth to eliminate them. In other words, the Christians win and the Jewish people lose.
This age-old assumption misunderstands our support for Israel and what the Bible teaches about Christ’s return. When our tour groups visit Megiddo, I tell them how 60 Minutes got it wrong.
Megiddo is a hill at the southeastern end of the Carmel mountain range, overlooking the Jezreel Valley. It is actually an archaeological tel, an ancient city with more than 20 layers of civilization, each one built on top of the previous one like a layer cake.
Historically, Megiddo was a strategic military city that controlled access through a mountain pass as the main road along the Mediterranean Sea turned inland to cross the Jezreel Valley. Megiddo is arguably the most famous biblical battlefield, and Scripture records several battles fought here. Today the area is better known as Armageddon, which means “Hill of Megiddo.”
The Bible teaches that Armageddon is a prelude, not to the destruction of the Jewish people but, rather, to the greatest period of Jewish history. At that time, God will judge the nations for their mistreatment of the Jewish people and prepare Israel to receive its Messiah.
The apostle John wrote of Armageddon in Revelation 16:13–16, when the nations of the world will come against Israel and stage their forces in the Jezreel Valley. Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, will return from heaven with His army of saints on a white horse as King of kings and Lord of lords (19:11–16) and strike the nations, rather than the Jewish people, with the words of His mouth.
He will defend Jerusalem, destroy the enemy armies (Zech. 12:8–9), and judge the nations for their evil in mistreating the Jews (1:14–15). The Lord Himself will bring the nations to Armageddon to judge them on behalf of His people, Israel, whom they scattered and whose land they divided (Joel 3:2–3).
Forget 60 Minutes. Only what God says matters, and He says Armageddon is about saving Israel and righting the wrongs Gentile nations have brought on the Jewish people. Israel’s ultimate destiny is to lead the world in worship of the Lord, as God makes Israel His glory above all the other nations of the earth (Isa. 46:13). In that day, 10 men from every nation will plead with a Jewish man to take them up to Jerusalem so they can worship God (Zech. 8:20–23).
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