Valley of Jezreel
Standing atop the plateau of Tel Megiddo, the Valley of Jezreel (Megiddo Valley) stretches out like a verdant patchwork of farms, kibbutzim,1 and moshavim.2 Lying to the east are Mount Tabor, the hills of Gilboa, and the cliffs of Nazareth off in the distance. To the northwest are Mount Carmel and the entrance to the valley.
It is difficult to envision this fruitful, productive plain as the staging ground for military conflict. But the Bible cites the Valley of Megiddo as the location of a colossal confrontation at the climax of human history.
At the end of the future seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will gather the world’s armies to the Valley of Jezreel under the pretense of decisively eradicating the Jewish people. In reality, the forces assembled will exceed what is necessary to do the job because the Antichrist’s real agenda will be to destroy the Messiah as He returns to establish His 1,000-year Messianic Kingdom.
With the Antichrist’s armies terrorizing Jerusalem and millions gathering on the staging ground of Armageddon (Hebrew, Har-Magedon), the heavens will break open to reveal the Messiah returning to Earth on a white horse, followed by “the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14; cf. Zech. 12:9–10).
As theologian John Walvoord wrote, “Christ’s return will be a spectacular and majestic procession…that will take many hours. During this period, the movement of the procession and the earth’s continued rotation will permit the entire world to witness the event.”3
As the procession nears the planet, an angel will appear, silhouetted against the sun, inviting the birds to the “supper of the great God” (Rev 19:17–18). The apostle John described the event: “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations” (v. 15). This sword is symbolic of His word, which is “not a lifeless sound, but an active agent.”4 The word of Jesus Christ brought all things into existence (Col. 1:17) and will also bring the military power arrayed against Him to nothing (Rev. 19:21).
Like the precision of a laser beam, the word of the returning Messiah will instantaneously destroy the rebel Gentile nations seeking to eradicate the Jewish people and prevent His return to establish the Messianic Kingdom. In one moment, the soldiers of the Antichrist’s multinational army will be standing poised and arrogant behind their sophisticated weaponry; and in the next moment, they will be nothing more than millions of lifeless corpses littering the Valley of Jezreel.
The staggering victory that Antichrist envisioned will turn into a grotesque feast for the birds. Rather than being hailed as Earth’s liberator, he and his False Prophet will be plucked up and tossed “alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone,” abruptly and dramatically ending humanity’s ultimate expression of rebellion against God (v. 20).
It is easy to become overburdened by the escalating evil in the world. In fact, sometimes it seems as though wickedness is gaining the upper hand. But the Megiddo Valley is a reminder that the success of the wicked is short-lived, but Christ’s Kingdom will last forever.
- A kibbutz (plural, kibbutzim) is a collective farm in Israel where everything is held in common.
- A moshav (plural, moshavim) is a cooperative settlement of small, individual farms in Israel.
- John F. Walvoord with Mark Hitchcock, Armageddon, Oil and Terror (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 182.
- Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1995), 387.