SPECIAL TOPIC: ARMAGEDDON (from Rev. 16:16)

This word is spelled differently in several Greek manuscripts in Rev. 16:16. There have been several theories to describe this name (which appears nowhere else in Hebrew or Greek literature).

1. it refers to "the mountain (har in Hebrew) of Megiddo" (cf. Jos. 12:21; Jdgs. 1:27; 2 Chr. 35:22),  a northern city in the tribal allocation of Manasseh, built on a hill

2. it refers to "the city of Megiddo," but the problem is that this is not the exact spelling of that city

3. it is a translation of a phrase "the mount of assembly" found in Isa. 14:13, which refers to the ultimate mountain of Deity which Satan attacks

4. it refers to the whole Promised Land (cf. "the mountains of Israel" mentioned in Ezek. 38:8,20,21; 39:2,4,17)

5. it refers to "the fruitful mountain" which would symbolize Jerusalem (cf. Joel 2:32; 3:11-18; Zechariah 12; 13), the end-time site of many of these final battles between good and evil (cf. the prophecy of Joel)

6. the root meaning of "megiddo" might be "to cut" or "to attack" (BDB 151), making this a reference to "the destroying mountain" of Jer. 51:25, a symbol of Rome's destruction and end-time place of battle between good and evil, believes and unbelievers, Christ and the antichrist.

John, in Rev. 16:16, has chosen a city that was well known and has slightly changed its spelling (see Metztger, Textual Commentary, p. 755). This is similar to his inaccurate listing of the twelve tribes in Rev. 7:5-8 in order to show the passage's symbolic nature. This symbolic interpretation is further seen in the use of the phrase "in Hebrew," which indicates symbolism, as in Rev. 9:11. It is true that the Valley of Jezreel or the Plain of Esdraelon was the site of many OT battles (cf. Jdgs. 5:19-21; 2 Kgs. 9:27; 23:29-30; 2 Chr. 35:22; Zech. 12:11). This northern invasion route of Mesopotamian powers had become a cultural symbol of evil (cf. Isa. 14:31; Jer. 1:13-14; 4:6; 10:22; 46:20-24; 47:2-7; 50:3,9,41; 51:48; Ezek. 38:6,15; 39:2).

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