Scripture quotations are from English Standard Version (ESV)
as I find them in the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB). (Crossway Books. English Standard Version Study
Bible. Good News Publishers, 2007.)
In Revelation 19:11-21 we have a
description of a great battle between the One who is riding a white horse and
his armies and the Beast and his armies.
The description includes the following parts:
· Description of the One who is riding
the white horse and his armies: 19:11-16
· The invitation to the birds to have a
great supper of the flesh of those who will be slain in the battle: 19:17-18
· The capture of the Beast and the
False Prophet, with a summary of the role of the False Prophet and with the
report of throwing the two into the Lake of Fire: 19:19-20
· The killing of those who are in the
armies of the Beast: 19:21
discussed in a previous post the evidence that this battle is the “Battle of
Armageddon,” even though it is not identified as such in the passage.
In this post, I shall discuss evidence
that this battle is a COMPONENT OF THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST. This conclusion seems self-evident, and yet
careful interpretation requires that we make the case.
I have examined a great many
Scriptures regarding the Second Coming.
I first just ran through Scriptures from my own memory and also did word
searches of such words as “parousia” (often translated “coming”). I also consulted a website that lists many
Scriptures about the Day of the Lord. I
think some patterns and helpful information came out of these searches. One helpful result was that Old Testament
material emerged that provided new insight for me. These searches will be the main background
for my discussion of this effort to merge the general idea of the Second Coming
with the description of the Battle of Armageddon (which I shall refer to as “Armageddon”).
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SECOND COMING OR PAROUSIA OF JESUS CHRIST AND HOW THEY
RELATE TO ARMAGEDDON
1. MATTHEW 24 AND PARALLELS
a. Matthew 24:29-31
signs (sun darkened, etc.)
“sign of the Son of Man”
of Man coming on clouds
comes with “power and great glory”:
A pointer to Armageddon
gather the elect
b. Mark 13:24-27: same as Matthew, except omission of “sign of
the Son of Man”
c. Luke 17:24: “a lightning flashes and lights up the sky…so
will the Son of Man be in his day”: an
indication of the spectacular nature of the second coming
d. Matthew 24:27: “For as lightning comes from the east and
shines as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man.” Compare this to Luke 17:24 above.
e. Luke 21:24-28
“distress of nations in perplexity…people fainting with fear…”
of Man coming “in a cloud”
with “power and great glory”
2. ACTS 1:6-11, ESPECIALLY 1:11: A very simple, straightforward promise from
an angel that states that, just as Jesus was taken up in a cloud, he will
return in the same way.
3. I CORINTHIANS 15:22-26:
a. All will be made alive
b. Christ, at his resurrection, was the
c. At “the end” Christ will deliver the
kingdom to God the Father
d. But first he will destroy “every
rule and every authority and power. For
he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
e. “The last enemy to be destroyed is
f. This description of Christ’s
destruction of his enemies is a pointer to Armageddon.
4. I CORINTHIANS 15:51-53: “we shall be changed” is a brief statement of
the rapture of the living saints immediately after the resurrection of the
5. I THESSSALONIANS 4:13-18: A more detailed description of the
resurrection/rapture simultaneous with the Second Coming. There is no indication of Armageddon.
6. I THESSALONIANS 5:1-11, especially
a. The “day of the Lord will come like a thief in
b. “While people are saying, ‘There is
peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them…and they will
not escape.” This is a pointer to
c. “But you are not in darkness,
brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.” Assurance to Christians
7. II THESSALONIANS 2:1-12, ESPECIALLY
2:8: “And then the lawless one will be
revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring
to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”
This is a pointer to Armageddon.
The details differ from Revelation 19. See discussion below. Otherwise, this confirms that Christ will
defeat the Beast at his return.
8. II PETER 3:1-13, ESPECIALLY 3:7, 10,
a. Verse 3-4 describes “scoffers” in the
last day who ask sarcastically, “Where is the promise of his coming [parousia]?” This ties the passage to the Second Coming
b. Verse 7 describes a future
destruction of heaven and earth by fire.
c. Verse 10 announces that the “day of
the Lord will come like a thief…” This is consistent with other passages on the
Second Coming. However, it goes on to
say: “and then the heavens will pass
away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up…”
d. Verses 12-13 also mention this
destruction of heaven and earth as well as stating: “we are waiting for new heavens and a new
earth in which righteousness dwells.”
e. This passage seems to encompass a
much larger view of the consummation than other passages that focus on the
Second Coming, the resurrection/rapture, and Armageddon. Much of what is indicated in this passage are
also viewed in passages in Revelation beyond chapter 19.
9. I John 2:18-25, 2:28-3:3, 4:1-6, II
John 7: These passages mention certain
topics related to the last days and the Second Coming, with limited detail.
a. The “antichrist” is mentioned in I
John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3 II John 7.
b. I John 2:28 promises the parousia.
c. I John 3:2 promises that we shall be like him (Christ) when he appears.
1. Revelation 1:7 promises the Second
a. Christ will come “with the clouds…”
b. Every one will see him, included
“those who pierced him” and all tribes “will wail on account of him.” This refers to Zechariah 12:10: “And I will pour out on the house of David
and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so
that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for
him, as one mourns for an only child…”
ESVSB comments on Revelation 1:7:
“Most scholars think the wailing is a reaction to judgment instead of
the kind of grief that leads to salvation.”
The quote from Zechariah leaves the matter ambiguous. It is possible that this is reference to
Armageddon and the terror that Christ will bring as he slays his enemies.
2. Revelation 3:10-11: Jesus promises to keep the church of
Philadelphia “from the hour of trial” and also promises that he is coming
“soon.” There is no other detail given.
3. Revelation 5:9-10 praises the Lamb
and refers to his redemptive work that has made the ransomed people a “kingdom
and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Thus, the redeemed are promised a share in
the triumph that shall be Christ’s at his second coming. See number 3 above. This triumph includes the victory at
4. Revelation 16:15: In the midst of the description of the events
of the sixth bowl of wrath, Jesus breaks in with a word (which is put in
parenthesis in ESV): “Behold, I am
coming like a thief! Blessed is the one
who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be
seen exposed.” Immediately before this
statement, in 16:13-14, demonic spirits go to the kings of the world and draw
them into a battle. In 16:16, the site
of this battle is given as Armageddon.
So, we see juxtaposed the gathering of the kings’ armies to Armageddon
with the Second Coming of Christ. This
is strong evidence that Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ are
5. Matthew 24:37-44: Jesus compares his parousia to the days of
Noah. People were living their lives
“normally,” when suddenly the “flood came and swept them all away.” So the parousia will be a time when people
think life will go on as always, but destruction will come. He gives a series of examples, such as “Then
two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left…” ESVSB gives two possible interpretations. One is that the one who is “taken” is taken
away to judgment and the other “remains to experience salvation at Christ’s
return.” The other is that the one who
is “taken” is “among the elect that the Son of Man will ‘gather…from the four
winds’ (v. 31).” Many have interpreted
this as the rapture. Jesus goes on to warn
of his coming by using the parable of the master of the house and the thief in
the night. If the master knew when in
the night the thief was coming, he would have guarded his house. The main emphasis of this passage is a
warning that Jesus’ parousia will be marked by judgment of those who are not
among the elect. This is consistent with
Armageddon, to some extent.
6. Matthew 26:64: Jesus is standing before the Sanhedrin at
trial. In response to the High Priest’s
inquiry into whether Jesus is the Christ, he replies: “You have said so [an idiom mean “yes, I am”].
But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right
hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Jesus refers to God the Father as “Power.” It is an unusual designation for God, but it
certainly fits who God is. Moreover, it
emphasizes that Jesus, in his ascension entered into a new realm. To use a crude example, Jesus now “rubs
elbows” with God the Father in all his majesty and all of his power. Not only is Jesus now in the vicinity, so to
speak, but also he is now in partnership with that power. It is from that position of power that Jesus
will come again to earth. So, Jesus ties
two situations intimately together—Jesus sitting with Power and coming again on
clouds. This points to the might which
he will display at Armageddon.
7. Romans 2:5: “But because of your hard and impenitent
heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s
righteous judgment will be revealed.” Paul
is in the midst of an indictment against the person who judges others but does
not have a heart of repentance. He looks
to the future and sees a “day of wrath.”
This is not necessarily the moment of the Second Coming. It could be a later day, such as is depicted
in Revelation 20:11-15, a scene that I usually refer to as the “Great White
Throne Judgment.” Nevertheless, it warns
that the return of Christ will set in motion events that will include that
judgment. However, I do not believe this
verse refers specifically to the Second Coming or Armageddon.
8. II Thessalonians 1:5-7: “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…” Jesus is depicted as returning “with his mighty angels in flaming fire…” He will at that time inflict “vengeance.” This is vengeance for unbelief but also for afflicting the saints. The ultimate vengeance is “eternal destruction.” However, the mention of Jesus’ return “with his mighty angels in flaming fire” could be a pointer to Armageddon.
SCRIPTURES CONCERNING THE “DAY OF THE LORD” WHICH POINT TO
1. Isaiah 13:4-6:
“The sound of uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together…The Lord
of hosts is mustering a host for battle…Wail for the day of the Lord is near,
as destruction from the Almighty will come.”
The Day of the Lord as a day of battle.
2. Isaiah 13:9-11: “Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel with
wrath and fierce anger…I will punish the world for its evil.” The Day of the Lord is a day of judgment
3. Isaiah 24:21-22: “In that day the Lord will punish the host of
heaven…and the kings of the earth.” What
it means to punish the “host of heaven” is uncertain, but probably refers to
Satan and his minions. The “kings” could
refer to the kings and their armies gathered at Armageddon.
4. Isaiah 27:1 “In that day the Lord with his hard and great
and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent…and he will slay the
dragon that is in the sea.” See #3
above: this probably refers to the same
5. Jeremiah 30:7-9 “That day is so great…it is a time of
distress for Jacob, yet he will be saved out of it…in that day…I will break his
yoke from off your neck…but they shall serve the Lord their God and David their
king, whom I will raise up for them.” Israel
is in focus as the one who is rescued in that day.
6. Jeremiah 46:10 “That day is the day of the Lord God of
hosts, a day of vengeance…The sword shall…drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord…holds a sacrifice in the north
country by the river Euphrates.” The Euphrates is not close to Armageddon. However, the day of the Lord is depicted as
bringing vengeance upon the enemies of the Lord.
7. Ezekiel 30:3-4 “For…the day of the Lord is near…a time of
doom for the nations…” A warning that
the day of the Lord is going to be bad for the Lord’s enemies
8. Ezekiel 38:14-16 “…son of man, say to Gog, on that day…you
will come from…out of the north…” This
is a complex passage that may refer to Armageddon or to another God-appointed
9. Daniel 12:1-2 “At that time shall arise Michael, who has
charge of your people. And there shall
be a time of trouble…But at that time your people shall be delivered…And many
of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting
life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This points to a deliverance of Israel that
is in conjunction with resurrection.
1:15 “Alas for the day: the day of the
Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.” The day of the Lord is understood to include
destruction from God.
2:1-4 “Blow a trumpet in Zion…for the
day of the Lord is coming…a day of darkness and gloom…” This refers to a locust invasion, but it
looks far into the future to the coming day of the Lord and, perhaps,
2:30-32 “And I shall show wonders in the
heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the
moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who
calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…” This corresponds to New
Testament pictures of the Second Coming.
To what degree the dark imagery might refer to Armageddon is not clear.
5:18-29 “Woe to you who desire the day
of the Lord…it is darkness and not light, as if a man fled from a lion and a
bear met him…” This emphasizes the dark side of the day of the Lord, which is
consistent with Armageddon.
1:7-8 “Be silent before the Lord
God! For the day of the Lord is near;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests…I will punish the
officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire.” The day of the Lord is a time of sacrificing
1:14-18 “The great day of the Lord is
near…A day of wrath is that day…a day of battle cry against the fortified
cities…I will bring distress on mankind…because they have sinned against the
Lord…for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the
earth.” The day of the Lord includes a
3:8 “Therefore wait for me…for the day
when I rise up to seize the prey. For my
decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my
indignation…” the day of the Lord
includes a gathering of kingdoms that will experience the wrath of the Lord.
14:2 “For I will gather all the nations
against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses
plundered and the women raped . Half of
the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut
off from the city.” The day of the Lord
includes a gathering of nations, especially against Jerusalem.
6:12-17 “When he opened the sixth seal,
I looked, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as black as sackcloth, the
full moon became like blood…Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and
the generals and the rich…and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the
caves and among the rocks…calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and
hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of
the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” The day of the Lord (which this probably
depicts) is day when people shrink in terror from the vengeance of God and the
It must be admitted that NONE of the
Scriptures that I have examined perfectly parallel the description of
Armageddon that is found in Revelation 19.
Some give indications or refer to certain events that might be
understood to refer to Armageddon. In
fact, we could say that ALL of the various descriptions of the Second Coming
and of the Day of the Lord are different from one another. We can attribute this fact to the following:
· Each of the Scriptures is emphasizing
a different aspect of the Second Coming or the Day of the Lord or both.
· Some of the Scriptures are using
figurative language that refers to events without giving direct and exact descriptions.
· The two concepts—the Second Coming
and the Day of the Lord—include extended timelines and numerous events.
· In some cases the consequences of
components of the Second Coming or Day of the Lord and not the components
themselves are in view.
· The audience that is intended varies
in some of the Scriptures so that what is emphasized varies. For example, the comfort of the resurrection
may be intended for Christians who have lost loved ones. Enemies of the Lord’s people may be warned of
the vengeance of the Lord.
considers that each of the Scriptures that I have considered may have one, two,
or more of these aspects, it is not surprising that we cannot find Scriptures
that directly confirm Armageddon as a component of the Second Coming.
DIRECTLY DESCRIBING THE SECOND COMING (PAROUSIA):
These Scriptures include the
following: Matthew 24:29-31, Mark
13:24-27, Luke 21:24-28, Acts 1:11, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-11, II
Thessalonians 2:1-12, II Thessalonians 1:5-7.
The parallels to Matthew 24:29-31 do not have specifics on any battles
that are fought. The “power and great
glory” could indicate such violence, but it could simply refer to Christ’s
spectacular appearance. Acts 1:11 and
the passage in I Thessalonians 4 focus on the fact of Christ’s coming and, in I
Thessalonians, the accompanying resurrection/rapture.
I Thessalonians 5:1-11 stresses the
“sudden destruction” that will come to those who are not spiritually
ready. Matthew 24:37-44 has the same
theme, warning the Second Coming will include a judgment on those who are not
trusting in Christ. Armageddon is
certainly compatible with these warnings.
Luke 21:24-28 is an exception to the other parallels to Matthew 24. In Luke there are descriptions of “distress
of nations” and “people fainting for fear.”
These descriptions are consistent with Armageddon. Also, II Thessalonians 1:5-7 describes the
Second Coming as a time of vengeance on unbelievers and repayment of those who
have afflicted the righteous. Armageddon
could be a part of that vengeance.
Perhaps the closest parallel to the
description of Armageddon in Revelation 19 is found in II Thessalonians 2:1-12,
especially verse 2:8. In that verse,
there is direct confrontation between the returning Christ and the “lawless
one,” who is obviously the Beast. In II
Thessalonians the Beast is killed, whereas in Revelation 19 he is thrown alive
into the Lake of Fire. However, the Lake
of Fire is designated as the “second death” in Revelation 20:14. Thus, we could deem the two passages as quite
THE DAY OF THE LORD THAT ARE COMPATIBLE:
Isaiah 13:4-6 describes a gathering of
kingdoms to battle and the Lord’s host opposing them. In Isaiah 24:21-22 it is
said the Lord will punish his spiritual enemies as well as kingdoms who oppose
him. Jeremiah 30:7-9 describes the day
of the Lord as a time when Israel will be rescued from her enemies. In Jeremiah 46:10 the day of the Lord is a
day of vengeance. All of these can be
considered to point to Armageddon, although other historical applications might
also be considered.
In numerous Scriptures on the day of
the Lord, it is emphasized that the day will have a dark, gloomy, frightening
side. See Joel 2:1-4, 2:10, 2:30-32,
and Amos 5:18-20. These are compatible with violent Battle of
Zephanian 3:8 warns of the day when
the Lord will bring together kingdoms in order to pour out his
“indignation.” This also is compatible
In Revelation 6:12-17, the “great day
of their [the Lamb and the One who seated on the throne] wrath” is the occasion
for all to hide in terror. This passage may
be interpreted several ways in its context.
However, it could be understood as a proleptic [predictive] picture of
There are no perfect parallels between
descriptions of the Second Coming and Armageddon. Nevertheless, the evidence is strong that
Armageddon is one component of the Second Coming. The exact time-line of all the events that
can be included in the Second Coming is not clear. However, very likely the resurrection/rapture
will take place before Christ actually reaches the earth. Once he reaches earth, in a short time,
Christ and his army arrive at Armageddon and defeat the enemies that are
This concludes my discussion of
chapter 19 of Revelation. I shall next
consider chapter 20, which holds as many—if not more—challenges for
Thank you, all my loyal readers. I hope you are safe during this
pandemic. I am beginning to feel better as
I recover from my own case of COVID-19.
I covet your prayers for myself and my wife as she also deals with
illness. God bless all of you.