The Final Judgment

When I began this study of Revelation, it was because we were living during a pandemic, unlike what any of us has ever seen in our lifetime. People were applying concepts and visions from this book to the things that have been happening in our country and world, and pointing to the “fulfillment” of the book as happening before our eyes. I imagine previous generations have done similarly, but up until this point, I’ve shown how most of the book was something fulfilled in the first century during which geopolitical events that occurred then were wreaking havoc on the church. In the previous lesson, we began to get a glimpse of the current state of affairs that applied as much to the first century as to us now. Then, we began to see what the future holds for Satan at his second coming. The harlot, the beast, and Babylon will have all been dealt with—and the climax at the end is that Satan is cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Despite thinking all is accomplished, there are still two more enemies of humanity that must meet their demise—death and hades.

The Judgment Scene 

The New Testament is replete with the fact that a final reckoning is to come. Christ attested to His second coming being a point at which He sits on the throne of His glory for judgment (Matt. 25:31–46; cf. John 5:22–23). The Pauline corpus mentions as a corollary to his counsel the future judgment (Rom. 2:5, 16; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1), and he is as much recorded as having preached such too (Acts 17:30–31). The fact of judgment is a foregone conclusion in Christian theology and is to be expected, but what exactly will it be like? John gives us insight as do other passages. Christ will separate the sheep from goats and uses a litmus test as to how they regarded their brethren—with love or disregard. Judgment is spoken of in 2 Peter as coinciding on the day of fire and destruction of the ungodly (2 Peter 3:7). Jude also mentions judgment relative to the ungodly sinners (14–15).

To the Christian who’s been “justified” in the name of Christ, judgment isn’t anything to necessarily fear. To be justified is to be declared righteous, or literally to be set right by God. Our Father does this through the blood of His Son when we demonstrate faithfulness to and in Christ. It’s a legal term in Greek (dikaioo) and held the weight of a person being acquitted. In legal speak, a person acquitted has been freed from a criminal charge, and this is the plight of Christians—we are free of the charges against us because the blood of Christ has cleansed us. Judgment, therefore, shouldn’t be something we dread because of our standing in Christ Jesus.

This is a spectacular scene. Center is a great white throne, upon which the Lord sits (Rev. 20:11). This scene and all of Revelation in some way hearken back to Dan 7:9–10. We next note that the earth and heaven fled from His face. Moses once asked to see God’s glory, but God would show him only His goodness because were Moses or anyone, for that fact, to see His face, they would die. God, however, in His grace made provision for Moses to see Him as much as he could (Exod. 33:18–23). In eternity, the New Jerusalem, we shall see Him as no eye, but Jesus has ever seen Him (Rev. 22:4). On judgment day, there’s no hiding place. Everything is laid bare before the presence of the glory of the Lord. Humanity, like Adam and Eve after the fall in Eden, has tried to hide from God, but there’s no hiding place now, and at the judgment, we will realize just how bare we have been (Heb. 4:13).

All stand before the Lord, and books are opened. First, no one, no matter how grand they have been in life nor how small, stands before God. We’re all on equal ground. Social standing doesn’t matter. Accomplishments in life are insignificant. God doesn’t much care about that stuff like we do. He doesn’t care how many times we’ve appeared in the paper, or what awards we’ve won, or even the degrees we’ve earned in university. He’s looking at the record of our deeds (vv. 12–13). Before there’s any concern, the fact that God judges according to our deeds does not negate justification by faith. When we take the whole of Christian theology into account, this actually makes perfect sense. Our works proceed from our faith, so if we’ve been faithful, then we’ve been justified and need not worry. However, if our actions reflect a lack of faith, then we have something with which to be concerned. How have we responded to the love of God? Have we responded to love with love, or have we rejected love? The response we give to God’s love is the sum total of our works and deeds, and these are recorded in the books brought to God at the judgment.

What “books” are we speaking about? In Jewish literature and tradition, angels record the misdeeds of humans and report such to God in the interlude between the destruction of the earth and the resurrection (Sib. Or. 2.215–16; cf. Dan. 7:10). However, the book with which we need to be most concerned with is the Lamb’s Book of Life (vv. 12, 14). This book’s been mentioned already (cf. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8), and Jewish teaching upheld that God had a record of those who were in communion with Him and those who weren’t (cf. Exod. 32:32; Is. 4:3; Dan. 12:1–2). We whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are those saved by God’s grace. We have been bought with the blood of the Lamb, and our faith has borne our trust in the faithfulness of Jesus. It isn’t that we lack works ourselves, but that the grace of our God far outshines any misdeeds we may have against us because we have trusted the Lord. If our name is absent, we, like Death and Hades, join Satan and his entourage in the lake that burns with fire. Such do not live eternally, but die, never to live again.

The Thousand-Year Reign

There’s a popular evangelical teaching entitled “dispensational premillennialism” which holds that we are living in the church era, or dispensation, and when the resurrection of the righteous comes—a doctrine referred to as “the rapture” that’s taken from 1 Thess 4:13–17—there will be great tribulation. After the great tribulation, a resurrection of tribulation-era saints will establish Jesus’ kingdom on earth for a literal 1,000 years. At the end of that period, Satan will be let loose, and then the final resurrection of the wicked will occur, judgment will be given by God, and we will enter into eternity.

There are issues with this doctrine, the first of which being that Rev 20:1–6 is read literally. While a few of the early church fathers interpreted this section literally, the majority did not, and the Second Ecumenical Council (381 CE) rejected the literal doctrine of the thousand years known as “chiliasm.” Another issue is that the term “rapture” never appears in Scripture. In the Latin Vulgate, one may read, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus Christo in aëra, and rapiemur is a cognate of rapto—from which we derive “rapture.” However, in evangelical thought, the rapture is not only being caught up but a state of ecstasy or lofty emotion. A third problem is that, biblically, the tribulation appears as having come before rather than after the millennium (Rev. 7:14)—if one reads it this way.

One more issue is a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s kingdom. This view sees the kingdom as something to be established on earth, and not something already installed—which Scripture points toward (cf. Luke 9:27; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:5, 9; 5:10). This view is a very materialistic view of the kingdom of God. Because of the literal interpretation of those who espouse such a view, they always speak about the end times in language relative to the current mores of glorified warfare.

The Millennial Age 

All I may offer is how I read it with what knowledge of apocalyptic literature I retain. When read as a whole, Revelation has several interludes of which Rev 20:1–6 is but one. The purpose of such intervals is to assure the faithful of God’s judgment upon those who’ve grieved them and that they will survive the tribulation in which they are living.[1] The other interludes do this, and some are essential to the church (cf. 7:1–17; 10:1–11:13; 14:1–20; 19:1–10). Understanding that this section gives us a break from the “action” of the book allows us to see the purpose it serves rather than dwell methodically on every little detail. The enemy at the very heart of the trouble that the Christians face is himself to be bound and, as we shall see going forward, judged, and condemned.

The thousand years shouldn’t be treated as any more literal than any other number, because such appear used in figures of speech rather often in Scripture (Job 9:3; 2 Peter 3:8). I tend to hold the binding of Satan as the key (v. 2) more so than the number of years because Satan was bound upon Christ’s saving work (Matt. 12:28–29; Col. 2:15). It’s clear, however, that he isn’t totally disarmed and weak (Acts 5:3; Eph. 6:11), but he cannot keep the gospel from pervading the nations through his deception (v. 3). Therefore, this is the age in which we’re living. It isn’t a literal thousand years, but a period, or era during which Satan’s power is considerably diminished because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. This doesn’t speak of the last days, because we are living in the last days and have been since Pentecost (Acts 2:16–17; Heb. 1:1–2; 1 Peter 1:20).

One likely concern among the Asian Christians was what would become of those slain during such a horrendous episode in the history of the church. The Lord, next, shows where the martyrs are: they reign with the Lord in heaven (2 Tim. 2:12). They never worshiped the beast or his image. They did not receive his mark because they bore the seal of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their lives on earth, however, were of no consequence to the powers of the earth. What we know is that those of whom John is explicitly speaking were Roman citizens, because beheading was the primary capital punishment for Romans. They were bound to a post, stripped naked, beaten with whips, and then put to death.[2] This earth wasn’t kind to them, but because they remained unyielding in their faith, they now reign. The first resurrection I take here to be the resurrection to eternal life that is through death (vv. 5–6). When a saint dies in the Lord, of course, they could be said to have been raised to eternal life. They are assured of remaining untouched by the second death. They now reign with Him in the era of the church and faith in Christ Jesus.

Satan’s Release 

If we were to take the view that Revelation was written with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in mind, there’s so much of this book that could make sense—especially the release of Satan, Gog, and Magog, and the battle at the beloved city. When we observe the juxtaposed images in Revelation (e.g., the harlot versus the bride, Babylon versus New Jerusalem), we can note that this isn’t so much a period as much as it’s a juxtaposition, but of what? The passage appears akin to the second coming of Satan if you will (vv. 7–9). When we consider second comings, we envision the Parousia of Christ, our Lord. Satan will come a second time with the intent of raising the armies of all opposed to God, but Jesus comes as the reigning, triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords to execute judgment on the devil (v. 10). The devil himself, the arch-enemy of God and the deceiver of the nations, is resigned to the lake of fire and brimstone to join the beast and false prophet. Because the latter two did his bidding, they join the god of this world in the place prepared for him (Matt. 25:41). No longer is he a threat, but a non-concern.

When we reflect back on September 11, 2001, the mastermind who perpetrated the attack was the one person we wanted to bring to justice. Osama Bin Laden had used his money, influence, and hatred to orchestrate attacks that hurt our nation and took the lives of people of all religions and color. For a brief time, we were united as a country. We had a common enemy that we knew our government would target. Nearly a decade later, Seal Team Six would see to it that one of the world’s and America’s most wanted terrorized no more. Rob O’Neill, along with 23 other Seals, was brought in after a long period of surveillance to execute the mission. Working on the tail-end of the formation that worked floor-by-floor neutralizing targets, Rob and another Seal ascended to the third floor where in one room, he was face-to-face with Bin Laden. As he was trained to do, when the threat presented itself, Rob fired three shots, killing the most notorious terrorist in our lifetime. Before going, the team leader informed them that the chances of returning alive were minimal. These brave warriors went, believing that they wouldn’t return, and their leader reminded them that they weren’t going for the bravado or fame, but for, among others, the single mother who’d dropped her only son off at school only to find herself jumping to her death from a burning tower forty-five minutes later. For her, it was better to leap to her own grave than burn alive. Her last gesture of human decency was holding her skirt down so no one could see her underwear as she plunged to her death. That’s why they were going.

In the finality of the world, when all accounts are reckoned, King Jesus will impose on the mastermind of deception and perdition the death blow. Satan, humanity’s most notorious terrorist, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This place has been prepared for him since he began wreaking havoc on humanity. For every marriage that’s been broken apart, for every arm that has had a needle thrust into it, for every tear shed and every night of lost sleep, for every person who’s suffered abuse at the hands of another, and for every victim, the enemy and orchestrator of our misery will pay. “‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”


[1] Michael J. Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness Following the Lamb into the New Creation (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011), 144.

[2] Livy, 2.5.8; Seneca, Dial. 3.18.4.

Babylon Falls and Heaven Rejoices

Think of pride. Think of ego, arrogance, and even rebellion. As far back as Genesis 11, this is what Babylon stood for when the whole earth had one language. God confused the tongues of those who wanted to build a tower to the heights of the heavens and make a name for themselves, but God confused their language, and rather than one, the peoples of the earth spoke multiple. Centuries later, Babylon herself marched into Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and carted off many into a land of exile—there to despair of their lot but also to repent and rededicate themselves to God. Now, in the first century, Babylon isn’t the actual, physical location itself but a sobriquet for Rome. The angel gave John the interpretation of the vision he saw (Rev. 17:9–18). Rome is situated on seven hills (v. 9),[1] the five kinds who’d fallen number from Augustus through Nero. Vespasian was the one who is, and the beast himself, who was the eighth was Domitian (vv. 10–11).

Many of the descriptions of the harlot lend to the understanding of Rome herself. Like a harlot, we recall that in the Old Testament, harlotry was a description for those who consorted with idols over the God of Israel. Being seated on many waters lends itself to the fact that Rome, Italy is a peninsula. The kings of the earth committing fornication with her speak to how so many other kingdoms were vassal states to Rome and even adopted the gods of Rome. The names of blasphemy on the scarlet beast may very well allude to the divine titles that the Emperor of Rome bore. What we’ll see in good time is that toward the end of this prophecy, the harlot so arrayed in purple and scarlet is to be contrasted with the pure linen in which the bride of Christ is arrayed (Rev. 19:6–8). The city of Babylon is nothing compared to the New Jerusalem of Christ. The former falls, but the latter prevails and absorbs what’s left behind in the act of grace.

Babylon’s Judgment 

When we speak about Babylon’s judgment and subsequent fall (Rev. 18:2), we mustn’t think of the fall of Rome herself—something that didn’t occur until the fifth century—but of the downfall of what the empire stood for concerning God.[2] The pronouncement of Babylon’s fall reaffirms what John already saw in Rev 14:8 and what he knew from Isaiah 21:9 of Israel’s history with the empire of old (cf. Jer. 51:8). Eventually, when Isaiah and Jeremiah saw the fall of Babylon, the empire itself did fall but not immediately. In the mind of God, however, it was as good as done, just as the Roman Empire was as good as done in God’s mind and would eventually happen in the fifth century. When Rome would fall, the birds would take over (Rev. 18:2). In John’s day, the city had as much as a million inhabitants, and when it fell, it was as few as 30,000.[3]

When the other voice urges that the people of God come out of Babylon, this may not be so much a literal evacuation of Rome as much as a call to fidelity. As we’ve seen with the seven churches at the front of the book, several of them had compromised and given into some of the whiles of Babylon. Though some strived to remain faithful, they still had faults against them and deeds from which they needed to repent. To the Christians living in Babylon who were unfaithful to the Lord, or on the cusp of backsliding, they by the grace of God are called to come out of her lest they share in her sins (Rev. 18:4). There are always some situations and places that we Christians need to remove ourselves from out of fidelity to God. If we don’t remove ourselves, we may give in to the powerful ways of perdition that God wants us to avoid, so He bids us come out of her. Why? Because such sins reach to God and though Babylon is complacent, God will not forget her deeds and is one who is reliable that will judge her (Rev. 18:5–8). Sometimes our Babylon can be school, work, or, sadly, home. Sometimes it can be an environment we put ourselves in for sport but turns out to be bad for us. A friend of mine’s husband used to be a minor league baseball player, and after marrying, he converted to Christ, having formerly been an atheist. As a relatively new Christian on the road with his team, he called his wife one night, and she heard in the background some noise and asked what it was. In the adjoining room where many of his teammates were was the entertainment of strippers. He had removed himself and eventually left the sport he loved to be with his family and not in an environment that invited sin.

Heaven Rejoices

With the downfall of Babylon comes lamenting from those who made themselves rich from her (Rev. 18:9–19). However, the heavens, apostles, and prophets are called to rejoice over her fall because God will have avenged them (Rev. 18:20). It’s often been thought that we shouldn’t celebrate when something terrible happens even to those who are evil. It isn’t that we can rejoice over their downfall, but that the justice of God has had its measure. We know that God would have given such evil people time to repent, and He would have sent them sign after sign after sign and messenger after messenger after messenger to urge such. After such forbearance, God judges (Rev. 18:21–24), and His justice and vengeance is not moved by passions such as ours, but by a balancing of the scales (Rev.19:1–5).

Notice how two women are juxtaposed: the harlot in purple and scarlet, and the bride of Christ in fine linen, clean and bright (Rev. 19:8). After Israel was delivered from Egypt, she was united to the Lord as a betrothed to her bridegroom (Hos. 2:19–20; Rom. 7:1–6). Marriage is the symbol of God’s union to His people (Is. 54:1–8; Ezek. 16:7–14; Eph. 5:22–32). It’s also an occasion for joy and celebration. The beatitude pronounced here is one of several meant to encourage fidelity amidst their circumstances (see also Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 20:6; 22:7, 14). While the birds feast on the carcasses of the wicked (Rev. 19:9, 17–18), the supper of the Lamb is prepared as Isaiah once foretold (Is. 25:6, 8). There are two pictures here: the banquet of the Lord and the feast upon the wicked. The whole motif is that God triumphs, and in His triumph, His people feast while the enemy is left on the streets to be preyed upon by scavengers. This is a typical depiction of what appears after the war.

When a person follows the beast, they end up in Armageddon—the wrath of God, or divine consent to our own self-destruction. If we follow the Lamb, we’ll find ourselves in New Jerusalem. The latter is what God desires. According to some interpretations of Revelation, Armageddon is a battle that must occur before Christ can come, so they become warmongers rather than peacemakers. Even the vision of Christ here as the faithful and true horseman in Revelation 19 is often invoked in a misguided effort to portray God as violent and retributive when he would rather no one suffer wrath but humble themselves to Him. The peaceful Jesus in the gospels is the same peaceful Jesus in Revelation, but if we set ourselves against Him, we experience Him in wrath. Jesus isn’t schizophrenic, preferring peace one minute and violence the next. This is the danger of literalizing what is symbolically given. Jesus sits upon the white horse of triumph, not the red horse of war. I wish to close with an excerpt from a thought-provoking book.

Christ always rules from the cross, never from an Apache attack helicopter. John stresses that Jesus reigns through self-sacrifice by depicting the white horse’s rider as wearing a robe drenched in blood before the battle begins. Jesus’s robe is soaked in his own blood. Jesus doesn’t shed the blood of enemies; Jesus sheds his own blood. This is the gospel! The rider on the white horse is the slaughtered Lamb, not the slaughtering beast. To further make his point, John tells us that the sword the rider uses to smite the nations is not in his hand but in his mouth. Soldiers with literal weapons of war hold them in their hands, not their mouths. This is not Caesar’s sword but the word of God. The Revelator so desires that we not miss this point that he comes right out and tells us, “His name is called The Word of God.” … The sword is not a sword; the sword is a symbol. The sword is the word of God. If we combine all of John’s creative symbols, the message is clear: Jesus wages war by self-sacrifice and by what he says. Jesus combats evil by cosuffering love and the word of God. This is the righteous war of the Lamb. Christians are called to believe that cosuffering love and the divine word are all Christ needs to overcome evil. A fallen world addicted to war does not believe this, but the followers of Jesus do, or should! If Jesus conquers evil by killing his enemies, he’s just another Caesar. But the whole point of John’s Revelation is that Jesus is nothing like Caesar! The idea that the world would continue to be run by the violent ways of Caesar and Pharaoh and all the rest was the bad news that made John weep when the elder told him there was none worthy to open the scroll of God. John the Revelator is giving us the gospel, not the antigospel. The war of the Lamb looks nothing like the war of the beast. Jesus is not like Caesar. Jesus does not wage war like Caesar.[4]


[1] Vergil, Aen. 6.783; Ovid, Trista 1.5.69; Cicero, Letters to Atticus 6.5.

[2] Reardon, Revelation, 97.

[3] Keener, Revelation, 423.

[4] Brian Zahnd, Sinners, 176–77.

The Wrath of God

A natural question arises: given that I’ve just previously described the love of God and how we experience it in either heaven or hell, what are we to make of the wrath of God? Our Western understanding of “wrath” has to do with someone’s premeditated, perhaps malicious, action towards another. However, in theological language, the “wrath of God” doesn’t describe God Himself, but a state of being in which one is opposed to God. God is love (1 John 4:8), and He never changes, but when we put ourselves in a position of opposition to God’s love, we experience wrath. Christianity cannot exist without wrath because it is an element of holiness itself, which the God of Israel and Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8).

When you and I are wrathful, we act with passion. When we read of God’s wrath, we have to think of His righteousness, or “justice” as the word would be more appropriately translated in Paul’s Roman letter—at least in my opinion. We, sadly, have come to think of God’s wrath much as preached in early America by such men as Jonathan Edwards who said,

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.[1]

Edwards, and American Christianity as a whole, have begun with the premise that God, first, “abhors you.” This is the sort of notion to which most of us have grown up under, accustomed to being hated by our Creator. One might wonder what this does to the psychological makeup of a person.

In the gospels, we have the perfect Revelation of God in the person of Jesus. He is not portrayed as acting with hatred towards humanity, but with love and compassion. Picture it this way, to borrow a metaphor from Maximos the Confessor: the rays of the sun shine on the earth. To clay, it hardens, but to wax, it softens. The goodness of God shines on all humanity: to some, it hardens, and to others, it softens. If we are hardened, we become like Pharaoh and experience wrath. If we soften as wax, we may receive the stamp of divine realities upon us and become “in spirit the dwelling-place of God” (Eph. 2:22). We, therefore, must turn to God with love in faith and be “saved from wrath” (Rom. 5:9), which is “divine consent to our own self-destructive defiance.”[2]

Bowls of Wrath 

What we mustn’t forego is the conclusion that the trumpets were calls to repentance (cf. Rev. 9:20–21), but the bowls are final. Once more, we have in the first three bowls parallels to plagues God visited upon Egypt (Rev. 16:2–4)—the first of which identifies who is to bear such wrath, and they are those who bear the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. Reminiscent to Exodus, when the angel of death passed through Egypt, the blood of the Lamb over the doors of those who feared God preserved them from wrath. Similarly, those who bear the seal of the Lamb are protected from wrath because they do not carry the mark of the beast. Remember that the mark of the beast would have been the documents with the appropriate seals granted by the Concilia to those who worshipped the image of the Emperor. This enabled them to transact business and engage in the economy throughout the empire, so the Christians would have been forced to either join in or create their own black market.

By the time we come to the third bowl, we note something hitherto foreign to most: that one angel pours the bowl of wrath upon the waters, and the angel of the waters praises this action (Rev. 16:4). Second Temple Jewish thought held that angels were given superintendence over various features of the physical world (Jub. 2:2; 1 Enoch 20:2), so the angel charged with waters praised the Lord’s wrath upon his domain. Then, from beneath the altar, the martyrs praise the judgments of the Lord in vindication for their earlier cry for justice (Rev. 16:7; cf. 6:9–11). Unrepentant, the fourth bowl, unlike any of the plagues, was to increase the heat of the sun, and those who lacked penitence blasphemed the name of the Lord (Rev. 16:8–9). Whereas Daniel’s young companions refused to worship the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar, they were preserved from fire while these who refuse to repent will suffer from intense heat. The fifth bowl led to further blaspheming by a darkness that could obviously be felt (Rev. 16:10–11).

The Battle of Armageddon 

A lot of fanciful tales have emerged from this one-time-referenced phenomenon. With the pouring out of the sixth bowl, the Euphrates is dried so that the kings from the east (Parthian Empire) may travel westward, similar to how the Jordan was dried up for the conquest of Israel. Many rivers would dry up here or there, but the Euphrates wasn’t known for such, which may illustrate the dreadfulness of the time of God’s wrath. With Jewish thought pointed toward invasion when they hear of a river drying up (Josh. 3:14–17; 4:23–5:1), the stage was set so much so that the one might think that imperial propaganda led to the moment of the battle (Rev. 16:12–14). Jesus speaks up, and the one who is watchful and keeps his garments would be prepared for the moment. The words of Christ here in verse 15 are believed to speak to a Jewish tradition of keeping watch at the temple. When a guard was caught sleeping, he was beaten the first time. The second time, his clothes were burned, and he was left to depart naked to his shame.[3]

The place where the forces were gathered was Armageddon—literally, “the hill of Megiddo.” This isn’t some cryptic event or location, but well known to the Jews. It only appears here in Rev 16:16 and is geographically located in the city of Megiddo on a spur of Mt. Carmel, where Elijah faced the prophets of Baal. The plain of Megiddo boasted intersections of trade routes that linked Egypt with the Fertile Crescent as well as Palestine with the Phoenician coast. It was here that Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera (Judg. 5:19–20); Josiah was slain here by Pharaoh Neco (2 Kings 23:29).

A renowned area of conflict is what’s in mind because there is no literal “hill” or “mountain” of Megiddo. It’s plain. Furthermore, no “battle” is mentioned, but when the place is referenced, “battle” is always assumed, given the history of this area. What also is believed is because it’s referred to as the “battle of that great day of God Almighty” that this is something physical and no spiritual. Notice the spiritual elements in the sixth bowl about unclean spirits, false prophet, and demons who would lead earthly powers astray. The concept is more in mind than a real, historical event. God does battle with the enemy, and as soon as it was underway, the seventh bowl of judgment is poured. Just as the seventh trumpet presented cataclysmic events to conclude, so too does the seventh bowl. Even here, the hardened hearts do not permit repentance, but blasphemy persists (Rev. 16:17–21)


[1] Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html (accessed July 28, 2020)

[2] Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News (New York: The Crown Publishing Group, 2017) 16.

[3] Keener, Revelation, 396 n. 17; Farley, Apocalypse, 175.

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