Armageddon as divine war in the Apocalypse
Oluikpe, Ikechukwu Michael
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The word "Armageddon" appears only once in the whole Bible as the name of the site for the eschatological battle on the great day of God the Almighty (Rev 16:16). Though it appears only once in the Bible, it has been the subject of a variety of interpretations. These interpretations can be divided into two major groups: Armageddon as a literal geographical place and Armageddon as a symbolic theological place. In the light of the differing opinions on the subject, this study explores the interpretation of Armageddon through the theological lens of the divine war motif. This is also done in an attempt to provide a unified, integrated understanding of the subject. Based on the context of the Apocalypse, the battle of Armageddon is a battle of God's ultimate response to gathering against Him. The Hebrew place name Armageddon is symbolic of God's Mount of Assembly/Gathering: Mount ZionNew Jerusalem which is symbolic of God's universal kingship and government. The battle of Armageddon therefore involves God's ultimate response to the gathering and uniting of sinful rebellious beings (human and superhuman alike) against God's government and all that is God's. Though the symbolic views of Armageddon appear to differ, they all agree on one point: The battle of Armageddon points to the eschatological battle between God and all evil. Like the doctrine of salvation, each symbolic view stands as a metaphor or illustration from a different perspective for this final battle. From the perspective of divine war, the battle of Armageddon has two aspects: the attack of the saints by the end-time evil confederacy (the preparation for the battle) and God's response on behalf of His saints (the battle itself). The divine war motif emphasizes the second aspect. Armageddon is not just the ultimate battle between good and evil. It is God's final and complete victory over evil. The good news of Armageddon is that God will win in the end.