The Christ in Prophecy Journal

End Time Wars – #1 War of Extermination


Every time a war breaks out in the Middle East, I receive a flurry of phone calls and email messages asking if it could be the War of Armageddon. This question is prompted by the fact that most people are familiar with only one end time war — the one that has been popularized in movies and novels as the “Battle of Armageddon.”

The Valley of Armageddon

The concept comes from the book of Revelation where it says that armies will gather in the end times at a place “which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon” (Revelation 16:16). This term literally means the Mount of Megiddo and refers to the ancient fortress of Megiddo that controlled the Valley of Jezreel. In English the word was transliterated as Armageddon, and the term came to be applied to the Valley of Jezreel which lies in front of Har-Magedon, running diagonally across Israel from Haifa to the Jordan River.

Valley of Jezreel Map

Most people are surprised to discover that there is no reference in the book of Revelation, or any other place in the Bible to the “Valley of Armageddon,” nor is there any reference to the “Battle of Armageddon” — but more about that later. People are even more surprised to learn that Bible prophecy reveals nine wars in the end times and that Armageddon relates to only one of these.

The Next Prophetic War

Most prophetic scholars have long believed that the next great end time war will be the War of Gog & Magog that is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This, for example is the stated position of Joel Rosenberg in his popular book, Epicenter. This war will start when Russia invades Israel with certain specified allies, all of whom are Muslim nations today.

But I seriously doubt that the conflict described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be the next war of end time Bible prophecy. There are two reasons why I feel this way.

First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living “securely” in “unwalled villages.”

Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400 mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living “securely” in “unwalled villages.”

The second reason I doubt that the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be the next end time war of Bible prophecy is because the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5-6 as the allies of Russia do not include a single Arab state with a border adjacent to Israel. The nations identified are Persia (Iran), Cush (most likely modern day Sudan), Put (Libya and possibly Algeria and Tunisia), and two regions that lie within modern day Turkey (Gomer and Bethtogarmah). There is no mention of the nations that share a common border with Israel — namely, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Gaza.

Why are the nations located next to Israel not mentioned as allies of Russia? I believe the best explanation of this mystery is the one supplied by Bill Salus in his book, Isralestine. He proposes that the next end time prophetic war will be the one described in Psalm 83, a war between Israel and its neighbors. He believes this war will produce the conditions that are necessary for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and I agree with that conclusion.

With that point clarified, let’s now take an overview of the end time prophetic wars in their likely chronological sequence, starting with the first in this series.

1) The War of Extermination — Psalm 83

The psalm states that the immediate neighbors of Israel will launch a war for the purpose of “wiping out Israel as a nation” (verse 4). The nations described as being a part of this nefarious effort are those with a common border with Israel today (verses 6-8). The rest of the psalm is a prayer for the victory of Israel (verses 9-18).

The outcome of the war is not stated, but we know from other scriptures that Israel will be victorious. For example, in Zechariah 12:6 we are told that in the end times Israel will be like “a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples…” Also, in Amos 9:15 we are told that once the Jews are re-established in their land, “they will not again be rooted out from their land.”

Bill Salus believes this war will result in an overwhelming victory for Israel, resulting in great territorial expansion and enhanced national resources. It will also produce the security spoken of in Ezekiel 38.

In the second installment of this “End Time Wars” series, we will look at the second war in the end times sequence — the First War of Gog & Magog.

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Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

14 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Ahhh….I love reading articles like this. It's a breath of fresh air, for two reasons.

    First, it reminds me of the transience of the trials of the moment, as comparatively difficult as they are ('comparatively' because the life I live is paradise to 90% of the rest of the modern world regardless of my daily annoyances and frustrations). After the Rapture, the bank accounts I worry over won't exist, the house and possessions I fret about will be burned away, the projects I manage will be irrelevant. Why stress over something that, in a mere 5 minutes, I could be called from to join the greatest celebration Heaven & Earth has ever seen? Keep perspective!

    Second, it reaffirms the promises of Christ. Humanists may be winning battles, but the war is predetermined. Socialism may be creeping in, but what point is that in the events to come? The decription of the not-to-happen Battle of Armageddon is telling…probably the greatest gathering of soldiers and war machines to have ever happened, and Christ wipes all of it away with a word.

  • This teaching/article by Dr. Regan, is the same conclusion I've reached after 20 yrs. of study. World events are lining up with Scripture in amazing ways. Come, Lord Jesus!

  • Here's what I don't understand about this war vs the Arabs…

    Why wouldn't Russia and Iran and the other immediately counter attack against Israel? That would seem to be the logical outcome, again, IMMEDIATELY following Israel's victory. That however doesn't fit into end times prophecy, hence my confusion.

  • Bulls eye. Exactly as I believe Bible prophecy will occur in its fulfillment and in eschatological sequence.

    With respect to the point raised by Billy, a full-scale invasion by the Gog/Magog coalition as described by Ezekiel would take some time to organize logistically. That effort would be physically detectable by Western and Israeli intelligence agencies well in advance. In fact, they are all very well aware of this prophecy, so some other significant factors must be involved in the time period leading up to the actual event. The other thing to keep in mind is that Israel is a full-fledged nuclear power and its arsenal of nukes are a significant deterent, enough so to give even Russia pause to consider the ramifications.

    However, I think there is another potential option to consider.

    It might turn out that it will be militarily impossible for Iran to strike Israel if the Iranian military is effectively neutralized via a preemptive NNEMP strike (non-nuclear electro-magnetic pulse) that preceeds Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear weapons infrastructure.

    This action might then precipitate a Syrian/Hezbollah retaliation against Israel which, in turn, results in the literal fulfillment fulfillment of Isaiah 17.

    The annihilation of Damascus might then be the event which precipitates the events of Psalm 83. Also notice that in Psalm 83 that Syria Aram (the Aramean region of southern Syria, (i.e. Syria Damascus) is not listed as being among the conspiring nations. Is this due to Damascus having been previously annihilated? Assyria is mentioned as being of some help or assistance to Israel's enemies in this war, but this is either extreme northern Syria, or Sunni Iraq in my interpretation of the prophecy.

  • My confusion was cleared by the next article (should've waited, I guess).

    I was thinking of the events as follows:

    Arab invasion
    Peace and security
    Russian invasion

    But now I see it probably would go:

    Arab invasion
    Russian invasion
    Peace and security

    It's really amazing to be one of the few people who know the near future while the rest of the world goes about their merry way…but I guess that too is prophecy fulfilled.

  • Thank you Dr. Reagan, what a concise description of the 9 battles! And thanks for the scripture back-up. The article made me thankful that I was born now and that I've accepted Christ…to be "raptured"! The fate of unbelievers in those battles and the people who rebel during the Millineum brings tears to my eyes…it grieves me.

  • Thank you for showing us how much twested you are, dreaming about the destruction of a city??
    Bin Laden is an angle comparing to you, he only destroyed only two buildings!!

  • Probably you do not know, but this battle is mentioned by prophet Mohammad, and all Muslims know about it, as our Hadeth telling us that the antichrist will appear, filling the land with horrors, and all the Jews will follow him, and in a later stage, God sends Jesus again (from the sky), and all the Christians recognize him, and he breaks the cross (as he was never crosified) and all believers (Muslims and Christians) become united, and defeat the antichrist and all Jews in the entrance of Al-Llad city (which is about the same location of Megiddo) …
    The question: Why Russia? Is simply because the Muslims and Christians will become one alliance.
    So let us wait and see.

  • I think you have it the wrong way,
    i dont want this blog to be a religious debate but let me just say that, first of all islam is not accepted in christiandom, and any issues that may come to pass as your prophecy is rejected because of many reasons that will take me lines to explain anyway, the MAHDI and ISA( jesus) which islam speaks of is written in the N.T……we know this is prophecy that shall come to pass, and MAHDI will be the beast of the sea(antichrist), and ISA will be false prophet who will claim that he is JESUS but is not, and is called in revelations the beast of the earth…if you dont believe me check out the bible for reference…this was before the QURAN…i quote…BEFORE…..and the prophecy that shall come to pass is EXACTLY similar to what islam prophecies it to be…but do not be confused because the one islam calls a DAJJAL( satan) will actually be JESUS..and so the muslims will attack Jesus and for the christians ISA will be the false prophet…so Christians and Jesus himself who shall come from heaven the second time will fight and finally put Mahdi and the flase prophet ISA into a place which i know you muslims dont know…called the ABYSS.
    i am glad i am christian and on the side of the lord who warned the nations about islam.

  • Anonymous, no one is dreaming about the destruction of anyone, we are just reading about it in the Bible. The question should be – "Now that we've read about it, how do we respond to this foreknowledge?"

    I'm afraid Mohammad's version of the end times is a blending of Torah and Bible prophecies that he got all mixed during his ecstatic rantings and can't at all be taken with a grain of salt. Here's a synopsis of Islamic Eschatology.

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