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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Ἀρμαγεδδών, Revelation 16:16), properly " the mountain of Megiddo" (Heb. הִר מְגִדּוֹ ), a city on the west of the river Jordan, rebuilt by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15). (See MEGIDDO). In the mystical language of prophecy, the word mountain represents the Church, and the events which took place at Megiddo are supposed to have had a typical reference to the sorrows and triumphs of the people of God under the Gospel. "In that day," says Zechariah (Zechariah 12:11), "shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon;" referring to the death of Josiah (q.v.). "He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon," is the language of the Apocalypse; and the word has been translated by some as "the mountain of destruction," by others as "the mountain of the gospel"-a passage that probably has reference to the symbolical use of the name in Zechariah. Into a valley ominous of slaughter the unclean spirits (representing the heathen influence of the Roman empire), under the special guidance of Providence (Revelation 17:17), conduct the assembled forces of the beast and his allies; and there in due time they come to an overthrow through an almighty conqueror (Stuart, Comment. in loc.). The passage is best illustrated by comparing a similar one in the book of Joel (Joel 3:2; Joel 3:12), where the scene of the divine judgments is spoken of in the prophetic imagery as the "valley of Jehoshaphat," the fact underlying the image being Jehoshaphat's great victory (2 Chronicles 20:26; see Zechariah 14:2; Zechariah 14:4). So here the scene of the struggle of good and evil is suggested by that battlefield, the plain of Esdraelon, which was famous for two great victories-of Barak over the Canaanites (Judges 4, 5), and Gideon over the Midianites (Judges 7); and for two great disasters, the death of Saul in the invasion of the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:8), and the death of Josiah in the invasion of the Egyptians (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:22). With the first and fourth of these events, Megiddo (Μαγεδδώ in the Sept. and Josephus) is especially connected. Hence Ἀρ - μαγεδών , "the hill of Megiddo." (See Bihr's Excursus on Herod. ii, 159.) As regards the Apocalypse, it is remarked by Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, p. 330) that this imagery would be peculiarly natural to a Galilaan, to whom the scene of these battles was familiar. (See ESDRAELON).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Armageddon'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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