Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

hvn_nbr_2

(6,471 posts)
Mon Dec 4, 2023, 12:24 PM Dec 4

Armageddon, as you never heard it before

In the story of Armageddon (Rev 16:13-16, Rev 19:11-21, and Rev 1:16), the only "weapon" that Christ uses to defeat all the armies of the earth is a two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of the Word of God (Rev 19:15-21). This would be a singularly ridiculous symbol for the military might of Jesus to conquer on the battlefield, if it meant that. No soldier in the history of warfare ever went into battle carrying their weapon in their mouth. It's a preposterous notion and it describes a preposterous image.

If the sword meant military might, it would be in the right hand of the Power of God or maybe the Wrath of God, not coming out of the mouth of the Word of God. In fact, if you google for images of "Christ Armageddon sword -movie" ("-movie" to filter out images from the movie), about 80% of the images you get show the sword in his right hand, in blatant contradiction of what the Bible actually says. The warmongers who want Armageddon to be a giant military conflagration blatantly contradict the Bible to make it what they want it to be!

The sword coming from the mouth of the Word makes no sense in military terms. What then could it sensibly mean? For that answer, we have to look at the other part of the Armageddon story, the call to gather for war at Armageddon (Rev 16:12-16). There, "impure spirits" come out of the mouths of three of Satan's partners (the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet) and call all the nations to war. "Out of mouths" again!

The call to war comes out of satanic mouths, and the antidote that conquers war itself comes out of the Word's mouth. What comes out of mouths? Words, thoughts, ideas, statements, truth or falsehood, wisdom or folly. Truth and wisdom come out of God's mouth, and falsehood and folly come out of satanic mouths. The two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of the Word of God simply has the most common symbolic and metaphorical meaning, "truth is a two-edged sword." God's truth is the one thing that is powerful enough to defeat Satan's lies; Armageddon is the story of God's truth overcoming the falsehood and folly that call us to war.

This understanding of Armageddon reveals the meaning of the strange name Armageddon, which never appeared anywhere before it appeared in Revelation. There is no place in physical reality called Armageddon. The Hebrew words that are combined in the name mean, depending on the translator, something like "the mountain above Megiddo," "the heights above Megiddo," or simply "above Megiddo." Megiddo is a city in Israel where several historically important battles were fought. The name has been a mystery to scholars and theologians because there are no mountains above Megiddo.

Here is the meaning of the name Armageddon: This "battle" where God's truth conquers Satan's falsehood to set us free from war happens "on a higher level"--the moral, intellectual, and spiritual levels--than the physical level of Megiddo's military battlefields, on a higher level than Megiddo, "above Megiddo." There is also the sense that this is metaphorically an "on the mountaintop" experience for humanity.

Now it still remains to explain all the killing and flesh-eating birds in Rev 19:17-21. An angel calls to the "birds flying in midair" (or in midheaven, high in the sky, or similar expressions in various translations) to eat the flesh of kings, generals, powerful people, horses and their riders, and of all people, free and slave, great and small.

Then two satanic characters are captured and thrown into the lake of fire. And "the rest" were killed by the sword from the mouth of Christ. Now "the rest" is ambiguous--it could mean killing all the soldiers in the armies by bloody warfare or it could mean killing the armies themselves, in the sense that killing the armies means getting rid of armies, ending the whole idea of armies. But we've already seen that the sword from Christ's mouth doesn't make sense as military might; it only makes sense as God's truth. And John (the author of Revelation) emphasizes that by repeating in 19:21 that this sword comes from his mouth, even though he just said it a couple verses earlier in 19:15. Truth can't kill the bodies of soldiers, but it can "kill" the whole idea of armies and war.

But still, what about the flesh-eating birds? To understand them, we need to talk about an interesting aspect of Revelation. Everyone who studies Revelation quickly learns that it contains many, many allusions to various passages in the Bible. John almost never directly quotes other parts of scripture but he frequently makes veiled references, paraphrases, and similar statements and expressions. The "birds flying in midair" is one of those expressions that is reminiscent of a similar expression elsewhere in scripture but is almost never recognized as such.

The "birds flying in midair" is a rather wordy and linguistically ornate way to say "birds." It is an allusion to the "birds of the air." "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." (Matt. 6:26) Another wordy, ornate way to refer to birds while talking about feeding and providing for birds. The point of the Matthew passage is that if God provides for the birds, how much more will he provide for people. When we stop war's wasting and destroying so much of what God provides, what a boon it will be for humanity!

Armageddon is the story of how the truth sets us free. God's truth sets us free from war, and when that happens, it results in massive benefits for humanity, from ending all the killing, ending all the wasting our wealth on war and preparations for war, and ending all the destruction that war causes.
-------------
I have a lot more that I could say about Revelation from a liberal, progressive viewpoint. If this post gets any interest, I may post some more.

6 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Armageddon, as you never heard it before (Original Post) hvn_nbr_2 Dec 4 OP
Please Continue Tbear Dec 4 #1
I'd like you to post more! BComplex Dec 4 #2
Very interesting - I Do want to hear more. alittlelark Dec 4 #3
Oh. please do continue. ShazzieB Dec 4 #4
Truly fascinating, and such a different understanding from everything I've previously summer_in_TX Dec 5 #5
I agree with everyone! slightlv Dec 5 #6
Latest Discussions»Alliance Forums»Christian Liberals & Progressive People of Faith»Armageddon, as you never ...