The perspective of the apocalypse appears pessimistic. Things are bad and they're going to get worse. But always, with this pessimistic attitude, there is a contrasting sense of future hope. There is a promise of salvation. The war is coming, the battle is going to be fierce and unavoidable, but there is a promise of deliverance in the midst of all the conflict. There is a transcendent reality, a promise, a certainty, that the Bible conveys. That reality, that promise is that God is in control. God will ensure that no matter how bad things get on earth, they will not get so bad that all hope is lost.
The final battle is actually a series of battles that begin during the seven-year Great Tribulation with what is known as the Battle of Gog and Magog.
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, set your face against Gog . . . and prophesy against him, and say, Thus says the LORD God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal"... After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you'"(Ezekiel 38:1,2,8,9).
Ezekiel paints a picture of a massive army descending upon the Land of Israel. The troops are led by Gog who is the leader of the land of Magog along with the other lands of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Although these names are mentioned in Genesis 10 as sons of Japheth, we have a strong indication of which nations they represent today. Magog, Meshech and Tubal were tribes of the ancient world between the Black and Caspian Seas, which today is southern Russia. The tribes of Meshech and Tubal have given their names to cities of today, Moscow and Tobolsk. Rosh is believed by some to be where the name "Russia" came from.
When you consider that Moscow is almost a straight line due north from Jerusalem, it could very well be that a confederation of nations led by Russia are behind this first Tribulation battle. Ezekiel tells us that three other countries join with them: Persia, Ethiopia and Put. We know that Persia is Iran. The others appear to be African nations, perhaps including Libya. Together these nations attack the Land of Israel in the mountains of Israel. Their armies are placed from the northern end of the valley of Jezreel down into the areas of the south, Beer Sheva and the Negev. Jerusalem is in the middle of these mountains, and this is where the armies converge in a massive invasion.
The Bible says that these armies will cover the land just like a storm cloud. Ezekiel depicts Israel as a nation of unwalled cities, vulnerable to her enemies. Israel's defenses will be lowered because she believes she will be protected by the treaty she signed with the Antichrist three and one half years earlier. But Israel is betrayed. The attack comes and the nations of the world stand back and watch. They expect to see Israel destroyed, but they discover that there is a far greater power fighting for Israel than the sum total of all the nations. The LORD God himself.
"I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the LORD God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone" (Ezekiel 38:21,22).
There is going to be mass confusion among Israel's enemies as God's earth-shattering, miraculous intervention strikes. These people are going to be utterly slaughtered. In fact, Ezekiel tells us it will take Israel seven months to clean up after the battle. Even so, the battle of Gog and Magog is only the prelude to this final battle, often referred to as Armageddon. It demonstrates to Israel her folly in having trusted in the peace treaty or in power or leaders other than God. She discovers that the only one worth putting trust in is the LORD.
The supernatural defeat of the armies of Gog and Magog serve as the pretext for the Antichrist to invade the Land of Israel. He has succeeded in his plan for world domination. Thanks to the manipulation of his partner, the false prophet, he has an economic stranglehold on the world. Between the signs and wonders performed by the false prophet and the miraculous healing of a mortal wound the Antichrist received during an assassination attempt, all the peoples of the world are actually worshiping the Antichrist as some kind of a guru-god. All the peoples, that is, except for the Jewish people. His blasphemy in the Temple has made our people see the light and they have turned away from him. The Antichrist thought that the federation of Gog and Magog would do havoc in the Jewish nation, but he was wrong. So his ultimate plan for annihilating Jews now comes into play. Finally, we arrive at the main event. The campaign of Armageddon.
Armageddon is a combination of two words; Har meaning mountain and Meggido, which is an actual hill overlooking the valley of Jezreel. Megiddo was one of the fortified cities of King Solomon. Today, you can visit the ancient ruins of the city and look out over the Jezreel Valley. Israel has a key military base right there and there is the constant buzz of military aircraft taking off and landing in the midst of the lush surroundings of fertile farmland.
The Jezreel Valley is a place of great historic significance. Deborah and Barak were victorious over the Canaanites there, Gideon defeated the Midianites there, King Saul was slain there, Jehu killed Ahaziah there and King Josiah was slain by the Egyptians there. Even Napoleon Bonaparte marched past Megiddo in his effort to win the Middle East. This military genius called it the most natural battleground on the whole earth. It should be no surprise that the plain of Armageddon is a gathering place for the armies of the Antichrist.