“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
Zechariah 12: 3
What is armageddon all about? Many envision a day of great conflict and struggle between forces who want to dominate the earth. Biblically speaking, armageddon has already happened. Many imagine a power struggle in the future because they haven't understood the victory of the cross.
It was at the cross that the rogue principalities and powers in the heavenly places met their defeat. As the Psalmist predicted, the nations raged against the Messiah and lost.
“Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed.”
In the final chapters of each gospel, the evangelist tells the story of the great conflict of powers when apostate Israel arrests Jesus and turns him over to the “justice” of Rome, the “rulers of the whole world.” Jesus, on trial before Israel and Rome, is God’s Messiah accused by “the kings of the earth” who “take their stand against the Lord and against His anointed.”
These earthly rulers condemn Jesus, but the “ruler of this world” is the force behind their condemnation. The earthly powers carried out the will of the kingdom of darkness, not knowing that it was their undoing. Or if they did know, they were powerless to do anything else. Their evil natures started working against them.
The trial, torture, and execution of Jesus was the great Armageddon where, to this day, at the cross, we find, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!” (Joel 3:14). Who is this tortured, mocked, condemned, and crucified man whom the world rejects so violently? And whom God vindicated so mightily in His resurrection?
We must learn to see in the Gospels the Gentile nations, unbelieving Israel, and the powers of darkness behind all human rebellion gathered together like monsters around God’s Messiah, representing Israel as a whole. This event is what the prophets consistently predicted: the world's nations gathering together in war against God’s anointed people. Only “God’s people” are represented in one man, the Messiah. The trial, execution, and resurrection of Jesus is the great cosmic conflict, the battle of the ages, the war for control of all things: armageddon.
The good news is that a victor has already come forward, and the battle has been conclusive. The gospel is good news because Jesus has already been raised from the dead, never to die again. Jesus is Lord, and satan has been “thrown down from Heaven like lightning” (Luke 10:18). Revelation puts it this way:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15 NASB
This statement is past tense; it has already taken place. Jesus sits at God’s right hand, His work declared “finished” on the cross. The Gospel remains perpetual good news because the victory is total. All that is left is the application of Jesus’ victory by the Church and eventually by Jesus Himself to complete the world’s transformation. The cataclysmic and conclusive battle was at the cross. All authority in Heaven and on Earth had already been given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18). So the Church should have great boldness to obey God today because: “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1 NASB
Many Christians waste precious time peering into the future with great, fearful, and worthless speculations when what we hope for has already taken place. Many of us try to see into the future simply because we fear living courageously in the present. We speculate about what God might do in the future instead of obeying what Jesus called us to do in the present because of what God did in the past. The Christian Gospel is not merely hopeful but certain. Jesus already won. It's not time to speculate about the future but to act with confidence and fidelity because of the past. Jesus is Lord.