What is the War of Armageddon and when does it take place?

Revelation 16:16  
And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

This is the one and only time the word Armageddon is found in the Bible. As the verse indicates, it is a place. Armageddon is the site of the battle that will bring the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to this earth to capture the Antichrist, false prophet, and all who will take the 666 mark of the beast and those who will worship his image.

Following the Rapture of the Church believers to heaven, the Antichrist, striving for a one-world government, will make a peace treaty with many nations of the world, but not all nations will agree. This treaty will begin the seven-year Tribulation period.

Daniel 9:27  
Then he [the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant [treaty] with many for one week [week in Hebrew in this usage translates to years.]

During the seven-year period all the people who were not raptured will undergo the deceptions of peace and then experience tremendous suffering of God’s strong warnings and His furious wrath [anger] for their continuing to offend Him.

During the sounding of the trumpets which will bring hail, fire, one third of the sea turning to blood, a third of the fish in the sea dying, a third of the ships on the seas being destroyed, a third of the rivers and springs of water being destroyed; a third of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened; locusts with the sting of scorpions; and two hundred million army men to kill a third of mankind.

Revelation 9:20-21  
20But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

To follow the Antichrist instead of confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior will put people to test with tremendous temptations. No one will be able to buy or sell anything—food, fuel, clothing, water, paper—nothing—unless they worship the Antichrist or his image.

Revelation 13:17-18  
17and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

The seven last plagues will come to the earth as the seven vials [bowls] of God’s wrath are poured out. The Antichrist’s stubborn surviving followers will be summoned to battle. When the sixth bowl is poured out it will open the way of the rulers from the east to come to battle.

Revelation 16:12-21  
12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrātēs, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon [Satan], out of the mouth of the beast [Antichrist], and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches; and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon [Mount Megiddo located near the plain of Megiddo of the Jezreel valley in NW Israel]. 17Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent [80 lbs]. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.

But there is more to how the battle will end: The armies will be gathered there together while these plagues continue, but the battle must be fought:

Revelation 19:11-21   
11Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [Not the same white horse the Antichrist sat on in Rev. 6]. And He [Jesus] who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God [John 1:1, 14]. 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron [in His Millennial reign]. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:


17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” 19And I saw the beast [Antichrist], the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

To answer the question, “When does the War of Armageddon take place?”: It marks the end of the Tribulation period. But only the Father knows when the Rapture will take place, and the Rapture will set off a chain of events; some being ended by this war.

Mark 13:32  
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father..

The Battle against Satan, Gog and Māgog is not the Battle of Armageddon

After the Battle of Armageddon ends with the Antichrist, false prophet, and those who received the mark of the beast, all of whom were cast alive into the Lake of Fire, there will be another battle: Satan, with all other nations of the earth—known as Gog and Māgog, will later be destroyed:

Revelation 20:1-3  
Then [after the chapter 19 description of Armageddon] I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while [to be defeated in the final war].

Revelation 20:7-10  
7Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Māgog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city [Jerusalem]. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast [Antichrist] and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

So the final answer to the question: “What is the War of Armageddon and when does it take place?” is that it happens after the seven-year Tribulation, but before the Millennial reign of Christ. After those one thousand years, then the war against Satan, Gog and Māgog [all the other rebellious nations against both the Lord Jesus and against the Antichrist] will take place and quickly be ended. Following that event will be the Great White Throne judgment, where all those unbelievers who’d died in past history will be judged. If their name is not in the Book of Life, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternal punishment and suffering.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author: Mike and Elfriede

For the past 15 years Michael Copple has studiously devoted his life to the Lord by preaching the Gospel and moderating Bible studies. He is a 1958 Eagle Scout, holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering, and achieved the highest US Air Force enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant with over 26 years service, one year of which was with Forward Air Control duties in Vietnam. For three years he was the senior enlisted member of the US Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team; he has performed over 2,000 parachute jumps and accumulated over 15 hours of freefall. During his parachuting years Mike experienced a mishap of being a “hung jumper” outside the aircraft, and serious parachute malfunctions like a deadly seesaw night jump entanglement with another jumper, and an 85 mph wind shear which almost took his life. This experience inspired and qualified him to author the novel Calling from the Sky. A former world-wide electronic service engineer for 16 years with a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, he and his wife Elfriede currently live in the Canadian Rockies surrounded by 6 National Parks. Besides studying God's Word, they both like to exercise, cross country ski, hike, garden, and walk their dog Kansas. Visit him at https://www.michaelcopple.com/

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