The word Armageddon comes from the Hebrew Har Meghiddo, meaning “Mountain of Megiddo” Har Magedon is the symbol of a major battle in which, when the need is greatest and the believers are most oppressed, God reveals His power to His distressed people and the evil enemies are destroyed.
Many religious people think that the road to Armageddon was started by the Hamas massacre of Israel’s villages near the Gaza border, and will be fought in Hamas’s tunnels and Hezbollah’s rockets.
Armageddon is a warning of humanity’s need to change in order to avoid Armageddon.
Armageddon is not just about wars but also can be applied to other major wars like the war on drugs because more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year – the vast majority were adults – but the fastest growing group to die of overdoses were teenagers whose overdose deaths have never been higher.
Or the war against climate change because temperatures in the Middle East have risen far faster than the world’s average in the past three decades. Precipitation has been decreasing, and experts predict droughts will come with greater frequency and severity. And major wildfires in Europe are starting earlier in the year, becoming more frequent, doing more damage and getting harder to stop.
And because the summer of 2023 was the hottest in Europe’s recorded history, with the continent suffering blistering heat waves and the worst drought in centuries.
And because the Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to this year’s Arctic Report Card, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration because; when the sea ice, which is white, thins or disappears, allowing dark ocean or land surfaces to absorb more heat from the sun, it release that energy back into the atmosphere.
And because climate change is a prime suspect in a mass die-off of Alaska’s snow crabs, experts say, after the state took the unprecedented step of canceling their harvest this season to save the species; which fell to about 1.9 billion in 2022, down from 11.7 billion in 2018, or a reduction of about 84% in less than 5 years..
Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam has a powerful eschatological strain. It anticipates the end to the world as we know it; a final historical confrontation between good and evil (Armageddon); after which, with God’s help, human life will be rewarded and transformed.
As the Qur’an states: “Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews, Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and do righteous good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (2:62 and 5:69) Notice that the Qur’an specifically stresses religious pluralism applies on God’s judgment day.
A Pew Research Center poll found that in South and Southeast Asia 55-60% of all Muslims believe in the Madhi’s imminent return; and in the Middle East and North Africa 51% do.
A hadith says that Jesus will return to a place east of Damascus and will join forces with the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, in a battle against the false messiah, the one eyed Dajjal, Armilos in Jewish tradition.
After the death of both the Dajjal and the Mahdi, the Muslim Messiah Jesus will rule the Earth. Most importantly, the Hadith say that these events will come to pass when Islam itself is threatened by its own corrupt fanatics.
As ibn Babuya writes in Thawab ul-A’mal, “The Apostle of God said: `There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur’an except its outward form, and nothing of Islam except its name, and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it.
“The mosques will be full of people but they will be empty of right guidance. The religious leaders (Fuqaha) of that day will be the most evil religious leaders under the heavens; sedition and dissension will go out from them and to them will it return.”
This sounds, and indeed is, terrible. But, those who trust in God know that the night is coldest in the last hours before sunrise.
Secularists believe that these apocalyptic visions of a future (Armageddon) are absurd, although many secularists themselves fervently believe that runaway genetic modification of food and/or extreme climate change is going to doom human civilization in future generations.
The basic difference between the pessimistic, humanist secularists and the religious optimists is that those who believe in the God of Abraham also believe that God’s inspiration and guidance guarantees that the spiritual forces of good, will overcome all the world’s evils at the end of days; and justice, peace and religious pluralism will prevail. Or as Prophet Micah envisions it: (4:1-5)
“In the end of days the mountain of the Lord’s Temple will be established as the highest mountain; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many (not all) nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. who will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.
“Torah will go out from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. God will judge between many (not all) peoples and will settle disputes among powerful nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughs, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
“Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig-tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations will walk in the name of their gods, and we (Jews) will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.”
Thus, the Bible and the Qur’an’s final judgement is the self-destruction of violent, hate filled, religion twisted terrorism and narrow ‘my way or death’ philosophy (Armageddon); and the victory of kindness, love, democracy and religious pluralism.
The Qur’an refers to Prophet Abraham as a community or a nation: “Abraham was a nation/community [Ummah]; dutiful to God, a monotheist [hanif], not one of the polytheists.” (16:120) If Prophet Abraham is an Ummah then fighting between the descendants of Prophets Ishmael and Isaac is a civil war and should always be avoided.
If all Arabs and Jews can live up to the ideal that ‘the descendants of Abraham’s sons should never make war against each other’ is the will of God; we can help fulfill the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. On that day Israel will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-5)
Although it might seem impossible now, I do believe that within a decade or two Muslims will visit Jerusalem and pray together with Jews as Prophet Isaiah states: “And the foreigners who join themselves to the (monotheistic one) Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast to my covenant, these I will bring to my holy mountain (Zion), and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)