Many Evangelical Protestants think that the Hamas October 7th attack across the Gaza border into Israel was the beginning of Armageddon, a New Testament term used to describe the final battle between the forces of good and evil, which occurs prior to God’s Day of Judgment.
It is true that on October 7, 2,500 Hamas terrorists broke through the border fence into Israel in a multi-pronged, devastating onslaught. At least 1,400 people in Israel were killed, including over 1,000 civilians, and 228 people who were abducted to Gaza as hostages.
But Armageddon comes from the name in the Hebrew Bible for the hill of Megiddo, which is about 80 miles north of Jerusalem, and is today only an archaeological site. The word Armageddon does not appear in the Hebrew Bible and appears only once in the Greek New Testament, in Revelation 16:16. Armageddon is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו). Har in Hebrew means “a mountain or hill”.
Armageddon is usually seen as the final battle or battles between good and evil which lasts for only a short time; compared to the Messianic Peace that follows Armageddon that lasts until large carnivores eat only Plant based meat.
As Prophet Isaiah 11:6-9 states: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie with the kid, and a calf with a lion’s cub all together, and a small child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like cattle. An infant shall play over the hole of an asp, and the weaned child shall put out his hand over the eyeball of an adder. They will not harm or destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God as (long as) the waters cover the sea.”
Many of the Prophets of Israel envisioned a world full of Prosperity and Peace including even for animals: Isaiah 2:4 and Michah 4:3: “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift a sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.” Michah 4:4 continues: “Each person shall sit under his vine and under fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid…”
Hosea 2:20: “…I shall break from the earth the bow, the sword and warfare, and I shall make them lie down securely.” and Zechariah 9:10: “…the bow of war shall be cut off, and (all) shall speak peace to the nations…”
The Land of Israel has often been the Holy Land of miracles; and the best destiny for the Palestinians is to share the land with Israel; unless they want to end up like the civil war in Syria which killed half a million people, and left half of Syria’s prewar population of 23 million displaced by the conflict, including 5 million+ who are now refugees.
In Genesis 12, we are told that God commanded Prophet Abraham Genesis 12:1 “…Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons (converts to monotheism) whom they (Abraham and Sarah) had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to the land of Canaan.
Thus begins the 3500 year long interaction of Abram and his descendants, the future People of Israel, with the Land of Canaan, the future Land of Israel. Sometime after his arrival in the land of Canaan Prophet Abraham has a vision of God, telling him of his (Abraham’s future) descendants’ slavery and release (from Egypt), that ending with Genesis 15:18. “On that day God made a covenant with (Prophet) Abraham, saying: To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt (a wadi near the border of the Sinai desert) to the great river, the river Euphrates; 15:19.
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.
And prior to the 20th century Arabs and Jews never did make war with each other. Even the surprise attack by Egypt and Syria of the Yom Kippur War was followed six years later by a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel. Could the same process follow the defeat of Hamas in the Hamas-Israel War?
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 will 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. In 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)
Thus, the Bible and the Qur’an’s final judgement is the self-destruction of violent, hate filled terrorism and narrow ‘my way or death’ philosophy and the victory of kindness, love, justice and religious pluralism. As a Hadith warns: “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against him or her on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud 10)
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)
And then “Lo yisa goy el goy kherev velo yilmedu od milkhama” “Nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)