Mount Hermon and it’s relation to Armageddon
There are some who don't believe that Armageddon refers to a literal confrontation. Rather, the Full Preterist position is that everything in Revelation up to chapter 20 has already happened prior to 70 AD. In their view the word Armageddon is a euphemism for any major conflict. However, there does appear to be a certain amount of unfulfilled prophecy that can't be explained by historical events. Even the the Muslims believe in a final conflict in which all of the Christians and Jews will be killed. In any event, the following pages give a new perspective to a question that has puzzled theologians for centuries. The reader can make up his own mind.
The word Armageddon appears only once in Scripture, being Rev 16:16 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” We know from this Scripture that Armageddon is a transliteration from the Greek. It should have been a simple matter to identify a place in Israel that has a name that sounds similar to Armageddon. However, this assumption hasn't proven to be true. Centuries of argument and conjecture have been the result.
Let's look at the word afresh. In the Hebrew language, there are no vowels in the ancient Hebrew. Therefore, the word would be RMGDDN. There are a number of possible grouping of these letters. After looking at various combinations, my conclusion is that the the correct grouping is R-MGD-DN. The traditional treatment of the first syllable is with the Hebrew word har which means mountain or hill.
According to Strong’s Concordance, H2022. har, har; a short. form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used fig.):--hill (country), mount (-ain), X promotion. It's this choice that has resulted in the phrase har meggido which until now has been the prevailing rendering which gives the meaning Mount Meggido. The word meggido refers to a place name that is formerly the name of a town in the Valley of Jezreel, it's modern name being the Valley of Esraelon. Although this valley has been the site of many great historical battles, it is not in any sense a mountain. The only reason that scholars have persisted with this geographical oxymoron has been the lack of any viable alternative. The only part of that translation which seems usable is the Hebrew word har because it does insinuate a possible location that can be expanded upon.
The next part of the word that I wish to address is the final 2 letters, being DN. As noted earlier, ancient Hebrew has no vowels. If we add a vowel, it makes no difference to the meaning, so we can express the word as d*n where * can be any vowel. The meaning of the word using any vowel is “judgement”. So far, we have a mountain of judgement, which is completely compatible with the other Scriptures that we are familiar with that deal with this ultimate battle. The one problem at this point is that it could relate to any mountain in Israel. We need some information that will further narrow down the location.
After applying the whole range of vowels to the word, there is one that identifies a definite location, being the letter “a”. Dan was a region in Northern Israel and its main city was also known as Dan. The name as we know means judgement, and it appears than Dan and his descendants, as well as the territory they inhabited, have been reserved for judgement throughout history. In the book of Revelation, when Jesus tells the apostle John that he will choose 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8), and will choose 12,000 out of each tribe, it is interesting to note that he will give Joseph a double portion; that is, a portion for Ephraim (Joseph) and a portion for Ephraim's brother Manasseh (Rev. 7:6, 8); but Dan is not mentioned at all.
The birth of Dan and the reason for his naming are recorded in Gen. 30:6 “And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.” In this instance, Rachel was judged favourably by God. As one of the twelve sons of Jacob, he became the head of the Tribe of Dan. Originally apportioned territory in the coastal area of Israel that would include modern-day Tel-Aviv, the Danites were unable to defend against the Philistines. In the end, they made their way to northern Israel and attacked the city of Leshem a.k.a. Laish. They put the inhabitants to the sword and occupied the city which they renamed Dan. The whole region was also named for Dan and includes Mount Hermon.
From www.cgg.com - “It is interesting to note that Dan is left out of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9. The tribe of Dan as a whole was guilty of gross idolatry; even to the point of stealing the idols they used to practice their religion (Judges 18: 14-31). Theirs was the first organised idolatry in ancient Israel, and the longest in duration. It continued “until the day of the captivity of the land”, nearly 500 years later (Judges 18:30). Jewish tradition says that Dan was the first tribe to follow Jeroboam into his sin of idolatry, and in their literature, the term “Dan” is often used to represent idolatry.”
Now that we have a region to look at, we only need to find the mountain of judgement. That's going to be easy because there is only one mountain in Dan. That mountain is Mount Hermon.
When the nation of Israel was re-established in 1948, the former territory of Dan had been fully absorbed into both Lebanon and Syria. It was only in the 1967 war that a large portion of Dan came back under Israeli control. The annexed area is well-known as the Golan Heights, the northern part which contains the ruins of the ancient city of Dan. The location is now an archaeological site currently known as Tel-Dan or Tel el-Qadi in Arabic. Both translate into English as Mound of the Judge.
The Place of Mt. Hermon in Middle East Tensions
In Bible times, Mount Hermon marked the northern boundary of Israel. In 1948, when Israel was restored as a nation, Mount Hermon was not part of what was previously known as Palestine. According to Wikipaedia - Mount Hermon Arabic:جبل الشيخ, Jabal el-Shaykh,"mountain of the chief" and "snowy mountain", Hebrew: הר חרמון, Har Hermon) is a mountain in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. It is also called "the eyes of the nation" in Israel because its elevation makes it Israel's primary strategic early warning system. The springs which are fed by melt water, and the mountain itself, are much contested by the nations of the area for the use of the water.
Its highest point is 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level. This summit is on the border between Syria and Lebanon. Parts of the southern slopes fall within the Golan Heights, an area under Israeli control since the 1967 war. The Anti-Lebanon range extends for approximately 150 km in a northeast - southwest direction, running parallel to the Lebanon range on the west. The Hermon range covers an area of about 1,000 square km, of which about 70 km² are under Israeli control.
The Israeli controlled sector of the mountain is heavily patrolled by the Israeli Defence Forces and the Israeli Police, and the Israeli Security Forces maintain a strategic observation post for monitoring Syrian and Lebanese military activity near Mitzpe Shlagim ("Snow Lookout").
President Assad of Syria keeps one fact straight and says the only way to achieve a lasting peace with Israel is only if they withdraw 100% from the occupied Golan Heights. Since 1974, Syria has adhered to the cease-fire on the Golan, largely because of the presence of Israeli troops within artillery range of Damascus. But during this time, Syria has provided a haven and supported numerous terrorist groups that attack Israel from Lebanon and other countries. Syria still deploys hundreds of thousands of troops-as much as 75 percent of its army-on the Israeli front near the Heights.
Interpreting the Middle Section:
We've identified the location of Armageddon and only half of the word has been translated. The balance being M*G*D should give further insight and meaning into what we have already gleaned. There are numerous possibilities. For example, the Hebrew word meged means blessing. That meaning would have to be rejected on the basis of incompatibility with the rest of the phrase. In modern-day Hebrew, there is nothing that seems to fill the gap. However, there is an ancient pronunciation that fits the bill, but the following graphic from a nineteenth century concordance gives us what we need.
Using this pronunciation, we end up with har-moh-gehd-dan. The Hebrew word that was formerly pronounced moh-gehd is rendered as mo'ed by modern Jews. This modern rendering has been verified by my contacts in the Brisbane Progressive Jewish Congregation to whom I am very grateful. The ancient pronunciation is described in George Wigram's Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament of 1874, republished by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. in 1996, ISBN 1-56563-208-7, page 672.
Strong's Concordance gives us a number of variations in pronunciation as follows; H4150. mow'ed, mo-ade'; or mo'ed mo-ade'; or (fem.) mow'adah (H2 Chron. 8 : 13), mo-aw-daw'; from H3259; prop. an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; spec. a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand):--appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).
We now have a phrase that means the Mount of the Assembly or Congregation where there is judgement. Or the Mount of the Congregation or Assembly in Dan. This may or may not be the correct interpretation, but there is a proof of the claim.
There is only one place in the Bible where the words har-moh-gehd (translated mount of the congregation) fall together. The Scripture is Isaiah 14:13 says “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,...” The context is nearly identical. In Isaiah, Lucifer is challenging the authority of God, claiming that he will take God's place. In the Armageddon setting, the forces of Satan are coming against the army of God's people. The battle that is taking place in Heaven is to be also worked out here on Earth.
הַר־מֹועֵ֖דדָּֽן׃is how har-moh-gehd-dan looks in Hebrew script, but as already discussed, 21st Century Jews would pronounce it harmow'eddan, leaving out the 'g' sound and replacing it with a 'w' sound. Ancient Hebrews would have pronounced it (H)Armageddon. To get an exact phonetic match, the Hebrew script would look like this:
זרת מלחמה, which if you remove the last character (left side) means war plans.
In Hebrew as with any language, there are changes in pronunciation
and grammar to the point that the language used today is almost
unrecognisable from that used even a few hundred years ago, let alone
two thousand years ago. Students of the works of Shakespeare will
understand what I'm talking about. There are names and words in all
languages that bear little resemblance to the spelling. One that comes
to mind is the English surname Cholmonderley which is pronounced Chumley.
Another instance was reported in the New York Times on January 7th,
1912 “Gen. Bethune too, tells a story about passing through the lines
and overhearing two troopers discussing his manifold imperfections.
“Why, he can't even say his own name,” remarked one in tones of disgust.
“He calls it Beeton.” Which is what it is.” My argument is that one must
defer to the convention of how a name is intended to be spoken and to
the origin of a name. Therefore,
A mispronunciation can be more important than you might think. In fact, it can be a matter of life and death. Judges 12:5-6 (Amplified Bible) gives a very graphic example, “And the Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites; and when any of those Ephraimites who had escaped said, Let me go over, the men of Gilead said to him, Are you an Ephraimite? If he said, No, They said to him, Then say Shibboleth; and he said, Sibboleth, for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. And there fell at that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites.” This example demonstrates that there were indeed variations in pronunciations even in the same general locality and at the same time in history. The word Shibboleth has found its way into the English language and means any distinguishing practice which is indicative of one's social or regional origin.
The final word which confirms Hermon as the location lies in the meaning of its name. The Hebrew root of the name is charam ( חָרַם) which means make accursed, consecrate, utterly destroy, devote, forfeit, to be blunt as to the nose, utterly slay, to seclude; specifically (by a ban) to devote to religious uses (especially destruction); physical and reflexive. These possible meanings very closely reflect the nature of its future purpose.
God knows the beginning from the end and He is in control. Therefore the events that unfold in these interesting times are predetermined. You can be assured that it wasn’t Satan who determined the orbit of Venus. Job 38:33 assures us, “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule upon the earth?” Satan has made his boast, and God will allow him to take his best shot, but in the end, the Lord has established the outcome beyond any doubt. Satan has a plan, but so does God. Isn’t it good to be on the right side?
The unambiguous sign of the Second Coming is given to us as a demonstration to unbelievers of the awesome power of our God and the reliability of His Word. It is also for believers to prepare their hearts for the reaping that is to come. When Jesus was born into this world, his appearance was heralded by the star that led the Magi on their journey. At His second appearance, it will be heralded by a star as well, but this time, it will be spectacular almost beyond imagination.
Finally, this message seems incredible even to me, but as I said earlier, we live in interesting times. The validity of this book will be a short time in coming, so by June of 2012 we will all know if this is all simply speculation. The Bible tells us in 2 Cor. 13:1b that “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” Therefore, when I hear some new doctrine or prophetic word that sounds questionable, I prefer to wait for the confirmation from other independent sources.
Similarly, the reader of this material should be careful not to get too excited before searching the Scriptures for themselves. If godly men and women receive confirmation in the hearts and spirits, then you can then be more confident in these words.
For myself, I was wondering on New Years Day 2010 on whether I was on the right track. That evening, I decided to watch a movie on cable. When I went to the movie guide on the TV, there was a movie on Channel 416 called Beetle Juice and on Channel 417 at exactly the same time was a movie called Supernova. Hence, the name of this article includes the words “The Beetle Juice Supernova”. It all goes to prove that our God has a great sense of humour and that He speaks to us in unexpected ways.