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No. 85: Some Observations

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 85
May, 1996
Copyright 1996 Biblical Horizons

1. In Luke 4:20 we read that after Jesus finished reading from Isaiah, "the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him." This is usually taken in a psychological sense: They were amazed at Jesus somehow. I suggest that, as always, a merely psychological reading is a modern invention. Reading theologically, we recall that the eye is the organ of judgment in Genesis 1 and throughout Scripture, while the ear is the organ of reception. This is why our relationship to God is through the ear, not through the eye. When the text says that they fixed their eyes on Jesus, it says that they prepared to judge Him, to evaluate His message. This, as I understand it, was fairly typical: a sermon was evaluated and discussed after it was delivered. But Jesus turned the tables on them: He passed judgment on them, and then they tried to kill Him.

2. The word Armageddon in Revelation 16:16 comes from two Hebrew words: Har (mountain) Magedon (?). Virtually without exception the word magedon is associated with the plain of Megiddo, where the battle in Judges 4-5 was fought. Since there is no mountain there, this is supposed to be an idealized location.

In fact, however, there is a much more likely association. The Hebrew word mo`ed means "assembly." The reverse apostrophe stands for the letter `ayin, which today is pronounced with a mere glottal stroke, but anciently was a hard guttural. Har Moged would mean Mountain of Assembly, a reference to the assembly at Mount Sinai, and to its replacement, Mount Zion.

This suggestion comes from C. C. Torrey and is advocated by M. G. Kline. Isaiah 14:13 speaks of Har Moged as the Mount of Assembly that the "king of Babylon" sought to ascend.

There remains the problem of the -on at end of moged. It is a long "o" (o-mega), which in Greek indicates the genitive plural. Perhaps, using the poetic license He uses elsewhere in Revelation, Jesus is making the word plural so that the phrase means Mountain of Assemblies, for He is Lord of Hosts (plural) – though in that case, since it is said to be a Hebrew word, one would expect the Hebrew plural ending (-im).

Whatever the case, it seems far more likely that the reference is to God’s Mount of Assembly than to the battle of Megiddo, though there may be an "overtone allusion" to the latter here as well. Thus, the great battle of Revelation 16:12-16 is fought in God’s presence, for in truth it is He who has gathered them together.