It is hard to believe that the beautiful Jezreel Valley (shown as viewed from Mt. Carmel) symbolizes the battle between good and evil. After all, the valley contains flourishing green fields and flowing streams. While many are not familiar with the name “Jezreel,” most will recognize the valley by another name—the valley of “Armageddon.” Before Jesus Christ’s second coming to overthrow the reign of evil, the nations begin their final campaign against God’s rule at “Armageddon” (Rev 16:16).
Influencing the World
Some have claimed that more battles have been fought in the Jezreel valley than any other place in the world. In Biblical history alone, this is where Debra and Barak defeated the Canaanites (Judges 4–5); Gideon defeated the Midianites (Judges 7); the Philistines killed King Saul (1 Sam 31:8); Jehu killed Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:27), and the Egyptians killed Josiah (2 Kings 23:29–30).
The strategic location of this valley in the annals of history is hard to overestimate. The highway that connected international travel on the land bridge of Israel passed through this valley. Controlling the trade route meant international influence. And just who gets to influence the world—God’s reign or evil’s reign?
Failed Expectations of the Kingdom of God
At the southwest corner of the valley lies Mt. Carmel. Here the power of the Kingdom of God confronted the kingdom of evil during the reign of King Ahab.
In the beautiful and fertile Jezreel valley overshadowed by lush Mt. Carmel, Israel found herself naturally attracted to the Canaanite god of fertility—Baal. Elijah, God’s prophet, assembled the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel and with lightning from heaven unmasked the impotence of satanic Baalism (I Kings 18).
Having powerfully defeated the prophets of Baal, Elijah expected that King Ahab would lead Israel into immediate repentance, covenant renewal, and acceptance of the reign of God (1 Kings 19). After all, Moses had presided over a similar scenario after the golden-calf incident (Exodus 32–34).
However, Israel did not repent and the Kingdom of God was rejected. Elijah’s repentance-soliciting, kingdom of God-establishing ministry was changed to a ministry judgment (1 Kings 19:12–18).
Elijah’s ministry “miscarried.” The people did not repent. However, Elijah becomes the pattern or “forerunner” anticipating a time when God sends another prophet that announces the Kingdom of God is at hand and people should repent.
Fulfilled Expectations of the Kingdom of God
Fascinatingly, Jesus Christ grew up in Nazareth which is on a ridge overlooking the valley of Armageddon. Imagine Jesus as a young boy knowing that one day He would return to overthrow the nations assembled against His Father’s reign.
At the beginning of all the Gospels, John the Baptist, also referred to as “Elijah” (Matt 11:14), announces “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt 3:2). Surprisingly, sinless Jesus Christ undergoes John’s baptism of “repentance” (Matt 3:13–17). Jesus Christ is the true “repentant” Israel who lays the foundation for the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, He overcomes the kingdom of Satan not by grand displays of power on Mt. Carmel, but through His atoning redemption on Mt. Calvary!
After Jesus Christ’s salvation message has been heralded to all nations to give people the chance to repent, Jesus will return one day. “Elijah” will again precede His second coming (Rev 11:3–6). As at Mt. Carmel, the nations will reject “Elijah”—this time succeeding in the attempt to kill him (Rev 11:7). Then the nations will gather together at Armageddon to campaign toward Jerusalem (Rev 16:16). There Jesus, along with the repentant saints who inherit the kingdom, will forever end the kingdom of Satan and establish God’s glorious unending Kingdom.