New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:14 gather them. The Satan-controlled beast and false prophet will think they are gathering all the nations together, but actually it is God! Note Revelation 16:16; also see Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, and bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat.” “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zechariah 14:2). The great conflict of the ages is about to be decided, and there will be “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). All are desperately hoping they will eventually free themselves from God and His control over their lives, but they are really being drawn into His great winepress (Revelation 14:19).
16:15 come as a thief. The Lord Jesus Himself interjects this exhortation to the remnant of persecuted saints who have thus far escaped the vengeance of the beast. In the context of the armies merging on Armageddon, the Lord assures them that He will soon suddenly come from heaven with His own armies (Revelation 19:11).
16:16 Armageddon. “Armageddon” is, more precisely, “Har-Megiddo,” or “Mount of Megiddo.” Megiddo itself is a small and very ancient town about sixty miles north of Jerusalem, overlooking the plain of Megiddo on the west and the plain of Esdraelon (or valley of Jezreel) on the northeast. This vast plains area is the obvious location for large armies to bivouac in preparation for an attack on Jerusalem. By the time all the armies arrive there, however, even this large plain cannot contain them all. Many must be deployed down the Jordan valley and the valley of Jehoshaphat, near Jerusalem, past the Dead Sea into Idumea and even beyond Bozrah (see notes on Revelation 14:20). They will come from all over the world by any means of transportation they can obtain. With the world’s resources already severely depleted by the plagues, and oil probably in short supply in most nations, many will have to commandeer horses or camels or donkeys to come. But come they will, in multitudes.