We are, we are told by some Christian teachers, to read the Bible literally; that is, we are to read it in a plain and straightforward manner, accepting that it says exactly what it means and that it means what it says – unless, of course, it is absolutely, unarguably clear from the context that it should be taken symbolically or metaphorically, and even then we should try to be as literal about it as possible.
But many of those who cry the loudest about the necessity of reading the bible with a strict literalness fail to pay attention to what they are literally reading. For example: there literally is no battle of Armageddon.
Read Revelation 16 carefully. The sixth angel pours out his bowl of wrath and the waters of the River Euphrates are dried up. The way is prepared for the kings of the east. They are assembled for battle in that place which in Hebrew is called Harmageddon…
…but there is no battle. They are gathered for one, but they never get around to actually fighting it.
The seventh angel pours out his bowl, there’s a loud voice, thunder, lightning, a great earthquake, and hailstones weighing about 100 pounds. But no battle; there literally is no battle of Armageddon.