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Other Articles on Armageddon





The Battle

of Armageddon

Part I

"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great Day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Revelation 16:12-16

Armageddon – Typical Battles

Armageddon is a Hebrew word signifying the Hill of Megiddo, or the Mount of Destruction. Megiddo occupied a very marked position on the southern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon, and commanded an important pass into the hill country. This locality was the great battleground of Palestine, on which were fought many of the famous battles of Old Testament history.

There Gideon and his little band alarmed and discomfited the Midianites, who destroyed one another in their flight. (Judges 7:19-23) There King Saul was defeated by the Philistines. (1 Sam. 31:1-6) There King Josiah was slain by Pharaoh-Necho in one of the most disastrous conflicts in the history of Israel. (2 Chron. 35:22-25) There also King Ahab and his wife Jezebel lived, in the city of Jezreel, where Jezebel afterwards met a horrible death. 2 Kings 9:30-37

These battles were in a sense typical. The defeat of the Midianites released the people of Israel from bondage to Midian. Thus Gideon and his band typified our Lord and the Church, who are to release mankind from their bondage to sin and death. The death of King Saul and the overthrow of his kingdom by the Philistines opened the way for the reign of David, who typified Messiah. King Ahab typified the civil government, symbolically called the "Dragon" in the Revelation. Queen Jezebel symbolically foreshadowed the great harlot, Babylon, and as such she is mentioned by name. "Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants." Rev. 2:20

Symbolic Language

In the Scriptures the Lord has evidently seen fit to associate the name of this famous battlefield, Armageddon, with the great controversy between Truth and Error, right and wrong, God and Mammon, with which the Gospel Age will close and the Messianic Age be ushered in. He has purposely used highly symbolic language in the last book of the Bible, evidently with a view to hiding certain important truths until the due time for their revealment. But even in the due time, "None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." (Dan. 12:10) None who are out of heart harmony with God shall know; but only the wise among His people-the wise virgin class of the Master’s parable. Matt. 25:1-13

When we consider our text, therefore, we are not to expect any gathering of the people literally to the Hill of Megiddo. Rather we are to look for that which is symbolized by that mountain. Many things are being called "The Battle of Armageddon"; this phrase is being used in many ways and from many standpoints. But Christians realize that this word Armageddon specially belongs to the Bible, where it is used in a spiritual sense. If, therefore, the present is an opportune time in which to consider the Battle of Armageddon from a political standpoint, it surely is the proper time to consider the term from its true religious point of view.

We all know that the book of Revelation is full of symbols. God seems to have placed this book last in the Bible with the intent of covering up great and important truths. That it contains valuable truths is the opinion of all Bible students. Yet so skillfully has God covered those truths that His people in times past have not been able fully and clearly to discern them. Bible students believe that this has been the Divine intention, not only because these truths were not due to be understood, but because God intends to keep certain features of His Truth from the world. Mankind have always misunderstood the Divine Plan; for God in His wisdom wishes to have them misunderstand. The truths recorded in the Revelation are not for the world, nor for nominal Christians, but for the Church-the Body of Christ, the saintly ones "the Church of the First-borns which are written in Heaven." To these the knowledge will become "meat in due season." "The wise shall understand."

Armageddon – Great Tribulation

The Scriptures abound with allusions to Armageddon. Our Lord Jesus calls it "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matt. 24:21) The Prophet Daniel describes it as "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." (Dan. 12:1) Closely in connection with this statement Daniel declares that God’s Representative, "Michael, shall stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of" Israel. The word "Michael" signifies "He who is like God"-the Godlike One. He will stand up for the salvation of God’s people, for the rectification of error and wrong, for the establishment of right and truth, to bring to the world of mankind the great Kingdom of God, which has been preached from the days of Abraham.

Time for the Establishment
of Messiah’s Kingdom

The Revelation of St. John, being a book of symbols, will not be understood by the world. God Himself has said that only at a certain time may even the Church expect to understand. When the Prophet Daniel inquired concerning the meaning of his vision, the angel replied, "Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the Time of the End" – not the end of the world, but the end of the Age – the end of this Dispensation. "The earth abideth forever." Eccl. 1:4

St. Peter tells us that this Age is to end in a great conflagration-symbolical of the Time of Trouble, in which present institutions will be swallowed up. (2 Pet. 3:8-13) Elsewhere in the Scriptures, this terrible Time of Trouble is symbolically represented as a storm, as a whirlwind, as a fire, to consume everything. After the present order shall have passed away in the great Time of Trouble, God Himself will establish His Kingdom-the one for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven."

If, then, there is anything to indicate that we are living in the end of the Gospel Age, anything to indicate that the Virgins are trimming their lamps, we may rest assured that the time for the Wise Virgins to enter into glory is close at hand. What a blessed message is this for "all who love His appearing!"

In the same prophecy which tells that the Time of the End is the time for the wise toward God to understand, we are told that this time will be especially marked by two particular features: first, "Many shall run to and fro"; second, "Knowledge shall be increased." (Dan. 12:4) Today we see this prophecy fulfilled. All over the world people are running to and fro as never before. Railroads, steamboats, automobiles, electric cars-surface, subway and elevated-etc., carry mankind everywhere. General increase of knowledge characterizes our wonderful day. Every child ten years old is able to read. All over the world are books, newspapers, Bibles in every home-opportunity for knowledge such as never has been known since man was on earth.

The remarkable fulfilment of this prophecy marks our day as the time of The End, in which the present Dispensation is to be concluded and the New Dispensation is to be ushered in-the time when God’s people will be able to understand the situation and to get ready for their change.

Principles, not Individuals,
under Discussion

All Christian people credit the book of Revelation to our Lord, as St. John does. (Rev. 1:1) Therefore we are not responsible for the symbolism used in that book. There are so many ways in which one might be misunderstood, even by good Christian people, that we naturally feel a delicacy about expressing our views. As we proceed to set forth our understanding of the symbols of the Revelation, we wish to state most emphatically that we are saying nothing whatever against godly Christians anywhere, at any time, whether in any church or out of any church.

We have nothing to say respecting people. We discuss PRINCIPLES, DOCTRINES, ALWAYS; individuals, NEVER! God has not commissioned us to discuss people; it is ours to discuss His Word.

As we present our interpretations of the symbols of Revelation, we realize that the Word of God conveys a very terrible arraignment of some of the great systems of our day-some that we have long reverenced and esteemed, that we have thought contained many who are godly in word and in deed. Let us, therefore, clearly distinguish between individuals and systems. We say nothing against the godly individual, but in the interpretation of the Word of God what we have to say is merely in respect to these systems. Indeed we believe that the saintly people of God are left out of these symbols, probably because the saints of God, as compared with the hundreds of millions of humanity, are merely a small company, as Jesus said: "Fear not, Little Flock."