By Clint Springer
Armageddon has become a scare word! It is likely that every average person equates the word with the final great war extinction or annihilation that being true whether that person is religious or otherwise. It conjures up thoughts of thermonuclear warfare with no place on earth to hide. In Old Testament history, to the Jewish mind, the word Megiddo brought fear of battle, death, and war.
The local newspaper dated February 14, 1997 featured an article originating in Megiddo, Israel (AP), describing an Apocalyptic Park soon to be finished at that place. Since many believe that to be the ground where the final war is to be fought, pilgrims visit from all over the world. Advanced computer graphics will bring to life The final showdown prophesied in the Bible.”
Har Megiddo (or Har-Magedon) is Hebrew for Mount Megiddo, the corrupted word Armageddon probably being more familiar to the Bible student. The article describes several Gentile battles fought in the valley, but the Bible student is also familiar with fierce wars the Jews fought there. As to modem times, one preacher stated “this is where the Lord will restore his kingdom.” Again, it is believed, “the blood will flow as high as a horse’s bridle.”
These beliefs find their roots in Revelation 16:16, yet why people insist such passages are literal, while most of the Apocalypse is obviously figurative language, continues to be a mystery.
The most popular advanced theory regarding the return of Christ started a countdown in 1948, but the forty years of that generation ended a few years ago. Of course Jesus was ad-dressing the generation to which he spoke, and the kingdom did come at that time (Matt. 24:24; Mark 9:1). Another version of the theory, some-how based on a misinterpretation of Luke, suggests the “generation” started in 1967 when the holy city was united under Israel. That would put the second coming as 2007, shortly after the great battle of Armageddon itself.
The church of the New Testament is the kingdom of prophecy and promise. Christ is presently reigning on David’s throne (Acts 15:13-18), and a proper interpretation of the New Testament indicates that all Old Testament prophecy had been fulfilled. The prophets of Old, you see, were in-tended for those “in times past” (Heb. 1:1, 2).
Premillennial theories make the same mistake the Jews made at the time of Christ, for they wanted a political earthly kingdom. The Lord plainly stated, however, that it wasn’t so (John 18:36).
But what about Armageddon as stated in the book of Revelation? That portion of Scripture was specifically addressed to those who would be (or were) beheaded or martyred in the early church. It contained things which were shortly to come to pass (Rev. 1:1), and over and over it is affirmed that “the time is at hand.” Revelation is a book of reiteration: The evil perpetrated against God’s people is followed by war, and God’s wrath is always triumphant. That pattern unfolds over and over, in various ways, so it is reasonable to conclude that Armageddon is a war being spiritually fought every day by Christians.
Since all the world wondered after the beast, it is likely that this represents the broad way (Matt. 7:13). To worship the image of a man, or a pope, is to worship the devil (1 Cor. 10:19, 20). In any application made to these points, spiritual war with the saints is applicable.
Chapter sixteen in Revelation sets the stage for the battle. The Beast, allied with a false prophet, is believed to be the world dictator allied with some form of false religion. Their mission and message is to turn the kings of the world against the true God. The judgment of the scarlet woman, “Babylon,” “the great whore,” and “the seat of the beast” evidently refer to Rome, pagan Rome, but some believe it to be Papal Rome. Others believe the world empire that will fight in Armageddon will be politically situated in Rome.
Such an importance is attached to Rome as the center of false worship that three whole chapters are devoted to her fall. Much of Revelation may be said to be reiteration with intensification. That is to say, a prelude to the great battle intensifies with each scene, but the battle is never actually fought except as destroyed by God. It has already been stated that this battle is being fought daily by true Christians.
Armageddon has become a scare word! It is likely that every average person equates the word with the final great war extinction or annihilation that being true whether that person is religious or otherwise. It conjures up thoughts of thermonuclear warfare with no place on earth to hide. In Old Testament history, to the Jewish mind, the word Megiddo brought fear of battle, death, and war. Presently, however, to contend that everything in Revelation is literal would demand an army led by something like frogs. Our sword, as Christians, is of the Spiritthe Word of God (Eph. 6:11-17). We are in a continual battle with sin and false religion (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Since most people now equate Armageddon to nuclear war, what are the possibilities in that regard? While this article has discounted such a possibility as fulfillment of prophecy, a third world war is frightening. Fortunately, at the present, the prospect of such a conflict between the “superpowers” seems small, but some of the third world countries evidently have a nuclear capacity.
The frenzy of terror really began feeding after July 16, 1945 when “a light brighter than a thousand suns” lit up the sands of the New Mexico desert. The first atomic test was so successful that one scientist ex-claimed, “We have created hell.” When the papers were signed ending World War II, General MacArthur grimly alluded to the unthinkable possibility of further nuclear warfare and used the word “Armageddon.” He probably meant no religious implication, but rather the annihilation of mankind such a conflict promised.
Into the fifties and afterward, dooms-day prophets fed the frenzy of terror. The development of the hydrogen bomb, a nuclear capacity by other nations, and the Cold War syndrome played on the nerves of everyone. Russia and the U.S. had enough ICBMs pointed at each other to over-kill ten times. The major point in this article, notwithstanding, is that “signs” cannot be construed as foretelling the inevitable end during the present generation. No one knows when the final end will come (Matt. 24:36).
A literal Armageddon, supposedly projected by Scripture, ignores several major points: (1) All Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled; (2) Christ is presently reigning on David’s throne; (3) When Jesus comes again that will be the end of the world, not the start of another dispensation. Furthermore, no one knows the time element of the second coming, and the Christian’s warfare is spiritual, not of a carnal nature.
To one who desires tranquility of mind and peace with God, obedience to the complete will of the Lord is recommended. Under those circumstances however, when the end of the world comes about, or if it happens before your death, all will be well with your soul.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 10 p. 8-9
April May 1, 1997