“They gathered them together to . . . Armageddon.”—REV. 16:16.
SONG 150 Seek God for Your Deliverance
1-2. (a) Why is Armageddon good news for mankind? (b) What questions will we consider in this article?
HAVE you heard people apply the word “Armageddon” to a nuclear war or an environmental disaster? In contrast, what the Bible says about Armageddon involves good news, a cause for happiness! (Rev. 1:3) The war of Armageddon will not destroy but save mankind! How so?
2 The Bible shows that the war of Armageddon will save mankind by ending human rule. That war will save mankind by removing the wicked and preserving the righteous. And it will save mankind by protecting our planet from ruin. (Rev. 11:18) To help us understand these points more clearly, let us consider four questions: What is Armageddon? What events will lead up to it? How can we be among those who will be saved at Armageddon? How can we remain faithful as Armageddon draws near?
WHAT IS ARMAGEDDON?
3 Read Revelation 16:14, 16. The word “Armageddon” appears just once in the Scriptures, and it comes from a Hebrew term that means “Mountain of Megiddo.” (Rev. 16:16; ftn.) Megiddo was a city in ancient Israel. (Josh. 17:11) But Armageddon does not refer to any literal place on earth. Strictly speaking, it refers to the situation to which “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” are gathered in opposition to Jehovah. (Rev. 16:14) However, in this article, we will also use the term “Armageddon” to refer to the war that immediately follows the gathering of the kings of the earth. How do we know that Armageddon refers to a symbolic place? First, there is no literal mountain of Megiddo. Second, the area around Megiddo is far too small to hold “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” and their armies and war machines. Third, as we will see later in this article, the war of Armageddon will begin when the world’s “kings” attack God’s people, who are scattered throughout the earth.
4. Why did God connect his final great war with Megiddo?
4 Why did Jehovah connect the final great war with Megiddo? Megiddo and the nearby Jezreel Valley were the sites of many battles. On occasion, Jehovah directly intervened in those battles. For example, “by the waters of Megiddo,” God helped Israelite Judge Barak defeat a Canaanite army led by a chief named Sisera. Barak and the prophetess Deborah thanked Jehovah for their miraculous victory. They sang: “From heaven the stars fought . . . against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon washed them away.”—Judg. 5:19-21.
5. In what important way will the war of Armageddon differ from the battle that Barak fought?
5 Barak and Deborah ended their song with the words: “So let all your enemies perish, O Jehovah, but let those who love you be like the sun rising in its glory.” (Judg. 5:31) At Armageddon, God’s enemies will likewise perish, while those who love God will be saved. But there is one important difference between the two conflicts. At Armageddon, God’s people will not fight. They will not even be armed! Their “strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust” in Jehovah and his heavenly armies.—Isa. 30:15; Rev. 19:11-15.
6. How may Jehovah defeat his enemies at Armageddon?
6 How will God defeat his enemies at Armageddon? He may use any number of ways. For example, he may use earthquakes, hail, and lightning. (Job 38:22, 23; Ezek. 38:19-22) He may turn his enemies against one another. (2 Chron. 20:17, 22, 23) And he may use his angels to slay the wicked. (Isa. 37:36) Whatever means God uses, his victory will be complete. All his enemies will be destroyed. And all the righteous will be saved.—Prov. 3:25, 26.
WHAT EVENTS WILL LEAD UP TO ARMAGEDDON?
7-8. (a) According to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, what unusual proclamation will world leaders make? (b) Why will this be a dangerous lie?
7 The proclamation of “peace and security” precedes “Jehovah’s day.” (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.) At 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “Jehovah’s day” refers to “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) How will we know when that tribulation is about to begin? The Bible tells us about a most unusual proclamation. It will serve as a signal announcing the great tribulation.
8 That will be the foretold proclamation of “peace and security.” Why will world leaders say that? Will religious leaders participate? Possibly. Nevertheless, the proclamation will be just another demon-inspired lie. But this lie will be especially dangerous because it will give people a false sense of security just before the greatest tribulation in human history begins. Yes, “sudden destruction is to be instantly on them, just like birth pains on a pregnant woman.” What about Jehovah’s loyal servants? They may be surprised by the sudden start of Jehovah’s day, but they will not be caught off guard.
9. In what order will God destroy Satan’s world?
9 Jehovah will not wipe out Satan’s entire world all at once, as he did in Noah’s day. Rather, he will destroy it in two main stages. First, he will destroy Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. Then, at Armageddon, he will destroy the rest of Satan’s world, including its political, military, and commercial systems. Let us take a closer look at those two major events.
10 “The judgment on the great prostitute.” (Read Revelation 17:1, 6; 18:24.) Babylon the Great has brought much reproach on God’s name. She has taught lies about God. She has prostituted herself spiritually by forming alliances with earth’s rulers. She has used her power and influence to exploit her flocks. And she has spilled much blood, including the blood of God’s servants. (Rev. 19:2) How will Jehovah destroy Babylon the Great?
11. What is the “scarlet-colored wild beast,” and how is it involved in the outworking of God’s will concerning Babylon the Great?
11 Jehovah will destroy “the great prostitute” by means of “the ten horns” of “a scarlet-colored wild beast.” That figurative wild beast represents the United Nations. The ten horns represent the current political powers supporting that organization. At God’s appointed time, those political powers will turn on symbolic Babylon. They “will make her devastated and naked” by plundering her wealth and exposing her wickedness. (Rev. 17:3, 16) That swift destruction—as if in one day—will come as a shock to those who supported her. After all, she has long boasted: “I sit as queen, and I am not a widow, and I will never see mourning.”—Rev. 18:7, 8.
12. What will Jehovah not allow the nations to do, and why not?
12 God will not allow the nations to destroy his people. They proudly bear his name, and they have obeyed his command to flee from Babylon the Great. (Acts 15:16, 17; Rev. 18:4) They have also worked hard to help others flee from her. So Jehovah’s servants will not “receive part of her plagues.” Still, their faith will be tested.
13 The attack of Gog. (Read Ezekiel 38:2, 8, 9.) After the destruction of all false religious organizations, God’s people will stand out like a lone tree that survived a fierce storm. Satan, of course, will be enraged. He will vent that rage by using demonic propaganda—“unclean inspired expressions”—to cause a coalition of nations to turn on Jehovah’s servants. (Rev. 16:13, 14) That coalition is called “Gog of the land of Magog.” When the nations launch their attack, they will have arrived at the symbolic place called Armageddon.—Rev. 16:16.
14. What will Gog come to learn?
14 Gog will trust in his “arm of flesh”—his military might. (2 Chron. 32:8) We will trust in Jehovah our God—a stand that will seem foolish to the nations. After all, the gods of the once powerful Babylon the Great did not save her from “the wild beast” and its “ten horns”! (Rev. 17:16) So Gog will expect an easy victory. “Like clouds covering the land,” he will attack Jehovah’s people. (Ezek. 38:16) But Gog will soon see that he has marched into a trap. Like Pharaoh at the Red Sea, Gog will learn that he is fighting against Jehovah.—Ex. 14:1-4; Ezek. 38:3, 4, 18, 21-23.
15. In what ways will Christ be completely victorious?
15 Christ and his heavenly armies will defend God’s people and crush Gog’s hordes. (Rev. 19:11, 14, 15) But what about Jehovah’s chief enemy, Satan, whose lying propaganda led the nations to Armageddon? Jesus will hurl him and his demons into an abyss, where they will be locked away for a thousand years.—Rev. 20:1-3.
HOW CAN YOU BE SAVED AT ARMAGEDDON?
16. (a) How do we show that we “know God”? (b) Why will our knowing Jehovah prove to be a blessing at Armageddon?
16 Whether we have been in the truth for many years or not, to be saved at Armageddon, we must show that we “know God” and that we “obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thess. 1:7-9) We “know God” when we know his likes, dislikes, and standards. We also show that we know him when we love and obey him and give him our exclusive devotion. (1 John 2:3-5; 5:3) When we show that we know God, we have the honor of being “known by him,” which will be lifesaving at Armageddon! (1 Cor. 8:3) How so? Because to be “known by him” can mean having God’s approval.
17. What does it mean to “obey the good news about our Lord Jesus”?
17 “The good news about our Lord Jesus” includes all the truths that Jesus taught, as found in God’s Word. We obey the good news when we apply it in our lives. That obedience includes keeping Kingdom interests in first place, living by God’s righteous standards, and announcing God’s Kingdom. (Matt. 6:33; 24:14) It also includes supporting Christ’s anointed brothers as they care for their weighty responsibilities.—Matt. 25:31-40.
18. In what way will Christ’s anointed brothers be able to return the kindness shown them?
18 God’s anointed servants will soon be able to return the kindness shown them by those of the “other sheep.” (John 10:16) How so? Before the war of Armageddon begins, all of the 144,000 will have been raised to heaven as immortal spirits. They will then be part of the heavenly armies that will crush Gog and safeguard “a great crowd” of sheeplike ones. (Rev. 2:26, 27; 7:9, 10) Yes, what a privilege the great crowd will have had to support Jehovah’s anointed servants while these were still on earth!
HOW CAN WE REMAIN FAITHFUL AS THE END DRAWS NEAR?
19-20. Despite our trials, how can we remain faithful as Armageddon draws near?
19 During these difficult last days, many of Jehovah’s people are experiencing trials. Even so, we can endure with joy. (Jas. 1:2-4) A key is to persevere in heartfelt prayer. (Luke 21:36) We must also follow up our prayers by studying God’s Word daily and meditating on it, including its amazing prophecies concerning our times. (Ps. 77:12) These activities, along with a full share in the ministry, will keep our faith strong and our hope alive!
20 Think how thrilled you will be when Babylon the Great is gone and when Armageddon is over! More important, imagine how profoundly happy you will be when God’s name and sovereignty have been fully vindicated! (Ezek. 38:23) Yes, Armageddon is good news for those who know God, obey his Son, and endure to the end.—Matt. 24:13.
SONG 143 Keep Working, Watching, and Waiting
^ par. 5 Jehovah’s people have long awaited Armageddon. In this article, we discuss what Armageddon is, what events will lead up to it, and how we can remain faithful as the end draws near.
^ par. 71 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Dramatic events occur around us. We will (1) share in the ministry as long as that is possible, (2) maintain our program of study, and (3) continue to trust in God’s protection.
^ par. 85 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Policemen get ready to force their way into the home of a Christian family who trust that Jesus and his angels are aware of what is happening.
THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION