The King Fights at Armageddon
1, 2. What have people of the world been saying about Armageddon?
AS WORLD War II drew to its close, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur said: “Men from the beginning of time have sought peace. . . . Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blocks out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door.”
2 Some 35 years later, how were the nations making out with regard to this “last chance”? The Times of London, England, had this to say under the headline “West Germans Fear Armageddon”: “The spectre of war has returned to haunt West Germany as the international situation seems to be slipping inexorably out of control.” And in an article entitled “World Stumbles into a Darkness,” the editor of the Miami Herald, U.S.A., asked his readers whether it had dawned on them “that Armageddon isn’t just some allegory that you read about in the Bible, it’s real,” and added: “Anyone with half a logical mind can put together the cataclysmic events of the past few years and see that the world is at a historic threshold. . . . It will change forever the way men live.”
3, 4. How does the Bible view of Armageddon differ?
3 True, mankind stands at the threshold of great changes. But do we now face Armageddon? What is meant by Armageddon?
4 Interestingly, Armageddon is different from what most people think. For the Bible describes the war at Armageddon, not as a cataclysmic war among earthly nations or blocs of nations, but as “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” It is God’s war against “the kings of the entire inhabited earth”—meaning the rulers who refuse to submit when God’s kingdom ‘comes’ to cause his will to be done on earth. (Psalm 2:6-12; Daniel 2:44) It is God’s great act of destroying wicked nations and men, in preparing the way for Messiah’s peaceful reign of 1,000 years.—Revelation 16:14, 16; Psalm 46:8, 9; 145:20; Joel 3:9-17; Nahum 1:7-9.
PRELIMINARIES TO THE BATTLE
5. How may we identify the “great harlot” of Revelation 17?
5 Revelation, chapters 16 to 18, tells us much about developments on earth just prior to the war at Armageddon. In the course of the prophecy, the invitation is extended: “Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters.” This “great harlot” is later identified for us as “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” Just as ancient Babylon, sitting astride the Euphrates River, became “mother” to the mystic system of religion that spread from Babylon throughout the earth, so “Babylon the Great” today is the world empire of false religion that holds spiritual dominion over “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues,” to their hurt. (Revelation 17:1, 5, 15) It embraces the thousands of religious sects, great and small, “Christian” and non-Christian, that do not acknowledge and serve the true God, Jehovah.
6. Revelation 16 refers to what event that reminds of ancient Babylon?
6 As a prelude to the war at Armageddon, we are shown an angel pouring out a bowl “of the anger of God.” Where? “Upon the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun.” (Revelation 16:1, 12) More than 600 years before the apostle John wrote down that prophecy, Kings Darius of Media and Cyrus of Persia invaded the land of Babylon from the east. Under cover of darkness, Cyrus diverted the Euphrates into other channels, and as the waters fell away he sent his army into the city by way of the riverbed. In one night, while Babylon’s rulers and nobility were blaspheming Jehovah in a drunken orgy, that great city was overthrown.—Daniel 5:1-4, 30, 31.
7. What modern-day parallel do we now see?
7 Do we see a modern-day parallel to this? Why, yes! The time has come for God to execute judgment on “Babylon the Great,” and especially her “daughter” organizations of Christendom. Christendom’s apostasy and bloodguilt have now come to the full! (Revelation 18:24; Jeremiah 51:12, 13) In recent times the “waters,” or “peoples,” that formerly supported her religion have been falling away. Support for religion has been drying up, with many persons turning to the teachings of Darwin, Marx, Lenin and Mao. Also, as prophesied concerning the “last days,” people have become “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”—2 Timothy 3:1, 4.
8. (a) What call have righteously inclined persons obeyed? (b) How does the state of false religion now contrast with that of true religion?
8 Contributing to the falling away of the “waters” has been the action of righteously inclined persons who have obeyed heaven’s call with regard to “Babylon the Great”:
“Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)
The world empire of false religion, and Christendom in particular, laments the closing of church buildings, the empty pews and the dwindling numbers of priests and nuns. However, those who now place themselves on the side of the Greater Darius, Jehovah God, and the Greater Cyrus, Christ Jesus, enter into a marvelous spiritual prosperity. Are you one of these?
PLAYING THE HARLOT
9, 10. (a) What fearsome “beast” appears in these “last days”? (b) In a public talk in 1942, how was it identified and its course described?
9 “Babylon the Great,” while professing to belong to God, has always had political connections, and in this sense ‘the kings of the earth have committed fornication’ with her. But now, in “the last days,” she has her big opportunity! What is that? Ah, there comes to view “a scarlet-colored wild beast.” What might this “beast” be? Without doubt it has reference to the political nations of earth, for these are so often referred to in the Bible under the symbol of ‘beasts.’ (Revelation 13:1-4, 11-15; Daniel 7:3-8, 17-25; 8:5-8, 20-22) But here we have a combination “beast,” for this fearsome animal has “seven heads and ten horns.”—Revelation 17:3.
10 What composite “beast” has appeared in these “last days,” and what has been its performance on the world stage? At an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1942, the public talk entitled “Peace—Can It Last?” called attention to the prophecy at Revelation 17:7, 8. The speaker, Watch Tower president N. H. Knorr, identified “the wild beast that . . . was” as the League of Nations—brought forth in 1920. But now, in that wartime year of 1942, he stated: “The League is in effect in a state of suspended animation, and needs to be revived if it is ever to live again. It has gone into the abyss of inaction and ineffectiveness. It ‘is not.’” President Knorr went on to show that “the wild beast that . . . was, but is not, . . . is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction.” True to the Bible prophecy, that “beast” was revived in 1945 as the United Nations.
11. (a) Why is this “beast” described as being “full of blasphemous names”? (b) What judgment is in store for the “beast”?
11 This international “beast,” brought forth to maintain “peace and security” among the nations, is in fact “full of blasphemous names,” for it claims that it can do what only God’s kingdom by Christ Jesus can accomplish. (Revelation 17:3) The apostle Paul prophesied of an occasion when the boastful rulers of Satan’s world would be lauding themselves as peacemakers. He said:
“Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3)
According to God’s Word, the ‘peace and security beast’ will meet up with a quick, decisive execution of Jehovah’s judgment!
“TOO BAD” FOR THE HARLOT!
12. What description of the “harlot” caused John to wonder?
12 Despite God’s declared disapproval of the blasphemous U.N. beast, “Babylon the Great” seeks to have amorous relations with it. Yes, she is pictured as sitting like a queen atop the “wild beast”: “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication.” Little marvel that John wrote of this situation: “Well, on catching sight of her I wondered with great wonderment”!—Revelation 17:4, 6.
13, 14. (a) What woeful end awaits false religion? (b) How will it come? (c) Who will mourn for Babylon the Great, but why from a distance?
13 This liaison between the Babylonish world empire of false religion and the U.N. ‘peace and security beast’ turns out disastrously. Although the harlot-like “Babylon” may think that she sits pretty with that world body, God’s Word foretells something else for her:
“And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16)
A woeful end indeed for the world empire of false religion!
14 The desolating of “Babylon the Great” will be swift.
“In one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.” (Revelation 18:8)
But there will be those who mourn her. These will not be the militaristic “ten horns” that treacherously turn upon her, but others among the political rulers who used to hobnob with the clergy for the sake of appearances, and to help cover up their shady practices. These will lament over her from a distance, for fear they may share her fate, saying:
“Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived!”—Revelation 18:9, 10.
15. Who else take up the refrain, and why?
15 There will also be men of Big Business, gangsters and other racketeers, who have used their religious connections to cast a veneer of “holiness” over their corrupt dealings and to soothe their guilty consciences. These, too, will take up the refrain:
“Too bad, too bad . . . , because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!” (Revelation 18:11-19)
The costly cathedrals, the accumulated lands and wealth, the huge bank accounts and commercial investments of the world’s religion—all of these will have been laid waste.
16. What three groups are in line for execution?
16 Hypocritical world religion, greedy commerce, corrupt politics—all three branches of Satan’s organization on earth are in line for the execution of Jehovah’s judgment. After false religion goes down, what next?
THE KING GOES INTO ACTION!
17, 18. (a) What follows the desolating of “Babylon the Great,” and why? (b) Who finally conquers? (c) Who will be preserved alive? (d) How may you be one of these?
17 Those radical political powers that devastate world religion have no eyes of spiritual understanding. They do not acknowledge the Messianic kingdom, established in 1914. Instead, they vigorously oppose those who proclaim that kingdom and who declare their Christian neutrality with regard to the politics and wars of worldly ‘kingdoms.’—Revelation 12:17; John 17:14, 16.
18 After disposing of “Babylon the Great,” those beastly “horns” can be expected to make their final attack on the Christian witnesses of Jehovah, the apparently defenseless followers of the Lamb here on earth. (Ezekiel 38:14-16; Jeremiah 1:19) How will these foes make out in that warfare? The prophecy answers:
“These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.” (Revelation 17:14)
Though they take no part in that battle, the remaining ones of Jesus’ anointed followers on earth, along with their companions who have also answered the call to “sacred service,” will be preserved alive. Are you one of these who are praying even now for God’s kingdom to “come” at Armageddon?—Romans 12:1, 2; compare 2 Chronicles 20:5, 6, 12-17.
19. (a) Of what may you be an eyewitness and a survivor? (b) What valuable things will then fail?
19 Yes, you may be an eyewitness and a survivor of that catastrophic war at Armageddon. You may be an observer as the “King of kings,” accompanied by the angelic armies of heaven, fights in vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty. There you may see the climactic battle against wicked men, against proud nations and their mighty armies and the wealthy “merchants” that support them! Their multibillion-dollar nuclear arsenal will fail them in that warfare! Greedy profiteers, who have trafficked in oil and food supplies will find their ill-gotten gains valueless, as the world’s stock markets collapse and the value of gold as a means of deliverance plummets to zero. For “this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘A calamity, a unique calamity, look! it is coming. Into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury. . . . and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’”—Ezekiel 7:5, 19, 27.
20. Where may you find real security?
20 In that day of Armageddon, you may find security, not in any material possession, but in standing firmly on the side of Jehovah and his “King of kings.” It will depend on your obedience to the prophet’s words:
“Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3; see also Isaiah 26:20, 21; Daniel 12:1.)
For at Armageddon, the King seated upon the symbolic white horse “judges and carries on war in righteousness.” While he ‘shepherds the nations with a rod of iron,’ to their destruction, he will bring the white-robed “great crowd” out of the “great tribulation,” shepherding them in love and ‘guiding them to fountains of waters of life.’ May you be one of these!—Revelation 19:11-16; 7:9, 14, 17.
21. Who will assemble at Armageddon, but why in vain?
21 Alas for the U.N., its supportive governments and their amassed military might! Let them assemble at Armageddon “to wage the war with the one seated on the [white] horse and with his [heavenly] army”! All in vain! The “King of kings” hurls them, as it were, into a “fiery lake,” to their destruction. The remnants of Satan’s organization on earth are likewise liquidated, for the long sword of the King is powerful indeed, able to search out and destroy any enemy.—Revelation 19:17-21.
22. How do God’s prophets describe the fight at Armageddon?
22 By missiles and plagues dispatched from heaven, “Jehovah will scourge all the peoples” that fight in opposition to his kingdom, and, no doubt, in their confusion these will hurl their armaments of destruction against one another, for ‘the hand of each one will actually come up against the hand of his companion.’ But if you are one of those calling on the name of Jehovah, you “will get away safe.”—Joel 2:31, 32; Zechariah 14:3, 12, 13; Ezekiel 38:21-23; Jeremiah 25:31-33.
23. (a) Of what will this be the grand climax? (b) What words of Jesus should make us glad?
23 That will be the grand climax of Jesus’ prophetic “sign”—“great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” How glad we can be that those days will be “cut short” for the sake of the “chosen ones”! You, too, may survive as one of the “sheep” whom Jesus invites to “inherit the kingdom”!—Matthew 24:21, 22; 25:33, 34.
24. (a) What action will then be taken against Satan, and why? (b) What follows?
24 When the war at Armageddon is finished, Satan, the wicked instigator of man’s misrule of the earth, will himself be seized, bound and hurled into the abyss “for a thousand years.” Why so? It is “that he might not mislead the nations anymore.” (Revelation 20:2, 3) Then will dawn the most glorious era in all human history. And what will the 1,000 years mean for those loyal ones who have worked and prayed for the ‘coming’ of the Kingdom? Doubtless, you will be interested to know.
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THE “HARLOT” AND THE “BEAST”
What has been the relationship of the world empire of false religion with the ‘peace and security beast’? Has “Babylon the Great” sought a controlling interest in the League of Nations and, later, the United Nations? Let the facts answer:
After the League of Nations was proposed in 1918, the “Bulletin” of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America went so far as to state: “As Christians we urge the establishment of a League of Free Nations at the coming Peace Conference. Such a League is not a mere political expedient; it is rather the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth. . . . The heroic dead will have died in vain unless out of victory shall come a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
On the occasion of the 20th birthday of the United Nations, in 1965, the Associated Press reported from San Francisco: “Seven international leaders of religious faiths with more than 2,000 million world-wide members joined prayerful hands under one roof today in support of the UN quest for world peace. Pope Paul VI sent his blessings from Rome . . . to the convocation for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Christians. . . . Rabbi Louis Jacobs . . . described ‘the UN as the sole hope for lasting peace in a world whose survival depends on it.’”
In October 1965, Pope Paul VI described the United Nations as “that greatest of all international organizations,” and added: “The peoples of the earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.”
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on October 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II said: “The formal reason for my intervention today is, without any question, the special bond of cooperation that links the apostolic see with the United Nations organization. . . . I hope that the United Nations will ever remain the supreme forum of peace and justice, the authentic seat of freedom of peoples and individuals in their longing for a better future.” Yet not once in his 62-minute speech did the pope mention Jesus Christ or the Kingdom.
In embracing man-made substitutes in place of God’s kingdom, false religion looks to a vain hope. After warning against trusting in human rulers, Psalm 146:3-6 tells us: “Happy is the one . . . whose hope is in Jehovah his God, the Maker of heaven and earth.” And Luke 2:10-14 identifies mankind’s Savior as “Christ the Lord.”
[Box on page 173]
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS LEADING TO ARMAGEDDON
● Issue of world domination raised, nations multiply arms
● Drying up of people’s support of world religion
● A notable cry of “Peace and security!” by the nations
● Militaristic “ten horns” of U.N. devastate world religion
● Beastly “horns” make final attack on ‘Lamb’s’ followers
● “King of kings” destroys nations, armies at Armageddon
WITH SATAN AND DEMONS HURLED INTO ABYSS CHRIST’S GLORIOUS MILLENNIAL REIGN BEGINS