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What is Armageddon?

▪ To many, the word “Armageddon” evokes scenes of mass destruction​—nuclear war, large-scale natural disasters, or even an “environmental Armageddon” jump-started by global warming. This word as used in the Bible refers to none of these. What, then, is the Biblical Armageddon?

The term “Armageddon” (“Har–Magedon”) appears in the Bible book of Revelation. It refers to a unique war, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” in which “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” are mobilized for a final battle with God. Reference to such a war also appears in numerous other scriptures.​—Revelation 16:14-16; Ezekiel 38:22, 23; Joel 3:12-14; Luke 21:34, 35; 2 Peter 3:11, 12.

What does this war entail? In symbolic terms, the book of Revelation tells us: “The kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army.” This “one seated on the horse” is God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is appointed by God to lead legions of angelic warriors to victory over God’s enemies. (Revelation 19:11-16, 19-21) Jeremiah 25:33 reveals the magnitude of this destruction of the ungodly: “Those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.”

Why is Armageddon necessary? The nations refuse to acknowledge God’s sovereignty, but they proclaim their own. (Psalm 24:1) Their defiance is described at Psalm 2:2: “The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.”

In effect, these rebels are like stubborn squatters who not only claim property that is not theirs but also misuse and ruin it. The nations today are ruining the earth and polluting its environment. God’s Word foretold this deplorable situation, saying: “The nations became wrathful, and [God’s] own wrath came.” God would then “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) Armageddon is the way sanctioned by God to resolve the issue of who has the right to rule over all humanity.​—Psalm 83:18.

When will Armageddon take place? God’s Son plainly stated: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) Even so, in speaking about Armageddon, the Warrior-King Jesus Christ added this warning: “Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake.” (Revelation 16:15) Thus, this global war is associated with Christ’s presence, which Bible prophecies show is now here.

Armageddon will destroy only the incorrigibly wicked, and there will be “a great crowd” of survivors. (Revelation 7:9-14) They will see these words come true: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”​—Psalm 37:10, 11.

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“The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace”