Armageddon​—What Do Some Say It Is?

“And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”​—REVELATION 16:16, English Standard Version.

WHAT do you think of when you hear the word “Armageddon”? Likely, images of a major catastrophe spring to mind. Although the word appears only once in the Bible, the term is repeated often by the news media and by religious leaders.

Do popular concepts of Armageddon match what the Bible teaches? The answer is worth knowing. Why? Because the truth about Armageddon can free you from needless fear, brighten your outlook on the future, and influence the way you think about God.

Consider the three following questions, and compare popular concepts of Armageddon with what the Bible really teaches.

  1. IS ARMAGEDDON A MAN-MADE DISASTER?

Journalists and researchers often use the word “Armageddon” to define catastrophes caused by humans. For instance, World Wars I and II have been referred to as Armageddon. After those wars, mankind worried that the United States and the Soviet Union would direct atomic weapons at each other. The media called that potential conflict “a thermonuclear Armageddon.” Today, researchers who fear that pollution will cause drastic changes in earth’s weather warn of an impending “climate Armageddon.”

What their definition implies: Humans have ultimate control of the future of the earth and all life on it. If governments fail to act wisely, the earth will suffer permanent damage.

What the Bible teaches: God will not allow humans to bring the earth to ruin. The Bible assures us that Jehovah * did not create the earth “simply for nothing.” Rather, he formed it “to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18) Instead of allowing the earth to be totally despoiled by humans, God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”​—Revelation 11:18.

2. IS ARMAGEDDON A NATURAL DISASTER?

Journalists sometimes use the word “Armageddon” as a label for major natural disasters. For example, in 2010, one report spoke about “‘Armageddon’ in Haiti.” It was describing the suffering, damage, and loss of life caused by the massive earthquake that shattered that country. Reporters and filmmakers apply the term not only to events that have already occurred but also to those that they fear will happen. For instance, they have used the word “Armageddon” to describe the imagined effects of an asteroid striking the earth.

What their definition implies: Armageddon is a random event that indiscriminately kills innocent victims. There is little you can do to protect yourself from it.

What the Bible teaches: Armageddon is not a haphazard destroyer of communities. Instead, during Armageddon, only the wicked will be wiped out. The Bible promises that soon “the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.”​—Psalm 37:10.

3. DOES GOD DESTROY THE EARTH AT ARMAGEDDON?

Many religious people believe that there will be a final confrontation between good and evil that will result in the end of our planet. A poll conducted in the United States by Princeton Survey Research Associates found that 40 percent of the adults surveyed believe that the world will end in “a battle at Armageddon.”

What their teaching implies: Humans were not meant to live on earth forever, nor was  the earth designed to last indefinitely. God created humans with the intention that they should all die at some point.

What the Bible teaches: The Bible clearly states that God “has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” (Psalm 104:5) Regarding earth’s inhabitants, the Bible says: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”​—Psalm 37:29.

Clearly, the Bible contradicts many popular concepts of Armageddon. So, what is the truth?

[Footnote]

^ par. 9 In the Bible, Jehovah is the personal name of God.