The Bible’s Viewpoint
Should You Fear Armageddon?
WHAT is “Armageddon”? Simply put, the term applies to the condition or situation in which the rulers of the world are gathered in opposition to God and his Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ. In the Bible book of Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision in which the rulers gather together and take a stand against God in a figurative place called Armageddon.
The word “Armageddon” occurs only once in the Scriptures, yet as a modern metaphor, its use is widespread. From nuclear genocide to a computer virus, the word has been applied to disasters great and small. Several best-selling books have been based on the so-called end times, or period just before Armageddon. One series of novels on that theme has sold more than 60 million copies over the past ten years.
Some people fear Armageddon. They feel that terrorists, warmongering nations, or disasters beyond human control will lead to a global cataclysm, leaving the earth unable to support life. Others believe that at an appointed time, God himself will angrily destroy our planet and everything on it. These are indeed fearful prospects! But what is the correct understanding of “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon?—Revelation 16:14, 16.
Will the Earth Be Ruined?
Not all humans will be destroyed at Armageddon. How do we know that? The Bible assures us that “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.” (2 Peter 2:9) We can be confident, then, that God will keep his almighty power under perfect control. Only those who defy God’s sovereignty will face his wrath at Armageddon. There will be no inadvertent casualties.—Psalm 2:2, 9; Genesis 18:23, 25.
The Bible tells us that God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) Clearly, then, Jehovah God’s purpose is not to destroy our planet. Instead, he will remove the wicked human society that opposes his rulership. This follows the pattern he set at the time of the Deluge of Noah’s day.—Genesis 6:11-14; 7:1; Matthew 24:37-39.
A “Fear-Inspiring Day”
Granted, a number of Bible prophecies of the coming destruction are alarming. For example, the prophet Joel spoke of “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” (Joel 2:31) God’s arsenal includes snow, hail, earthquake, infectious disease, flooding downpour, rain of fire and sulfur, deadly confusion, lightning, and a flesh-rotting scourge.* (Job 38:22, 23; Ezekiel 38:14-23; Habakkuk 3:10, 11; Zechariah 14:12, 13) And the Bible graphically describes a time in which the dead will cover the surface of the earth, left either as manure or as food for the birds and other animals. (Jeremiah 25:33, 34; Ezekiel 39:17-20) Fright will grip God’s enemies during this war.—Revelation 6:16, 17.
Does this mean that obedient worshippers of the true God should be afraid of the astonishing events that will take place at Armageddon? By no means, for God’s servants on earth will not take part in this conflict. Moreover, they will be protected by Jehovah. Still, true worshippers will be awestruck by the fear-inspiring display of God’s power.—Psalm 37:34; Proverbs 3:25, 26.
Significantly, though, the apostle John was inspired to assure us: “Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll,” including the warning about Armageddon. (Revelation 1:3; 22:7) Can one be happy meditating on Armageddon? How could this be?
God’s Call to Action
When a severe typhoon, or hurricane, is approaching, local authorities provide warnings for the protection of life. To ensure that everyone hears the alert, police might even be dispatched with warning systems or be sent from door to door. The purpose of all of this is, not to terrify people, but to help them to take lifesaving action. Discerning individuals receive the warning gladly, and those who respond positively are happy for having done so.
It is similar with God’s warning message about the imminent “storm wind” of Armageddon. (Proverbs 10:25) Jehovah has provided details about his war in his written Word. His desire is, not to terrify, but to give fair warning and lead people to repent and make a determined effort to serve him. (Zephaniah 2:2, 3; 2 Peter 3:9) Those who take such action will be blessed with survival. Hence, we need not fear God’s approaching war. Rather, we can face the future with confidence that “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe.”—Joel 2:32.
It should be noted that parts of the Bible were written in symbolic language, or “signs.” (Revelation 1:1) Hence, we cannot be dogmatic about the extent to which the elements mentioned in these prophecies will be used literally.
[Picture on page 12]
When a severe storm is approaching, local authorities provide warnings for the protection of life
[Picture on page 13]
God’s warning message about Armageddon is a call for lifesaving action