The “Prince of Peace” Faces Armageddon
1, 2. (a) What thrilling words did God inspire the prophet Isaiah to speak? (b) When did these words begin to be fulfilled?
IN THE eighth century before our Common Era, the prophet Isaiah was inspired to say to God’s people: “For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite.”—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
2 Those thrilling words began to be fulfilled in the latter part of the year 2 B.C.E. This was when Jesus was born as a descendant of King David, who had reigned in the city of Jerusalem over the 12 tribes of Israel.
Covenant for a Kingdom With No End of Peace
3. (a) What covenant did God make with King David? (b) Upon what descendant of King David has Jehovah conferred the title “Prince of Peace”?
3 Because of David’s zeal for the worship of the God of Israel, Jehovah made with him a covenant for an everlasting Kingdom in his line of descent. (2 Samuel 7:1-16) That covenant was backed by God’s oath. (Psalm 132:11, 12) According to that covenant, David’s kingdom had to furnish the basis for the coming Kingdom of the “Prince of Peace.” “Jesus Christ, son of David,” is the one upon whom Jehovah conferred the title “Prince of Peace.”—Matthew 1:1.
4. (a) Who became the earthly mother of Jesus? (b) What did the angel Gabriel say to her in this respect?
4 Jesus’ mother was a woman born into the royal line of King David. She was a virgin when she conceived her promised son, who would become the permanent heir to David’s throne. This conception took place before Joseph took her as his wife. (Matthew 1:18-25) The angel Gabriel had informed the virgin Mary: “Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:31-33.
5. What had Isaiah the prophet foretold regarding the rule of the “Prince of Peace”?
5 That is why the prophet Isaiah foretold regarding the “Prince of Peace” that “wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7, The Jerusalem Bible) Thus, according to the covenant established with David, this Kingdom would be an everlasting government with no end of peace. His throne must stand “forever”!
6. (a) To carry out the Kingdom covenant, what did God do on the third day of Jesus’ death? (b) When did Jesus begin to reign as the “Prince of Peace”?
6 For the carrying out of this Kingdom covenant, the Almighty God resurrected Jesus from the dead on the third day of his martyrdom. This was on the 16th day of the Jewish month Nisan, in the year 33 of our Common Era. As an eyewitness of the resurrected Son of God, the apostle Peter said that Jesus was “put to death in the flesh, but . . . made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18) The Most High God elevated him to His own right hand. There, since the end of the Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” in early October of the year 1914, he has been reigning as the “Prince of Peace.”—Luke 21:24.
7. (a) What has Jesus faced from the start of his reign? (b) Who are proclaiming Jesus’ kingship to all the nations, and in fulfillment of what?
7 From the start of his celestial reign, he has faced a hostile world, as is evidenced by two world wars over the issue of who shall rule the earth. He is now confronted with the United Nations organization. By the globe-encircling proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom by Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are preaching in more than 200 lands, his active kingship in the heavens is being called to the attention of all nations. This is in fulfillment of what the “Prince of Peace” himself foretold, as we read at Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
8. Why can it be said that we are very deep into this “conclusion of the system of things”?
8 The issue of world domination must be settled soon. Now, more than 70 years after the end of “the appointed times of the nations” in 1914, we are deep into this “conclusion of the system of things.” The generation of 1914 saw the start of the meaningful world events foretold by Jesus. (Matthew 24:3-14) That generation, Jesus said, would not pass away until all these things would be fulfilled. It is now very close to finishing its course.—Matthew 24:34.
9 Hence, what lies immediately ahead, and what does the “Prince of Peace” face? He himself was used to foretell this in the very last book of the Bible, the Revelation, or Apocalypse, which God gave to him and which he communicated to the aged apostle John by means of an angel. (Revelation 1:1, 2) That happened about the end of the first century of our Common Era. At Revelation 16:13, 14, 16, Jesus had the apostle John make this significant reference to Har–Magedon, or Armageddon:
10 “And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”
The Figurative “Mountain of Megiddo”
11. (a) What does the name Armageddon mean, and was there ever a geographical location so named? (b) Why was the ancient city of Megiddo of historical importance? (c) What double meaning did the name Megiddo take on?
11 The Hebrew name Har–Magedon, or Armageddon, means “Mountain of Megiddo.” No geographical location in ancient or modern times has been called Mountain of Megiddo. Thus in a book like Revelation that is filled with figurative language, the term has symbolic meaning. What must that be? Well, the elevated city of Megiddo, the name of which place means “assembly of troops,” was of historical importance. In secular and in Biblical history the name stirred up memories of decisive battles. Why? Because the city then dominated a strategic land passageway between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and invaders could advantageously be challenged and halted there by the inhabitants. Thus Megiddo took on a double meaning—that of tragic defeat for one side and of glorious victory for the other side.
12, 13. (a) How did the God of the Bible become associated with Megiddo and its nearby river during the days of Judge Barak? (b) How does the victory song of Barak and Deborah describe God’s role in the victory?
12 The God of the Bible became associated with Megiddo and with the nearby river Kishon during the period of the Israelite judges. In the days of Judge Barak and the prophetess Deborah, God gave a signal victory to his chosen people in the neighborhood of Megiddo. Judge Barak had only 10,000 men, whereas the enemy under General Sisera had, besides ground troops, 900 horse-drawn war chariots. Jehovah stepped into the battle in behalf of his chosen people and caused a flash flood to immobilize those formidable chariots of the enemy. In the victory song that Barak and Deborah sang to God after the miraculous defeat of Sisera’s army, they called attention to God’s part in this overthrow of the enemy:
13 “Kings came, they fought; it was then that the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. No gain of silver did they take. From heaven did the stars fight, from their orbits they fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon washed them away, the torrent of ancient days, the torrent of Kishon.”—Judges 5:12, 19-21.
14. What closing words of that inspired victory song are no doubt a prayer with regard to the coming war at Armageddon?
14 Without doubt, the inspired words with which Barak and Deborah closed their song after that ancient victory at Megiddo apply as a prayer with regard to the coming war at Armageddon. They sang: “Thus let all your enemies perish, O Jehovah, and let your lovers be as when the sun goes forth in its mightiness.”—Judges 5:31.*
Nations Being Gathered to Armageddon
15. (a) What kind of place, then, is Armageddon? (b) What is one of the sources of the unclean propaganda that mobilizes the nations to the war at Armageddon?
15 So Megiddo was a place where decisive battles were fought. Logically, then, Armageddon would be the battlefield to which all the worldly nations of today would march under the inciting forces described at Revelation 16:13, 14. The “expressions inspired by demons” that mobilize the nations are the propaganda that is today croaked forth, unclean like the Biblically unclean frog. One of the sources of such unclean propaganda is the “great fiery-colored dragon.” Revelation 12:1-9 identifies “the dragon” as Satan the Devil.
16. At Revelation 16:13, what does “the wild beast” symbolize?
16 Another source of unclean propaganda is “the wild beast.” At Revelation 16:13 this symbolic “wild beast” is associated with the devilish “dragon.” According to Revelation 20:10, this “wild beast” will be destroyed forever because of its cooperation with the symbolic “dragon.” “The wild beast” symbolizes the entire political system of this world of which “the dragon” is the god. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It takes in all the various political governments of this world.—Compare Daniel 7:17; 8:20, 22.
17. What is the effect of the froglike propaganda issuing forth from “the wild beast”?
17 Such a world system of political rule has its distinctive propaganda. And this croaking, froglike propaganda is an inspired expression that serves with the inspired expression of “the dragon” to gather “the kings,” or political rulers of the world, to “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” that will be fought at Armageddon.
18. (a) What does the name Har–Magedon denote? (b) What would a mountain symbolize?
18 Har–Magedon thus signifies a world situation that involves a decisive war. It denotes that ultimate state to which world affairs come where the political rulers unitedly oppose God’s will, so that God must react with a counterforce according to his purpose. So the future is to be determined by what results from this confrontation. At Megiddo itself, the geographical location, there was no mountain. But a mountain would symbolize a prominent place of assembly that would be easily discerned from a distance by all the military forces gathering there.
19, 20. What strategy will the General of Jehovah’s heavenly forces use at Armageddon, and with what result?
19 Jesus Christ, the General of Jehovah’s fighting forces, has for some years looked upon the gathering of the rulers of the world and their fighting forces to Armageddon. But he has not tried to single out any particular king and his military forces to strike them down singly and thus finish off the enemy forces piecemeal. On the contrary, he is allowing them sufficient time to mass together and to unify their forces to the greatest military potential. His bold purpose is to take all of them on at the same time!
20 He will thereby gain a more resounding victory over them, to the glory of his own Commander in Chief, Jehovah God, and to the verification of himself as, indisputably, the “King of kings and Lord of lords.”—Revelation 19:16.