Are the Nations Headed for Armageddon?
Can it be avoided? What does the Bible disclose?
MANY men of note think the nations are heading for some kind of disaster. A prominent clergyman speaks of a “thermonuclear Armageddon.” In the United States Congress a Senator from Vermont said on the Senate floor: “In very truth the world seems to be mobilizing for the great battle of Armageddon. Now is a crisis in the agelong warfare between God and the Devil for the souls of men.”a And playwright Tennessee Williams sees the nations acting like crazy persons: “If people acted like nations they would all be put in straitjackets. . . . I think Armageddon is really at hand this time.”b
Now, what is this Armageddon? Some view it as a third world war, the annihilation of all life on earth, the result of folly by nuclear-armed nations. But is this what the Holy Bible speaks of by the word “Armageddon”?
If you turn to the Holy Bible, the book of Revelation, chapter sixteen, you will be able to read about the true significance of Armageddon. This prophetic vision is what the Lord Jesus Christ gave to his apostle John: “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 [or Armageddon].”—Rev. 16:13, 14, 16.
Observe, please, that in this inspired prophecy it is clear that the nations are being gathered to the place called Armageddon, also that this place of battle is linked with no mere human war but a universal war—”the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” Since battles often take their name from the place where they are fought, this war of the great day of God the Almighty is also referred to as the battle of Armageddon. Now, what is it that drives the nations to a suicidal march to Armageddon?
“EXPRESSIONS INSPIRED BY DEMONS”
God’s Word shows that three unclean inspired expressions are misleading the nations and that they are froglike in appearance. Since frogs were classed by God as unclean food for his people of ancient times, the froglike appearance denotes how unclean these expressions are in the Almighty’s eyes. They are unclean because they are of demonic origin and because they come forth (1) out of the mouth of the dragon, (2) out of the mouth of the wild beast and (3) out of the mouth of the false prophet.
The dragon, mentioned first as a source of these unclean expressions, is none other than “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan,” the one “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Rev. 12:7-9.
These unclean expressions also come forth from the mouth of the wild beast. What does the wild beast represent? Revelation 13:1, 2 speaks of “a wild beast ascending out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads,” and which receives its power from the dragon. Just as certain wild beasts are used by the prophet Daniel to represent world powers, so it is in Revelation. This wild beast, then, is Satan’s visible organization, made up of all the nations of the world, and it rises up out of the sea of humanity estranged from Almighty God, the “sea” the Bible speaks of as “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.”—Rev. 17:15; Dan. 7:1-8.
Finally, froglike expressions or demonic propaganda come from the mouth of the “false prophet.” This is not an individual man. How do we know? By comparing chapter 16 of Revelation with Re chapters 13 and 19, it is clearly evident that the false prophet is an outstanding governmental system that takes upon itself the role of a prophet. What world power does it represent? Well, what world power system took the lead in advocating and forming the League of Nations and later the United Nations and predicted great Messianic things for such organizations? When the League of Nations failed to bring peace and prevent World War II, what world power system proved to be a false prophet? What world power system is made up of two parts, to harmonize with the two horns of the wild beast of Revelation 13:11-15 and which is identified at Revelation 19:20 as the “false prophet”? It is the dual world power of Britain and America, the power system that took the lead in setting up and predicting great things for the world peace organization, directing people to a man-made organization to fulfill their hope for peace rather than to God’s kingdom.
WHY ARMAGEDDON CANNOT BE AVOIDED
Out of the mouth of the dragon, the wild beast and false prophet spews demonic propaganda. It turns the confidence of the people away from God and teaches them to trust in men and in human governments that are under Satan’s control. (Matt. 4:8, 9;1 John 5:19) It entices men into a way of life that is out of harmony with the righteous kingdom of God. Relentlessly, the nations are thus being gathered in opposition to God, to the battlefield of Armageddon.
Another reason, yes, the basic reason, why Armageddon cannot be avoided is that the great issue between Jehovah God and Satan the Devil must be settled. It is not mere global domination but universal domination; hence the issue of universal sovereignty must be decided. Almighty God settles this issue by fighting the battle of Armageddon, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” It will be a great day for “Jehovah of armies,” the great God whose heavenly armies under the command of Jesus Christ will come off victorious, utterly destroying the wicked nations of this world and putting to death the Devil and his demons.—Jas. 5:4; Dan. 2:44.
OBJECT OF ATTACK
But how can all nations head for one battlefield, and what is the object of their united attack? The word “Armageddon” draws some of its meaning from the name Megiddo, a battlefield site in Palestine where decisive battles were fought by God on behalf of his people. But the battlefield of Armageddon is not a literal place; it is a symbolic battlefield. The demons, by their devilish propaganda, prod the nations to march there to fight against God’s kingdom. But how can the demons goad nations to attack a government that is heavenly? Certainly the rulers are not so impractical as to be driven to an unoccupied battlefield or to fight against something intangible.
So, then, the nations march to Armageddon to fight something visibly tangible that represents God’s heavenly kingdom. Well, then, what could represent that kingdom, the kingdom concerning which Jesus Christ foretold for our day: “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”? Why, the preachers of that kingdom! They represent the Kingdom by preaching it, by advocating it, by giving it their allegiance.—Matt. 24:14.
Hence there is a deeper significance in the word Armageddon or Har–Magedon, which means “Mount of the assembly of troops.” Since Megiddo was in the land of God’s people of ancient time, in this “time of the end” Armageddon represents the people who are assembled to preach the good news of God’s established kingdom and engaged in a spiritual warfare against demons, to get this Kingdom preaching done. So the battle is fought in defense of God’s people, the representatives of the heavenly kingdom by Jesus Christ. It is this attack upon God’s Kingdom witnesses that provokes Armageddon and that results in a smashing defeat for all the nations of the earth.—Eph. 6:12.
Why should the nations attack these Kingdom preachers? Because the demons misleading the nations are anti-Kingdom; and the nations, under their superhuman rulers, are determined to stop once and for all the worldwide preaching of God’s kingdom as the hope for the world. The rulers do not want their citizens or subjects giving loyalty and allegiance to God’s heavenly kingdom. So the Kingdom preaching and the Kingdom witnesses must go! To war, then; but as the nations launch their united attack against the unarmed witnesses of Jehovah and his kingdom they provoke Jehovah of armies to fight for his people. The nations ask for it, and Jehovah gives it to them—destruction! Put to the sword, the nations are slaughtered by the heavenly armies under the command of the King Jesus Christ: “The armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron.”—Rev. 19:14, 15.
It is to this destruction that the nations are headed, prodded by the demonic propaganda that turns people against God’s kingdom. Not only the nations are headed for an Armageddon defeat but so also are the demons and their ruler, Satan the Devil.—Rev. 20:1-3.
Since no worldly nation is free from demon influence today, every person is being forced to a decision, the consequences of which will be either life or death, survival or destruction. All who long for survival into God’s new world must turn a deaf ear to unclean, demon-inspired expressions. Test all expressions; if they do not declare Jehovah as Universal Sovereign and his kingdom as the hope of the world, then you can be certain they hopped out of the mouth of the dragon and his visible organizations. Do not be misled with the nations to suffer defeat at Armageddon. Make your decision for God’s kingdom, that you may be spared alive through the coming universal conflict, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”
a March 9, 1954, Congressional Record, pp. 2726-2727.
b Springfield (Massachusetts) Daily News, December 29, 1958.