Rescuing a Great Crowd of Mankind Out of Armageddon
“These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation.”—Rev. 7:14.
1. Why is a growing crowd of people looking forward eagerly to the coming of the war of Armageddon?
ARMAGEDDON, threatening though the name may sound, does not mean the wiping out of the race of mankind. The approaching war of Armageddon is, in reality, the forerunner of the happiest time for mankind in all human history. That is why a constantly increasing “great crowd” of people today is looking forward eagerly to the coming of this universal war of Armageddon. For good sound reasons they hope to live through that war and see the prosperous, peaceful era that follows. We want you to be one of that happy, hopeful people.
2. Why is Armageddon not something we have imagined, and why can we not lightly put it out of mind?
2 Armageddon is not something that we have imagined or invented. Armageddon, as the name of a battlefield, is more than eighteen hundred and seventy years old. The name occurs only once in a book of hundreds of pages that was completed just about that many years ago. Because of the connections that it has, the name strikes awe and wonderment into us when we read about it. It is not a name that we can lightly put out of mind. It stands for something that the race of mankind must eventually face. The time for us to face it and experience it is getting very near. We cannot now stop mankind’s approach to it. It is a necessary calamity of world dimensions, but it is for mankind’s everlasting good.
3. From what two directions is mankind’s life threatened, and why is astronomy’s prediction of the fate of our universe not right?
3 Today mankind’s life is threatened from two directions. No, we do not mean to say by this, from the Eastern bloc of communistic, totalitarian, dictatorial nations and from the Western bloc of democratic, imperialistic, capitalistic nations. Rather, we mean, from the direction of man himself and from the direction of the Creator of man. As regards creation, modern astronomy predicts that some distant day our Milky Way and other galaxies of the expanding universe are going to reverse the process and contract the universe and bring about its collapse in upon itself and thus crush our earth and its inhabitants. But not so! Our universe is in the control of its Creator, and in his loving and unchangeable purpose toward mankind he does not allow for such a catastrophe. How, then, is mankind threatened from the direction of God the Creator? On the other hand, how is mankind threatened from the direction of man himself? From which of these two directions will mankind be struck right soon, in a serious threat to the very existence of all mankind?
4. In what way is man’s existence threatened by man himself, and why did not the League of Nations lessen this threat?
4 When we look in the direction of man, we see evidence piling up that man’s mismanagement of the earth threatens his own existence. The certainty of this has become undeniable since the epoch-making year of 1914. Hundreds of millions of persons still living vividly remember how in that year the first total war seized the whole globe in its embrace. The ghastly destruction of human life and property by World War I shocked political and religious leaders into setting up an international organization to safeguard world peace and security, the League of Nations. Total world war was not to occur again. Yet, despite the existence of an international peace organization, the nations thought it necessary to keep up strong defensive national armaments and to invent new weapons of warfare for mass slaughter of humankind. Finally, in less than twenty years, defiance was flung into the face of the League of Nations by ambitious rulers, and, in 1939, World War II began mowing down its fifty-six million victims.
5. When and for whose benefit was the United Nations set up, and why have those protected by it presented a problem in themselves?
5 When World War II ended in September of 1945, while the explosion of two atomic bombs still echoed around the world, there were still 2,139,958,919 people left. These thousands of millions and their offspring the world rulers now sought to preserve by a new organization for world peace and security, namely, the United Nations, in 1945. In the next two decades, despite minor but dangerous wars and revolutions, a population explosion was to take place, bringing the world population by the year 1967 up to 3,285,000,000. (The World Almanac for 1946, New York, page 377; for 1967, page 379) Such rapid population growth, without proper birth control, presents the world with a grave food problem. Men now foresee a half-starved world before the passing of many years, with all the effects, economic, social, political and religious, that this would surely mean. National boundaries are not expanding or widening out to make room for growing populations, and our earthly globe is not getting bigger for more people.
6, 7. (a) Why have measures taken against pests produced a danger? (b) What has been said recently by competent authorities about the pollution of man’s habitat?
6 As in no previous century, the earth is becoming a place for machines and factories, employing chemical processes and, more recently, atomic processes. Mankind has had to pay dearly for this, because pollution of air, land and water has reached critical proportions. The need for the use of chemical pesticides has increased, apparently, and with regard to this a magazine headline said: “There’s Poison All Around Us Now.” It bespeaks danger.
7 As regards air pollution, an American Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare recently warned that the peril from pollution is outpacing solutions at present, saying: “We are encouraged by the progress that we have made, but we have only begun to scratch the surface. The problem not only remains critical, it continues to grow at a faster rate than our efforts to cope with it.” And a report made to the American government by the National Academy of Sciences declares that the time has come when mankind can be using the air, sea and land as his “trash basket” no longer. He will have to find ways to cycle his wastes, both solid and liquid, back into the economy. In certain respects, says the report on pollution, “the situation is unprecedented and becoming desperate.”—New York Times, June 8, 1966, and April 1, 1966.
8. In contrast with the above, what danger is there of sudden catastrophe world wide, and why shortly?
8 Yes, catastrophe from insufficient food production and the general pollution of man’s habitat is slowly but surely creeping up upon mankind. But already worldwide danger exists of a sudden wave of violent destruction sweeping over the globe. Measured by the peacetime interval between World Wars I and II, our present world peace period since the close of World War II in 1945 has now “come of age,” as one magazine article worded it. A hypocritical peace period it has been, for it has been a time of international preparations for World War III, a war with horrifying chemical and pestilential means of mass killing, a war with radiation means of large-scale killing, a war exploding thunderous, blinding bombs that split atoms or fuse atoms, already stockpiled in such quantities that all mankind could be killed several times over, if they could repeatedly be restored from death to life.
9. Why is the likelihood of a last war between men increasing, and how do some nations feel about it.
9 It is becoming easier and cheaper and more generally known how to make atomic bombs. There is a recognized danger of the multiplying of nations with the atomic bomb, of their own design and manufacture. This multiplication would increase the likelihood of a last world war, one with nuclear bombs. Further making of such bombs must be stopped. By a treaty between the nations there must be a ban put upon the proliferation of bombs by new nations acquiring the bomb, so the authorities of nations already possessing the bomb feel. Their fear is real. All nations, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, are equally in danger. This is why the matter was laid before the seventeen-nation World Disarmament Conference of the United Nations, with increasing urgency.
10, 11. (a) At the opening session of the World Disarmament Conference on February 21, what message from a head of government was read? (b) What “equity” shared in by all nations was warned of?
10 In evidence of this the newspapers published the American proposal for an international treaty for a ban on the making of atomic weapons. When the World Disarmament Conference began sitting again in 1967 at Geneva, Switzerland, there was submitted to the Conference at its opening session on February 21 a written message from the American president. It was read by the head of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In this message President Johnson dealt with objections raised by certain nations not having nuclear weapons to Washington’s revised draft of a treaty forbidding the spread of nuclear weapons to additional nations. In the close of his message President Johnson referred to the equality of the common danger, an equality that shut out any choosing between the interests of those nations not having nuclear arms and the interests of those having such weapons.
11 He said: “Plain sanity calls for a halt to the competition in nuclear arms. There is nothing to choose here between the interests of the nuclear and the non-nuclear nations: There is a terrible and inescapable equity in our common danger. I wish you Godspeed in your work.”—New York Times, as of February 22, 1967.
12. (a) What did President Johnson’s farewell words suggest? (b) What did his warning show about the threat to mankind’s life?
12 Those farewell words by the president suggested that God was interested in saving mankind by a ban on the spread of nuclear weapons or was using the seventeen-nation World Disarmament Conference to keep mankind from committing suicide by nuclear warfare. Even if he is wrong in this idea, the president felt the terribleness of the situation and he could wish that Almighty God would help to prevent world catastrophe. For one thing, Johnson’s warning joins with all the other reasons given above in showing that mankind’s life is threatened from the direction of man himself. Will mankind destroy itself before God ever does so? That would occur if, as some theologians claim, “God is dead.”
THREAT FROM THE DIRECTION OF GOD
13, 14. (a) As respects the threat to mankind from God, to what source of information should we go? (b) What cannot a scoffer deny about the world military situation today, and to what question does this lead?
13 However, is the life of world society today really threatened from the direction of God? To learn the answer to this question, we have to go to God’s Word, the Holy Bible, as it sets forth prophecies for our day and our generation. Let no one scoff at the thought of going to the Bible for answers to modern-day questions. Scoffing will not turn aside the war of Armageddon about which the Bible speaks. Let the scoffer ask himself, Why does there exist today such a thing in the earth as a World Disarmament Conference? It is because the members of the United Nations feel that the nations should disarm. No scoffer can deny that never before have the nations been so heavily armed for warfare with the most destructive arms as now. Never before has so much of the money been spent by nations for armaments, some armaments-making nations supplying arms to smaller nations to help them to fight already raging wars or for future wars.
14 Never before has nationalism taken hold so strongly of all nations, even the newly emerging nations. The earth today is an armed camp, every nation in fear of all other nations or lacking confidence in them and even in the United Nations. Where are the world rulers and their armies marching, and why to that place?
15, 16. What kind of book answers that question, and what does it say in Revelation 16:13-16?
15 The most widely distributed Book on earth today answers. Although completed nineteen centuries ago, that Book in its last chapters describes the worldwide situation of today and reveals where the rulers of the entire inhabited earth are leading their armed forces. In Revelation 16:13-16 this Book says:
16 “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.”
17. (a) What kind of propaganda leads the kings and armies to the field of battle? (b) What is the war sometimes called, who is the common enemy, and for whom will it be a ‘great day”?
17 Propaganda that induces the kings of the earth to undertake a universal war is undeniably demonic, inhuman. But where is it that the demonized inspired expressions lead these rulers at the head of their armies? It is to a place or a situation that the Hebrew Christian, the apostle John, calls Har–Magedon (or, according to some translations, Armageddon). That is where the final war of these earthly rulers and their armies is to be fought to a finish. But who is their common enemy? Whom are they opposing? It is God the Almighty, for this is called the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” For whom will it be a great day? Not for these kings and their armies, but for God the Almighty! And because the war is waged at Armageddon, it is often called the war or battle of Armageddon.
18. (a) Why is the matter of nations fighting against God not a subject for laughter? (b) In what important respects are nations not doing God’s will?
18 Does anyone laugh at the idea that earthly kings and their armies will fight against the invisible God, the Creator of the universe? Such laughter can be squelched by cases in recorded human history of where men have fought God. Egypt’s Pharaoh of the sixteenth century before our Common Era did it and suffered the consequences. King Sennacherib of the Assyrian Empire of the eighth century B.C.E. did it, and lost 185,000 of his troops in one night. So what about today? Well, today the earthly rulers and their armies are threatening the very existence of all men by modern-day scientific means. In this are they doing the will of God the Almighty? By keeping the whole human race divided and full of mutual hostility by means of maintaining jealous national governments, are the world rulers, backed up by their armies, acting in harmony with God’s will?
19. (a) While mouthing the expression “For God and Country,” what do nations do about their countries? (b) Hence, what witness do they not accept?
19 They may patriotically mouth the slogan, “For God and Country,” but are the human rulers of the earth trying really to keep their country from getting into the hands of God? Do they deny to the Creator the possession of his own creation, our earth, all countries of it? As long as the nations are stoutly insisting upon their own national sovereignties, are they challenging God’s rightful sovereignty over the earth? And by their armed forces are they trying to prevent a complete takeover of all the earth by its Creator God, the Universal Sovereign? Yes, and that is why they do not accept “this good news of the kingdom,” which Jesus Christ said would be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end comes on the present system of things.—Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10.
20, 21. (a) Against whom, then, does the Bible plainly say that rulers of Christendom and pagandom will fight? (b) In proof of this, what does Revelation 19:11-16 say?
20 Beyond all question of doubt, the kings and their armies are lining up to present a united front against God the Almighty at Armageddon. God’s own Book, the Holy Bible, says that it is against him and his Son, earth’s future King, that all earthly rulers, their armies and their supporters fight at Armageddon. The last book of the Holy Bible boldly declares that fact before the faces of the rulers of Christendom and of pagandom. If they refuse to read it and see the application of it to themselves, let us here read it:
21 “And I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. . . . and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, 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. He treads too the press of the wine of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. . . .
22. According to Revelation 19:17-21, what happens to those who do the fighting on earth?
22 “And I saw the wild beast and 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. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth. And all the birds were filled from the fleshy parts of them.”—Rev. 19:11-21.
23. How will the “great evening meal of God” be provided at Armageddon, and by means of whom will God be vindicated, and in what respect?
23 That is the final war of Armageddon, according to inspired Bible prophecy. The earthly rulers and their armies will get no glory out of it. The long sword of judgment out of the mouth of the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords will sentence them to destruction, and his angelic armies will execute that sentence. The destruction of the opposers of God’s kingdom there at Armageddon will include not just the kings or rulers and their armies. According to the words uttered by God’s angel, it includes military commanders, strong men, horses and those seated on them, freemen and slaves, and persons small and great. Their unburied bodies will serve as the “great evening meal of God” that he will provide for creatures that live on carrion, because God is the One that is responsible for the slaughter. (Rev. 19:17, 18) Such a victory will mark the “great day” of God the Almighty. By means of Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords, Almighty God will vindicate his own universal sovereignty!
24. (a) What kind of conflict are the nations trying to avoid today? (b) Why is there dire need for persons to be rescued out of Armageddon?
24 In the light of that prophetic revelation, do we appreciate the seriousness of what is ahead? That coming war of Armageddon means the climax of a time of trouble such as never has afflicted mankind before. Earthly rulers are merely trying to avoid a major conflict among themselves. But they are not trying to avoid this major conflict with the Almighty God the Creator. Into what, then, are the human rulers leading their armies and the rest of mankind, under the propagandistic expressions inspired by demons? It is into a destruction the threat of which comes from the direction of God. There will be no escape for the present system of things and for those who support it. Is it any wonder that there is dire need for persons to be rescued out of Armageddon?
THE DIRE NEED FOR RESCUE!
25, 26. (a) At Armageddon who will prove to be King of kings and Lord of lords, and how? (b) With what warning did he foretell this time of tribulation and its climax, in Matthew 24:19-39?
25 Jesus Christ, now resurrected from his sacrificial death and glorified in the heavens, is commissioned to fight that war of Armageddon. There this once sacrificed “Lamb of God” will prove himself to be King of kings and Lord of lords, for no earthly kings and lords will be able to stand against him and win. (John 1:29, 36; Rev. 17:14) As God’s greatest Prophet he foretold this war of Armageddon, for God used him nineteen hundred years ago to deliver the Revelation that contains the name and description of Armageddon. (Rev. 1:1; 22:16, 20) Besides that, three days before his sacrificial death outside the walls of Jerusalem, he foretold this present period of world tribulation and its grand climax at Armageddon and called it an unequaled trouble. He said:
26 “Woe to the pregnant women and those suckling a baby in those days! Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the sabbath day; for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short. . . . Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”—Matt. 24:19-39.
27. As to loss of human life, how do the flood of Noah’s day and the war of Armageddon compare?
27 The great flood of Noah’s day was, up till then, an unparalleled catastrophe for man. That was sixteen hundred and fifty-six years after man’s creation. At that time earth’s population was not as great as now, more than forty-three centuries after the Flood. Hence more human lives are threatened, for, like the flood of Noah’s day, the war of Armageddon will affect the whole earth. No country or place of this inhabited earth will be excepted. No opposers, no persons not on the side of God’s kingdom and of his anointed King Jesus Christ, will be overlooked. The loss of human life will be without equal in man’s history.
28. Will the killing off of people at Armageddon be indiscriminate?
28 There will be no confused, accidental, indiscriminate killing of earth’s inhabitants as it would be in a third world war with tremendous explosives delivered by missiles, disease germs, chemical gases and poisons, and radiological means. At Armageddon Jehovah God will fight by means of his Warrior Jesus Christ against his enemies, against the friends of this misguided world, not against his own friends. Remember Noah and his family, eight human souls all together, in the ark during the watery cataclysm of forty days over all the earth! They are a picture of hope.
29. (a) Jesus’ comparison of the days of his second presence with the days of Noah indicates hope of what survival? (b) Why will the war of Armageddon remain without equal as a human catastrophe?
29 Will there, then, be survivors on earth of the war of the great day of God the Almighty at Armageddon? Almighty God’s own infallible written Word answers Yes! Jesus Christ compared the days of his second presence and of his coming to the War of Armageddon to the days of Noah in connection with the Flood. Correspondingly, if there were eight survivors of that flood, then there should be survivors of the second presence of the Son of man and the events marking it. The apostle Peter, whose two inspired letters are a part of the Holy Bible, says: God “did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people.” (2 Pet. 2:5) The coming war of Armageddon will be worse than that flood or any other trouble or tribulation “since the world’s beginning until now.” There will never occur again a tribulation like it, because there will be no need for it. As in Noah’s day, any humans surviving the war of Armageddon will have to be rescued out of it. Some will be!