Surviving on the Victorious Side at Har–Magedon
“And they shouted together: ‘Victory to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”—Rev. 7:10, New English Bible.
1. What will follow the coming universal war at Har–Magedon, and we do well if we do what now?
A PEACE of a thousand years will follow the end of the universal war at the battlefield of Har–Magedon. It will be something most desirable to survive that final war of this worldly system of things. Survival will be the happy privilege of those who prove to be on the victorious side. This presents an outlook far different from the gloomy view entertained by political and military forecasters that a third world war, fought with nuclear weapons, will mean victory for no side. Both sides will be losers. Coupled with that is the prediction that such world war will spell suicide for the human family. However, we do not need to be frightened at such human reasonings. In the coming conflict at Har–Magedon there will be a winning side. We do well if we now line up with the side that is bound to win, to enjoy thereafter the fine fruit of victory.
2. Why does the locating of ourselves now on the winning side not require us to engage in any politics of this world?
2 In this case it will not be a winning of one political party or bloc of nations over another political party or bloc of nations. There will be no imposing of one idea of human rulership upon an unwilling defeated people who are wedded to another idea of political rulership. Nor will the winners force the losers into one political camp that embraces all the world of mankind. Such a thing does not result in a permanent peace on earth and bring about a willing submission on the part of the conquered people. The victory won will not be a political triumph, but will abolish all human politics from the earth. Our locating ourselves on the winning side will require no engaging in divisive politics of this world.
3. So, what questions are of highest interest to us now?
3 This vital fact is what presents an attractive feature to the coming universal war at Har–Magedon, even though today the subject of war is a thing that more and more people do not like to talk or think about. Questions of the highest interest to us are, What does the winner have to gain from his victory? What will the victory mean for those of us who place ourselves now on the winner’s side? Will it make our surviving at Har–Magedon worth while?
4. If one or all of the political powers were to win in a further world conflict, what would the victor have to offer us people?
4 From hard experience we know what the political powers of this system of things would have to offer us, were all of them together or only one bloc of them to gain the victory. At most, it could be nothing better than what they have offered to mankind since the flaming forth of World War I in the year 1914 C.E. And what has that been? Nothing but hard times, which become more and more difficult for the people in general. Reason for optimism over the world situation is more and more dwindling. The basis for pessimism is broadening. Despite the contributions of modern science and advanced technology and of the United Nations as an agency for international cooperation, clear-sighted economists, social students and environmentalists warn us that we are approaching a dead end, with no lawmaker, politician, police authority or educator knowing the way out. On top of this must be added the staggering costs of a victory in another world war in human lives, material properties and environmental effects. There is every likelihood, then, that the political powers would only have what is far worse to offer than what they have furnished us since 1914 till now.
5. Who, therefore, must the desirable victor at Har–Magedon prove to be, and why so?
5 Certainly, therefore, all right-hearted people must hope and look for victory in the coming war at Har–Magedon to be the prize of someone who can offer us a future for which we would like to survive. That desirable victor at Har–Magedon could be no one else but the Creator of man’s original earthly environment, namely, God himself. This is the reasonable thing, for what involves man’s natural environment involves God. What affects all mankind affects God.
6. What connection will the coming universal war at Har–Magedon have with man’s original earthly environment?
6 Man’s original environment was no imaginary caveman stuff as taught by the advocates of the theory of human evolution. The historical facts of the case are that man’s first natural environment was a perfect garden, a paradise of natural beauty and delightful living conditions. So one of the glorious fruits of divine victory at Har–Magedon will be the reestablishment of paradise on earth, but on a global scale. Mankind’s return to Paradise can come in no other way than by divine victory at Har–Magedon. That is one of the things that takes the distastefulness out of thinking about a universal war—that at Har–Magedon.
A WAR, NOT AGAINST MAN, BUT AGAINST GOD
7. Against whom, then, will all the nations be fighting, but what is their own view of such a thing?
7 Does this line of reasoning signify that all the nations of the earth are due to fight against God the Creator at the battlefield of Har–Magedon? Exactly that! But the nations today resent being told that such a confrontation with God is what they are headed for. In fact, it would be hard to convince the political nations, especially those of religious Christendom, that it is against the God of the Holy Bible that they are now preparing to fight. Religious clergymen have always assured the nations of Christendom that these have always fought for God, on God’s side, in all the international conflicts since the founding of Christendom in the fourth century C.E. They have let themselves be moved in their war efforts by a religious sentiment like that of Roman Emperor Constantine, who, before founding Christendom, fought under the sign of the cross. This Constantine, before fighting a decisive battle with his political rival, claimed to have seen a heavenly vision of a brilliant cross along with the gleaming words, “By this conquer” (in Greek, En touʹto niʹka).
8. How has that coming battlefield been named, and how much territory does it cover?
8 Nonetheless, it is God himself who warns all the nations that it is against Him that they will be warring. It is He who names the place where the war will be fought to a finish, namely, Har–Magedon. That battlefield must be at the earth, for here is where the nations find themselves, with no escape route into outer space. In fact, that battlefield embraces all the earth—which will make it impossible for anybody on earth to escape its effects.
9. Our continuing to go along with the nations will lead to fighting against whom, but what inspired advice in Luke 14:31, 32 may we well heed?
9 The nations may not let themselves be convinced that God is the One against whom they will be fighting, but what about us as individuals, no matter of what nation we may be? Do we relish the thought of fighting against God? If not, what shall we do about it, inasmuch as we are all part of the various nations? Are we going to let ourselves be maneuvered by crafty schemes into fighting with the nations against God? If not, well, then, we need to go to God’s own written Word, the Holy Bible, to learn what He tells us to do about it. It behooves us to follow the advice of the Son of God, who admonished his disciples to count the cost of their undertakings, saying: “What king, marching to meet another king in war, does not first sit down and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand troops to cope with the one that comes against him with twenty thousand? If, in fact, he cannot do so, then while that one is yet far away he sends out a body of ambassadors and sues for peace.” (Luke 14:31, 32) Likewise, shall we continue marching with the worldly nations to Har–Magedon, or shall we now without delay sue for peace with God?
10. Where, and with what descriptive language, does God say that he will fight against the nations at Har–Magedon?
10 How, then, can we drop out of the line of march to Har–Magedon so as not to line up there on the side of the nations? Where does God inform us that at Har–Magedon he will do battle with the nations? It is in the Bible book of Revelation or Apocalypse, chapter sixteen, verse sixteen. The verses preceding foretell of how the nations would be led on by invisible superhuman influence, that is, by malicious demon influence, to this out-of-the-ordinary war. Describing the anti-God influences as “expressions inspired” by unseen demons, the Bible writer John the Evangelist says: “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.”
11. What does the name of the battleground mean in Hebrew itself?
11 Those prophetic words were originally written by John the Evangelist in common Greek. But when they were translated into Hebrew itself in the nineteenth century, verse sixteen read: “And they congregated them to the place that the Hebrews call The Mountain of Megiddo [Har Megiddon].”—Rev. 16:16, Hebrew translation by Salkinson-Ginsburg; also, by F. Delitzsch.
12. So where do some claim that the final war will be fought, but what questions does such an idea raise?
12 It is because the name Har–Magedon means The Mountain of Megiddo that some Bible expositors and some prominent religious clergymen who make worldwide broadcast by radio have said that the coming universal war will be fought in the land of Israel, in the Valley of Megiddo, at the ruins of the ancient city of Megiddo. In fact, if a tourist visits those ruins today he will read a sign that marks the place and that says that here, according to the view of some, the final war is to be fought. But, broad though the valley plain in front of the mound of ruins of ancient Megiddo may be, it could never accommodate an assembly of the armies of the kings and rulers of the entire inhabited earth. And what issue would a war there before the literal site of Megiddo really settle? Are the non-Jewish nations, with their warships, their air fleets, their war tanks, their intercontinental ballistic missiles and their motorized armies to fight the Republic of Israel at Megiddo as the central strategic battlefield of the entire earth? Will it therefore be the Republic of Israel that will find itself on the victorious side at the place called Har–Magedon?
13. What fact about Revelation do those making such an application disregard, as illustrated in the case of its use of the “great river Euphrates”?
13 Those who take the name Har–Magedon or The Mountain of Megiddo in a literal way provoke such questions as those. They disregard the noteworthy fact that the Bible book Revelation or Apocalypse was written largely in picture language, with the use of a large number of symbolisms or figurative expressions. For example, when Re 16 verse twelve of this same sixteenth chapter speaks of the sixth plague of God as being emptied out upon the “great river Euphrates,” it does not mean that this sixth symbolic plague is fulfilled upon the literal Euphrates River that is now straddled by the land of Iraq. In ancient Bible times, that river’s focal point was the city of Babylon, which headed the third world power of Bible history, the Babylonian Empire. The use of the Euphrates as a symbol draws attention therefore to the still-existing world empire of false religion, which the book of Revelation calls Babylon the Great, which Re 16 verse nineteen of this same sixteenth chapter mentions. In the same manner, Re 16 verse sixteen uses the name Har–Magedon symbolically because of its historical associations.
14. What double meaning did the name Megiddo take on, and why?
14 The name Megiddo is dynamic. In secular history 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 so invaders could advantageously be challenged and halted there by the inhabitants. So Megiddo took on a double meaning, that of tragic defeat for one side and that of glorious victory for the other side.
15. What personage especially became associated with Megiddo, and how?
15 The God of the Bible became associated with the place, and with the nearby river of Kishon. This God was with Judge Joshua, who succeeded the prophet Moses, when Joshua was subduing the Promised Land and captured Megiddo. (Josh. 12:21; 17:11) During the period of those judges who followed Joshua, God gave a signal victory to his chosen people in the neighborhood of Megiddo. This was in the days of Judge Barak and the prophetess Deborah.
16, 17. (a) To whom was the battle of no little importance, and so what was done in behalf of the Israelites? (b) To whom was the victory ascribed by Barak and Deborah in song?
16 Compared with the numbers and materials employed in modern battles, the battle back there was a small-scale affair, Judge Barak having only ten thousand men and the prophetess Deborah with him, whereas the enemy General Sisera had, besides ground troops, nine hundred horse-drawn war chariots armed with scythes. However, it was no matter of little importance to God, for he stepped into the battle in behalf of his chosen people. Only he could have caused a heavy downpour of rain at the psychological time, to produce a flash flood in the Kishon River valley that immobilized those dreaded nine hundred chariots of the enemy. In the victory song that Barak and Deborah sang to God after the miraculous defeat of the oppressive enemy, they called attention to God’s all-necessary part in this overthrow of the enemy, saying:
17 “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. You went treading down strength, O my soul. It was then that the hoofs of horses pawed because of dashings upon dashings of his stallions. ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of Jehovah, ‘curse its inhabitants incessantly, for they did not come to the assistance of Jehovah, to the assistance of Jehovah with the mighty ones.’”—Judg. 5:19-23; 4:1-3, 10, 12, 13.
18. How is the reason for the survival of Deborah and Barak and his troops stated in Judges 4:14-16?
18 The prophetess Deborah and Judge Barak and his fellow warriors survived the battle on the victorious side at Megiddo. The reason for this is stated also in the account in Judges 4:14-16: “Deborah now said to Barak: ‘Get up, for this is the day that Jehovah will certainly give Sisera into your hand. Is it not Jehovah that has gone out before you?’ And Barak went descending from Mount Tabor [on the side of the valley opposite Megiddo] with ten thousand men behind him. And Jehovah began to throw Sisera and all his war chariots and all the camp into confusion by the edge of the sword before Barak.” After that the pursuit of the disorganized enemy and the destruction of them all was a simple matter for Judge Barak and his troops.
19. (a) The prayerful words at the close of the song of Barak and Deborah apply with regard to what coming war? (b) What of significance followed that victory near Megiddo?
19 Unquestionably the inspired words that Barak and Deborah sang at the close of their song after that ancient victory at Megiddo apply as a prayer with regard to the coming war at Har–Magedon. They sang: “Thus let all your enemies perish, O Jehovah, and let your lovers be as when the sun goes forth in its mightiness.” (Judg. 5:31) Fulfillment of that inspired prayer means a brilliant future for all the lovers of Jehovah who will be on the victorious side at Har–Magedon. Significant in this respect is it that, back there in the days of Barak and Deborah, as the record tells us, “the land had no further disturbance for forty years.”
20. What, in our day, is represented by the “place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon”?
20 What now, in our day, is represented by the “place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon”? As with ancient Megiddo, it denotes a world situation that involves a decisive war. It denotes that stage in world hostility toward God that calls for settling of the issue over which the hostility has arisen. Since ancient Megiddo on its rise of ground strategically commanded the land passageway from one landmass or continent to another, so Har–Magedon denotes that ultimate state to which world affairs come where the political rulers unitedly apply force to make their way through and where God must react with a counterforce according to His purpose. Thus the future of the universe is to be determined by what results from the opposing of contrary forces to each other.
21. (a) With such a viewpoint of Har–Magedon, at what or for what will we not be looking? (b) Our further examination of the Scriptures will now enable us to do what?
21 Having such a Scriptural viewpoint of what Har–Magedon really means will keep us from looking in the wrong direction and from expecting the wrong thing. We will not be looking to the geographical location of ancient Megiddo in the land of Israel. We will not be looking for a converging of all the armed forces of the nations there with the Republic of Israel as their target of attack. We will not be looking for mass conversion of the Jews in the Republic of Israel to acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. We will not be led to the idea that we must line up with the natural Jews in the Republic of Israel in order to survive on the victorious side at Har–Magedon. To the contrary, we will see that the Valley of Megiddo, yes, the whole Republic of Israel, is not the issue involved. We will diligently examine all the inspired sacred Scriptures and will, with the help of God’s spirit, determine what the real issue at Har–Magedon is. Then we shall know on which side of the issue to take our stand in order to survive with the victors at the real Har–Magedon.
THE ISSUE AT HAR–MAGEDON
22. There is a movement of whom today to the real Har–Magedon?
22 Let us make no mistake about it: there is a movement to the real Har–Magedon today. When we see who it is that are on the move in that direction, we can discern what the issue is. Let us read once again Revelation 16:14, which foretold who are the ones that would march to Har–Magedon at the turning point in universal history: “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.”
23. (a) That there is to be a war at Har–Magedon indicates what, and this with whom? (b) What, then, is the issue at Har–Magedon, and this to what extent?
23 The very fact that the gathering together is to a war indicates that an issue is involved. The war is to be fought to settle the issue. Since this is the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” it means that there are those who are at issue with God the Almighty and who want to fight it out with Him. What do those who take issue with him and want to settle matters by war have to lose? Well, please, note the official position of these with regard to the entire inhabited earth. They are political rulers, “the kings of the entire inhabited earth.” Their kingdoms are at stake. Their provoking this war at Har–Magedon is for the purpose of defending their political rule, their kingship, even by force of arms. So, then, KINGDOM is the paramount issue at Har–Magedon! Not “kingdom” over Great Britain, not “kingdom” over Thailand, not “kingdom” over Sweden, but “kingdom” over the “entire inhabited earth.”
24. What questions arise, therefore, about letting things stay as they are?
24 Why, though, should kingdom over the entire inhabited earth be the thing put at issue at Har–Magedon? Why should kings, emperors, presidents and other political rulers of earth be now disturbed and their continued government be put in question? The world of mankind has got along with these political rulers for so long, in fact, for more than four thousand years or since the days of King Nimrod of Babylon on the Euphrates River. Hence, why not let the status quo, the political pattern of earthly government that has survived for so long just keep on going, as long as the people themselves are willing to put up with it or have their democratic elections every so often? Why not, at least, let the people have their way about it? Why bring in a world change as to earth’s rulership? Has not the world got enough trouble as it is?
25. (a) What questions arise regarding a “change” as desired by those who see it is time for it? (b) But what do the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” insist on, and under what influence?
25 However, more and more people today are becoming convinced that “the time has come for a change!” But a “change” from the present world governmental situation to what? Also, are they united on what to change over to, and how this is to be done? In spite of their having that twenty-nine-year-old agency for international action, the United Nations, it cannot be left to the bewildered people to handle the matter of a “change” to something agreeable to all, something adequate to all human needs and certain to endure for all time to come. Moreover, according to Revelation, chapter sixteen, verse fourteen, the presently acting political rulers are by no means in favor of a peaceful change. They insist on making it necessary for the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” to be fought to the finish. And behind these rulers are malicious forces superior to man.
26. What, therefore, must be fought, and why would certain persons not want to ward it off?
26 Consequently, the war must be waged. It cannot be sidestepped or avoided. What informed persons, with the Bible viewpoint, would want to ward it off? They are in favor of victory for the right side. They eagerly look forward to the change for all the inhabited earth that will follow that universal war. Faced with the opportunity that is held out to the people of this generation, they would like to survive the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” and share in the glorious privileges in the postwar period.
27. In view of what facts is there need for right action now, and this with what guidance and help?
27 There is now no neutral position with reference to the coming war, which will be universal. Right action is necessary now before that war breaks out in order to find oneself on the victorious side at Har–Magedon. Only by one’s being found wholeheartedly on that side can there be survival for anyone on earth to see the change that the surface of our earthly globe so urgently needs. For our guidance and help to right action now, we need to consider what is the issue and which side is in the right in the controversy. That side will be victorious!
[Map on page 231]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
With Jehovah’s aid, Barak defeated the army of Sisera
Joshua defeated the king of Megiddo
Hill of Moreh
Well of Harod
Jehovah gave Gideon, with 300 men, victory over 120,000 Midianites
[Picture on page 229]
An artist’s reconstruction of ancient Megiddo