At the Brink of Armageddon
FOR about four and a half millenniums, two great organizations have been on a collision course. The eventual impact will hurl the world into the most devastating war in history. The Bible calls it “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” But it is, perhaps, better known by a more ominous-sounding name—Armageddon.*—Revelation 16:14, 16.
This war has not always been known by that name. But the war will involve the two seeds that are mentioned in Genesis 3:15, where we read: “I [God] shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”
Gradually, Jehovah God revealed that the real power behind the serpent, who seemingly was addressed in the above words, was an invisible spirit creature who came to be “called Devil and Satan.” (Revelation 12:9) His “seed”—both heavenly and earthly—is a powerful organization that has a death grip on the whole world. (John 8:44; Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 2:14) The real “woman” referred to by Jehovah God is his faithful wifelike heavenly organization. (Galatians 4:26) She, too, has a “seed,” or offspring, and this becomes the object of hostility on the part of the organization of Satan the Devil.
Why War Must Come
By deluding our first parents into thinking that they could rule themselves, Satan disturbed the peaceful Paradise in which man lived. (Genesis 3:1-6) He implied that God was a selfish and inept ruler whose laws and principles were needless and cruel restraints. The Sovereign of the universe could not forever tolerate this slander on his name and reputation. His doing so would have made him appear powerless, and in time ruination would thus have spread throughout the entire universe.
Consequently, for his own sake God would have to act, not allowing his name to be profaned forever or his universal sovereignty to be unvindicated. (Compare Isaiah 48:11, 12.) Defeating Satan’s organization at Armageddon will serve to clear God’s peerless name Jehovah. (Psalm 83:18) And since war with Satan will also result in terrific human casualties, God’s war will destroy Satan’s earthly organization, or system of things. This will be the “great tribulation” that Jesus foretold at Matthew 24:21, 22 and through which some “flesh” will be saved. Man’s venture into independence has already resulted in a “ruining” of the earth through wars, pollution, and the like. But Armageddon will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) By removing the ruiners, God will clear the way for Paradise.
Yet, when and how will God’s war take place? Many believe it will break out in the Middle East, especially in view of what took place there on May 14, 1948. On that day Israel proclaimed itself a nation—the seeming triumph of a people who for centuries had suffered dispersion, persecution and even genocide. And though its foothold seemed tenuous at first, the tiny nation has for over three decades held its own in the troubled Middle East. Many see in modern Israel’s birth the hand of divine intervention and a sure sign that Armageddon is near.
True, not all theologians share this conviction. “I think it’s a waste of time,” says one Presbyterian clergyman, “to try to project the symbols and events of today into the [Bible] prophecies and try to assign them to specific persons.” Nevertheless, many books, films and TV evangelists are promoting a popular view that the Middle East is the future site of Armageddon.
But will Armageddon really take place in the Middle East? Actually, how will this “war of the great day of God the Almighty” be fought? What will lead up to it? How can a person survive Armageddon? And what will follow that great war?
The Hebrew term “Har–Magedon” actually refers to a symbolic world situation where the troops are gathered for battle. But in common usage, it has come to refer to the battle itself.