Armageddon—Prelude to Paradise!
ISRAEL. That name often is mentioned in religious circles when God’s great war is discussed. No wonder, then, that the eyes of many are focused on the Middle East! However, the apostle Paul, a Hebrew by birth, wrote: “Not all who spring from Israel are really ‘Israel.’ . . . That is, the children in the flesh [natural Jews] are not really the children of God.” The Jewish nation forfeited the privilege of being God’s “Israel” by rejecting Jesus Christ as the Messiah. (Romans 9:6-8; Matthew 21:43) For that matter, the Hebrew prophet Moses had warned that dire consequences would result if the natural Israelites pursued a course of disobedience to Jehovah God.—Deuteronomy 28:58-68.
Who, then, constitute the “Israel” to which Paul referred? He himself explained: “He is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit.” (Romans 2:28, 29) Armageddon prophecies primarily apply, not to a region in the Middle East, but to a worldwide situation.
The Road to Armageddon
World wars, earthquakes, food shortages, an increase of lawlessness—Jesus indicated that such conditions would constitute a “sign” of his invisible “presence” and of “the conclusion of the system of things.” As so often proved Scripturally in this journal, we have been living in the last days of this system since the climactic year 1914. An additional evidence of this is the present-day fulfillment of Jesus’ words: “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.” (Matthew 24:3-14) Members of the real “Israel of God” have spearheaded this preaching work in 205 lands. “The end” must, therefore, be very close.
How, though, does “the end” come? A fairly complete picture can be woven together from the threads of prophecy scattered throughout the Bible.
To illustrate: As Daniel prophesied, the communist “king of the north” and the rival noncommunist “king of the south” are currently engaged in a struggle for world domination. What next? Daniel foresaw that the communist “king of the north” would forcibly seize control of valuable material resources, typified by “the gold,” “the silver” and “all the desirable things.”—Daniel 11:40-43.*
Nevertheless, world leaders will somehow reach an agreement. They will cry, “Peace and security!” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) The resulting euphoria, however, will be shattered quickly. Political leaders, tired of interference by worldly religion, will unite to annihilate it—swiftly, decisively. But it is Jehovah God himself who sees to it that this especially reprehensible part of Satan’s organization, false religion, is devastated.—Revelation 17:1-18.
The real “Israel,” however, will survive, although not by being lifted off the earthly scene in a rapture, as some modern preachers claim. The prophet Ezekiel indicates what will happen, first quoting Satan (here called Gog) as saying: “I shall come in upon those having no disturbance [Jehovah’s people], dwelling in security.” Motivated by his obsessive hatred of God’s “woman,” Satan will attack true Christians. (Ezekiel 38:2, 11, 12) The showdown, prophesied centuries ago, will then reach its climax.
In response to Gog’s attack, Jehovah will act in defense of His people. They will be preserved, to the sanctification of God’s holy name. And that will occur because Jehovah himself has brought on Armageddon.—Ezekiel 38:18-23.
‘To the Place Called Har–Magedon’
In the Bible book of Revelation it was foretold that “unclean inspired expressions” would “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.” Goaded onward by Satan-inspired propaganda, the “kings” would be gathered together “to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon [“Mountain of Megiddo”].” Revelation 16:13-16.
No mountain by that name actually exists. True, in Bible times many battles were fought near a city named Megiddo. But there was and is no mountain there—only a mound. Nor could all the armies of the world squeeze into the Plain of Esdraelon, below Megiddo, as some imagine. Though the word “Har–Magedon” is apparently drawn from Megiddo, its real significance lies in the meaning of the word, that is, “mountain of assembly of troops.” All of this shows that Armageddon is not a place but, rather, a situation: the assembling or lining up of the world against Jehovah God and his people.
At this juncture, Jehovah himself will enter the battle. “While still alive,” or functioning, political organizations will be destroyed. (Revelation 19:20) Panic will break out as governmental authority crumbles! Earth’s inhabitants then will experience a terror beyond description as Jehovah unleashes his arsenal of supernatural weapons. (Ezekiel 38:18-23; Zechariah 14:12, 13) “And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.”—Jeremiah 25:33.
Jesus Christ, the primary “seed” of God’s “woman,” or heavenly organization, will lead the righteous angelic armies to victory. Satan will be defeated and cast into an “abyss” of restraint for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-3) And Jehovah’s people will have experienced divine protection and preservation through God’s great war.—Matthew 24:21, 22, 37-39.
Afterward—A Peaceful Paradise!
The immediate aftermath of Armageddon will no doubt be a ravaged planet. The task of restoring the earth to a Paradise will seem enormous. But this will be accomplished under the direction of God’s heavenly government. In time the whole earth will match the beauty of man’s first home, the garden of Eden, and righteous humans will “find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace” that will prevail around our globe.—Psalm 37:11.
Eventually, the earth will become a Paradise with mankind enjoying many spiritual and material blessings. Why, ‘the tent of God will be with mankind’! And as humans follow the direction of the heavenly government, God will “wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:1-4) A state of glorious perfection will replace disease, sorrow and even death.
A Place of Safety?
Surviving Armageddon and entering that peaceful Paradise should, therefore, be of paramount concern to you. Safety cannot be found, though, among the world’s many religious sects, including those of Christendom. They do not conform to Jesus’ statement that his followers are “no part of the world.” (John 17:16) Nor are they preaching the “good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14) The so-called Christian religions are fragmented into hundreds of sects and do not display the love that Jesus said would mark his true followers.—John 13:35.
Where, then, is the place of safety? It is with the true “Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) These anointed Christians are not scattered among the many sects of Christendom but are part of one unified organization. Associated with Jesus’ anointed followers are well over 2,000,000 who hope to survive “the great tribulation.” (Revelation 7:9, 14) These organized praisers of God ‘call on the name of Jehovah’ and have the prospect of ‘getting away safe.’ (Joel 2:32) Yes, those of the true “Israel” not only call upon the divine name but also bear that name as Jehovah’s Witnesses. They will gladly assist you to learn more about preservation through God’s great war with the hope of eternal life in a peaceful Paradise.
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The cry of “Peace and security!” will precede an all-out attack on religion!
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Armageddon is not this area at Megiddo, but is a symbolic world situation