Armageddon—A War That Leads to True Peace
IN THE language of those who deal with international relations, the word used to describe the world situation today is MAD—Mutual Assured Destruction. That term is most appropriate. In the 40 years since the first atomic bomb exploded in warfare over Hiroshima, Japan, the world’s nuclear arsenals have grown unbelievably. Some reports claim that they amount to the equivalent of 12 thousand million tons of TNT, or about 3 tons for each person on earth!
As the One “who did not create [the earth] simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited,” Jehovah God will not, in fact, cannot, allow the nations to continue in their suicidal course. (Isaiah 45:18; see also Psalm 104:5.) Before they have occasion to unleash all their deadly weapons on one another, and in the process destroy themselves and the environment, the Maker and Owner of the earth and everything upon it will rise up to action. He has promised that this will be “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” the Biblical Armageddon!—Revelation 16:14, 16.
Armageddon, therefore, will be much more than just another war to resolve the present-day political deadlock. It will accomplish what man throughout the ages could only hope for. It will do away with all causes of human war. It will establish true peace on the earth. Above all, it will restore the rightful rulership of earth’s Owner, Jehovah God, over all his creation. How will all of this be accomplished? Let us see.
Peace—By Eliminating the Means to Wage War
One of the reasons that the nations have not been able to do away with war is that they have not been able to do away with the means to wage war. Even though they know that the spiraling arms buildup is suicidal, they are not willing to give it up or to slow it down. It will be “astonishing,” indeed, when Jehovah takes action and accomplishes what the nations cannot do: “The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—Psalm 46:8, 9.
Jehovah has in the past demonstrated his ability to neutralize the most advanced or formidable weapons that the nations could brandish. For example, he delivered his seemingly defenseless people, the Israelites, from the military might of the first world power, Egypt, by wielding the elemental forces of the waters of the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:3-5) Similarly, Canaanite King Jabin’s sophisticated tactical weapons, “nine hundred war chariots with iron scythes,” in the command of his army chief Sisera, were rendered totally inoperative when Jehovah unleashed the powers of a flash flood. The enemy ranks were thrown into total confusion, leading to their liquidation down to the last man. The outcome was that “the land had no further disturbance for forty years.”—See Judges, chapter 4 and 5:21, 31.
Significantly, that decisive battle against King Jabin’s forces took place in the torrent valley of Kishon, “by the waters of Megiddo.” (Judges 5:19-21) It therefore provides us with a dramatic preview of Jehovah’s total victory in the forthcoming battle of Armageddon.
What “mysterious” forces, if any, Jehovah will use against his enemies we do not know. What we do know is that he does have at his disposal forces that can completely devastate the military establishments of the nations. Scientists are aware, for example, that a powerful electromagnetic pulse—something even they can generate by a high-altitude nuclear explosion—is capable of knocking out the communication and military control systems of a nation, thus throwing everything into chaos. Reasonably, Jehovah will nullify all the nations’ arsenals in order to lay the foundation for total peace.
Peace—Only for Those Who Want It
It has been said often that wars are fought by people, not by weapons. Therefore, even though it is essential that the means to wage war be eliminated, that in itself will not guarantee lasting peace. Logically, if we want to see true peace, the political, racial, and nationalistic hatreds that divide the world into ever so many blocs and camps must also be done away with. This, Jehovah God will do by bringing to pass what millions throughout the world have been praying for: “Let your kingdom come.”—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Even though fulfilled Bible prophecies clearly show that the Messianic Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ was established in the heavens in the World War I year of 1914, it was not welcomed by the nations. Not one of them would give thought to laying down their arms and surrendering their sovereignty. Instead, in their frantic struggle for world domination, they were embroiled in the greatest war ever to take place up to that time.
Prophetically, the second Psalm describes the situation: “Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” That is why Jehovah’s command to his designated King, Jesus Christ, is: “You will break them with an iron scepter, as though a potter’s vessel you will dash them to pieces.”—Psalm 2:1, 2, 9; 110:2.
This conquest by God’s anointed King is described in figurative detail at Revelation 19:11–20:3. The Word of God, Jesus Christ, supported by angelic armies, is seen astride a white horse, “and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. . . . Out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it.” The resulting slaughter of the wicked is very great. In his sweeping victory, the triumphant King will then deal with the real culprit behind all the woes and suffering on earth. The vision in Revelation describes this as though it has already been accomplished, saying: “He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
Peace—A Thousand Years and Beyond
Can you imagine what a thousand years of peace will mean for mankind? Authorities today recognize that hunger, diseases, and poverty among the nations could be eliminated if only a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on armaments each year was used to deal with them. Think of what will be accomplished when all earth’s resources are put to constructive use. It was no wishful dream of a visionary when Isaiah was inspired to prophesy about the rule of the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ: “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.”—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
The pressing question is: Will you survive the destruction at Armageddon to enjoy the endless peace? You may ask, ‘What must I do to survive?’ Here is the Bible’s admonition: “Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:2, 3) Jehovah’s Witnesses will be glad to help you to do so. In that case, Armageddon will turn out to be for you, not a war that brings total destruction, but a war that leads to true peace.
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At the Red Sea Jehovah displayed his ability to neutralize formidable weapons of war