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Armageddon

by Jerold Aust

What does the Bible really say about Armageddon? It tells us that the last great battle of man’s age will take place in the Middle East. The armies will gather at a place Scripture calls Armageddon. So, not surprisingly, Armageddon has come to portray our worst nightmare: the end of the world.

Some Bible scholars claim that Armageddon is predicted to terminate society as we know it. More-detailed speculations speak of it as a battle of cataclysmic proportions, possibly a nuclear war that will annihilate mankind. Even Ronald Reagan, the former U.S. president, spoke of Armageddon in such terms. That Armageddon is named in the Bible (Revelation 16:16) and that it serves as the prelude to “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (verse 14) deserves our concern and attention.

The meaning of Armageddon

The word Armageddon can be traced to Megiddo, a significant fortified town in Palestine in ancient times. Most scholars think Armageddon comes from harmegiddon, meaning “hill of Megiddo.” The area has quite a history. Excavations of Megiddo have revealed 20 layers of occupation dating from the fourth millennium B.C. to about 450 B.C. The site is about 18 miles south-southeast of the Port of Haifa in northern Israel and about 55 miles north of Jerusalem.

Megiddo’s strategic location gave it greater importance than its size would suggest: a mere 13 acres within the city’s ancient walls during the time of Solomon. Megiddo overlooked the narrow entrance to Israel’s northern mountains from the Plain of Megiddo–also known as the Valley of Esdraelon, or Jezreel–a level expanse some 20 miles long and 14 miles wide.

Northern Palestine, especially the area of the Plain of Megiddo, was militarily important because it guarded part of the easiest route across the Fertile Crescent, which stretched from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Throughout ancient history, the great powers of Mesopotamia–Assyria and Babylon–contended with Egypt for control of this area.

The territory of the ancient kingdom of Israel was at the crossroads of three continents–Africa, Europe and Asia. Bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea and on the east by the Arabian Desert, this relatively small area between sea and desert was the strategic land link between the three continents. So important, so desirable, so coveted was this narrow land bridge that ancient armies frequently and regularly battled for control of it.

In modern times the Arabian Desert has been prized for its great oil reserves. In ancient times parts of the territory of Israel were coveted for their militarily crucial passes. Megiddo guarded one of those passes. More than 200 battles have been fought at or near there (Alan Johnson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1981, Vol. 12, p. 551). One scholar calls the area “the battle ground of the centuries” (Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, 1966, p. 89).

What about the future of Megiddo, or Armageddon? Does the Bible reveal anything about this strategically vital area?

Prophecy of Armageddon

Although Armageddon is mentioned in the book of Revelation (“And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16), Scripture says nothing about armies actually attacking each other there. It does indicate, however, that armies assemble on the Plain of Megiddo, apparently using the large, level area as a staging ground to prepare for a great battle. But who is being gathered, who is gathering them, and for what purpose?

Those being gathered appear to be two political and military coalitions–“the kings of the earth and of the whole world” (verse 14) and “the kings from the east” (verse 12), from east of the Euphrates River. These leaders aren’t necessarily “kings” as we use the word today; the original word means ruler, leader or commander. We might use descriptions like president, prime minister, chairman, chancellor or general to refer to such leaders today.

At that point in history, many heads of nations will have banded together to support the mighty “beast” power mentioned in Revelation 17. In describing this confederation of peoples, nations and rulers as a beast, God is likening this enormously powerful alliance to an animal driven by ungodly instincts and motivations.

Those comprising this alliance “are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13). The book of Revelation shows that demonic spirits performing miraculous signs will influence these leaders to gather “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty . . . to the place called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:13-16).

Why will the armies of these nations gather at Armageddon? Apparently these military powers will invade the Middle East for a showdown over who will control the world.

However, instead of fighting each other, they will turn on the returning Messiah, Jesus Christ, to fight Him!

We don’t normally think of people actually daring to go to war against God. People war against other people. But the Bible reveals that men will actually try to fight the returning Jesus Christ. These end-time dictators and demagogues covet rulership of the world, and they hope to succeed through their immense armies and destructive weapons–weapons powerful enough to destroy all life from the planet.

God knows that, unless He sends Jesus Christ to intervene in human affairs at that critical juncture, “no living thing could survive” (Matthew 24:22, New English Bible, emphasis added throughout).

Satan and Armageddon

Behind the scenes another powerful leader figures prominently in gathering the armies to Armageddon. Satan, as “the god of this age” (2Corinthians 4:4), will have deceived all nations (Revelation 12:9). As the adversary of humanity (1Peter 5:8), his avowed purpose is to deceive and destroy the human family. The massive armies that will arise in the end time will, to him, seem the ideal vehicle for accomplishing such incredible destruction (Isaiah 14:12,17).

But what the nations won’t know, and Satan won’t accept, is that God allows him to deceive such arrogant leaders into thinking that this decisive battle will enable them to take control of the world!

God Himself will enter into battle with those deceived nations bent on destruction (Zechariah 14:1-3). God will prove that He is all powerful, not Satan nor those whom he deceives. And God will not allow man to completely destroy himself (Matthew 24:22).

With this background, we can better understand the purpose of Armageddon when we read how the armies will be gathered “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).

The prophet Zechariah also describes this climactic time: “Behold, the day of the LORD is coming . . . For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem . . . Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:1-4).

Military forces gather

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary offers another insight into Armageddon: “It is surprising that no one has suggested taking magedon as deriving from the secondary sense of the Hebrew gadad that means ‘to gather in troops or bands.’ The simple way in Hebrew to make a noun from a verb is to prefix a ma to the verbal form. Thus we have maged, ‘a place of gathering in troops,’ and the suffix o, meaning ‘his,’ yielding ‘his place of gathering troops.’ This is almost equivalent to the expressions in verses 14,16–‘to gather them (the kings and their armies) for the battle on the great day of God Almighty’–and would allude to the prophetic expectation of the gathering of the nations for judgment” (Johnson, p. 552).

In Joel 3:9-10 God depicts these rulers and their preparation for invasion and warfare: “Proclaim this among the nations: ‘Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up (to Jerusalem, verses 12,16,17). Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong.’”

The prophecy indicates that the leaders will disrupt societal needs, converting facilities for manufacturing agricultural implements to produce armaments and munitions.

The armies will gather near Armageddon, almost filling the surrounding plain, and continue their deployment throughout other areas of the Holy Land. But the actual battle will take place some 55 miles south of Armageddon, around Jerusalem.

In truth that great battle will not be much of a contest. God will allow the armies to gather at Armageddon so that, in the end, there will be no question that He rules supreme. By permitting Satan, his demons and deceived human leaders to stir up nations to pit their massive forces against Him, God will allow those armies who would resist Christ’s rule to close in on Jerusalem–only to be destroyed in their battle against Him.

Armageddon, therefore, becomes a symbol of a great battle, not between mighty nations and military alliances, but between the forces of good and evil. That climactic battle will be fought at and around Jerusalem.

The battle is joined

The Bible describes that time of earth-shaking events as “the day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Zechariah 14:1)–the time during which God will intervene in human affairs to put an end to man’s rebellion against Him.

Continuing the prophecy recorded in Joel, God says: “Let the nations be wakened, and come up (to Jerusalem) to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow–for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:12-14; compare with Revelation 14:15-19).

Jesus Christ will deal with these massive armies at His return: “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations . . . He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15). Birds gather to feed on the remains of those who war against Jesus Christ (verses 17-18,21).

Apparently the carnage isn’t limited to the area immediately around Jerusalem. Revelation 14:20 indicates that it will extend for some 200 miles.

Armageddon: prelude to peace

Jesus Christ will finally be recognized as humanity’s Savior and Deliverer, its King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Mankind will recognize the futility of rebellion against God.

The prophet Malachi also spoke of God’s supreme authority: “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles (nations); in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:11).

God will at last be acknowledged as Supreme Ruler of mankind. For millennia Satan–the god of this world–has palmed himself off as the god of mankind (2Corinthians 4:4; 11:14). However, God has prophesied that one day He will fulfill His plan for mankind, for which He created the earth.

When this happens the human family will enjoy unprecedented peace and unparalleled prosperity on earth. This peace has been promised to mankind for thousands of years (2Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Isaiah 11:1-10).

Armageddon, while a symbol of the destruction of the forces of evil, is also a prelude to humanity’s salvation. It is then that human misrule will come to an end. At Armageddon the greedy, power-mad demagogues of that time will be gathered into one place so that Christ can put an end to the misery they have wrought on mankind.

Armageddon signals the end of fear, pain, destruction and untimely death. Sadly, there is simply no other way for mankind to learn its lesson. God must finally step in, intervening in human affairs to force peace on this foundering world (Revelation 19; Zechariah 14; Joel 3).

Christ will replace this world’s social, economic, political, educational and religious systems and build a world based on God’s ways (Daniel 2:44-45).

How to understand mankind’s future

God has given to mankind several annual festivals that unlock the mystery of our future. For example, the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows the return of Jesus Christ “with a great sound of a trumpet” to vanquish the armies gathered against Him (Matthew 24:30-31; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 11:15).

The symbolism of the Day of Atonement reveals that Christ will bind Satan, preventing him from influencing humanity (Revelation 20:1-3).

The Feast of Tabernacles depicts 1,000 years of peace and prosperity that will envelop the earth and its inhabitants (Revelation 20:4-5; Isaiah 11).

The Last Great Day signifies the time when all who didn’t know the true God will be resurrected to learn His truth and receive their opportunity for salvation (Revelation 20:11-12; Ezekiel 37).

Armageddon is not the end of the world. It’s a gathering place for enormous armies, God’s summons for deceived human leaders to enter into a decisive battle with Him at Jerusalem.

Rather than marking the annihilation of mankind, Armageddon is the preface to 1,000 years of peace and prosperity for all. Humanity will live on, for what begins at Armageddon establishes Christ as supreme ruler on earth and over all nations. The earth will then become immersed in peace and prosperity in the Kingdom of God.

 

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Armageddon ......(TAKE   2)

By Gerhard Marx

In an age of ever-increasing violence and horrifying acts of terrorism, bewildered people ask: Where is God? Why did the Almighty not intervene and prevent the outrages of Sept. 11 ?

Those events were so unexpected, so awful, as to cause some people to even doubt God’s existence.

For the believer in God, these humanly devised traumatic events are seen as forerunners to Armageddon, a biblical term applied to the Old Testament prophet Joel’s description of the end-time battle between God and evil men and the climactic conflict between good and evil related in the book of Revelation. This fearsome word refers to a future time of worldwide upheaval, as seen through the eyes of the biblical prophets, when man’s chaotic and conflicting experiments with self-rule will come to a swift and dramatic end.

The name itself, taken from Revelation 16:16, comes from two words, har (“mountain” or “hill” in Hebrew), and magedon or Megiddo, Hebrew for “to cut off”). Two kings of Judah, Ahaziah and Josiah, died by the sword at Megiddo (2Kings 9:27; 23:29).

Armageddon is used to describe a horrendous time when the forces of evil will, for a while, be given free rein. How near are we to that apocalyptic time described by Christ—a time when, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved (alive)” ?; (Matthew 24:22). Jesus’ words are a stark warning for humanity. Thankfully, He stated in the same verse that “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”—that is, for the sake of His chosen followers, those who have chosen to follow Him.

Indeed, God cares for all humanity, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9).

We can rest assured that God isn’t about to abort His rescue operation to save mankind from annihilation. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to give us God’s answer as to whether He will intervene as He has promised: “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand . . .’” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God will intervene and stop humanity from destroying itself. But first mankind must learn that rejecting God’s way of life, as so clearly and repeatedly spelled out in His Word, doesn’t pay. Rebellion against God leads man to the abyss, to Armageddon. But, thankfully, man’s Creator will put a stop to it all. God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, confirms this fact.

 

 

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Armageddon ....(TAKE   3)

by Darris McNeely

 

In the mid-1980s, President Ronald Reagan once openly mused about the potential for an age-ending world war. "You know, I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if—if we're the generation that's going to see that come about... There have been times in the past when we thought the world was coming to an end, but never anything like this."

Those who lived through World War I felt the same way. They called it the "Great War" and "the war to end all wars." Oh that it were true. The war to end all wars is coming, but it will follow a time of total war unlike any ever seen (Matthew 24:21). The ride of the second horseman of Revelation 6 unleashes the malignant forces of evil and removes the last vestiges of peace from the earth. However, Jesus Christ stops this horseman's ride with His appearance and the establishment of His just Kingdom.

Notice what John saw with the breaking of the second seal. "When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, 'Come and see.' Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword" (Revelation 6:3-4).

This vision corresponds with Christ's Olivet prophecy in Matthew. Notice, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:6-7).

The record of history shows a pattern of the red horse of war often following the white horse of false religion. An example is the Thirty Years War in Europe during the mid-17th century. Following the Protestant Reformation, the resultant shift in power among European states led to 30 years of carnage from 1618 to 1648. Religion, the newly emerged Protestant versus Roman Catholic theology, was the ideology that fueled the winds of war. It led to strange alliances: Catholic France aligned with Protestant Holland to offset the powerful Catholic Hapsburg dynasty. This resulted in prolonging the conflict. By the time peace (a euphemism for balance of power) was restored in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia, 8 million people had lost their lives.

What can we expect to see as this red horse of war rides across the landscape in the last days, unleashing the fury of nations and its unique ideology upon the world? A look at the history of war and its cause will give us a clue. Let's first look at what the Bible says is the cause of war.

The cause of war

Volumes have been written describing the root causes of war. It has been studied, no doubt, since the first conflict erupted among humans. The ancient Greeks felt human behavior was guided by fear, self-interest and honor. These characteristics cause war and instability. When instinctual human nature creates a crisis, the normal course of events leads to a breakdown in order, and anarchy or war is the result.

Relations among nations are generally guided by self-interest. When individual interest is jeopardized, the natural instinct for self-preservation takes over. War is often the result.

The apostle James wrote quite pointedly on this subject. "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:1-2).

James identifies lust, desire and covetousness as the sources of strife among people who cannot focus on the right relationship with God. He goes on to say, "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (verse 4). Again we see that self-interest plays a dominant role in human aggression.

Left to itself, without a spiritual relationship with God, the human heart is the seat of conflict. In the context of the sins of Judah, Jeremiah the prophet said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9.) Jesus Christ confirms, "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matthew 15:19).

But the Bible reveals that the real source of this hostile nature is Satan the devil. In a heated discussion with the Pharisees who were challenging Him, Christ labeled Satan as the source of human hostility. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44).

Paul describes Satan as controlling the "power of the air," literally swaying man to disobedience, without people's conscious awareness. Until man's nature undergoes a fundamental change, he follows after the natural "lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind." He is a child "of wrath" caught up with the rest of humanity in a spirit of conflict (Ephesians 2:2-3).

It will take a change of heart along with the addition of God's Spirit to turn the human mind from pursuing pure self-interest to following the lead of God. We find this solution alluded to in a quote from Tolstoy's novel War and Peace, "Drain the blood from men's veins and put in water instead, then there will be no more war!"

When the world comes under the covenant in which God writes His law upon the human heart with His Spirit, we will see the end of war. Until then, we will see wars continue and escalate in ferocity. Those who understand man's nature know he is on a course toward absolute destruction.

The beginning of war

In Genesis chapter 4, we read of the first human "war," the conflict between Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam. When God refused to accept the offering of Cain, reading his sinful heart, Cain's self-interest was threatened. He did not control his aggression and subsequently "rose up against Abel his brother and killed him" (Genesis 4:8).

Cain was expelled from the family environs and we are told he went to the land of Nod on the east of Eden (verse 16). Some biblical scholars say he built on the ancient site of Jericho. Regardless of the accuracy of those speculations, excavations at this site, one of the oldest inhabited sites on earth, reveal a fortress city with walls 12 feet high and 6 1/2 feet thick. The remains of a large tower, 30 feet across at the base and 30 feet high, tell a story of people living in a fortress city, protecting what they had, probably food, from those who would take it by force. Clearly, this was a site of conflict long before Joshua and the Israelites encircled its walls.

In Genesis 10, God provides a narrative of the sons of Noah and the cities that grew from their dynasties. One descendant, Nimrod, and the city he built, Babel, are inserted into the story. Nimrod was a "mighty hunter before the Lord." The wording indicates an adversarial relationship with God's purpose and plan. This is made clearer in the story of the Tower of Babel in chapter 11. The cities associated with Nimrod war back and forth for centuries. Babylon becomes a city, then an empire and eventually a symbol of a system that opposes God, His people and His plan throughout the Bible story.

It is that city, described in Revelation 17:5 as a "mystery...the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth," which in the time of the end provides the cultural and religious inspiration to a political-religious empire called "the beast." The roots of this end-time system reach back to the system started by Nimrod at Babel, thus bridging the intervening centuries. It will form the backdrop for the final conflict of the age brought on by the red horse of war.

No war has brought peace. Wars waged in the name of religion have not achieved religious harmony. No war waged for national interest has brought lasting security for any city, state or empire. The peace sought by man is all too often a peace that suits his nationalistic interests.

Current Iraqi conflict

As a result of the breakup of the Soviet empire in the early 1990s, its nuclear stockpiles and those of the United States have been dramatically reduced. However, the nuclear genie has not been put back into its bottle. Through various means the nuclear technology has migrated to other nations. Today India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons, and twice in recent years have rattled their sabers to threaten a holocaust on the Asian subcontinent.

President Bush has identified three nations, Iran, Iraq and North Korea, as an "axis of evil." North Korea, openly admitting its capability, recently threatened to resume production of nuclear material. Satellite photographs have been taken which show facilities capable of making nuclear bombs under construction in Iran. The same types of facilities have been destroyed in Iraq by both the Israelis and the United States.

Present world scene ready for war

The great fear is that nuclear weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, would fall into the hands of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and be used against Western nations. Some intelligence sources claim that Iraq already officially supports al Qaeda. This real possibility causes the unthinkable to come too close to reality. The end of the Cold War did not bring us any closer to the end of possible nuclear war. It just shifted the power into the hands of more players.

Those who study war understand the persistent danger. In a comprehensive look at the subject, author Gwynne Dyer made this chilling, sober and almost hopeless observation:

"To begin quite close to the end: we may inhabit the Indian summer of human history, with nothing to look forward to but the 'nuclear winter' that closes the account. The war for which the great powers hold themselves in readiness every day may come, as hundreds of others have in the past. The megatons will fall, the dust will rise, the sun's light will fail, and the race may perish. Nothing is inevitable until it has actually happened, but the final war is undeniably a possibility, and there is one statistical certainty. Any event that has a definite probability, however small, that does not decrease with time will eventually occur—next year, next decade, next century, but it will come. Including nuclear war" (War, 1985, p. xi).

One world government

This bleak prospect has led many to conclude that a supranational world government is the only hope for universal peace. The medieval writer Dante in his work De Monarchia speaks of the inevitable contentions between two governments which require arbitration by a third power with the authority to settle the dispute. "This third power is either the world-government, or it is not. So, we must arrive at a first and supreme judge for whom all contentions are judicable... Therefore, world-government is necessary for the world" (The Great Ideas: War and Peace, p. 1,018).

War at the end of the age will bring the nations to the point where one system will be created with the desire to bring peace to the earth. Revelation 13 describes a system rising up out of the sea, a large diverse system that is called "the beast." By a series of miracles, a world in crisis is persuaded to worship this system. Nations surrender their sovereignty and the world worships "the beast," asking "who is able to make war with (the beast)?" (verse 4). To enforce this type of "peace," he makes war on the people of God and he has authority over all "tribes and nations"—a worldwide power (verse 7).

Revelation 17 describes this "beast" receiving power from 10 kings. Again, the "peace" that is brought leads to war against God. The beast and his system will make war with the Lamb (Jesus Christ), but in the end will be overcome by Him.

Throughout the ages man has sought to organize a universal state. What began at Babylon as an attempt to reach to the heavens and defy God will be resurrected in an age-ending attempt to unify the nations into a political and economic system. The intended goal of this system will be to bring order and peace among the warring factions of humanity. But once "peace" is attained, the attractive mask will be removed to reveal a hideous beast of a system that will tear and destroy any opposition to its rule and authority. The desire of the ages—peace—will prove elusive one more time, when left in the hands of man.

The stage will be set for the climactic battle at the end.

Christ's intervention

Peace, when left to humans, has little chance of permanence. This system of Babylon that arises will be part of a time of world calamity unlike any experienced in history. The prophet Daniel was shown, "There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" (Daniel 12:1). Christ spoke of this time as well. "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved..." He offered the light at the end of the tunnel when He added, "but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22).

This final time of war will be in the hands of God. Remember that Revelation 5 shows us that it is the Lamb who unleashes the seals. Christ is in charge of history, and He will bring this trial to a conclusion, resulting in peace for all peoples. But genuine peace will not come without a terrible cost in human suffering.

The final war to be waged will be of God's design. It will serve to humble mankind to the point that people will obey God and become willing to live the way that will produce peace.

Look at the description of this time of world conflict. Revelation 8 begins with the opening of the seventh seal, containing seven trumpet plagues of unimaginable destruction upon the earth. The next chapter reports that the sixth trumpet sounds: "Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million" (Revelation 9:13-16).

This 200 million (persons or demons is debatable ...Keygar) army is fearsome to contemplate. But what is important to understand in this verse is God's control over the armies and the destruction marching across the face of the earth. One unmistakable message of the book of Revelation is God's control of seemingly uncontrollable events.

Verse 18 shows a third of mankind, more than 2 billion lives, snuffed out by three plagues. The only hope of human survival is the reality of Christ's intervention to prevent the destruction of the earth and its inhabitants.

As the "crisis at the close" reaches its crescendo, the heavens will open and Christ will appear on a white horse. Here, in God's message of hope, appears a fifth horseman whose ride will be decisive and final. Revelation 19:11 says He is "called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war."

Christ will wage this battle in righteousness because He alone holds the keys to death and the grave (Revelation 1:18). No other person waging battle or war in history, no matter how "just" the cause may seem, can make this claim. God's judgment upon the nations has been building over the millennia and will be executed at precisely the right time.

This ultimate battle will result in the advent of the Kingdom of God.

Finally there will be lasting peace.

 

 

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