Armageddon

The word “Armageddon” has entered the mainstream of world culture to depict an overwhelming threat to the very existence of planet earth. The popular 1998 film Armageddon portrayed a bunch of rag-tag messiahs who team together to attempt to destroy a rogue asteroid the size of Texas, which is on a direct collision course with earth. (Needless to say, the mission was successful or else you wouldn’t be reading this right now)!

Popular evangelical writers like Hal Lindsey (who wrote the Late Great Planet Earth in the 1970s) have attempted to identify current events with the unfolding of Bible prophecy. The usual interpretation of Armageddon and the end of the world focuses on a real military battle in the Middle East between the forces of good and evil. In this regard, the focus has shifted from Russia to Muslim extremists as the main protagonist.

The word “Armageddon” only appears one time in the Bible, between the sixth and seventh plagues: “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16). John provides a possible hint to the meaning of this unique word by specifically telling us that it is of Hebrew and not Greek origin.

This immediately points to the Old Testament as a strong foundation for the meaning and understanding of the term. Thus, if we are to understand the term, we must first look in the historical and theological past of Israel rather than in the possible present unfolding of events.

The Sabbath School lesson remarks on Tuesday and Wednesday by Norman Gulley represent, I think, a good understanding of Armageddon. He points out that,

the name seems to mean ‘Mountain of Megiddo.’ However, there is no mountain in the area known as Megiddo, but Mount Carmel was located in the vicinity, and scholars have seen the phrase Mountain of Megiddo as a reference to Mount Carmel. More to the point, Bible students have seen the story of Elijah and false prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel as a symbol, a type to what is going to unfold in Revelation 13.

There are many parallels to this noteworthy Old Testament story and the many-sided battle that will wage at the end of time.

First of all, the prophets of Baal are sponsored by the state through the devilish influence of Jezebel, the heathen wife of Ahab. She is a fit representation of the end time Babylon who is pictured as a prostitute, drunk with the blood of the saints (Rev. 17:1–6). Just like Jezebel used the power of the state to enforce a false worship against God, Babylon is seen joining together with the Lamb-like beast of Revelation 13 in order to trample down religious freedom for all and dictate a state-supported and a state-run religion.

The modern Jezebel/Babylon has even taken a play out of God’s playbook and it is said she will cause, “fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men (Rev. 13:13). Some have seen that this “false fire” is a false manifestation of the Holy Spirit, not only at Mount Carmel but at Pentecost. Revelation warns us that Babylon will use deceptive fire and miracles in order to convince many that she is of a divine rather than a Satanic influence.

We are instructed by Ellen G. White:

The way in which Christ worked was to preach the word, and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way; for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God's servants today could not work by means of miracles, because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought” (Medical Ministry, page 14).

Just as Elijah was called to stand up against the united political and religious monolith of his day, we are also called to sound a warning against the union of church and state that is forming, even now as we speak. We are again instructed that

The "image of the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas (Great Controversy, 443, 445).

Although Elijah appeared to be alone, God reminded him in his flight after the Mount Carmel experience, that there were many who had not bowed the knee to Baal. And just as Elijah was taken to heaven without seeing death, we are reminded in the verse just before the Battle of Armageddon, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed” (Rev. 16:15).

Let us not be unmindful of the days we live in and continue to be lulled to sleep by the devil but heed the words of Paul and be ready when the battle comes,

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (1Thess. 5:4-8).

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8835

A refreshing look at the text. One should hear Southern union Evangelists on the topic. Catapillars as battle tanks. Grasshoppers as heliocoppersand or paratroopers. Yes there is a mountain about the size of a mall parkin g. Lot. The battle is for the heart mind and soul of man.

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So good to see you here, Tom!:slightly_smiling_face:

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Tom – good to see you “back”.

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The word ARMAGEDDON is a very emotionally laden word, more particularly for elderly Adventists like myself, who have heard in numerous “tent meetings” over numerous decades, this word used in a FEAR MONGERING way!

In my old age I have become a questioner and a skeptic.

Over multiple millennia, God’s followers have for the most part, been illiterate, blue collar, laborers, and yes, even slaves. Not PhDs MBAs,
attorneys, dentists, doctors, college professors who now largely inhabit Adventism.

It almost does take a PhD, literate in biblical languages and archeology, to even begin to decipher/decode Bible prophecy. How come?
What was God’s intent here??

So, why I ask, did God not speak directly, transparently, understandably, coherently?? Why use encryption more profound and dense than in our current cell phones/I pads?.

Why cause so much obfuscation that a multiplicity of interpretations are possible?

Why all this GOBBLEDYGOOK of arcane/obscure/cryptic/enigmatic symbols/totems/logos each leading to a multiplicity of interpretations, depending on the era, or the persuasion/background of the decoder?

A case in point is the “mountain of Megiddo “. when no mountain exists in the vicinity of Megiddo. The account of the battle of Armageddon has the horrific image of blood up to the level of the horses’ bridles.

When last were horses used in battle? So is this a reference to some ancient combat/contest/confrontation?.

On the other hand the reference “fire came down from heaven to earth in full view of men” is a horrifying image of an atomic bomb explosion !!

That would make more sense than “horses’ bridles.

Again, all these mumbo jumbo scriptures are worthy of a comic book.
Whose interpretations/whims are we to believe?

I am at the point of reducing Scripture to the Four Gospels and discarding the remaining gibberish.

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God has used and continues to use a secret code in His prophecies in order to keep the enemy guessing as to His battle plans. If He completely detailed His tactics, it would be an invitation for the enemy to more easily disrupt His plans.

JSKMD

I am concerned for your gullibility

The “.enemy” in question is SATAN himself.
EGW tells us that he has one of the most stupendous intellects in the universe.

(Or did she plagiarize this observation?)

If so, he has a far better mind than any of us, and should be easily
able to decode God’s encrypted prophesies.

If not, he is also very literate and can easily read Adventists’ interpretations of them, so the “battle plans” you refer to are an OPEN BOOK to Satan.

So your argument does not make sense

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Just because Satan has a stupendous intellect does not mean he has the mind of Christ and understands all of God’s plans. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned and the carnal mind, the mind of Satan, cannot discern them. In fact, they are foolishness to him and his followers.

Although Satan’s power and intelligence are great, they are nothing in comparison to the omnipotence and omniscience of God.

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Thomas…one of your remarks is a bit curious to me. The lesson author presents a quote in Friday’s lesson which is similar to your statement, that the Battle Armageddon is for the hearts and minds of mankind. But if I correctly understand the general chronology of events, Probation has closed before the end of the 6th plague, when the ‘armies’ are supposed to convene…literally, as some people believe or more probably, figuratively. If that’s the proper interpretation, wouldn’t all the decisions have been made prior to the Battle? God’s people have a seal (which is His and Jesus’ name) and Satan’s minions have a mark (which is also his name).

I wonder if the Battle is more of a verification and prima facie evidence of those ‘already made’ decisions, laying out clearly the choices all will have made in a demonstrable fashion for the entire universe to see.

Why is it important to know what Armageddon means?

  1. Jesus did not mention Armageddon, although he tells us in Matthew 25 who will be saved.

  2. Focus on unravelling a mystery such as this distracts us from Christ’s mission - it is inward focused which is contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

I have come to believe that “fussing” over the meaning of things like this demonstrates a lack of faith! I love the Lord and love others for Him regardless of when He will come. I trust that He will care for whatever circumstances occur immediately before He comes. I choose to focus on Jesus Christ and His mission rather than on Satan! God will take care of the rest in the time and manner He knows best.

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The proto type is found in the Book of Daniel and the three worthies. The final question is Who alone is worthy of worship. One last attempt to break the seal to use your analogy

Amen !
Christ & Paul spoke to simple people in away that ordinary people can understand !
That’s good enough for me !

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Compared to Revelation, seems so…HOWEVER…

PAUL:He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.2 Pet 3:16

JESUS:Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matt 16:6
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

If so simple then why are there so many spins on Jesus & Paul verses? Why so many preachers to explain the meaning of verses, why so many denominations?

How about this favorite passage of Spectrum readers from Paul?

1 Timothy 2:12-15 King James Version (KJV)

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Megido is known as the “decision valley”. The battle it’s in our minds.

Does the Adventist Church have any true conception of Armageddon? After reading the lesson study associated with the same topic, I dont think it does.