ARMAGEDDON AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
As we are aware that there are a number of different opinions on this topic, we have considered it appropriate therefore to include a detailed exposition of it. The Purpose of this study is not to oppose the false views which are promulgated on this subject, nor to uphold the so-called “traditional interpretation”, but by “comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:14), we shall endeavour to discern what the Lord shall have us know. However, it is in the process of doing this, that we shall find that the view expressed by Bro. Thomas in Eureka, and Elpis Israel is broadly founded upon Scripture, and the other opinions with which we are presented are inconsistent with clear Bible teaching.
The importance of ascertaining the true interpretation is expressed in Rev. 16:15:
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame”.
Here, the Lord Jesus Christ informs us that he shall come as a thief. A thief will usually come at night (cp. 1 Thes. 5:2), when the occupants of the house are sleeping. Then, swiftly and silently, he takes those things which he considers to be of any value, and leaves as discreetly as he came. In the morning, the occupants awaken to chaos – and only then do they realize what is missing. Even so, the Lord Jesus shall come amid the darkness of the Gentile night, to take his Special Treasure (Mal. 3:7) whilst the world is asleep (1 Thes. 5:7). Then, in the morning, when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise to burn up the wicked as stubble (Mal. 4:1), they shall awaken (Joel 3:9,12), to sudden destruction (1 Thes. 5:3), and the sudden disappearance of Christ’s Brethren (Mat. 24:40,41).
However, we are “not of the night, nor of darkness”, but are “the children of light and the children of the day”. Therefore, we must not sleep, as do others (1 Thes. 5:5, 6), but as the Master tells us, we must “watch, and be sober”, and keep our garments, lest we walk naked. But what must we watch? Surely, the things that are going on around us! In order to prepare for Christ’s Return, we must watch the unfolding of Bible Prophecy in the world’s affairs – and with a correct interpretation of what lies ahead, we shall be able to discern at what point the Lord shall come, and so prepare. However, if we are not watching, and do not discern the signs of the times, we shall not be ready, and shall be found naked and shamed at his coming.
The Scriptures reveal that the world will be at sleep when the Lord comes. Joel elaborates on this, and tells us that the mighty men of war shall also be asleep (3:9), and there shall be a shortage of weapons to deal with the coming destruction (3:10). This implies a state of peace. Armies are at rest, and disarmament agreements have been made, reducing the amount of weapons possessed by each country, (which concords with the cry of “peace and safety” of 1 Thes. 5:3). So then, just before the battle of Armageddon, it is as a result of peace that the world has been lulled into a false sense of security, resulting in a state of complacency, and sleep.
But there cannot be peace amongst the nations, whilst there is war in Israel. The Middle East must be at peace also. This is what we have described in Ezekiel chapter 38, which speaks of the Jews who are “brought out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely, all of them” (v8). And again, the words of the Lord to Gog, “in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?” (v 14). And so Israel shall dwell safely – and therefore be at peace – immediately before the Gogian invasion.
However, is this before, or after Christ has established himself as King in Israel? Undoubtedly before, for the Prophet alludes back to this period of peace in the description of the Kingdom Age in Ezekiel 39:26:
“After that they shall have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid”.
During this time of peace, then, the Jews are still in their trespasses. This is clearly before they repent and looking upon him who they pierced “mourn before him as mourning on account of the only begotten” (Zech 12:10). So it is that in our day, the Jews have returned back to their land in unbelief, as Bro. Thomas envisaged (Elpis Israel, p 441). There are those who suggest that Israel shall only have true peace after Christ Returns. This is true, of course, but then what we see in Ezekiel 38 is not true peace, for it is soon broken by the Gogian aggression!
As Ezekiel 28:25,26 shows, true peace shall only be in the land after Christ Returns – but also only after all Israel’s enemies are destroyed. Interestingly, The word for peace in 1 Thes. 5, literally means “to join together”, as a basis of peace. In the world today, particularly in Europe, we see precisely that, nations seeking to join together, as a basis of lasting peace. Israel also has made peace treaties with its bordering nations, and with all it’s borders secure, then it will be in safety. As unlikely as this may seem, with the Palestinian problem continuing to fester, it will be so, for Scripture tells us so.
Following this state of peace, the apostle tells us there shall be “sudden destruction”. Joel informs us that the sleep shall be disturbed by a cry to the mighty men of war, and a great rearmament campaign (Joel 3:9,10), as all nations awaken to prepare for war. These nations shall then be gathered together against Jerusalem to battle: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle”, declared Yahweh (Zech 14:2), and in Joel: “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat” (Joel 3:1). These passages must refer to the same battle, for both Joel and Zechariah describe this confederacy of “all nations” as being brought by Yahweh, and destroyed by Him (Joel 3:12,13, Zech 14:3). The description is identical: and “all nations” cannot be destroyed twice!
Revelation 16 also describes such a gathering together. Firstly, verse 14 describes a gathering together of kings under the influence of the frog-like democratic spirits, or teachings spoken by the dragon (Russia), the beast (Europe), and the false prophet (The Pope). These “go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty”. Verse 15 describes the Return of Christ: “Behold, I come as a thief”. And verse 16 describes another, second gathering: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon”.
What this tells us, therefore, is that there are to be 2 gatherings: one before Christ’s Return, and one after. However, there are important differences between the two. The first is caused by Democracy, and the second by Yahweh. The first is a gathering together generally, but the second is a gathering “into a place”.
The first gathering is said to be “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty”. Bro Thomas renders this, “ … for the war of the great day …”, and is therefore descriptive of the purpose of the gathering, not the place. Therefore, before the Return of the Master, there shall be a kind of gathering of the Kings of the Earth (a phrase which, as we shall see is associated with Europe), and of the whole World. We are living in the last days, and we see these words being fulfilled exactly.
As we have said, the word rendered, “peace” in 2 Thes. 5 literally means, “to join together”. We are currently witnessing the gathering, or joining together of many nations to form a basis of peace. This is not to a specific place, for it is not a literal gathering, but a figurative one, descriptive of how the nations are seeking to unite and gather themselves as one. That this gathering is upon the basis of Democracy, as described in Revelation, is amply illustrated by the collapse of the Berlin wall, which resulted in the joining together of Germany.
So then, this is the situation in the world described in Bible Prophecy, just before the Return of Christ. As we have demonstrated, this description fits the situation in our day exactly. It behoves us, therefore, to be diligent in the Truth, and prepare for him, that we be not found naked when he comes.
THE RETURN OF MESSIAH
The next event in this sequence is the Return of Christ. Then, there will be the second gathering, into a particular place, styled, Armageddon in Revelation, but by Joel, “the Valley of Jehoshaphat” (Jehoshaphat = The Judgment of Yahweh, being descriptive of the purpose). But who are those peoples who shall lead the confederacy?
This brings us back again to Ezekiel 38 – but before we examine any of the names mentioned there, let us first establish that it is speaking of the same invasion as Zech 14, (and therefore Joel 3 and Rev 16).
Ezekiel 38 describes a great confederacy of nations being brought by God (v. 4, “I will bring thee forth” cp v. 16) against His people. Not recognizing the Hand of God in bringing them down, (Mic. 4:12), they shall have a natural motive, “to take a spoil, and to take a prey” (v 12, 13). Chapter 39:10 tells us that this purpose is achieved, for the Jews “shall spoil those that spoiled them”. When the confederacy has thus taken the spoil, the Lord shall fight against them (v 18-23), and during the Judgments which follow, there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel:
“Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel” (Eze. 38:19, the word “shaking” is the same Hebrew as “Earthquake” in Zech. 14:5, and Amos 1:1), and the end result is that all the invading nations shall know God: “And they shall know that I am Yahweh” (v. 23, Cp Isa. 66:18).
If we are correct in claiming that this is the same event as described in Zech 14, then all the details must match exactly. When we compare the prophecies, we see an exact match. Verse 2 of Zech 14 describes how it is God who shall gather all nations against Jerusalem. Verse 1 describes the spoil they shall take. Verse 3 describes how Yahweh shall fight against them, and verses 4 & 5 describe the earthquake. And verse 9 describes how Yahweh shall be king over all the earth. As we have said, the details are identical, and we therefore have no reason to doubt that this is the same invasion.
So then, who is it who shall lead this confederacy of “all nations”? Ezekiel 38 provides the answer. There are those who claim that “we can’t be dogmatic” about who the names refer to, as “there are a number of different views” on the chapter. It is for their benefit that we shall prove who the leading nation is first, and then look at the names later.
THE INVADERS IDENTIFIED
Even if we don’t understand any of the names, we can show from the description which Yahweh has provided us with which country is being referred to. Three times we are told that those who lead the attack on Jerusalem are from “the north parts” (Eze. 38:6,15, 39:12). Now, if we consult any map of the world, and draw a line directly from Jerusalem due North, surprisingly, we only go through 2 countries before we reach the North Pole – Turkey and Russia (notice, the line does not pass through the Arab counties). The Hebrew, so we are told, has it, “The uttermost parts of the north”, indicating the northern extremities. Now consult the map – which of the two is it likely to be? Obviously Russia, which in any case, shall possess Turkey, as it establishes itself as the Kingdom of the North.
Now let us examine the names of verse 2: “Gog, the Land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”. As is indicated by some translations, the phrase “chief prince” should be rendered, “The prince of Rosh”, or Ros. So, the man symbolically named Gog is of the Land of Magog, and is the Prince, or Ruler of Ros. According to Bochart writing in 1640, “Ros is the most ancient form under which history makes mention of Russia”. We can see linguistically how this is so.
“Magog”, (Literally, “the Land of Gog”) is identified by Josephus with the Sythians, whose land, according to Herodotus, stretched from the Carpathians, to the Don. Thus, they inhabited the area we know as Russia. Although they later migrated to other places, such as Germany, Ezekiel is not concerned with the people themselves, but the geographical location of the land, and this appears to be where they were located at the time when the prophecy was given. The land of Gog, then, is the land of Russia. Gog = High, a name suggesting the location of the land of Gog, upon the top of the earth, but also descriptive of the high-minded arrogance of the man (Cp Hab. 2:5). Zenaide A Rogozin, in his book on Assyria gives evidence to suggest that Gog was actually the name of a Sythian Chief, during the reign of Assurbanipal, the king of Assyria (as quoted by Bro. P. Whale in The Testimony, September 1985).
“Meshech and Tubal” are identified by Herodotus as the “Moschi and Tabereni”. The Moschi originally inhabited the area by the Caucasus mountains, now known as Georgia, and Armenia, and migrated further north, to a land which was named after themselves, Moskva, the capital of which is Moscow. The Tabereni lived in the land east of the river Thermodon, in the mountainous district east of the Black Sea, part of the area of land Russia shall inhabit, as “the king of the north” (Dan. 11:40) expands his territory. Bro. Thomas identifies Tubal with the river Tobolsk in Siberia, and it’s surrounding area, Tobolski. Either way, our attention is directed to Russia.
From the abundance of evidence which the Lord has provided us with, it should be clear that Russia is the leading force of the confederacy, which shall include the nations specifically named in verses 5 and 6, and “many people” with him, which shall make up the “all nations” of Zechariah 14, and Joel 3.
These then, are the nations which shall be gathered together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon. Micah also speaks of this gathering:
“Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of Yahweh, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as sheaves into the floor. Arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion …” (Mic. 4:11-13).
So then, these nations are to be cut down, as in the time of harvest (Joel 3:13, Rev 14:15,16), and gathered together into a threshing-floor where they shall be judged. This is what is meant by the word “Arma-geddon”.
Bro Thomas shows in Eureka, how the Hebrew word “Armageddon”, is made up of 3 words, “aremah” (A heap of sheaves, cp Ruth 3:7), “gai” (valley) and “don” (Judgment). So, the word literally means, “a heap of sheaves in a valley for Judgment”, speaking of the threshing floor which Joel refers to as “the valley of threshing” (Joel 3:14), where all the multitudes of Gog’s host shall be gathered.
When the Lord Jesus Christ and his saints come against the united confederacy with the destructive impact of the Divinely slung stone, the whole confederacy shall be broken in pieces, and threshed under the Judgments of Yahweh. Then, they shall be as “the chaff of the summer threshingfloors: and the wind shall carry them away”, that they be no more (Dan. 2:35, cp Is. 17:13, 41:15,16).
But Israel shall also have a part to play in the destruction of the Northern Invader, for Isaiah 41 speaks of this:
“Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains; and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Yahweh, and shalt glory in the holy one of Israel” (v. 15:16).
Ezekiel 39 also describes how the Jews shall fight against the enemy: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons … and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord Yahweh” (v. 9,10).
And so, as a consequence of the work of Elijah, (Mal. 4:5), and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews shall turn to God once more, and he shall strengthen them to be his “battle axe” (Jer. 51:20), to overcome the enemy. It is only after the oppressor has ceased that Israel shall have true peace, as it is written: “They shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about, and they shall know that I am Yahweh their Elohim” (Ezek 28:26).
After the conglomerate Image has been destroyed, then shall the Throne of David be established in Zion, occupied by the Lord Jesus Christ (Lu. 1:32), surrounded by his great company of holy ones, (Rev. 4:2-4), and the whole earth shall be called upon to surrender in obedience to the Son of the Most High. However, they shall not obey.
Psalm 2 describes how, after the Lord is seated upon His Throne, there shall be a rebellion against His Rule: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh, and against His Christ, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Ps 2:2, 3, but read the whole Psalm for the context). So, following the destruction of the Gogian confederacy, there shall be another gathering against Christ, led by those styled, “The kings of the earth” (Cp Rev 16:14).
REVELATION CHAPTER 17
Revelation 17 describes the Catholic Harlot sitting upon her European Sea Beast, (made up of many nations, cp v 1 with v 15) that is, guiding and directing it’s movements, “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (v 2). The kings of the earth, then, are not so much part of the European Beast, as other nations which have joined themselves to it, following the overthrow of nations at the battle of Armageddon.
In addition to the kings of the earth, we read in verse 12 that the beast shall receive strength and support from 10 other kings: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast”. These 10 kings are represented by 10 horns which are featured on the beast throughout it’s history. These answer to the 10 divisions of the Roman Empire, following it’s destruction by the barbarians (Dan 7:24). These were: Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, Burgandians, Gepidae, Lombards, Franks, Suevi, Alans and Bavarians. In the situation pertaining to the time of the end, powers after a similar pattern shall exist. The United Roman Catholic Empire of Europe, shall be supported by 10 king-powers, which shall only be given power for “1 hour”, or 30 years with the beast (v. 12 – See Eureka for an explanation of this).
These powers, then, are not literally the same powers as spoken of in Daniel 7 but are ten which shall exist after the same pattern of things. These 10 kings are said to “have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast”. In surrendering their power to the Beast they therefore, place themselves under the control of it’s rider, the Harlot.
So then, after the destruction at Armageddon, rather than submitting to the Rule of Christ, those nations which have already seen the Glory of Yahweh Tzavaoth manifested through His Judgments, shall unite together under the Catholic Banner to war against him. Firstly, the Harlot shall send out the 10 kings which have pledged allegiance to her, to do battle with the Son of God:
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and they that are with him, are called, and chosen, and faithful” (v. 14).
Being defeated by the Multitudinous Body of Christ, these 10 nations shall then turn, and fight against the Harlot herself: “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (v 16).
And so, after continuing for “one hour”, in submission to the Harlot, strengthening her beast, having been defeated by her Enemy, the kings rebel, and turn against her, beginning the process of destruction which shall be completed by the Body of Christ. Chapter 18 describes this destruction:
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird … therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for great is the Lord God which judgeth her” (v. 2, 8).
In this chapter, we also read of the response of her kingly paramours: “and the kings of the earth who have committed fornication with her, shall bewail her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (v. 9,10). And so, the Kings of the Earth, of Psalm 2, those who united themselves with the Catholic Harlot shall be in great distress, and mourn over her destruction. Yet, despite these repeated displays of the power and glory of the Lord God of Hosts, they shall not repent, but turn themselves against the Army of Stone.
Although the religious body of Catholicism shall be destroyed, the Pope shall still remain, as leader of the Beastly peoples, and the Kings of the Earth. These shall then unite themselves once more, in a final, desperate attempt to throw off the yoke of their destroyer. Rev 19 describes this: “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army”. This is the stage as described in Psalm 2. We note that under the rebellion commanded by the Harlot, it was not the Kings of the Earth, which actually fought, but the 10 kings which shall pledge allegiance to her. After the rider has been removed, her beast, and the Kings which committed fornication with her shall unite together to avenge her destruction, under the leadership of the Pope, apocalyptically styled, “the false prophet, who has lost his religious empire, but still retains his position of authority over the beast.
A REBELLION QUASHED
However, “he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision”. As mighty an army it will be that will be mustered in this last rebellion before peace is established, the rebels shall be coming against the Power of the Almighty. It truly is laughable how mortal man shall presume he is capable of overthrowing the armies of God! Rev. 19 continues: “and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him … these both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone, and the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh”, as the Saints shall come like birds of prey to take a spoil.
And so, the body of the beast shall finally be burnt, (Dan. 7:11), all rebellion shall cease, and the Kingdom of God shall extend over the whole globe. It is after the Cherubic Chariots have returned from going to and fro throughout the earth carrying out the Judgments of God, the earth shall be at rest (Zech. 1:11), as a sea of glass, without even a ripple of violence. Then, those who have been crowned with victory shall stand with the nations subdued under their feet, as kings and priests, and they shall “sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Rev 15:4).
THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING
Such would appear to be the order of things at the establishment of the Kingdom of God. But why do we need to know this? The Lord does not provide us with the riches of His word simply so that we might accumulate a wealth of knowledge, but so that we might be filled with wisdom, and understanding of His ways. The purpose of any Bible study is to become “wise unto salvation”, that we might be “perfect, throughly furnished with good works” (2Tim 3:1517). And so, having learned of these things, we must seek to enrich our lives with an application of them.
What we have seen, is that the Establishment of the Kingdom of God is not an instantaneous event, but a process. It is a process, which may take some time to complete. As we have seen, the nations shall not surrender to Christ at his appearing, but shall do all they can to resist Him. This is what the World is like – totally opposed to the things of God. We have seen the Roman Catholic System exposed for what she really is. The most disgusting of all women is used to symbolize the “Mother Church”, which shall close her eyes to the glory of God, and to the end shall sit in pride and arrogance, saying in her heart, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow”. Yet she shall be cut down, and all nations shall submit.
Let us not be of the world, for “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”, shall “pass away” (1 Jno. 2:16-17), taking with it every abominable thing. Let us separate ourselves, and do the will of God, that we might “abide for ever”. Let us not sleep, as do others, but let us be separate, knowing what the end shall be. We are not the night, nor of the darkness, therefore, let us “watch and be sober”, that when our Lord comes, we shall be delivered from the destruction which is to come (Isa. 26:20), and rejoice for evermore in the coming Age of Glory.