Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
FORCES MUSTERING FOR ARMAGEDDON
"For the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
God seems to have given the Book of Revelation with the intent of covering up great and important truths, not only because these were not due to be understood, but because He designs to keep certain features of His Plan from the world. Being a book of symbols, the Revelation will not be understood by the world in general; but the Bible assures that when the due time for revealment comes, the wise amongst His people, "The wise virgins," shall understand.—
The Prophet Daniel, who tells us that the Time of the End is the time for those wise toward God to understand His great Plan, gives two particular signs by which this time will be especially marked: First, "Many shall run to and fro"; second, "knowledge shall be increased." (
Today we see this prophecy fulfilled. All over the world the people are running to and fro as never before; and all over the world are opportunities for knowledge such as have never before been known. The remarkable fulfilment of this prophecy characterizes our day as the Time of the End, in which this Gospel Age is to be concluded and the Messianic Age to be ushered in—the time when God’s people will understand and prepare for their change.
In the Scriptures God has seen fit to associate the name of Israel’s famous battlefield with the great controversy between Truth and Error, Right and Wrong, with which the change of dispensation will take place.
While the phrase, "Battle of Armageddon," is heard on all sides and is applied in many ways, nevertheless Christians realize that in the Bible this phrase is used in a
spiritual sense. Therefore if the present is an opportune time to consider this Battle of the great Day of God Almighty, surely it is the proper time to view it from its true religious standpoint.
Before we proceed to set forth our understanding of the symbolic language of the Revelation, we wish to state most emphatically that we are saying nothing whatever against godly Christians at any time or in any place, in any church or out of any church. We realize that the Word of God conveys a terrible arraignment of some of the great systems of our day—some that we long have reverenced, that we have esteemed as containing many of God’s people. We have nothing to say against godly individuals, but what we have to say in the interpretation of Scripture is in respect to these systems.
AGENCIES MUSTERING THE HOSTS
Coming to the interpretation of the symbols of
, we find that the Scriptures mention three agencies connected with the gathering of the hosts to this great battle. We read that three impure spirits, teachings, will go forth from the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet, and that these three will be in accord. These three doctrines, symbolically represented by frogs, are to have a mighty influence throughout the civilized earth; they are to gather the kings and their armies to the great Battle of Armageddon.
The ecclesiastical kings and princes, with their retinues of clergy and faithful adherents, will be gathered in solid phalanx—Protestants and Catholics. The kings and captains of industry, and as many as can be influenced by them, will be gathered to the same side. The political kings and princes, with all their henchmen and retainers, will follow in line on the same side. The financial kings and merchant princes, and all whom they can influence by the most gigantic power ever yet exercised in the world, will join the same side, according to this
prophecy. They do not realize, however, that they are coming to Armageddon.
These "doctrines of demons," represented by the frogs, will lead many noble souls to assume an attitude quite contrary to their preference. For a time the wheels of liberty and progress will be turned backward, and medieval restraints will be considered necessary for self-preservation—for the maintenance of the present order of things and for the prevention of the new order which God has decreed. Even those who may be God’s people do not stop to consider whether it is His will that things should continue as they have been for six thousand years.
In giving this interpretation, it is necessary for us to indicate what is symbolized by the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. Bible students of nearly all denominations agree with us that the Dragon of Revelation represents the purely Civil Power. Protestant interpreters generally agree with us that the "Beast like a leopard" (
) represents the Papacy. But fewer still, we fear, will be ready to support our view that Protestantism is the "Image of the Beast" (
), elsewhere styled "the False Prophet."—Rev. 16:13.
"UNCLEAN SPIRITS LIKE FROGS"
We urge no one to accept our interpretation, nor shall we think unkindly of those who refuse it. We will neither slander or otherwise injure them, nor threaten them with eternal torture. They have the same right to their views that we have, and the same right to make them known to others. For our part we shall be very glad to consider anything which opponents may set forth as their interpretations of this Scripture.
The symbolisms of Scripture, rightly understood, are always forceful. When the Holy Spirit used a frog symbolically to represent certain doctrines or teachings, we may be sure that the true application will fit well. A frog is a small creature, yet it puffs itself up until it almost
bursts in its efforts to be somebody; it has a wise look, even though it does not know much; and whenever it utters a sound it croaks. The three most prominent characteristics of a frog, then, are pomposity, an air of superior wisdom and a continual croaking.
Applying these symbols, we learn that an evil spirit, influence, teaching, will come from the federated Protestant churches, from the Church of Rome and from the civil authorities, and in full agreement. The spirit of all will be boastful, an air of superior wisdom and knowledge will be proudly assumed—all will croak in harmony.
All will predict dire results to follow, involving the interests of both the present and the future life, if their counsel be not heeded. However conflicting the creeds, the differences will be ignored in the general proposition that nothing ancient must be investigated or repudiated, but that all things must remain as they are.
The Divine authority of the Church, and the Divine right of kings, aside from the Church, will not be permitted to conflict. Any persons or teachings in conflict with these boastful and unscriptural claims will be branded as everything vile, at the mouths of these frog-like spirits, speaking from pulpits and platforms and through the press. The nobler sentiments of some will be strangled by the philosophy of the same evil spirit which spoke through Caiaphas, the high priest, respecting our Lord Jesus. As Caiaphas declared it expedient to commit a crime in violation of justice, both human and Divine, in order to be rid of Jesus and His teachings, so this frog spirit will approve of every violation of principle necessary to their self-protection.
The croaking of these frog spirits of doctrine will gather the kings and princes—financial, political, religious and industrial—into one great army. The spirit of fear, inspired by the croakings, will scourge the passions of otherwise good and reasonable men to fury, desperation.
In their blind adherence to these evil spirits, evil
doctrines, they will be ready to sacrifice life itself on the altar of what they mistakenly suppose is righteousness.
As we understand the Scriptures, for a brief time these combined forces of Armageddon will triumph. Free speech, free mails, and other liberties which have come to be the very breath of the masses of our day will be ruthlessly shut off under the plea of necessity, the glory of God, the commands of the Church, etc. All will seem serene until the great social explosion takes place, described in Scripture as "a great earthquake."
In symbolic language, an earthquake signifies social revolution. The declaration of the Revelator is that it will be "such as was not since men were upon the earth."
Our Lord Jesus and the Prophet Daniel described it as "a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation." —
THE OPPOSING FORCES AT ARMAGEDDON
The false, froglike teachings will gather together into one host the great, the rich, the wise, the learned and the kings of the earth. At this juncture Divine Power will step forward and marshal the hosts to Armageddon—to the Mount of Destruction. The very thing which they sought to avert by federation will be the very thing which they will hasten. Other Scriptures tell us that God will be represented by the great Messiah, and that He will be on the side of the masses. Thus we read, "At that time shall Michael [the God-like One—Messiah] stand up"—assume authority. He will take possession of His Kingdom in a manner little expected by many of those who erroneously have been claiming that they were His Kingdom, and authorized by Him to reign in His stead.
The Scriptures declare, "His servants ye are unto whom ye render service." Some may be rendering service to Satan and error while claiming to be serving God and righteousness; and some of these may be serving ignorantly, as did Saul of Tarsus, who "verily thought that
he did God service" in persecuting the Church. The same principle holds true reversely. As no earthly king holds himself responsible for the moral character of each soldier who fights in his battles, so the Lord does not vouch for the moral character of all who fight on His side of any question.
The same principle will apply in the approaching Battle of Armageddon. God’s side of that battle will be the people’s side; and that very nondescript host, the people, will be pitted at the beginning of the battle. Anarchists, Socialists, and hot-headed radicals of every school of reason and of unreason, will be at the forefront of the battle.
The majority of the poor and of the middle class prefer peace at almost any price. The masses have no sympathy with anarchy; for they realize truly that the worst form of government is better than none.
A comparatively small number, God’s consecrated people, will at heart be longing for Messiah’s Kingdom.
These will wait patiently for the Lord’s time; they will be of good courage, knowing the outcome delineated in the "more sure word of prophecy," to which they have done well to "take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawn."—
Conscious of their own weakness as compared to the kings and princes, financial, religious and political, who will then hold sway, the masses will be restless. Through the ballot and the peaceful readjustment of earth’s affairs they will seek for the elimination of evil, for the placing of monopolies, utilities and the supplies of nature in the hands of the people for the public good. The crisis will be reached when the hitherto upholders of law shall become violators of that law and resisters of the will of the majority as expressed by the ballot. Fear for the future will lead the well-meaning masses to desperation; and anarchy will result when Socialism fails. This is the extremity toward which multitudes are being driven by the force of circumstances propelled by selfishness.
WHY ARMAGEDDON IS NECESSARY
Horrible indeed would be the outlook for the future did we not have the infallible Word of God assuring us of a glorious outcome. Divine Wisdom has withheld until our day the great knowledge and skill which is breeding both millionaires and discontents. Had God lifted the veil a thousand years ago, the world would then have lined up for its Armageddon. But that date would have been too soon for the Divine Purpose; for God has His own times and seasons, and has appointed the Seventh Thousand-Year Day of the world’s history for the Reign of Christ. Therefore in kindness God veiled our eyes until the time when the gathering to Armageddon would immediately precede the inauguration of Messiah’s Kingdom—
St. Paul, writing prophetically of this time, declared that it would be one of trial and testing to many professed Christians, for the reason that they received not the Truth in the love of it. (
.) They preferred their own erroneous theories, the Apostle explains, and therefore God will give them over to a strong delusion, permitting them to believe the lie which they preferred and to suffer for missing the Truth which they did not love. Thus they will be in the condemned host, "fighting against God."
Sad to say, we Christians have labored under a thorough delusion respecting God’s Plan. We have claimed that Christ set up His Church in Kingdom power and that the Church has been reigning on the earth as His representative.
On the strength of this delusion, Jews and so-called heretics have been persecuted to death as opponents to Christ’s Kingdom. Meantime we thoughtlessly prayed, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as in Heaven." We knew that the Redeemer had said that He would come again to make us His Bride and Joint-heirs; but we ignored the Scriptures. We were drunk, as the Scriptures symbolically say; all nations were drunk
with the false doctrine. (
.) It is this false doctrine which will constitute the frog spirit that soon will croak, preparatory to Armageddon.
For the past forty years the forces have been mustering for the conflict. As the belligerent parties have crossed each other’s paths, incidental skirmishes have taken place—strikes, lockouts, riots, etc. Court and army scandals in Europe, trust and court scandals in America, have shaken public confidence. Dynamite plots, charged by turn on employees and employers, have tended to make each distrustful of the other. Bitter and angry feelings are more and more manifest.
THE WAR CLOUD’S SILVER LINING
According to Scripture the great battle must follow the occurrence of two events; the transformation of the Image of the Beast into a living force, and the return of many wealthy Jews to Palestine. The Protestant Federation realizes the futility of its organization unless it receive vitalization—unless its clergy be recognized as possessing apostolic ordination and authority to teach.
This the prophecy indicates will come from the two-horned Beast—symbol, we believe, of the Church of England.
High-handed activities of both Protestantism and Catholicism, operating in conjunction for the suppression of human liberties, await the vivifying of this Image.
At the very close of Armageddon will come "Jacob’s trouble" in the Holy Land. Then Messiah’s Kingdom will begin to be manifested. Thenceforth in the Land of Promise Israel will gradually rise from the ashes of the past to the grandeur of prophecy. Through its Divinely appointed princes, the Ancient Worthies (Heb. 11;
), the all-powerful, but invisible Kingdom of Messiah will begin to roll away the curse of death and to uplift mankind. Then will be fulfilled the Promise "in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."