Are we facing Armageddon?
Bible talk presented on Sunday 2nd March 2003 by Mr Michael Fallon
The following Bible talk was accompanied with a presentation which is impractical to display on this website. If you would like a copy of the presentation, please contact us (details are at the bottom of this page). For sake of speed, there are no images on this page, however the article does contain links to view appropriate images (these appear in red).

You may like to read Revelation 16:12-16 as an introduction to what our speaker had to say.

Are we facing Armageddon? Certainly a very topical question and something that is being banded round the media with almost an element of predictability. But to answer this question it would make sense to first of all try and find out the meaning of the word Armageddon. Well this is how the English dictionary, the media tycoons and your average man or woman in the street would describe it: Even Sir Isaac Newton, Britain's greatest Scientist, speaks of such a time as Armageddon and predicted that the world would come to an end in 2060. In last Saturday's Daily Telegraph it revealed that his theories were based on attempts to decode the Bible, which he believed contained God's secret laws for the universe. Newton, who was a theologian and alchemist, predicted that the second coming of Christ would follow plagues and war and would precede a 1000 year reign by saints on earth - of which he would be one. Interesting then that a great scientist like Isaac Newton believed that the Bible was a reliable reference guide for the future.

However when you consider the unrest and turmoil currently unfolding between some the world's most powerful nations you could be forgiven for thinking that this so called Armageddon could happen, not by 2060 but in the very near future. Of course the main subject of contention across the globe at the moment is the US and British stance on Iraq. As we're all aware the threat that the US and British leaders are anxious of is that of nuclear warfare.

When you consider how many thousands of people could be killed with one nuclear weapon and that it has been suggested that Iraq is holding 26,000 litres of anthrax, 38,000 litres of botulin, 1.5 tonnes of nerve agent and 6,500 aerial chemical bombs it's not surprising that there is international concern over the manufacture of so called weapons of mass destruction. And when you then consider that these weapons are supposedly being manufactured under the supervision of a dictator who has subjected his own people, and that of surrounding nations, to cruel, barbaric and heartless acts of violence, suddenly the case for war to prevent these weapons from being used looks justified. Add to this the possible links to Al Queda and Bin Laden, and threats from other countries such North Korea and Kim Jong II who are also under suspicion of building nuclear and chemical warheads, and suddenly from this threat alone the likelihood of the destruction of mankind becomes a distinct possibility.

However the major difference between the Gulf War and this time round appears to be the differences of opinion over the timing of military force. This comes particularly at a time when it appears Saddam Hussein is showing signs of complying with the UN inspectors by agreeing to destroy weapons such as the Al-Summoud which has been shown to fire outside of the restricted range instigated by Nato. There is a significant divide over whether the US and British forces should attack in the imminent future or whether they should stall to give UN inspectors the time they supposedly need to peacefully find and destroy these weapons of mass destruction.

This divide though is a concern in itself for if we look at who is for and against this war on Iraq immediately you can see that the potential for world conflict has significantly grown.

There is a significant rift growing between powerful nations which has no been witnessed for many years. For example we see presented here the nations which are for and against military force at this moment in time. The US, UK, Spain, Portugal and Italy are just some of the most prominent nations to have spoken forcefully about the importance of an attack on Iraq. On the other hand France, Germany, Russia, China and Syria are just some of the nations who have been adamant that force is too early and the inspectors should be given more time. Add to this comments which have been made by leaders past and present and the concern over world war continues to grow.

Its certainly a frightening situation and one that must make you wonder where its going to all end. However put aside the threat of nuclear and chemical weapons for a minute and let your mind wander to other events that could bring the world to an end and suddenly you can think of many situations that could be the catalyst for such a tragedy, for example, recent pictures showing the increasing conflict in Israel, quoted by journalists and politicians as 'the bubbling cauldron of the world'. A conflict which has made everyone on the planet pick their heads up in interest, alarm and worry. 'Middle East on the brink' the world's leading news magazine quoted! A chaotic mingle of religious differences, high emotions, anger, despair and enormous military resources! From that very same media we glean reports of huge natural disasters around the world, devastating fires in Australia and America, earthquakes across the globe, floods in Mozambique, India and Europe. Politicians and scientists warn of increasing global warming and its disastrous effects, the ill-health of the earth's environment and the crippling effect of inflated world population growth. Only last week we were told of the aids epidemic in South Africa that has reached such a level that they are struggling to find places to bury their dead and are queuing to get in to the cemeteries. Future catastrophes are researched in government laboratories; the soon approaching peak of our sun's active solar cycle with its associated dangerous magnetic activity; the threat of meteorite and cosmic fall-out onto the earth; the sensitivity of the earth's land plates and the resulting destructive tidal waves and so we could go on.

The future then can look very bleak and all this is in our very own day - not a playground story of star-wars or gigantic natural disasters that recently films have portrayed - no, this is very much the signs of the times, none of us can escape these current affairs! So, it is in our own interest that we strive to find what is the destiny of man and how it may affect us!

To do this we must confide in a source of truth, and we therefore turn to the Bible. As Christadelphians we believe, and can prove, that the book before us is the divine message of God, the great creator and preserver of earth and all on it. God has created the world we see today and generated the nations and people on it, as part of his 7,000 year plan with the earth. As we live on the edge of the 7th millennia we believe, from Bible prophecy, we are on the brink of witnessing momentous events on the earth - very shortly culminating with the battle of Armageddon!

By turning to the writings of the Lord Almighty, penned by faithful followers down the ages, we see revealed the complete plan of God with mankind and the globe. We learn that at the outset, 6,000 years ago, He created the earth as we know it and placed man upon it. We also learn that it will diverge from the current jurisdiction, via the occasion of Armageddon, to commence the glorious, global reign of Jesus Christ.

No, the world will not be destroyed by an exploding star, no the world will not witness Antichrist conquer Jerusalem, claim total rulership, and plunge humanity into a period of war and bloodshed.

No, the basic teaching of the Bible is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, in power and glory to take up his great authority, and reign on earth as king. To confirm this we will just look at 3 passages of scripture from the book of Acts: This teaching displayed in Acts, and supported by all scripture, permits believers to see the true destiny of the earth under the control of its creator, and enables them to see beyond the despair, violence and evil of the world in which we presently live.

Unfortunately, even the Bible has been frequently misquoted and wrongly translated by man over the ages - none more so than the meaning of Armageddon and the Book of Revelation, which contains the only Biblical reference to that occasion. So we intend to look at this book in connection with scriptural teaching of the return of Christ and Armageddon, and see what God, not man, says about the future.

The word Armageddon appears only once in the Bible and this can be found in the reading we had at the beginning of our meeting from Revelation. Reading from the 12th verse of Revelation 16: In order to help us understand the meaning of this word 'Armageddon' it will be beneficial to briefly discuss what the book of Revelation tells us and how it is recorded.

Revelation, the final book of the scriptures, is a prophetic book of symbols. It is generally regarded as the most mystical book of the Bible, but when time and research are spent on understanding its pages, the result is staggering. We don't have time now to look at the meaning of the whole book, but we ask that you think of it as a book that literally maps out thousands of years of the earth's timeline, both past and future. The detail of the prophecies that have come to pass up to our day have been fulfilled with pin-point accuracy, and therefore the prophecies yet to unfold are as equally reliable and certain.

The book itself declares what it is about, we read in the first verse of Revelation that it describes 'things which must shortly come to pass' and, in chapter 4:1, 'shew thee things which must be hereafter', ie details of man's rule on earth and the constitution of the period following this.

And so in symbol, clarified by plain dialogue, we learn of the future events of the earth:

This therefore describes a complete transformation of the political environment. It also states that all nations will become subservient to the Lord Jesus Christ. And that the new kingdom to be ruled over by Christ will have a permanency; he will reign for ever with no change.

But we are told by scripture in clear and understandable language that this transformation will not be peaceful! This verse describes a confrontation between Christ and the nations resulting in the eradication of evil men from the earth, or as it's referred to in chapter 16, Armageddon.

The details of this future conflict then are in part revealed to us in this 16th chapter of Revelation, the chapter we had read as an introduction to our remarks.

In clear, unmistakable, literal language we read: Why are they going to assemble in this way? And who is going to instigate the movement of these nations? In Verse 16 we read He, or God Almighty as we saw in verse 14. The God of heaven and earth who currently exercises His divine control among the nations of men. This divine hand has been at work in the arrangements of man's history right up to our day, why? To enable the fulfilment of God's plan with this planet, which has been predetermined from creation and will soon be realised on the earth which he created!

So hopefully we now understand the context of where this word Armageddon comes from, but what does the word actually mean? Well we read in the 16th verse that the word is 'called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon'. And this is the clue to understanding it's meaning and also the symobology used in the verse we find it in.

For we see that by looking at the word in the Hebrew that it is made up three Hebrew words, the anglicised forms of which are very roughly Arema-gai-dun.

Now when we bring these three words and thoughts together, noting the context in which they are used elsewhere in scripture, we have a word that indicates 'sheaves (or heap of) in a valley for judgment'. By considering the meaning of this word then in context with the verse it is quoted in, in the book of Revelation, we can seen that God, working through the world leaders draws the nations together for the purpose of executing his judgement upon them. There is nothing new about this: time and time again we read of this future event in both the Old and New Testaments.

So the interesting question to ask is: "Why is it recorded in a book of signs written in Greek, and that we are told that if we really want to understand what it is about, we must do so in the Hebrew language?"

Well, there are a number of possible answers, but they all amount to the same thing in the end, namely the need to realise that Armageddon will focus world attention onto Israel and that it involves God's people and God's land. It refers us back, for further information, to the Hebrew prophets. In short, it is a "coded symbolic signal" to the Bible believer who must now turn to his Bible for further enlightenment. When he does so he soon realises how much the Bible tells us of this future event. Studying the contexts of some important passages leave the reader in no doubt that they apply to that great day of God Almighty referred to in Revelation -- the day when God settles his account with the nations of the world.

A good place to start in the old testament is in the prophet Zephaniah. For we read in chapter 3 v 8: Clearly an echo-in-advance of Revelation 16:14! These descriptions continue in the following references: The striking thing about these passages (and there are many others we could turn to) is how they all use the metaphor of "the harvest being ripe" or "a time of threshing" or the "gathering of nations as sheaves" etc. Appropriately then these metaphors all use the same terminology as the three Hebrew words which make up the word Armageddon.

From these few extracts we can see that the great day of God Almighty involves gathering the nations of the world together. This will be when, in God's plan, both the time and the harvest are ripe: when the time will have arrived for threshing and judgement. But are we told which nations this might involve and what we need to look for? Well, once again we turn to the prophets and find our answer. Ezekiel 38 gives a remarkable prophecy of an invasion of Israel that is to take place in "the latter days". An immense wealth of detail is contained in this chapter, and as we don't have time to look at it in depth this afternoon we strongly suggest you do so at your leisure. In summary though, we see contained in this prophecy the following: This prophecy then tells us an incredible amount of information concerning the events that will lead up to Armageddon and this chapter is referred to on many occasions from this platform throughout the year. And certainly as we consider these events that will take place on the earth there are signs in the times around us that suggest that this time is not very far away.

However we are in no position to know whether the propaganda war already started by President Bush will eventually end in the event which the Bible describes as Armageddon. In themselves, any such localised conflicts, such as the 1991 Gulf War, or the repeated threatened Arab assaults on Israel do not necessarily conform to the Bible's description of that final judgment on the nations of men. As noted earlier that event will be focussed onto Jerusalem not Baghdad; it will precipitate the involvement of a great Euro-Asian confederacy anxious to get into the Middle East. But that is not to say that the final climax of events of Bible prophecy will not come to pass quickly. We need to be watching for the formation of a Christian led alliance of European and Russian peoples and their strengthening opposition towards America. Also it is worth watching the growing divisiveness among the Arab nations and the attempts to bring about a false peace between Israel and her neighbours.

So are we facing Armageddon, and if so how long have we got and what must we do? Well the answer as we have shown is yes we are facing Armageddon and by looking at the signs of the times in our media and by keeping up to date with world affairs, with the effort to continually compare this to the warning and prophesies in the Bible we can be sure that we are definitely living in the last days.

To demonstrate this, if we remember when we considered the prophecy from Ezekiel 38 we discussed that a great enemy would descend from the North which we know from history to be Russia and her confederacy. However we also said that a confederacy of nations would oppose this attack, and they are described in Ezekiel 38 as "Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof". These names can be associated with Brtiain and the Commonwealth of nations supported by an area close to Saudi Arabia, and other Western powers such as America.

As we discussed earlier this northern confederacy will come down on Israel at a time when these nations including Britain will be able to say "Art thou come down to take a spoil?". In other words, these nations need to be encamped in this area for this question to be asked. With this in mind let's have a look at where Sheba and Dedan were on a map in Ezekiel's time. We can see then that both are situated very close to Israel and you can see how Russia and her allies would come down on Israel to pose this question. And now if we compare this to a map showing the Middle East as it is at the moment we can see just how many British and American bases are situated in this area. It doesn't take a genius then to realise that the current events in the Middle East may be gearing up to be the work of God in preparing the Middle East for an attack like that described in Ezekiel 38. The work of God may also be influencing the coalition of nations opposed to Iraq. For we saw earlier that France, Germany and Russia were all united in their stance on agreement and each of these nations will be stalwarts in the attack on Israel, each of these nations will oppose Britain & America and come down from the North, in the same alliances as we currently see developing.

My dear friends, although we cannot be sure whether the crisis in the Middle East with Iraq and the current 'Holy War' in Israel is leading towards Armageddon, we can be sure that unrest and turmoil is on the increase. As we know, Israel is to be at the centre of the battle of Armageddon and we want to conclude by making reference to this area of the Middle East and how we can escape this judgment to come. We read press cuttings displaying the lack of confidence journalists have in the capabilities of men to solve the problem: We read and hear that even the parties concerned see no hope at this current time. A Palestinian minister was quoted to have described the effectiveness of any peace talks as: The events in the land of Israel, we also see, are turning the whole world's sympathies against the Jews. Anti-Semitism is becoming once again the attitude of many as the Israelis intensify their military stance against the Arabs. The world perceives little future of peace in this area of the world and is scared of the consequences of the conflict. A phrase read from the press recently sums up, we think, the thoughts of many in this world, it read: The Arabs and Israelis are so stubborn in their disagreements that men see no end, no cure to the situation and naturally fear the worse. The fact that violence will increase and the feelings of nations will become more anti-Jewish are confirmed by scriptures and by the signs around us. Restraint will be removed by Israel, and leaders of the world will show their disgust at the policies of the Jews, preparing their hatred ready for that battle we have studied today, when all nations will come up against the mountains of Israel.

But some level of peace will be claimed soon, as we read in the New Testament: Men will believe some sort of peace will have been established, whether it be a UN peace keeping force, agreement between the Arabs and Israelis or something else, it will happen. But... then sudden destruction, then the Lord Jesus will return and the battle of Armageddon will commence!

We can see therefore that these things are sure to happen and to happen very soon indeed! Momentous events are shortly to come to pass on this earth and we need to be prepared - we need to follow the advice of Revelation 16:15 "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments". Symbolic instruction to men to put on righteousness and obey the Lord God, fearing His name and following His commandments.

But we are commanded to not just fear God's name but must follow the instruction we read from the Acts earlier on in our address - "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out". We are commanded then to repent, be converted but also to be baptized into the saving name of Christ. But what is the reward to the faithful my dear friends?

Time is short! Opportunity to gain these glorious blessings is quickly running out! Don't sit back and watch as the nations are prepared by God for the day when Armageddon will begin - do something now to ensure that you and I are fighting with Christ and the saints to usher in a world that is full of peace and tranquility.

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