Chapter 8:


ARMAGEDDON! That is a word which strikes terror into the hearts of many. It means the end of the world! Many think it will come by means of a World War III, fought with nuclear weapons, nation against nation. They feel it will leave the earth incinerated, a lifeless wasteland.

The word Armageddon is found in the Bible only once, at Revelation 16:16. There it says: "And they gathered them together into a place called in Hebrew Armageddon."

But who gathers whom to this "Armageddon"? What happens there? The answer is in verses 13 and 14: "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." (AV)

The dragon is Satan the Devil (Rev 12:9). We will explain the Beast and the False Prophet later in this chapter. These utter "spirits" (words that seem or claim to be inspired) that move the leaders of this world (the "kings of the earth") to gather their forces to fight. Do they fight each other?

No. The Revelation gets back to this scene in chapter 19. There, verse 19 says: "I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army." So the kings of the earth are gathered into a united opposition, against "the one seated on the horse." Who is that?

He is described in detail in verses 11-16. After reading that, can you tell who he is? Yes, this is none other than Jesus Christ, leading the armies of heaven, mighty spirit angels, against the assembled strength of earthly nations. Who do you think will win that confrontation?

In this vision, John sees an angel invite the birds to gather, to clean up after the battle. They are to eat the corpses of "kings, military commanders, strong men, horses, freemen, slaves, small and great." Everyone on the losing side becomes carrion! —verses 17-21.

We get a closer look at what happens during the battle in chapter 6, verses 12 through 17. What an awe-inspiring day that will be!

This description of Armageddon should give us pause. It means that if we align ourselves with any military power of this world, we will someday— soon— be gathered into battle formation against God. We definitely do not want to be on that battlefield.

How does it come to that? How do the nations let themselves be so led by Satan that they try to fight God?

Perhaps the second Psalm explains it the most simply. Please read that. In verse 3 the kings say, "Let us tear off their restraints and throw off their binding-cords!" The thought of submitting to God’s rulership is unbearable to them. They regard obedience to God as too much restraint on their freedom, like ropes that must be struggled against. But God’s law is actually good for us; as it says (verse 12) "Happy are all those taking refuge in him."

The world today is already well along on this path of defiance against God. Traditional morality is all but dead; a "new morality", which is nothing but the old immorality, has taken its place. God’s word says homosexuality is a disgusting perversion; today such persons have honored positions in government. The most prestigious colleges laugh condescendingly at those who believe in creation by God; they insist that brute beasts are our forefathers, through a mindless "evolution." Millions of mothers have killed their children merely for their own convenience, by legal abortion. Those who try to teach Bible morality are branded as bigots and ridiculed. Government bureaucrats insist that debauchery and degeneracy are "art". We could go on and on, but if you follow current events, you are probably already painfully aware of the situation. —compare Romans 1:18-32.

These things have happened before. Long ago, the nation of Israel was doing similar things, and Jehovah sent prophets to warn them of the consequences. Because the world is doing the same today, we can learn by studying their words. Here is a selection: Jeremiah 5:7-9, 29-31, 6:13, 14 and Isaiah 5:20-23, 30:9-11.

So let us not feel sorry for those who will die at Armageddon. By that time, they will have had abundant opportunities to turn around, but they will have refused. Jehovah does not want anyone to die, and he is having the Kingdom preached now so that no one will die simply for lack of knowing right from wrong. But he will not call off the war. It will come. Which side will we be standing on at that time? —Compare 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Proverbs 1:24-33; Ezekiel 18:30-32; Jeremiah 25:31-33; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.

It Begins Suddenly

Despite all the signs that prove the end is near, the actual outbreak of the destruction will be startling, a sudden turn of events. Jesus said as much at Matt 24:42-44: "Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know one thing: if the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. On this account, you too prove yourselves ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour that you do not think to be it." The "you" he was speaking to were his disciples, not unbelievers. The destruction catches the world completely off guard. But even those diligently on the watch will not successfully predict the moment the great tribulation is to begin.

As for the world, Paul says: "Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: "Peace and security!" then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just like birth pangs on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape." The world’s rulers will be saying "Peace! Peace!" when there is no peace. This has happened before: remember, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, brought back a signed paper from Hitler and proclaimed, "Peace in our time!" Then World War II broke out. —1 Thess 5:2, 3; compare Jer 8:9, 11.

The Wild Beast, the False Prophet, and Babylon the Great

The book of Revelation reveals more fascinating details about the ending of this world. It is presented in enigmatic symbols which can be deciphered by using other parts of the Bible.

First, what is the "wild beast"? It is described in the 13th chapter of Revelation as coming out of the sea, having seven heads, ten horns and ten crowns. It is a composite beast, with body parts like a leopard, a bear, and a lion, with horns. The "dragon" (Satan) gives this beast "great authority" over this world. Many people admire it with awe. It blasphemes God and persecutes God’s people.

The book of Daniel, in the Hebrew Scriptures, is remarkably similar to the Revelation. There we find the key to understanding what this symbolizes. In chapter 7, Daniel sees a series of four beasts: one like a lion, another like a bear, then a leopard with four heads, and the last simply described as "fearsome and strong." It had ten horns. It made war against the "holy ones", but God gave rulership to his Chosen One, and the beasts were defeated and God’s people reigned over the whole world. Obviously, that last part has not yet come true.

But what are these beasts? Daniel asks an angel in the vision. Listen to the reply: “These huge beasts, four in number, are four kings who will stand up from the earth. . . As for the fourth beast, there is a fourth kingdom that will come to be on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour all the earth and will trample it down and crush it.” —Dan 7:17, 23.

So the beasts mean kingdoms, human empires! The Beast of Revelation 13 is, in fact, a composite of the four beasts that Daniel saw. So, it personifies mankind’s rule over the earth apart from God. Men in power, believing their ideas are superior to God’s law, harass God’s people (compare Acts 4:18-27, 5:27-30). It is because they believe in human rule that the kings of the earth are finally gathered to Armageddon in opposition to God. That is how the "wild beast" utters "spirits" (convincing words) to gather them there.

You might wonder, "Do not most rulers call on God to bless their efforts to govern? Do not most say, 'In God We Trust'?" Right. They say that. A few may even be sincere. But history proves over and over: they listen to God only when it is convenient or expedient. When they really want to do otherwise, they may try to make their will look righteous (see "manifest destiny"), or not bother with that, just go ahead and do the evil and dare anyone to stop them. And this God-defying attitude is increasing as the final showdown nears. Those who truly know God can see through the hypocrisy. We can see why God depicted their empires as ferocious beasts in these prophecies.

What is the False Prophet? We find it described in verses 11-18 of Revelation 13. It appears to correspond with what Daniel saw as a 'little horn with a big mouth.' (Dan 7:8, 9, 24, 25) Its main job is to advocate worship of the Beast and harass those who refuse to bow before it. In other words, it is the biggest advocate of human rule during the last days. Daniel’s helpful angel calls it a "king" or a kingdom. From further details in both the Revelation and Daniel, we feel that it is the leading World Power of our time, namely, the British-American empire.*

generic photo of UN

Revelation 13:14, 15 says the False Prophet has an "image" of the Beast made, and it gives life to that image. In fulfillment, the British-American world power is the leading animator of the United Nations, which represents the united rule of man, such as it is. According to the prophecy, this world body will yet play a major role in the last days.*

You may protest, "but the United States is the greatest advocate of religious freedom in the world today!" That has been true, and we appreciate it. But did you know that it was not true during the world wars? Christians who would not join the beastly fighting were severely persecuted. And soon, when the final showdown is under way, it will happen again.

In the meantime, Christians are instructed to 'pay to Caesar what belongs to him' (taxes, not our life) and to "have honor for the king", even to make "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving . . . concerning kings and all those who are in high positions; so that we may go on leading a calm and quiet life with complete godly devotion." These deeply flawed, even corrupt, rulers do serve a purpose for the time being, to keep a semblance of law and order, which is better than anarchy despite occasional outrageous injustices against those who happen to get in the way. So Christians support justice and law, and acknowledge those moments that the governments serve to that end; but they are not so foolish as to begin to believe in them, to put faith in them. That would be more than they deserve. —Luke 20:25, 1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 1 Peter 2:17.

According to the prophecy, those who do believe in (forehead) or support (right hand) what the beast stands for receive the "mark" of the beast. This mark of approval allows them to carry on the normal business of buying and selling. Christians would find life difficult, because they have to refuse the mark. This has already occurred to some extent. Communist countries were particularly intense at harassing those who did not toe the party line. As the confrontation of Armageddon nears, the pressure will intensify against those who refuse to pledge allegiance to human government. Many think a pledge of allegiance is just an act of respect. But a pledge is a sworn oath before God— a very serious thing. Allegiance means devotion, an obligation of unquestioning loyalty and complete support. Although Christians are commanded by God to respect and obey, within limits, whatever human government they find themselves under, a Christian can only pledge allegiance to God’s Kingdom. (More on this in Chapter 11, Loyalty to the Kingdom.) —Rom 13:1-7, Acts 5:29, Eccl 5:4-6, Rev 13:16-18.

The last element of the picture is the most interesting of all. In the Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, John sees a "great prostitute." Her name is Babylon the Great; she rides the image of the Beast and prostitutes herself to the kings of the earth, and drinks the blood of holy ones. Indeed, "in her was found the blood of all those slaughtered on the earth." But the kings turn on the old whore and kill her. God himself puts the idea into their mind. After that (chapter 19) the battle of Armageddon is fought, and the kings themselves meet their end. (Please read Rev 17:1-18.24 now.) What is the meaning of all this?

Just as the Beast is a symbol, so is this immoral woman. Here, John also has a helpful angel to give him some clues: "the woman you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth." "the waters that you saw, where the prostitute is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues." (verses 18, 15) The woman, then, is not another of the kingdoms of the world, but is something that has power over all the kingdoms. Yet it is like a woman, exercising its influence by charms, sweet words, and subtle pressure. But this woman is a whore. She may say she’ll be true, but her real interest is herself. In verse 4 she is shown to be very richly dressed, gifts given to her by kings who enjoyed her charms. She says: "I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning." (18:7)

One more clue: her name, Babylon the Great. There was a great city named Babylon in ancient times, but it is a desolate ruin today. The Iraqis thought to rebuild it as a tourist attraction, but war has prevented that. Certainly it has no power now over all the kingdoms of earth. Besides, the "great prostitute" sits, not on real water like ancient Babylon did, but on symbolic waters, "crowds and nations." So she is like ancient Babylon in some way, but she is not that city itself. The name is the clue: "Babylon" comes from "Babel", meaning "confusion." (Gen 11:1-9) Hence her name really means "the great confusion"!

From all these clues, we must say: this great prostitute represents worldly religion. Religion is supposed to be like a faithful wife to God, upholding his name and being true to Him, bearing "children" in the form of loyal, loving worshippers. (compare Isa 54:5-7, 11-13; 1 John 3:10, Matt 5:44, 45) But worldly religion goes off a-whoring to anyone with a little cash. (compare Hosea 9:1 (AV), Ezekiel 23) The "kings," political leaders, have the most to offer, so she makes herself a handmaiden to them, supporting their corrupt political campaigns, covering for their crimes, justifying their wars. She makes the people "drunk" with falsehoods, confused as to truth, unable to see straight spiritually or stand up approved before God. Worldly religion is so reprehensible before God that he calls her "the mother of all prostitutes."


But look at what happens to her: "the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her flesh and completely burn her with fire. . . in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong." —Rev 17:16, 18:8.

How do the worldly nations destroy worldly religion? It is hard to imagine that they could eliminate all superstition and religious belief from the minds of the people. The communists tried that and failed. But it is possible to destroy the organizational structures and property of established religion, and that is what the prophecy describes. (18:11-19) Of course, this will not occur without heavy loss of life. It will truly be a Great Tribulation.

We do not know now what will induce secular powers to devastate this corrupt religious realm. Many have already noticed that religion is very often the cause of stubborn conflicts, rather than preventing or solving them. Perhaps when the "kings" finally "give their power and authority to the wild beast" (in the form of its image, the United Nations) religion will be seen as an interference to this secular plan for world peace. Or, in the face of disintegrating world order due to religiously-driven conflict, the nations will in desperation yield their sovereignties to the UN, which will then turn to "solving" the problem by at last attacking its roots. In any case, so much of this prophecy has already come true, we should not imagine that this part will somehow fail. Worldly religion may be powerful and popular now, but it will be destroyed.17:11-17.

Early in the 21st century we are seeing a gathering storm of opposition to all forms of religion, for a variety of agendas. Homosexuals have organized a relentless and slanderous onslaught in entertainment and journalism to discredit and demonize anyone who would dare speak the truth, that God condemns homosexuality in His Word. To this end they have co-opted so-called "mainstream" churches as their defenders and advocates. Yet these are just prostitutes for them, who will be promptly discarded when their purpose is served. This agenda is well-funded by powerful corporations and has penetrated to the highest levels of the judiciary, who have begun to put out outrageous rulings diametrically opposed to traditional (and scriptural) morality. Up until recently this was a stealth campaign, but it is now open and bold.*

On the other side, there is a religion on the warpath: Islam. To an extent in a counter-reaction to these secular developments, but also because it is a militant religion at its core with fantasies of world domination, Muslims worldwide are being exhorted to destroy the infidel wherever they are (such as lower Manhattan). Terrorism motivated by such fanaticism will be a very difficult snake to kill; only by finally deciding to go for its head will the governments make any progress.

Knowing this, where do you think we should stand? What do you think Jehovah would want us to do? He does not leave us in doubt: "Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues." (Rev 18:4) Yes, there are people in worldly religion that God claims as his own. They are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things being done in her. Rather than sit there and feel sad, we should get out! She is past reform. The man named Lot was urged by the angels to flee Sodom, because it was about to be destroyed by fire from heaven. In their compassion, they almost dragged him out! But his wife did not really want to leave. She lingered, looking back longingly, and was destroyed. If we want to survive the coming great tribulation, we cannot linger; we must heed this compassionate call by God now! Further, we should help others to heed it as well. —see Gen 19:12-17, 23-26, Luke 17:28-33; compare Ezek 9:4-6.

How do we know if we are in Babylon the Great, so as to get out? First, we must learn the truth about God and his standards. We may be blissfully unaware that we are not pleasing to him, or we may be confused about some spiritual things. Has this book helped you to gain better understanding? Then you are on your way out of Babylon. Have you seen anything that would cause you to change your course in life? Remember, getting out involves more than knowing the truth in our minds; we must act on it. If we do not, we are not really out of the danger zone. —John 8:32, James 2:14.

Are you still attending a church that teaches things you now know to be untrue according to God’s word? Then you are still in Babylon the Great. Or is that church involved in supporting the politics of this world?* Does it make excuses for or treat lightly things that God says is bad? If we keep our name on their registry as a member, we say before God: "I support what they are doing." If so, our name will not be found in another book: God’s Book of Life. —see Rev 13:8.

Take Refuge in Jehovah

Many people sense that a time of great trouble is coming. They can also detect a growing animosity toward religion. To prepare, they stockpile food, take training in the use of weapons, move to remote places, and fortify their homes. None of these things will be of any value in the great tribulation. To survive, we must take refuge in Jehovah God. Notice what Psalm 91:1, 7-10, 14 says: “Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High will lodge under the shadow of the Almighty. . . A thousand will fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but to you it will not come near. You will only see it with your eyes as you witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you said: ‘Jehovah is my refuge,’ you have made the Most High your dwelling; no disaster will befall you, and no plague will come near your tent. . . God said: ‘Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.’” —see also Ps 37:37-40 and Isaiah 57:13.

A mighty storm is about to arrive
Katrina satellite photo

Armageddon is likened in the Bible to a terrible storm. Jeremiah 25:31-33 says: “A noise will resound to the ends of the earth, for Jehovah has a controversy with the nations. He will personally pass judgment on all humans. He will put the wicked to the sword. . . This is what Jehovah of armies says: Look! A calamity is spreading from nation to nation, and a great tempest will be unleashed from the remotest parts of the earth. Those slain by Jehovah in that day will be from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth. They will not be mourned, nor will they be gathered up or buried. They will become like manure on the surface of the ground.” Hurricane Katrina (a natural event, not caused by God) that hit the Gulf Coast of the US showed us what one storm can do. The storm Armageddon (hurled by God) will be many times more destructive. Yet we need not fear it at all, IF we are properly prepared, IF we have "evacuated" to the place of safety.

We prepare by taking the advice at Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad.” Then, verses 25, 26 assure us, “You will not need to be afraid of any sudden terror, nor the storm coming on the wicked ones. For Jehovah will prove to be your confidence, he will keep your foot from being caught.” Zephaniah 1:14—2:3 warns "The great day of Jehovah is . . . a day of fury, a day of distress and of anguish, a day of storm and of desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and of thick gloom, a day of horn and of battle cry, against the fortified cities and against the high corner towers. I will cause distress to mankind, and they will walk like blind men; because it is against Jehovah that they have sinned . . . Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them in the day of Jehovah's fury, for by the fire of his zeal the whole earth will be devoured, because he will make an extermination, indeed a terrible one, of all the inhabitants of the earth. . . Before the decree takes effect, before the day passes by just like chaff [blown by the wind], before the burning anger of Jehovah comes upon you, . . . seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who observe his righteous decrees. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. [Then] it may be you will be concealed in the day of Jehovah's anger." —see also Nahum 1:5-7.

"Heaven and Earth Shall Pass Away"

Revelation 21:1 says, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more." Many think this means that this earth will be burned up, completely destroyed. They take 2 Pet 3:10 literally when it says (AV), "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." —see 2 Pet 3:7-13.

Such vivid expressions are actually rather common in the Bible. By comparing them, we can understand what they mean. In think this meansIS13">Isaiah chapter 13, we read of God’s day of destruction against the ancient land of Babylon. This was fulfilled when the Medes overthrew Babylon in 539 B.C.E. At that time, it says, "the stars of the heavens [did] not give off their light" and "the earth [was] shaken out of its place." If that was literal, then where are we now? Similar words were used to describe the day of judgment against ancient Jerusalem (Jeremiah 4:23-28 and Joel 2:1, 10; also Zeph 1:14-18 given above), against the land of Edom (Isaiah 34:1-17), and against Nineveh (Nahum 1:5-6 cited above). All of these were fulfilled long ago, yet earth and sky are still here. How, then, did these come true?

When Babylon fell, the stars that they worshipped as astrologers seemed to have failed them. Their solid "earth", their powerful empire, was suddenly removed. When Jerusalem fell, it was likewise a dark day for the wicked Jews. Their "whole earth", their land, was laid desolate for 70 years. Edom was a mountainous country; its cities were "in the heavens." Jehovah’s avenging sword became drenched with blood in those lofty cities. As a kingdom, their land was "burned up". To this day it is inhabited mostly by animals of the desert. Nineveh was destroyed so utterly that it was lost for centuries; its ruins were finally identified again around 1848.

These ancient examples parallel the great destruction immediately in front of us. They help us to understand how the heavens and earth that now exist come to their end, and how the stars fall from heaven at Armageddon. —Matt 24:29, 30, Rev 6:12-15.

Men have navigated by the stars since ancient times, and guided their lives by astrology. They also follow "stars" or leading lights in this world: people of prominence in politics, science and society. But they remain lost, unless they turn to God through his Christ. There is no need for new literal stars or galaxies; God created them to his satisfaction, and they still bring glory to him. (Ps 19:1) But the rulers of this world, like "stars with no set course", are misleading mankind (compare Jude 13). Armageddon will remove them; in that way the "old heavens" perish. Behind human rulers stand Satan and his demons, which Paul calls "the world rulers of this darkness, the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12) These too will be put out of their position of control. The old "heavens" are replaced entirely by the new heavens, a new government, the Kingdom of God.

So the "stars" that are cast to the earth at Armageddon are symbolic stars. After all, literal stars are thousands of times larger than the entire earth. If even one "fell" to the earth, there would be no one left to remark on it! But it may be that a tremendous meteor shower will also occur at Armageddon. That would look like the stars were falling.

Likewise, the "earth" that is removed is the seemingly solid, unremovable system of things of this world, its empire. Armageddon will shake it to its foundations and destroy it. Then God will establish a "new earth", a new system of things, a new world, a new society of righteousness and peace. Of course, it is likely that a tremendous literal earthquake will also occur at Armageddon. It would feel like the mountains were being removed.

Some have said that because the Bible uses the expression "new earth", it must mean another planet entirely. Actually, previous prophecies of a "new" earth, already fulfilled*, prove that to be incorrect interpretation. As for something being "made new", remember that we ourselves become a "new man" as Christians. To do this, we put our body to death symbolically, not literally. Likewise, for the earth to be made new, the old earth is removed, or dies, when the wicked world is destroyed. The ground under our feet then becomes blessed instead of cursed, clean instead of unclean. But it’s the same literal dirt the whole time. —see Eph 4.20-24, Col 3:5-10, Gal 5:24; Mal 4:1-3.

The Final Attack

In his great prophecy of the last days, Jesus said that the good news of the kingdom would be preached in all the earth. Those who are responding to this preaching are no longer confused about God. They are being separated, set apart from this world, and are becoming friends of God. They are coming out of Babylon the Great, and are being gathered together into spiritual unity. No longer are they divided by the confusing Babylonish doctrines of worldly religion. By now, millions have responded in this way. They have come to be truly a "great crowd, which no man could number." Are you among them? —see James 4:4, 7, 8, John 17:16-21, Rev 7:9.

At the same time, another prophecy by Jesus is being fulfilled. Notice Matthew 13:40, 41: "in the conclusion of the system of things, the Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness." So those who are gathered are also sifted and cleansed. They become a united holy people. Anyone who insists on bringing ungodliness into the Christian organization is removed.

The success of the preaching work and the growing prosperity of this spiritual organization angers Satan. Despite all his efforts, he cannot seduce them into disloyalty to God. Although he has worldly governments and clergy "frame trouble in the name of the law" against them, Jehovah protects His people, thwarting or limiting the persecution. —Ps 94:20-23.

Does this mean that we who are gathered to God’s side will be immune from attack in the great tribulation? No. At Ezekiel 38:8-12 we read: "in the final part of the years you* will invade the land of a people who have been restored . . . collected together . . . dwelling in security. Like a storm he will come in . . . to take much plunder." This is part of God’s battle plan, for Satan to make this final attack. It is no secret, but Satan cannot help himself. He sees this opportunity opened up before him, he has to know it’s a trap, but he lunges anyway. (Ezek 38:14-16) It is this moment that begins the war of Armageddon. It is with this act that the nations finally begin to, in effect, attack God. Ezekiel provides a graphic description of Jehovah’s response:

“‘On that day, the day when Gog invades the land of Israel,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘my great rage will flare up. In my zeal, in the fire of my fury, I will speak; and in that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. Because of me the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts of the field, all the reptiles that creep on the ground, and all humankind on the earth will tremble, and the mountains will be thrown down and the cliffs will fall, and every wall will fall over. I will call for a sword against him on all my mountains,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘Every man's sword will be against his own brother. I will bring my judgment against him with pestilence and bloodshed; and I will rain down a torrential downpour and hailstones and fire and sulphur on him and on his troops and on the many peoples with him. And I will certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’” —Ezek 38:18-23.

Proving that this is the same war that is described in Revelation 19:17-21, Ezekiel goes on to say, “On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the peoples who will be with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of birds of prey and the wild beasts of the field.” —see 39:1-7, 17-20.

We who are "dwelling in the secret place of the Most High" will not need to defend ourselves (as if we could!). Only with our eyes we will look on and see the retribution against the wicked ones. An event in the days of King Jehoshaphat of Judah will be our guide. An overwhelming crowd of enemies was gathering to attack. The people prayed and Jehovah answered: “Do not be afraid because of this large crowd; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not need to fight in this instance. Take your position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf.” —see 2 Chron 20:11-13, 15, 17.

Are you afraid? Do not be. If you are sincerely seeking to draw close to Jehovah by active faith in his Son Jesus Christ, you are assured protection. But do not be complacent. This is certainly no time to take it easy, to be trying to carve out a comfortable position in this world for yourself. Paul counsels: “This I say, brothers, the time left is reduced. From now on, let those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who weep as those who do not weep, and those who rejoice as those who do not rejoice, and those who buy as those who do not possess, and those making use of the world as those not using it to the full; for the scene of this world is changing.” (1 Cor 7:29-31) We cannot expect to live ordinary lives; these are not ordinary times. In all we do, in all the choices we make, we have to keep the nearness of the end in mind. Has this knowledge begun to affect your course in life?

Imagine, now, that the terrible war is over. Imagine yourself, going out on the first morning after....

Back to top

Review for Chapter 8