The roots of Armageddon through history

Understanding Armageddon


Revelation 16:16 - "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

Whenever a military conflict is going on in the Middle East, it comes to mind the prophetic warning of the battle of Armageddon. First of all, Armageddon is not a battle fighting for oil fields or to conquer a nation in which the army of one nation fights against the army of another one. Rather quite different, Armageddon is the culmination of a spiritual battle, at the time the whole sky is in commotion for the soon coming of the King of Kings in the firmament above. The armies of the nations, that were ready to fall on their prey, are halted by the voice of God and by a mighty earthquake that levels the ground of the entire earth. Rev. 16:17-21.

In the times of King Ahab and Jezebel, the Israelites were led into the worship of Baal. It was necessary for Elijah to intervene with the power of God and a question to arouse the conscience: "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." 1Kings 18:21. Elijah proposed each side to offer a sacrifice to his god, and the one responding with fire that will be the Lord. That day on Mount Carmel, the prophets of Baal, found their powerless god; but after a short prayer from Elijah, fire came down from heaven that even consumed the stones and the water. And the people falling on their faces were crying out: "The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God." 1King 18:39.

Today, in the twenty first century, the same debate is still going on, a debate between two opinions on how to worship the Lord. Some people have chosen to worship the Lord as prescribed by Him in the first four Commandments of the Law of God. Exo. 20:2-11. Others have decided to worship the Lord following the traditions of men and their theological philosophies. These are the two opinions inducing the assembling of all living humanity at Armageddon.

The battle began long time ago, even before Eden; it began in heaven: Lucifer, a created being, broke the circle of love, and growing from disaffection toward the Creator and criticism of God's Law went up to open rebellion against the King of the Universe. Isaiah 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-15... Rev.12:7-9.

Once on earth, Lucifer (now Satan) didn't lose time to inject the seed of discontent, the second opinion into Eve's mind to discard the truth of the word of God: "Ye shall not surely die... and ye shall be as gods..." Gen. 3:4, 5. In the mind of the generation before the Flood, these declarations gave them the idea that they were wiser than Noah. And today, beside being a challenge to the spreading of the gospel of the Lord JesusChrist, the same declarations are becoming anchors of belief on large sections of the earth population, converting them in authoritarian militant movements that don't want to submit their ideological stand and themselves to any regular army. These sectarian wars are spreading out disaster, pain, poverty, desolation and death.

Cain and Abel came into this world, and the battle took a backyard stage. Abel had a loving and obedient heart toward the Creator God; he took a lamb and offered him over the altar to God, as required, that all sacrifices should point forward to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Gen.4:1-8. Cain wanted to do his own will and worship God after his own way: he took from the fruits of the ground to place it before God. Seeing that his offering was not accepted by God, he raised his hand and killed his brother Abel. At the very beginning, right there was a little bit of Armageddon.

Four thousand years later, when Christ was on earth, the most religious people on earth, the Jews, wanted to kill Jesus, a man of their own blood. They could not tolerate any longer His teachings claiming to be the Son of God. Pilate tried to deliver Jesus from death, but the uproar burst out on the mob as if all demons were crying out: "Crucify him, crucify him." Luke 23:20-23; Mark 15:13, 14. Another phase of the coming Armageddon: Religious people ready to raise their hands against those who claim to be obedient to God.

A great change came to the Christian Church when on 313 AD, at the Edict of Milan, Constantine recognized Christianity as religio licita and ended the persecution against the Christians. N. Cheetham, A History of the Popes, p. 16. Then, the rich and the ruling class came into the church with their power, and with the traditions of the pagan world, generating an avalanche of innovations to the doctrines and rituals of the church that soon took it away from the legacy of the apostles and the simple gospel of the Lord.

It was shown to the Apostle Paul that this apostasy was going to take place in the church before the Second Coming of Christ: "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2 Thessa. 2:3, 4.

On 533 AD Emperor Justinian granted the throne of power to the Bishop of Rome. It didn't take effect until 538 AD when General Belisarius cleared Rome of the dominion of the Ostrogoths. The supremacy of the Papal Power lasted 1260 years until February 10, 1798, when General Berthier, sent by Napoleon, took Pope Pius VI prisoner and put an end to the political power of the Papacy, for a while. It was foretold by prophet Daniel when he saw a little horn growing up among the other horns of the fourth power. Daniel 7:8, 20, 21, 24.

What the little horn would do? "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Daniel 7:25. That time is equal to 1 year + 2 years + ½ year = 1260 prophetic days or years. The same power is presented again in Revelation 13:1-10 with a time span of 42 months. 42 x 30 days = 1260 days = 1260 years in prophecy. Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6.

The reformers from the time of Martin Luther and the Sixteen Century began to point the finger of prophecy to the Papacy, declaring that he was the antichrist and the little horn of the prophecy according to what history and the passing of time was revealing. To deviate those accusations from the head of the Papal system was necessary to develop another method of prophetic interpretation outside of the historic method. A Jesuit priest, Luis de Alcazar, (1554-1613) developed the preterist interpretation, placing Nero as the antichrist and all the prophecies fulfilled from Antiochus Epiphanes until Nero's time. In this way they were free from falling under any prophetic application.

Another Jesuit priest, Francisco Ribera, (1537-1591) developed a futuristic interpretation. He took the last week of the seventy-week time prophecy in Daniel 9 and placed it in the future. In his interpretation the Jews are taking part with the rebuilding of the temple and allowing the vile ruling of the antichrist, in the middle of a great tribulation. The seven years will begin with the secret rapture of the elect, so none of them will have to suffer the scourge of the last plagues. The ones left on earth will have a second chance to be accepted in Christ kingdom at the end of the seven years.

With careful study of the prophecies, there is no support in the Bible for either one of these two prophetic interpretations. Bible prophecy is clear, you can follow the fulfillment in the pages of history, and have a pretty good picture of where we are in the stream of time. After the apostolic church came the apostasy, "the falling away," 2 Thessa. 2:3. Then the little horn came to power in 538 AD for 1260 years. Because of what he did, the reformers called him 'the antichrist' also. Historians assign to Papal Rome the torture and death of more than 50 millions souls during that time and the Inquisition. "And shall wear out the saints of the most High." Dan. 7:25. During the Middle Ages, these were the most religious people on earth; but they could not tolerate any one following the simple gospel of the Lord. From here we can take another sample of the spirit dominating the soldiers that are ready to fight at Armageddon.

The preaching of the reformers; the deadly wound upon Papal Rome in 1798 when Napoleon took away the political power of the pope, Rev.13:3; and the rising of a new nation, the United States of America, with religious liberty for all and separation of church and state, Rev. 13:11, have opened a window of liberty spanning now more than 200 years that made possible to fulfill Christ commission of preaching the gospel to all the world. Matt. 28:18-20; 24:14. This prophecy is being fulfilled today by the printed page, radio, satellite television, the internet, and by word of mouth.

How far away is Armageddon? A coalition of religious powers who are coveting the power and the resources of the state for their programs and activities will succeed in breaking the commitment of the nation to the separation of church and state. That is the message of Revelation 13:12-17. The Bible refers to that union as the formation of "the image of the beast." Rev. 13:15. This one becomes an image of the politico-religious power that for so long dominated the old world. While God asks His children to worship Him, these powers will be demanding worship too, and worship enforced with the sword of the state.

The people following the religious coalition are deceived by the power of Satan. When confronted by Elijah, Satan could not bring fire down from heaven; but now, he will do it to make believe it is the power of God on his followers, that Almighty God is on their side. Rev.13:13.

How sad the surprise to the people behind these religious powers when Christ finishes the Judgment in heaven, closes the door of salvation, and let the seven last plagues fall down on earth. They were expecting the secret rapture, and here they are dying under the plagues. They see those who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus," those who were preaching the three angels message, Rev. 14:6-12, those who obey the Creator and Redeemer, that none of the plagues are falling on them. Like their old brother Cain, they think they can do something. But this time is different: Christ intervenes with His mighty power to deliver His children. The voice of God halt the attacking army, and soon Christ Second Coming is covering the whole sky to rescue His children. This is the Armageddon of the Bible, believed it or not! Daniel 12:1, 2; Rev.16:17, 18; Rev. 19:11-21.

A word for the last days...
When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the inflicction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result. Maranatha, p. 194.

A word for the last days...
As men reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome--"the mark of the beast."
Maranatha, p, 169.



..Back to Home Page . . . Next Prophecy