Just what is "Armageddon"? Will it be World War III? Will
the armies of the United States and Great Britain be defending Palestine
against Russia in that battle? Read in this article the amazing answer. You
will probably be astonished!
by Herbert W. Armstrong
WE HEAR a great deal, nowadays, about "Armageddon." Yet few know
what it is!
Like most other topics of Biblical prophecy, what is Popularly taught on this
subject has been accepted without question by nearly everyone. And, as in
most other questions, the people have
been turned away from the truth and have unthinkingly embraced fables.
When World War I first broke out, many began excitedly to proclaim: This is
the Armageddon war!" Again, many confidently proclaimed that World War II
was the war that would end at Armageddon.
A popular conception now is that Armageddon" is the prophesied last
battle of a coming war between the democratic Western World and Communist
Russia. It will supposedly be a battle between atheistic Communist Russia on the
one side, attacking Jerusalem with the British and American armies on the
other side, defending it.
And at the precise instant of this final colossal battle, the second coining
of Christ is to occur.
But is this common conception true?
What IS "Armageddon"?
The word "Armageddon," strange as it may seem, occurs only once in
all the Bible It is found in Revelation 16:16. Let's look at it. Begin with the
13th verse of this chapter: 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 demons, working
miracles, which 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. ( Behold, I come
as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest lie walk
naked and they see his shame.) And he [another translation is
"they'' I gathered them together, into a place called in the Hebrew tongue,
ARMAGEDDON [marginal reading "Har Magedon"]."
First, notice that "Armageddon" is a Hebrew word, not an
English word. Actually, the Hebrew word is "Har Magedon" or "Har
Megiddo." In the Hebrew, the H's are usually not pronounced, and so are
often omitted in the spelling in English. Megiddo is in the Valley of Jezreel,
some 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem, just in from the port of Haifa.
The Hebrew prefix "Har" means "fortified," or
"fortified hill." Between World War I and World War II the British
fortified Haifa at a cost of many millions of dollars. Consequently, Megiddo (or
Magedon) has now become, in fact, ARMAGEDDON!
Secondly, notice the battle in question is actually stirred up,
no, by men or nations alone, but by spirits - three spirits - and
they are unclean spirits or demon spirits. (The word "devils" in the
King James Version ought to be rendered demons.) These spirits
INFLUENCE" the leaders of the nations - deceiving them - stirring them to
this battle. These unclean spirits come out of the mouths of the DRAGON,
the BEAST, and the FALSE PROPHET. What is the Bible definition of these three
The Three Unclean Spirits
The DRAGON is interpreted by the Bible as the devil or Satan (Rev. 12:9). The
BEAST according to the Bible is the political leader of the Babylonish
system, pictured in Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and 17. The BEAST is yet to appear
in Europe for a final revival of fascism to head the last rebirth of the Roman
Empire - a United States of Europe that will startle this world!
The FALSE PROPHET is the religious or ecclesiastical leader who
shall, in the near future, be associated in a mutual working agreement with this
final restoration of the Roman Empire.
The three unclean spirits come out of the mouths of these three - the devil,
the "beast" and the "false prophet." In I Kings 22:21 - 23
we find unclean spirits, lying spirits, in the mouths of the false prophets in
ancient Israel. Those spirits so completely deceived the ministers of that day
that the demons or lying spirits actually talked through the mouths of the
prophets. So the three unclean spirits mentioned in Revelation will possess the
beast and the false prophet and use their mouths to utter lies to deceive
"Battle of Armageddon"?
And now, thirdly, notice the NAME of the battle to which the spirits
cause the armies of the nations to be gathered. This is most important! The text
does not speak of any "BATTLE of Armageddon" at all! It is the
"BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY."
"ARMAGEDDON" is the place where the armies gather. But
the BATTLE is not called "Armageddon." It is the "BATTLE of the
GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY."
The "Great Day of God Almighty" is, of course, the great "DAY
of the LORD" as it is spoken of in so many prophecies in both Old and New
Testament Scriptures. And what is the "Day of the Eternal"?
"The great day of the Eternal is near that day is a day of WRATH, a day
of trouble and distress, a day of waste-ness and desolation, a day
of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" ( Zephaniah
1:14.15). "The day of the Eternal's anger" we read in Zeph. 2:2.
Notice that the battle of the Great Day of God Almighty comes as a climax to
a time when the whole earth has been rendered waste and desolate by the
wholesale destruction of war.
"Alas for the day! for the day of the Eternal is at hand, and as a
destruction from the Almighty shall it come.'' The Almighty sends it! It is
the Great Day of God Almighty! It is a day of DESTRUCTION - and God sends the
"Behold, the day of the Eternal cometh . . . For I will gather all
nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the
houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into
captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
THEN SHALL THE ETERNAL GO FORTH, AND FIGHT AGAINST THOSE NATIONS, as when he
fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount
of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east (Zechariah 14:l - 4). This is
the climactic BATTLE of the Great Day of God Almighty!
Is It the TRIBULATION?
Is this Great Day of the Eternal, then, the prophesied "Great
No! It follows the Great Tribulation. Notice Joel 2: 31: "The sun
shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great
and terrible DAY OF THE ETERNAL come." The DAY OF THE ETERNAL is the time
of the plagues sent from God. It is the time of His WRATH, the time of
his supernatural intervening in this wholesale slaughter and destruction by man.
But God will not send this PUNISHMENT upon a sinning world until lie has WARNED
THEM. First, He will send terrific supernatural SIGNS in the sun, the moon and
the stars. There shall be great tidal waves, earthquakes, convulsions of nature
that shall throw men - who know not God and these prophecies - into frantic
terror, thinking the "WORLD IS COMING TO AN END" (Rev. 6:12 - 17; Luke
21:25 - 26).
All this follows the Great Tribulation. You will find the final Great
Tribulation described in Matthew 24. (Remember, the tribulation during the Dark
Ages was merely a forerunner of this AGE-END GREAT TRIBULATION.) Notice verse
29, of Matthew 24: "IMMEDIATELY AFTER the tribulation of those days shall
the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall
fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."
First comes the Tribulation; then supernatural signs; then the
Day of the Lord. Notice this same sequence described in Revelation 6:12-17. In
this scripture the Day of the Eternal is the Day of God's WRATH.
"PEACE!" to be Proclaimed
Now notice an amazing fact, revealed by a New Testament prophecy - a fact
very few have grasped! It is found in I Thes. 5:1 - 3.
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren" - notice that
Paul is writing to the "brethren" - "ye have no need that I write
unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD so cometh as a
thief in the night."
Paul is not speaking of the second coming of Christ, but of the
"day of the Lord" - the time of the DESTRUCTION God will send upon
sinners to separate them from their sins. Now continue the prophecy:
"For when they" - the word "they" refers to the leaders
and rulers of the world. Paul is writing to the brethren about the affairs of
this present world - "when they shall say PEACE and safety; then
sudden DESTRUCTION cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they
shall not escape.
Notice. It shall come suddenly, unexpectedly. It is the time
prophesied by Isaiah: "Howl ye: for the DAY OF THE ETERNAL. is at hand; it
shall come as a destruction from the Almighty . . Behold the DAY OF THE
ETERNAL cometh, cruel both with WRATH and fierce anger, to lay the land
desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. . . and I will
punish the world for their evil" (Isaiah 13:6-11).
First, "THEY" - the world rulers - shall proclaim PEACE! and
safety! Just before the terrible DAY OF THE LORD. "Peace!" is
to be proclaimed. There shall be no real peace, but world rulers shall
proclaim it! And then what? And then, as soon as PEACE is proclaimed, then the
sudden DESTRUCTION of the plagues of the DAY OF THE ETERNAL shall fall upon
them. That is the time of GOD'S wrath.
Great Tribulation Conies First
The "Great Tribulation" must come PRIOR to the DAY OF THE LORD.
Immediately after the Tribulation, said Jesus, the terrible supernatural
signs shall occur - in the sun, the moon, the stars earthquakes, tidal waves,
convulsions of nature. These catastrophic occurrences in nature are to occur before
the DAY OF THE ETERNAL (Joel 2:31).
But what is the "Great Tribulation''?
Most people have taken it for granted that the Tribulation is the time of
God's wrath - the DAY OF THE ETERNAL. But it is not. It precedes the
Day of the Eternal. Jesus' Oliver prophecy explains it. This prophecy reveals
the succession of events up to now. The disciples had asked Jesus what would be
the sign of His coming, and of the end of the age (Mat. 24:3). And He had
replied that first would come false preachers proclaiming a false gospel, yet
coming in the name of Christ; then wars culminating in the present series of
World Wars and the Cold War - kingdom and nation against one another; third,
famines; fourth, pestilence's. These are just beginning to stalk the world.
"All these," said Jesus, "are the beginning of
Sorrows." Then what next?
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill
you," Jesus foretold. "And ye shall be hated of all nations for my
name's sake" (Mat. 24:9).
Notice, Jesus used two pronouns - "THEY" and "YOU."
"Then THEY shall deliver YOU up to be afflicted, and shall KILL you."
Remember this: In New Testament language the pronoun "YOU," unless
otherwise clearly defined, refers either to truly converted CHRISTIANS, or to
NATIONAL Israel or Judah, or to both Christians and Judah or Israel. If it is
speaking spiritually and individually, the pronoun "YOU" refers to
those who are truly begotten children of God. If the context is speaking
nationally, it refers to Israel, or Judah, or both.
In this particular case, comparison with the account in Mark 13 and Luke 21
makes it evident that Jesus used this pronoun in a DUAL sense, including both
Spirit-begotten CHRISTIANS and flesh-born Israelites as nations!
The limited national trouble which befell Judah in 70 A.D. was merely
the early type and forerunner of the great NATIONAL invasion and captivity YET
This is described more plainly in modern English in the Moffatt translation
of Luke's account of this same prophecy: "For sore anguish will come upon
the land and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword,
they will be carried prisoners to all nations, and Jerusalem will be under the
heel of the Gentiles TILL the Times of the Gentiles expire" (Luke 21:23-24)
This is speaking of WAR - of national invasion and captivity. The
CLIMACTIC MAJOR fulfillment of this prophecy is YET to occur, just shortly before
the Day of the Eternal's WRATH.
This is speaking of the final GREAT Tribulation. It will be a time of WAR and
national INVASION and CAPTIVITY of God's nation ISRAEL. Not Judah alone! These
prophecies refer not only to Christians, but to the so-called LOST TEN TRIBES OF
ISRAEL - the American and British peoples, the democracies of Northwest
Europe! If you don't know where the United States and Great Britain are
mentioned in prophecy, write immediately for my FREE booklet "The
UNITED STATES and the BRITISH COMMONWEALTH in Prophecy."
The Great Tribulation is not, as so many erroneously
assume, the time of God's wrath. It is the time of Satan's wrath. The Great
Tribulation is Satan's last persecution and martyrdom against the true
begotten sons of GOD.
Jerusalem Surrounded with Armies
Notice that the tribulation, the next prophesied major occurrence, is to come
when "ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of
by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (Mat. 24:15). This is
described in Luke's account of this same prophecy as "Jerusalem
compassed with armies" which is a sign that the city's desolation is
near (Luke 21:20). It is described in Daniel 11 as the armies of the coining
fascist revival of the Roman Empire invading Palestine!
So, together with the martyrdom of Christians and the invasion of America,
the British Isles and the democratic nations of Northwest Europe, there will be
an invasion of Palestine and the Near East. This will be the first round of
WORLD WAR III!
When our people - who are called War-mongers by the Gentiles - have
been defeated and taken into slavery, then the Gentiles will be proclaiming
"PEACE!" But there will be no real peace! Notice what happens after
the three and one-half years of tribulation when the Gentiles will be deluded
into thinking "peace" and "safety":
For Satan's fiendish persecution and martyrdom of God's saints, GOD shall
take vengeance. God will step in and supernaturally intervene.
First, as a WARNING, shall come the terrible SIGNS! - signs in the sun, the
moon, the stars - the convulsions of the earth and the heavens (Mat. 24:29).
And then shall follow the DAY OF THE LORD!
The DAY OF THE ETERNAL will quickly come - the time of God's wrath - the time
of the PLAGUES. The "trumpet" plagues and the "Seven last
plagues" are God's judgment upon the great ecclesiastical empire ruled by
the false prophet. This false system is the power which caused the martyrdom of
saints in ages past; this is the power that will line up with the revival of the
Roman Empire in Europe and will cause the coming martyrdom!
TEN Nations to Unite in Europe
This great ecclesiastical system is pictured as a fallen woman astride the
"beast." This woman is called "BABYLON (Rev. 17: 5). She is "drunken
with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of
Jesus" (verse 6). She CAUSES them to be killed by pronouncing sentence
The "beast" which the woman rides is the Roman Empire. All students
of prophecy recognize that. Even the Roman Catholic Douay Version gives this in
a footnote. The empire was, and is not (verse 6), but shall be brought back into
being once again. It shall be accomplished by a UNION of TEN DICTATORS who will
be given authority as kings for a very short time. This is explained in verses
12 and 13. These fascist dictators, with their armies, will be under the
direction of a great Church-State coalition now being plotted in Europe! Now
The fascist armies, remember, will have poured into Palestine. When tidings
of an impending Russian invasion of Europe frighten the coming United
States of Europe, the "beast" - the future fascist dictator in Europe
- and the "false prophet" - his religious consort - will rush plans to
set up the tabernacle and the palace in Palestine (Dan. 11:41, 45). Their headquarters
will be moved there.
During their reign, the true Word of God will not he permitted to be preached
( Amos 8:11). After the tribulation only God's ''two witnesses," inspired
with supernatural powers shall be permitted to warn the world of what is then
coming. And after three and one-half years, even they shall be killed and
their bodies lie unburied three and a half days in the streets of Jerusalem
And now notice!
"These" - these newly crowned kings forming the revived Roman
Empire - "shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:
for He is the Lord of lords, and King of kings" (Rev. 17:14).
Christ is the "Lamb." But He does not appear as "Lord of
lords, and King of kings" until His SECOND COMING!
Then Comes God's Wrath
Jesus shall come at the outpouring of the seven last plagues of the
DAY OF THE LORD - the very climax of the great and terrible "day." He
shall come at the time when God's final judgments are being poured out upon this
fornicating ecclesiastical system.
At that time Jesus Christ shall return to RULE! "The kingdoms of this
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and HE SHALL REIGN
FOREVER!" ( Rev 11:15) Christ is the STONE, then smiting the entire rotten
Gentile political ecclesiastical system on the "TOES" of the
"image" (of Daniel 2), and the KINGDOM OF GOD shall rule this earth
and finally bring REAL PEACE, and happiness and JOY to a sin-sick, war-weary
But the "beast" and the "false prophet" shall FIGHT
against Christ! They shall fight desperately to retain their foul system.
And the BATTLE that ensues in this struggle to see whether MAN or GOD shall
rule the earth for the next THOUSAND YEARS is the BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY
OF GOD ALMIGHTY - often misnamed "Armageddon." The armies which gather
at "Armageddon" proceed to battle and fight Christ in the environs
Who shall fight whom? Will Russia and China and their communist allies fight
against the British and American armies in this battle? No! Nowhere is one word
said in prophecy to give such an idea.
"And I saw the beast [the coming fascist dictator in Europe] and the
kings of the earth [his allies], and their armies, gathered together to make war
against" - AGAINST WHOM? Not Britain and America! NOT Israel! - for they
have already been conquered by this revival of a fascist Roman Empire.
But against HIM THAT SAT ON THE HORSE [Christ] and his army" (Rev. 19:19).
And who composes His army? Note verse 14: "And the armies which
were in HEAVEN followed Him upon white horses.'' Shall the British and
American armies go up to heaven? No! Our people, young and old, are in slavery
and await the return of Christ to DELIVER them.
Then who compose these armies? Just one Scripture tells: "When the Son
of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him . .
." (Mat. 25:31). The HOLY ANGLES from heaven are Christ's army! A
SPIRITUAL host is coming to take over! It is CHRIST and the ANGLES that
fight the willful rebellion of mortal men.
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet . . . These
both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev.
THAT is the "BATTLE of the Great Day of God Almighty!" That is the
battle popularly misnamed "Armageddon"!
It shall mark the turning point in history - the beginning of PEACE - real
PEACE on earth, and good will toward men!