"For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17).
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. (Dan. 12:10; Matt. 25:1-13.)
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." (Dan. 12:4.) 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 Revelation 16:13-16, 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" (Rev. 13:2) represents the Papacy. But fewer still, we fear, will be ready to support our view that Protestantism is the "Image of the Beast" (Rev. 13:15), 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." (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 16:18,19).
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." (2 Peter 1:19).
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. (Rev. 11:17,18)
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. (2 Thess. 2:10,11.) 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. (Rev. 17:2.) 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; Psa. 45:16), 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."
Today’s additional comment:
The scenario of future events, how pastor C.T. Russell saw it, briefly presented in his sermon mentioned above, it was elaborated exhaustively in the second preface to the fourth volume of the Studies in the Scriptures. First release of this volume appeared in year 1897 under the title, "The Day of Vengeance." Fifteen years later, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran for the presidency of United States. During his electoral campaign he expressed the characteristic words: "We Stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord". In reference to this statement C. T. Russell wrote the new preface and issued the fourth volume of his series once again, with the new title, "The Battle of Armageddon." Within two years was to begin the First World War, the most characteristic from all conflicts in the history of the world.
The outbreak of war in year 1914 has proved decisively that the interpretation of the prophecies of the Scripture pointing out at year 1914 as the end of so-called Times of the Gentiles were correct (Luke. 21:24; Lev. 16:21, 24,28). Just to this year has elapsed exactly seven symbolic days, each day 360 years long, from the dethronization of last king Israeli Sedekiah in 606 B.C. (2520 – 606 = 1914). If the end of God's permission for Gentiles to rule over the world did not raised doubt, the Bible Sudents were waiting with faith for destruction of their power by war, revolution and anarchy (Armageddon). When the expected date came, it turned out, that unlike the strongly fixed beginning, there was lack of equally certain bases for the believing that in 1915 the power of Gentile will be completely overthrew. Now, earlier not, it is easy to enumerate at least two the main chronological parallels, which then suggested that that destruction process would be extended by several decades. Such perspective, however, seemed to be too distant for the all brethren, also for pastor Russell.
As it was mentioned above, C.T. Russell had supposed the period of destruction of the old world in the three phases will not be long, one year only. Nobody saw these matters then better than he himself. What was the reason of God's Providence to permit for such natural mistake? Now it is very clear thing that the perspective of a nearing glory has awoken enthusiasm and great zeal among the members of prophetic movement of the Bible Students from before the World War I. In a result of their great mobilization, in very short time the millions of copies of biblical literature were spread all over the world.
It's no wonder, therefore, that British brothers, John and Morton Edgar, the leading members of prophetic movement, they did not place these parallels in their book, "The Great Pyramid Passages and Chambers," Glasgow 1913. To highlight the meaning of these two parallels, they are compared below, the diagrams from the past with these contemporary ones. These present-day diagrams came into being when the pages of history have been filled with characteristic events, whereas our Lord opened the last seal of the book of Revelation (1967) to make possible the understanding of the meaning of these events in the prophetic light.
1. The Dominion Parallels (of 2520 years).
The presented diagram of No. 3, unlike its equivalent from the past, takes into account the parallel of seventy-year period of desolation of Jerusalem pointing at 1984. In 536 B.C. Cyrus issued an edict allowing the captive Jews to return to Jerusalem. This ancient king and his edict is illustration of greater one than Cyrus, Jesus Christ himself, whose reign has been bringing liberty for all nations. In a result of reigning of this invisible "Great Cyrus" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1,13), had came to power in USSR the new leader Mikhail Gorbachev (spring 1985) who opened gates of the largest house of bondage. Gorbachev initiated his new policy of perestroika, which permitted to almost million Jews themselves to return to their motherland. The previous communist-papal "dynasty" shown in the king Belshazzar has been overthrown between 1980 and 1984. In the middle of this period, that is year 1982, hits the chronological parallel of 2520 years being coded in the inscription, "mene, mene, thekel, ufarsin." 2520 years, being measured from the fall of ancient Babylon in 538 B.C., leads us until 1982 A.D. (538 + 1982 = 2520).
The parallel described above demonstrates the similarity in the admonishing lashing as touched the both houses of nominal Israel (Isa. 8:14), Israel according to the flesh and Christianity. Similar was kind of chastisement and a length of its duration, seventy years. The chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar punished Israel as the special servant of God. (Jer. 25:9-12.) Nominal spiritual Israel, fallen from Divine favor, has been punished by todays' tool of God's anger, communism.
The communism is presented in the Revelation as the locust. The biblical name of the locust king, Abaddon (Rev. 9:11), signifies a destroyer. Abaddon from the same vision represents Bolshevik party, the managerial staff of the communist movement. Similar meaning, destroyer, has the word "Chaldees," the name of the neo-Babylonian dynasty which ruled in Babylon from 626 to 539 B.C. (look: Biblical Concordance). More than century ago, the Bible Students expressed opinion that these ancient Chaldean destroyers were the illustration of the present tools of God's anger to punishing systems of nominal Christianity. In comment to the prophecy of Habakkuk 1:5-10 we read: "The people who are to do the astounding work among the nations are here called Chaldeans, and represent, we believe, the masses of the peoples of earth, who, under the names Communists, Nihilists, Socjalists, etc., are organizing with avowed intention of overturning present governments. Chaldeans is a fitting name." (W.T. June 1884; R622)
In the seventies of past century present-day Chaldeans ceased gradually to live up to theirs communist principles. The establishing of close political co-operation of communist powers with the Roman Catholic church was the ultimate in corruption and a betraying of ideological principles. The babylonian king Belsazar was the illustration of that corrupt phase of communist rules. Ultimately, in days of "Belsazar," between 1980 and 1984, rules of "Chaldean dynasty" were overthrown and then began the rules of Persian dynasty. The today's king Cyrus, invisible monarch, Jesus Christ, who established in 1984 his domination over the world, began to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. (Isa. 45:1; Psa. 2:9; Rev. 12:5)
✽ ✽ ✽
✽ ✽ ✽
✽ ✽ ✽
2. The Jewish "Double" Parallels (of 1845 years).
The presented graph of No. 6 differs from this one from the past in one element only, but very important. It takes into account the complete depopulation of Holy Land in the aftermath of fall of the last revolt of chosen nation in years 132-135. Filled with despair Jews clustered around alleged Messiah, Simon Bar-Kokhba to face the crushing power of Rome. Bar-Kohba turned out to be the false messiah, what the fact proved that Romans suppressed the revolt, dispersed Jews all over the world and they began to transform their holy capital in the pagan, not-Jewish city Aelia Capitolina. Just at this time Jews stopped to exist as the nation.
The parallel of 1845 years is the length of so-called Double. It moves us from dramatic history of chosen nation to characteristic events in nominal Christianity in years 1977-1980/81. On the occasion of 60. anniversary of the October Revolution, the powers of Kremlin initiated remarkably intensive propaganda "Peace and safety," recommending the socialism as the only way able to save the world from anarchy and annihilation.
✽ ✽ ✽
During that propaganda feast of peace, the secular powers of socialist camp (biblical dragon) had the two allies, Roman Catholic church (papal beast) and the Federation of Protestant churches (image of the beast). The Federation arrived to the capital of atheism in year 1977 to pay tribute to achievements of communist revolution on the solemn session. Owing to the special attentiveness in the expressing support for the peaceful initiatives of socialism, the Federation played the crucial role in this propaganda feast as the false messiah for Christianity, the image of the beast, equivalent of Simon Bar-Kokhba.
✽ ✽ ✽
✽ ✽ ✽
In the year 1980/81, the Lord God thwarted these last attempts of maintaining of world's peace, similarly how, by military power of Romans, He had crushed the last desperate endeavours of Jews to regain independence. Political co-operation of ten countries of COMECON and churches broke up how the feet of the image of iron mixed with the clay (ten fingers) being smitten by the stone from on High. Socialism surrendered, but his reluctance to the farther co-operation with the treacherous Vatican clergy was manifested on 13 May 1981, when the assassin's shots sounded at the St. Peter's Square.
Let's come back to the C.T. Russell's sermon now. He explains in it the meaning of dragon, beast and false prophet, as the biblical symbols of secular and religious power, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and he foretells, on biblical bases, close co-operation of these systems to save peace in the world, shortly before outbreak of the battle of Armageddon. The last calls for "peace and safety," did not happen however in the past before 1914, but they occurred three years and a half before spring of the year 1981. Just at that time, when last desperate efforts of secular and religious systems failed, the biblical Armageddon has began. It is more and more sharp fight of conservative camp of financial and religious kings on the one side and the masses of the dissatisfied people of the entire world, close at present mad fury, on the opposite side.
In the last paragraph of his lecture, the pastor Russell talks about "the time of Jacob's pressure" (Jer. 30:7) in the Holy Land in the last phase of Armageddon. The date of 2015 has been pointed out by the Biblical Chronology as the time of the last battle of Armageddon. Jesus Christ himself confirmed authenticity of this date by his oath. (Rev. 10:5-7; Dan. 12:7.) Stormy political events in the whole Middle East, and in the immediate neighbourhood of Israel, they show more and more clearly reality of these expectations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke recently that Israel had became at present the most dangerous place in the world. In the light of biblical prophecies it is so in fact. God's enemy, Satan organizes all his agencies and arouses in the entire world the spirit of anti-Semitism to destroy the beginnings of the God's Kingdom on the earth. The leader of this state, secular in its majority, found himself in need to calm the anxiety of citizens. He says about strengths of Israeli Defence Forces, being able to repulse every attack. He says about solidarity and bravery of Israelites. This nation however is so tiny, whereas its enemies are legions. Israel will not defend itself on its own. It is a great illusion to think differently. According to biblical prophecies Israel will be forgotten by all its lovers (Jer. 30:14). This crucial moment is at hand. Only God is faithful ally of the chosen nation, and He will defend it. Let's add to it: it will be miraculous intervention of God and the equally miraculous salvation (Isa. 28:21).
One can suppose that in the moment of the largest threat sincere religious Israelis will advance on the forehead of the nation. Not these, rabbis being deep in the meanders of Talmud and seeking in Rome of a favor of Antichrist, but the ordinary citizens of this state, the people having faith in God and his holy books, Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim. Only having the sincere faith in God, faith in promises contained in them, a courage in manifesting of this faith, it is possible to please Him who promised to come with the rescue to Israel in critical time. "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel." (Isa. 41:14)
Added by: Andrzej