Search
  • seventhdaypioneerm

Armageddon & the Two Babylons

~~Armageddon and The Two Babylons~~ "Scripture presents Armageddon as the ultimate climax, not between squabbling nations, but between the two sides of the cosmic controversy. It’s a religious struggle, not economic or political, however much economic and political factors might come into play." The battle of Armageddon spoken of in Revelation 16, is often understood as a local battle in the Middle East. It is actually a spiritual battle. It is the final battle of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. THE TWO BABYLONS As we enter into a study of Armageddon, it is tremendously important to keep this great rule of interpretation before us. The vast confusion on prophecy today stems from ignorance of this principle. Let us repeat once more that the kingdom prophecies given by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc., have a double application—one to be fulfilled locally; the other to be fulfilled on a worldwide scale in the last days. And the church takes the place of the nation as God’s true chosen people. With this background we are prepared to study the subject of Armageddon. That world-ending conflict is tied closely to the things we have just stated about spiritual Israel and a secondary application of prophecy. A most amazing parallel exists between what happened to ancient Israel and the events concerning spiritual Israel in the book of Revelation. Ancient Israel Spiritual Israel Jer. 50:33,34 Persecuted by Babylon Rev. 17:6 Dan. 3:13 Forced to worship image Rev. 13:15 Dan. 4:30 Called “Babylon the Great” Rev. 17:5 Jer. 51:13,14 Babylon sits on many waters Rev. 17:1 Isa. 44:27,28 Rescued—dried Euphrates Rev. 16:12 Jer. 51:6-8 Called out of Babylon Rev. 18:4 Isa. 45:1 Rescuer called the anointed Dan. 9:25 Isa. 41:2, 25 Both rescuers from east Mat. 24:27, Rev. 7:2 You will notice that God’s people had almost the same experience in the Old Testament and the New Testament. They were forced to worship an image and were rescued by someone from the east who dried up the river Euphrates to set them free. Within this broad outline there are scores of other astonishing similarities between the two Israels—one literal and the other spiritual. It is obvious that the church—God’s people of the last days—will be persecuted and threatened with death just like ancient Israel. In the book of Revelation they are delivered from spiritual Babylon in connection with the battle of Armageddon. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 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. ... And he gathered them together in a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-16). These verses are filled with great meaning. They reveal that three powerful forces will be utilized by Satan in preparing the way for Armageddon. Those three—the beast, dragon and false prophet—stir up the political powers of earth to take part in that war. It is apparent that those three are religious powers, at least in their claims, because they work miracles to impress the governments of the earth. Miracles are only operative within the realm of religion. Time and space does not allow us to give all the biblical evidence to show how these three symbols incorporate all the modern forms of counterfeit religion. Rejecting the authority of God’s law and choosing the easy traditions of pagan worship pattems, these combined ecclesiastical systems will wield a mighty influence in drawing all the world into the battle of Armageddon. ARMAGEDDON—SATAN VS. GOD Before we try to determine the identity of the “kings of the east” and what it means to “dry up the river Euphrates,” we must understand more clearly what Armageddon really involves. The Scriptures picture it as the final decisive struggle which climaxes the age-long war between Christ and Satan. The entire world is involved because the good and evil people are scattered among all nations of the earth. Armageddon represents the all-out effort of Satan to destroy the people who dare to obey God in the face of threatened torture and death. Armageddon is but the climax of a 6,000 year program by Satan to keep God’s people from being saved. As the adversary, whose self-seeking caused him to be cast out of heaven, Satan declared his purpose to overthrow God and take over His universal government. Listen to his boast in Isaiah 14:13, 14. “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” This incredible claim of Satan exposes the heart of his plan to set himself up in place of God. To subvert the worship of God’s subjects to himself it would seem both natural and necessary for Satan to build his appeal around religion. Working in the guise of counterfeit religious systems and false worship, he has woven a clever composite of truth and error down through the ages. His masterpiece of deception will occur at the end-time when he works through the beast power to enforce a mark of loyalty on every person. Those who refuse the mark will be sentenced to death, and thus, the final obstacle will be removed for Satan to claim all creation as his followers. So reads the blueprint of Satan’s strategy. GOD DWELLS IN ZION Now notice, again, where Satan wanted to sit. He said, “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.” Why did he say that? This point is very important. The expression “mount of the congregation” is undoubtedly referring to the holy mount of God’s dwelling place. Throughout the Bible it is spoken of as mount Zion. “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2). The striking thing is that God’s place, mount Zion, is located in the sides of the north. Now we understand why Satan wanted to sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. That is where God will gather His people, His congregation. Mount Zion is a place of safety. Satan wants to destroy the congregation or people of God. He would penetrate the very elect by his deceptions and take them, along with the throne of God. The psalmist said, “Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion” (Psalm 9:11). Originally, Zion was the designated spot where the temple was located, in the north part of Jerusalem. Later, it came to be known as a symbol of the city of Jerusalem. It also is applied throughout Scripture to the whole of God’s people. But after the Jews rejected Jesus the term Zion became the designation for the church. Thus in the New Testament it no longer identifies an earthly location, but a people—the people of the church who are scattered throughout the world, or else the spiritual place of God’s presence and protection. All through the Bible God is described as drawing or gathering His people to Zion where they can be safe with Him. “Blow the trumpet in Zion, ... call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation” (Joel 2:15, 16). “For in mount Zion ... shall be deliverance” (Joel 2:32). In Revelation 14:1 the redeemed are pictured as having been delivered from the beast power of the previous chapter and are safe in mount Zion. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” But while God programs a gathering of His people to Himself in Zion, Satan also has a gathering program. It is a gathering of his forces for Armageddon. “For they are the spirits of devils ... to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.... And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:14, 16). This gathering is to counteract God’s gathering His saints to mount Zion. Joel also speaks about that same gathering; “Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about ... Let the heathen ... come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat ... The Lord also shall roar out of Zion ... but the Lord will be the hope of his people” (Joel 3:11, 12, 16). This is another description of that final conflict called Armageddon. The valley of Jehoshaphat is just another title for the place of battle. It will involve every nation on earth. The “heathen” is a term to describe those who are not God’s people. Satan will marshall the kings of the earth and all the wicked people to oppose the faithful saints of God. The Lord will be involved in the battle (“The Lord shall roar out of Zion”), because He fights for His people. In essence, it is a tremendous contest between Christ and Satan with followers of both sides being involved. Here is where we get to the heart of the subject. The verse calls attention to the Hebrew word for Armageddon. Apparently, the word is rooted in the Hebrew term “har moed,” which means “mount of the congregation” or “mount of the assembly.” Do you see where this leads us? That same term (har moed) was used by Satan when he said, “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation.” This ties the battle of Armageddon to the original threat of Satan to capture and destroy the congregation of God—in mount Zion. And the final attempt of the evil one to carry out his threat reaches down to the very last events of this earth. John the Revelator described it under the sixth plague. He saw unclean spirits going out to the kings of the earth, working miracles, and gathering them to Armageddon. These are religious forces working on the political rulers and influencing them to destroy God’s faithful ones. If you want to read the thrilling account of God’s part in Armageddon, study Revelation 19. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war ... And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and clean ... and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:11-15). Several things stand out in this symbolic picture of Christ and His second coming. The armies of heaven make war and “smite the nations” (Verse 15). These are the nations which were stirred by evil spirits in Revelation 16:14. Christ prevails in this Armageddon clash. Notice that this war is described as treading the winepress of the wrath of God. In Revelation 15:1 the seven last plagues are designated as “the wrath of God.” Since the battle of Armageddon is set up under the sixth plague, and the plagues are called the wrath of God; and since Christ’s army makes war by treading the winepress of God’s wrath, we must conclude that Revelation 19 is a clear picture of Armageddon. Incidentally, the vials of the wrath of God were poured on the whole earth. “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (Revelation 16:1). This is why all the nations are involved in Armageddon. The good and evil of all the world will be drawn into it. Since God’s people are scattered in every country, the entire earth is spoken of as being affected by the plagues, one of which is Armageddon. THE EUPHRATES DRIED UP We are now prepared to examine Revelation 16:12 and let the Bible interpret the “drying up of the great river Euphrates” to prepare the way for the “kings of the east.” Whatever these events are, they occur as Armageddon approaches a violent climax. In order to understand this prophecy, we must refer to the parallel experience of ancient Babylon. Six hundred years before Christ was born, the pagan kingdom of Babylon was the great enemy of God’s people. For 70 years they held the Hebrew people in subjection and bondage. Finally Babylon was overthrown by Cyrus the Mede, and the Israelites were delivered. Cyrus came from the east and captured Babylon by diverting the Euphrates River, thus getting access under the water gates of the channel. God said to Babylon, “I will dry up thy rivers. ... Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus ... to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 44:27; 45:1). God “raised up the righteous man (Cyrus) from the east” (Isaiah 41:2). Cyrus is referred to by God as the “anointed” and “the righteous man.” The startling similarity to the Old Testament story is obvious, but we must remember that the secondary application cannot be literal. The immediate fulfillment is always literal and local, but the last-day fulfillment reaches worldwide and has a spiritual application only. So we do not expect a literal Cyrus to dry up a literal river to deliver a literal Israel. We have already discovered that all God’s true people are spiritual Israelites. Now what does the water represent? “The waters which thou sawest ... are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, andtongues” (Revelation 17:15). In this chapter Babylon the Great is pictured as sitting “upon many waters” (Revelation 17:1). The waters are identified as people and nations who give support to the great Babylon harlot (false religion) who persecutes the true saints (Revelation 17:6). So the drying up of the waters would represent the withdrawing of support by those people who had been followers of the Babylon system. This is one of the final events that happens just before the coming of Christ. The people recognize that they have been duped, and in a rage they turn on each other. Zechariah describes what takes place under this seventh plague as Armageddon reaches its climax. “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem (God’s people); ... And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour” (Zechariah 14:12, 13). John described the scene thus, “These shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16). Just as literal Euphrates in ancient Babylon was turned from an asset to a means of destroying her, so the supporting waters (people) of the spiritual Babylon turn into the means of her destruction. This drying up of support prepares the way for the “kings of the east” to come and deliver the people of God from the hand of Babylon. WHO ARE THE KINGS OF THE EAST? Who are these “kings of the east”? Here is one of the most exciting aspects of the battle of Armageddon. Just as God’s place in Zion was located in the “sides of the north,” so His approach is always referred to as from the east. Why? Because anciently Zion was the actual hill north of the city of Jerusalem. Anyone coming from the east had to angle north because of the impassable deserts, and come into Zion from that direction. This is why both north and east are used in the Bible for God’s quarters. “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2). Christ will return to this earth from the east. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). The “kings of the east” are exactly the same as the armies of heaven in Revelation 19 who triumph over “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies” (Verse 19). God’s glory was described by Ezekiel as coming from the east. “He brought me to the gate ... that booketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east ... and the earth shined with his glory” (Ezekiel 43:1, 2). John revealed the breathtaking majesty of Christ leading the armies of heaven to make war. “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses ... And he hath on his vesture and his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:14, 16). What a picture! The kings of the east riding forth against “the kings of the earth” and of the whole world. Spiritual Babylon and all the forces who followed her are destroyed by the King of kings who shall reign forever and ever. ALL EYES ON THE EAST What a tragedy that millions of Christians are looking in the wrong direction and expecting events to transpire that can never take place. Their eyes are fixed on the east all right, but on the Middle East where hate-filled sons of Abraham try to destroy each other with American and Soviet weaponry. What kind of travesty it would be to expect those political planners and militarists to fulfill the beautiful predictions of Isaiah’s “lion and lamb” world of peace. True it is that, for a moment, Isaac and Ishmael may stop fighting. It is also true that one of the signers of the agreement is called Israel. But let no one still cling to the empty hope that this Israel has anything to do with God’s true people. They have been replaced by another nation, obedient and faithful—who have come from every kindred, tongue and people. They are the true Israel. They will never take up arms to fight anyone. They will live as Jesus lived and choose death before dishonor. God is looking for those who will trust in right instead of might. To such He will provide deliverance from every enemy through the conquering kings of the east. Let us take our eyes away from the oil fields and politicalintrigues of the east and fix them on the eastern skies, because it is from there that our true allies will save us. CLOTHED FOR ARMAGEDDON Now we have been able to harmonize all the verses of Revelation 16:12-16 except that strange verse 15, which appears to be completely out of context with all the others. Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the placing of such a verse in the setting of Armageddon? “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Then follow the words, “And he gathered them together into a place called ... Armageddon.” What do proper clothes have to do with preparation for the approaching contest between Christ and Satan? And why is the wardrobe important for the ones waiting for Jesus to come? Revelation 19:7, 8 gives the surprising answer: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Like a searchlight these words illuminate the meaning of Revelation 16:15. Those garments symbolize the righteousness of Christ with which every soul must be arrayed who would be ready to meet the Lord. The battle of Armageddon will be fought over the issue of Christ’s righteousness. Only those who have trusted completely in the merits of Christ’s sinless life and atoning death can triumph with Him over the forces of evil. “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Gordon Yurk



2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All