"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.IX Pg.14
April 1944

"The Battle Of Armageddon"

Ted W. Mcelroy

Over the radio and through the press much is being said concerning the so-called "battle of Armageddon." Since it is a living issue, it is fitting that we study it. The theory about this battle is an essential phase of the premillennial doctrine, Russellites and other premillennialists teach that this battle will prepare the way and inaugurate the reign of Christ in the earth on the literal throne of David from Jerusalem. They differ on the details of the battle but most of them agree that this carnal battle begins the literal kingdom on earth.

From a little book by the late Judge Rutherford entitled "The Final War," I will present the prominent points of his description of the battle. Other premillennialists will agree more or less with his view. He says, "Satan, the Devil is the god of this world and all nations from a part of his organization" (Page 8), thus he plainly asserts that the armies of the world are under the devil's control and hence will be used by him in this battle. On the other side of the battle of Armageddon, Rutherford describes the divine organization, "The 144,000 who are associated with Jesus Christ" (page 14) reinforced with a "host of angels" (page 48). Thus they imagine the stage is set for the battle, a carnal warfare in which much literal blood will be shed.

Even though the doctrine has no warrant in the scripture, and is contrary to common sense, it has gathered a multitude of followers through its fantastic, imaginative, and carnal appeal. Some have even forsaken the gospel and the church of the Lord to build their hopes on the sands of this speculation.

First, let me emphasize that the phrase "battle of Armageddon" is not in the Bible, hence I am certain since the words are not there that the ideas conveyed by the words are not there either.

The word, "Armageddon" appears but one time in the Bible, Rev. 16:16, and is the same place spoken of in the Old Testament as Jezreel, valley of Megiddon, the Great Plain. The Americana Encyclopedia Vol. 10 page 497 gives the size of this place, 36 miles long and 15 miles wide. The place is not large enough for the things the premillennial theory claims for it; there just is not room in the valley for all the armies of the world plus a host of angels to engage in battle there. The Crimean battle line of present war between Russia and Germany is 200 miles long, and that is just one sector of the battle between those two countries; add to that the other fronts and battle lines of the present world war, and you can readily see the absurdity of a theory that condenses the armies of the whole world and a host of angels to a battlefield in a 36 mile valley. The theory is a physical impossibility.

The name of the place Armageddon is used in Revelation because it had a symbolic meaning to the people of that time. Its symbolic meaning is derived from its history. Two great victories were won there: Barak over the Canaanites (Judges 5), and Gideon over the Midianites (Judges 7). Two great disasters are connected with the place: Saul was killed (1 Sam. 31), and Josiah was killed (2 Kings 23). Because of its history it had a traditional symbolic meaning of glorious victory, great slaughter, and terrible retribution.

In Rev. 16 the place Armageddon has no more a literal meaning than does the river Euphrates vs. 12 of same chapter. Both have a symbolic meaning derived from their history. The course of the river Euphrates was changed so that the conquering army might enter into Babylon and destroy the city, hence the river Euphrates is used as a symbol in connection with the destruction of spiritual Babylon. Likewise Armageddon is used to donate victory and retribution because of what happened there.

The theory of which the imaginary battle of Armageddon is just a part is fundamentally wrong and contrary to the scripture. The theory is that when Christ comes again he will begin his reign upon the earth and will reign a thousand years. To the contrary the scriptures teach that Christ is either reigning now at God's right hand or he is still in the grave (Heb. 1:13; Acts 2:29-31), and that when he comes his reign will cease (1 Cor. 15:24-25)

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" Jno. 18:36, and as long as these words are in the Bible, all premillennialists are wrong whether they be Russellites or those that went out from us.