Essay / Theology

Armageddon, the Great War, and the Prince of Peace

Q: Is the tremendous battle now going on between Germany and the allies the battle of Armageddon prophesied in Scripture?

A: No, certainly not.

That battle is to be fought in Palestine (Megiddo, in the Plain of Jezreel; restored Israel the people of God are arrayed on one side and ‘the kings of the whole world’, i.e. as the Greek signifies, “the inhabited earth” or Roman world) on the other. (Rev. 16:14-16, especially v. 14; 19:11-21; Isa. 10:28; 29:3; Joel 2:11; 3:9; Mic. 1:6).

Ex-President Roosevelt used the word Armageddon in his late campaign because it caught his fancy and seemed a good word to conjure by, but apparently without any understanding whatever of the real Bible teaching about Armageddon.

The present war may be, and probably is, a preparation for Armageddon. The war will very likely result in a restoration of Palestine to the Jews. Magog (Russia?), Meshish (Moscow) and Tubal (Tobolsk) are to play an important part in the last day (Ezek. 38:2).

Q: Did not Pastor Russell definitetly prophesy years ago the war now raging in Europe and that it would occur in the year 1914?

A: No.

He prophsied something entirely diffeent. He prophesied that the “end times” would “close” in 1914 and the Millenium begin (vol. 3, p. 23 following). He taught that Christ had already come in October, 1874. In a number of his paper appearing just before the war broke out, he was trying to hedge on this prophecy as 1914 was so rapidly passing, by saying that the change might not be of such a character as to be at once manifest to all.

When 1914 closes Pastor Russell will be an entirely discredited teacher to all but the utterly duped as he is already to all really intelligent students of the Bible.

Q: How is it possible for one who knows his Bible and what is predicted in the Bible about the wars that shall precede the coming of our Lord to respond to President Wilson’s call to prayer and pray for peace?

A: While any one who really understands his Bible knows that there are to be wars up to the end of this present dispensation, and that this dispensation is to end in the most terrible war of all, it does not follow that there must be war all the time.

While it is true that abiding peace will not come until the Prince of Peace Himself comes and takes the reins of government, there may be periods of peace. The present war is not the final war predicted in the Scriptures. There will be an entirely different alignment of forces in that war, and the center of that war will be Jerusalem. Of course, it is possible that that war may grow out of the war now on, but this present war is not that represented in the 19th chapter of Revelation.

Furthermore, it is possible for the intelligent student of the Bible who believes in the coming of our Lord as the only solution of all our political, commercial, and other problems to pray for peace, for in praying for peace, he is praying for the soon coming of Him who is the Prince of Peace, just as we can pray for God’s kingdom to come, knowing that the kingdom cannot come until the King comes.

Q: Does not the present great war prove that the Lord is coming at once?

A: It does not.

Our Lord says distinctly in Matthew 24:6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” He went on to say that nation should rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these things are the “beginning of sorrows.” Further down in the chapter we have a picture of the Great Tribulation that precedes the comoing of Christ to the earth, but Christ is coming in the air to receive His Church to Himself (1 Thess 4:16, 17) before He comes to the earth and He may come in the air for His people at any moment as far as we know.

But the present war is no reason for stating positively that He will come this year or next. The believer’s attitude is to be watching and waiting and longing, but it is a snare of the Devil when he undertaks to predict positively that the Lord will come within any certain period of time. It is not for us to know the times nor the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power (Acts 1:7). Days such as we are now passing through are days when we should “lift up our heads because our redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:26-28). But they are not days when we should undertake the part of a prophet to the extent of predicting what is not predicted in the Scriptures and setting times which we are expressly forbidden in the Word of God to do.

Originally published in the October 1914 issue of the King’s Business, p. 527, and the November 1914 issue, p. 632.

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