Decoding Armageddon (Part 4) (1-21-18)

Perhaps the most common misconception surrounding Armageddon is that it is a literal date and location where the end of the world will unfold. Those who have bought in to this whimsical theory have searched the globe for clues as to where this dreaded place may be. One popular belief is that World War III will be ignited by a struggle between the Mediterranean countries surrounding the plain of Esdraelon in the north of modern day Israel and the use of nuclear and biological weapons in this war will extinct all of humanity. Another product of their imagination is that it is at this plain where an immense asteroid will crash from space and destroy all of life in an instant due to its central geographic location. Indeed, ideas such as these only succeed in creating unnecessary fear that leads to panic and confusion in society. They are toxic in nature because they lead the mind of the person who lends his ear to these fables astray from Divine truth. Hence, the purpose of identifying the culprits of this sensationalism as men and women who thrive financially from these works of fiction in our first treatise of this series. Ironically, it is deluded and far-fetched conclusions similar to these of which the apostle John is warning against in his allusion to Megiddo. We ended our previous article with the revelation that it was the intent of the beloved apostle to bring to memory some of the most striking battles that took place between the people of God and her enemies in the Old Testament at the Valley of Jezreel. Battles that were fully understood to be between truth and error; righteousness and wickedness. Thus, John’s motive is not to provide a physical location nor an actual time of where and when the end days will happen. Remember that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32, emphasis added). This truth taught by the lips of the Master eliminates any possibility that John would have been told by the Holy Spirit where that day would happen since “only the Father” knows. For this reason, Armageddon cannot be a physical location of a literal final battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil; this would be contradictory and inconsistent with Christ’s words. This also concurs that Armageddon is another emblem used by the apostle meant to give moral strength to our brethren being hunted by Rome. A symbol that reminded them (and us) that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2nd Corinthians 10:3, emphasis added). Once more it is important not to forget that the setting of Revelation is a war between God and Satan, truth and error, represented symbolically by the church of Christ (God) and the Roman Empire under Caesar Domitian (Satan). It was this cruel emperor who demanded to be addressed as “lord and god” and to be honored by all in his empire via the burning of incense in his name, giving strength to the Caesar worship invented by the Roman citizens. This law put every Christian in a moral dilemma; burn the pinch of incense acknowledging Caesar as lord and god, and live, or refuse and confess Jesus as Lord and God before men, and die. Through history, we are able to again validate that verily John speaks of a spiritual battle and not a literal one. Observe that this struggle took place in the minds of men and not at Megiddo itself. Paul brightens our understanding as he further explains “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2nd Corinthians 10:4-5, emphasis added). When the magistrates and priests of Rome arrived demanding that Caesar be worshiped, a disciple of Christ need only remember “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” to fuel the fire of their conviction (Matthew 10:28, emphasis added). Committing to memory these encouraging lessons from God’s word is also how “Christ suffered for us in the flesh” therefore it is imperative to “arm yourselves also with same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1st Peter 4:1-2, emphasis added). Let us recall that these words written by the quill of Peter were sent to the same church enduring persecution at the hands of Nero. There is no question that the battle being represented by the Armageddon is the internal struggle every human being has between his flesh and the Spirit since “these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17b). In alluding to the plain of Esdraelon, John was reminding his brethren that this confrontation between God’s truth and man’s error was not new, but ongoing. Man, from the very beginning, has always tried to alter the Lord’s truth out of convenience. At Eden, Satan was successful in luring man away from God’s protection by enticing his flesh to subdue his reason. James uses the illustration of a seductive woman to explain how dangerous temptation is. He explains, “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15, emphasis added). Notice how James’ metaphoric explanation of how temptation takes place coincides that the battle is fought in the heart of men, pitting the lusts of his flesh against the reason of his mind. The inspired scribe confirms that Satan’s strategy revolves around confusion and doubt produced by the internal fight between flesh and mind. This, undoubtedly, is heightened when the life of a person is put on a perilous path leading to death. Those Christians who elected not to deny Jesus, were able to do so because of their incredible inner strength that subdued panic and doubt. They understood completely that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1st Corinthians 15:33). Therefore, Armageddon is a symbol to represent the internal, spiritual warfare that takes place in the mind of man. Amazingly, this fascinating enigma actually began to unravel with three unclean frogs. To be continued…

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