Armageddon--Literal and Spiritual With Actual War Among the Nations

 

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Dear Reader,

 

There is a great dispute among Seventh-day Adventists as to whether or not there will be actual war at the battle of Armageddon.  I know that it sounds like a contradiction to have a battle without the firing of guns and other war implements, but that is what is being taught on the Internet by professing SDAs.  Of course, they base their teaching on the notion that the battle is spiritual only.

The SDA Bible Commentary presents an either/or version of an explanation for Armageddon.  Also, there are confusing views among professing Seventh-day Adventists as to how the battle of Armageddon relates to the end-time plagues and trumpets.  Some do not believe those woes are any part of Armageddon and the Great Day of God Almighty, Rev. 16:14, when He will silence the ammunitions of man lest he destroy himself. 

 

Here is a post from Karl Wagner on the issue:

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Karl Wagner

To: SDAIssues

Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:55 AM

Subject: [SDAIssues] RE: Armageddon--Literal or Spiritual

 

Ron,

 

The only quote you used in reference to Armageddon is reproduced below. The end-time paluges and trumpets woes are not Armageddon. I do not believe that the end will be a "cake walk" for even the saints. For the very elect would perish were it not that this period is cut short. But for the battle of Armageddon, it is Jesus (Note the emphasised part of the quote) that stands in front of the army, and that army consists of heavenly angels.

There is no physical battle here that takes place in the valley of Jezrel. We are participants in the battle of Armageddon in that there are only two sides of the question. Which side we take is our position in this battle.

Karl

 

Here is your quite again in larger context.... 

 

13-16 (chs. 13:13, 14; 17:13, 14; 19:11-16; see EGW on ch. 7:1-3). Battle of Armageddon Soon to Be Fought.--There are only two parties in our world, those who are loyal to God, and those who stand under the banner of the prince of darkness. Satan and his angels will come down with power and signs and lying wonders to deceive those who dwell on the earth, and if possible the very elect. The crisis is right upon us. Is this to paralyze the energies of those who have a knowledge of the truth? Is the influence of the powers of deception so far reaching that the influence of the truth will be overpowered?  {7BC 982.4}
     The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on whose vesture is written the name, King of kings and Lord of lords, leads forth the armies of heaven on white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white (MS 172, 1899).  {7BC 982.5}
     Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle, and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle. All the world will be on one side or the other of the question. The battle of Armageddon will be fought, and that day must find none of us sleeping. Wide awake we must be, as wise virgins having oil in our vessels with our lamps. . . .  {7BC 982.6}
     The power of the Holy Ghost must be upon us, and the Captain of the Lord's host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us (Letter 112, 1890).  {7BC 982.7}

 

Karl,

 

 

The "larger context" does not preclude an actual battle. 

 

Take no offense, I just believe Ellen White and Scripture rather than your personal opinion:

 

Chap. 288 - God Intervenes in Armageddon
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Jer. 25:31.

 


     For six thousand years the great controversy has been in progress; the Son of God and His heavenly messengers have been in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn, enlighten, and save the children of men. Now all have made their decisions; the wicked have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time has come for God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. Now the controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. "The Lord hath a controversy with the nations"; "He will give them that are wicked to the sword." {Mar 296.1}

 

     The mark of deliverance has been set upon those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done." Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel's vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary." Says the prophet: "They began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezekiel 9:1-6. The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together. {Mar 296.2}

 

     "The Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." Isaiah 26:21. . . . In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth--priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried." Jeremiah 25:33. {Mar 296.3}

 

Ron

 

 

Ron speaking again:  It seems that indeed the SDA Bible Commentary and Ellen White, implicate Armageddon with the outpouring of God’s unmingled wrath in the trumpets and plagues.

 

God has shown me that there is a combination of the forces mentioned in the SDA Bible Commentary, rather than an either/or scenario.  Let’s review the account in the SDA Bible Commentary:

 

Below each verse in the chapter of Revelation 16, below, I am going to give the SDA Commentary explanation (in this color), and some views that I have been shown in this color. 

 

Revelation 16


1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

1. I heard. See on ch. 1:2, 10.

A great voice. Compare ch. 1:10.

Out of the temple. In view of the fact that the seven plague-bearing angels had already departed from the temple (ch. 15:6), and that “no man [literally, “no one”] was able to enter into the temple” (see on v. 8), this would seem to be the voice of God Himself.

Seven angels. For the significance of the number “seven” in the Revelation see on ch. 1:11.

Go. Although John does not specify the moment for the giving of this fearful command, the context makes evident that it will be issued soon after the close of probationay time but prior to the coming of Christ (cf. on ch. 15:8).  Obviously, the unprecedented series of calamities here foretold (see below on “pour out the vials”) is yet future.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  So, indeed, the seven plague-bearing angels had already departed from the Temple.

 

The fact that the first plague is poured out upon men who have received the mark of the beast and who worship its image of the beast and who worship its image (ch. 16:2) places the plagues after the setting up of the image and the affixing of the mark (see on ch. 13:14-17), and also after the proclamation of the third angel, which warns against the beast and its mark (see on ch. 14:9-11). Furthermore, the fact that the seven last plagues constitute the fullness of divine wrath untempered by mercy (chs. 14:10; 15:1; 16:1) clearly implies that the probation of those upon whom they fall has closed (see on ch. 22:11). The fact that at the time of the fifth plague men are still suffering from the sores of the first plague (ch. 16:11) clearly implies that the plagues are poured out successively and within a comparatively short period of time (see on v. 2). It appears also that the judgment of mystical Babylon, which takes place under the seventh plague (v. 19), precedes that of the kings of the earth at the appearance of Christ (see on chs. 17:16; 18:11, 20; 19:2, 11-19; cf. chs. 6:15-17; 14:14).

Pour out the vials.  That is, afflict the earth with the calamities figuratively represented by the seven bowls (see ch. 15:7). In certain respects the seven last plagues are similar to the ten plagues upon Egyp5 (Ex. 5:1 to 12:30).  Both testify to the superior authority and power of God.  Bot result in the decisive defeat of men who had chosen to defy God, and thus in the deliverance of His chosen people from a situation that would otherwise be without remedy.  Both demonstrate the justice of God and bring honor and glory to His name.

 

Each of the ten plagues upon Egypt was painfully literal; and each was designed to demonstrate how false were the claims of, and how futile was reliance upon, false religion (see on Ex. 7:17; 12:12; cf. PP 333, 758-760).  Similarly, the seven last plagues will be literal, yet each will strike a telling blow at some aspect of apostate religion and thus have symbolic overtones.  It is obvious, for instance, that the first angel did not pour a literal chemical compound from a literal bowl upon men who had received a literal mark inflicted by a literal beast. But the angel himself is probably literal, and the men upon whom his vial falls are certainly literal men, and their sufferings equally literal.  The symbolic import of the third plague is clearly pointed out in Rev. 15:5, 6.

 

Wrath of God.  See on 2 Kings 13:3; Rev. 14:10.  It may be asked why God would torment men in the fearful manner described in ch. 16 after the close of human probation, when there will be no opportunity for repentance.  Why does Christ not come and terminate the reign of sin immediately?  In OT times various calamities, such as invasion, famine, pestilence, earthquake, and other natural disasters, were often permitted by God as remedial, disciplinary agencies to bring men to repentance. (see Isa. 1:5-9; 9:13; 10:5, 6; 26:9; Jer. 2:30; 5:3; Hosea 7:10; Joel 1:4; 2:12-14; Amos 4:6-11; Haggai 1:5-11; see on 1 Sam. 16:14; 2 Chron. 18:18). Quite obviously the seven last plagues can serve no such beneficent purpose (see above on “go”).  However, there can be no doubt that the plagues do serve a necessary function in the outworking of the plan of Heaven.

 

It may be observed that the first four or five plagues are, in a sense, of a preliminary nature and lead men to realize that they have been fighting against God (see GC 640).  But instead of repenting they curse Him more bitterly than ever and become even more resolute in their opposition (see Rev. 16:9, 11, 21).  The plagues thus serve to reveal the spirit of rebellion which fully controls their hearts.  The tares, as it were, are proved to be tares (cf. Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43), and God’s justice in destroying them is made evident (cf. GC 670). Conversely, the trials of the great time of trouble attending the plagues perfects the characters of the saints, and leads them to trust more confidently in God. Compare on Rev. 7:4.

 

As willingness to die for another is the supreme manifestation of love (John 15:13), so the intent to take another’s life marks the ultimate degree of hatred.  During the last tow plagues a situation develops that makes this distinction fully apparent, even to the participants themselves, and the justice of God in terminating human history is thus made evident to men as well as angels (see Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; GC 638-640; cf. PP. 260; cf. on Rev. 16:13, 14, 16, 17).  It will then be demonstrated before the universe that, to a man, the remnant people would rather die than disobey God, and that those who have chosen the service of Satan would, if permitted, slay all who stand in the way of their purpose to control the earth.  Caught in the very act of attempting to execute the death decree, they stand without excuse before God. See on ch. 16:17.

 

The line is thus clearly drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, and through the unconverted the devil is permitted to demonstrate what the universe would be like should he be allowed to control it (see GC 37). Compare on ch. 7:1.

 

Upon the earth. That is, upon the inhabitants of earth.

 

2. The first. The numerical designation of each angel implies that the plagues are successive (see on vs. 1, 11).

 

Noisome and grievous. Or, “painful and severe,” or “troublesome and annoying.”

 

Sore. Gr. helkos, “ulcer,” “sore,” “suppurating wound.”  In the LXX helkos is used of the boils that befell the Egyptians (Ex. 9:9, 10), of a “botch” that could not be healed (Deut. 28:27), and of the boils that came upon Job (Job 2:7). Against this “sore” the vaunted miracle-working power of the spirits now cooperating with apostate Christianity (Rev. 13:13, 14; 18:2; 19:20) APPARENTLY PROVES UNAVAILING (SEE ON CH. 16:14.  The falsity of the claims that men have based on miracle-working power is demonstrated in a way that they cannot deny (cf. Ex. 8:19).

 

The men.  This first installment of “the wrath of God” (v. 1) falls upon those who have failed to heed either the third angel’s message, which warned them against worshiping “the beast and his image” (ch. 14:9), or God’s final call to come out of mystic Babylon (ch. 18:1-4). This plague will not be universal (see GC 628).

 

Mark of the beast. See on ch. 13:16.

 

Which worshipped his image. See on ch. 13:14, 15.

 

3. Upon the sea.  Under the third plague the “rivers and fountains of waters” are similarly affected (v. 4). The sea is useful primarily as a highway for international commerce and travel.  It has been suggested that, by the obstruction of international travel and trade (see chs. 13:13-17; 16:13, 14; 17:3, 12), this plague is designed to demonstrate in a signal way God’s displeasure with respect to Satan’s plan to bind the nations of earth together under his control.  Compare Balaam’s experience (Num. 22:21-35). Like the first plague, the second is not universal (see on Rev. 16:2; see GC 628).

 

Blood.  Doubtless in consistency, odor, and color, but not necessarily in composition.

 

Of a dead man. Nothing more offensive can be imagined than the coagulated blood of a dead man.

 

Every living Soul.  Or, “every living thing” (RSV). The word for “soul” (psuche\) is used of animal life as well as of human life (see on Matt. 10:28: cf. on ps. 16:10). In Rev. 8:9 psuche\ is translated “creatures,” obviously referring to marine life.  In Gen. 8:1 the Hebrew equivalent (nephesh, “living thing”) is similarly used of animals (cf. Job 12:10).

 

4. Rivers and fountains of waters. In Bible times “rivers and fountains of waters: were primarily useful for such everyday requirements as drinking, bathin, and irrigation.  Whereas the second plague would doubtless result in great inconvenience and perhaps interruption of travel (see on v. 3) the effects of the third would be immediate and serious.  Compare the first plague on the land of Egypt (see on Ex. 7:17, 19). Like the firs tand second plagues, the third is not universal (see GC 628).

 

5. I heard.  See on ch. 1:2, 10.

 

Angel of waters. That is, one having jurisdiction over the waters.  Compare the angels of chs. 7:1 and 14:18, which have power ver the “winds” and over “fire” respectively.,  Reference hare may well be to the angel assigned to pour out the third plague upon the “rivers and fountains of waters.”

 

Thou art righteous.  The terrible nature of the third plague apparently calls forth a statement in defense of God for authorizing it.  He is altogether just in this demonstration of His “wrath” (see on chs. 15:3, 4; 16:1).

 

Lord. Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the omission of this word.

 

Art, and wast. See on ch. 1:4.

 

Shalt be.  Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) reading “O Holy One,” or “the Holy One.” This expression occurs in every ancient Greek manuscript except one now known and in the Textus Receptus, on which the KJV was largely based.  The reason for the reading of the KJV is not apparent.  The changelessness of God stands forth in striking contrast with the devastating changes now taking place on earth.

 

Thus. Lieterally, “these [things],” that is, that have not yet fallen.

 

6. They have shed.  Literally, “they have poured out,.” This doubtless includes the unshed blood of the living saints, who have been marked out for martyrdom (see on chs. 17:6; 18:20). By condemning the people of God to death the wicked have as truly incurred guilt for their blood as if it had already been shed (GC 628; cf. Matt. 23:35).

 

Saints and prophets.  See on Acts 9:13; Rom. 1:7; Rev. 18:20.

 

Thou hast given them.  The plague is stated to be a direct act on the part of God (see on v. 1; cf. GC 36, 37).

 

They are worthy. The punishment is precisely appropriate to the crime.  The wicked deserve the punishment now meted out to them; it is in no sense an arbitrary act on the part of God (see on v. 1).

 

7. I heard. See on ch. 1:2, 10.

 

Another. Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the omission of this word.  The preferred reading, literally, is, “I heard the altar say,” probably meaning, however, not the altar but the angel who had been serving at it or standing by it (cf. ch. 14:18). The altar is doubtless not personified.

 

The altar. That is, the altar of incense.  No mention is made of an altar of burnt offering in heaven (cf. chs. 8:3; 9:13; 14:18). For the function of the altar of incense in the ancient tabernacle service see on Ex. 30:1, 6.

 

Even so. Literally, “yes.”

 

True and righteous.  Or, “true and just” (see chs 1:5; 3:7; 6:10; 15:3). In visiting these terrible judgments upon those who have rejected divine mercy, God is “true” in the sense that He is true to His word—He is carrying out what He had promised to do (ch. 14:9-11; etc.). He is “righteous,” or “just,” in the sense that justice demands the meting out of punishment to those who have defied Heaven. See on ch. 16:1.

 

Judgments. That is, “acts of judgment,” meaning the plagues.

 

8. Upon the sun. According to the Greek the first three plagues are poured out “into” (eis) the earth, the sea, and the fountains and rivers of waters, respectively.  The next three are poured out “upon” (epi) the sun, the beast’s throne, and the river Euphrates, respectively.  The seventh is poured out “into” (eis) however, textual evidence favors (cf. p. 10) the reading “upon” [epi] the air.  What distinction, if any, Inspiration may have intended is not clear.

 

Scorch men with fire.  Or, “burn men with fire.” Normally, the sun warms and cheers men, and controls plant growth, climate, and many other natural processes necessary to the maintenance of life upon the earth.  Now, it sends forth an excess of warmth and energy that tends to torment men and to destroy life.  Though men doubtless suffer directly from this intense heat, its worst results are doubtless the most severe drought and famine the world has ever known (see GC 628).  But the literal plague is accompanied by a famine for God’s Word (cf. Amos 8:11, 12).

 

Throughout the land there is a feverish but vain quest for a means of alleviating the suffering and want occasioned by the first four plagues and of averting further calamities (GC 629). It is not motivated by godly sorrow, but by sorrow of the world (see on 2 Cor. 7:9-11). The objective is to escape the misery occasioned by the plagues, not to enter into a genuine state of reconciliation with God.  Accordingly, Satan convinces the inhabitants of the earth, not that they are sinners, but that they have erred in tolerating God’s chosen people (see EW 34; see on Rev. 16:14). Like the three preceding plagues, this one is not universal (GC 628).

 

9. Blasphemed. Gr. blasphemeo\ (see on ch. 13:1). Here, to blaspheme God is to speak of Him in a derogatory fashion. Under the fourth plague men begin to blame Him for their misery and to realize, at last, that they are fighting against Him (see on ch. 16:1).

 

Name of God. That is, God Himself. The name stands for the person who bears it (see on Matt. 6:9; Acts 3:16).

 

Power over these plagues.  They view the plagues as a demonstration of divine power ()see on v. 1).

 

Repented not. Instead of acknowledging their guilt they proceed to lay the blame for their miserable plight upon those who have remained true and loyal to God (see EW 34; GC 624)(. In utter perversity they refuse to yield to His will, and demonstrate themselves to be what they really are—devoted servants of Satan (see on v. 1). The refusal to repent proves them to be altogether and unalterably opposed to God.

 

Give him glory.  That is, acknowledge Him to be “true and righteous” (see on v. 7). Those suffering from the plagues refuse to admit themselves in the wrong and God in the right, even in the face of severe judgments that would lead honest, contrite men to amend their ways (cf. Isa. 26:9, 10). Their hearts prove to be utterly hardened and unsusceptible to either divine mercy or severity (see on E.. 4:21; Eph. 4:30; Rev. 16:1).

 

10. Seat. Gr. thronos, “throne” (see on ch. 13:2).  “The seat of the beast” is apparently his headquarters. “The beast” here represents primarily the papacy in its revived state, not so much in its religious aspect as in its assumed role of a world power dominant over other world powers (see on chs. 13:1, 2, 10; 17:3, 8, 9, 11).

 

His Kingdom. Or, “its kingdom.” Except for the small remnant that still resists his supremacy Satan numbers the world as his subjects, and it is through the revived papacy in particular that he seeks to secure undisputed control over the entire human race (see GC 571, 580, 656; 5T 472; 7T 182; see on chs. 16:13, 14; 17:8, 12; cf. ch. 19:19). It would therefore appear that for the duration of this plague the entire world is enveloped in a pall of darkness.  Thus, while men grope unrepentantly for light in a spiritually dark world (see ch. 16:8, 9). God sends upon them literal darkness, symbolic of the deeper spiritual night that is yet to enshroud the earth (see on vs. 13, 14).

 

Darkness.  The entire clause reads literally, ‘his kingdom became darkened,’ the Greek implying that it remained so for a period of time.  This is literal darkness (see on v. 1), with its attendant cold and misery.  The absence of light and heat would be all the more impressive and painful after the intense heat experienced under the fourth plague.

 

Gnawed their tongues for pain. Or, “kept biting their tongues out of pain,” that is, because of pain.  Possibly an intense cold accompanied the prolonged darkness.

 

11. Blasphemed.  Men confirm their perverse hatred of God. Their attitude under the fourth plague (see on v. 9) persists unabated.

 

God of heaven. See on ch. 11:18.

 

Their pains.  That is, the effects of the plagues (v. 10).

 

Their sores.  That is, the effects of the first plague (v. 1). Apparently the sores of the first plague are not immediately fatal, at least not in all cases.,  Apparently, also, the plagues fall successively rather than simultaneously, and their effects persist (see on v. 2).

 

Repented not.  See on v. 9.

 

Now the going gets very important and very interesting!

 

12. The sixth angel.  Generally speaking, Adventist expositors set forth one or the other of two interpretations of vs. 12-16.  According to the first interpretation “the great river Euphrates” represents the Ottoman Empire; the drying up of is waters, the gradual dissolution of that empire; the “kings of the east,” the nations of the Orient; and Armageddon, the literal valley of Megiddo in northern Palestine.  Thus, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire is seen as preparing the way for the Oriental nations to join battle with those of the West in the valley of Megiddo.

According to the second interpretation the Euphrates represents the people over whom mystical Babylon holds sway: the drying up of its waters, the withdrawal of their support from Babylon; the “kings of the east,” Christ and those accompanying Him; and Armageddon, the last battle of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, fought out on the battlefield of this earth.  Thus, the withdrawal of human support from mystical Babylon is seen as the removal of the last barrier to her ultimate defeat and punishment.

 

According to the first view the battle of Armageddon begins as essentially a political conflict and comes to a climax with the appearance of Christ and the armies of heaven.  According to the second view the battle of Armageddon begins when the united religious and political powers of earth open their final attack on God’s remnant people.

 

 

Ron’s Commentary:  It is not a matter of either/or in regard to the first and second view.  Both will play a part in the final events.  There will be political elements as well as the political-religio action of Satan’s forces to rid the earth of God’s people.

 

Though these two views appear to be mutually exclusive, they actually have much in common. 

Proponents of both views on Armageddon are generally agreed on the following points:

1.     That it is the last great battle of earth’s history and that it is still future.

2.     That it is “the battle of that great day of God” (v. 14).

3.     That ‘”he great river Euphrates” is symbolic of human beings.

4.     That the three “unclean spirits” (v. 13) represent the papacy, apostate Protestantism, and spiritism (or paganism).

5.     That these three “spirits” constitute the agencies that will summon the nations to battle.

6.     That the gathering agencies—“three unclean spirits”—are religious in nature and that the forces gathered are political and military.

7.     That preparations for the battle take place under the sixth plague, but that the battle itself is fought under the seventh plague.

8.     That in one phase it will be a real battle between real people employing real weapons.

9.     That there will be bloodshed on an unprecedented scale.

10.                                                   That all the nations of earth will be involved.

11.                                                   That eventually Christ and the armies of heaven intervene and bring the battle to a close.

12.                                                   That the living saints witness the battle, but not as direct participants.

The fundamental difference between the two views consists in whether the three terms, Euphrates, “kings of the east,” and Armageddon, retain a measure of literal, geographical significance, or whether they are to be interpreted in a completely figurative sense.  The first view assumes that these terms retain geographical significance.  The second view affirms that they are to be interpreted altogether figuratively, in terms of the context of chs. 13 to 19.  For further comment on the various points of similarity and difference between these two views see on vs. 12-19.  Compare on Dan. 11:36-40.

 

The Lord has shown me in no uncertain terms that though there are figurative representations, these representations are a symbol of real battles killing real people.

 

As might be expected, variations and modifications of these two major views are held by some Adventist expositors.  However, space limits prevent exploring these.  For an earlier discussion of the view that the battle of Armageddon is the battle between Christ and the wicked nations at the second advent, see James White in The Review and Herald, Jan. 21, 1862, p. 61.  For a formal presentation of the view that the battle of Armageddon involves also a political and military gathering of the nations of earth in Palestine, see Uriah Smith, The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation (1944), pp. 691-701.

 

Water in Scripture represents people, and the great river Euphrates” represents the drying up of the empires of the Arabic peoples due to war with the Western He-goat—the U.S.A., Daniel 8.   This prepares them to seek the aid of China and the Oriental nations for aid in coming against the Western treaty powers.

 

Now I want to call your attention to the SDA Bible Commentary on the word Euphrates in Revelation 9:14.  First the verse:

 

Again, here is the verse:  Rev 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

 

Here is the commentary for the word Euphrates, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 793:

 

Euphrates.  Commentators who apply the sixth trumpet to the Turks generally give a literal interpretation to the Euphrates, in the sense that it was from the region of the Euphrates that the Turks entered the Byzantine Empire.  But inasmuch as the names Sodom, Egypt (ch. 11:8), and Babylon (chs 14:8; 17:5; 18:2, 10:21) are used symbolically in the Revelation, other commentators hold that the Euphrates should also be understood symbolically (see on ch. 16:12).  Some of these not that, to the Israelites, the Euphrates constituted the northern boundary of the land which ideally they were to occupy (Deut. 1:7, 8), and which, at the height of their power, they dominated, at least to some extent (see on 1Kings 4:21).  Beyond the Euphrates were the heathen nations of the north who repeatedly swept down and engulfed Israel (cf. on Jer. 1:14).  According to this point of view the Euphrates here indicates a boundary beyond which God holds the forces that accomplish His judgments under the sixth trumpet.

Still others connect the Euphrates with mystical Babylon. They point out that inasmuch as later in the Revelation the final apostasy is portrayed as mystic Babylon (ch. 17:5) and that particular attention is called to its sitting “upon many waters” (v. 1), and inasmuch as historical Babylon was literally situated upon the waters of the Euphrates (see Vol. IV, p. 796), the Euphrates is here symbolic of the domain of the power represented as mystic Babylon (cf. on ch. 16:12).  SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 793.

 

Both views are correct because all heathen nations including Russia (as an atheistic power) are part of Mystic Babylon, the city that represents (is symbolic of) Satan’s throne, just as Jerusalem is symbolic of God’s throne.

Even though Rome is a professedly “Christian” nation, she is really the vicar of Satan.  Also, Rome always invaded Israel from the North.  So the King of the North is the heathen Arabic Nations (backed by Russia’s technical and military) combined with Popery.  They will form a liaison before it is all over (for one hour—Rev. 17:12, 13), and it is this short-lived liaison that will give rise to the cry of peace and safety before sudden destruction.  For a short time, the whole world will wander after the beast.  It is possible that for a short time the Pope will be permitted to operate from the Mosque on the Dome of the Rock. This fact has been overlooked by Neil Livingston in his description of the King of the North.  “He shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant (Rome).”  Daniel 11:30.  It is of interest and importance that Pope Benedict XVI, will visit the president of Turkey in November of 2006.

 

“…Ahmet Necdet Sezer, president of Turkey, has invited His Holiness Benedict XVI to make an official visit to that country from November 28 to 30, 2006," the Vatican announced in a mid-day statement. "The Holy Father has accepted the invitation.”  See full story at the following link: http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idCategory=33&idsub=128&id=2561

 

The real King of the North is a confederacy of Russia, the Arabic nations such as Turkey, and I say Turkey because she controls the sacred spot on which the Jewish Temple was built.  Thirteen-hundred years ago, she placed her tabernacles in Jerusalem in the glorious holy mountain where Solomon’s Temple once stood—and which is now the Dome of the Rock.  What is now Mount Zion is the sacred enclosure of Mohammedanism called in the Arabic language, `El Haram Es Sharif’ which means in the native language, `the Noble or August Sanctuary. For eleven hundred years this holy mountain site has been called `the Noble or August Sanctuary. For further details see the following document: 

http://members.tripod.com/omega77/kingofnorthliv1.htm

 

After breaking the horns (powers) of Iraq and Iran and probably Syria and Egypt, four notable horns emerge.  When America can no longer protect South Korea from North Korea, that will be interesting.  Russia will support North Korea in overtaking South Korea, and Japan may then side with the communist nations, because Japan is not a Christian nation.  There may be a confederacy of non-Christian nations to constitute the 4 horns that emerge after America’s notable horn is broken.  Those non-Christian [HEATHEN] nations (the Eastern Oriental Nations) will confederate with the HEATHEN northern hordes of Arabic nations, against the Christian nations—the West.  All the sons of Satan religions, Buddhism, Mohammedism (Islamic) and the other isms, will unite against the Western powers.

1854 Review and Herald Editorial Quoted By James White  

We do not believe that Russia is “the king of the north.” It is our opinion that any power that reigns over Syria is -for the time being - “the king of the north,” spoken of Daniel xi; hence that the Turkish Dynasty is now [1854] that power. If Russia, Austria, England, or France should become possessed of supreme power over Syria, then it - which ever it might be - would become the king of the north.” Till then none but the Turkish Dynasty occupies that position, in our opinion. Our views of Russia, Turkey, and France are known to our readers. No arguments, nor ridicule, that has yet appeared, has in the least shaken our mind; yet we do not affirm that we are right; events may convince us that we are wrong in this matter. We have no theory at stake, and shall feel, we think, no mortification to find we are - just what we believe all others to be fallible.” (“Discordant Opinions,” Quoted by James White, Chief Editor, Review and Herald, December 12, 1854; Adventist Pioneer Library CD-ROM Code Number, JW, 6R&H17, page 0134, paragraphs 18- 22, emphasis supplied).  

Notice that in 1854 James White quoted an article titled “Discordant Opinions,” in which it was stated, “It is our opinion that any power that reigns over Syria is - for the time being - `the king of the north,’ spoken of Daniel xi; hence that the Turkish Dynasty is now that power.” Further, it was stated, “Till then none but the Turkish Dynasty occupies that position, in our opinion.”  

Tell me friend, what will Israel do when the U.S.A. can no longer come to her assistance after her notable horn of Daniel 8:8 is broken? The only world superpower then will be Russia. Thus, she and the nations she supports with armaments will be King of the North.

Dan 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

 

The king of the East, China will march 200,000,000 men.  

 

Rev 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

 

Rev 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 

 

Rev 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

 

The only nation that can amass an army of two hundred-million men is China combined with the other Oriental nations.  But China by herself could do it.  The current population of China is currently (as of Feb. 2006) :  1,306,313,812 billion. That heathen army, in co-partnership with the anti-west Arabic nations, along with Russia’s aid, will kill a third of the population of earth.  And this is part of the sixth trumpet! 

 

Can you begin to see the folly and peace and safety implications of those who are teaching that not one shot will be fired in the Armageddon conflict?  Can you see how Satan’s purpose is served by teaching now that there will be no such thing!

 

2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

12 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.

 

Great river Euphrates. See p. 724; see on ch. 9:14. Proponents of both the first and the second views agree that John does not here refer to the literal river as a river, or to the drying up of its literal waters.  There is also general agreement that the waters of the river Euphrates here represent human beings (cf. ch. 17:15).  According to the first view, however, the Euphrates represents the former Ottoman Empire, through which this river flowed, and since the fall of that empire at the end of World War I, its modern successor, Turkey.  This view assumes that the term Euphrates, while not referring to the literal river as a river, nevertheless retains a measure of literal geographical significance, to the extent of being a designation for the geographical area traversed by the river, the Mesopotamian valley.  For more than 1,000 years this area was administered by the Saracens and the Turks, and more recently by the government of Iraq.

 

According to the second view the significance of the term Euphrates is to be ascertained from the context which reveals that the term Babylon is used exclusively as a symbol of apostate Christianity (see on chs. 14:8; 17:5).  Historically and geographically the literal river Euphrates was the river of literal Babylon (Jer. 51:12, 13, 63, 64).  As the river of mystical Babylon, “that great city” (see on Rev. 17:18), the Euphrates would here be dissociated altogether from its former literal, geographical significance and be understood in terms of its companion symbol, mystical Babylon. The waters of the Euphrates would thus be the “many waters” of ch. 17:1-3, 15 on which mystical Babylon sits, the “inhabitants of the earth,” whom she makes “drunk with the wine of her fornication” (ch. 17:2; cf. ch. 13:3, 4, 7, 8, 14-16).

 

Ron’s Commentary:  As all the concepts of Scripture have deeper and varied meanings, there is no reason for making the term Euphrates exclusive of either view. 

 

Water.  See on ch. 17:1, 15.

Dried up. The form of the verb in the Greek denotes as an accomplished fact the act of drying up.  According to the first view the drying up of the river Euphrates here referred to began to meet its fulfillment in the gradual shrinking of the Ottoman Empire, with the complete fulfillment of this prophetic feature still future.

 

According to the second view the drying up of the waters of the Euphrates refers to the withdrawal of human support from mystical Babylon in connection with the sixth plague (see above on “great river Euphrates”’ see on Rev. 16:14, 16, 17, 19; cf. Isa. 44:26 to 45:2).  Proponents of this view find the results of the drying up described symbolically in Rev. 16:18, 19; 17:15-18, and literally in GC 654-656.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Here again, there is no need for either/or limited thinking when both are applicable.

 

13 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.

 

·        The papacy

·        Apostate Protestantism

·        Spiritism (Paganism and the paganistic religions) inclusive of atheism which is a religion whether its adherents realize it or not.  Its adherents worship its author, Satan.

·        The papacy is a religio-political power of itself.

·        The papacy and its protestant daughters will enlist government support.

·        The New Agers  figure into the mix as haters of Christians.

·        New Agers are very politically oriented.

·        The Islamic nations figure into the fray as haters of Christians.

·        Consider that George Washington was a Mason and the Masons are tied to the Illuminati.  These are spiritists of the ancient Babylonian types.  They are also very politically active and oriented.

 

Way.  Gr. hodos, “road,” “highway.” In the setting of vs. 12-16 this is the “way” by which the “kings” and their armies pass through the Euphrates to join battle with their opponents.  According to the first view this “way” would be geographically through the Mesopotamian valley, formerly the territory of the Ottoman Empire.  According to the second view, “way” is figurative—the “way” by which the situation on earth is prepared for Christ and the armies of heaven to triumph over Babylon (v. 19) and “the kings of the earth” (v. 14).

 

Ron’s Commentary:  My God has a big mind!  He means it to be both literal and figurative!

 

Kings of the east.  Literally, “kings from the [sun] rising” (see on ch. 7:2).  In harmony with the geographical significance that they attribute to “the great river Euphrates,” those who hold the first view understand the “kings of the east” in a geographical sense, as denoting nations situated to the east of the Mesopotamian valley.

 

According to the second view “the kings of the east” represent Christ and those accompanying Him.  This view bases the term “kings of the east,” like the other symbolic expressions of Rev. 16:12, on the historical incident of Cyrus conquering Babylon and later releasing God’s people, the Jews, to return to their native land.

 

Prepared. According to the first view the “way of the kings of the east” began to be prepared by the shrinking of the Ottoman Empire (see above on “dried up”).  According to the second view the “way” will be “prepared” by the withdrawal of human support from mystical Babylon (see on vs. 1, 12, 14, 17).  According to the first view this preparation is of a geographic and military character; according to the second, it is of a moral and spiritual character.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  And according to a third view, IT IS ALL OF THE ABOVE.  Turkey may sign a peace treaty with the Pope, as a stall tactic to better prepare for her onslaught in concert with the other Arab nations.

 

13. I saw. See on ch. 1:1.

 

Three unclean spirits. Proponents of both views agree on identifying the “dragon,” the “beast,” and the “false prophet” as modern spiritism (GC 588), or paganism, the papacy, and apostate Protestantism (cf. chs. 13:4, 14, 15; 19:20; 20:10). The “three unclean spirits” apparentlyh either symbolize or represent this evil trio or religious powers, which together constitute latter-day “great Babylon” (ch. 16:13, 14, 18, 19; see on chs. 16:19; 17:5).

 

Like frogs. Perhaps no significance should be attached to this comparison, which probably is intended only to highlight the repulsiveness of the “three unclean spirits” in the sight of God.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Frog’s deceive their prey and consume them before they know they are had.  They have a mesmerizing effect on their prey.  Satan works like this.  Turkey may be the “frog” who mesmerizes the world into a short stint of peace and safety, then sudden destruction will break out.

 

Out of the mouth.  The mouth is the instrument of speech. Coming forth from the mouth of the “dragon,” of the “beast,” and of the “false prophet,” these three “unclean spirits” represent the policy that this threefold religious union proclaims to the world, spoken of in ch. 17:2 as the4 “wine’ of Babylon (see on chs. 16:14; 17:1, 6).

 

 

Dragon. See on chs. 12:3; 13:1. The first member of this threefold religious union is generally identified either as spiritism or as paganism.  The latter centers chiefly in the worship of evil spirits, and thus at heart resembles modern spiritism as practiced in Christian lands.

 

 

Beast.  See on chs. 13:1; 17:3, 8.

 

False prophet. Apparently to be identified with the second beast of ch. 13:11:17 (see on v. 11), which sponsors the first beast of vs. 1-10, and by the miracles he has power to do in the presence of the beast (vs. 12-14), deceives men into making an “image” to it.  Compare chs. 19:20; 20:10.

 

Spirits of devils.  Literally, “spirits of demons,” or “demonic spirits.” In the Gospels the term “unclean spirit” is used interchangeably with “devil” (see Mark 1:27, 34; 3:11, 15; 6,:7; etc.). See Rev. 18:2; cf. 5T 472, 473.

 

Working miracles. Or, “performing signs [semeia],” that is, miracles from the viewpoint of their value as authenticating the claims, or attesting the power and authority, of the person performing them (see Vol. V, p. 208). These miracles are also referred to in chs. 13:13, 14; 19:20. Supernatural manifestations of various kinds constitute the means by which Satan, working through various human agencies, succeeds in uniting the world behind his purpose to obliterate those who constitute the only barrier to his unchallenged dominion over mankind.

 

Kings of the earth. Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the omission of the words “of the earth and.” The “kings” are the political powers of earth, in contrast with the threefold religious union of v. 13 (see comment there), which summon the nations of earth to unite in a crusade to destroy God’s people (9T 16; GC 562, 624). This universal religio-political combine (see on ch. 17:3) aspires to rule the world.  According to the first view these “kings” represent the nations of the West, in contrast with the “kings of the east” (ch. 16:12), the nations of the Orient.  According to the second view the expression “kings of the earth and the whole world” includes the nations of both East and West (see on v. 12).  For further information concerning the identity of the “kings of the earth” and the temporary success of their plot see ch. 17:2, 12, 14; see on v. 12; cf. 7T 182.

 

To gather.  According to the first view this gathering consists of political and military preparations on the part of “the kings of the earth and of the whole world.”  According to the second view it refers to efforts put forth by the three fold religious union to secure united action on the part of the political powers of earth for the purpose of waging war on the remnant of God’s people.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Once again, both are involved—military preparations for war and religious union for united action on the part of the political powers of earth for ridding the earth of God’s remnant people.  The plagues are blamed on God’s people, but the plagues begin before the death decree.  The military preparations for war are engaged before the death decree on God’s people.

 

The battle. Proponents of both views agree that different aspects of the same battle are described in chs. 14:14-20; 16:12-19; 17:14-17; 19:11-21; cf. 6T 406.  According to the first view this is primarily a politico-military battle to be fought in the literal valley of Megiddo between the nations of East and West (see on ch. 16:12, 13).  According to the second view this battle is one in which the nations unite to destroy the people of God, and is therefore primarily a religious conflict.

 

That great day. That is, the day of God’s wrath (see on v. 1). Important textual evidence mayh be cited (cf. p. 10) for the reading “the great day.” See on Isa. 2:12.

 

God Almighty. See on ch. 1:8.

 

14 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.

15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

Behold. Or, “See!”

 

I come as a thief. That is, to the ungodly (see on 1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10; cf. Matt. 24:43; Luke 21:35).

 

Blessed. Or, “happy” (see on Matt. 5:3).

 

He that watcheth. See on Matt. 24:42. The saints are to be alert and vigilant, lest they be deceived (see above on “I come as a thief”).

 

Keepeth his garments. That is, remains steadfast in faith and character and wholly loyal to God. See on Matt. 22:11.

 

Lest he walk naked.  That is, lose his garment of character as a result of yielding his faith. Compare ch. 17:16.

 

They.  Probably meaning people generally.,

 

See his shame. That is, see that he has surrendered his faith.  Even though destiny has been fixed at the close of probation (see on ch. 22:11), God’s people must not relax their vigilance.  Rather, they must become increasingly alert as Satan intensifies his deceptions.

 

16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

 

16. He gathered. Or, “they gathered.” The Greek may be translated either way.  The pronoun “they” would refer to the three unclean spirits of vs. 13, 14, and “he” to the angel ov v. 12.  The context favors the translation “they.” For the gathering process see on v. 14.

 

Proponents of both views agree that the gathering takes place under the sixth plague, but that the battle itself is fought under the seventh (see Smith, op. cit., p. 702; see on Rev. 16:12, 17).

 

Them. That is, the kings of the earth of v. 14.

 

Together.  According to the first view the military forces of earth are gathered together in the literal valley of Megiddo, in northern Palestine (see on vs. 12, 14).  According to the second view the kings of the earth are united in mind and purpose (see on ch. 17:13, 17). Compare Ps. 83:4, 5.

 

Place.  Gr. topos, “place,” which is used variously of a geographical location, a “place” in a book, status, or, figuratively, “condition,” or “situation,” as in Acts 25:16 (“licence”) and Heb. 12:17. According to the first view, which stresses geographical implications, this would refer to the valley of Megiddo, the plain of Esdraelon in northern Palestine (see on Rev. 16:12, 14). According to the second view, which stresses the figurative meaning of the various expressions of vs. 12-16 (see on v. 12), this would be the “condition,” or frame of mind, into which the kings of the earth are gathered—the compact to annihilate the people of God *see in chs. 16:14; 17:13).

 

In the Hebrew tongue.  Perhaps by this John intended to direct his readers to  study of Armageddon as a “Hebrew: term and to a review of Hebrew history, that the cryptic name might be understood.

 

Armageddon.  Gr. Harmageddon, a translation from the Hebrew, as John explains.  Testual evidence favors (cf. p. 10) the reading Harmagedon, but may also be cited for the readings Armegedon, Armagedo, Mageddon, and others. In view of the fact that no geographical location ever bore this name, so far as is known, the significance of the term is not readily apparent.  Also, opinions differ as to what Hebrew word or words the Greek transliteration represents.  The reading Harmageddon is from two Hebrew words, the first of which may have been ‘ir, “city,” though more probably har, “mountain.”  As noted, however, some ancient manuscripts omit the first syllable ar- or har- altogether.

 

For the second part of the name, -mageddon, two different derivations have been suggested: (1) That mageddon is from the Heb. Megiddo or megiddon (1 Kings 9:15; Zech 12:11), the ancient city of Megiddo, which gave its name to the important pass through the mountains to the southwest, to the vally of Jezreel to the north and northeast (2 Chron. 35:22), and to the Kishon (Judges 4:7, 13; 5:19, 21), 2hich flows throiugh the valley.  (2) That –mageddon is from mo’ed, the Hebrew word commonly used throughout the OT for “congregation” (ex. 27:21; 28:43; 29:4, 10, 11, 30, 32; etc.), for an appointed “feast” (see on Lev. 23:2), and for an “assembly” and the “places of the assembly” (Lam. 1:15; 2:6). The first derivation links the composite name Armageddon with the geographical and historical environment of ancient Megiddo, while the second suggests a possible connection with the great controversy between Christ and Satan.

 

In Isa. 14:13, where ha-rmo’ed is translated “mount of the congregation,” or “mount of assembly,” and designates the mountain on which Solomon’s Temple stood, to the north of ancient Jerusalem, Lucifer is represented as aspiring to replace God as Israel’s sovereign ruler (see comment there).  Compare “Tabernacle of the congregation” (Ex. 33:7; etc.).

 

Proponents of the first view of Armageddon consider the derivation to be from the Heb har-megiddo, mountain of Me-giddo,” and interpret the name as it is used in Rev. 16:16 in terms of the geographical environment and historical associations of the ancient city of Megiddo. Proponents of the second view understand the first derivation figuratively, that is, in terms of the historical events of OT history associated with the vicinity of ancient Megiddo (see Judges 4:4 to 5:31, especially ch. 5:31; chs. 6:33 to 7:25; 1 Kings 18:36-40; Ps. 83; cf. 2 chron. 34:20-24), but without attributiung geographical significance to the term Armageddon in Rev. 16:16 (see on v. 12). They understand the second derivation, har-mo’ed, figuratively also, on the basis of its use in Isa. 14:13, in terms of the great contest between Christ and Satan  (see Rev. 12:7-9, 17; 17:14; 19:11-21).

 

17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

 

17. Seventh angel. Concerning the significance of the number seven in the Revelation see on ch. 1:11.

 

Into the air. Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the reading “upon the air” (see on v. 8). The effect of this plague appears to be universal.

 

A great voice.  Evidently, the voice of God. Compare ch. 1:10. See GC 635, 636; 1T 353, 354.

 

Temple of heaven. Textual evidence may be cited (cf. p. 10) for reading simply “temple” or “heaven.”

 

From the throne. In other words, the statement constitutes an official proclamation from the Sovereign of the universe (see on ch. 4:2-5).

 

It is done.  The same words are to be uttered a second time, at the re-creation of the new earth (ch. 21:6). Similar words—“It is finished”—were spoken by our Lord uponthe cross (John 19:30) as He brought His ministry of sacrifice to a close, thereby assuring the success of the plan of redemption.  In the context of Rev. 16:17 the dramatic announcement marks the moment when the revelation of the myhstery of iniquity is complete, when the true character of the universal religio-political union of vs. 13, 14, 19, is unmasked (see comment there and on v. 1).

 

God permits the forces of evil to advance to the point of apparent success in their sinister design to eradicate the people of God.  As the moment appointed in the death decree arrives (see on v. 14) and the wicked rush forward with shouts of triumph to annihilate the saints (GC 631, 635; EW 283, 285), the voice of God is heard declaring, “It is done.” This declaration terminates the time of Jacob’s trouble (cf. on v. 15), delivers the saints, and ushers in the seventh plague (EW 36, 37, 282-285; GC 635, 636;  1T 353, 354.

 

18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

 

Voices. Or “sounds,” “noises.” Compare chs. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19. What the “voices” utter may be similar to the declaration of ch. 11:15 (cf. GC 640).

 

Thunders. Or, “peals of thunder.”

 

Lightnings. Or, “flashes of lightning.” Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) that this word precedes “voices, and thunders.”

 

A great earthquake.  A literal earthquake, as the remainder of v. 18 implies (see on v. 1; cf. vs. 20, 21), but accompanied by a figurative earthquake, which shatters mystical Babylon (v. 19). As a literal earthquake leaves a literal city in ruins, so a figurative earthquake brings ruin and desolation to “great Babylon” (see on chs. 17:16; 18:6-8, 21). The threefold union of vs. 13, 14 collapses (cf. Isa. 28:14-22). 

 

Such as was not. Both literally and figuratively.

 

19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

 

19. The great city. That is, mystical Babylon (*see on chs. 17:5, 18; 18:10).

 

Divided into three parts. Mystical Babylon of the last days is composed of the papacy, apostate Protestantism, and modern spiritusm (see on vs. 13, 14). At the voice of God (chs. 16:17; 17:17) this threefold union of apostate religious organizations loses its cohesion, unity, andpower to act. Compare Hab. 3:3-16.

 

Cities of the nations. Continuing the figure of an earthquake shattering a literal city, John now refers to the political organization of earth—represented in vs. 13, 14 as “the kings of the earth”—by a similar figure.  For the appropriateness of a “city” to represent the apostate religious organizations of earth, and “cities” their political allies, see on chs. 11:8; 17:18.

 

Fell.  The political forces of earth also lose the state of unity of purpose to which they were gathered under the sixth plague (see on vs. 14, 16; ch. 17:13, 17).  There is a terrible awakening among them as God’s voice delivers His waiting people from their foes (see GC 636, 637, 654).  Now, the earstwhile components of the universal religio-political combine of ch. 16:13, 13 begin to fight among themselves, and the “ten kings” of ch. 17:12-16 take revenge upon mystical Babylon (see on ch. 17:17). Filled with fury, the hosts of earth turn upon their leaders and upon one another the weapons with which they had purposed to slay the saints (see EW 290; GC 656).  There is strife and bloodshed everywhere; the world is verily deluged with blood (see on ch. 14:20).

 

When Christ appears, the clash of arms and the tumult of earthly battle are stilled as the armies of heaven descend. “In the mad strife of the4ir own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God’s unmingled wrath, fall the inhabitants of the earth,--priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low” (GC 657). For a more complete account of this battle see on chs. 17:14; 19:11-21; cf. EW 282, 290; GC 656, 657. Compare the remarkably similar descriptions in Joshua 10:7-14; Judges 7:19-23; 1 Sam 14:19, 20; 2 Chron. 20:22-24Isa. 19:2; 34:8-10; 51:21-23; 63:1-6; Jer. 25:12-15, 29-38; Eze. 38:14-23; Haggi 2:11; Zech. 14:13.

 

Great Babylon.  See on chs 14:8; 17:1, 5.

 

Came in remembrance. See on ch. 18:5. This is a common Biblical expression denoting the arrival of the hour when divine judgment is to be meted out (Ps. 109:14; Eze. 21:23, 24; cf. Jer. 31:34).

 

To give unto her.  Compare the words of the prophets concerning the literal city of Babylon (Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15, 16).

 

The cup.  A common Biblical expression denoting suffering and judgments meted out (see Ps. 11:6; 75:8; Isa 51:17, 22, 23; Jer. 25:15-17, 28; 49:12; Matt. 26:39). For the nature of the cup now given mystical Babylon to drink see on Rev. 17:16; 18:5-8; cf. on ch. 14:10.

 

Wine. See on ch. 14:10; cf. ch. 17:2.

 

Fierceness. Or, “fury” (see on v. 1).

 

His wrath. See on chs. 14:10; 16:1.

 

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

 

Every island.  The convulsions of earth here described result from the earthquake of v. 18. Compare ch. 6:14.

 

The mountains. Compare ch. 6:14.

 

21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

 

21. Great hail. Or, “great hailstones.” For comment on the plague of hail on the land of Egypt seee on Ex. 9:18-32. For hail as a weapon of divine retribution see Joshua 10:11; Eze. 13:11, 13, and as a divine judgment in the last great day of God’s wrath see Isa. 28:17, 18; 30:30; Eze. 3822; Rev. 11:19.

 

A talent. Probably about 66 pounds in weight (see Vol. I p. 164).

 

Blasphemed God. For the third time those upon whom the plagues fall curse God, thus revealing their utter contempt for Him, even in the midst of His most grievous judgments (see on vs. 1, 9, 11).

 

Conclusions:  The context of the following E.G. White statement is the time God intervenes in Armageddon.  We are going to take it slow and steady, point by point and see if there is death and destruction going on when God INTERVENES IN ARMAGEDDON.  Remember, there are many peace and safety professing Seventh-day Adventists teaching that Armageddon is ALL and ONLY a Spiritual battle and that not a shot will be fired and no actual war will occur.  Let’s see if that is true!

 

Chap. 288 - God Intervenes in Armageddon


A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Jer. 25:31.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The sword means war and death.


     For six thousand years the great controversy has been in progress; the Son of God and His heavenly messengers have been in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn, enlighten, and save the children of men. Now all have made their decisions; the wicked have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time has come for God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. Now the controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. "The Lord hath a controversy with the nations"; "He will give them that are wicked to the sword." {Mar 296.1}

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Again, the wicked are slain by the sword.  Not all the wicked are thus slain, because many of them are slain by the brightness of His coming.

 

2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

 

     The mark of deliverance has been set upon those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done." Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel's vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary." Says the prophet: "They began at the ancient men which were before the house." Ezekiel 9:1-6. The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together. {Mar 296.2}

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Remember, in context this is AT THE TIME OF ARMAGEDDON  in the context of Ellen White’s statement, but before God intervenes because there is no killing AFTER HE INTERVENES.  Ellen White said that Ezekiel 9 would be LITERALLY FULFILLED.  That means a literal battle and killing.  She said that the Ezekiel 9 destruction of Jerusalem was a PREFIGURE.  Who did that destruction and killing in that battle?  It was the Romans.  The SDA Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 9:2, says it will be the Babylonians in the end-time:

 

“2. Six men.  These executioners of vengeance are pictured as human in form. In primary application they represent the Babylonians, who were to execute the divine sentence upon the city.  In secondary application they portend the agencies of judgments which, at the close of time, will execute sentence, first upon those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people, and later upon the wicked in general.”

SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 605.

 

"Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling will YOU hear? Will YOU receive His message? Will YOU be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity. Letter 106, 1909, pp. 2, 3, 5, 7. (To "The churches in Oakland and Berkeley, September 26, 1909.)" E. G. White Manuscript Releases Volume One, p. 260.

 

In The Great Controversy, p. 25, 1911 edition, Ellen White says that the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem was a PREFIGURE.  Who did the destroying in the PREFIGURE TYPE?  Rome.  Who will do it in the next LITERAL FULFILLMENT?  Rome and her daughters, Babylon.

 

     "The Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." Isaiah 26:21. . . . In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth--priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried." Jeremiah 25:33. {Mar 296.3}

 

1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 

Consider this friend, only the 144,000 are translated without seeing death. That means there will be many martyrs, but they will be saved if faithful.  The fact that there are martyrs in the last days is another distinction between the 144,000 and the guests at the wedding.

 Chap. 191 - Martyrs in the Last Days 

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. John 16:2.   

     Every individual in our world will be arrayed under one of two banners. {Mar 199.1}

     The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God's commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ's sake in standing in defense of the truth. {Mar 199.2}

     By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation [the United States] will disconnect herself fully from righteousness.... {Mar 199.3}

     As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God's forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation's iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress which prophets have described as the time of Jacob's trouble. The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs' graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain  caverns, from convents vaults: "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? {Mar 199.4}

     When the fifth seal was opened, John the Revelator in vision saw beneath the altar the company that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. After this came the scenes described in the eighteenth of Revelation, when those who are faithful and true are called out from Babylon. {Mar 199.5}

     Christ will restore the life taken; for He is the Life-giver: He will beautify the righteous with immortal life. {Mar 199.6}

 

Some Martyrs Before the National Death Decree

 

“In some cases, BEFORE the time specified in the decree, enemies will rush upon the waiting ones to put them to death.”  E.G. White, The 1884 edition of The Great Controversy, p. 447.

 

·        Martyrs do not accrue without a battle.

·        “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. John 16:2.”  

·        Ellen White said that there will be no more martyrs after the close of probation. So there many of God’s people will be martyred BEFORE the close of probation.  Thus, there will be death and destruction.

·        1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

·        Ellen White includes the Ezekiel 9 destruction in the time frame of Armageddon.  That involves killing of men, maidens and little children.  According to the PREFIGURE of A.D. 70, it also involves the eating of their children as the Jews ate theirs in the TYPE.

·        The death decree is after the plagues begin to fall and they are blamed on God’s saints.

·        There are deaths before the death decree.

·        There are no martyrs after the death decree. 

·        The fact that there are martyrs before the death decree and the death decree is after the plagues begin to fall, proves that the Armageddon test of God’s people comes before the plagues begin. 

·        Those who hold that Armageddon is just a spiritual test of God’s people and that it does not involve killing and battlement, are thus proved errant by the fact that there are martyrs before the death decree, and no martyrs after the death decree.

·        The view of those who believe that Armageddon is a spiritual even ONLY, say that it involves God’s people

·        There are no martyrs after the close of probation.

·        A third of the population dies.

·        A third of men are not destroyed without a literal war.

·        There are no martyrs after the close of probation, so there is war, killing and martyrdom before the close of probation.

·        The plagues do not begin until after the close of probation. “The Last Plagues and the Judgment-- At the general conference of believers in the present truth, held at Sutton, Vermont, September, 1850, I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, "It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners, but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the one thousand years." {EW 52.1}

  

Chap. 10. - The Little Time of Trouble

             A Time of Trouble Before Probation Closes

 

     On page 33 [of Early Writings] is given the following: ". . . At the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully." {LDE 143.1}

 

     This view was given in 1847 when there were but very few of the Advent brethren observing the Sabbath, and of these but few supposed that its observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers. Now the fulfillment of that view is beginning to be seen. "The commencement of that time of trouble," here mentioned, does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel.--EW 85, 86 (1854). {LDE 143.2}

 

                            The End of Religious

                          Liberty in the United States

 

     The law of God, through the agency of Satan, is to be made void. In our land of boasted freedom religious liberty will come to an end. The contest will be decided over the Sabbath question, which will agitate the whole world.--Ev 236 (1875). {LDE 144.1}

 

     A great crisis awaits the people of God. Very soon our nation will attempt to enforce upon all the observance of the first day of the week as a sacred day. In doing this they will not scruple to compel men against the voice of their own conscience to observe the day the nation declares to be the Sabbath.--RH Extra, Dec. 11, 1888. {LDE 144.2}

 

     Seventh-day Adventists will fight the battle over the seventh-day Sabbath. The authorities in the United States and in other countries will rise up in their pride and power and make laws to restrict religious liberty.--Ms 78, 1897. {LDE 144.3}

 

     The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.--GC 588 (1911). {LDE 144.4}

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The threefold union is Rome, her apostate daughters and the U.S. Government who will enforce the wishes of Rome and her daughters.

 

                   Church and State Oppose God's People

 

     All who will not bow to the decree of the national councils and obey the national laws to exalt the sabbath instituted by the man of sin, to the disregard of God's holy day, will feel, not the oppressive power of popery alone, but of the Protestant world, the image of the beast.--2SM 380 (1886). {LDE 145.1}

 

     Those religious bodies who refuse to hear God's messages of warning will be under strong deception and will unite with the civil power to persecute the saints. The Protestant churches will unite with the papal power in persecuting the commandment-keeping people of God. . . . {LDE 145.2}

 

      This lamb-like power unites with the dragon in making war upon those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.--14MR 162 (1899). {LDE 145.3}

 

     The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and in this work papists and Protestants unite.--GC 607 (1911). {LDE 145.4}

 

                            Before the Courts

 

      Those who live during the last days of this earth's history will know what it means to be persecuted for the truth's sake. In the courts injustice will prevail. The judges will refuse to listen to the reasons of those who are loyal to the commandments of God because they know the arguments in favor of the fourth

                                                                            146

commandment are unanswerable. They will say, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die." God's law is nothing to them. "Our law" with them is supreme. Those who respect this human law will be favored, but those who will not bow to the idol sabbath have no favors shown them.--ST May 26, 1898. {LDE 145.5}

 

     In cases where we are brought before the courts, we are to give up our rights, unless it brings us in collision with God. It is not our rights we are pleading for, but God's right to our service.--5MR 69 (1895). {LDE 146.1}

 

                 Adventists Will Be Treated With Contempt

 

     The same masterful mind that plotted against the faithful in ages past is still seeking to rid the earth of those who fear God and obey His law. . . . {LDE 146.2}

 

     Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt. Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. With voice and pen, by boasts, threats, and ridicule, they will seek to overthrow their faith.--5T 450 (1885). {LDE 146.3}

 

     There will come a time when, because of our advocacy of Bible truth, we shall be treated as traitors.--6T 394 (1900). {LDE 146.4}

 

     Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will

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be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government.--GC 592 (1911). {LDE 146.5}

 

     All who in that evil day would fearlessly serve God according to the dictates of conscience, will need courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and His Word, for those who are true to God will be persecuted, their motives will be impugned, their best efforts misinterpreted, and their names cast out as evil.--AA 431, 432 (1911). {LDE 147.1}

 

                          All Kinds of Persecution

 

     The persecutions of Protestants by Romanism, by which the religion of Jesus Christ was almost annihilated, will be more than rivaled when Protestantism and popery are combined.--3SM 387 (1889). {LDE 147.2}

 

     Satan has a thousand masked batteries which will be opened upon the loyal, commandment-keeping people of God to compel them to violate conscience.--Letter 30a, 1892. {LDE 147.3}

 

     We need not be surprised at anything that may take place now. We need not marvel at any developments of horror. Those who trample under their unholy feet the law of God have the same spirit as had the men who insulted and betrayed Jesus. Without any compunctions of conscience they will do the deeds of their father the devil.--3SM 416 (1897). {LDE 147.4}

 

     Let those who desire to be refreshed in mind and instructed in the truth study the history of the early church during and immediately following the Day of Pentecost. Study carefully in the book of Acts the experiences of Paul and the other apostles, for God's people in our day must pass through similar experiences.--PC 118 (1907). {LDE 148.1}

 

                   Every Earthly Support Will Be Cut Off

 

     Hoarded wealth will soon be worthless. When the decree shall go forth that none shall buy or sell except they have the mark of the beast, very much means will be of no avail. God calls for us now to do all in our power to send forth the warning to the world.--RH March 21, 1878. {LDE 148.2}

 

     The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since, but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth.--5T 152 (1882). {LDE 148.3}

 

     In the last great conflict in the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers they will be forbidden to buy or sell.--DA 121, 122 (1898). {LDE 148.4}

 

     Satan says . . . "For fear of wanting food and clothing they will join with the world in transgressing God's law. The earth will be wholly under my dominion."--PK 183, 184 (c. 1914). {LDE 149.1}

 

                     Some Are Imprisoned for Their Faith

 

     Some will be imprisoned because they refuse to desecrate the Sabbath of the Lord.--PC 118 (1907). {LDE 149.2}

 

     As the defenders of truth refuse to honor the Sunday-sabbath some of them will be thrust into prison, some will be exiled, some will be treated as slaves. To human wisdom all this now seems impossible, but as the restraining Spirit of God shall be withdrawn from men and they shall be under the control of Satan, who hates the divine precepts, there will be strange developments. The heart can be very cruel when God's fear and love are removed.--GC 608 (1911). {LDE 149.3}

 

     If we are called to suffer for Christ's sake, we shall be able to go to prison trusting in Him as a little child trusts in its parents. Now is the time to cultivate faith in God.--OHC 357 (1892). {LDE 149.4}

 

                        Many Will Be Put to Death

 

     The best thing for us is to come into close connection with God and, if He would have us be martyrs for the truth's sake, it may be the means of bringing many more into the truth.--3SM 420 (1886). {LDE 149.5}

 

      Many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ's sake in standing in defense of the truth.--3SM 397 (1889). {LDE 150.1}

 

     There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property and even of life itself, to defend the law of God.--5T 712 (1889). {LDE 150.2}

 

     Men will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law. Those who are true to God will be menaced, denounced, proscribed. They will be "betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends," even unto death.--PK 588 (c. 1914). {LDE 150.3}

 

     We are not to have the courage and fortitude of martyrs of old until brought into the position they were in. . . . Should there be a return of persecution there would be grace given to arouse every energy of the soul to show a true heroism.--OHC 125 (1889). {LDE 150.4}

 

     The disciples were not endowed with the courage and fortitude of the martyrs until such grace was needed.--DA 354 (1898). {LDE 150.5}

 

                 How to Stand Firm Under Persecution

 

     We shall find that we must let loose of all hands except the hand of Jesus Christ. Friends will prove treacherous and will betray us. Relatives, deceived by the enemy, will think they do God service in opposing

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us and putting forth the utmost efforts to bring us into hard places, hoping we will deny our faith. But we may trust our hand in the hand of Christ amid darkness and peril.--Mar 197 (1889). {LDE 150.6}

 

     The only way in which men will be able to stand firm in the conflict is to be rooted and grounded in Christ. They must receive the truth as it is in Jesus. And it is only as the truth is presented thus that it can meet the wants of the soul. The preaching of Christ crucified, Christ our righteousness, is what satisfies the soul's hunger. When we secure the interest of the people in this great central truth, faith and hope and courage come to the heart.--GCDB Jan. 28, 1893. {LDE 151.1}

 

     Many, because of their faith, will be cut off from house and heritage here, but if they will give their hearts to Christ, receiving the message of His grace, and resting upon their Substitute and Surety, even the Son of God, they may still be filled with joy.--ST June 2, 1898. {LDE 151.2}

 

                      Persecution Scatters God's People

 

     As enmity is aroused in various places against those who observe the Sabbath of the Lord, it may become necessary for God's people to move from those places to places where they will not be so bitterly opposed. {LDE 151.3}

 

     God does not require His children to remain where, by the course of wicked men, their influence is made of no effect and their lives endangered. When liberty

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and life are imperiled it is not merely our privilege, it is our positive duty to go to places where the people are willing to hear the Word of life and where the opportunities for preaching the Word will be more favorable.--Ms 26, 1904. {LDE 151.4}

 

      The time is soon coming when God's people, because of persecution, will be scattered in many countries. Those who have received an all-round education will have the advantage where they are.--5MR 280 (1908). {LDE 152.1}

 

                          Persecution Leads to

                        Unity Among God's People

 

     When the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd's voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front. In view of the common peril strife for supremacy will cease, there will be no disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest.--6T 401 (1900). {LDE 152.2}

 

                         A Crisis Makes God's

                       Interference More Marked

 

     From time to time the Lord has made known His manner of working. He is mindful of what is passing upon the earth. And when a crisis has come, He has revealed Himself and has interposed to hinder the working of Satan's plans. He has often permitted

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matters with nations, with families, and with individuals to come to a crisis that His interference might become marked. Then He has let the fact be known that there was a God in Israel who would sustain and vindicate His people. {LDE 152.3}

 

     When the defiance of the law of Jehovah shall be almost universal, when His people shall be pressed in affliction by their fellow men, God will interpose. The fervent prayers of His people will be answered, for He loves to have His people seek Him with all their heart and depend upon Him as their Deliverer.--RH June 15, 1897. {LDE 153.1}

 

     For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who know God's holy commandments. . . . To the last, God permits Satan to reveal his character as a liar, an accuser, and a murderer. Thus the final triumph of His people is made more marked, more glorious, more full and complete.--3SM 414 (1904). {LDE 153.2}

 

                       Affliction Purifies God's People

 

     Soon there is to be trouble all over the world. It becomes everyone to seek to know God. We have no time to delay. . . . {LDE 153.3}

 

     God's love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon the church in test and trial comes

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that His people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world.--9T 228 (1909). {LDE 153.4}

 

     Afflictions, crosses, temptations, adversity, and our varied trials are God's workmen to refine us, sanctify us, and fit us for the heavenly garner.--3T 115 (1872). {LDE 154.1}

 

Ellen White Commentary on Revelation Chapter 16

 

     1-21 (ch. 6:13-17; Ps. 46:1-3; Matt. 24:7). John Witnessed Terrors of the Last Days.--John . . . was a witness of the terrible scenes that will take place as signs of Christ's coming. He saw armies mustering for battle, and men's hearts failing them for fear. He saw the earth moved out of its place, the mountains carried into the midst of the sea, the waves thereof roaring and troubled, and the mountains shaking with the swelling thereof. He saw the vials of God's wrath opened, and pestilence, famine, and death come upon the inhabitants of the earth (RH Jan. 11, 1887). {7BC 982.3}

 

     13-16 (chs. 13:13, 14; 17:13, 14; 19:11-16; see EGW on ch. 7:1-3). Battle of Armageddon Soon to Be Fought.--There are only two parties in our world, those who are loyal to God, and those who stand under the banner of the prince of darkness. Satan and his angels will come down with power and signs and lying wonders to deceive those who dwell on the earth, and if possible the very elect. The crisis is right upon us. Is this to paralyze the energies of those who have a knowledge of the truth? Is the influence of the powers of deception so far reaching that the influence of the truth will be overpowered? {7BC 982.4}

 

     The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on whose vesture is written the name, King of kings and Lord of lords, leads forth the armies of heaven on white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white (MS 172, 1899). {7BC 982.5}

 

     Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle, and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle. All the world will be on one side or the other of the question. The battle of Armageddon will be fought, and that day must find none of us sleeping. Wide awake we must be, as wise virgins having oil in our vessels with our lamps. . . . {7BC 982.6}

 

     The power of the Holy Ghost must be upon us, and the Captain of the Lord's host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us (Letter 112, 1890). {7BC 982.7}

 

     14-16 (Eph. 6:12; see EGW on Rev. 5:11). Two Opposing Powers.-- Two great
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opposing powers are revealed in the last great battle. On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion (RH May 7, 1901). {7BC 982.8}

 

     (Ch. 12:12.) Satan Mustering His Forces for Last Battle.--The present is a solemn, fearful time for the church. The angels are already girded, awaiting the mandate of God to pour their vials of wrath upon the world. Destroying angels are taking up the work of vengeance; for the Spirit of God is gradually withdrawing from the world. Satan is also mustering his forces of evil, going forth "unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world," to gather them under his banner, to be trained for "the battle of that great day of God Almighty." Satan is to make most powerful efforts for the mastery in the last great conflict. Fundamental principles will be brought out, and decisions made in regard to them. Skepticism is prevailing everywhere. Ungodliness abounds. The faith of individual members of the church will be tested as though there were not another person in the world (MS 1a, 1890). {7BC 983.1}

 

     14-17 (ch. 18:1). The Armies of God Take the Field.--We need to study the pouring out of the seventh vial. The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has a part to act in the battle of Armageddon. When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation eighteen, the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take the field (MS 175, 1899). {7BC 983.2}


Ellen White Commentary on Revelation Chapter 17

 

     1-5 (chs. 13:11-17; 18:1-5; 2 Thess. 2:7-12). Deceiver of All Nations.--In the seventeenth of Revelation is foretold the destruction of all the churches who corrupt themselves by idolatrous devotion to the service of the papacy, those who have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. [Rev. 17:1-4 quoted.] {7BC 983.3}

 

     Thus is represented the papal power, which with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, by outside attraction and gorgeous display, deceives all nations; promising them, as did Satan our first parents, all good to those who receive its mark, and all harm to those who oppose its fallacies. The power which has the deepest inward corruption will make the greatest display, and will clothe itself with the most elaborate signs of power. The Bible plainly declares that this covers a corrupt and deceiving wickedness. "Upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." {7BC 983.4}

 

     What is it that gives its kingdom to this power? Protestantism, a power which, while professing to have the temper and spirit of a lamb and to be allied to Heaven, speaks with the voice of a dragon. It is moved by a power from beneath (Letter 232, 1899). {7BC 983.5}

 

     13, 14 (chs. 13:11-17; 16:13-16). A Confederacy of Satan's Forces.--[Rev. 17:13, 14 quoted.] "These have one mind." There will be a universal bond of union, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan's forces. "And shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Thus is manifested the same arbitrary, oppressive power against religious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, as was manifested by the papacy, when in the past it persecuted those who dared to refuse to conform with the religious rites and ceremonies of Romanism. {7BC 983.6}

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The oppressive power against religious liberty is part of the Armageddon battle, but not all of it.  Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom:

 

Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

 

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

 

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

 

Amazing!  Tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be, and the peace and safety advocates say that not a shot will be fired!  The peace and safety mongers thus make the massacres of Stalin, and all like warriors worse than what God describes as the worst time in the history of the world!  They thus contradict God Himself and His Word which they profess to believe!

 

The entire chapter of Matthew 24 applies at the end time and give a blow by blow account of the events:

 

Matthew 24


1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25 Behold, I have told you before.

26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27 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.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

     In the warfare to be waged in the last days there will be united, in opposition to God's people, all the corrupt powers that have apostatized from allegiance to the law of Jehovah. In this warfare the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will be the great point at issue; for in the Sabbath commandment the great Lawgiver identifies Himself as the Creator of the heavens and the earth (MS 24, 1891). {7BC 983.7}

 

     14. Christ Glorified in the Last Crisis.--As Christ was glorified on the day of Pentecost, so will He again be glorified in the closing work of the gospel, when He shall prepare a people to stand the final test, in the closing conflict of the great controversy (RH Nov. 29, 1892). {7BC 983.8}

 

Chap. 269 - No Martyrs After Probation Closes

 

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. Ps. 91:15.

  

     The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. . . . {Mar 277.1}

     Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must soon seal their testimony with their blood as did the martyrs before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful agony. Day and night they cry unto God for deliverance. . . . {Mar 277.2}

     The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty power and turn their captivity. "They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." Malachi 3:17. If the blood of Christ's faithful witnesses were shed at this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as seed sown to yield a harvest for God. Their fidelity would not be a testimony to convince others of the truth; for the obdurate heart has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more. If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their  enemies, it would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist: "In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me." Psalm 27:5. Christ has spoken: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Isaiah 26:20, 21. Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have patiently waited for His coming and whose names are written in the book of life. {Mar 277.3}

 

God bless all who heed these warnings,

 

Ron Beaulieu