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HARVEST GLEANINGS III

St. Paul Enterprise, November 21, 1916

THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

Brooklyn, N Y, Nov. 3, 1912 The Brooklyn Academy of Music was crowded to the limits today to hear Pastor Russell's discourse on the "Battle of Armageddon." His text was: "He gathered them together unto a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. 16:16) The speaker said:

Armageddon in the Hebrew signifies the "Hill of Megiddo," or Mount of Destruction. It was famous as a battlefield in Old Testament times.

The Lord has seen fit to associate the name Armageddon, with the great controversy between Truth and Error, Right and Wrong, God and Mammon, with which this age will close, perish; and the New Age of Messiah's glory be ushered in. He has purposely used highly symbolical figures of speech in the last book of the Bible, evidently with a view to hiding certain important truths until the due time for their revealment. But even in the due time, the Bible assured us, "None of the wicked shall understand" (Dan. 12:9, 10) none who are out of heart harmony with God but only the wise of His people the "wise virgin" class of the Master's parable.

I have long avoided presentation of my understanding of our text and its context. I take it up now by request and because I believe it is due time to be understood. I disclaim any special inspiration. In some particulars my views agree with those of other Bible students, and in other respects they disagree. Each hearer must use his own judgment, do his own Bible study, and reach his own conclusions.

Kindly remember that I am not responsible for the figures of speech used by the Lord. My interpretations do indeed constitute a terrible arraignment of institutions which we have all reverenced and which embrace good people, of good words and works. God's saintly people in these various institutions, being comparatively few, are ignored when systems as a whole are dealt with in prophecy.

Our context tells us that three impure spirits (teachings) will go forth from the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet, and these three will be in accord, and symbolically the doctrines are represented by "frogs". These three doctrines are to have a mighty influence throughout the civilized earth. They are to gather the kings and their armies to the great Battle of Armageddon.

The ecclesiastical kings and princes, and their retinues of clergy and faithful adherents, will be gathered in solid phalanx Protestant and Catholic. The kings and captains of industry, and as many as can be influenced by them, will be gathered to the same side. The political kings and princes, with all their henchmen and retainers, will follow in line on the same side. The financial kings and merchant princes, and all whom they can influence by the most gigantic power ever yet exercised in the world, will join the same side, according to this prophecy.

These "doctrines of demons," represented by the "frog," will lead many noble people in this great army to assume an attitude quite contrary to their preference. For a time the wheels of liberty and progress will be turned backward and medieval restraints will be considered necessary for self-preservation for the maintenance of the present order of things.

In giving this interpretation, it is necessary for us to indicate what is symbolized by the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet, Bible students of nearly all denominations agree with us that the "Dragon" of Revelation represents the purely Civil Power. Protestant interpreters generally agree that the "Beast like a leopard" (Rev. 13:2) represents the Papacy. But fewer still, we fear, will be ready to support our view that Protestantism is the "Image of the Beast" (Rev. 13:15) in our context given another name, "the False Prophet". We urge no one to accept our interpretation, nor shall we think hard of any who refuse it. We will neither slander nor otherwise injure them now, nor threaten them with eternal torture. They have the same right to their views that I have, and the same right to make them known to others. And I, for one, will be very glad to consider anything which opponents may set forth as their interpretations of our text.

UNCLEAN SPIRITS LIKE FROGS

The symbolisms of Scripture, rightly understood, are always forceful. When the Holy Spirit used a "frog" to symbolically represent certain doctrines or teachings, we [HGL874] may be sure the true application will fit well. A frog has a sage look, a wise look. It swells itself up in an apparent endeavor to impress the beholder. Its great mouth well represents its chief power, used to croak.

Applying these symbols, we learn that an evil spirit, influence, teaching, will come from the Protestant churches federated, from the Church of Rome, and from the Civil authorities, all in full agreement. The spirit of all will be boastful; an air of superior wisdom and knowledge will be proudly assumed all will croak in harmony. All will tell of dire results that would follow, involving the interests of both the present and the future life, if their counsel be not followed. However conflicting the creeds, the differences will be ignored in the general proposition that nothing ancient must be disturbed, or looked into, or repudiated.

The Divine authority of the Church, and the Divine right of kings, aside from the Church, will not be allowed to conflict. Any persons or teachings in conflict with these boastful and unscriptural claims will be branded as everything vile, at the mouths of these "frogs" speaking from pulpits and platforms and through the religious and secular press. The nobler sentiments of some will be strangled by the philosophy of the same evil spirit which spoke through Caiaphas, the high priest, respecting Jesus. As Caiaphas declared it expedient to commit a crime in violation of justice, human and Divine, to be rid of Jesus and His teachings, so this "frog" spirit will approve every violation of principle necessary to self-protection.

The croaking of these "frog" spirits or doctrines will gather the kings and princes, financial, political, religious and industrial into one great army. the spirit of fear, inspired by the croaking of these "frogs" will scourge THE passions of otherwise good and reasonable men to fury, desperation. In their blind following of these evil spirits, evil doctrines, they will be ready to sacrifice life and everything on the altar of what they mistakenly suppose is justice, truth and righteousness, under a Divine arrangement.

For a brief time, as we understand the Scriptures, these combined forces of Armageddon will triumph. Free speech, free mails, and other liberties which have come to be the very breath of the masses in our day, will be ruthlessly shut off under the plea of necessity, the glory of God, the commands of the church, etc. All will seem to be serene, until the great social explosion in our context described as the "great Earthquake". An "earthquake," in symbolic language, signifies social revolution, and the declaration of the context is that none like unto it ever before occurred. (Rev. 16:18, 19) Jesus described it as a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Matt. 24:21.

THE LORD WILL GATHER THEM

The false, frog-like teachings will gather together into one host the great, the rich, the wise, the learned and the kings of the earth, to battle. At this juncture Divine Power will step forward, and our text tells us that He shall gather the marshaled hosts to Armageddon to the Mountain of Destruction. The very thing which they sought to avert by their union, federation, etc., will be the very thing they will hasten. Other Scriptures tell us that God will be represented by the Great Messiah, and that He will be on the side of the masses. Thus we read in Dan. 12:1: "At that time shall Michael (the Godlike One Messiah) stand up" assume authority. He will take possession of His Kingdom in a manner little looked for by many of those who erroneously have been claiming that they were His Kingdom, and authorized by Him to reign in His name and in His stead.

Jesus declared, "His servants ye are unto whom ye render service." Some may be rendering service to Satan and to error, who claim to be rendering service to God and to righteousness; and some of these may be serving ignorantly, as did Saul of Tarsus, who "verily thought that he did God a service" in persecuting the Church. The same principle holds true reversely. As an earthly king does not hold himself responsible for the moral character of each soldier who fights in his battles, so the Lord does not vouch for the moral character of all who will enlist and fight on His side of any question. "His servants they are to whom they render service," whatever the motive or object prompting them.

The same principles will apply in the coming Battle of Armageddon. God's side of that battle will be the people's side, and the very nondescript host, the people, will be pitted at the beginning of the battle. Anarchists, Socialists, and hot-headed radicals of every school of reason and unreason, will be in the forefront of that battle. The majority of the poor and the middle class prefer peace at almost any price. A comparatively small number, God's consecrated people, will at heart be longing for Messiah's Kingdom. These will bide the Lord's time and wait patiently for it; they will be of good courage, knowing the outcome outlined in the "more sure word of prophecy," to which they have done well to take heed, "as unto a light shining in a dark place until the Day dawn." 2 Pet. 1:19.

The masses will be restless of their restraints, but will be conscious of their own weakness as compared to the kings and princes, financial, religious and political, which will then hold sway. Besides, the masses have no sympathy with anarchy. They realize truly that the worst form of government is better than none. The masses will seek relief through the ballot and peaceful re-adjustment of earth's affairs for the elimination of evil, for the placing of monopolies and utilities and the supplies of nature in the hands of the people for the public good. The crisis will be reached when the hitherto upholders of law shall become violators of the law and resisters of the will of the majority as

expressed by the ballot. Fear for the future will lead the well-meaning masses to desperation; and anarchy will result when Socialism fails.

THE CLOUD'S SILVER LINING

Horrible would be this outlook for the future did we not have the infallible Word of God assuring us of a glorious outcome! Divine Wisdom has withheld until our day the great knowledge and skill which is at the same time breeding millionaires and discontents. Had God lifted the veil a thousand years sooner, the world would have lined up for its Armageddon a thousand years sooner. But that would have been too soon for the Divine purpose, because Messiah's Kingdom is to be the great Thousand-year Sabbath of the world's history. God in kindness veiled our [HGL875] eyes until the time when the gathering to Armageddon would immediately precede Messiah's taking to Himself His great power and beginning His reign. Rev. 11:17, 18

SEND THEM STRONG DELUSIONS

St. Paul wrote prophetically of our time, that it would be one of serious trial and testing to many professing to be Christians. The reason for this he states they received not the Truth in the love of it. (2 Thess. 2:10, 11) They preferred their own erroneous theories, the Apostle explains, and therefore God will give them over to a "strong delusion," and let them believe the lie which they preferred, and let them suffer for missing the Truth which they did not love. Thus they will be in the condemned host, "fighting against God," because of their lack of love for the Truth.

It is sad to say that we all as Christians have been laboring under a thorough delusion respecting God's Plan. We have claimed that Christ set up His Church in Kingdom power, and that the Church has been reigning on the earth as His representative. On the strength of this delusion, Jews and heretics have been persecuted to death as opponents to Christ's Kingdom. All the while we thoughtlessly repeated the Lord's prayer: "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as in Heaven." We knew that the Redeemer said that He would come again to make us His Bride and joint-heirs; but we ignored the Scriptures. We were drunk, as the Scriptures symbolically say, "all nations were drunk" with the false doctrine. It is this false doctrine that will constitute the "frog" spirit which soon will begin to croak and to prepare for Armageddon.

The Bible presentation is that the world is a section of the universe in rebellion against Divine authority, under the captaincy of Satan and his associated fallen angels. By Divine grace Jesus has already "tasted death for every man," and the merit of that sacrifice must eventually, grant Adam and his posterity a full, fair opportunity for the attainment of everlasting life. All who thus seek the Divine program and are walking in the light may know something at least respecting the "times and seasons." These brethren "are not in darkness, that that day (and that battle of Armageddon) should overtake" them "as a thief" unawares.

ARMAGEDDON NOT YET, BUT SOON

For forty years the Armageddon forces have been mustering for both sides of the conflict. Strikes, lockouts and riots, great and small, have been merely incidental skirmishes as the belligerent parties crossed each other's paths. Court and Army scandals in Europe, Insurance, Trust and Court scandals in America, have shaken public confidence. Dynamite plots, charged by turns on employees and on employers, have further shaken confidence and tended to make each distrustful of the other. Bitter and angry feelings on both sides are more and more manifest. The lines of battle are daily becoming more distinctly marked. Nevertheless Armageddon cannot yet be fought. Other matters intervene according to prophecy.

Gentile Times have still two years to run. The "Image of the Beast" of our context must yet receive life power. The Image must be transformed from a mechanism to a living force. Protestant Federation realize that its organization will still be futile unless it receive vitalization unless its clergy directly or indirectly shall be recognized as possessed of apostolic ordination and authority to teach. This the prophecy indicates will come from the two-horned beast, which, we believe, symbolically represents the Church of England. High-handed activities of Protestantism and Catholicism, operating in conjunction for the suppression of human liberties, await this vivifying of the Image. This may come soon, but Armageddon cannot precede it, but must follow perhaps a year after it, according to our view of the Prophecy.

Still another thing intervenes: Although the Jews are gradually flowing into Palestine, gradually obtaining control of the land of Canaan, and although reports say that already nineteen millionaires are there, nevertheless prophecy requires an evidently larger number of wealthy Hebrews to be there before the Armageddon crisis be reached. Indeed we understand that "Jacob's trouble" in the Holy Land will come at the very close of Armageddon. Then Messiah's Kingdom will begin to be manifested. Thenceforth Israel in the land of promise will gradually rise from the ashes of the past to the grandeur of prophecy. Through its Divinely appointed princes Messiah's Kingdom, all-powerful but invisible, will begin to roll away the curse and to lift up mankind.

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