Aggressive nations, not weapons, make wars," British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told a UN Special Session on Disarmament shortly after Britain's triumph in the Falkland Islands.
It is "an evasion of responsibility to suppose that we can prevent the horrors of war by focusing on its instruments," she said. "These are more often symptoms than causes. Wars are caused not by armaments but by the ambition of aggressors."
In another speech before the same session, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, "The Bible tells us there will be a time for peace. But, so far this century, mankind has failed to find it." He told the delegates that more than a hundred armed conflicts have "disturbed the peace among nations since World War II and today the threat of nuclear disaster hangs over the lives of all our people."
As politicians talk, the East and West continue to build bigger stockpiles of nuclear bombs and more sophisticated means of delivering them. Already enough nuclear weapons exist on both sides to destroy all life on our planet many times over. "Overkill," it's called. Once would be enough!
Does War End War? Earlier this century some thought World War I would finally bring real peace. In an attempt to arouse public emotional involvement in the war, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson held aloft the torch of idealism, proclaiming "a war to end wars."
But Mr. Wilson did not coin the phrase that became so well known. In 1914 the English author and historian, H.G. Wells, had published a book titled The War That Will End War. In retort, British politician, David Lloyd George said, "This war, like the next war, is a war to end war."
World War II proved his words prophetic. And now world statesmen speak ominously of World War III as the war to not only end all war, but to end all humanity!
"We have had our last chance," stated a sober General Douglas MacArthur before the assembled U.S. Congress after the close of World War II. "If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system," warned General MacArthur, " 'Armageddon' will be at the door."
What Is "Armageddon"? World War III is predicted in the Bible. It will indeed be the "war to end wars" between nations. It will be the greatest battle of all human history. The victor will utterly vanquish the foe!
But will it be the "Battle of Armageddon" referred to so often by minister, statesman and scientist alike?
Let's understand how "Armageddon" fits into biblical prophecy — especially with regard to the dramatic return of Jesus Christ.
1. Will the nations be overjoyed that God has taken full authority to prevent nuclear mass suicide by sending Christ to bring divine world government to the world? Or will the nations be angry that their authority to wage war is being stripped from them? Rev. 11:18. Will nations actually attempt to FIGHT Christ, the Prince of Peace? Rev. 17:12-14. (The "Lamb" refers to Jesus Christ — John 1:36)
2. Who will have incited the nations to fight against their Creator God? Rev. 16:13-14.
COMMENT: The word devils in the King James Version ought to be rendered demons. The Bible reveals there is one fallen archangel (Isa. 14:12-14, Ezek. 28:12-17) called Satan the devil, who deceives the nations, and there are many fallen angels (II Pet. 2:4, Rev. 12:7) of lesser rank called demons in the Bible.
Notice that these spirits directly influence certain world leaders. They will deceive them with miracles, stirring them to a fever pitch of hatred. They will seduce the nations to fight one whom they will claim is an invader from outer space, an Antichrist, but who is in fact the Christ, with his army of angels (Matt. 25:31; Rev. 19:11-16).
3. Are these invisible demons responsible for gathering the armies of all nations together? Rev. 16:14, 16. (The proper translation of the Greek in verse 16 should read: "And they gathered them together.")
COMMENT: Satan the devil — and his demons — will especially work through human leaders whom he has deceived; such as the "beast," the coming military super-dictator of the prophesied 10 nation end-time revival of the Roman Empire, and the false prophet, a great religious leader who will have universal influence and appeal because of his charisma and power. These will all work together, believing they have found the way to peace through armed might. These leaders, who think it their duty to put down all insurrection, will influence the rest of the world's political and military leaders to mobilize their forces on a worldwide scale in support of human world government.
4. Exactly where do the devil's demons cause the armies of the nations to be gathered together in preparation for the great battle against Christ? Read Revelation 16:16 again for the answer.
COMMENT: The "way of the kings of the east" will have been made ready by the drying up of the River Euphrates (verse 12). This will enable the nations to the east to easily marshal their armies at a place called "Armageddon."
The word Armageddon is a Greek form of the Hebrew name har Megiddo. It means "hill (or mountain) of Megiddo." This is the site of the ancient city of Megiddo, which is about 55 miles north of Jerusalem, and about 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. Anciently, Megiddo and the valley of Megiddo (which is part of the larger Plain of Esdraelon) was an important military site that guarded the strategic passes of the Mt. Carmel area.
For ancient Israel, Megiddo and the Plain of Esdraelon became the battleground of the centuries. Time after time the blood of battle was shed there. Over and over again the 13-acre mound of Megiddo was refortified. Today the site is nothing more than an unoccupied, silent mound of historic rubble. Occasional tourists and archaeologists traverse its rocky face, but it is not a major military site at this time.
But Megiddo is a symbol!
It is a symbol of war and human conflict. It overlooks the Plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel and stood at one of the great crossroads of the ancient world. And as the prophecy of Revelation 16 indicates, Megiddo and the Plain of Esdraelon will become the staging ground or mustering area for the greatest concentration of military might ever assembled!
Prophecy tells us that "ten kings" (Rev. 17:12-14) will comprise the modern and final end-time revival of the ancient Roman Empire. It will be a political, military and religious alliance of incredible power. A vast and mighty army will be formed and will find its way into the Middle East. The religious control of Jerusalem and oil will undoubtedly be major factors prompting the maneuver.
Thus the army of this religious "beast" power will confront the armies of the atheistic "east." But instead of fighting each other in a battle that would have ended in the nuclear extinction of all life (Matt. 24:22), they will, ironically, UNITE their forces and march toward Jerusalem in an attempt to destroy their common "enemy."
5. What is the name of the ensuing great battle between God and man? Rev. 16:14, last part.
COMMENT: You will notice the battle is not called "the battle of Armageddon" — it is called the "battle of that great day of God Almighty"!
6. Exactly where does the Bible say this battle will take place? Joel 3:1-2, 9-14. Compare verse 13 with Revelation 14:18-20 and 19:15. Also Zechariah 14:1-4.
COMMENT: Jehoshaphat means "judgment of Yahweh" or "judgment of the Eternal." The focal point of the battle will be in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, also called the "valley of decision" in the Bible. This valley is a deep ravine having steep sides. It borders the city of Jerusalem on the east. The Valley of Jehoshaphat, which is situated between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, is known today as the Kidron Valley.
7. How is this great climactic battle pictured? Rev. 19:11-21. How does Zechariah describe the frightening manifestation of the righteous judgment of God in fighting against his enemies? Zech. 14:12. Will the nations wage war against each other anymore after Christ's overwhelming victory? Isa. 2:2-4.
COMMENT: Here you have a graphic description of "the war that will end war"! Jesus Christ will utterly destroy those who, in attempting to enforce human world government, would have destroyed the earth through nuclear war (Rev. 11:18).
The returning Christ will be forced to deal with rebellious nations in the only language they understand — overwhelming force! Only then will men be willing to try God's way of life and come under his government, which leads to genuine peace, happiness and prosperity!