Armageddon
Lesson 43

The three angels’ messages, the mark of the beast, and the great war against truth depicted in the latter part of Revelation 13, describe the last great struggle between truth and error. For nearly six thousand years the conflict has ebbed and flowed. At times it has seemed that error would surely prevail, bearing down before it all that is right and good, but through all the play and counterplay of human interests and passions, God has worked His will. This controversy has involved every person who has ever lived. Each actor in history stands in his lot and place, for God’s great work after His own plan will be carried out by men who have prepared themselves to fill positions for good or for evil. Kings and princes take their position at the appointed time. They think they are carrying out their own purposes, while in reality they are but fulfilling the Word God has spoken through His prophets, and events all fall into line. The final battle of this great controversy, the point toward which all events have been tending, is the battle of Armageddon. It is but the climax in Satan’s 6,000 year program to keep God’s people from being saved.

1. What was Satan’s original boast?

Isaiah 14:13–14
Isaiah 14:13–14

Note: This incredible claim of Satan’s reveals his determination to set himself up in the place of God. If he is going to subvert the worship of God’s subjects, directing it to himself, it is both natural and essential that he seek to establish himself under a religious guise.

2. Where was the man of sin to seek to establish himself?

2 Thessalonians 2:3–4
2 Thessalonians 2:3–4

Note: The expression “mount of the congregation” is an obvious reference to God’s dwelling place. Throughout the Bible mount Zion, also spoken of as God’s dwelling place is also said to be located in the sides of the north. See Psalm 48:2.

Originally Zion was the designated spot where the temple was located in the north part of Jerusalem, but it later became more generally understood to be a symbol of Jerusalem. It is also a term that is frequently applied to God’s people as a whole. But after the Jews rejected Jesus the term Zion became the designation for the church, and thus in the New Testament, no longer identifies an earthly location, but a people—the people who make up the church, wherever they may be.

3. Where are we told God’s presence resides?

Matthew 18:20
Matthew 18:20

4. How will Satan seek to bring all the world under his control?

Revelation 12:9

Note: Working under the guise of counterfeit religious systems and false worship, Satan has woven a clever composite of truth and error down through the ages. His masterpiece of deception will occur at the end-time when he works through the beast power to enforce a mark of loyalty on every person living at that time.

5. What will finally face those who refuse this mark?

Revelation 13:15
Revelation 13:15

Note: Once those who refuse this mark of apostasy are determined to be worthy of death, the final obstacle will have been removed for Satan to claim all the earth as his followers.

6. Where is there to be deliverance for God’s people?

Joel 2:15–16, 32
Joel 2:15–16, 32

Note: Revelation 13 closes with the grim picture of God’s people confronted with the choice of either joining in the worldwide apostasy, or facing imminent death. As chapter 14 opens, the redeemed are pictured as having been delivered from the beast power of the previous chapter, and safe in mount Zion.

Chapter 14 is God’s response to this crisis and promises His wrath unmixed with mercy upon all those who side with the apostasy. It is in chapter 16 that we have a description of what that wrath is like, as demonstrated in the seven last plagues, the most terrible scourges ever to be experienced by men.

7. What is the first plague to fall upon the earth?

Revelation 16:2
Revelation 16:2

8. What is the second plague to afflict men?

Revelation 16:3
Revelation 16:3

9. What reason is given for this change of water into blood?

Revelation 16:5–6
Revelation 16:5–6

Note: In finding the people of God worthy of death (see Revelation 13:15), the wicked are just as guilty as if they had completed the act they had contemplated.

10. In response to the plagues, what is the attitude of the wicked?

Revelation 16:9
Revelation 16:9

Note: In allowing matters to come to a crisis upon the earth, the true thoughts and intents of each heart are made evident. In allowing Satan to press His people almost beyond measure, God has revealed who are the true, the faithful. God has also demonstrated that there is nothing anyone can do to His faithful remnant to move them from their steadfast position of loyalty to Him. While the wicked have spurned the blessings of God in the past, and have joined in the great apostasy, God proves that even in the most severe judgments possible, they cannot be moved to repentance, but like Pharaoh, are hardened in their impenitence.

While God is gathering His people to Him in mount Zion, there is also another gathering going on—a gathering together for the battle of Armageddon.

11. By what means do these three apostate powers seek to” deceive the people into joining them in this battle?

Revelation 16:14
Revelation 16:14

Note: Those who have been led to look at miracles as a sign of God’s leading and presence, will find this an easy deception to follow. While miracles can be the demonstration of God’s power, we have no assurance that this is always the case.

12. Where only will there be safety for the people of God?

Isaiah 8:20
Isaiah 8:20

Note: In these last days miracles will be performed by evil spirits, and there will be no safety for the people of God in depending upon their senses. They will not be deceived, however, for the teachings of these false leaders will be to support the very class upon whom God’s Word has said His unmingled wrath will fall.

13. How is it that so many will be led to accept this delusion?

2 Thessalonians 2:10
2 Thessalonians 2:10

Note: Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth will be able to recognize the workings of Satan and be delivered from the deception.

14. Why did they not love the truth?

2 Thessalonians 2:12
2 Thessalonians 2:12

Note: Paul warned Timothy that the day would come when, because of their pleasure in unrighteousness, men would no longer choose to hear the truth, but would seek after teachers who would speak to them the things that suited the tenor of their carnal natures. See 2 Timothy 4:3–4. Between the carnal nature and God’s law there is ever an enmity (see Romans 8:7); for this reason, commandment keeping has never been popular. To those who desire a way of forgetting God which will pass for remembering Him, a gospel of “love” that requires no obedience is readily accepted.

15. What event takes place as the seventh angel pours out the “seventh and last judgment vial?

Revelation 16:18–20
Revelation 16:18–20

It is in the last generation to live upon the earth that God gives the full and final demonstration of the power of the gospel. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. As with Job, the only limitation put upon Satan is that he cannot take the life of the faithful remnant. The demonstration is allowed to continue until there is nothing more to be proved. Though he harasses and threatens them, all his efforts end in defeat. Kept by the power of the indwelling Christ, they prevail and God places His seal upon them. It is then that God intervenes and delivers His waiting saints. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:8–9

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