The closing chapters of Revelation outline significant world developments that will bring about the end of world history. A number of these developments can be seen in their embryo form already. Let us consider just a few of these developments.
During the time of the seventh trumpet, the nations will be angry (see Revelation 11:18); and as a result of the worldwide dissemination of the teachings of spiritualism, the world will enter the most general and deadly war of all time—Armageddon. (See Revelation 16:13, 14.) The Word of God explicitly states that the whole world will be involved (see Revelation 16:14), and that more people will die in this struggle than in any battle in recorded history. (See Revelation 19.)
We must recognize that for the whole world to be gathered together, there would have to be some unifying forces that would unite the nations in the interest of obtaining common objectives. This would require that treaties or international agreements be in place that would outline the plans for cooperation. We believe that we see this taking place today.
The Scriptures reveal that this unity among the nations will result from the uniting of three major forces. One uniting force, according to Revelation 16:13, 14, will be spiritualism. Spiritualism is the basis for the Eastern religions that are experiencing world-wide resurgence today. Within western society, spiritualistic teachings invaded the educational system decades ago and are now found throughout the business world and even within the professed churches of Jesus Christ. Over one hundred years ago Ellen White predicted that in the last great crisis, Satan would appear as an angel of light, work many undeniable wonders and miracles, and even profess faith in and respect for the Bible and the institutions of the church. (See The Great Controversy, 588.) In modern refined forms of spiritualism, one person’s mind seeks to gain control over another person’s mind. In this spiritualistic practice, the devil is actually able to take control of both minds. (See Medical Ministry, 114.) Sadly, many Seventh-day Adventists do not recognize this demonstration of spiritualism, even when it occurs in their own church. This is a most startling evidence that we are getting ready for Armageddon whether we realize it or not.
“We would lose faith and courage in the conflict if we were not sustained by the power of God. 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.” 1888 Materials, 761, 762.
A second uniting force will be a great international religious peace movement. (See Isaiah 2; Micah 4: I Thessalonians 5:1–3.) This peace movement will include a campaign against intemperance, but will also be of a religious nature, supporting Sunday laws. (See The Great Controversy, 587.) In the midst of the bloody conflicts of the twentieth century, the human heart naturally longs for peace. The devil will take advantage of this desire, and men will feel that they are entering a time of world-wide universal peace as they enter the time of Armageddon. The element that will appear to ensure this peace is a world-wide religious revival and a “returning to God.” In a desperate bid to meet the problems facing the world, men will demand that governments enact religious laws so that morality might again prevail. “Even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance.” The Great Controversy, 592.
Spiritualism is not the only unifying force. The beast and the false prophet also have a part to play. In the developments taking place in the religious world today, this cooperative effort is very apparent.
“Four mighty angels hold back the powers of this earth till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. The nations of the world are eager for conflict, but they are held in check by the angels. When this restraining power is removed, there will come a time of trouble and anguish. Deadly instruments of warfare will be invented. Vessels, with their living cargo, will be entombed in the great deep. All who have not the spirit of truth will unite under the leadership of satanic agencies. But they are to be kept under control till the time shall come for the great battle of Armageddon.” Maranatha, 257.
But a little time remains. May God help us all to be making the necessary preparations while the four mighty angels continue to hold.