The Battle of Armageddon

There are four major events that must take place before the Bible millennium begins.

  1. The national and universal Sunday Law
  2. The general close of probation
  3. The battle of Armageddon
  4. The Second Advent of Christ

When the national Sunday law is proclaimed, the final conflict will be engaged. The world will then be engaged in spiritual warfare, with Satan and his followers on one side and Christ and His commandment-keeping people on the other side. What a battle this will be!

The Bible describes it vividly in Revelation 19: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. . . And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.” Revelation 19:11–17, 19.

The Spirit of Prophecy has much to say about the battle of Armageddon. We will look at a number of quotations in order to understand better these important events that will soon take place. First, why do men join in a rebellion against their Creator? The answer we are given in inspiration is very solemn. “Every soul that is not fully surrendered to God, and kept by divine power, will form an alliance with Satan against heaven, and join in battle against the Ruler of the Universe.” Testimonies to Ministers, 465.

The universal Sunday law will force every one on earth to make a personal decision—either to join one side or the other in the battle of Armageddon. “Soon all the inhabitants of the earth will have taken sides, either for or against the government of heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 141.

Christ will bring the armies of heaven to fight for His earthly commandment-keepers. “The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on whose vesture is written the name, King of kings, and Lord of lords, is soon to lead forth the armies of heaven.” Ibid., vol. 6, 406.

Satan, with all the nations of the world, will oppose God and His faithful: “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.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 967.

The battle of Armageddon begins during the seven last plagues:

“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 lightened with the glory of the angel of Revelation 18 the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take to the field.” Ibid., 983.

“Two great opposing powers are revealed in this 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.” Ibid., 982, 983.

“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 . . . Wide-awake we must be, as wise virgins having oil in our vessels with our lamps . . .

“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 this 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.” Ibid., 982.

“The Revelator describes the destruction that is to take place when the ‘great voice out of heaven’ announces, ‘It is done!’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 509. And thank God! We are assured of a Captain who will lead us to victory. “The Captain of the Lord’s Host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle.” Selected Messages, 426.

Deliverance of the Saints

The basic reason why the armies of heaven are coming to the earth is to rescue and deliver the saints. “The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forest and in the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by the hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen . . .

“With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecations, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forbodings they gaze upon the symbol of God’s covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.” The Great Controversy, 635, 636.

“By the people of God a voice, clear and melodious, is heard, saying, ‘Look up,’ and lifting their eyes to the heavens, they behold the bow of promise. The black, angry clouds that cover the firmament are parted, and like Stephen they look up steadfastly into heaven and see the glory of God and the Son of Man seated upon His throne. In His divine form they discern the marks of His humiliation; and from His lips they hear the request presented before His Father and the holy angels: ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with Me where I am.’ John 17:24. Again a voice, musical, and triumphant is heard saying: ‘They come! They come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels;’ and the pale, quivering lips of those who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.” Ibid., 636.

“I looked upon the company, who, a short time before, were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked! All marks of care and weariness were gone, and health and beauty were seen in every countenance. Their enemies, the heathen round them, fell like dead men; they could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones.” Early Writings, 272.

The same voice that brings shouts of victory from the saints will produce the opposite effect upon the wicked. “When the voice of God turns the captivity of His people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost all in the great conflict of life. While probation continued they were blinded by Satan’s deceptions, and they justified their course of sin . . . Now they are stripped of all that made them great and are left destitute and defenseless. They look with terror upon the destruction of the idols which they preferred before their Maker . . . The gain of a lifetime is swept away in a moment. The rich bemoan the destruction of their grand houses, the scattering of their gold and silver. But their lamentations are silenced by the fear that they themselves are to perish with their idols.

“The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellow men, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what is; but they do not repent of their wickedness. They would leave no means untried to conquer if they could.” The Great Controversy, 654.

Great Wonders in the Heavens, Earth and Sea

At this time, great wonders will take place one after another: “It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark heavy clouds come up and clash against each other . . .

“That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.’ Revelation 16:17, 18. The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons on a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seems to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters. Babylon the great has come into remembrance before God ‘to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.’ Great hailstones, everyone ‘about the weight of a talent,’ are doing their work of destruction. Revelation 16:19, 21. The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world’s great men have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God’s people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free.” The Great Controversy, 636, 637.

“In the day of the Lord just before the coming of Christ, God will send lightenings from heaven in His wrath, which will unite with fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrible streams of lava, destroying gardens and fields, villages and cities; and as they pour their melted ore, and rocks and heated mud into the rivers, it will cause them to boil like a pot, and send forth massive rocks and scatter their broken fragments upon the land with indescribable violence. Whole rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants of the earth until they are destroyed from off it.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 82-83.

The Special Resurrection

Now comes that time of the special resurrection in which two classes of those who have died will be resurrected. “Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth . . . awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the Third Angel’s Message come forth from the tomb glorified to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law.” The Great Controversy, 637.

We have all lost loved ones, a father or a mother or children that had been faithful who loved the Lord and have died in this wonderful Three Angels’ Messages. They will all come forth out of their tombs to see Jesus come. And we can join them. What about the wicked who are resurrected? ” ‘They also which pierced Him’ (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal, the obedient.

“Thick clouds still cover the sky, yet the sun now and then breaks through appearing like the avenging eye of Jehovah. Fierce lightenings leap from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flame. Above the terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom of the wicked. The words spoken are not comprehended by all; but they are distinctly understood by the false teachers. Those who a little before were so reckless, so boastful and defiant, so exultant in their cruelty to God’s commandment-keeping people, are now overwhelmed with consternation and shuddering in fear. Their wails are heard above the sounds of the elements. Demons acknowledge the deity of Christ and tremble before His power while men are supplicating for mercy and groveling in abject terror.” Ibid., 637, 638.

The righteous know that they are delivered and they will be singing praises to God. A bright star is seen and the faces of the righteous are radiant as they sing praises. The clouds sweep back and the sky is filled with the stars. “Through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose brilliancy is increased four fold in contrast with the darkness. It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to the transgressors of God’s law. Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden in the secret of the Lord’s pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him who died for them. A marvelous change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death. They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed into demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder, and faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the water thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.’ Psalm 46:1-3.

“While these words of holy trust ascend to God, the clouds sweep back, and the starry heavens are seen, unspeakably glorious in contrast with the black and angry firmament on either side. The glory of the celestial city streams from gates ajar.” Ibid., 638, 639.

“The captivity of the righteous is turned and with sweet and solemn whispering they say to one another, ‘We are delivered. It is the voice of God.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354.

God’s Law Revealed

“Then there appears against the sky a hand holding two tables of stone folded together. Says the prophet: ‘The heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is Judge Himself.’ Psalm 50:6. That holy law, God’s righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgment. The hand opens the tables, and there are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. The words so plain that all can read them. Memory is aroused, the darkness of superstition and heresy is swept from every mind, and God’s ten words, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, are presented to the view of all the inhabitants of the earth.” Ibid., 639.

“In the temple will be seen the ark of the testament in which were placed the two tables of stone,on which are written God’s law. These tables of stone will be brought forth from their hiding place, and on them will be seen the Ten Commandments engraved by the finger of God. These tables of stone now lying in the ark of the testament will be a convincing testimony to the truth and binding claims of God’s law.

“Sacrilegious minds and hearts have thought that they were mighty enough to change the times and the laws of Jehovah; but, safe in the archives of heaven, in the ark of God, are the original commandments, written upon the two tables of stone. No potentate of earth has power to draw forth those tables from their sacred hiding place beneath the mercy seat.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 972.

“It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of those who have trampled upon God’s holy requirements. The Lord gave them His law; they might have compared their characters with it and learned their defects while there was yet opportunity for repentance and reform; but in order to secure the favor of the world, they set aside its precepts and taught others to transgress. They have endeavored to compel God’s people to profane His Sabbath. Now they are condemned by that law which they have despised . . . Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God.” The Great Controversy, 639.

And what about former Sabbath-keepers who had accepted Sunday because of the new theology that is being taught? “Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garment were written in large characters, ‘Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ I asked who this company were. The angel said, ‘These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and who have given it up.’ I heard them cry with a loud voice, ‘We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.’ And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Early Writings, 37.

“Church members, who have seen the light and been convicted, but who have trusted the salvation of their souls to the minister, will learn in the day of God that no other soul can pay the ransom for their transgression. A terrible cry will be raised, ‘I am lost, eternally lost.’ Men will feel as though they could rend in pieces the ministers who have preached falsehoods and condemned the truth.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1157.

“The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fury. ‘We are lost!’ they cry, ‘and you are the cause of our ruin;’ and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God’s people are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed.” The Great Controversy, 655, 656.

This brings us to that climactic hour when the devil’s evil work will be brought to a halt. “The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are lighted up with His glory and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai.” Ibid., 640.

The remaining wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. The great conflict between good and evil, though forced to stop, will be revived by the resurrection of the wicked at the close of the thousand years. Then Christ with His saints will return to this earth with the New Jerusalem. The wicked will surround the city to destroy it, but fire will come down from heaven and will annihilate the devil, his evil angels and all the host of wicked, purifying the earth of every taint of sin. Thus comes to its end the battle of Armageddon.

We have studied the seriousness of the battle of Armageddon. On what side will you participate in this closing struggle? Will you fight with Satan against the God of love? Or will you stand with Christ in keeping all of His commandments? I ask you today, “Is Your All Upon the Altar of Sacrifice Laid?”