FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
October 30, 2015
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXI
The Threefold Union in the Battle of Armageddon
First, it can never be overemphasized that “spiritual things are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2: 10-16). The sealing work of the plan of salvation is to fit up, moral character-wise, mortal, commandment-keeping living saints with the “fine white linen” of Christ’s righteousness (Rev. 19: 8). Thus dressed for “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19: 7-9), they are blessed with the “right to the tree of life and may enter into the gates into the city” (Rev. 22: 13), and claim “the place” in the “heavenly mansions” Jesus ascended to prepare for them (John 14: 1-3).
It is at His glorious second coming that these saints received the finishing touch of “immortality” and their “corruptible flesh was changed to incorruptible at the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump” (1 Cor. 15: 50-56)—the eternal reward of all who remained faithful to the end (Rom. 2: 7; 1 Tim. 2: 16; 1 Cor. 15: 53, 54; Luke 12: 36). It began with conviction and concluded with the transformation of the same faculties of the mind before conversion—that “mind which was also in Christ Jesus,” characterized by “humility and obedience to death” (Phil. 2: 5-8).
The seal, also called “mark” or “sign” of God is placed in not on the forehead—the seat of intelligent thought and conscious choice—the cradle of conscience—opposite the mere physical countenance. It is “settling into truth both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved.” (E. G. White, 4BC 1161). Thus, “Spiritual truths present spiritual intelligence tests. The more we love the Lord, obey His Word, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, the more discerning becomes our spiritual perception.” (L. F. Were, The Certainty of the Third Angel’s Message, 196). This completely rules out a tattoo or a computer chip being implanted on the forehead.
The Battle of Armageddon
The word “Armageddon” in the English translations is not only found in last book. In Revelation, Armageddon is a description of its final antitypical application and global fulfillment, where, in the Old Testament it is typified by local places and events. Following the type-antitype principle, parables and prophecies, following their spiritual thread, and like history, a prophecy repeated is its expansion thereof. In music theory it is the Crescendo principle. Local events and occurrences illustrate a larger application. They are spiritual as well as world-wide in their completion and fullest fulfillment.
The Apocalypse or Revelation was written by John for and to the Christian church in all its seven periods since its founding upon the Rock and Corner Stone, Jesus Christ, not Peter, by the Twelve Apostles, after Pentecost. It tracks the relevant highlights of the growth, development, experiences, and changes that the church undergoes up to earth’s closing events in the climax of the cosmic war (battle, controversy) between Christ and Satan and their respective agencies, both religious and civil. Since the fall, earth is the global battle-field and the individual’s mind and heart, being the main arena for this epic struggle for his love, trust, loyalty, and obedience.
Satan employs temptation, deception, and force; Jesus uses love, grace, and truth.
The introduction of Revelation is the most unique and only one of its kind among the 66 books of the Bible, immediately revealing the sources and order of the transmission of its contents: from the Father to the Son to the angel who gives them to John to write to the churches. It is definitely the must-read, must-understand book for every Christian who would be found on the side of Christ, not the Antichristian power in the last days. Remember, this book is not John’s revelation but “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 3: 1-3. Thus, in order to be understood, it must be studied by the guidance, teaching, and conviction of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ’s clearly identified and promised His disciples to be His vicegerent and Successor on earth, and no one else. See John 14: 16-18, 26; 15: 26; 16:7-14.
Only thus can Revelation be appreciated and understood as “truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4: 21). Otherwise, we will embrace the counterfeit interpretations which are more popular and subscribed to by the greater majority of Christianity—which are Preterism and Futurism—brainchilds of two Spanish Jesuit priests, Alcasar and Ribera, respectively, to counter the work of the Protestant Reformers, introduced during the latter part of the Reformation.
In his ARMAGEDDON pamphlet, pp. 12, 13, Louis F. Were, the Australian “Bible Commentator,” pp. 12, 13, says:
“The Futuristic teaching, which applies the prophecies concerning Israel and her enemies in a literal, Palestinian and militaristic sense, belongs to the same system which erroneously applies the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper in a literal sense, instead of interpreting them spiritually. Futurism declares that Armageddon is a literal conflict of nations because Revelation 16: 12-16, Joel 3, etc., do not state that they are to be symbolically understood.
Thus reasoned the Jews in their rejection of Christ in their day; and thus reason the Roman Catholics regarding the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. The New Testament world-wide application of that which is stated in the Old Testament to occur ‘in Jerusalem,’ in ‘the land of Israel,’ etc., is illustrated by the Savior’s interpretation of the prophecy in Zechariah 12: 11-14. In these verses all the families, tribes, or kindreds would ‘mourn.’ ‘In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Meggidon.’ In Matt. 24: 30 and Rev. 1: 7 the Lord applies these verses in a world-wide sense in connection with the destruction of the unprepared at His second advent: [Matt. 24: 30 and Rev. 1: 7 quoted].
“Sometimes good people sincerely ask if the use of the word ‘place’ in Rev. 16: 16 indicates that Armageddon should be literally understood in relation to Megiddo. We need only remember that Babylon, Idumea, Bozrah, the valley of Jehoshaphat, etc., are also real places, but they are employed in a world-widesymbolic sense. The fact that we are expressly informed that the wicked are gathered ‘into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon’ (Rev. 16: 16) shows that it is not to a literal place our attention is drawn, for if there was such a place known in various languages there would not be any need to emphasize that we must turn to the ‘Hebrew tongue. When we turn to the word ‘Armageddon’ in the Hebrew language we see that it summarizes the descriptions given Old Testament prophets of the world-wide destruction of all the wicked at the second advent. They depicted this destruction to occur in ‘the great day of the Lord’ —hence the Revelator’s reference to ‘the battle of that great day of God Almighty.’
We all can agree that the global situation is getting worse. So the cliché “Don’t think that it can’t get any worse because it can,” is so apropos to what we should be expecting and preparing for in the culminating events of prophecy ahead us. Referring to the main combatants against God’s people and the truth and the nature of the battle of Armageddon, John says: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of the devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world,to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Rev. 16: 13, 14. . . . “These [the dragon, beast, and false prophet] shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is the Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Rev. 17: 14. The focus of their hatred is Jesus Christ, His truth, and His followers.
Ellen G. White says: “We need to study the outpouring of the seventh vial. The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has as part to act in the Battle of Armageddon. When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation 18 [“the fourth angel;”read the chapter], the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take the field.”-Maranatha (Devotional) p. 257.
“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. 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 . . . .The power of the Holy Spirit will be upon us, and the Captain of the Lord’s host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another [of the seven last plagues] upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us.” – Ibid.
Referring to the meaning of the seven churches in the seven cities of Asia (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) which John writes says, “Blessed is he that reads, hears, anddoes those things written in the book,” E. G. White says: “The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the Church in different periods of the Christian era [C.E.].” Acts of the Apostles, p. 585.
L. F. Were in his Certainty of the Third Angel’s Message, pp. 199, 200 says:
“Let us apply this principle . . . . As the first time the word ‘place’ is employed in the Revelation it is used in a world-wide, spiritual sense in connection with world-wide symbolic cities, and as the names of the seven cities are chosen because of the significance of their meanings, associated with the ‘topographical and historical features’ of these cities. Scripture and logic demand that the same principles be recognized and followed when interpreting ‘place’ and ‘Armageddon’ of Revelation 16: 16. As the ‘history’ of the people and cities was coupled with the meaning of the names of those cities and used in a symbolic sense, so, also, when, in the same book of symbols, we read of ‘a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon’ the same principle of associating thehistory of the place with the meaning of the name must be followed. Megiddo is introduced in the Bible in Judges 4 and 5, as the place where Israel fought against devil-led enemies. Subsequent Old Testament references also show it as the place of conflict between the forces of good and evil. The history of the ‘place’ Megiddo, like that of the 7 places, or cities, in Asia, must be taken into account in understanding in itssymbolical use in Rev. 16: 16.
“Writing of the symbolical nature of the names of the Revelation, Isbon T. Beckwith, PhD., D.D., in his ‘The Apocalypse of St. John,’ p. 25 says: –‘The use of proper names and designations calls for special notice here. . . .Even the names of the church. . . .are really intended to be typical of the whole church. Abaddon, Armageddon, Gog and Magog belong solely to apocalyptic language; and in our book [Revelation], Babylon, Jerusalem, Jezebel, Zion, and Sodom have a typical sense only. If ‘Armageddon’ referred to a specific locality, it would be the only prophetic name in the Revelation used in its literal sense.” [And that does not make sense].
Again, on p. 648, Dr. Beckwith says:—‘Rev. 16: 16. Harmageddon. The name here given to the place where Satan’s hosts are gathered, and where doubtless the battle of Revelation 19: 11 is conceived to occur isunquestionably purely mystical . . . It is unknown to Hebrew literature, and it would be contrary to the Apocalyptist’s s use of proper names to identify it, in its eschatological application, with any place so called. . . .It is an imaginary name for designating the scene of the great battle between Antichrist and the Messiah . . . The designation ‘Mount Megiddo,’ thus derived, is open to the objection that the region is not a mountain but a vast plain.’ “Then this noted author connects up the word ‘mountain,’ mentioned in the prophecy of Ezekiel [chapters] 38, 39, with the word ‘Armageddon’ (Rev. 16: 16), which contains reference to ‘Megiddo,’ ‘famed in Israel’s history as the place where Jehovah’s enemies perished.’ ‘The great battle of the Messiah with the Antichrist. Rev. 19: 11-21. This prelude (vs. 17, 18) to the battle is suggested by Ezekiel’s prophecy of the assault of the nations upon God’s people in the last days, and the overthrow of Gog and his hosts upon themountains of Israel.’ Ibid, p. 374. Henry’s Commentary declares:–‘ Armageddon . . . it should be the field of the last battle, in which the church. . . .shall be victorious. “ NOTE: Study Ezek. 39: 4, 17-20 in the light of Rev. 19: 11-19.
(To be continued next week)