THE BATTLE OF AARMAGEDDON   

                                                                             By Keith H Hepworth         

                                                                      Part of  web site biblesecrets.org Copyright 2000  DSOTO-

Will the battle of Armageddon be a war of blood and death or a war of ideology and conversion? I believe it will be a war of ideology and conversion like the war in heaven when Satan and his angels were cast down to earth (see Rev.12:9). This different view of the battle of Armageddon came as a real surprise to me,  but only after I finally learned how to read  the difficult language of the Books of Job and Isaiah. I couldn't believe my first conclusions. I spent days pouring over every scripture on the subject. The more I read the more I was convinced this well-known battle will be a spiritual battle for the minds of men; and will not be a battle sending millions of people to their graves as most believe. It will be a spiritual battle waged by Jehovah's army of Gentiles (see Isaiah), to bring the Jews back to the truth, constituting part of the great restoration of the last days spoken of in the scriptures. I believe the Book of Job  will be God's principal weapon in this "battle."  This battle will result in the falling down of the bulwarks of traditions built up for 2000 years by the Jews, and great will be the fall thereof. This fall might even be considered a "great earthquake," figuratively speaking.

The strongest evidence for this conclusion fell into place when I learned that the invasion of Israel by Assyria in Isaiah 8 (the flood) was a type for the big conversion of Israel in the last days, as explained in "( TYPES AND SIMILITUDES)."  I will repeat some of that here.

The flood in Noah's day was a type or similitude for another very important flood, in fact two of them. They are not floods exactly like Noah's, though, where everything was destroyed by water. God promised He would not do that again. But still, a second flood did happen anciently and the other one is not far off. These later floods are different in that they are floods of men, even an army advancing like a flood. The one that happened anciently was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter eight. It is an important key to understanding much of Isaiah because he uses this image of a flood again and again, prophesying about the more important one that is to come. Historically, the one in chapter eight was fulfilled when the Assyrian armies came into Israel like a great destroying flood. Isaiah prophesied that Assyria would come like a river, mighty and strong, overflowing its banks and destroying the whole land (8:7-8), even like Noah's flood destroyed the whole land. This image of outsiders coming upon them like a flood with great power, destroying the land, becomes the type for the next flood. But the next flood of men will not destroy the land like the Assyrian army did. This flood of men will only destroy the land in the sense of destroying the wicked out of the land, and then only by conversion with a flood of metaphorical "living water." This image is used by Isaiah to describe how an army of "Gentiles" will come upon them with their "Glory" (peace/salvation), and ultimately how effective they will be in destroying (nurturing) the Jews with the truth. He brings this image back to the readers mind each time he refers to this event by using linking words, such as, flowing, flood, river, and waters. Consider these, which refer to harvesting, the proud falling, and peace.

27:12 from the...river...ye shall be beat out one by one [harvested].

28:15 [they say] when the overflowing scourge shall pass through,
           it shall not come unto us,

28:17 the waters shall overflow their hiding place.

28:18 the overflowing scourge shall pass through.

30:25 there shall be rivers and streams of waters in that day . . .
                 when the towers [proud] fall
.

54:9 this is as the waters of Noah to me.

59:19 When the enemy shall come in like a flood,

66:12 I will extend peace to her like a river,
         and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream:

Isaiah makes it clear many times who's "army" it will be. He also makes it clear what the Jews can expect to receive from this "flood" of Gentiles. Instead of their death, they will bring their "riches," and their "milk." It means their spiritual riches, even the truth that will lead to "peace" (salvation). It will be "eaten," metaphorically, by them.

24:15 thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles;

60:3 the Gentiles shall come to thy light;

60:5 the forces of Gentiles shall come unto thee;

60:11 that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles;

60:16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles;

61:6 ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. (Cp. 1 Nephi 22:8);

66:12 I will extend peace/salvation (the glory of the Gentiles)
       to her like a river/flowing stream.

These "forces of the Gentiles" that come "flowing" into Israel with the truth will be as effective in "destroying" Israel again as Assyria's forces were anciently. Yes, Israel is to be destroyed again, but this time in a different, peaceful, and constructive way. This time it will be a spiritual battle, with captives (converts) taken , yea, men, women, and children, even until they are thrust through by the sword of the Lord, which is to say, by "His word." The riches of the Gentiles will come, nurturing "thee" with the truth.

Here is another use of this same image, but this time Isaiah uses the "roaring sea" for the linking words (Isaiah 5:26-30). A roaring sea is like a flood. This image, or type, again refers to the last days when the flood of missionaries, who are enemies to the Jewish traditions and false beliefs, will come, sweeping in like a "roaring sea" with great power upon Israel, to "destroy" them by conversion. From the KJV:

5:26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far,
and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth:
and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:
5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them;
none shall slumber nor sleep;
neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed,
nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:
5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent,
their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint,
and their wheels like a whirlwind:
5:29 Their roaring shall be like a lion,
they shall roar like young lions:
yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey,
and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.

It means: The "nations from far" (v26) are coming to Israel at the call of the Lord with great spiritual power (v27-28). Their power is expressed as a lion expresses power, with great confidence and strength; and they "take" their converts surely, losing none (v29). They come like the "roaring sea" with the great power of the "word," which is "light," into a land of "darkness" where there has been no "light" (v30).

Isaiah 60, which follows, explains what the "forces of Gentiles" shall accomplish in Israel. The Hebrew translation (1965 edition, published by The Jewish Publication Society of America) is the most clear. The Hebrew word that is translated as "nations" also means "Gentiles."

1   Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
2   For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people:
but upon thee the LORD shall arise,
and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3   And the nations [Gentiles] shall walk at thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
4   Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
They all are gathered together and come to thee:
thy sons shall come from far,
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
5   Then thou shalt see, and flow together,
and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged;
because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee,
the wealth of the nations [Gentiles] shall come unto thee.
 
10   And aliens shall build up thy walls,
And their kings shall minister unto thee;
For in My wrath I smote thee,
But in my favor have I had compassion on thee.
11  Thy gates also shall be open continually,
Day and night, they shall not be shut;
That men my bring unto thee the wealth of the nations [Gentiles],
 
16  Thou shalt also suck the milk of the nations [Gentiles].
And shalt suck the breast of kings;
And thou shalt [come to] know that I the Lord am thy Savior,

Historically, a destruction of the wicked happened like this before, where they came to know the Lord, that he was their Savior. It happened to the wicked of the Book of Mormon. "And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words. And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton: and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that the band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites" (Hel. 6:36). (Emphasis added.)

A supporting scripture describing this great spiritual change is hidden in the twenty-second chapter of Isaiah. It is buried in metaphors and double meanings. On the surface it sounds negative, filled with death and destruction, just as it happened long ago. One commentator said this about it:

"Hence the city [Jerusalem] is besieged, and in consequence of the long siege hunger and pestilence destroy the inhabitants, and every one who attempts to get away falls into the hands of the enemy, without venturing to defend himself, on account of his emaciation and exhaustion from hunger. Whilst the prophet thus pictures to himself the fate of Jerusalem and Judah, through their infatuation, he is seized with inconsolable anguish." (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. 7, page 391).

While this opinion is accurate for what happened to Israel anciently, there is another way to interpret it for today. That is, Jerusalem, or Israel, has suffered a "long siege hunger" (2000 years), but it is a hunger for the "bread and water" from heaven that brings eternal life. The Jews have been in darkness for thousands of years, and many fall away from Judaism easily, "into the hands of the enemy," even back to the truth. Their "emaciation and exhaustion from hunger" comes from their lack of the "bread and water" of life, which is truth. Try to read the whole chapter in a positive light like this. I will explain a few of the verses along the way to help you. As you read these, forget about destruction and killing and think about a renewal of Israel. That they will soon be returning to the truth--to God; that the death and destruction talked about is only the end of their false beliefs and ungodly practices; that they will receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and even be baptized.

12  And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning,
And to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth;

They shall be called to real, sincere repentance, humbled and grieving for their mistakes; all this is in preparation for baptism.

13  And behold joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine:
let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.

Their repentance will be real, and there shall be a celebration of joy with feasting and drinking.  In addition to a literal feasting in happiness, they will also be feasting on the bread and wine of truth and knowledge. And why is there a celebration? for tomorrow they shall die, yea, even in the waters of baptism, which is in similitude of being buried.

14  And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts:
Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die,
Saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

It means that their iniquity shall not be purged until they are baptized.

15  Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts,
Go, get thee unto this treasurer,
even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
16  What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here,
That thou hast hewed thee out a sepulcher here,
As he that heweth himself out a sepulcher on high,
 
And that engraveth an habitation for himself in a rock?

Then, after their baptism they shall have a place "in the rock," meaning: with Jesus Christ on high. What wonderful news for the Jews. Everything wonderful prophesied by Isaiah for the last-days is about to take place. Instead of a terrible war, killing most of them literally, there will be a flood of missionaries bringing the truth, which will cause them to put away their traditions. That will be a difficult thing for them to do, and cause great wailing and weeping in the land; but the joy of the good news that their God lives will more than offset the sadness. Their punishment is over, then, and it's time for them to learn of the true Messiah. For that purpose, proof that Jesus is the Christ has been sealed in the Book of Job (right under their noses) for over  2500 years. It is indisputable proof to any that will consider it. According to Isaiah, they will.

The idea that the Battle of Armageddon isn't going to be the great slaughter that is taught by all the world came as quite a surprise to me. I think I first discovered it in Joel, and as I remember, I marveled that it could be so misunderstood for so long. On the surface it sounds so negative, but as soon as you realize that the Lord's army is an army of missionaries, it reads entirely different. In Joel 2, God isn't threatening them with repent or I'll destroy you. He's asking them to repent and accept his hand of mercy. Verse 12 asks them to, "Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." To turn to him with all their heart would require conversion and repentance. Fasting, I'm sure, would be a celebration of fasting, as spoken of in Isaiah 58. With weeping? I can still remember my weeping at my conversion - weeping for joy over the good news. But still there would be mourning too, mourning over the 2000 years of error, mourning to learn they had actually crucified their God.

Joel 2:14, reveals God's true character in this matter: You, Israel should know God would return leaving a blessing behind him. And what is the blessing he left behind? The Book of Job? Is that the metaphorical meat and drink offering mentioned? Knowledge of God through the metaphors of meat and drink is the same as "bread to the eater" and "water to the thirsty." The knowledge gained from a study of Job certainly qualifies. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Cities of Judah, Behold your God. (V15 and Isaiah 40:9) Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. (V16) It's time for that long awaited for wedding spoken of by Isaiah, between the Lord and his bride, Israel. All through chapter 2 of Joel, the words rejoice, be glad and be not afraid ring out. My Bible has a chapter heading that previews the chapter as telling of war and desolation preceding the second coming. I don't think so, and I hope you are beginning to doubt it too. Read verse 27of Joel 2, and you will find the final result of the war of Armageddon, "ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, and none else." Doesn't that sound more like a merciful God that loves His children? How could He teach them knowledge of Himself through their death?

Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39, only confirmed what I already suspected from Joel, only the language is a little more tricky. For example: Gog's mighty army of missionaries will take a spoil, and a prey from the spiritually desolate place where they know not the true God. In doing so, the Lord will be sanctified before their eyes. "I (the Lord) will give thee (Gog) unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured". By now you should know a ravenous bird is a person hungering for the "word", and a beast of the field is a "meat hungry" one that will savor God's words. Then it's plain to see that Gog's army is to be devoured by them in the same sense that Jesus meant when he said, "So he that eateth me, even he shall live by me". (John 6:57)

"Thou (Gog) shall fall upon the open field". Instead of thinking this line means that Gog will be destroyed, consider that it means to fall upon a field that is white ready to harvest, for to take a great prey (V5). "And I will send a fire on Magog" (the fire of the Holy Ghost), "and they shall know that I am the Lord". (V6) "So I will make my holy name known (V7) and I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel" - graves of water where spiritual rebirth occurs. (V11). "It shall stop the noses of the passengers:" When a priest baptizes someone, it is as though he has a passenger in his hands when he submerges them. Then submerging them in the water, if not a pinch of their nose from their very own hand, will be what" stop their noses", not the stench of the dead as we have believed. (V11)"And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them". Whoops. Who is burying whom? I read it, Israel will be burying of them, or by them. The armies of God, then, will be doing the burying, burying of them in the waters of baptism. It means the mighty army of Gog will baptize Israel, "that they may cleanse the land" of wicked people (V12). If you still have doubts, verse 13 says that the "burials" will glorify the Lord. Can you imagine that deaths would glorify the Lord? In verse 15 he speaks of looking for a man's bone to bury. Earlier we found that to learn spiritually, metaphorically, was to put on sinew, flesh and skin. So to see a bone is to see a spiritually dead or empty person, that needs teaching and baptism.

We have seen what this mighty army of the Lord will do--how they will "slay" thousands with the "sword" of the Lord. But, where will the Lord find such an army? Where does Isaiah say it will come from? He leaves no doubts; it will be an army from the Gentiles. Chapter 60, verses 5 and 11 both speak of the forces of the Gentiles coming with their great wealth of gold and silver, which is knowledge, the wealth of Jehovah. Jeremiah 16:18-21 agrees with Isaiah, "I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; fathers have inherited lies ...therefore, behold, I will this once [through the Gentiles] cause them to know ...that my name is the Lord". Isaiah 54:3 prophecies that, "thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles." Does Isaiah say that thy seed shall inherit death and destruction from the Gentiles? Quite the contrary, for he says their inheritance shall be, "thy sons and daughters shall be nursed at their side (Isaiah 60:3-4); that they (sons and daughters) shall be carried in their arms and on their shoulders". (Isaiah 49:22) He leaves no question about it when he adds to the same image in 60:16, "Thou (Israel) shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shall suck the breast of kings:" and with 61:6 "...ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves." Is there any question that this image has the Jews feasting upon the Word of God, which is the richness that the Gentiles shall bring?

Did you notice that Isaiah referred to God's army as kings? Strange! What kinds of kings fight in an army, for God in the trenches, so to speak? Those who have received their temple blessings know it means those that have been given the promise of becoming kings and queens, or in other words the Saints, even the Latter-day Saints. I have gone through both of my concordances looking for other scriptures using kings and queens in this way. There are many. One of the most interesting is found in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 10:11. It plainly says, that this land is blessed unto the Gentiles, and that there shall never be kings raised upon this land or the people will perish. That's quite clear to us to mean the people of this land will never be ruled by a king. But, go back to verse 9, where it says, "the kings of the Gentiles," speaking of the very same Gentiles of this land, "shall be nursing fathers and mothers. "Obviously we either have a contradiction or two kinds of kings.

It's clear to me that there are two kinds of kings, and the Saints are one of them. These kings and queens will be nursing fathers and mothers to the Jews. And now to you kings and queens of Zion hear the words of the Lord through Isaiah, "Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also rallied my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness ...the Lord of Hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of His indignation to destroy the whole land." Joel adds to that with, "proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. (Joel 3:9) "put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow..." (Joel 3:13)

It seems strange to me now, how anybody could read Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel and not see that they speak of conversions, of repentance, of the richness of knowledge and truth coming to the Jews; and not by force, as pounding it into them through death and destruction, but by the exercise of their faith in the testimony that Jesus is the Christ. False traditions and wickedness will be destroyed from off the land.

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 BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON--A NEW VIEW