Today’s Revelation reading is the only place in the Bible where the word “Armageddon” occurs. Yet the word keeps cropping, especially in films. There is a fear among many that there is a great crisis ahead. There is continuing chaos in the nations surrounding Israel, but not in Israel itself, it is now approaching 50 years since any of their surrounding enemies dared to attack them, not counting local troubles with the Gaza Strip. We have seen a kind of savagery in Ukraine where there is little regard for human life. It is difficult to see a long term future for the world! The United Nations is impotent and the United States is reluctant to act as a ‘policemen’ in trouble spots. The cost of living crisis and many other troubles surround us.
It is understandable, if you do not believe in the Bible, that you see no future. Revelation 16 starts by saying there is “a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God’” (verse 1). We see in symbol, the ultimate outpouring of the Creator’s anger on those who do not obey Him, but most do not believe He even exists. Some in past centuries have persecuted true believers, and today we read, “for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve … They did not repent of their deeds” (verses 6,11).
Verse 14 speaks of “demonic spirits” (unreasoning, mad attitudes of mind?) … who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle … at the place that is called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (verses 14,16). This is a place (valley?) spoken of by several Old Testament prophets without using the word Armageddon. Joel calls it “the valley of decision” (3:4).
We wonder how close we are to the bowls of God’s wrath being emptied. Is that time close or not? If we really fear God, let us always be ready. May it be our wondrous experience to sing “the song of the Lamb” (15:3,4), “Great and amazing are your deeds … O king of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? … All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed”.