Armageddon. Will not happen on Dec, 21, 2012 The TRUTH | delilah5's Blog
(Har–Ma·ged′on) [from Heb., meaning “Mountain of Megiddo”].
This name is directly associated with “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” The term applies specifically to the condition, or situation, to which “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” are gathered in opposition to Jehovah and his Kingdom by Jesus Christ. In a number of versions it is rendered “Armageddon.” (Re 16:14, 16, AT; KJ; JB; RS; TEV) The name Har–Magedon, taken from Hebrew, means simply “Mountain of Megiddo.”
There does not appear to have been a literal place called “Mountain of Megiddo,” either inside or outside the Promised Land, before or during the days of the apostle John, who recorded the vision. Hence, Har–Magedon evidently draws its significance from the events associated with the ancient city of Megiddo.
Megiddo was situated a few miles SE of Mount Carmel, overlooking and dominating the Plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel) and controlling major N-S and E-W trade and military routes. Joshua first conquered this Canaanite city. (Jos 12:7, 8, 21) Near this site Jabin’s army under command of Sisera was later destroyed. Jehovah there employed natural forces to assist the Israelite army under Barak. The account reads: “Barak went descending from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men behind him. And Jehovah began to throw Sisera and all his war chariots and all the camp into confusion by the edge of the sword before Barak. Finally Sisera got down off the chariot and took to flight on foot. And Barak chased after the war chariots and the camp as far as Harosheth of the nations, so that all the camp of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword. Not as much as one remained.”—Jg 4:14-16.
After the victory, Barak and the prophetess Deborah broke out in song, which went, in part: “Kings came, they fought; it was then that the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. No gain of silver did they take. From heaven did the stars fight, from their orbits they fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon washed them away, the torrent of ancient days, the torrent of Kishon. You went treading down strength, O my soul. It was then that the hoofs of horses pawed because of dashings upon dashings of his stallions.”—Jg 5:19-22.
It was at Megiddo that King Ahaziah of Judah died after he was mortally wounded on orders of Jehu. (2Ki 9:27) There King Josiah of Judah was killed in an encounter with Pharaoh Nechoh. (2Ki 23:29, 30) Because of its commanding position, many other nations, according to secular history, warred around Megiddo. ‘Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, crusaders, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs have all pitched their tents on the plain of Esdraelon.’—Word Studies in the New Testament, by M. R. Vincent, 1957, Vol. II, p. 542.
The Revelation account depicts the combined forces of the kings of the earth as being gathered “to the place [Gr., form of to′pos] that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.” (Re 16:16) In the Bible to′pos may refer to a literal location (Mt 14:13, 15, 35); to one’s opportunity, or “chance” (Ac 25:16); or to a figurative realm, condition, or situation (Re 12:6, 14). In view of the context, it is to a “place” in the last-mentioned sense that earth’s combined military powers are marching.
“The war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon was not some past event but is depicted in Revelation as future from the time of John’s vision. The gathering of the kings to Har–Magedon is described as being a result of the pouring out of the sixth of the seven bowls containing the “last” plagues that will bring to a finish the anger of God. (Re 15:1; 16:1, 12) Also, indicating that the war at Har–Magedon is closely associated with Christ’s presence is the warning of his coming as a thief, which is placed between verses 14 and 16 of Revelation chapter 16.
The global aspect of the war is emphasized in the context. There the opponents of Jehovah are identified as “the kings of the entire inhabited earth,” who are mobilized by “ex
Farther on, John says: “And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army.” (Re 19:19) This chapter identifies the leader of the heavenly armies, seated on a white horse, as one who is called “Faithful and True” and “The Word of God.” (Re 19:11-13) Therefore, it is Jesus Christ, The Word, who acts as the commander of God’s heavenly armies. (Joh 1:1; Re 3:14) Further showing that Christ leads the heavenly forces is the statement that the earthly forces “battle with the Lamb [who is Jesus Christ (Joh 1:29)], but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.”—Re 17:13, 14.
Since the vision in Revelation chapter 19 reveals only armies in heaven as participating in the warfare as supporters of Jesus Christ, The Word of God, it indicates that none of Jehovah’s Christian servants on earth will participate in the fighting. This is in harmony with the words of Jesus Christ at Matthew 26:52 that his disciples not resort to weapons of physical warfare. (Compare Ex 14:13, 14; 2Ch 20:15, 17, 22, 23; Ps 2:4-9.) The birds that fly in midheaven will dispose of the bodies of those slaughtered.—Re 19:11-21.
Har–Magedon is thus seen to be a fight, not merely among men, but one in which God’s invisible armies take part. Its coming is certain and it will take place at the time set by Jehovah God, who “is doing according to his own will among the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth.”—Da 4:35; see also Mt 24:36.What Jehovah’s Day Will Reveal
“Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, . . . and earth and the works in it will be discovered.”—2 PET. 3:10.
THE present wicked system of things is founded on the fundamental lie that man can successfully rule the earth independent of Jehovah. (Ps. 2:2, 3) Can anything founded on falsehood stand forever? Absolutely not! Still, we do not have to wait for Satan’s world to end of its own accord. Rather, it will be destroyed by God at his appointed time and in his way. God’s action against this wicked world will perfectly reflect both his justice and his love.—Ps. 92:7; Prov. 2:21, 22.
2 “Jehovah’s day,” wrote the apostle Peter, “will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.” (2 Pet. 3:10) What are “the heavens” and the “earth” mentioned here? What are “the elements” that will be dissolved? And what did Peter mean by the “earth and the works in it” being “discovered”? Knowing the answers to these questions will help us to be prepared for the fear-inspiring events that will occur in the near future.
The Heavens and the Earth That Will Pass Away
3 When used symbolically in the Bible, the term “heavens” often refers to ruling powers, which are elevated above their subjects. (Isa. 14:13, 14; Rev. 21:1, 2) “The heavens [that] will pass away” represent human rule over ungodly society. Their passing away with a loud “hissing noise”—or “a mighty roar,” according to another rendering—may indicate the swift annihilation of these heavens.
4 The “earth” represents the world of mankind alienated from God. Such a world existed in Noah’s day and, by divine decree, ended with the Flood. “By the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:7) Whereas the Flood destroyed the ungodly all at one time, the coming destruction will occur in stages during “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) In the first phase of that tribulation, God will move the political rulers of this world to destroy “Babylon the Great,” thus showing his contempt for that religious harlot. (Rev. 17:5, 16; 18:8) Then, in the war of Armageddon, the final phase of the great tribulation, Jehovah himself will wipe out the rest of Satan’s world.—Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:19-21.
“The Elements . . . Will Be Dissolved”
5 What are “the elements” that “will be dissolved”? A Bible dictionary defines “elements” as “first principles,” or “rudiments.” The term, it says, “was used of the letters of the alphabet, as elements of speech.” Thus, “the elements” mentioned by Peter refer to the fundamental things that give the world its ungodly characteristics, attitudes, ways, and goals. “The elements” include “the spirit of the world,” which “operates in the sons of disobedience.” (1 Cor. 2:12; read Ephesians 2:1-3.) That spirit, or “air,” pervades Satan’s world. It impels people to think, plan, speak, and act in ways that reflect the mind of Satan, the proud, defiant “ruler of the authority of the air.”
6 Therefore, knowingly or unknowingly, those infected by the world’s spirit allow their minds and hearts to be influenced by Satan, so that they reflect his thinking and attitude. As a result, they do what they want, without regard for the will of God. They react to situations on the basis of pride or selfishness, they manifest a rebellious attitude toward authority, and they give free rein to “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes.”—Read 1 John 2:15-17.
7 How important, then, that we “safeguard [our] heart” by exercising godly wisdom in our choice of associates, reading matter, entertainment, and Web sites that we may visit on the Internet! (Prov. 4:23) The apostle Paul wrote: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8) That injunction becomes all the more urgent as Jehovah’s day approaches, for its unprecedented ‘heat’ will melt away all “the elements” of Satan’s system, exposing them as totally lacking in fire-resistant qualities. This calls to mind the words of Malachi 4:1: “The day is coming that is burning like the furnace, and all the presumptuous ones and all those doing wickedness must become as stubble. And the day that is coming will certainly devour them.”
“Earth and the Works in It Will Be Discovered”
8 What did Peter mean when he wrote that “earth and the works in it will be discovered”? The word “discovered” can also be rendered “found out” or “laid bare.” Peter meant that during the great tribulation, Jehovah will lay bare Satan’s world, exposing it as being against Him and His Kingdom and thus deserving of destruction. Speaking prophetically of that time, Isaiah 26:21 reads: “Jehovah is coming forth from his place to call to account the error of the inhabitant of the land against him, and the land will certainly expose her bloodshed and will no longer cover over her killed ones.”
9 During Jehovah’s day, those who have been molded by the world and its evil spirit will display their true nature, even slaughtering one another. In fact, it could well be that the numerous forms of violent entertainment popular today are conditioning the minds of many for the time when each man’s hand “will actually come up against the hand of his companion.” (Zech. 14:13) How important, then, that we reject anything—movies, books, video games, and so on—that may engender within us traits that are detestable to God, such as pride and the love of violence! (2 Sam. 22:28; Ps. 11:5) Rather, let us cultivate the fruitage of God’s holy spirit, for such qualities will prove to be incombustible when the figurative heat is on.—Gal. 5:22, 23.
A “New Heavens and a New Earth”
10 Read 2 Peter 3:13. The “new heavens” is God’s heavenly Kingdom, which was established in the year 1914 when “the appointed times of the nations” ended. (Luke 21:24) This royal government is made up of Christ Jesus and his 144,000 corulers, most of whom have received their heavenly reward. In the book of Revelation, these chosen ones are portrayed as “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:1, 2, 22-24) Just as earthly Jerusalem was the seat of government in ancient Israel, the New Jerusalem and her Bridegroom make up the government of the new system of things. This celestial city will ‘come down out of heaven’ by directing its attention to the earth.
11 The “new earth” refers to the new earthly society of humans who will have demonstrated their willing submission to God’s Kingdom. The spiritual paradise that God’s people enjoy even now will at last be in its rightful setting in that beautiful “inhabited earth to come.” (Heb. 2:5) How can we be a part of that new system of things?
Prepare for Jehovah’s Great Day
12 Both Paul and Peter foretold that Jehovah’s day would come “as a thief”—stealthily, unexpectedly. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 2.) Even true Christians, who are keeping in expectation of that day, will be surprised by its suddenness. (Matt. 24:44) The world, however, will experience much more than surprise. Paul wrote: “Whenever it is that they [who are alienated from Jehovah] are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.”—1 Thess. 5:3.
13 The cry “Peace and security!” will be just another demon-inspired lie; yet, it will not fool Jehovah’s servants. “You are not in darkness,” wrote Paul, “so that that day should overtake you as it would thieves, for you are all sons of light and sons of day.” (1 Thess. 5:4, 5) So let us stay in the light, far away from the darkness of Satan’s world. Peter wrote: “Beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them [false teachers within the Christian congregation] by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness.”—2 Pet. 3:17.
14 Note that Jehovah does not simply tell us to ‘be on our guard’ and then leave it at that. Rather, he dignifies us by kindly granting us “advance knowledge” in the form of a general outline of what is to occur in the future.
15 Sadly, though, some have become casual or even cynical about reminders concerning the need to stay awake. ‘We have heard that same reminder for decades,’ they may say. However, those individuals should keep in mind that by making such remarks, they are actually questioning Jehovah and his Son, not just the faithful slave class. “Keep in expectation,” Jehovah said. (Hab. 2:3) Likewise, Jesus stated: “Keep on the watch . . . because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt. 24:42) In addition, Peter wrote: “What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!” (2 Pet. 3:11, 12) Never will the faithful slave class and its Governing Body take a casual view of those earnest words!
16 Indeed, it is the “evil slave” who concludes that the Master is delaying. (Matt. 24:48) That evil slave is part of a group described at 2 Peter 3:3, 4. “In the last days,” wrote Peter, “there will come ridiculers” who, “according to their own desires,” mock those who obediently keep Jehovah’s day close in mind. Yes, rather than focus on Kingdom interests, such ridiculers focus on themselves and on their own selfish desires. Let us never develop such a disobedient and dangerous fr
Trust in the God of Salvation
17 After the Roman armies invaded Judea in 66 C.E., faithful Christians acted on Jesus’ admonition to flee the city of Jerusalem at the first opportunity. (Luke 21:20-23) Why did they act promptly and decisively? No doubt, they had kept Jesus’ warning close in mind. To be sure, they expected that their decision would involve hardship, as Christ had forewarned. But at the same time, they knew that Jehovah would never forsake his loyal ones.—Ps. 55:22.
18 We too must fully trust in Jehovah, for he alone will be our salvation when the present system undergoes the greatest tribulation of all human history. At some point after the beginning of the great tribulation but before Jehovah executes his judgment upon the rest of the world, people will “become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” However, while God’s enemies tremble with fear, Jehovah’s loyal servants will feel no dread. On the contrary, they will rejoice because they know that their deliverance is near.—Read Luke 21:25-28.
19 Yes, what a thrilling future awaits those who remain separate from the world and its “elements”! As the next article explains, however, if we want to gain life, we must do more than merely avoid what is bad. We need to develop qualities that please Jehovah and perform works that are acceptable to him.—2 Pet. 3:11.
[Footnote]“The Great Tribulation”
10 The end of this wicked system will come in what is called “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) The Bible does not tell us how long that will last, but Jesus said: “Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matt. 24:21) When we consider the tribulation that this world has already experienced, such as in World War II when an estimated 50 to 60 million lives were lost, the coming great tribulation will be very severe indeed. It will reach its climax in the battle of Armageddon. That is when Jehovah will unleash his executional forces to destroy every vestige of Satan’s earthly system.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
11 Bible prophecy does not give a date for the first phase of the great tribulation to begin, though it does tell us what extraordinary event will signal its start. That event is the destruction of all false religion by the political powers. In Bible prophecies found in Revelation chapters 17 and 18, false religion is likened to a harlot who has had immoral intercourse with the political systems of the earth. Revelation 17:16 shows that the time will soon come when these political elements “will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.”
12 When the time comes for that to happen, God will “put it into their [the political rulers’] hearts to carry out his thought” to destroy all false religion. (Rev. 17:17) So this destruction can be said to come from God. It is his judgment against hypocritical religion that for so long has taught doctrines contrary to God’s will and that has persecuted his servants. The world in general does not anticipate this coming destruction of false religion. But Jehovah’s faithful servants do. And throughout these last days, they have been telling people about it.
13 It will be a great shock for people to see false religion destroyed. Bible prophecy shows that even some of “the kings of the earth” are going to declare regarding that destruction: “Too bad, too bad, . . . because in one hour your judgment has arrived!” (Rev. 18:9, 10, 16, 19) The Bible’s use of the words “one hour” shows that this event will take place relatively swiftly.
14 We understand that some time after false religion has been destroyed, there will be an attack on Jehovah’s servants, who have been proclaiming his judgment messages. (Ezek. 38:14-16) When that attack begins, the attackers will have to confront Jehovah, who promises to protect his faithful people. Jehovah declares: “In my ardor, in the fire of my fury, I shall have to speak. . . . And they will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Read Ezekiel 38:18-23.) God states in his Word: “He that is touching you [his faithful servants] is touching my eyeball.” (Zech. 2:8) So when his enemies begin their global assault on his servants, Jehovah will respond. He will move into action, which will lead to the final phase of the great tribulation—its Armageddon climax. Under Christ’s command, powerful angelic forces Where Should You Be When the End Comes?
WHEN Jehovah brings an end to the present wicked system of things at Armageddon, how will upright individuals fare? Proverbs 2:21, 22 answers: “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”
How, though, will the blameless be left over in the earth? Will there be a place of refuge for them? Where should the upright be when the end comes? Four sc
When Location Was Important
Concerning the deliverance of the patriarchs Noah and Lot, we read at 2 Peter 2:5-7: “[God] did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people; and by reducing the cities Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come; and he delivered righteous Lot, who was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct.”
How did Noah survive the Flood? God told Noah: “The end of all flesh has come before me, because the earth is full of violence as a result of them; and here I am bringing them to ruin together with the earth. Make for yourself an ark out of wood of a resinous tree.” (Gen. 6:13, 14) Noah constructed the ark just as Jehovah had commanded him. Seven days before the floodwaters began to fall, Jehovah instructed him to gather the animals into the ark and go into it along with all his household. On the seventh day, the door was shut behind him, “and the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights.” (Gen. 7:1-4, 11, 12, 16) Noah and his family “were carried safely through the water.” (1 Pet. 3:20) Their survival depended on their being inside the ark. No other place on earth could offer security.—Gen. 7:19, 20.
In the case of Lot, the instructions were somewhat different. Two angels informed him of where he was not to be. “All who are yours in the city [of Sodom],” the two angels told Lot, “bring out of the place! For we are bringing this place to ruin.” They were to “escape to the mountainous region.”—Gen. 19:12, 13, 17.
The experiences of Noah and Lot prove that “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment.” (2 Pet. 2:9) In both of these cases of deliverance, location was a decisive factor. Noah had to go into the ark; Lot had to get out of Sodom. But is this always the case? Can Jehovah save the righteous wherever they are, without their having to relocate? To answer that question, note two other accounts of deliverance.
Is Location Always Important?
Before Jehovah devastated Egypt by bringing the tenth plague in Moses’ day, He commanded the Israelites to splash the blood of the Passover animal on the lintels and doorposts of their houses. Why? So that ‘when Jehovah passed through to plague the Egyptians and saw the blood upon the upper part of the doorway and upon the two doorposts, he would pass over the entrance and not allow the ruination to enter into their houses to plague them.’ That very night, “Jehovah struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the prison hole, and every firstborn of beast.” The firstborn of the Israelites were saved without anyone having to relocate.—Ex. 12:22, 23, 29.
Consider also the case of Rahab, a prostitute living in the city of Jericho. The Israelites were about to begin their conquest of the Promised Land. When Rahab realized that Jericho was doomed, she told the two Israelite spies that the city was paralyzed with fear of the advancing Israelites. She hid the spies and asked them to swear to her that she and her whole family would be preserved when Jericho was conquered. The spies instructed Rahab to congregate her family inside her house, situated on the city wall. Leaving the house would mean destruction with the rest of the city. (Josh. 2:8-13, 15, 18, 19) However, Jehovah later told Joshua that “the wall of the city must fall down flat.” (Josh. 6:5) What the spies had stipulated as the place of safety now seemed to be in jeopardy. How would Rahab and her household be delivered?
When the time came to capture Jericho, the Israelites shouted and proceeded to blow the horns. “It came about that as soon as the people [of Israel] heard the sound of the horn and the people began to shout a great war cry,” states Joshua 6:20, “then the wall began to fall down flat.” The collapsing wall was now beyond human control. Miraculously, though, the crumbling of the city wall stopped at Rahab’s house. Joshua ordered the two spies: “Go into the house of the woman, the prostitute, and bring out of there the woman and all who belong to her, just as you have sworn to her.” (Josh. 6:22) All in Rahab’s house were saved.
What Counted Most?
What can we learn from the deliverance of Noah, Lot, the Israelites in Moses’ day, and Rahab? How do these accounts help us to determine where we should be when the end of the present wicked system of things comes?
True, Noah found salvation in the ark. But why was he there? Was it not because he exercised faith and was obedient? “Noah proceeded to do according to all that God had commanded him,” says the Bible. “He did just so.” (Gen. 6:22; Heb. 11:7) What about us? Are we doing all that God has commanded us? Noah was also “a preacher of righteousness.” (2 Pet. 2:5) Like him, are we zealous in the preaching work, even if our territory is unresponsive?
Lot escaped destruction by fleeing Sodom. He was spared because he was righteous in God’s eyes and was greatly distressed by the loose conduct of the law-defying people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Does the loose conduct so prevalent today really distress us? Or are we so desensitized that it does not bother us? Are we doing our utmost to be found “spotless and unblemished and in peace”?—2 Pet. 3:14.
For the Israelites in Egypt and for Rahab in Jericho, deliverance depended on remaining in their houses. This required faith and obedience. (Heb. 11:28, 30, 31) Imagine how each Israelite family must have fixed their eyes on their firstborn as “there began arising a great outcry” in one Egyptian household after another. (Ex. 12:30) Imagine how Rahab must have huddled together with her family as she felt the rumbling of Jericho’s collapsing walls coming closer and closer. It took real faith on her part to remain obedient and stay in that house.
Soon the end will come for Satan’s wicked world. How Jehovah will protect his people in the fear-inspiring ‘day of his anger,’ we do not yet know. (Zeph. 2:3) Regardless of where we are and what our situation is at that time, however, we can be sure that our survival will depend on our faith in Jehovah and our obedience to him. Meanwhile, we should cultivate a proper attitude toward what Isaiah’s prophecy refers to as our “interior rooms.”
“Enter Into Your Interior Rooms”
“Go, my people, enter into your interior rooms, and shut your doors behind you,” states Isaiah 26:20. “Hide yourself for but a moment until the denunciation passes over.” This prophecy may have had its first fulfillment in 539 B.C.E. when the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon. Upon entering Babylon, Cyrus the Persian apparently commanded everyone to stay indoors because his soldiers were ordered to execute any found out-of-doors.
In our day, the “interior rooms” of this prophecy could be closely associated with the more than 100,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. Such congregations play an important role in our lives. They will continue to do so through “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) God’s people are commanded to go into their “interior rooms” and hide themselves “until the denunciation passes over.” It is vital that we develop and maintain a wholesome attitude toward the congregation and be firmly resolved to stay in close association with it. We can take to heart Paul’s exhortation: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as [we] behold the day drawing near.”—Heb. 10:24, 25.
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What can we learn from God’s past acts of deliverance?
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What may the “interior rooms” point to in modern times?will execute Jehovah’s judgments agaArmageddon—God’s War to End All Wars
“They hold it atrocious to kill a fellow creature; therefore, war is in their eyes incomprehensible and repulsive, a thing for which their language has no word.”—DEsc
WHO would not love to live in a society where war was “incomprehensible and repulsive”? Who does not long for a world where even the word for war does not exist because warfare is unknown? Such a world may sound far-fetched, especially if we put our hope in humans to bring it about.
However, in the prophecy of Isaiah, God himself promises to bring such a world into existence: “They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”—Isaiah 2:4.
Clearly, the world today with its 20 million soldiers on active duty and some 20 wars currently raging would have to change enormously for this promise to be fulfilled. Not surprisingly, the almighty God, Jehovah, would have to intervene in human affairs. This intervention on Jehovah’s part culminates in what the Bible calls Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14, 16.
Although the word “Armageddon” has in recent years been used to signify a worldwide nuclear conflagration, one dictionary describes the principal meaning of the word this way: “The place of a great and final conflict between the forces of good and evil.” Will good ever conquer evil, or is such a battle the stuff of fantasy?
We can take heart by noting that the Bible repeatedly speaks of an end to wickedness. “The sinners will be finished off from the earth,” the psalmist foretells. “As for the wicked, they will be no longer.” (Psalm 104:35) “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it,” says the book of Proverbs. “As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
The Bible also makes clear that the wicked will not relinquish their power peacefully; hence the need for a conclusive act of God that eliminates all evil, including the evil of war. (Psalm 2:2) The name that the Bible assigns to this unique conflict, Armageddon, is highly significant.
Past Battles Fought Near Megiddo
The word “Armageddon” means “Mountain of Megiddo.” The ancient city of Megiddo, along with its surrounding Plain of Jezreel, has a long history of decisive battles. “Throughout history, Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been ground zero for battles that determined the very course of civilization,” writes historian Eric H. Cline in The Battles of Armageddon.
As Cline points out, the battles fought near Megiddo often proved decisive. Mongol armies, which overran much of Asia in the 13th century, suffered their first defeat in this valley. Not far from Megiddo, British forces under General Edmund Allenby defeated the Turks during the first world war. A military historian described Allenby’s victory as “one of the most quickly decisive campaigns and the most completely decisive battles in all history.”
Decisive Biblical battles were also fought near Megiddo. There, Judge Barak conquered the Canaanite forces of Sisera. (Judges 4:14-16; 5:19-21) Gideon, with a small band of 300 men, routed a huge Midianite army in the vicinity. (Judges 7:19-22) King Saul and his son Jonathan died on nearby Mount Gilboa when Philistine forces defeated the Israelite army.—1 Samuel 31:1-7.
Because of its strategic geographic location, Megiddo and the neighboring valley have seen dozens of battles over the last 4,000 years. One historian counted at least 34!
Megiddo’s history and its strategic location doubtless have a bearing on the figurative use of the word “Armageddon.” Although that word occurs only once in the Bible, its setting in the book of Revelation makes it very clear that Armageddon will touch the lives of everyone on earth.
Armageddon According to the Bible
Although many past wars fought near Megiddo proved decisive, none eliminated wickedness. None really pitted the forces of good against the forces of evil, in the absolute sense. Logically, that type of conflict must originate with God. As Jesus once said, “nobody is good, except one, God.” (Luke 18:19) Furthermore, the Bible specifically refers to Armageddon as God’s war.
In the Bible, the book of Revelation says that “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” will be gathered together “to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:14) The prophetic account then adds: “And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon,” or Armageddon. (Revelation 16:16) Later on, Revelation explains that “the kings of the earth and their armies” will be “gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army.” (Revelation 19:19) This horseman is identified as none other than Jesus Christ.—1 Timothy 6:14, 15; Revelation 19:11, 12, 16.
What are we to conclude from these verses? That Armageddon is a war between God and the forces of disobedient mankind. Why would Jehovah and his Son, Jesus Christ, fight such a war? For one thing, Armageddon will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) In addition, it will usher in a peaceful world, “a new earth that we are awaiting according to his [God’s] promise,” where “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
Why Is Armageddon Necessary?
Do you find it hard to imagine that Jehovah, a “God of love,” would assign his Son, the “Prince of Peace,” to fight a war? (2 Corinthians 13:11; Isaiah 9:6) Understanding their motives will doubtless make matters clear. The book of Psalms describes Jesus as a mounted warrior. Why does he fight? Christ rides, the psalmist explains, “in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness.” He wages war because he loves righteousness and hates wickedness.—Psalm 45:4, 7.
Likewise, the Bible describes Jehovah’s reaction to the injustice that he sees in the world today. “The LORD has seen this, and he is displeased that there is no justice,” writes the prophet Isaiah. “He will wear justice like a coat of armor and saving power like a helmet. He will clothe himself with the strong desire to set things right and to punish and avenge the wrongs that people suffer.”—Isaiah 59:15, 17, Today’s English Version.
As long as wicked people hold power, righteous people will not enjoy peace and security. (Proverbs 29:2; Ecclesiastes 8:9) Realistically, we cannot divorce corruption and wickedness from the people who practice them. Thus, lasting peace and justice come at a price—the removal of the wicked ones. “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous one,” Solomon wrote.—Proverbs 21:18.
Since God is the Judge, we can be sure that in every case the judgments against the wicked will be righteous. “Is the Judge of all the earth not going to do what is right?” asked Abraham. The answer, Abraham learned, is that Jehovah is always right! (Genesis 18:25) Furthermore, the Bible assures us that Jehovah finds no delight in destroying the wicked; he does so only as a last resort.—Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9.
Taking Armageddon Seriously
Whose side will we be on in this decisive conflict? Most of us automatically assume that we are aligned with the forces of good. But how can we be sure? “Seek righteousness, seek meekness,” urges the prophet Zephaniah. (Zephaniah 2:3) The will of God is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth,” says the apostle Paul.—1 Timothy 2:4.
Learning the truth about Jehovah and his purpose to rid the earth of wickedness is a first step toward salvation. Practicing righteousness is a second step, bringing us God’s favor and protection.
If we take these important steps, we can actually look forward to Armageddon, a war that really will bring an end to human warfare. When that battle is over, people everywhere will view war as incomprehensible and repulsive. “Never again will they learn war.”—Isaiah 2:4, New American Standard Bible.
For a discussion of whether Armageddon is a literal place, see the article “Our Readers Ask,” on page 31.
[Blurb on page 5]
God’s intervention in human affairs is called Armageddon
[Picture on page 6]
[Picture on page 6]
Gideon and his men won a decisive battle near Megiddo
[Picture on page 6, 7]
When Armageddon is over, people everywhere will view war as incomprehensible and repulsive
[Picture on page 8]
Learning the truth about Jehovah aOur Readers Ask
Where Will the Battle of Armageddon Be Fought?
The battle of Armageddon will not be fought on any one specific battlefield. Instead, the entire earth will be the battleground. Why? Because the two opposing sides are so large that they cannot be contained at any one site.
Armageddon, or Har–Magedon, is also known as “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” Jehovah God will use his Son, Christ Jesus, to muster an angelic army to war against the combined forces of all the wicked rulers of the earth.—Revelation 16:14; 19:11-16.
The nations are somehow lured by satanic forces to join the battle. The Bible speaks of “ex
Like no other Bible book, Revelation has fired the imagination of countless Bible readers. Many literal-minded readers have pinpointed the exact spot where they believe that the battle will begin, and they have kept a nervous eye on events surrounding that region. The notion that Armageddon refers to a precise locale can be found in the earliest extant Greek commentary on Revelation, written in the sixth century C.E. by Oecumenius.
Echoing a popular viewpoint among the Fundamentalist clergy, John F. Walvoord, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, says that Armageddon is “the final suicidal battle of a desperate world struggle centered in the Middle East.” Walvoord identifies as the focal point of this great future conflict “‘the Mount of Megiddo,’ a small mountain located in northern Palestine at the end of a broad valley.”
However, the book of Revelation is not a road map to a literal place called Armageddon. Its opening words state that the account is presented “in signs.” (Revelation 1:1) Jehovah’s Witnesses long ago stated in their publication Studies in the sc
Historical Megiddo suggests a cornered condition, or situation, with no escape for the enemies of God. Thus, at Armageddon, God will make certain that all corruption and wickedness, no matter where it may be found on this globe, is crushed out of existence.—Revelation 21:8.
Lovers of Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, need not fear Armageddon. God’s battle is directed solely against those humans whom God judges to be incorrigibly wicked. His war will be selective in its destruction. “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion,” says the Bible. (2 Peter 2:9) A heartwarming promise at Psalm 37:34 says: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.”nd his purpose is a first step toward salvationinst Satan’s worYou Can Weather the Storm
IN THESE critical times, many are enduring stormlike adversities. Yet, for Christians, love for God and loyalty to his principles help them to cope. How? The answer can be found in an illustration told by Jesus Christ. He compared his obedient disciples to “a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass.” Jesus said: “The rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass.”—Matthew 7:24, 25.
Note that even though the man in the illustration is discreet, he still faces adversity—represented by pouring rain, floods, and destructive winds. Jesus, therefore, did not indicate that his disciples would escape all difficulties and enjoy a life of unbroken peace and tranquillity. (Psalm 34:19; James 4:13-15) But he did say that faithful servants of God can prepare for and cope with such tempestuous adversities and crises.
Jesus began the illustration by saying: “Everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass.” Of course, Jesus was talking, not about constructing literal houses, but about building lives. Those who heed Christ’s words use discernment and show good judgment. They build their motivations and deeds on the solid rock-mass of Christ’s teachings by putting into practice what they have been taught. Interestingly, this figurative rock-mass is not found on the surface. The man in the illustration had to dig “down deep” to reach it. (Luke 6:48) Similarly, Jesus’ disciples keep working hard to cultivate enduring qualities that draw them closer to God.—Matthew 5:5-7; 6:33.
What happens when stormlike difficulties test the integrity of the Christian foundation of Jesus’ followers? Their willing obedience to Christ’s teachings and their Christian qualities prove to be sources of strength during such hardships and, ultimately, during the impending storm of Armageddon. (Matthew 5:10-12; Revelation 16:15, 16) Yes, by following Christ’s teachings, many are successfully weathering stormlike trials. You can do th“The Great Day of Jehovah Is Near”
“The great day of Jehovah is near. It is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much.”—ZEPHANIAH 1:14.
A RADIANT young woman eagerly awaits the arrival of her wedding day. An expectant mother lovingly looks forward to the birth of her baby. An exhausted worker deeply desires the start of his long-awaited vacation. What do they have in common? They all wait for a special day—a day that will have an impact on their lives. Their emotions run deep and yet are very different. The day they await will eventually arrive, and when it does, they hope to be ready for it.
2 True Christians today likewise eagerly await the arrival of a special day. It is the great “day of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 13:9; Joel 2:1; 2 Peter 3:12) What is this coming “day of Jehovah,” and how will its arrival affect mankind? Moreover, how can we make sure that we are ready for its arrival? It is imperative that we seek the answers to these questions now because evidence indicates the truthfulness of the following words of the Bible: “The great day of Jehovah is near. It is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much.”—Zephaniah 1:14.
“The Great Day of Jehovah”
3 What is “the great day of Jehovah”? Throughout the sc
4 Whether they realize it or not, most of mankind should dread this fast-approaching day. Why? Through the prophet Zephaniah, Jehovah answers: “That day is a day of fury, a day of distress and of anguish, a day of storm and of desolation, a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick gloom.” Fearsome indeed! Moreover, the prophet says: “I will cause distress to mankind . . . because it is against Jehovah that they have sinned.”—Zephaniah 1:15, 17.
5 Millions of others, however, eagerly anticipate the arrival of Jehovah’s day. Why? They know that it is a time of salvation and deliverance for the righteous, a day in which Jehovah himself is highly exalted and his glorious name sanctified. (Joel 3:16, 17; Zephaniah 3:12-17) Whether that day is dreaded or eagerly anticipated depends largely on what people are doing with their lives now. How do you view the approach of that day? Are you ready for it? Does the fact that Jehovah’s day is on the horizon affect your day-to-day life right now?
“There Will Come Ridiculers With Their Ridicule”
6 Despite the urgency of the situation, most of earth’s inhabitants are not concerned about the approaching “day of Jehovah.” They mock and ridicule those who warn them of its imminent arrival. True Christians are not surprised by this. They remember the warning recorded by the apostle Peter: “You know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’”—2 Peter 3:3, 4.
7 What will help us to resist such negative thinking and thereby maintain a sense of urgency? Peter tells us: “I am arousing your clear thinking faculties by way of a reminder, that you should remember the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.” (2 Peter 3:1, 2) Our paying attention to prophetic warnings will help us to ‘arouse our clear thinking faculties.’ Perhaps we have heard these reminders repeatedly, but it is vital that we now, more than ever, continue to pay attention to these warnings.—Isaiah 34:1-4; Luke 21:34-36.
8 Why do some ignore these reminders? Peter continues: “According to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water.” (2 Peter 3:5, 6) Yes, there are those who do not wish for Jehovah’s day to arrive. They do not want their lives to be disrupted. They do not want to be held accountable to Jehovah for their selfish lifestyle! As Peter states, they live “according to their own desires.”
9 Because of “their wish,” these ridiculers prefer to ignore that Jehovah has intervened in mankind’s affairs in the past. Both Jesus Christ and the apostle Peter refer to two such events—“the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot.” (Luke 17:26-30; 2 Peter 2:5-9) Before the Flood, people took no note of the warning Noah gave. Likewise, prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the eyes of his sons-in-law, Lot “seemed like a man who was joking.”—Genesis 19:14.
10 It is no different today. Yet, note Jehovah’s reaction to those who take no note: “I will give attention to the men who are congealing upon their dregs and who are saying in their heart, ‘Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad.’ And their wealth must come to be for pillage and their houses for a desolate waste. And they will build houses, but they will not have occupancy; and they will plant vineyards, but they will not drink the wine of them.” (Zephaniah 1:12, 13) People may continue to go about their “normal” daily activities, but they will not gain any permanent benefit from their hard work. Why? Because Jehovah’s day will arrive suddenly, and any material riches they may have accumulated will not save them.—Zephaniah 1:18.
“Keep in Expectation of It”
11 Unlike the wicked world around us, we must keep in mind the admonition recorded by the prophet Habakkuk: “The vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) Even if that day may appear to delay from our imperfect viewpoint, we must remember that Jehovah is not slow. His day will come exactly on time, at an hour that humans do not expect.—Mark 13:33; 2 Peter 3:9, 10.
12 Emphasizing the importance of keeping in expectation of Jehovah’s day, Jesus warned that even some of his followers would lose their sense of urgency. He foretold about them: “If ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity.” (Matthew 24:48-51) In contrast, the faithful and discreet slave class loyally keeps its sense of urgency. The slave class has kept on the watch and proved itself ready. Jesus has appointed it “over all his belongings” here on the earth.—Matthew 24:42-47.
The Need for Urgency
13 It was imperative that first-century Christians keep their sense of urgency. They needed to take immediate action to flee Jerusalem when they saw that city “surrounded by encamped armies.” (Luke 21:20, 21) That happened in the year 66 C.E. Notice how Jesus highlighted the need for urgency on the part of Christians back then: “Let the man on the housetop not come down to take the goods out of his house; and let the man in the field not return to the house to pick up his outer garment.” (Matthew 24:17, 18) In view of the fact that history shows that Jerusalem survived for four more years, why did Christians need to heed Jesus’ words so urgently in 66 C.E.?
14 While it is true that the Roman army did not destroy Jerusalem until 70 C.E., the intervening years were not trouble free. Far from it! Those years were filled with violence and bloodshed. One historian describes the situation in Jerusalem during that time as “a fearfully bloody civil war, accompanied by acts of horrid cruelty.” Young men were recruited to strengthen the fortifications, to take up weapons, and to serve in the military. They underwent daily military exercises. Those who were not in favor of extreme measures were viewed as traitors. If Christians had lingered in the city, they would have found themselves in an extremely dangerous position.—Matthew 26:52; Mark 12:17.
15 It should be noted that Jesus said that “those in Judea,” not just Jerusalem, were to start fleeing. This was important because within a few months of their withdrawal from Jerusalem, the Roman troops once again renewed their war operations. First, Galilee was subdued in 67 C.E., and then Judaea was systematically conquered the following year. This resulted in great misery throughout the countryside. It also became increasingly difficult for any Jew to escape from Jerusalem itself. The city gates were guarded, and any trying to escape were assumed to be deserting to the Romans.
16 With all these factors in mind, we can understand why Jesus emphasized the urgency of the situation. Christians had to be willing to make sacrifices, not allowing themselves to become sidetracked by material possessions. They had to be willing to “say good-bye to all [their] belongings” in order to obey Jesus’ warning. (Luke 14:33) Those who promptly obeyed and fled to the other side of the Jordan were saved.
Maintaining Our Sense of Urgency
17 Bible prophecies clearly reveal that we are living deep in the time of the end. As never before, we need to strengthen our sense of urgency. A soldier in peacetime does not feel the tension and danger of battle. Still, if as a result, he feels no urgency to stay alert and is suddenly called into action, he may well be unprepared, with fatal consequences. The same is true spiritually. If we allow our sense of urgency to fade, we may be unprepared to fend off attacks that come our way and may be caught unawares when Jehovah’s day finally arrives. (Luke 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:4) If any have ‘drawn back from following Jehovah,’ now is the time for them to seek him again.—Zephaniah 1:3-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9.
18 No wonder the apostle Peter admonishes us to keep close in mind “the presence of the day of Jehovah”! How can we do this? One way is by being involved “in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion.” (2 Peter 3:11, 12) Keeping busy in such activities will help us to anticipate eagerly the arrival of “the day of Jehovah.” The Greek word translated “keeping close in mind” literally means “speeding up.” We cannot actually speed up the time that remains until the arrival of Jehovah’s day. Yet, as we wait for that day, the time will seem to pass much more quickly if we are busy in God’s service.—1 Corinthians 15:58.
19 Meditating on God’s Word and contemplating the reminders found therein will likewise enable us to do this—“earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming” of that day, yes, to be in “constant expectation” of it. (2 Peter 3:12, The Amplified Bible; The New Testament, by William Barclay) Included in these reminders are the numerous prophecies that foretell not only the arrival of Jehovah’s day but also the bounteous blessings that will be bestowed upon those who ‘keep in expectation of Jehovah.’—Zephaniah 3:8.
20 Now is truly the time for all of us to take to heart the exhortation given through the prophet Zephaniah: “Before there comes upon you people the burning anger of Jehovah, before there comes upon you the day of Jehovah’s anger, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”—Zephaniah 2:2, 3.
21 How appropriate, then, is the yeartext that has been selected for the 2007 calendar year: “The great day of Jehovah is near.” God’s people are convinced that “it is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much.” (Zephaniah 1:14) “It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) So as we await that day, may we be ever alert to the times in which we live, realizing that the final fulfillment of these prophecies is near at hand!
Can You Answer?
• What is “the great day of Jehovah”?
• Why do many ignore the urgency of the times?
• Why did Christians in the first century need to act with a sense of urgency?
• How can we heighten our sense of urgency?
1, 2. (a) What special day do Christians await? (b) What questions do we need to ask, and why?
3. What is “the great day of Jehovah”?
4. Why should most of mankind dread the fast-approaching day of Jehovah?
5. What positive viewpoint do millions have regarding Jehovah’s day, and why?
6. How do most people view the “day of Jehovah,” and why are true Christians not surprised by this?
7. What will help us to maintain a sense of urgency?
8. Why do many ignore Bible reminders?
9. What attitude was displayed by people in the days of Noah and of Lot?
10. What is Jehovah’s reaction to those who take no note?
11. What admonition should we keep in mind?
12. Of what did Jesus warn, and how does this contrast with the actions of Jesus’ faithful followers?
13. How did Jesus highlight the need for a sense of urgency?
14, 15. Why was it imperative for first-century Christians to act without delay on seeing Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies?
16. What attitude did first-century Christians need to have in order to survive that time of distress?
17. Why should we strengthen our sense of urgency?
18, 19. What will help us to keep close in mind “the presence of the day of Jehovah”?
20. What exhortation should we take to heart?
21. What will be the determination of God’s people during 2007?
[Blurb on page 19]
The yeartext for 2007 will be: “The great day of Jehovah is near.”—Zephaniah 1:14.
[Pictures on page 16, 17]
As in Noah’s day, ridiculers will be taken by surprise when Jehovah acts
[Picture on page 18]
Christians had to act without delay when they saw Jerusalem “surrounded by encamped armies”e same.—1 Peter 2:21-23.ldJehovah Will “Cause Justice to Be Done”
“Shall not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night?”—LUKE 18:7.
AROUND the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy the company of Christian brothers and sisters who have served Jehovah faithfully for years. Do you know some of these dear ones personally? Perhaps an elderly sister comes to mind, one who was baptized many years ago and rarely misses a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. Or you may think of an aged brother who loyally supports the congregation’s field ministry activities week after week and has done so for decades. Granted, many of these faithful ones thought that by now Armageddon would have come and gone. Yet, the fact that this unjust world still exists has neither undermined their confidence in Jehovah’s promises nor weakened their determination to ‘endure to the end.’ (Matthew 24:13) The depth of faith shown by such loyal servants of Jehovah is truly a source of encouragement for the entire congregation.—Psalm 147:11.
2 At times, though, we may observe the opposite. Some Witnesses shared in the ministry for years, but over time their faith in Jehovah weakened, and they stopped associating with the Christian congregation. It saddens us that former companions have left Jehovah, and it is our heartfelt desire to keep on helping each “lost sheep” to return to the flock. (Psalm 119:176; Romans 15:1) Even so, these opposite outcomes—some staying faithful while others lose faith—raise questions. What enables numerous Witnesses to keep their faith in Jehovah’s promises while others lose it? What can we personally do to ensure that our conviction that “the great day of Jehovah” is approaching remains firm? (Zephaniah 1:14) Let us consid
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