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4.5.1 - The Motivation

To understand the Campaign of Armageddon, we need to grasp the full sweep of the pattern of rebellion against God which characterizes the history of man. Beginning with the rebellion of Adam in the Garden of Eden (1Ti. 2:14)1 and the expulsion of the human family from God’s presence (Gen. 3:24), God has sought after man to restore full fellowship, but man has continued to reject God. Not every man, but most men (see Hide and Seek). This pattern has repeated itself throughout history. Having been expelled from the Garden, the sin of the majority eventually became so offensive that it caused God to cleanse the surface of the planet with a global flood (Gen. 7). After the flood, as in the days of Adam and Eve, every human being knew of God personally. Yet this did not stop the people of the earth from asserting their independence of God at Babel, which God responded to by bringing the judgment of languages (Gen. 11:7-9). Afterward, God chose an individual, Abraham, to which He made unconditional promises (Gen. 12:1-3; 15). From his seed, he raised up the nation of Israel who promised to follow after Him (Ex. 24:7) but they too were disobedient (Jer. 31:32), even crucifying their own Messiah (Acts 2:22-23). Relating the long history of the disobedience of Israel contributed to the death of Stephen (Acts 7). Having rejected their own Messiah, the gospel went to the Gentiles—the entire world (Rom. 11:15, 30). And now we are in that period of time where history shall prove, once again, that the overwhelming majority will continue to reject God. To be sure, an important thread of redemption stretches along in the midst of this sad tale. Countless people through history have turned to God and accepted His offer of salvation. These are the redeemed from among men. But overall, the pattern is one of rejection.

Will this pattern of rejection by man and patience by God extend indefinitely? No. At some point in the future—only known to God—He will know that no more will turn to Him and the curtain of history as we know it will come down. This point in history is the Campaign of Armageddon—when God dramatically intervenes in history to overthrow the rebellion of man in his imagined independence from the Creator. This momentous event is the subject of Psalm 2, which provides a backdrop for understanding the book of Revelation.

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” (Ps. 2:1-9)

Although the nations rage on an ongoing basis in their rejection of God and His Anointed (Messiah, Christ), there is a specific point in history when they will be given as an inheritance to Jesus Christ. They imagine themselves to be independent: “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” This was the motivation of Babel: “let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth (Gen. 11:4). Their motivation was direct disobedience to God’s command to “fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). This continues in our own day with institutions such as the United Nations which imagine they can bring world peace and unity while denying God. Their plan for peace does not acknowledge the “Prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6) nor the Millennial Kingdom during which He will reign:

Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isa. 2:3-4) [emphasis added]

The U.N. Building displays these words: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:4). A verse taken out of its context is only a pretext however. The first part of this verse reads, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.” Until Christ the Messiah sits upon the throne of His glory and rebukes and judges the nations, there will be no permanent peace.2

Psalm 2 records God’s response to the rebellion of man: He laughs at their puny plans, will hold them in derision (subject them to contemptuous ridicule), and distress them in His deep displeasure. This distress is the Tribulation period which culminates with the Campaign of Armageddon. His plan is to install “My king on My holy hill of Zion.” Jesus Christ, the very One whom they reject, will be installed as King on the throne of David reigning from the hotly contested city of Jerusalem! Such a plan will not come about by the will of man, but only by the zeal of God:

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa. 9:7)

This bid by man to throw off his dependence upon God is empowered at the time of the end by Satan himself in the person of his final king, the Beast. Thus, the sinful will of man’s flesh will combine with the will of demonic powers in a last desperate attempt to thwart God’s plan.3 Since men will not willingly obey what God has foreordained, it becomes necessary to resort to force. “I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This dashing of the rebellious nations—empowered by Satanic forces—is the purpose of the Campaign of Armageddon. See Trouble Ahead.

When the Lamb took the scroll from the right hand of the Father (Rev. 5:6-7+), He initiated a series of events which ultimately lead to the fulfillment of His title to the earth. The Campaign of Armageddon represents the last great effort of Satan and the rulers of the world to forestall the inevitable—the Millennial Reign of Christ (Rev. 20:4+). See commentary on Revelation 5:1.

Notes

1 Only Adam rebelled, Eve was deceived.

2 The Christian Research Journal, vol. 24 no. 2, p. 38. [http://www.equip.org]

3 “By the end of the 70th week, Satan and his forces will have drawn all the rulers and armies of the world into the land of Israel for the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:12-16+), which will take place at Christ’s Second Coming and will pit Satan and his ungodly allies against Christ and His forces (Rev. 19:11+-20:3+). This will be Satan’s ultimate challenge to Christ’s right to take tenant possession of the earth and rule it. The combined military might of rebellious mankind will be gathered to the precise location to which Christ will return to take possession of the earth, because Satan will want all the help he can get to try to prevent Christ from exercising His right (Ps. 2:1-3).”—Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 94.


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