971, 000 Edition
International Bible Students Association
Brooklyn, London, Melbourne, Cape Town, Bern,
Magdeburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Clij, Warsaw.
Copyright 1897 WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
Brooklyn, N. Y., U. S. A.
Written in 1897 by Pastor Russell
Made in U. S. A.
N.B. - Thies volume can also be supped in the Dano-Norwegian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Polish and Swedish languages.
The Battle of Armageddon
The Author's Foreword. _
THE FIRST EDITION of this Volume was published in 1897. It relates to the closing epoch of this Gospel Age, the overlapping between it and the New Dispensation—a period which brings to the world wonderful blessings, which in turn, because of unprepared-ness of heart, more and more become causes of friction, discontent, trouble. If the blessings of the last 43 years were to continue at the present rate of increase, the discontent of humanity would likewise increase, and the very purpose of God in the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom and the blessing of mankind through it, would be frustrated.
For this cause, God permits the Millennial dawn to come Upon the world gradually^ As men are awakening from the stupor of the past, they do not consider the Lord or acknowledge His grace in connection . with the blessings present and coming. We, have estimated that these 43 years have brought to mankind a thousand times as much wealth as was created during the six thousand years preceding. The improved conditions of all mankind in civilized lands, • the shortening of hours of labor, etc., are offset by greater knowledge and a discontent which comes therewith. This is in harmony with the Lord's declaration respecting this -time. Describing our day in the prophecy of Daniel, He says: "Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." "The wise shall understand," "And there shall be a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a Uation."—Daniel 12:1-4, 10.
In other words, the increase of knowledge is responsible for the increase of discontent and fear which are bringing Armageddon, or the Day of Vengeance of God, upon the whole world. In the present great war, we see that the large nations have been fearful pf each other's prosperity. Although all have been growing fabulously rich, all are more discontented than ever before, and more fearful that something will occur to hinder their enrichment and to turn the streams of wealth to the ports of the competitor. Their fear of each other determined that the war must come, and the present was chosen as the most favored opportunity, before the weaker became too strong. The same spirit is manifest everywhere—ingratitude for the present and the past, fearfulness for the future, and a selfishness which pays little heed to the Golden Rule. The conflict between capital and labor is along this line, and we are to expect that such things will go rapidly from bad to worse.
The debts of the warring nations are authoritatively stated to amount to fifty-five billions of dollars—a sum which, of course, can never be paid in gold; and everybody knows that there is not sufficient gold to pay the interest on the debts of the world. This spells bankruptcy—as soon as the war shall end and the issuing of bonds shall cease to provide money for the payment of the interest on other bonds. The nations are thus falling into the chasm of bankruptcy, but it is with them as with a human being falling, the sensations are not so bad until the falling ceases in a demoralizing concussion. Evidently the war will not stop from lack of men to shoot and be shot, but either from lack of food or from financial weakness. That it will be the latter is the author's opinion.
Already the kings, political and financial, and their advisers, are in great perplexity respecting what shall be done after the close of the war to prevent a world-wide revolution of the discontented. Twenty millions of men now under arms will need employment. Suppose that one-fourth of them are retained in the army, what will be done with the remaining three-fourths? That is the question that is puzzling many of the world's wise men. The world is getting along without them now, and also manufacturing vast quantities of military stores and ammunition. Evidently it could get along without those twenty millions of men altogether. Reckless of human life, they will be more or less of a menace in every land. The British are making preparations to induce their surplus to become farmers in Canada and Australia. Other nations are undoubtedly pursuing a similar course to the extent that they are able. But they all realize that they will have their hands full to cope with the situation.
The Bible points out that about this time the Nominal Church systems of the world will rise to great prominence again in connection with the Civil powers. We can readily see the grounds for this. Ail the kingdoms, financially weakened, will realize the necessity for keeping a dominating grip upon the public and preventing anything akin to Socialism and Anarchy. They will naturally look to the great religious institutions called Churches to support them, to threaten the people with future torments, and in general to help keep the Ship of State from being overturned. The churches also will be ready and glad for such an opportunity. Already, they are rolling together as a scroll ^the one side, Catholic, the other, Protestant, opposed and yet connected—each side united and federated to the best of its ability.
But the Bible declares that this reign "as a queen" will be a short one, and that the fall of Babylon will be tremendous—like a great millstone cast into the sea. It will be during the power of this so-called "queen," for a little season, that the world will be under a great strain as respects any presentation of the Truth. And those found loyal to God and to principle will doubtless suffer therefor.
At the time of Babylon's fall, the mighty ones of the earth, financial and political princes and kings, will stand afar off, keeping clear of too close an affiliation with her, although they will greatly lament her destruction, realizing that it forebodes their own. Then very shortly will come the complete overthrow and destruction of the present Gentile governments, symbolically represented in the Bible as a great conflagration which will consume the whole earth —all institutions—religious, social, political, and financial.
Considering that this Volume was written twenty years ago, none need be surprised to find that some of its statements, although startlingly strong, come short now of the full Truth. For instance, the wealth of the world has greatly multiplied in these twenty years. The combinations of capital have greatly increased in capitalization, power and influence. " It is estimated that during the past four years the capital of the United States has increased at the rate of ten billions a year.
In this Volume it was pointed out that although the Trusts at the time of the writing were beneficial rather than injurious, nevertheless these giants, born of avarice and built up in self-interest, would eventually become a menace, a danger to the people and their interests. We have reached that time, and many are realizing that the danger is upon us. Nothing evil may be done so long as the machinery is working well and under control; but when the moment shall come that the interests of the managers and capitalists will be in the reverse direction from the Interests of their employees and the public, then look out! Remember the inspired Word—that this is to be "a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation."
How glad we are that man's extremity in this Time of Trouble will be the Lord's opportunity! He is waiting to be gracious. He is wishing to pour out upon mankind the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom for one thousand' years, for their uplift out of sin and death conditions back to the image and likeness of God. He foreknows that they must first have their lessons. He has shown this already to those who have seeing eyes, by granting more than forty years of the. dawning period—which, however, instead of bringing blessings and happiness to the world, have brought more and more of discontent. The Lord will allow mankind now to go their length in carrying out their own plans and schemes. ^ He will allow them to . demonstrate the futility of all these schemes, and that nothing but Divine interposition will save them from wrecking the entire fabric of Society. Indeed, He will permit the wreck, and then reorganize humanity under Messiah; for He promises that His Kingdom shall be "the desire of all nations."—~ Haggai 2:7.
Your servant in the Lord, Charles T. Russell,
Brooklyn, N. Y., October 1. 1916.