The New York Times, October 15, 1914


Montgomery, Alabama, Oct. 15 Pastor Russell who is the head of the International Bible Student's Association, and one of the most noted Bible lecturers and writers in the United States, spoke to a large crowd at the City Auditorium, Tuesday night.

His discourse on the Battle of Armageddon was based upon the words of Jesus respecting the "distress of nations with perplexity." (Luke 21:25, 26) He referred to the literal Megiddo, where many great battles were fought in ancient times and where God gave the Israelites a great triumph.

He pointed out that the Armageddon is used symbolically in the Book of Revelation to refer to the great climax of earth's strife. He declared that it would mean the final overthrow of the powers of sin, for thereafter Messiah's Kingdom will rule the world.

With the great conflict now in progress in Europe as his theme, Pastor Russell declared that the Bible pictures three distinct stages of the trouble with which this Age will end and the New Dispensation inaugurated. The present war, weakening the nations and enlightening the people, marks the First stage through which the world must pass in its approach to the New Dispensation. Second, following the war, a great revolution, without precedence as to violence or scope, symbolically styled in the Bible an earthquake such as never was since men were upon the earth; and the Third and last stage of the present Age will be marked as a period of anarchy, resulting from man's inability to adjust himself to the new conditions.

With "The Battle of Armageddon" as the basis of his remarks he pointed out that this anarchy is in the Bible [HGL620] symbolically styled fire, "the fire of God's anger," which will consume the present heavens and earth not the literal earth, for it "abideth forever" (Eccl. 1:4) not the literal heavens, either. The symbolical heaven is the ecclesiastical systems and the symbolical earth is the social systems of the present. These will succumb to the fire of anarchy, which will destroy all present institutions and eventuate in the world's preparation for Messiah's Kingdom- "A new heaven and a new earth" - "the desire of all nations." Rev. 21:1; Hag 2:7

As Elijah the Prophet typified the course of the true Church of God and her final taking to heaven, so these great events coming upon the earth were shown to Elijah in advance of his taking away. The winds that rent the rocks represent the present war. The earthquake represented the revolution. The fire represented the anarchy. Then followed the "still, small voice" of God, "speaking peace through Jesus Christ." This is the pure Message, in contrast with a confusion of creeds which have been preached and which have misrepresented the Divine character and plan. The knowledge of the glory of God will then fill the whole earth, until; none shall need to say to his neighbor, "Know thou the Lord; for all will know him. . ." Jer. 31:34.

The Pastor referred to the fact that all the creeds in Christendom had mistaken this fire to be a literal one, instead of symbolic, forgetting that fire is repeatedly used in the Bible to represent severe trial. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you" the Church. St. Peter's words respecting the fire corresponds to the words of Zephaniah's prophecy. (1 Pet. 4:12; Zeph. 3:8, 9) There, after telling about the fire that would consume the social earth, the Lord declares that then He will turn to the people a pure Message, that they may all call upon His name to serve Him with one consent. Similarly, St. Peter, after telling how the present symbolical heavens ecclesiastical systems and the symbolical; earth the social order will pass away in this fire of anarchy, says that there will be "a new heavens and a new earth" a new ecclesiastical power and a new social order. 2 Pet. 3:13

Pastor Russell declared that this new heaven will be the Church in glory, the true Church of Christ in Millennial glory; and that the new earth will mean society reorganized on its new basis, in harmony with the Golden Rule of Messiah's Kingdom. He further stated that to think of the earth as being burned up at the Second Coming of Christ would mean to forget that St. Peter elsewhere declares (Acts 3:19-21) that at Christ's Second Coming, Times of Restitution and Refreshment would come to the world, and that this blessing had been declared by God through all the Holy Prophets since the world began. (The attention of the audience was remarkable also the fact that men predominated.)

Our Honorable President with praiseworthy intent has requested all Christian people to pray for peace in Europe. I have been asked to sermonize accordingly. However, I cannot concur with our Worthy President in this matter. Much as I appreciate peace and I have all my life labored to be a peacemaker I cannot pray the Almighty to change His plans to conform to those of our Honored President.

For twenty-five hundred years God, through the Bible Prophets, has been telling His people about this great war and concerning the more terrible Armageddon which will follow it; and can we expect Him to reverse the program at our behest? Rev. 16:13, 14, 16

The prayers of these millions praying for the prosperity of the Germans and the extermination of the Allies, and the prayers of other millions for the success of the Allies and the annihilation of the Germans, and the prayers of the Pope and of our President and other good people that this awful war shall promptly cease, will all go unanswered, if I read my Bible aright. The war will proceed, and will eventuate in no glorious victory for any nation, but in the horrible mutilation and impoverishment of all. Next will follow the Armageddon of Anarchy.

After that, peace, lasting peace, may be hoped for, because God has declared it. It will be brought in by Messiah's Kingdom, for which so long we have prayed- "Thy Kingdom come!"

For forty years I have been proclaiming this very war and its glorious outcome, by sermons, oral and printed, and in my books on Bible study in twenty languages. Now, when the very year has come and the prophecy is being fulfilled, could I consistently ask the Almighty to change His program? Nay!

Doubtless many will be shocked with my declaration that this war and the resulting greater calamity are of Divine permission and arrangement, clearly prophesied in Scripture. The gathering of the nations to the present struggle is referred to in the prophecy of Joel, where the weak nations are called upon to assert their strength and where all of them are commanded to go down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat the Valley of Graves the cemetery outside of the city of Jerusalem being used by the Prophet in illustration of the terrible slaughter now going on. Joel 3:9-16

Surely this war has brought more to the grave than has any previous war; and it is only beginning. For years the nations, in harmony with Joel's prophecy, have been "beating their plowshares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears," in the sense that they have been spending for Military purposes money which should properly have been spent in agricultural implements and developments.

Apparently all the nations will yet be involved. Happy will it be if our own land shall escape! Our President and our Secretary of State are men of peace, and will surely do all in their power to avoid complications and war itself. Nevertheless, the great nations of Europe, realizing how much they will be weakened by this war, will do all in their power to ensnare these United States, lest at the conclusion of the war we should tower above the others financially and otherwise.

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