For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14-16
William Jennings Bryan was defeated by William McKinley in the presidential elections of 1896. In 1873 the gold standard as a basis for money replaced a bi-metallic standard. This became a major campaign issue in the election of 1896 and was highlighted by the famous “cross of gold” speech at the Democratic convention.
In October of the following year Pastor Charles T. Russell built upon this popular subject in his fourth volume of “Studies in the Scriptures” which was entitled The Day of Vengeance. The economic problems with the new standard became one of several areas probed in a broad indictment of those nation claiming to be “Christian” and of the conditions in Christianity itself.
In another presidential election, the three-way race between Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt saw a popular campaign slogan coined by Roosevelt: “We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord.”
Capitalizing on the publicity for this election, Pastor Russell gave a series of lectures throughout the United States on the topic “The Battle of Armageddon.”.A new edition of The Day of Vengeance was issued and this lecture appeared as a special forward. The name of the new book was changed to The Battle of Armageddon.
The application of biblical prophecy to current events was appreciated by many of the readers of this work. These prophetic interpretations have stood the test of time and are as appropriate today as they were at the close of the nineteenth century when they were written.
Much has happened since the original publication of this monumental work. It is the purpose of this issue of THE HERALD to look at what has occurred in the 102 years since the original publication of this book..
In highly descriptive language, the apostle Peter says the heat of the conflicts of this “Day of Vengeance” are so intense that “the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10,12). In Giants of Global Finance, the author shows how the events of the past century have served to prepare these elements for the troubles which James Baldwin entitled “The Fire Next Time.”
The economic scene is the subject of the next treatise, Babylon’s Confusion–Ecclesiastical. The author deals with such current developments as the multi-national corporation and the globalization of capital.
Developments in the political world form the subject matter for The Crumbling Image. Here the author seeks to trace the main political trends of the last one hundred years.
Social unrest with its clamor for equal rights—racial, gender, age, and countless others—are the subject of The Fiftieth Year Sabbath. The watchword of the French Revolution, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” are well illustrated by the jubilee laws of ancient Israel.
Many biblical battles took place at Megiddo. Each of these holds lessons of the great antitype, “Armageddon.” The article Megiddo and Carchemish deals with the last of these typical conflicts, showing its connection to other biblical pictures.
While the Battle of Armageddon focuses on the fort of Megiddo, other pictures in the Bible describing the same conflict feature other locales. One of these is considered in our closing article, a verse by verse study in Zechariah 14, entitled The Battle of Jerusalem.
Much space in “The Battle of Armageddon” book is devoted to “The World Parliament of Religions” which was held in connection with the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. A centennial celebration of this gathering was again held in Chicago in 1993. The Chicago Bible Students published a pamphlet “One World Church” about this movement at that time. Space in this issue did not permit a planned condensation of this booklet. However, we are including as a separate item with this issue a copy of the entire booklet, entitled One World Church.