Sunday, February 05, 2006

Armageddon: A Religious War

Events of the last few days have turned my thoughts toward the last of the last days, where the nations of the world will arise to fight a final terrible battle, preceding the Second Coming of Christ. The recent outrageous reaction by some Islamic extremists has already been discussed in other posts. Wilfried has an excellent post over at T & S, and John F. has an excellent post over at ABEV; however, I'm not sure this particular angle has been discussed, which is the purpose of my post.

I am not an LDS scholar, author, historian, or latter days expert of any kind. These are just rough thoughts I have entertained over the last few days on the subject.

The late Elder Bruce R. McConkie discussed in interesting detail Armageddon in Chapter 40 of his work The Millenial Messiah, Elder McConkie writes:

In the coming day—a dire, dread, damning day—woes without measure will fall upon men. Pestilence, plagues, and death will stalk the earth. The kings of the earth and of the whole world will gather to fight the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Their command center will be at Armageddon, overlooking the valley of Megiddo. All nations will be gathered against Jerusalem. Two hundred thousand warriors and more—two hundred million men of arms and more—shall come forth to conquer or die on the plains of Esdraelon and in all the nations of the earth. At the height of this war, the Lord Jesus will put his foot on the Mount of Olives and save his ancient covenant people. Of all this we are aware.

Now it is our purpose to show that this war will be a religious war, a war in which the servants of Satan assail the servants of the Lord and those allied with them. The great and abominable church will wage war against everything that is decent in the world and will then be thrown down by devouring fire. The two witnesses we shall call to give extended testimony about this coming conflict with Gog and Magog are Daniel and Ezekiel. Their words we shall accept as law. Some of it will come to us in plainness; other portions of what they have to say will be hidden behind strange names and among unknown nations.
What screams out at me from these two paragraphs is the religious nature and basis for this war. It is inconceivable (at first blush) that religion would or could spark a war that would engulf the entire world. What type of people, would or could possibly be motivated by religious thought, belief, or conviction to engage in such a battle. Well, recent events have given me great pause. I'm sure we've all seen the photographs all over the Internet; but, I think they do speak volumes more than words can possibly describe.

I realize the current controversy does not directly relate to the conflict between the Jews and Muslims; however, the ancient hatred between them persists to this day. Iran's leader has recently called for the extermination of Israel--not an isolated incident. While I'm hopeful that continued efforts to bring peace to the middle east will be fruitful, I'm not at all optimistic. Iran marches toward the acquisition of actual nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The current actions of Islamic extremists demonstrate, at least to me, that any moderate element in Islam, either does not exist, or has no sway over the more militant extremists, who reign with blood and horror.

Elder McConkie continues:

Ezekiel gives us another view and perspective of what shall be when the armies from the north invade the glorious land. This is the religious war of which Daniel spoke. It is a holy war in which emotion rules and ways of worship are at stake. It is a war between Christ and his gospel, and Lucifer who sought to deny men their agency even before the world was. In it we shall see Christ come to champion the cause of his people, and in it we shall see the fall of the great and abominable church, which is the church of the devil. She shall fall as Babylon of old fell. Gog and Magog are all the nations of the earth who take up the sword against Israel and Jerusalem in the day of Armageddon. Their identities remain to be revealed when the battle alliances are made. (Emphasis added).
It is chilling to contemplate how we are living in wondrous times. Times where we look around in our every day lives and see the literal fulfilling of many ancient prophecies. I'm not trying to suggest that Islam or any specific Muslim is Gog of Magog. I am not even suggesting that the current unrest is necessarily the fulfillment of any specific prophecy. It is, however, eye opening to me, and gives me greater insight and pause about how real some of the ancient prophecies are, and one day will come to be.

Update: A very good editorial from the Scotsman, exploring some of the deeply rooted religious issues, and others.


Blogger Eric Nielson said...

In one way I disagree with you. I think that religion is actually one of the most likely causes of world-wide conflict. There is a passion in religion, and a sense of purpose. Many of the wars of history are motivated by religion and those who claim that God is on their side.

Monday, February 06, 2006 3:41:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Eric, Yes. I think you are probably right; however, I guess my hope was/is that religion has the potential for so many good and positive influences. Religion as the basis for international destruction is such a waste, and in fact rather depressing

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I sometimes try to think of why all the nations will go against Isreal.

What could possibly happen to make everyone take up arms against them (us?)for religious reasons?

Islam will have no problem, but what about other Christian nations?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Ian, I've often wondered that myself; however, these last years with the exhibition of such hatred wrapped in religious trappings leaves me shaking my head. What is there possibly in the cartoons published to make so many people turn so violent?

I also think Elder McConkie's statement that it will be a holy war in which emotion rules, rather than reason, gives me some understanding. Although, I have to question how much reason governs any war for that matter.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 2:29:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I actually heard a report regarding the images that made me wonder. Apparently, there was some confusion among the people as to what comics were actually ran in the papers. Some of the people were led to beleive that some other images (including images of beastialit,y) were actually the ones ran in the paper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 12:42:00 PM  

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