The Bible teaches that there will be a gathering together of many of earth’s nations in the day of Jehovah’s vengeance. These nations will be grouped in various confederacies, and their armies will converge upon Palestine, which country will become the cockpit of the last great premillennial military confrontation in human history.
Psalm 2 gives a concise preview of this massive concentration of earth’s kings and their armies in the vicinity of the prophetic centre of Christ’s millennial kingdom, the city of Jerusalem.
A brief mention of the different confederacies may serve to bring the picture into focus, before the catastrophic battle of Armageddon is considered.
(1) The first confederacy – This is sometimes termed the Latin confederacy, and it may include Britain, France, Spain, etc. – indeed all the nations within the compass of the Roman Empire when it was at its zenith. (There are two schools of thought, by the way, regarding the extent of the Revived Roman Empire. Some maintain that it will cover the exact area of Rome at the time of that Empire’s supremacy. Others consider that the Revived Empire will not necessarily be territorially the same, but will include new countries colonised by the races which comprised the original Roman Empire. However, it is a matter we cannot be dogmatic about one way or the other.)
The Latin confederacy and its fearful fate form the subject of Revelation 19. 17-21.
(2) The second confederacy – The second confederacy is the Middle-Eastern group of nations, consisting of Israel’s ancient enemies. These are nations which, although they had receded from the forefront of the world stage, have in recent years begun to re-emerge from the comparative obscurity in which they had been veiled.
With the coming into being of an independent Jewish state in Palestine, those nations which were previously so prominent in Israel’s history will again acquire political importance and influential power in the league of earth’s nations. When the fig tree (Israel) puts forth its leaves, and all the trees (the nations surrounding Palestine) “know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand”, Luke 21. 29-31.
Who today can doubt the dynamic resurgence of the Arab nations and Islamic power, for instance, in the explosive sector of the Middle East? Or who, a decade or two ago, would have believed such a rapid coming into prominence of these nations could have been possible? Yes, undeniably, today the fig tree’s foliage is shooting forth – and the leaves of all the trees are fast appearing also. Things are surely developing apace in preparation for the final act. which may not now be long delayed.
Nations which long centuries ago were known by the following names will come again to the fore: the Philistines, Isa. 14. 29-32; Moab, chs. 15-16; Dan. 11. 41 ; Damascus, Isa. 17. 1-2; Edom, Ammon, Dan. 11.41. Although Christ, at His coming, will deal personally with many of the warlike nations then marshalled in Palestine, the nations of Edom, Moab and Ammon will meet their destruction at the hands of a restored Israel, which will be used of God as the instrument in their punishment, Dan. 11. 41.
(3) The third confederacy – The Northern confederacy, to which we have alluded in our last article, will be under the command of the king of the north (whose distant predecessor ruled over Syria), Dan. 11. 40, the Assyrian of Isaiah’s and Micah’s prophecies. “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power”, Dan. 8. 23-24, that is, he will most likely have the political backing and support of Russia in his military campaigns.
Thus two rival blocs of nations will swing into action at this time – the Western confederacy (the Roman Empire), which will be favourably disposed towards the Jews, and the Northern bloc, displaying a deep hatred of the Jewish race and launching an offensive to destroy the people and possess their land.
(4) The fourth confederacy – The Oriental or Eastern alignment will form the fourth grouping. The natural and traditional barrier between east and west will be removed (whether that barrier be regarded as a physical or a figurative one) by the drying up of the great boundary line of the river Euphrates, Rev. 16. 12.
The venom of the Eastern confederacy will be directed mainly against Europe, but the battle arena will be that common ground of Palestine, on which the military might of all the confederacies will converge about the same time. And although the confederacy headed by the king of the north and that of the Eastern bloc of nations are viewed in Scripture as distinct and separate groupings they will no doubt operate in collusion with one another on account of their mutual hatred of the Western Powers, and also of the Jews.
(5) The fifth confederacy – But there is yet another alliance of nations Russia and her allies – represented by God and his hosts in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. The invasion of Palestine by this confederacy will not synchronise with that of the other four. A careful reading of these chapters of Ezekiel would lead us to the conclusion that the Russian legions move swiftly into Palestine after the other great confederacies have suffered their destruction there.
God and his satellites will proceed from the same direction as the king of the north before him, but at a slightly later time; (the basis for these statements will be discussed in another article). Russia and her allies will not succeed in reaching the capital, but will be almost completely annihilated on the northern mountains of Palestine, Ezek. 39. 2-4.
At this point, though, we must not fail to note the sinister aspect of the situation, for the big battalions of the military might of the Gentile nations massed in Megiddo, will be under the dragon-like influence of the devil, then an enforced dweller on the earth. Their vile fury will be turned away from one another and directed against their common objective of consummate hatred – God Himself and His Son, who will be rejected by men in a world-wide rebellion. The great controversy between men and God will be concerning who shall rule the world. It is nothing short of the dethronement of God that the nations’ rulers will then be conspiring to effect, with their forces ready marshalled in Palestine for this final and futile confrontation.
This is what is before the mind of the inspired writer of Psalm 2 – king David himself – and no wonder that we read the divine reaction to the folly of the nations. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh”, shall greet their vain attempt to cast off His authority, with derisory laughter. God sits enthroned, the sovereign Ruler of the Universe, serenely high above the tumult of earth’s kings bent on such suicidal folly.
This, then, is the collision course that men and nations are even now pursuing – a course which will eventually bring about the disintegration of their confederacies and the destruction of those rebellious sons of men – to make way for the King of God’s appointment. His own Son, whom, in His counsels, He has already installed on His holy hill of Zion. What a day of rejoicing that will be when Christ in reality becomes King of kings!