In a new interview with “The Chuck Shute Podcast”, Michael Sweet of openly Christian hard rockers STRYPER discussed the inspiration for the title and artwork for the band’s upcoming studio album, “The Final Battle”, which is due in October via Frontiers Music Srl. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “The story behind the title and the artwork is the battle of Armageddon, which is ultimately the final battle, biblically speaking. And that’s really what we’re referring to, for the most part.”
Asked if he thinks the battle of Armageddon — which refers to the final war between human governments and God, ultimately bringing human rulership to an end — is something that “coming soon,” Sweet said: “Well, I’ll tell you, man, if you say that in today’s world, boy, you are labeled an instant loon — you’re a loon, you’re crazy and you need to be committed and you’re out of your mind. But yet at the same time, when you go through the Bible, if you were to really dive deep into the Bible and have someone explain the theory of it to you and the stories that are behind the stories — so someone really smart, who isn’t me — they could explain to you stuff that would make your chin hit the floor. And all the stuff that the Bible predicted that has already taken place, and really the only thing left is God’s return and what follows after that, one of those things being the battle of Armageddon.
“People can laugh and sneer and think Christians are crazy, and that’s fine,” Michael continued. “I believe in the Bible, I believe what it says, and I think those times are coming. I think we’re living in those times — absolutely, for sure. We live in a very interesting world, and I think everyone could at least agree on that — that times have changed dramatically in the past two years.”
When asked by host Chuck Shute to clarify whether he truly believes we are “on the cusp” of the battle of Armageddon, Michael said: “Yeah, I do. Those people out there who watch this moment, when I say ‘yeah,’ who roll their eyes and think I’m crazy, that’s fine. You guys can go ahead and keep thinking people like myself are crazy. The only thing I can say to that is when that day comes and it’s reality, obviously everyone will know that those who believed weren’t crazy, and then at that point it’ll be too late for the people who thought those people were crazy.”
When Shute noted that the people who are labeled “crazy” are the ones who claim that they know the exact date and circumstances leading up to the big apocalypse, Michael said: “And the Bible is very clear about that too: ‘No man will know the hour.’ No man knows the hour. You can’t sit and [say], ‘Okay, according to this timeline, yeah, He’s coming on this day.’ And that’s what people try to do. You can’t.
“I think we’re definitely living in the end times, but that could be short, that could be relatively soon, in the very near future, or that could be in a relatively distant future,” Sweet explained. “I don’t think it’s gonna be hundreds of thousands of years from now, but I think that it’s coming and our time is marked. And look, we may get hit by a giant comet before God comes back. Who knows?
“I think sometimes we think we’re invincible — nothing can hurt us — and, obviously, COVID kind of taught us a lesson on that, didn’t it?” Michael added .”We are not invincible and anything can happen at any given time unexpectedly that leaves us in awe, saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I had no idea. I never even imagined that ever happening.’ And it can and will happen. It’s just a matter of time.”
Formed 39 years ago, STRYPER‘s name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
STRYPER‘s albums include “To Hell With The Devil”, “Second Coming”, “No More Hell To Pay”, “Fallen”, “God Damn Evil” and the band’s latest effort, “Even The Devil Believes”.
In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band’s Christian lyrics.
“We’ve never been accepted by either side,” he said. “The secular side, the mainstream, they’ve never accepted us to this day. We’re probably that band that everyone’s going to go to whenever there’s a time to mock. We’ll be the band used for that in most cases. Now on the Christian side, we’ve never really had the full support of the Christian side because we don’t fit into their little club. We’re not wearing suits and ties and going to every church and preaching.”