The Coming War

At the end of the age, Satan and his minions will launch the final “war” against the saints, the followers of the Lamb

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In several passages
Revelation describes coming “the war,” the final assault by the “Dragon” and his vassals against the followers of the “Lamb,” namely, the “saints.” In each case, the term “war” is singular, and in the Greek text, its noun form is accompanied by a definite article or “the.” It is “THE war.” And both the Greek noun and its verb form are applied to the same event - [Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash].

Much of the language used to describe this war is found in the book of Daniel, especially, the story of the war against the saints by the malevolent figure labeled the “little horn”:
  • I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most-High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom – (Daniel 7:21-22).

THE ABYSS

In Revelation, this “war” is found in the vision of the “two witnesses,” and its description uses language from the passage in Daniel. After the “two witnesses” complete their “testimony,” the “beast” ascends from the Abyss to “wage war with them and overcome them and kill them.”

Moreover, the “witnesses” are identified as “two lampstands,” and elsewhere in the book, “lampstands” represent churches – (Revelation 11:7).

This same war is described from another perspective in the twelfth chapter when John sees a “war in heaven” waged between Satan and “Michael and his angels.” The Devil is represented as the “great red dragon” with seven heads, ten horns, and “crowns” on each of his seven heads. He is defeated and expelled from heaven.

THE DRAGON

But Satan is not yet out of the picture. Consigned to the earth, the “Dragon” sets out to destroy the “woman clothed with the sun,” but he is thwarted in this endeavor.

Next, he wages “war” against the woman’s “seed,” and once more, the conflict is described with the same clause from Daniel:
  • And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman and departed to make war with the rest of her seed, they who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus” – (Revelation 12:17).

And as before, the targets of his assault are the followers of the “Lamb.” This vision ends with Satan standing on the seashore where he summons his “seed” to rise from the sea and execute his “war” against the “seed of the woman,” namely, the “beast from the sea” and the “beast from the earth” or the “false prophet.”

THE SEA

John sees the first “beast ascending from the sea,” an image that parallels its “ascent from the Abyss.” It possesses ten horns and seven heads, and a “crown” on each of its ten heads. This “beast” has all the political authority of the “Dragon,” and it uses it to “wage war against the saints and overcome them.” And once more, the passage echoes the same words from Daniel.

For his part, the “false prophet” uses religious deceit by mimicking the “Lamb,” along with economic control and sanctions he levels to compel men to render homage to the first “beast” – (Revelation 13:1-16).

This same “war” is described again when the angel empties the sixth bowl of wrath “on the great river, Euphrates.” The water is dried up so the “kings of the east” and their armies can attack by crossing the river. Their intended target is not identified in the passage.

ARMAGEDDON

Demons released from the mouths of the “dragon,” the “beast,” and the “false prophet” orchestrate the “gathering together” of these “kings” for “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” at Armageddon. There, this force is destroyed.

And the sixth “bowl of wrath” is part of the series of judgments that “complete the wrath of God” and conclude with the destruction of the world city, “Babylon the Great.” And her downfall results in terrestrial and celestial upheaval at the end of the present age – (Revelation 16:12-21).

In chapter 17, the “ten horns” of the “beast” represent “ten kings” who give their political authority to the “beast” so it can “wage war against the Lamb.” However, Jesus as the “Lambovercomes them for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings,” along with those who are with him, the “called and chosen and faithful.

This picture anticipates the victory of the one who “rides the white horse” and his “army” in the nineteenth chapter. Jesus is the “rider” who is followed by his “armies in heaven.” On his thigh the designation was written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

The resulting battle is described with language found in the book of Ezekiel applied originally to the army of “Gog and Magog.” Just as the “kings of the earth” are “gathered together” to Armageddon for their destruction, so the “beast and the kings of the earth and their armies” are “gathered together to make war” against the one who sits on the “white horse” – (Revelation 19:10-21).

The passage provides no description of the actual battle, only its aftermath when the “beast” and “false prophet” are thrown alive into the “lake of fire,” and the rest of their unholy force is destroyed by the “sword of him that sat upon the horse.”

THE THOUSAND YEARS

Finally, in chapter 20, Satan is released from the “Abyss.” His release is conceptually parallel to the “ascent” of the “beast from the Abyss,” and its “ascent from the sea.” The Devil then “gathers together” the nations “from the four corners of the earth to the war, Gog and Magog.” Here, the link to Ezekiel’s vision is explicit.

And once again, using language from that same vision, Revelation describes this force as “ascending over the breadth of the earth to surround the camp of the saints.” The extent of this final assault is global, not regional.

And just as in chapter 19, no description of the actual battle is provided. The passage simply states that “fire came down out of heaven and devoured them.” This is followed immediately by the final judgment at the “Great White Throne.”

The verbal parallels in chapter 20 with the preceding passages are clear. This is the same “war” portrayed in chapters 16 and 19, only here, the targeted victims are identified - the “saints” - the same group persecuted before by the “Beast from the sea” – (Revelation 13:7).

The use of the same language from Daniel and Ezekiel to describe this “war” in these several passages, the verbal links (e.g., “gathered together”), the conceptual parallels (e.g., ascent/release from the “Abyss”), and the identity of Satan’s victims (the “saints,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus”), all demonstrate the same final “war” is in view in each passage.

Prior to the end of the age, Satan will launch his final assault against the “saints,” those who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes, the church. This “war” will include deception and deceivers active within the church, economic pressure from without, and outright persecution and martyrdom. It will be the Devil’s last-ditch effort to destroy the people redeemed by the “blood of the Lamb,” which is the only way he can wage an effective war against Jesus.



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