The Coming War

Several times Revelation describes a future war, the final assault by Satan against the followers of Jesus before the judgment and descent of New Jerusalem. In each case, the Greek term translated as “war” is singular, and its noun form is accompanied by the definite article or “the.” It is “THE war.”

The language is derived from the Book of Daniel, specifically, the war against the “saints” by the “Little Horn” – “I beheld, and the same horn WAGED 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” – (Daniel 7:21-22).

Toy Soldiers- Photo by Jemima Whyles on Unsplash
[Photo by Jemima Whyles on Unsplash]

This clause is applied in the vision of the “
Two Witnesses” in Chapter 11 of Revelation. After they completed their “Testimony,” the “Beast” ascended from the “Abyss to wage war with them and overcome and kill them.” The “Two Witnesses” were the “Two Lampstands,” and elsewhere in the Book, lampstands” symbolize churches – (Revelation 1:20, 11:7).

The same war is described in Chapter 12 when John saw “war in heaven” between Satan and “Michael and his angels.” The “Great Red Dragon” was defeated and expelled from heaven. Consigned to the Earth, he set out to destroy the “woman clothed with the sun,” but he was thwarted from completing this, so he next waged “war” on the “Seed of the Woman”:

  • The Dragon was enraged with the Woman and departed TO MAKE WAR with the rest of her Seed, those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus” – (Revelation 12:17).

Next, John saw the “Beast ascending from the Sea.” This parallels its previous “ascent from the Abyss.” It had the authority of the “Dragon,” which it used to “WAGE WAR AGAINST THE SAINTS, and to overcome them.”


The same “war” is described again when an angel emptied the Sixth Bowl of Wrath “on the great river, Euphrates,” drying its waters so the “kings of the east” and their armies could invade. Demons orchestrated the “gathering” of these “kings” to “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” at the place called “Armageddon,” where their invading force was destroyed– (Revelation 16:12-21).

In Chapter 17, the “Ten Horns” represent “ten kings” who give their authority to the “Beast,” thus empowering it to “wage war against the Lamb.” However, the “Lamb” overcomes them, “for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings” - (Revelation 17:14).

In Chapter 19, Jesus is the “Rider on the White Horse” followed by his armies. On his thigh is written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” The resulting battle is described with language from Ezekiel originally applied to the army of “Gog and Magog” that attacked Israel. Just as the “Kings of the Earth” were “gathered” for destruction at Armageddon, so the “Beast, the Kings of the Earth and their armies” were “gathered to make war” against the one sitting on the “White Horse” – (Revelation 19:10-21).

The passage provides no descriptions of the actual battle, only its aftermath when the “Beast” and “False Prophet” were thrown alive into the “Lake of Fire,” and the remainder of this force was destroyed by the “sword of him that sat upon the horse.”

In Chapter 20, Satan is released from the “Abyss.” His release parallels the “ascent” of the “Beast” from the Abyss/Sea. Now unleashed, the Devil “gathers” the nations “from the four corners of the Earth to the war, Gog and Magog.” The link to Ezekiel’s vision is explicit.

This army “ascended over the breadth of the Earth to surround the camp of the saints.” The extent of this final assault was global, not regional. However, “fire fell out of Heaven and devoured them.” This was followed by the last judgment before the “Great White Throne.”

Storm Clouds over farm - Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash
[Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash]

The verbal parallels in Chapter 20 with the preceding passages show this last battle is the same “
war” portrayed in Chapters 16 and 19, only here, the targeted victims are identified by name as the “saints,” the same group against which the “Beast from the Sea” waged “the war” – (Revelation 13:7).

The use of language from Daniel and Ezekiel to describe this “war”, the verbal links, the conceptual parallels, and the identity of the victims as followers of Jesus (“saints,” “those who have the Testimony of Jesus”), all demonstrate the same “war” is in view in each passage.

Before the end of the age, Satan will launch his final attempt to destroy the “saints.” His campaign will include deception and deceivers, economic pressure from without, and outright persecution and martyrdom. It will be his last-ditch effort to annihilate the Church. Only in this way can he hope to wage an effective campaign against Jesus.

  • Beast from the Sea - (The Dragon began his attack against the Seed of the Woman by summoning his seed, the Beast from the Sea – Revelation 13:1-5)
  • War Against the Saints - (The Beast from the sea is authorized to wage war on the SAINTS for its overlord, the Ancient Serpent, the Dragon – Revelation 13:6-10)
  • In the Assembly - (John identified false teachers in the church as ‘antichrists’, and their deceptive teachings confirmed that the Last Days had commenced)



The Word Made Flesh

Language of the New Testament