30 September 2022

The Cosmic War


At the end of the age, Satan and his minions will launch an all-out cosmic “war” against the saints, the followers of the Lamb

Lightning over city - Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash
Several passages in the book of
Revelation describe the coming cosmic showdown between the “Dragon” and the “Lamb.” This great battle will be waged on the earth as the minions of Satan seek to destroy Christ’s people, the “saints,” but the consequences of its results will be felt throughout the Cosmos. All life will be changed forever - [Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash].

In each said passage, the term “war” is singular, and in the Greek text, its noun form is accompanied by a definite article or “the.” Thus, it is “THE war.” And both the Greek noun and its related verb are applied to the same final event.

Much of the language used to describe this war is borrowed from 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).

AGAINST THE SAINTS


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 “” will ascend from the “Abyss” to “wage war with them and overcome them and beast kill them.”

Moreover, the “witnesses” are identified as “two lampstands,” and elsewhere in the book, “lampstands” represent churches; therefore, the “witnesses” represent churches, the people of the “Lamb” who are under assault by the “Beast”– (Revelation 11:7).

This same war is described from another perspective in the twelfth chapter of Revelation when John sees a “war in heaven” being waged between Satan and “Michael and his angels.”

The Devil is represented as the “Great Red Dragon” who has seven heads, ten horns, and “crowns” on each of his heads. He is defeated and expelled from heaven. But Satan is not yet out of the picture. Consigned to the earth for a “short time,” the enraged “Dragon” sets out to destroy the “woman clothed with the sun,” but he is thwarted in that endeavor. Next, he launches his “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,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus.” The vision ends with Satan standing on the seashore whence 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” who is also called the “false prophet.”

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. Thus, it has all the political authority of the “Dragon,” which it then uses to “wage war against the saints and overcome them,” once more echoing the same passage from Daniel chapter 7.

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

BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON


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 this passage – (Revelation 16:12-16).

Demons are released from the mouths of the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” and the “false prophet” who orchestrate the “gathering together” of these “kings” for “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” at Armageddon. There, the army is destroyed.

And the sixth “bowl of wrath” is part of the series of judgments that “complete the wrath of God,” judgments that conclude with the destruction of the world city, “Babylon the Great.” And her downfall results in terrestrial and cosmic upheaval at the end of the present age as the Creation itself prepares for the arrival of the “new heavens and the new earth” – (Revelation 16:12-21, 21:1).

War Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash
[By Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash]

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, instead, 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,” namely, his overcoming “saints.” On his thigh is the designation “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

The resulting battle is described with language found in the book of Ezekiel that was 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.”

SATAN UNLEASHED


Finally, in chapter 20, Satan is released from the “Abyss,” an event conceptually parallel to the “ascents” of the “Beast” from the “Abyss” and 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 of “Gog and Magog” 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. This is the great final attempt by the Devil to destroy the people of the “Lamb” throughout the earth.

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 the several parallel 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 cosmic “war” is in view in each case.

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.

But the stakes are even higher than the victory of the church on the earth. If the “Lamb” is victorious over every scheme and assault of the Devil, the outcome will mean nothing less than the arrival of the New Creation – “And I saw the new heavens and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more.”



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