Great Cosmic War

The Book of Revelation portrays the ongoing Cosmic War between the “Dragon” and the “Lamb.” It is being waged on the Earth as the servants of Satan seek to destroy the followers of Jesus. Its conclusion will affect the entire Cosmos. Following his final victory over his enemies,  life will be changed forever throughout the Universe.

The term “war” is singular in each relevant passage, and in the Greek text, the noun form is accompanied by a definite article or “the.” It is “THE war.” The Greek noun and its related verb are applied to the same final event.

Milky Way - Photo by Denis Degioanni on Unsplash
[Photo by Denis Degioanni on Unsplash]

Much of the language that describes this war is from the
Book of Daniel, especially the account in Chapter 7 of the war against the “saints” by 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).

For example, after the “Two Witnesses” completed their “testimony,” the “Beast” ascended from the “Abyss,” and “HE WageD war with them, overcAme, and killed them.” The “Two Witnesses” are identified as “Two lampstands,” and elsewhere “lampstands” represent churches. The description is a graphic representation of an attack or attacks against the Church – (Revelation 1:20, 11:7).

The same war is described in Chapter 12. John saw the war raging in the Heavens. The “Dragon” was defeated and expelled. Now consigned to the Earth, he set out to destroy the “Woman clothed with the sun,” but his murderous plan was thwarted, so he launched his “war” against 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).

Thus, the followers of the “Lamb” were the victims of his assault. The vision ended with Satan standing on the seashore summoning his “seed” from the Sea to execute his “war,” - The “Beast from the Sea” and the “Beast from the Earth.”

John saw the first “Beast ascending from the Sea,” an image parallel to the Beast’s “ascent from the Abyss.” It had the political authority of the “Dragon,” which it used to “wage war against the saints and overcome them,” once more echoing Daniel 7:21.


This same “war” was depicted when an angel emptied the Sixth Bowl of Wrath “on the great river, Euphrates.” The riverbed was dried so the “kings of the east” and their invading armies could cross. Their intended target is not identified, though the passage does indicate their intention to confront God – (Revelation 16:12-16).

Demons were released from the mouths of the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” and the “False Prophet.” They orchestrated the “gathering” of the “kings” for “the war of the Great Day of God, the Almighty” at the place called ‘Armageddon’, where their army was destroyed.

In Chapter 17, the “Ten Horns” of the “Beast” represented “ten kings” who gave their political authority to the “Beast” so it could “wage war against the Lamb.” However, the “Lambovercame them for he is Lord of lords and King of kings.” This anticipates the victory of the “Rider on the White Horse” and his “army” in Chapter 19 - on his thigh was the designation, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

The resulting battle is described with language from Ezekiel applied originally to the army of “Gog and Magog.” Just as the “Kings of the Earth” were “gathered together” at Armageddon for their destruction, so the “Beast and the Kings of the Earth and their armies” were “gathered together to make war” against the one who rode the white horse. This is the same battle as the one that occurred in the Sixth Bowl of Wrath – (Revelation  16:12-16, 19:10-21).

The passage does not describe the actual battle, only its aftermath when the “Beast” and “False Prophet” were thrown alive into the “Lake of Fire,” and the rest of their force was destroyed by the “sword of him that sat upon the horse.”

Finally, Satan was released from the “Abyss,” an event conceptually parallel to the “ascents” of the “Beast” from the “Abyss” and the “Sea.” He “gathered” the nations “from the four corners of the Earth to the war, Gog and Magog.” The link to Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog and Magog” is now explicit – (Revelation 20:1-10).

The narrative describes this force as “ascending over the breadth of the Earth to surround the camp of the Saints.” The extent of this final assault was global, the last attempt by Satan to destroy the Saints. As before, no description of the battle itself is provided. It simply states that “fire came down out of heaven and devoured them.” Their destruction was followed by the judgment before 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, its victims are identified as the “Saints,” the same group persecuted by the “Beast from the Sea” – (Revelation 13:7).

The use of language from Daniel and Ezekiel to describe the “war,” the verbal and conceptual links (e.g., ascent/release from the “Abyss”), and the identity of the victims of the Dragon, demonstrate that the same Cosmic War is in view in each passage.

Twilight Spainish Beach - Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash
[Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash]

Before the end of the age, Satan will launch his final great assault against the “
Saints,” those who have the Testimony of Jesus. It will be his last-ditch effort to destroy the people of the “Lamb,” the only way he can wage war effectively against Jesus.

However, the stakes are higher than just the victory of the Church, for if the “Lamb” is victorious over all his enemies, the New Creation will arrive – “And I saw the new heavens and new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and the sea was no more.”

  • The Choice - (Humanity is divided into two and only two groups – followers of the Lamb or subjects of the Beast)
  • The Recurring Empire - (Babylon is both a historical kingdom and the symbol of the repeated rise of the World Empire)
  • Caesar Goes to War - (In Revelation, the language of “war” is used to portray the persecution of the saints by the World Empire)