Saturday, 17 July 2021
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Revelation 19:19
The “supper of the great God,” meaning the great banquet of the birds proclaimed in the previous two verses, has been prophesied. Now the battle that precedes that supper begins to be described. John says, “And I saw the beast.”
This is most probably referring to the beast out of the sea that started to be described in verse 13:1. John next refers to “the kings of the earth, and their armies.” This is referring to those just mentioned in the previous verse, noted as “the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
This great coalition of people, united in battle array, has come into the Valley of Armageddon. It is “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” mentioned in verse 16:14. Of this vast hoard, John says they are “gathered together.”
Something has brought all the nations of this great coalition together into the land of Israel. It could be a vast amount of oil or other natural resources, a desire to simply exterminate the Jews once and for all, or for whatever reason. They have been brought into this tiny sliver of land to make war there. Because this is so, and because the Lord has covenanted with Israel to defend them, they are not only threatening Israel, but their actions are implicitly an attack against the Lord. Thus, they have come “to make war against Him who sat on the horse.”
Though not included in translations, there is an article before “war.” It is “to make the war against Him who sat on the horse.” Of this, the Pulpit Commentary says, “viz. that war which is perpetually waged between the powers of light and darkness, and which will not be terminated until the great judgment.” This appears to be a sound analysis. There is a war coming that will be the culmination of a war that has been waged since the beginning.
It is an ongoing battle that has been conducted while God has allowed the various dispensations to run their course. As Israel is a central part of the redemptive narrative, and as they are now threatened with total annihilation, the Lord will personally intervene in order to keep His covenant promises. The Messiah is returning to set things right. The armies arrayed against Israel are actually arrayed against Him, “and against His army.”
These are the saints, “the armies in heaven,” mentioned in verse 19:14. They will accompany the Lord as He returns to earth to bring His judgment upon this great force arrayed in the land of Israel.
Life application: This is one of those surprising verses that pops up and can be read over quickly, but if one thinks it through, it is rather hard to fathom. Jesus Christ promised to return two thousand years ago, and this has been the proclamation and call of faithful Christians since then.
The Lord’s Supper taken by the faithful is a proclamation of this fact. Paul says that in taking it, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The words, “till He comes,” are to be a constant reminder that He is coming again.
It is understood by anyone who has heard about Christianity that they believe Christ is returning. Further, although less known and often misunderstood, is the concept of the rapture of the church. It will happen. When it does, it will take a “strong delusion” to keep people from realizing the significance of it. But, at the end of the tribulation period, Jesus will come – openly and visibly. And with Him will be the armies in heaven.
The premise of secular humanism, false religions, and many Christian denominations, is that the world is moving forward toward peace and stability. A wrongly held view by many Christians is that the church is going to continue to grow and overcome the evil in the world until we have “ushered in” the kingdom age. It is supposed that when we have done this, Christ will then return, and all will be a state of happiness that permeates the world. But the Bible clearly teaches that this is wrong.
The world will continue to get more divided and aggressive against moral goodness, not the opposite. In the end, it will be a place of such desperate wickedness that very little will be left except destruction, disease, famine, and war. At this point, after seven horrifying years of upheaval, Jesus will return at the time of the great battle spoken of here in Revelation.
Little does the world know that the Lord isn’t just a tame Lamb, but He is also a great Warrior. He will return to slay the enemies and usher in a time of wonder and delight on the earth. He is great. He is glorious. He is JESUS.
Lord God, we only delude ourselves if we think that anything good can come of our fallen state. Without You and Your Spirit upon us, we are at war with goodness, and we are headed for destruction. Help us to understand that only through You comes true peace and harmony. Help us to share the message of restoration found in Jesus! Amen.