“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.”“
Revelation 19:17-18 NLT
The scene before John in his vision paused. There was a stillness hanging in the air, with a growing sense of impending doom. The angel was clear to see, illuminated by the sun, and he was gathering the vultures. Carrion eaters, with the ability to spy out and find dead bodies of all types. Keen eyes that could spot a meal from miles away. But on the upcoming occasion, they wouldn’t have to seek out their next meal. It would be laid before them. Food beyond their highest expectations. But sadly, the flesh they would gorge on would be human. Before them would be many dead people.
We’re told in the vision that there would be royalty, senior members of the armies, the soldiers, and many more civilians caught up in the conflict, regardless of their status in life. The coming war was to be no respecter of persons. Presumably, all the combatants were unaware of their fate. They would be looking around and seeing their fellow soldiers. The leaders would be oozing with self-confidence, their battle plans in place. We’re invincible, would be the mood. Morale would be high. If only that angel would stop bothering us, would be the thought. It won’t be us lying dead on the battle field, they confidently declare. I wonder if any of them had any doubts creeping into their minds? But they would have dismissed them. After all, they think, we killed the Son of God before. We’ll do it again.
The arrogance of mankind can be breathtaking in its extremes. We see it from all parts of society. The business leader, claiming supremacy in the market place. The politicians boasting about their electoral successes. The general about his wartime exploits. But none stopping to think about what God said in Psalm 2. We read, “But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant.….” (Psalms 2:4-5, 10-12)
As far as us pilgrims are concerned, we take comfort in what God said to his prophet in Isaiah 45:23, “I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me”. And in Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Not one of God’s enemies stopped to think that one day they would be lying prostrate before God, whether dead or alive, declaring the Lordship of Christ.
The day that Armageddon comes is still before us. We pilgrims may be caught up in it, but we hope we won’t. Back to what God promised in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”. We see the heart of Jesus in Luke 19:41-42, “But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.”” It breaks God’s heart to finally declare His judgement over the sin and wickedness infecting Planet Earth. Especially as His only Son died for His creation.
Sombrely, we pilgrims once again bow before our God. With grateful and worshipping hearts. Declaring our love for the One who cares for us.
Dear Lord. Thank You for Your many promises of love and care, that we read in Your Word. In worship we hallow Your name today. Amen.