“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.”
Revelation 19:19-21 NLT
The scene before John moves on and once again he sees the armies and their leaders. Royalty amongst them. And he also makes out the beast, strutting and boasting before them all. With him was his sidekick, the false prophet. But the soldiers were becoming uneasy. What is that they’re seeing in the distance? For those too far away to see, the word starts circulating that someone has captured the beast and his prophet? Surely not! After all those miracles the false prophet committed? Surely he has another miracle up his sleeve? But no. Before them all, they saw the beast and prophet put in chains, powerless to stop what was happening. Before them a lake of burning sulphur appeared and the army watched as the beast and his prophet were thrown in alive, their screams of pain and terror suddenly extinguished as they disappeared into the fire.
The One sitting on the horse and all His army were looking on. They hadn’t even unsheathed their swords yet. But the removal of the beast and his prophet was the signal for Jesus to unleash His weapon. His Word. And as it went out through the air, the enemies of God, the whole army of generals, soldiers and kings, fell down dead. And the vultures flapped down. Tentatively at first. But there was no life anywhere. And the scene before John slowly faded away. The silence terrible in its implications.
All highly symbolic, I hear you all say. It didn’t really happen that way. Of course we don’t know what Armageddon will be like. There have been many attempts over the years to come up with a scenario we can better relate to. There have even been films made, that graphically try and present the film-makers views of this final battle. But the vision Jesus gave John was in a form that he could understand and describe so that he could write it down. It’s a vision that we can understand as well. We have kings and generals, soldiers and weapons. The tactics and weaponry might have changed from what it was in John’s day, but it is still something we can get our minds around. However, Armageddon will be a totally different event, far beyond our imaginations. After all, we have no concept as to how a Word can achieve such a fatal devastation.
It is for this reason that we pilgrims trust in the One who is the ultimate Wordsmith, God Himself. Only He knows the end from the beginning. However, the End Times pan out, it is God in whom we can trust. He will look after us.
Father God. As Your committed and loving children, we look to You, trusting in the One who holds the world in the palm of His hand. We praise and worship You today. Amen.