Chapter 21

Return to Chapter list

The Final Battle

 

When will the final battle be fought?

 

We know it will be fought when Jesus comes at the end of the world because

the events described in the context of this battle all occur on the Day of the

Lord:

• The resurrected saints are with Christ (1 Thess. 4:16–5:2; Rev. 19:7–9,14; 20:9).

• Fire comes down from heaven (2 Thess. 1:7–10; Rev. 20:11).

• All the wicked are destroyed (1 Thess. 5:2,3; Rev. 19:14–21; 20:9).

• Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are destroyed (2 Thess. 2:1–3,8; Rev. 19:20; 20:10).

• The earth is destroyed (Isa. 13:3–10; 34:1–10; Joel 2:1–11; 3:9–16; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:14–21). There can be no other battle after this one because all men, including “the remnant,” will be slain in that day (Rev. 19:18,21).

 

Is there a thousand year interval between the battle of Armageddon and the battle of Gog and Magog, or are they the same battle?

 

They are the same battle; therefore, there is not a thousand year interval between them. Students of end–time prophecy must realize that the events of Revelation 20:1–10, which include the battle of Gog and Magog, do not follow chronologically the events of chapter nineteen (the battle of Armageddon). If they did, there would be no nation left for Satan to deceive (20:8) because all would have already been slain in the battle described in Revelation 19:17–21.

Moreover, the nations of the earth are seen as coming against Christ and His Church not only in chapters 19 and 20, but also in chapters 16 and 17. Does this mean, then, that there are four battles fought by Christ and His Church in the end time? No, a close examination of the details shows that each passage speaks of the same battle that will be fought at the coming of Jesus.

The term “Gog and Magog” occurs in Revelation 20:8 and in Ezekiel 38 and 39. The events of these two portions of Scripture agree with each other and with the description of the battle of Armageddon that is given in Revelation 16:12–16; 17:13,14 and 19:14–21. Therefore, they are the same battle.

 

 

 

The Events of Battle

Gog and Magog

Armageddon

 

 

 

Satan loosed from the pit

Rev. 20:7

Rev. 17:8,13,14

 

 

 

Satan deceives and gathers the nations to battle

Rev. 20:8

Rev. 16:13,14; 19:19,20

 

 

 

Nations come against Christ and His Church

Ezek. 38:15,16; Rev. 20:9

Rev. 16:14; 17:13,14; 19:19,20

 

 

 

The sword of the Lord

Ezek. 38:21

Rev. 19:15,21

 

 

 

Fire, hailstone, and brimstone fall from heaven

Ezek. 38:19,22; 39:6; Rev. 20:9

Rev. 16:18–21

 

 

 

Mountains are thrown down

Ezek. 38:20

Rev. 16:20

 

 

 

The wicked are destroyed

Ezek. 38:20–22; Rev. 20:9

Rev. 19:18–21

 

 

 

The fowls eat slain men

Ezek. 39:4,17–20

Rev. 19:17,18

 

 

 

Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are destroyed

Rev. 20:10

Rev. 19:19,20

 

 

 

God proclaims, “It is done,” which speaks of the end of the world.

Ezek. 39:8

Rev. 16:17; 21:6

 

 

 

 

When will Christ rule the nations with a rod of iron?

 

To understand Christ’s rule with a rod of iron, we must realize that it will not mean peace, but war. The rod of iron will not merely be used to subdue the nations and force them into obedience for a thousand years of peace, as some teach. The Bible alludes to the rod of iron in several ways:

• a two edged sword (Psa. 149:6)

• the sword of Jesus’ mouth (Rev. 2:12,16; 19:15,21)

• the spirit of His mouth (2 Thess. 2:8)

• the rod of His strength (Psa. 110:2)

• the rod of His mouth (Isa. 11:4)

• the breath of His lips (Isa. 11:4)

These terms for the rod of iron show that the weapon of warfare is the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16). Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

The following passages reveal that the rod of iron will be used by Christ and His Church to break the nations to shivers and to dash them to pieces like an earthen vessel during the final battle, on the Day of the Lord.

Jesus promised His people power to rule with a rod of iron. “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26,27).

“Let the saints be joyful in glory. . . . Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two–edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord” (Psa. 149:5–9).

 

“Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth” (Micah 4:13).

God said to His Son, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:8,9). See also Rev. 12:5.

The apostle John described the final battle when the nations are smitten with the rod of iron. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.

“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:11–21).

We’ve shown that the King of kings and Lord of lords and His army, the Church, have triumphed gloriously. They’ve defeated the kings of the earth, their armies, and the beast and false prophet. All have been destroyed with the rod of iron; not even a remnant remains. See also Isa. 34:1–5. Since all the wicked are destroyed and the beast is slain, we know that this occurs on the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; 2:8).

 

What happens after the final battle is fought?

 

The following chart shows that after the final battle, Christ and His Church are seen in God’s eternal kingdom, which is heaven.

 

 

The Final Battle

A Heavenly Reign Forever and Ever

 

 

He shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked— Isa. 11:4.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb . . . and a little child shall lead them—Isa.11:6. (Isaiah 65:17,25 shows this to be in the new heaven and earth.)

 

 

The Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth—Isa. 24:21.

The Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem—Isa. 24:23. (That is, the heavenly Mount Zion and Jerusalem, see Heb. 12:22.)

 

 

God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence—Isa. 35:4.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy—Isa. 35:10.

 

 

The Lord will come with fire. . . . the slain of the Lord shall be many— Isa. 66:15,16.

The new heavens and the new earth— Isa. 66:22.

 

 

And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off— Micah 4:3.

And the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever—Micah 4:7.

 

 

I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame—Dan. 7:11.

And there was given him [the Lord] dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed— Dan. 7:14.

 

 

The day of the Lord . . . sudden destruction cometh . . . they shall not escape—1 Thess. 5:2,3.

Caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord—1 Thess. 4:17.

 

 

The Lord Jesus shall be revealed . . . in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel: . . . who shall be punished with everlasting destruction—2 Thess. 1:7–9.

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints—2 Thess. 1:10. (Since the wicked will be punished with “everlasting destruction,” the saints will be rewarded with everlasting life. Also, glorification is linked with heaven in Phil. 3:20,21.)

 

 

[At the sound of the seventh and last trumpet] the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come—Rev. 11:18.

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord . . . and he shall reign for ever and ever—Rev. 11:15. (In Revelation 22:5, the saints reign “for ever and ever” in heaven.)

 

 

 

When will Satan be loosed to deceive the nations and gather them to battle?

 

The following scriptural reasons show that Satan will be loosed “a little season” before the final battle:

1. The final battle occurs when Jesus returns at the end of the world.

2. The events of Revelation 20:1–10 do not follow chronologically the events of chapter nineteen.

3. Revelation 20:1–10 cannot be interpreted to be a series of events happening in chronological order when Jesus returns because other passages of Scripture show that some of the events occur before then. Let’s examine two events concerning the loosing of Satan that must unfold before Jesus returns and the final battle is fought:

• Satan loosed from the bottomless pit (20:3,7). John described Satan, in the person of the Antichrist, as “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” or “the sea” who shall make war with the saints (Rev. 11:7; 13:1; 17:8,13,14). Paul wrote that Satan’s power to work through the

Antichrist is restrained until a short time before Christ’s coming (2 Thess. 2:1–10).

• Satan deceives and gathers the nations to battle (20:3,8). The New Testament shows Satan performing signs and lying wonders through the Antichrist and the false prophet. They will work as a trinity to deceive the nations and gather them to battle against Christ and His Church.

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:13,14).

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse [Jesus Christ], and against his army [the Church]. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:19,20). See also 2 Thess. 2:9–12.

In summary, Satan, in the person of the Antichrist, will be loosed before the coming of Jesus to deceive and gather the nations to battle. How and when will he accomplish these purposes? By working miracles through the Antichrist and the false prophet, Satan will deceive the nations into making an image of the beast; into worshiping the beast’s image; into receiving the beast’s mark; and finally, into gathering them to battle against the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Does Scripture show many similarities between Satan and the Antichrist?

 

Yes, definitely! In fact, the following twelve descriptions of Satan (the dragon) and the Antichrist (the man of sin or the beast) show that they are one:

• Both have seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 12:3; 13:1).

• Both are called wicked (1 John 5:18; 2 Thess. 2:8).

• Both are red or scarlet (Rev. 12:3; 17:3).

• Both are restrained (Rev. 20:3; 2 Thess. 2:6–8).

• Both ascend from the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3,7; 17:8).

• Both are worshiped (Rev. 13:4).

• Both make war with the saints (Rev. 12:17; 20:7–9; 13:7).

• Both have unclean spirits and work miracles (Rev. 16:13,14).

• Both deceive the nations (Rev. 20:8; 19:20; 2 Thess. 2:10).

• Both gather the nations to battle (Rev. 20:8; 19:19; 16:13,14).

• Both are defeated in battle (Rev. 20:9; 19:14–18,21).

• Both are judged with the wicked (2 Thess. 1:8,9; 2:8; Rev. 19:20,21; 20:9,10).

• Both are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10; 19:20).

 

There can be no doubt, then, that Satan, in the person of the Antichrist, is loosed to deceive the nations into making war against Christ and His Church before the coming of Jesus.

 

When was Satan bound?

 

Revelation 20:1,2 states, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” When does this occur? The New Testament shows that Jesus has the keys of hell and death and that He bound Satan at His first coming.

Jesus himself declared:

“How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house” (Matt. 12:29).

“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils” (Luke 11:21,22). See also Mark 3:27.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world [Satan] be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:31,32).

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:11).

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18).

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). See also Matt. 18:18–20.

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:18,19).

The apostles wrote:

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he [Jesus] made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Jesus (Eve’s seed) bruised the head of Satan. God said to Satan, the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

These verses show that Satan is bound, overcome, cast out, judged, fallen, spoiled, bruised, and triumphed over by our Lord Jesus Christ. His works are destroyed. Furthermore, our Lord has the keys of hell and death and has given believers “the keys of the kingdom” and power over all the power of the enemy.

Because Jesus Christ cast out Satan, all nations can be blessed by hearing and receiving the gospel. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world [Satan] be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:31,32). John saw in heaven the redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Our resurrected Lord, “having spoiled principalities and powers,” said, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke

24:46,47). He commissioned His disciples with these words: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:18,19). See also Luke 10:18,19.

Jesus Christ has been given all power over Satan; therefore, Jesus’ servants can go forth into Satan’s territory and preach the gospel so that they “in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds” might see “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4). Through Christ’s victory, all who believe in Him are delivered “from the power of darkness” and are translated into “the kingdom of his [God’s] dear Son” (Col. 1:13). See also Acts 26:17,18 and Chapter Twenty–two.

 

If Satan is already bound, why are there so many problems in the world?

 

We know that Satan’s power is not totally limited. Paul shows that even though Satan is restrained until a time before the coming of the Lord, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thess. 2:7). John, when speaking of the “Spirit of antichrist,” said, “even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3).

Satan is a deceiver, and his spirit of deception will increase as we near the end. But his power “to deceive the nations” and “to gather them together to battle” to make war with the Lord Jesus Christ and His people is restrained by the power of God until he is loosed, in the person of the man of sin, for “a little season” before the coming of the Lord (Rev. 20:3,8). See also 2 Thess. 2:3–12; Rev. 16:13–16; 19:19.

Then unprecedented tribulation, deception, and persecution will be unleashed upon the world. Undoubtedly, that will be the season Jesus spoke of when He said, “the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). With the great apostasy already upon us and the rise in drug and alcohol use,

witchcraft, immorality, pornography, divorce and remarriage, rock and roll music, abortion, violence, and an Antichrist spirit as seen in the New Age Movement, we may be much closer to that time than we realize.

 

Objection Answered

 

Doesn’t the statement “they shall beat their swords into plowshares” (Micah 4:3) imply a peaceful millennium?

 

Micah 4:3 states, “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

This statement is about the “daughter of Zion” (the Church) who, together with her Lord, will “beat in pieces many people” when He comes to “judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off” (Micah 4:3,13). Then, after fighting the last battle, they will not “learn war anymore” because “the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever” (Micah 4:3,7).

Before this final battle, the Lord’s command will be, “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10). But afterwards, the command will be to do the reverse, “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks” (Isa. 2:4; Micah 4:3).

Micah 4:3 cannot be applied to a peaceful millennium on earth because in that final battle the “fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” will be poured out. As a result, “all men, both free and bond, both small and great” will be slain; not even a remnant will be spared (Rev. 19:15,18,21). They will be “broken to shivers” (Rev. 2:27; Psa. 2:9), ground “to powder” (Matt. 21:44), and burned up, “neither root nor branch” will be left (Mal. 4:1; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2 Pet. 3:10). God will take vengeance on all who have persecuted His people (Deut. 32:39–43; Isa. 34:1–8; 35:4; 41:11,12; 60:14; 65:13,14; Jer. 46:10; 1 Thess. 2:14–16; 2 Thess. 1:4–9). All “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God” because all worshiped the beast, except those whose names are written in the book of life (Rev. 13:8; 14:9–11). Believers will be eternally saved and unbelievers eternally lost (Matt. 25:46).

In summary, Satan, who has been defeated at Calvary, will be loosed for a short while to deceive the nations and to gather them in a final battle against Jesus, the coming King. With fiery indignation, Christ, together with His glorious Church, will completely destroy Satan and all the wicked on the last day and reign forever in heaven—the new Jerusalem.
 
Return to Chapter list