by Daniel Bramlett
First Baptist Church
I remember preaching the story found at the end of Revelation chapter 19. This is one of the most debated chapters in history! I wonder sometimes if John knew how much his words were going to be tossed around if he would have just skipped chapter 20? Or at least rewritten it! Nevertheless, it is Scripture. That means it is holy and it is profitable for us to read, study, memorize, and apply. I want to share with you some things I learned from studying the last battle some have called Armageddon.
Do you realize there is only one Armageddon? While there are lots of battles, even wars, mentioned in the Bible, there is only one final war where God says all who stand against Him will be consumed in fire. This is strong language from a God who has never lost a battle! Our God brings a perfect military record to the table and aren’t we glad!
Armageddon is not something we run from. It is the day when evil is finally and totally gutted from this earth. It is the day when God removes the heart and veins of evil and all its adherents. I used to say I don’t long for this day, but I’m learning to long for every plan of God’s, even if it involves this battle.
The people in Satan’s army in this battle have just experienced 1,000 years of peace and life, all at the hand of our Advocate and Author of Life, Jesus. And at the drop of Satan’s hat, they rebel, join his army, and march against the people of God. It seems that 1,000 years of provision and 1,000 years of prison are not enough to sway either Satan or his army from attacking the Annointed.
I’ve always viewed this scene like a good movie would portray it. The armies of evil advancing. The armies of Heaven lying in wait. Music swells. The two armies have their hands on their swords. All of a sudden they clash, blood splatters, screams ensue, and lives are lost. This is the scene I have in my head. This is not the scene John describes for us. Here is what he says, “they (the armies of Satan) marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from Heaven and consumed them.” That’s it. Fire came down and consumed them. No battle fought. God took care of it.
When we refer to the Lord’s battle, we mean it is ALL HIS. There is no part in this battle when God will turn around and say “Boy am I glad y’all are here today! We might not have made it were it not for your superior military strength and training!” That just doesn’t happen! It’s His battle, all of it!
That means you can’t create your own Armageddon. Surely there are times for the follower of Jesus to fight. But the fight never defines us. A battle mindset never shapes the personality of those in the Way. We cannot afford to surrender to our instincts that say “Fight” when God is saying “Let me fight.”
When we create our own Armageddon’s and surge into battle with Jesus on our lips, we will soon discover our battle cry is anything but His, the casualties are our own, and the Lord is far removed from the battlefield. He is simply not in many of the battles we fight.
If a fighting mindset defines you, I would encourage you to allow the sword of the only One charged with leading us into battle to pierce your heart and mind. I would encourage you to allow HIM to mend the relationships you have torn, to re-stitch the hearts you have ripped open, and heal the scars you have left. If Jesus is anything, He is Restore-er, Healer, Mender and Friend.
As much as it pains us to watch, when the books are opened and the accounts of our many battles are relayed in Heaven for all to hear, our faithful Rescue-er will step forward in the stead of every one whose life is surrendered to Him. He will Advocate for us! “That’s mine, Dad! I’m sorry for that battle! Let me bear the consequences for that one!” To our shame and for our life He will stand and ‘battle’ for us.
If we know that day is coming in the future, why don’t we allow Him the privilege of fighting for us now? Church member, lay down your arms. Put away your pride. Set aside your selfishness. Take up the cross of Christ and let Him do your fighting. His battles always end with LIFE!