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The Last unBattle

Click here to read Revelation 20 on BibleGateway.com

Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth… to gather them for battle. – Revelation 20: 7-8

fight_cartoonWe all love stories.  And what’s the one thing all good stories have (besides superheroes that dress in black)?  Drama. We all love a good dramatic scene; if Lex Luthor has to lose, he should at least go out with a bang.  If the hero is gonna win, he at least needs to be bloodied a bit and break a sweat.  And hopefully rip a shirt or two on the way.  We like it when the hero barely makes it, the girl almost leaves on the plane, the battle is seemingly lost, the doughnut is nearly eaten.  It’s the snatching victory from the jaws of defeat that makes us spill our popcorn all over our new shirt in excitement.

And of course, we bring this into our reading of the Bible as well.  Often times, filmakers/authors like to depict the battle at the end of time, with Satan and his evil horde on one side, and with God’s army on the other.  The armies line up and face each across a wide valley, and with a mighty shout (and typically a cavalry charge, since apparently the angels aren’t aware of firearms) the two armies smash into each other and voila, epic battle scene.


Reality, alas, is sometimes not as accommodating.  We get the idea that God and Satan have this big rumble at the end of time, and though we know Michael (he’s the Han Solo of the whole shebang) is going to win in the end – he has a 2-1 advantage after all – we anticipate it’s going to be a monumental fight.  But the Bible doesn’t really say it that way: here’s the blow by blow of the last battle:

–  In number they (Satan’s army) are like the sand on the seashore.
– They marched across the breadth of the earth and surround God’s people.
– Fire came down from heaven  and devoured them.
– The End.

Oh, and also, Satan gets thrown into a burning lake.


That’s it.  There’s no battle; there’s no struggle; there’s no one-on-one sword fight between God and Satan with the fate of the cosmos hanging in the balance.  Let’s be clear – God. Doesn’t. Fight. Satan.


Satan (and all his evil hench-demons) are nothing but kindling for God.  There is no struggle between good and evil, no yin and yang that must be balanced in the Universe, no fight that Satan “almost” wins.  He never even gets close.  Never even leaves the starting blocks.

God does not struggle against anything.  He Is. It’s only because of Him that anything that exists can exist.  It only takes an act of His will to accomplish his purposes.  Do you really think that a God that brings everything that ever was and ever could be into existence with a simple spoken Word is going to strain to defeat a chump like Satan?  In the end, in His time, He just finishes it.  And then we get to spend eternity in the presence of a God with power like that.

That’s the best story of them all.

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