Revelation 20: The Final Battle
December 23, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
We come now to the part of Revelation where the final battle is depicted again and the thousand-year reign of Christ and his victory before that. The martyrs who are killed by Babylon and the beast, the forces that oppose Christ, the devil and the satanic powers that inspire the military and economic powers that rebel against Christ, those martyrs are fully vindicated. They reign with Christ for a thousand years. Then after that, there is depicted the final battle. Satan and his forces gather for a last great attempt to overthrow Christ and his kingdom, but Christ is victorious. And those who have rebelled against him are judged and condemned, and achieve the fulfilment of their rebellious hearts, namely eternity without God and under his wrath.
As most readers will be aware this chapter – especially the first part – is one of those chapters in the book of Revelation where different interpretative structures lead to different interpretations and meanings. Some think that the thousand years is a literal reign of Christ and his people, after which will come the final battle. Others think that the thousand years is symbolic of Christ’s present reign and the victory that he won and the advance of his kingdom now, and the depiction of the final battle is another depiction of the last battle from a different angle. Whichever interpretation you take, the main point is still clear: Christ and his people are victorious in the end, and there will be judgment for those who refuse to follow Christ.
And with this in mind, the application is equally clear: turn to Christ, repent of our sins, and put our trust in him and his kingdom. This should give those of us who are Christians great confidence in our destiny and the ability to face opposition, even persecution, now with bravery and joy knowing the final purpose and plan. It should also call us to reach out to those who don’t yet know Jesus, aware of the final wrath of God, and to reach out with passion and zeal with God’s love constraining us as well as knowing what it is to fear God. Too often we live in fear of the future, and the turn for the worst of the culture around us, but here John shows us that Christians can have confidence that the cosmic forces – however much they may rail against God’s people – will not have the final victory, but that final victory belongs to Christ.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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