What does the Bible say about Christ’s battle with hostile armies at the time of His return?


In previous Q&A’s, discussing the seventh plague of the seventh trumpet, mentioned in the Book of Revelation http://www.eternalgod.org/qa/11097 , and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, http://www.eternalgod.org/qa/11159 we described the resurrection and the change of the saints. As immortal beings and born-again members of the Family and Kingdom of God, they will meet the returning Christ in the air and descend with Him on the Mount of Olives, where Christ’s decisive battle against the evil forces of this world will take place.

The book of Zechariah describes in vivid terms the outcome of that battle. We address this battle in detail in our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today!”. After first focusing on the terrible fate of the city of Jerusalem during the time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, we then address the events at the time of Christ’s return:

“The last chapter of the book of Zechariah (chapter 14) gives us, without doubt, the great crescendo or final climax of the fate of the city of Jerusalem—picturing first its terrible future destruction, and then its subsequent glorious destiny.

“Note these highlights from chapter 14…: ‘(1) Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. (2) For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, the houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (3) Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. (4) And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley… (5) Then you shall flee through my mountain valley… As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with [Him]… (7) It shall be one day Which is known to the LORD [God the Father]…

“‘(12) And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongue shall dissolve in their mouths. (13) It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will… raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand; (14) Judah will also fight at [better: against] Jerusalem [speaking of those Jews who escaped captivity by supporting the Gentile armies, compare Daniel 11:32]… (15) Such also shall be the plague On the horse and the mule, On the camel and the donkey, And on all the cattle that will be in those [military] camps. So shall this plague be.”

The battle will be swift. Revelation 19:11-21 gives us further information on the return of Jesus Christ with His mighty angels, and the outcome of Christ’s battle with the hostile and deceived armies of this world:

“(11) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (12) His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. (13) He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (14) And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. (15) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (16) And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

“(17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God; (18) that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’

“(19) And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. (20) Then the beast (a future political and military leader) was captured, and with him the false prophet (a future religious leader) who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast (determining whether or not one could buy and sell) and those who worshipped his image (the religious power and its future leader, the false prophet). These two were cast alive into the [or better: a] lake of fire burning with brimstone. (21) And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”

The beast and the false prophet as well as their armies and supporters will be killed when Christ returns. This includes the kings from the East (compare our Q&A on the seventh plague of the seventh trumpet) and also the ten kings, mentioned in Revelation 17, who will give their power and authority to the beast. It will even include drafted soldiers (“slaves,” compare Revelation 19:18) and those who act as volunteers or mercenaries (“free,” verse 18). Everyone who opposes the returning Christ must and will be killed—whether “small” or “great” (compare verse 18).

We read in Revelation 17:12-14, regarding the ten kings or future European powers and leaders:

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings… [which] receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb will overcome them; for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful.”

Daniel 2 confirms the destruction of the ten kings or ten toes, and their kingdoms, during this decisive battle outside Jerusalem. We read in Daniel 2:44:

“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

Indeed, the Kingdom of God will rule on and over this earth, and Christ’s called and chosen and faithful disciples will inherit eternal life in His Kingdom and rule with and under Him. Daniel 7:21-22, 26-27 explains:

“I was watching; and the same horn [the little horn—a religious power, which will be led by the end-time false prophet] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days [Jesus Christ, the Lamb] came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High [God the Father], and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom… But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his [the little horn’s] dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

Notice in passing that in none of these passages is the Holy Spirit mentioned as a third Person in the Godhead. The reason is that the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but the power and mind of God—both of the Father and the Son. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is God A Trinity?”.

The book of Revelation confirms that the saints will rule on and over this earth, under Jesus Christ. Revelation 20:4-6 tells us:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death (the eternal death in the ultimate lake of fire after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment) has no power, but they shall be priests of God (the Father) and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

Compare also Revelation 5:9-10, quoting a song of angels about Christ’s faithful elect:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; for You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth.”

Regarding Christ’s battle with the deceived armies of this world, we want to quote once more from our booklet, “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today”:

“Joel 3:2, 11–14 reveals that at the time of Jesus Christ’s return, ALL nations—referring to their armies—will move to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, just outside Jerusalem, in order to fight there. Revelation 16:14, 16 tells us that they will first assemble at a place called Armageddon—but, according to the book of Joel, they will then move toward Jerusalem. At that time, the modern nations of Israel and Judah will have already been defeated in war and will have become captives of Gentile powers (Joel 3:1, 6; compare Jeremiah 30:10). The book of Joel informs us further that Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem to fight for it—and THEN ‘Jerusalem shall be holy’ (verse 17). He and His saints will overcome all of God’s enemies, including the king of the North, the man of sin and their armies, and their attempt to fight Christ and His saints will be defeated (Revelation 17:14).”

The king of the North is identical with the beast, and the man of sin (mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3) is none other than the false prophet. They will be cast alive into a lake of fire, to be devoured and burned up there. But this is not their final fate. As all who die “in Adam” will be resurrected “in Christ” in their due time (1 Corinthians 15:22), the beast and the false prophet will be raised in the second or third resurrection—depending on whether they committed the unpardonable sin. We would feel that they will be raised in the second resurrection to obtain their first opportunity for godly repentance and belief, and ultimately salvation (For more information, please read our Q&A on the resurrections and our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”).

However, even though the hostile human armies will be utterly destroyed at the time of Christ’s return during the decisive battle of the Lord outside the city of Jerusalem, further events will have to take place to bring about and establish peace on this earth. We will discuss these events in subsequent Q&As.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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