Two Beasts Destroyed

The Rider on the White Horse destroys the beasts from the sea and the earth at the last battle, Armageddon – Revelation 19:17-21. 

Toy Soldiers - Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash
In chapter 19 of
Revelation, John sees the destruction of the “Beast from the sea” and the “false prophet” at the final battle when the “rider on the white horse” overthrows the forces of “Gog and Magog.” The passage does not state where this occurs other than on planet earth. The focus is on the destruction of the two beasts and their consignment to the “Lake of Fire” - [Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash].

The passage in chapter 19 is part of the third division of the book that begins when John sees the “Great Harlot, Babylon” in the “wilderness,” and this division details the results of the “seven bowls of wrath” that will complete the “wrath of God.”

In the second division, the reader is introduced to the cosmic enemies of the “Lamb” - the “Dragon,” the “Beast from the sea,” the “Beast from the earth” (that is, the “false prophet”), and “Babylon, the Great City.”

It is in the third division that Christ’s adversaries are destroyed but in reverse order - “Babylon,” the “Beast” and the “False Prophet,” and the “Dragon.”

THE GATHERING

  • (Revelation 19:19-21) – “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies have been gathered to make war with him who was sitting upon the horse and with his army. And the beast was taken, and with him, the false prophet who wrought the signs before him, whereby he deceived them who received the mark of the beast and them who were doing homage to his image, alive were the two cast into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. And the rest were slain with the sword of him that was sitting upon the horse, which went forth out of his mouth, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”

The description uses language from Ezekiel’s vision of the attack on Israel by “Gog and Magog” – (Ezekiel 38:1-10). Here, after the appearance of the “rider on the white horse,” the “Beast from the sea” and the “kings of the earth” have been  “gathered” to “make war with” the “Lamb.”

The Greek participle rendered as “have been gathered” is in the perfect tense and PASSIVE voice. In other words, these forces have NOT assembled themselves for this battle; instead, they have “been assembled” or gathered by someone or something else.

The same Greek verb is used in the description of the “great war of God Almighty” that results from the emptying of the “sixth bowl of wrath” when demonic forces are sent to “GATHER” the “kings of the earth” to the “place called Armageddon.”

Previously, the “Beast ascended from the Abyss to make war with” the “Two Witnesses,” the “Dragon made war with the seed of the woman,” and, when authorized, the “Beast made war with the saints” - (Revelation 11:7, 12:17, 13:7, 16:14-16).

In each of the preceding three cases, the reference to “making war” utilizes language from Daniel’s vision of the “little horn that made war against the saints” – (Daniel 7:21).

And in each foregoing passage, the term “war” is in the singular number and has the definite article - it is THE war since the same conflict is in view.

And in chapter 19, the forces of the “Beast are gathered to make war with” the “Lamb and his army,” using imagery and language from Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog and Magog” to paint the scene, including the references to “GATHERING” both beasts, the “kings of the earth” and their “armies.”

The repeated use of language from Daniel and Ezekiel in Revelation to describe the “WAR” on the saints and the “GATHERING” of the enemy forces demonstrates the same battle is in view in each of these passages.

THE AFTERMATH

The armies of the “kings of the earth” are destroyed, and the “Beast and the False Prophet” are “cast alive into the Lake of fire” that burns with “brimstone.”  Likewise, in Ezekiel, the armies of “Gog and Magog” were destroyed on the “mountains of Israel” when God rained “fire and brimstone” from heaven.

After the lengthy introduction to the battle, no description of the actual conflict is provided. It states simply that the “Beast” and “False Prophet” are cast into the “Lake of Fire,” then their armies are rendered dead and fed to the “birds,” a perfunctory end to the long-anticipated battle.

Lava Flow - Photo by Tanya Grypachevskaya on Unsplash
[Photo by Tanya Grypachevskaya on Unsplash]


Alive were the two cast into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.” This clause alludes to the prophecy in Daniel about the destruction of the “little horn” and the fourth “beasts from the sea”:
  • I beheld even until the beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire” - (Daniel 7:9-22).

And in chapter 19, the “rest were slain with the sword.” But the “sword” wielded by the “rider on the white horse” is the “word of God,” not a literal sword, and Jesus uses it to “judge,” “make war,” and “shepherd” the nations of the earth. And so, the battle scene in the chapter is figurative.

Unlike the original prophecy from Ezekiel, the force represented by “Gog and Magog” is no longer limited to the regional nations surrounding Palestine. Instead, it consists of “all the kings of the earth and their armies.”

And rather than attack Israel in Palestine, this force wages war against the “Lamb and his army,” that is, Jesus and his “saints.”

In Revelati0n, the “saints” are not passive observers but human believers who “persevere” through tribulations while maintaining faithful testimony for him, even when doing so means death.

And it is no coincidence that the one offensive “weapon” that is wielded by the “Lamb” is the “great sword” that John sees “proceeding from his mouth” - The word of God.

Likewise, believers engage with and “overcome” the “Beast,” the “False Prophet,” “Babylon,” and the “Dragon” by the “word of their testimony, and because they loved not their lives unto death.” That is, by giving faithful testimony, and, when required, their lives in martyrdom.

The “war” depicted in chapter 19 is the same one depicted in chapters 11, 12, 13, and 16, the so-called “Battle of Armageddon.”

And the vision is not about an invasion of the Middle East by a force from the north, a thermonuclear war, or World War III. What is described is global in scope.

In chapter 19, we are presented with a picture of Christ’s response to Satan’s final attempt to eliminate the church, and this will result in the destruction of two of Christ’s cosmic enemies in the “lake of fire,” namely, the “Beast from the sea” and the “false prophet.”



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