A very quick battle
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:19-21
In verse 19, we have the stage set for a battle of epic proportions. There is the beast with all his power, allied with the kings of the earth and their armies. What an alliance of evil!. They are prepared and gathered to make war with Christ and his army. I imagine a scene like one of those in the Lord of the Rings films, row on row of soldiers facing each other down. You wonder: what will a battle such as this be like? You can't wait to read on. Or maybe the tension is so great, you're almost afraid to read on!
But strangely, the battle occurs in the white space between verses 19 and 20. For the next thing we read is not a description of the battle, but of the fact that "the beast was taken" along with all those who fought with him and followed him and worshipped him. This has to be the shortest battle in all of history. At least Napoleon had a fighting chance at Waterloo. But the beast and his armies, with all the power evil could amass, never stood a chance against Christ.
My friend, it is easy to become discouraged at the evil that we see all around us. All the discouraging news is apt to make us discouraged too. We can be downcast and depressed and even bitter when we think of the injustice in the world and the seeming power and triumph of wickedness. It grates on the heart to hear the wicked celebrate their sins and to mock the righteous for their faithfulness to Christ.
But a day is coming, brothers and sisters. I've been reading (or rather listening to) a biography on Napoleon Bonaparte. One of the things I've learned is that he fought 60 battles in his lifetime, and only lost seven. Seven out of sixty! That's a remarkable achievement, and places him in the ranks of the greatest generals of all time, right alongside guys like Alexander the Great and Hannibal and Julius Caesar. But it only took one battle to bring his career to an end. One! Let us remember that. The final battle will the be the Waterloo of evil and the people of God will stand finally and forever triumphant in Jesus Christ. There really is no contest. The Lord our God omnipotent reigns (Rev. 19:6)!