“This was the last move in a master plan. A plan long in the making.” –Gandalf
How lucky I am to live in the time when Tolkien’s fantastic visions of Middle Earth could be brought to the silver screen in jaw-dropping ways! And now we get to witness the long awaited final act of The Hobbit, which reveals the epic journey of Bilbo and his companions in the quest to reclaim Erebor from the dragon.
But as you probably already know, there are more parties interested in the treasure than just Smaug. In fact, there are five armies engaged in this colossal conflict over land and gold, and most importantly, good versus evil.
What is it that draws so many of us to this epic conflict? Sure the special effects are breathtaking, but I think what tugs on our heartstrings is the battle itself. We want good to triumph. We want Gandalf to escape. We want Sauron to be defeated.
And we really want Bilbo to be OK!
As I thought about Tolkien’s imaginary world with all its exhilarating storylines, I was reminded of one battle that is coming in the real world.
It’s the battle of ALL armies.
It comes in what the Bible calls “the end times,” because (obviously) these events take place when life as we’re currently experiencing it comes to a close. Some people think that focusing on the end times is a waste of time, but I would remind us of the prophetic warning that an angel gave to the disciples when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven:
When they had gathered just outside Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, they asked Jesus,
Disciples: Is now the time, Lord—the time when You will reestablish Your kingdom in our land of Israel?
Jesus: The Father, on His own authority, has determined the ages and epochs of history, but you have not been given this knowledge. Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth.
As He finished this commission, He began to rise from the ground before their eyes until the clouds obscured Him from their vision. As they strained to get one last glimpse of Him going into heaven, the Apostles realized two men in white robes were standing among them.
Two Men: You Galileans, why are you standing here staring up into the sky? This Jesus who is leaving you and ascending to heaven will return in the same way you see Him departing (Acts 1:6-11, The Voice).
No doubt about it, He will return some day—as the angels claimed “in the same way” that He left this earth—and that some day is soon after the Battle of ALL armies, which we read about in Revelation 16:
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. And I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty.
“Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16, NLT).
This passage is a vision of the future granted to the Apostle John, and as you read, there will be a day when Satan gathers all the armies that serve him together in a huge valley in Israel called Armageddon. This massive military machine is bred for a single purpose: to obliterate the Jewish nation.
Long story short—the battle of all armies ends with God the Almighty as the victor. The Dragon (not Smaug—the real one—Satan) is defeated and good triumphs over evil as Jesus returns with the heavenly host—just as the angels have proclaimed.
In the meantime, did you notice the promise for believers as we wait for this glorious chapter of our walk with Christ? He promised that we are “blessed” if we are watching for Him. We live our life in expectancy and purity as we are His witnesses in our home, our school, our city and to the ends of the earth for THE Cause.
The return of Christ is the last move in a master plan. A plan long in the making. Are you watching for Him? Are you ready for the battle of ALL armies?
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
In many ways, the world seems to be moving towards the weird and weirder every day, so isn’t it amazing that in the midst of seemingly uncontrollable chaos, we know what the future holds? It doesn’t end peacefully, but it does end with the Prince of Peace restored to His rightful throne as the King of Kings! Let’s let our friends know this wonderful truth, so they can be prepared for the return of Christ.
Accelerant:Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father God, we are so grateful that we can proclaim and worship Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Please come back quickly, and in the waiting, please empower us to share Your love and message of salvation with our friends and family.
Read: Revelation 1:7
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
Get: How to Share Your Faith With… Have friends who are atheists? Agnostics? Into Wicca? Check out these thirteen predominate worldviews for insights that will help you be effective in sharing your faith with others.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to share this with your students? Copy and paste the following text message: “Armor up! A battle is coming. Find out about The Battle of ALL Armies in this week’s devo: http://hubs.ly/y0mY9H0 .”
Big Idea: The Battle of Five Armies is a reminder of Armageddon. That future reality should motivate us to share our faith as we await the return of Christ.
Key Scripture: Revelation 16:12-16
- What thoughts come to mind when you think of the return of Christ?
- Why do you think all the armies come together to fight God?
- What are some ways to “watch” for Jesus’ return?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?