THE SYMBOLIC FINAL BATTLE
Rev 19:17-21 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 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.
Once again, the angel referred to in the lesson text, seems to be one that is different than those that had appeared to the apostle John in previous verses. Why? First of all it seems that each angel is carrying a different message from God to John. Secondly, this angel seems to be visually different from others. Adam Clarke described this angel as being exceedingly luminous; every part of him emitting rays of light. B. W. Johnson comments that the angel, said to be standing in the sun,indicates that he was riding with the sun in his course. And as he was circumventing the earth, he was able to observe all of the fowls of the earth as they fly in the midst of heaven. The imagery of this scene paints an indelible mental vision that assures the reader of the epic nature of its spiritual significance.
With this in mind it is easy to understand that these fowls were able to hear this heavenly message and obey the command of the angel as he cried with a loud voice. The message was for those fowls of the earth to Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. The following verse tells us what these fowls were to feast upon: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. The symbolic battle depicted here will be fought between good and evil; between the forces of God, and the forces under the control of Satan, and the earthly, apostate religious orders of the earth; between the followers of Christ Jesus, known as Christians, and the followers of those that oppose and reject Jesus as the Savior of the world. From the description of this battle, it seems to be universal in nature, including all people from the rulers of the lands to the lowest slaves. And without doubt, these were the anti-Christian forces that submitted to the apostate, carnal power of the Roman Catholic papacy referred to as the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet in Revelation 16:13-14; 17:12-14. This is the same beast cited in the lesson text, verses 19 and 20, that were in control of, and, for self-sustaining reasons, gave commanding directions, to the kings of the earth, and their armies,in order to remain the political and religious power over the majority of the European nations.
These are the armies of earthly kings and their kingdoms that were symbolically gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. They were commanded by the Roman papacy to oppose, war against, and defeat the Lamb of God, and His righteous Christian armies in the spiritual battle of Armageddon. In verses 20 and 21 we find the results of this conflict between righteousness and evil. The beast and the false prophet had for centuries deceived the known world with their apostate teachings. The complete control, and ownership, of men and women of the world by the false doctrine of the Catholic papacy is noted by their receiving, and proudly displaying, the mark of the beast and worshipping his image. With little description of this great conflict, it is said that the hoard of soldiers who followed the dragon, beast, and false prophet into battle against Christ, were slain with the sword on the field of battle. However, powerful leaders of the apostate Catholic order, their subject kings, and military leaders were captured and cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone - utter destruction of Christ's enemies. (A)nd all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Jesus Christ, and the hope of eternal salvation through Him, had prevailed.