How many battles does it take to win a war? Darren Croft explores the greatest war of all time and the battle that sealed the victory.
How do you comprehend a death toll of 155 million people? This is the estimate of the death toll from 20th century wars and massacres. Some even suggest that future historians will see the 20th century as one long war, beginning with World War I in 1914 and concluding with the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union. To put this death toll in perspective, at Gallipoli approximately 130,000 were killed over a period of 11 months. Of the dead, about 10,800 were Australians or New Zealanders.
The Great Controversy Story
There is an even bigger war being played out on a grand stage. It is a war that begins with an interstellar battle and ends with the mother of all battles.
In the final battle, the battle lines are drawn, but before it is fought, overwhelming and complete victory comes! The war is bloody and prolonged impacting untold millions, leaving death, destruction and mayhem in its wake.
Those involved cannot escape. Nothing less that total commitment of body, mind and soul will do.
The war, as it began, was little more than a grab for power. The traitor was already in a position of power, yet it wasn't enough. He wanted it all and he wanted it immediately. And so politics came to the fore and with it gossip, innuendo and undermining. All it took was the subtle raised eyebrow in one place, the questioning comment in another and full-on insurrection when surrounded by the convinced.
Soon the traitor was counting the numbers. If he could just get together enough to launch a surprise attack, maybe he could lead a coup. One way or the other, he wasn't worried—just so long as power was his.
The First Battle
With the groundwork laid, the first battle began. What weapons were used remains veiled in history, as does the ebb and flow of that battle. The interstellar battleground was universally renowned as a dazzling place of beautiful perfection.
And in this oasis of perfection, this paradise, battle raged. The insurgents fought without rules—no lie, ambush or deception was off limits. No price was too great to pay—even if they were to inherit a blighted wasteland, the battle would be fought to the end.
The Bible says this of the first battle: “There was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command [the forces of Jesus] fought the dragon [the traitor] and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle and was forced out of heaven.
This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels” (Revelation 12:7-9*).
And so the first battle ended and the theatre of war moved from an interstellar battleground to earth. And the lies and the deception were repeated time and time again.
Nothing was too low for the “father of lies.” Appear as an angel of light? No problem! Impersonate Christ? No problem! Impersonate a loved, departed child or partner? No problem! Stack lie upon lie? No problem! Involve millions in the plot even if it meant their ultimate death? No problem! All because power beckoned.
The traitor deceived Adam and Eve with a subtle twist of half-truths, and after his first key battle on earth resulted in victory, the earth became his new theatre of war.
Understanding The Enemy
To understand the enemy requires some understanding of his motive. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of what happened: “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:12).
The prophet Ezekiel adds further to this, saying, “You were the perfection of wisdom and beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone ... all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your great wealth filled you with violence, and you sinned. So I banished you from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty... .
So I threw you to the earth” (Ezekiel 28:12-17).
Amid the thousands of small and large battles between good and evil that followed, the pivotal battle was fought. No level playing field for this one. No pomp or privilege was granted to the Son of God. It was the fight of the ages, one man versus all the forces of evil. It was never a fair match and the outcome was inevitable from the beginning.
But somehow the traitor had misunderstood the truth about this battle. And as his victory scream rang out, a churning uncertainty began to grow in the pit of his stomach. What if? It shouldn't have been so easy! It couldn't have been scripted better! To use the people that God Himself had chosen to be priests to the world to kill the Son of God, their God, it was perfect—too perfect! As darkness cloaked Jesus' death and thunder rolled and the ground trembled, the demons raised their voices in praise to Lucifer. Power was within their grasp— the war was turning in their favour. As Jesus slept in the tomb that Sabbath the forces of evil celebrated their victory.
In heaven they waited. And then the true dawn came. In light, dazzling like lightning, the resurrected Jesus stepped out of his tomb. Now the chorus of praise was coming from heavenly places.
Jesus is alive.
And with that the tide turned forever.
The flames of hope were lit. And though the battle continued to rage and death still came, the flames of hope could not be extinguished. Someone lived who held the keys to death and the grave, who was dead but now is alive—Jesus Christ! To lose your life for Christ was now to gain an eternity.
The Fallen Foe
Like a two-year-old in the middle of a tantrum where reason is gone, the traitor seethed with anger. He had read the prophecies and now he understood and saw the end in sight. Enraged, he set out knowing his end, but still determined to fight while hope existed. For him the hope was that the inevitable might be overturned. The traitor became the ultimate suicide bomber, determined to take down as many people as he could before the final end came.
The Bible speaks of it like this: “Rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea. For the Devil has come down to you in great anger, and he knows that he has little time” (Revelation 12:12).
Know it or not, you and I are caught in this war. And the battles are daily and real. It is a battle for your soul. A battle in which Satan, the traitor, aims to take away your hope and your future— because then he can take you down with him. It is a battle in which Jesus says—“I have died in your place. Accept My sacrifice, follow Me and live forever.
“Take the gift,” he says. “I won't make you, but I will stand, knocking at the door of your life, until you either accept Me or send Me away."
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Satan has a plan. It is a plan leading to death. The good news is that Jesus has a better plan. Jesus offers us life, hope and a future. “My purpose,” says Jesus, “is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).
In Jesus we can find strength to face the battle of life every day.
The apostle Paul says, "A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all stratagies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood. but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms...
May God give you peace, dear friens, and love qith faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God's grace be upon all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love." (Ephesians 6:10-12, 23, 24)