In Revelation 19, John visualizes the conflict between Heaven and Hell as though it was a battle between two great armies. Of course, Revelation is book written predominantly in metaphor so no one should anticipate an actual Lord of the Rings style fight between spiritual forces, but the words do mean something. What do they mean?

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.

Revelation 19:19-20

John says that the Devil is making his last stand. He gathers an army intending to “make war” (have an all-out battle) against Christ.

Spoiler alert: He loses.

The beast is “taken,” John says. In keeping with the military/wartime illustration, the Devil will try one final battle but he’ll be taken captive and his army will crumble without him.  Everyone who made war against God will be “cast alive” into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Interestingly, in the next chapter, John will call this “the second death” (ch20:6, 14), yet here he saw the guilty will be “alive” when they suffer this “death.” What is a living death? It’s an eternal separation. Those who deny the eternality of Hell would do well to read this chapter; the warning of it is prevelant throughout the text.

Hell is real, it is for the Devil and those who sided with him against God, and it is never-ending.

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 19:21

Usually the word “remnant” is used in Scripture to refer to God’s faithful few who live among a majority of wickedness. Here, however, the context is of those who remained in the Devil’s army after the beast was captured. John is just taking his metaphor/illustration to its logical conclusion. The beast and his army made war, God captured the beast and slew the remnants of his army with His holy sword and left the carcasses to the buzzards.

But here’s where it gets interestnig. Take the metaphor and break down the elements…

How is the remnant of evil defeated? With Christ’s Sword.

What is Christ’s sword? It’s His Word.

So how is evil overcome? How do we win? How is Satan defeated? Through the power of the Word of God.

We’re not called to wage a “holy war” like the Roman Catholics did during the Crusades or like Muslim zealots do today. We’re called to wield the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-17) and fight against sinners with the power of the Gospel. We win when we convert, not when we kill.

God will take care of Empires of evil; He will raise them up and knock them down according to the pleasure of His good will. All we need to worry about is being faithful to Him, staying in His army, and taking the Gospel out to the world. Every time we convert a soul we take one more solider away from the Devil.

That’s a military conquest we all can get behind.