The Old Testament prophet Zechariah provided a glimpse of a great war that will take place at the end of the future tribulation period.
“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming…For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem…Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” Zechariah 14:1-3
Zechariah was speaking specifically of the war which will take place at Armageddon.
The first great war of the tribulation period; however, actually takes place in the heavens. While this war doesn’t directly involve men, its result will greatly affect everyone living on earth at that time.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.” Revelation 12:7-8
That victory by Michael and his angels will be sweet for the inhabitants of heaven but it will spell disaster for the inhabitants of the earth.
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth…For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Revelation 12:12
Therefore, Satan will be expelled from heaven and confined to earth where he will inflict God’s chastisement on Israel and the rest of earth’s inhabitants.
Not only does God allow and sanction wars, He empowers the enemy in order to accomplish His sovereign will. At the midpoint of the tribulation period God empowers Satan’s puppet, the antichrist, to war against tribulation saints for three and a half years.
“…And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns…and all the world marveled…saying, ‘Who is able to make war with him?’…And he was given…authority to continue for forty-two months…It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him…” Revelation 13:1a, 3b-5, 7
But at the exact predetermined moment in time according to God’s timeless and perfect plan He sends His Son who is both Warrior and Judge to put an end to the antichrist and his armies.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations…And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse…” Revelation 19:11, 15a, 19
John continues by describing the results of that war. Both the antichrist and his false prophet were captured and cast alive into the lake of fire. The armies of the antichrist were killed by the sword of the horse’s rider and became food for the flying scavengers.
The devil himself is then locked in the abyss (bottomless pit) for a thousand years. At the end of the thousand years he is loosed for a short time to make one last attempt to deceive those living on earth in their natural bodies.
He is swiftly defeated by fire from God and cast in the lake of fire to join the antichrist and false prophet where they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
During Jesus’ first earthly ministry He foretold of the tension between nations during the present church age.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8
Then how should nations prepare for wars during this age? Recall an illustration Jesus taught about the cost of discipleship.
“…what king, going to war does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.” Luke 14:31-32
Perhaps our Secretary of Defense should rethink his position.