Is The Battle In Revelation Chapter 20 Verse 8 A Literal Or Figurative Battle? By Garland M. Robinson

The battle mentioned in Revelation 20:8 is a figurative battle. The entire book of Revelation is written in figurative language. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. 1:1). The word “signify” means “to give a sign.” A “sign” is something that stands for or signifies something spiritual.        

Those who take the battle of 20:8 to be literal, reject other signs (figures, symbols) mentioned in chapter 20 by making them figurative such as: angel, key, bottomless pit, chain (v.1), dragon, serpent (v.2), seal (v.3), thrones, souls of beheaded, beast (v.4).         Revelation 20:7-11 describes the forces of evil doing battle with the forces of good and righteousness. Its primary message is for the saints of God. It reveals that Satan will not gain the victory. Things may seem dark on occasion but the faithful child of God must take heart that Jesus is the victor. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.         The battle, very little of which is described in chapter 20, is the same battle that is described in other chapters of the book of Revelation. It is not describing a literal, physical battle, but a figurative one that is moral and spiritual in nature in which the saints of God will ultimately overcome Satan and all his evil. The nature of this battle is described in Ephesians 6:12. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This battle, in which all Christians engage, is spiritual in nature, not physical. It symbolizes the forces and agencies of atheism, humanism, communism, materialism, astrology and all manner of false and perverted religions.         The entire book of Revelation is a book of encouragement to God’s people. It describes the victory of God’s people over Satan and evil. As Christians, we face Satan and his ministers every day. The Christian life is not the easiest life to live. There are troubles and fears on every side today just as there were in the first century. Paul said, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

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