The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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Episode 6: The Final Battle

Erin Davis: Hey Laura, do you like history?

Laura Booz: I do. In fact, as an adult, especially, I’ve grown in my appreciation as I’ve read history books to my children.

Do you have a favorite story?

Erin: Yes. What comes to mind is the battle of Dunkirk. It was during World War II, and there were 300,000 soldiers penned. The enemy surrounded them, except for there was one way they could get out by water, but their navy couldn’t come and get them. So farmers and fishermen and dads and grandpas and brothers hopped on their civilian vessels—I mean, not navy ships, but little fishing boats and little life preservers—and they went and got those soldiers. They extracted all 300,000 of them.

When you read the historical accounts of that, it calls them “the little boats.” I love that picture of all those little boats ferrying those men away from their deaths.

Laura: Wow, what a story! I think that takes some bravery on the part of the civilians and big hearts.

Erin: Absolutely.

Laura: That’s a good one.

Maybe you sometimes feel like those Allied soldiers. It feels like darkness is closing in all around you. Today, we’ll look to the hope we have for our ultimate rescue.

This is The Deep Well with Erin Davis. This season we have been looking at eclipses throughout the Bible, times when it appeared darkness was triumphing over the light. I’m your host for this season, Laura Booz. Today we come to the final eclipse of our series, and of all history. Here’s Erin.

Erin: This is the last episode in this season of The Deep Well. We’ve been opening our Bibles looking for eclipses—not literal eclipses, but metaphorical—those times when it seemed like the darkness was going to overwhelm the light. We started in Genesis, so it’s fitting that we end in the book of Revelation.

Over and over again throughout Scripture we see the armies of darkness at work. Make no mistake, the armies of darkness are powerful. Over and over again we’ve seen how sin can darken our hearts, and that’s also powerful. But we’ve also seen that every time, the light of Christ is more powerful, that Jesus, the Light, cannot be snuffed out. It’s so simple and so transformational to know that good triumphs over evil, that light is always stronger than the darkness. That’s our ultimate hope. That’s what helps us live as children of the light in dark days and when we face dark circumstances.

In this episode, we’re going to look at the last battle. John wrote about it in Revelation 20:7–10.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea.

I have an important question for you: what do we do when we don’t understand something in Scripture? As I read these verses from Revelation, I have questions. When were the thousand years? Where is Satan’s prison? Where or what are Gog and Magog? Those are names we see in the Old Testament, but I’m still not sure where to find them on a map.

Well, there are two important steps for us to take when we read the Bible. First, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s Word, because we don’t have eyes to see it on our own. And second, we enjoy the treasure hunt. God is mysterious. We could dedicate our entire lives—and we should—to knowing Him through His Word, and we’re still not going to grasp everything that He’s doing in the world. These are treasures that we may not always be able to calculate the value of.

I have a Mimi. I bet she’s a lot like your mimi, and Mimi keeps everything, because she thinks, “Well, it might be worth something someday.” She just thinks, “I don’t understand the value of it yet.” That’s actually a really great approach to studying our Bibles. We keep it in our minds, we keep it in our hearts, and we think, “Well, it’s going to be worth something someday, even if I don’t fully understand the value of it.”

There are some parts of this passage in Revelation that I just have to put in that category. I know they’re a treasure because they’re in God’s Word, but I don’t fully understand them.

Then from there we move to focusing on what we do understand. Here’s what I understand from this verse: Satan and his armies, the armies of darkness, will come against God and the armies of heaven. We see a description of heaven’s army just a few verses back in Revelation 19:13–14. It says,

He [Jesus] is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is the Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

So you have these two contrasting armies, Satan and the armies of darkness, and Jesus is our general, and His army is clothed in white and riding white horses. 

I also understand that what Revelation 20:8 is revealing is that Satan’s army is a vast force. Look again. Listen to what it says. It tells us that Satan’s armies will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. And then it says that “their numbers are like the sand of the sea.” There are as many soldiers serving in the army of darkness as there are grains of sand on the seashore.

We just got back from the beach, and sand is our souvenir. We may never rid ourselves of all the sand that we carried home with us on that trip! It’s in our car, it’s in our suitcases; it’s everywhere!

When we talk about military forces, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that we always say the number of troops, because numbers matter in battle. But the number of enlisted in Satan’s army is not here in Scripture, and it’s not because God doesn’t know. Of course, He does! Just like He knows the exact number of grains of sand on the seashore. But here God is communicating through His Word that Satan’s army is vast. It’s a numberless army; too many for us to count, though not too many for God to count.

I can also understand from these verses why that army was mobilized. Their mission was to deceive the nations and the four corners of the earth. That’s another way of saying all the nations, all the peoples of the world, were brought under the deceptive spell of Satan, and their goal was to war against the light. Their goal is to war against Jesus.

Try to picture it. Try to imagine the world marching in unison to stage a coup to overthrow Christ from His throne. That’s what we’re seeing here.

Think of a dark army that large and consider their mission. It can feel frightening when we read these verses. I would much prefer to think of Satan as leading a small team of special forces, easily overwhelmed by the sheer number in the army of light! I think we often see the shadows of this last battle. It can feel like there’s just too much evil in the world for good to triumph. It can feel like there are just too many who hate the things of God for our Christian witness to make much of a difference at all. More personally, it can sometimes feel like there’s just too much bad for things to ever seem good again.

Life can sometimes feel like Dunkirk. We are pinned down by the darkness. We are outmanned, and we are outgunned. When we feel those feelings, we open our Bibles, and we consider how the last battle ends. Let’s pick it up at verse 9.

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints in the beloved city.

In your mind, I want you to picture a horde of darkness here, crawling across the earth, surrounding the children of the light on all sides. And then I want you to hold your breath and read what happens next. 

But fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. And they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. (vv. 9–10)

This last battle won’t be a battle at all! The saints don’t even have to raise our weapons. God alone will defeat Satan and the armies of darkness, and Satan will be taken as a prisoner of war. The devil and all of the evil rulers described in Scripture, who torment the people of God day and night, who deceive the world, whose mission is to depose the King of kings, they’re the ones who are going to be tormented day and night forever, and the insurgence will finally be over. The darkness of sin and death will be banished and the light of Christ will reign forever and ever and ever and ever.

I wanted to teach this series because our world is facing dark days, and so many women that I know, that I love, are facing dark and desperate circumstances, and I want to be a bearer of hope. We hope in what we cannot see, and our ultimate hope goes beyond this moment, beyond what may or may not happen in the news today, beyond even our personal circumstances changing or getting better. Our ultimate hope is in knowing how the story ends.

Humanity has been at war, in one form or another, since that first eclipse in Genesis 3. Our human mentality is, “Live to fight another day,” because there always seems to be another battle coming. But this battle in Revelation 20 really is the last battle, and darkness will not ultimately eclipse the light.

You know what else? Darkness, at least in the way we’ve been talking about it in this series, that kind of spiritual, oppressive, sin-infused darkness, it’s not going to last forever. It’s not going to exist forever. 

Here’s an interesting fact about light: light particles never decay, so with nothing to stop them—in a vacuum, like space—light will go on and on and on forever and ever and ever. That is a picture of a deeper truth. Not only can the light of Christ never be eclipsed by the armies of darkness, it will go on forever and ever and ever.

How does the story end? That story that began in Genesis 3 of darkness and death and judgment brought on by sin. The answer is also in the book of Revelation, Revelation 22:1–5. 

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city also, on either side of the river, the Tree of Life, with it its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

What is this? It’s a return to Eden! It’s a return to that place that in episode one I called ground zero. There it is, the Tree of Life in the garden.

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (v. 3)

Isn’t it also a reversal of the ascension? We’re going to be with Him again; He won’t be hidden from us any longer. Verse 5:

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

That’s how the story ends, the ultimate story of what God is doing in our world. That’s how we know that these things we see in Scripture and these things we experience in our lives, that they’re not total eclipses.

Then the Bible calls us to live as children of the light, to join with Jesus in pushing back the darkness, even when—maybe especially when—it feels like darkness is going to overwhelm us; because we have read the last chapter. We don’t need little boats to rescue us.

What we see here in Revelation 20, the last battle, is that God will speak and the battle will be over. Darkness will be banished, and for the rest of eternity we will bask in the light of our Savior and King.

C.S. Lewis, that treasured saint, wrote about this eclipse that we see in Revelation 21 in the book called The Last Battle. I’m going to send you out from this series with his words, recommissioned to hope in, to hold high the light of Christ.

All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page. Now, at last, they were beginning chapter one of the great story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Laura: When you keep the end in mind, it will affect what you do moment by moment. Erin Davis has been helping us think about the end of the universe as we know it. In the new heavens and the new earth there will be no more darkness, no more eclipses; only the light of God’s glorious presence day upon day.

Erin, want to pop back on and join us for one last Erin Unscripted in this amazing series about eclipses?

Erin Unscripted

Erin, what are you most looking forward to about eternity?

Erin: I know that I’m supposed to say Jesus, and I absolutely cannot wait to be in the presence of Jesus. He is going to be the best thing about heaven. But something else I think a lot about is that there will be no striving. There’s that song, “Where Strivings Cease”, and we know that’s true about heaven. That’s what we see.

I think a lot about the fact that I have no idea how to live without striving, without trying harder and trying to do better and trying to do more and trying to feel better and trying to get stronger and trying not to age. That’s all striving, and I cannot wait to discover what it’s like to live without any striving at all.

Laura: That will be amazing. Yes, it’s hard for us even to grasp it.

I remember when each one of my children began to grapple with some of these more abstract and hard-to-comprehend truths of our faith. One of my daughters—I think she was only four years old or something—she must have been pondering these things. She walked into the room with this lightbulb moment on her face and said,

I think I get it now! So, all of time and space, the whole universe, is in this dark bottle, and at the end of time God will break open that bottle, and we’ll finally see all that there ever was and all that there ever will be!

Erin: Whoa!

Laura: I was like, “Wow! Yes! That’s it.”

Erin: That’s amazing! I know that many of us much older than four can’t see it that clearly. But she’s right, it is like a universe in a bottle, and it will be so amazing when we can see the whole thing uncorked.

Laura: Yes. We know that God has good plans in store for us. That I can look forward to.

Have any of your kids ever grappled with some of these ideas—with eternity or time going on and on or being with God in person?

Erin: I can think of one of my guys, when he was in the kindergarten range, he was really fixated with Jesus not having a beginning, and therefore not having an end. “But when was He born, and when did He start?”

He didn’t, Buddy. He’s just always been.

That is a really difficult concept for our finite brains to understand, because our finite brains had a beginning, and they will have an end. I feel like they’re often wrestling with the things that I’ve kind of stopped wrestling with, and they encourage me to wrestle.

My husband, Jason, says something pretty frequently in this vein of thought. He calls God a paper towel roll God. He says that He created time, but He holds it up like a paper towel roll and looks at it end to end.

That thought of God being outside of time and being able to see time as we know it from beginning to end like I might look through a roll of paper towels, it’s fascinating to me.

Laura: That is a really helpful way of looking at it, something simple, like the paper towel roll. That’s helpful.

Erin: Yes, or a universe in a bottle. I love those images.

Laura: Tell me, when you came across that quote from The Last Battle. Were you guys reading it together as a family?

Erin: Yes, we read all The Chronicles of Narnia when my oldest two were four and six, somewhere in that range. We’ve since had a second batch of boys, and we’ve started reading through all of The Chronicles of Narnia again with them. It never gets old.

That scene that I read, where the idea is the entire book that I know is just the cover of the book that is to come, reminds me of a Scripture that says that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined what God has in store for us.” You can try and try and try and think about what it will be like and what it’ll look like and what it’ll sound like and what we’ll see, but Scripture tells us you’ve never seen anything like it. You’ve never heard anything like it. The most creative minds have never imagined anything like it. In other words, we’ve just seen the cover of the book. That idea still grabs my heart.

Laura: When I was growing up, I feel like there was this big push towards using the book of Revelation as a scare tactic to get people to become Christians.

Erin: Oh, I remember it! I was a Christian, and it terrified me!

Laura: Terrified, right. But it’s our God’s end times. It’s His, so we can trust Him. I think a lot of times Christians feel hesitant about the end of things, like, “We don’t want it to go there!” But yes, we do! Our God is the One overseeing it all, the One we know, with His big, loving heart. It’s where He is right in all of His decrees and just towards everyone. He’s going to do the right thing, and it will be good.

I loved listening to your lesson, because it reminded me once again, this is not a scare tactic. This is everything I’m hoping for, and He’s going to be grand and glorious.

Erin: Right. It’s wonderful. It’s going to be the ultimate realization of everything we’ve hoped for.

You know who it is going to be scary for, though? It’s going to be scary for those who don’t know Jesus. For those of us who are in Christ, it’s going to be like our birthdays and Christmases and Easters and weddings and every moment that has been celebratory and good. It will be all of that, amped up times a million! But for those who experience the wrath and judgment of God and have missed their opportunity to surrender their lives to Him, I would say as we can’t imagine the wonders of heaven, their minds probably cannot imagine how terrifying that day is going to be.

Laura: I wonder if, when someone was just listening to you talk, as I was, and specific people were coming to my mind and my spirit was stirred with compassion for them once again, to so much want them to be saved . . . I thought, I can’t wait to send them this episode of The Deep Well to hopefully spark in them this vision of the glorious battle, and the King who loves them and is wooing their hearts, and who they can surrender their lives to, knowing that He will keep His promises.

Erin: The thing about battles is, you want to be on the right side. That battle that we started with, the Allied forces ended up winning the World War, so that story of them being extracted from the army feels celebratory. To the other side, to the other army, for whom 300,000 of their enemy combatants slipped out from underneath their noses, it doesn’t feel like a story they want to retell all these years later.

To anyone that’s listening, and to myself, there is a battle coming, and we want to be on the right side of that battle. What we see in Scripture is the right side of that battle is with God.

Laura: This is the last episode, Erin. Is there anything that’s on your heart from any of the episodes, or from this episode, that you would love to share?

Erin: Yes. During this time we’ve been recording, I’ve kept thinking of women I know, maybe some people that I just know of, and imagining them on the other side. What I never said as strongly as I wanted to and just have to trust the Lord is going to do it in people’s hearts, is: first and foremost, there is hope in Jesus no matter how dark things seem. I think that was so clear in everything that we read and saw.

But what I didn’t say as strongly as I wanted to is: live as children of the light. Be bearers of hope and light in a dark world! People’s hearts are dark, their minds are dark, their worlds are dark. We have the light, as followers of Jesus. So I hope you don’t just hear these stories and think, I’m good. I’m with Jesus. Jesus is going to win; that’s the end of the story.

Well, it is, but not everybody has that hope, and everybody needs that hope. As you think about light and darkness and the light’s ultimate triumph over darkness, you have a responsibility to live as a child of the light.

A passage comes to mind that I didn’t read in this series, but seems like such an important punctuation mark to put here. It comes from Ephesians 5:7–8. Paul is talking about not being partners with the darkness, and in verse 7 he says,

Therefore do not become partners with them. For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. [Then he says it right here, and this would be my battle cry for us] Walk as children of the light.

Laura: You have made it to the end of the season on eclipses here on The Deep Well. Maybe you’re thinking, What do I listen to next? Well, The Deep Well is just a part of the Revive Our Hearts podcast family. There are so many other podcasts to listen to, and they’re good!

A new favorite of mine is the True Girl podcast. This is with Dannah Gresh and Staci Rudolph. They are episodes for a mom to listen to with her daughter while you’re just popping from home to the store or taking your daughter to her sports practice or piano lessons. They’re always straight from God’s Word, and then also there are some wonderful application to real life. They’re the type of episode that fully engages me as a mom, but then also grabs the attention of my eight-to-twelve-year-old girls. So, I’m a fan. I think they’re great, and I can’t wait to listen to the next one.

Erin: Yes, and then there’s one that you will not mention, but I can’t wait to. I’ll toot your horn so you don’t have to! That’s your podcast, Laura, Expect Something Beautiful. You are a gifted storyteller, but beyond that, you tell amazing stories that take us right back to the Word. So, five stars for Expect Something Beautiful.

Laura: Thanks, Erin. It is so much fun. I do love it so very much.

Erin: Then there’s the Women of the Bible podcast, Seeking Him and Revive Our Hearts Weekend . . .

Laura: And don’t forget Grounded, the podcast that you are on every Monday morning! That’s not just a podcast, that’s a videocast too, right, Erin?

Erin: Yes, we record it live on Mondays, and our mission is to give you hope and perspective. 

Laura: It’s so good. So yes, you can tune in and watch it live, or you can always catch it later, either on YouTube or download the podcast and just listen through your earbuds. It is always so good. You dish out wonderful truth, you bring us some current events, how to think about it biblically, and then you also have the most amazing guests. I feel like every episode I’m saying, “That was my favorite so far!” I’m always sending them out to my family and friends: “If you haven’t listened to one of the episodes, this is the episode!” So, thank you for that. It’s really incredible, and you guys are doing great work.

Erin: And then there is the flagship podcast, the classic that all of these other podcasts have come behind, and that is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. You can count on rich, biblical teaching every day, and who doesn’t need that?

The Deep Well with Erin Davis is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Teacher

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Host

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is the author of Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood and the host of the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan, and their six children. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.