It may sound strange to civilians, but I can attest that members of the military’s elite forces are eager to be a part of the battle when our nation goes to war. They consider it an honor to defend their country and put an end to any threat. They see themselves as defending their own family and friends.
One day there will be a battle–the Battle of Armageddon–that involves all the armies of the world. As unbelievable as it sounds, they will form an alliance to fight against the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes both to judge the world for its sin, to bring justice, and to establish a righteous kingdom. Even though He doesn’t need an army, there will be one that fights on His side.
Revelation 17:14 describes those who will fight the good fight with the Lord on that day. John says that they are the “called, chosen, and faithful.” Who are these people?
It is possible that John is talking about the believing Jews who are alive at the end of the Tribulation. They will all be faithful, having endured the multitude of trials they will experience during seven terrible years.
I think, however, that most people see these soldiers on the side of the Lord as being the Church. In Rev 19:14, John says that when the Lord descends from the heavens to fight Armageddon, the “armies of heaven” are with Him. In both 17:14 and 19:14, 16, Jesus is called the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Believing Jews on Earth will not descend from heaven when Christ returns. The Church will.
If we assume that these soldiers are the Church, who are they, more specifically? Does their number include all members of the Church, or just some?
I had always assumed and been taught that Rev 19:14 is speaking of all Christians. But when I look a little closer, it seems that is probably not the case. Not all believers can be called “faithful.” Jesus gave a parable, for example, that speaks of the fact that some believers are faithful, and some are not (Matt 24:45).
It is common to hear that all believers are “called and chosen.” Often, this is used to describe the doctrine that God chooses and calls some to be spiritually saved (receive eternal life) but does not call others. As many have pointed out, however, it is much better to see these words as describing those who are chosen and called to serve in a special way. The words do not have anything to do with proclaiming who will be a believer and who will not.
In Romans 8, Paul speaks of suffering with Christ and reigning with Him. These are believers who walk by the Spirit (vv 14, 17-18). Not all believers walk by the Spirit; therefore, they do not suffer with the Lord. Not all believers will reign with Christ. Believers who do suffer with Christ are called to reign with Him (v 30).
It seems to me that when John speaks of those who are “called, chosen, and faithful” at the Battle of Armageddon, he is not talking about all believers. He is speaking of those who will reign with Christ in His kingdom. They will be rewarded. One of those rewards will be the privilege of riding with Him when He returns to defeat His enemies.
Some will recoil at the idea of Christians fighting in a battle, but we must remember that Christ Himself is leading the way. It cannot be sinful. Since the Fall, Creation itself and all faithful believers as well, have longed for righteousness to come. This necessarily involves the judgment on evil. Christ is the righteous Judge who will execute the deserved sentence. It will be a high honor to be a believer who is chosen and called to be a part of that.
To go back to my illustration, in war there are always elite soldiers. We call them by names such as Special Forces, SEAL Teams, and Rangers. They are given tasks that other soldiers are not given. Deservedly, they are held in high regard by the leaders of the military. They are rewarded for their service in many ways.
Wouldn’t it be great to be considered one of Christ’s “Special Forces”? When He comes as the righteous Judge and Commander of His forces to judge the world for its unrighteousness, imagine the privilege of being called and chosen to take part in what He returns to do. What an honor to be considered one who was faithful to the Commander!