Summary: The Destiny of the Righteous (a forever feast) is a blessed contrast with the destruction of the wicked in the Lake of Fire.
v. 17 and I saw and angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a big voice, saying to all the birds flying in the middle of the sky “Come! Gather to the mega-dinner of God, v. 18 in order that you might feast on the flesh of kings, and the flesh of leaders of thousands, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of horses, and those sitting on them, and the flesh of all, both free and slaves, and small and big (micro & mega). V. 19, and I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war with the One sitting on the horse, and with His army.
v. 20 and the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet, the one who did signs before him by which he deceived those having the mark (scratch) of the beast, and the worshiping its image. The two were thrown living into the lake of fire, the one burning with brimstone, 21 and the people were killed with the sword going out of the mouth of the one sitting on the horse, and all the birds were filled up with their flesh.
vv 17-19 Eze 39:1-22; Matt 24:28; Rev 16:13-14.
v 20 20:10, 14; 21:8.
A Different Kind of Feast, a Different Kind of Lake
Have you ever had a meal at the invitation of someone who has the gift of hospitality? Each item is carefully thought about and prepared, maybe with you in mind. The spices are just right, the temperature carefully balanced, the beginning, middle & end of the meal, all beautifully coordinated for the desired effect, and all, really, prepared as an accompaniment in a symphony of discussion and fellowship. I’ve had the joy of such a gastronomic galas very recently, and it is refreshment for the soul. We are all invited to just such a feast with Jesus-the marriage supper of the Lamb (we’ll get to that in a few chapters). But here is a feast Jesus invites birds to. I guess if you’re a bird of prey or carrion the idea of a feast of dead bodies sounds like the best culinary indulgence any true fowl foodie could find. Jesus seems to be concerned about the well-being of birds, (unlike people who keep cats for pets. Domestic cats are responsible for an estimated one and a half to three and a half billion bird deaths a year- https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/culturing-science/killer-cats I suppose that’s a feast for another discussion). From our perspective, the menu might be impressive: the mightiest among us-kings, leaders of thousands, captains & their horses, and all the rest, big & small; from God’s perspective these are merely fodder that is strictly for the birds. So, this bird buffet of cadavers brings us to an unexpected end.
The beast, the economic and political leader of the world, and the false prophet, the religious leader of the world, are thrown into a lake. The lake is different from any lake I’ve seen. If I needed to extinguish a flame, I may wish to throw it into a lake, or, maybe, draw water from the lake to throw on the flame. Lakes put fires out. But this is a lake of fire. This is the end destination of those who blatantly reject God.
I’d like to do something different today, and quote almost an entire Psalm. The Psalmists of Israel sometimes tended toward obsessive negative thoughts. But they found resolution and peace by contemplating the goodness of God, and the final end of evil:
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,