The Last Battle provides a conclusion to the tales of Narnia. This book shows evil masquerading as good. The story ends in an epic battle, the defeat of evil, and the creation of a new world.
This last book of the Chronicles also deals with the ultimate reality of death and hints at what those who are in Christ will experience beyond the grave. Whether transformed into a new state to enter a new world, or experiencing death to get there, The Last Battle points the way into a joy-filled eternity.
Setting. The Last Battle takes place during the final days of Narnia. It’s been over 200 years since King Rilian died, and now Tirian, the seventh king since Rilian, is on the throne. Aslan hasn’t appeared in Narnia for many years.
Plot Summary. A devious ape named Shift finds an old lion’s skin and persuades his simple-minded follower, a donkey named Puzzle, to wear the skin to look like Aslan. The ape then forms an alliance with Narnia’s traditional enemies. Together they set out on a brutal policy of cutting down talking trees and enslaving talking animals—all by order of Shift, who claims to be the mouthpiece of Aslan.
Tirian, the present king of Narnia, hears what’s happening in his kingdom and can’t believe that Aslan would command such treatment of his loyal subjects. When he goes to investigate, he’s captured and cries out to the real Aslan for help. Aslan transports Eustace and Jill (the boy and girl from The Silver Chair) from their world to help King Tirian escape and put a stop to the atrocities taking place.
A great battle for Narnia follows and is won by Aslan’s army. The children despair as they see Aslan command their beloved Narnia to come to an end.
Aslan then judges the inhabitants of Narnia before inviting the children and his other loyal subjects into a new Narnia that he has created. The children are delighted to find that the new Narnia actually feels much like England and the old Narnia—but that it is inexpressibly better.
Spiritual Parallels. The Last Battle borrows many themes from the Bible’s view of the future of our world. Shift’s name indicates his manipulative nature. Clearly the one in control over the Aslan impostor, he refers to himself as “Lord Shift, the mouthpiece of Aslan.” The purpose of Shift’s devious plan becomes obvious as he opposes the real Aslan’s will and promotes himself.
Once again we hear echoes of the story behind the stories of Narnia. The devil, described in the Scriptures as the enemy of God, is in the business of imitating God. His goal is to “be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:12-15; cp. Ezek. 28:14-16). One day in the future, human history as we know it will come to an end. Just prior to the end, Satan will try to control the world with his own human substitute, the Antichrist, and his mouthpiece, the false prophet, who will deceive the world “with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Th. 2:9).
Shift the ape was not satisfied with the lie that a donkey in a lion’s pelt was the real Aslan. He made other false claims. When he was questioned about his relationship with the followers of the false god Tash, he replied:
Tash is only another name for Aslan. All that old idea of us being right and [them being] . . . wrong is silly. We know better now. [They] use different words but we all mean the same thing. Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know who (p.685, The Chronicles Of Narnia).
This kind of false teaching is heard in many different forms today. It’s often said that, “We all worship the same God but only by different names.” But the Bible says, “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Narnia’s last battle is suggestive of the final conflict between God and Satan that the Bible calls Armageddon (Rev. 16:16; 19:17-21). After this titanic struggle, evil will be overcome and followed by the final judgment (Rev. 20:10-15). Then, just as Lewis’ old Narnia was swept away and replaced by a new one, our heaven and earth will be destroyed and replaced. The apostle John, in the last book of the Bible, saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev. 21:1).
The new Narnia was filled and overflowing with life. Those who entered were invited to “Come further up, come further in!” (p.760, The Chronicles Of Narnia). This is a picture of the future adventures all those who enter the new heaven and earth will have with their King of kings and Lord of lords.