The word spread quickly – Napoleon had escaped! On February 26, 1815, Napoleon escaped from exile on Elba. He landed on the French mainland on March 1.
Napoleon announced that he had come to save the French from degradation and that his eagles would soon alight the spires of Notre Dame. French King Louis XVIII sent unit after unit to stop him, and on meeting that familiar gray-coated figure at the head of his daring few, they threw down their arms and welcomed him back in a torrent of emotion. With towns welcoming Napoleon in what proved to be a triumphant journey, Louis XVIII left Paris on March 19. Napoleon entered the capital the next day.
Representatives of the Allies at Vienna declared Napoleon an outlaw, labeling him as “the enemy and disturber of peace of the world.” Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Great Britain formed a new defensive alliance against Napoleon. Each nation undertook to supply 150,000 men and to keep them in the field until Napoleon was defeated. The Duke of Wellington was chosen to command this vast army.
Wellington arrived in Brussels to assume his command on April 5. There he found a very unsatisfactory military situation. He worked as even he had seldom worked before. Meanwhile, Napoleon had persuaded 250,000 men to join his campaign.
The stage was set for battle. Waterloo would be the site. The Russian czar wired Wellington, “It is for you to save the world again.”
As the two powers collided, England waited silently for news of the outcome. Everyone knew that Europe’s hope lay with Wellington. Finally, semaphore signals were sent from a ship in the English Channel. From the top of Winchester Cathedral trained eyes strained to interpret the signal:
A thick fog interrupted further signals. Wellington defeated! The news was sounded throughout England. Despair spread with the daunting speed of a plague. Nerves were frayed. What would Napoleon do to their beloved England? Families began preparation to sail for America. Later, the fog lifted and the full message was communicated:
W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D T-H-E E-N-E-M-Y
Apparent defeat was, in reality, victory!
Two thousand years ago a dreadful report came from a Jewish tomb: JESUS DEFEATED….
With the death of the Messiah, the hopes and dreams of His disciples came to what they believed was a dismal end. They scattered, hid, and feared for the worst. Three days later the message was completed: JESUS DEFEATED THE ENEMY!
Apparent failure was, in reality, triumphant victory. They had killed the Prince of Life, but God raised Him from the dead (Acts 3:15). And now in victory He proclaims, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).
The Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
This is the Gospel message, the most glorious message ever proclaimed, the message of victory. Rejoice and publish the victorious message – – Jesus defeated the enemy!