“The War of the Ages” Pt. 1 – Revelation 12:1-6
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Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
One of the central themes in the Book of Revelation, indeed in the entire Bible, is the spiritual war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, and God's ultimate victory.
The New Testament is clear that the normal experience of the church on earth is to suffer “tribulation” and “persecution” directed by Satan.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
...strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
(2 Tim. 3:12)
If we have understood God's Word, and lived as believers are called, we've all experienced this truth to some extent.
1 Peter 4:12-14
At the end of the age, the church is destined to suffer the most intense suffering in history, "the great tribulation."
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
In this chapter (12), the Apostle John, through the vision he received, sheds light on "the war of the ages" fought in the heavens and played out on earth.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
John's vision of the "woman," the "dragon" and the “Child” in this passage is symbolic, and a representation of the conflict between the angels in heaven (God's and Satan's) and how God will be victorious on earth.
It also explains to God's people why we must suffer such satanic evil and persecution, but it gives us assurance that Satan has, in reality, already been conquered at the Cross (Jn. 19:30, 1 Jn. 3:5, 8). Because of this we are more than conquerors.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
"...a great sign..."
*"Great" - Mega (Gk.) - Exceedingly large, high, mighty (Strong's 3173).
*"Sign" - Semeion (Gk.) - A warning or admonition, Miraculous acts of divine authority or purpose, also designates a phenomenon or prodigy. (Strong's 4592)
By this we understand the Scripture here is speaking symbolically, as noted in the introduction, the Old Testament symbols and references used are meant to define and illuminate spiritual matters and their effect on the natural realm.
* The mother of Messiah.
* The people group of the "woman" (Israel) and her lineage from the first mother Eve (Isa. 26:17, 66:7, Mic. 4:10).
* Spiritually symbolic of God's plan of redemption through her child, the Messiah, the protoevangelium.
The Old Testament portrayed Israel as the mother of the Messiah who will restore Israel as the Kingdom of God (Isa. 9:67).
"...clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet..."
* "Clothed with the sun" - Bright raiment is a picture of glory and righteousness in the Scripture (Matt. 17:2).
"...the moon under her feet....on her head a garland of twelve stars."
* The twelve tribes of Israel.
The only other place in the Bible that speaks of the sun, moon and twelve stars:
This passage in Genesis seems to confirm John's vision as symbolizing Israel and/or its faithful remnant, as well as the Gentile converts as the church.
For as Paul wrote, the Gentile believers are grafted into spiritual Israel (Rms. 11:5-21).
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
"Then being with child..."
* The Child, the Jewish Messiah, our Savior.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
"...in labor and in pain to give birth."
* Again, the Old Testament prophet’s expectation of Israel birthing the Messiah (Isa. 26:17, 66:6-9).
Interestingly, Christ also used a similar understanding of "the beginning of sorrows," to describe the beginning of the tribulation period (Matt. 24:1-8) with the understanding of women's "sorrow" during childbirth after the fall.
To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Gen 3:16)
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
"And another sign appeared in heaven..."
* "Appeared in heaven" - The battleground is clearly spiritual, symbolic in the heavens, but effecting the earth.
"...a great, fiery red dragon..."
* The dragon is clearly identified as Satan:
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
* He is "fiery red" because he is a murderer:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
* Another hint as to his identity and purpose:
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
* The Old Testament defines this dragon as the embodiment of evil:
- Leviathan, Rahab (Egypt), Behemoth (Ps. 74:14, 89:10, Isa. 27:1, 51:9, Job 40:15).
"...seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems on his heads."
* "Seven" is the biblical number of completeness or fullness. This dragon is completely full of himself and all evil.
* "Diadems" are crowns, the symbol of authority and rule.
* "Ten horns" are symbolic of Satan's great power to conquer and deceive the nations (Dan. 7:7, 24).
All of this passage is symbolic of Satan's great power as the "god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4), as "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2).
The dragon (Satan) is the ruler of "the kingdoms of this world"(Rev. 11:15).
Unfortunately, many Christians think Satan is an ugly, stupid dragon. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Lucifer (Satan) was the most beautiful, intelligent of all God's created beings; until pride brought him low:
Satan and his fallen angels often appear as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15) to deceive mankind. And he will "take advantage of us" unless we understand and "are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor. 2:11).
That's why we must read; "devour" the Book, the Word of God. In it all of Satan's activities, strategies and tactics are exposed, as well as God's plans for Satan's destruction and our protection.
His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
"...a third of the stars of heaven..."
* "Stars in heaven" – Angels
"...and threw them to earth."
* When Satan was cast from heaven, his demonic angels fell with him (Vs. 12:9).
"...to devour her Child as soon as it was born."
* Satan understood from God's curse after the fall (Gen 3:6-11) that the "Seed" (Child) of "the woman" would ultimately defeat him (Gen. 3:14-15).
From this point in history, it has always been his greatest desire to destroy Christ, the people He came from (Israel) and the people of Christ's kingdom.
In the mistaken belief that he could still somehow thwart God and replace Him, he tried:
- Abel, Cain, Seth
- The flood
- The Pharaoh and Moses
- King Saul and David
- Wicked Haman
- The temptation of Christ
- King Herod
- The synagogue in Nazareth
- The Cross - Satan's greatest defeat (Gen. 3:15, Jn. 17:4, 19:30).
He still does not believe he's defeated, if he can destroy the people of the Kingdom (Jews and Christians) then he thinks there can be no Kingdom, witness:
- The Jews expelled from England by King Edward I - 1290 AD
- The Spanish Inquisition - 1492 AD
- Russia's expulsion and pogrom of the Jews - 1905-1915 AD
- Adolf Hitler's holocaust - 1938-1945 AD
- Israel today - 4 million Jews surrounded by 100 million Muslim enemies.
In the eyes of Islam, Israel is "the little Satan," the United States is "the great Satan," especially Christians.
Afghanistan today - the Taliban
America today - The godless Satanists running
our tyrannical government.
See any parallels, yet?
Do you wonder why you are under spiritual attack?
Soon to be physical attack.
Because Satan and his agents see Christ in you! You are made in God's image. And Satan hates God, His Christ and everybody that belongs to
We need to learn to rejoice in these attacks as Christians:
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
"...a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." (Rev. 2:27)
"You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
"And her Child was caught up to God and His throne."
But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
The emphasis here is not His birth, but His enthronement and rule (Ps. 2:6-7, Acts 13:32-33).
Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
"...the woman fled into the wilderness..."
* As in the past:
- Israel fled into the wilderness from Egypt (Gen. 15:22).
- The early church in Jerusalem (AD 70) fled to Pella in the "wilderness" escaping the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Josephus records that they heeded the words of Christ (Matt. 24:15-20).
But this passage is symbolic and speaks to God's future deliverance of His people (the Church) during the great tribulation, just as He delivered His people (Israel) from tribulation in Egypt, which is portrayed as a dragon in the Old Testament (Ps. 74:14, 89:10, Isa. 51:9-10).
"...one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
* 3.5 years, the time of the "two witnesses" (Vs. 11:3), the period of "the great tribulation" beginning at "the abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15-22).
* "Time, times and half a time" prophesied by the prophet Daniel (Dan. 7:25, 12:7, Rev. 12:14).
So, what does it all mean to us?
- Know your enemy - Read your Bible!
- See past Satan's disguise - See the dragon!
- Be able to discern his lies!
- Pray - Access the real Power source!
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
(1 Jn. 4:4)
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