Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Search The Scripture 4th Sunday, April 2021 (Lesson 994)
Topic: War In Heaven And Wrath On Earth (STS 4 April 2021)
MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).
TEXT: Revelation 12:1-17
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The account in the previous chapter focused on the measurement of the dimensions of the temple with the reed given to John the Beloved, the ministry of the two witnesses of God and the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The narrative in the current passage reveals five main characters or personages in- symbolic form. They are the woman clothed with the sun, the male child or the man-child who is to rule the nations of the world, the great red dragon, Michael the archangel and the remnant of the seed of the woman. The identification of who these figures represent is crucial to the understanding of what is being revealed to us here. This account dates back to the past when Satan fell and it looks into the future, revealing what will happen during the great tribulation. In this passage, there are things that cause joy and those that cause fear and terror in the hearts of men. The revelation here tells of war in heaven and the consequent wrath on earth. The overview of the major players in the end-time events, what it means for the end-time believers and what is required of us “upon whom the ends of the world are come” form the focus of this study.
PERSONALITY AND PRESERVATION OF THE SUN-CLOTHED WOMAN (Revelation 12:1-6; Genesis 37:.9- 11; Isaiah 54:5-7; 67:3,4; Daniel 7:7,8,20,24-26; 7:13, 14; Matthew 2:16; Isaiah 66: 7; Revelation 11:15; 19:15, 16; Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 1:1-3)
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars…” (Revelation 12: 1 , 2 , 5). The word “wonder” actually means “sign”. This vision is full of great, massive, mega signs and wonders. The woman described in the text has been variously interpreted by different Bible scholars. While some are of the opinion that she represents the Church of Christ, others opined that she was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Comparing Scripture with Scripture would show that none of these positions is correct.
Question 1: Why is the woman in our text not a symbol of the Church of Christ?
The woman is plainly identified in the Scripture as Israel. Israel is called a married woman and she is referred to as a mother. The Church is referred to as the bride of Christ; she is described as a virgin waiting for her Bridegroom (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 14:4; 19:7). So, this woman who travails and brings forth the Man-child, the Messiah, refers to the nation of Israel. The description of the woman clothed with the sun identifies her with the family of Jacob in Joseph’s dream of the sun, the moon and the stars (Genesis 37:9). Clothed with the sun, crowned with the stars and standing on the moon, Israel will shine forth in the future with glory and great brilliance and beauty.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” The Man-child who would rule “all nations with a rod of iron” is Christ (Revelation 12:5). Great periods of time separate the details mentioned here concerning Him. His ministry and life on earth are not referred to; His death and atoning sacrifice are not mentioned; and His resurrection is skipped over. We must always take note of such intervals between revealed prophetic events. The verse quoted above mentions Christ’s incarnation ascension (Acts 1:9-11), exaltation and coronation. Satan could not stop His incarnation and he will not be able to stop His coronation.
Question 2: Who is the Man-child in our text and Why?
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” There is no doubt about who the dragon is because he is identified as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). The account here dates back to the time of Satan’s fall when he led a mutiny against God in heaven and drew a third of the angels after him in rebellion against God. That initial rebellion of Satan when “his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven” (Revelation 12:4,7; Job 38: 7) happened before the creation of the world. After the creation of the world and man, he continued his rebellion and mutiny against God from the Garden of Eden to every place on earth where he influences man to rebel against the Almighty. The dragon is described as “having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads”. The seven crowned heads represent seven worldly kingdoms through which Satan, the god of this world, has ruled and will rule until he is finally defeated by Christ. The ten horns refer to the final form of the power or rule which will dominate the world at the end-time until the blowing of the seventh trumpet. “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Since the prophecy was made in Genesis 3:15, Satan has been making efforts to destroy the messianic line and even sought to kill Christ when He was born. However, by aiding the woman’s escape into the wilderness, we learn that God offers security to His people. Israel as a nation will flee and find a place of safety. God will protect and feed them “a thousand two hundred and threescore days”, that is, for a space of three and half years. Daniel had earlier foretold this period when the Antichrist’s reign and onslaught against the Jews in particular will be very ferocious (Daniel 9:26,27; Matthew 24: 15; Revelation 12:14).
Satan hates God’s children and persecution of believers always has its root from him though he may use human instruments. But God monitors and moderates whatever believers go through so that it will be bearable. Though Satan has fought and resisted defeat for a long time, at God’s appointed time, Christ will appear to destroy sin and the devil’s kingdom, and establish the Kingdom of righteousness.
PREVAILING POWER OVER THE WARRING DRAGON (Revelation 12:7-12; Daniel 12: 1; Revelation 20:2,3; Luke 10:18; Genesis 3:1,4; Job 1:9-11; 1 John 2: 1; Romans 8:35-39)
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven” (Revelation 12:,8) This happened at the time of the fall of Satan when he drew one-third of the angels after himself (Revelation 12:4). He wanted to rule and be like the Most High. Michael and the holy angels fought against that unholy ambition. His warfare against Satan did not stop with the initial war and conflict. He had to fight against him for the body of Moses. At a much later date when Daniel was praying concerning God’s plan and programme for Israel, he had to fight “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” to release a mighty angel who was to reveal God’s plan for Israel to Daniel. And he will still go into battle against Satan to defend Israel during the great tribulation (Daniel 12:1,7). “And the great dragon was cast out… and his angels were cast out with him.” This happened when Satan was ejected from heaven. Referring to Satan as “that old serpent” reveals that his appearance on earth was at an early stage of the world’s history; and that the real tempter in the Garden of Eden was the devil who appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent. He still deceives careless believers today and will continue to use deception with greater maliciousness and destructive intension during the great tribulation (1 Timothy 2: 14; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 1 1:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; Revelation 12:9•, 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:2,3,7-10).
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down…” (Revelation 12:10). As the great enemy was expelled, the conquering hosts in heaven united in celebrating the victory. God is praised because He has granted salvation — full deliverance from the intended dominion of Satan. The “strength” to cast out the dragon is the mighty power of God manifested in subduing the great enemy. With the certainty of ultimate triumph, “the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ” will be established. Unhappy that he was not able to fulfil his evil design in heaven, the dragon comes down to the earth with “great wrath”. He lost the war in heaven and for the short time he has on earth, he will spread woe and sorrow and hinder as many people as he can from submitting to the rule of God and the lordship of Christ. He will continue this fight until the time of the great tribulation. Satan is ever walking about, “seeking whom he may devour”
Question 3: What should believers do to defeat the accuser of the brethren who accuses them before God?
In spite of Satan’s fury and wrath, hindrance and persecution, there will be multitudes of overcomers in heaven. “And they overcame him by the blood Of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Though the redeemed of the Lord are falsely accused by Satan, they are kept pure and preserved by the power of the blood of the Lamb and by the strength of their faith in the word of God which they confess constantly. The Lord still sustains and gives victory to believers who are on the battlefield on earth.
PERSECUTION, PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF ISRAEL ON EARTH (Revelation 12:.13-17; 17:3; Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 7: 21; 1 John 3:8; Ephesians 6:10-12)
Satan, the seven-headed dragon, will persecute Israel during the great tribulation. The severe persecution will be for three and half years (Daniel 12: 1 , 7). His fury will come in three waves of attack as revealed in Revelation 12: 13, 15, 17. Satan’s wrath and fury will be on the whole world (Revelation 12: 12) but he will eventually concentrate on Israel, persecuting and pursuing them with the forces of the Antichrist. God has a covenant relationship with Israel; so, He will protect and preserve His people in and through the fury and wrath of Satan during the great tribulation. Satan will make his last and most violent effort to destroy that nation but he will not succeed because God will protect His chosen people. There will be salvation, deliverance and preservation for Israel. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” God will miraculously aid Israel to escape from the Antichrist to a Place of safety. The imagery of the wings of an eagle speaks of the speed of flight to safety. Eagles fly the fastest and the highest. Miraculously, God will make a way for them to escape the fury and wrath of the devil. The same God who fed them in the wilderness for forty years can feed them for three and half years during this terrible period.
Question 4: What should be the attitude of a believer as he engages in battle with Satan?
As .they flee “from the face of the serpent (Satan), the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood ” to cause the People “to be carried away of the flood” (Revelation 12:15). The flood is symbolic an emblem of great; mighty enemies a vast army of the Antichrist mighty and powerful enough to overthrow, swallow up or destroy the nation. As many of them escape, the dragon becomes more furious and he goes after “the remnant” in a third wave of attack to make war with those who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”. Satan spares no effort in his determination to destroy Israel, and God leaves no miracle undone in His resolve to protect and preserve His people. As God’s people flee, Satan pursues with a flood of mighty, overwhelming armies and God opens up the earth to swallow up the flood. The whole army is plunged into the earth suddenly as great earthquakes split the ground during the great tribulation (Revelation 6:12-14; 11:13; 16:18- 20).
During the time in context, the Church would have been raptured. But presently, the rage and fury of the devil is against the Church which is the spiritual “Israel of God” because he knows that the Church age is winding up and the rapture would soon happen. Knowing that he has only but a short time, he steps up his persecution against the saints. It is unscriptural to expect to serve God without persecution: the more zealous we are, the more the servants of Satan will persecute us. Satan hopes to destroy the believer but the overruling hand of the Lord will accomplish the purity of His child by the very process of the enemy’s persecution. Each believer has God’s promise Of protection and Preservation.
Flatimes’ Notice Board: Until you are born again, God ever abiding presence will never be with you. You must be born again to enjoy continuous victory. Please say the displayed prayer below in faith:
Lord Jesus, come into my life. I accept You as my Lord and Personal Saviour. I believe in my heart You died and rose from the dead to save me. Thank You Lord for saving me, in Jesus name Amen.
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