47. Revelation 12: “Some History and Prophesy of Our War: The Woman and the Dragon”
Salem County Correctional Facility in Woodstown, NJ – Men’s Evening Chapel Service on 8/24/2014
(edited July 2020)
Well, I’m all bogged down in the Book of Revelation in my personal Bible study. It’s been challenging and thrilling at the same time. I’m sharing my study from this past week with you now, not as a prophet or expert, but just to pass along some of the blessings I’ve received from looking into these passages, as a lay person.
At this point in the Revelation of Jesus Christ presented by John the Apostle, John prophesies that Jesus will be found worthy to judge mankind at the End of the World.
In Revelation chapter 4, John describes twenty-four men who, having been crowned as Kings along with the Savior have thrown each one of their crowns down at the feet of Jesus. There are many interpretations of exactly who these men are and what the tossing down of their crowns might mean. As I thought about it this week, it seemed to me that one thing it could mean is that these 24 “Elders” could be standing in for all mankind, for all of us, and consenting to be judged by Christ.
Could there be dissention at that time also? Sure, there are many today who deny (or ignore) Christ’s authority over them. And yet we have been told clearly in both the Old and New Testaments that ultimately EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess that the Lord, He is God. By the way, TODAY is the DAY to confess that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior. Now is the time, the BEST time, to acknowledge His authority over you and your life. What it will be like to try to confess it for the first time at the End of the World is unimaginable to me. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
In Revelation chapter 6, John records (or should I say, pre-cords, since it is a prophesy of the future?) that as God begins to shake Heaven and Earth in the Apocalypse, the unsaved are scrambling and calling out for protection from the “Wrath of the Lamb!” They had “bet” everything on the hope that there would be no final judgement of sin. They assumed it would be impossible, in the end, for God or any man to stand up as a final judge of all their deeds and all their excuses and intellectual arguments created to cloak their sins. But John reports in Revelation chapter 5 that Christ has stepped forward in Heaven and been unanimously deemed Worthy to open the Book of Judgement there. And the opening of that book signals the beginning of the end for the Earth as we know it today.
We’ve said all this to get to our main study tonight in Revelation chapter 12:
Verses 1-2: “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: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”
As this chapter opens, a symbol or a vision of the Virgin Mary appears in the skies! How did a shy teenage girl wind up in John’s vision like this? Well, as you know, she courageously agreed to give birth to Christ. What a woman! She lost her reputation, suffered as the mother of a persecuted Son, and she is still misunderstood even to this day. I don’t worship Mary, but I sure do respect her faith!
I think her crown of twelve stars comes from the twelve tribes of the Old Covenant Jews. That was her family stock, you know. She was born of the untainted line of King David (recorded in Luke 3:23-38). Interestingly, the heritage of her husband Joseph goes back to David also (see Matthew 1:1-16), but his line was cursed by God (compare Matthew 1:11 with Jeremiah 22:24-30). Therefore, I propose to you, Joseph could not be the father of Jesus. Check it out sometime.
Mary was no ordinary girl. She was a person standing at the vortex of history. And, as Jesus would choose to do, she also did her part to bring God’s will to this earth. But the resistance did not take it well. Look at this:
Verses 3-4: “ 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. 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.”
Now Satan gets into John’s vision. Not because of faith, but because of a very strong rebellion against faith in God. You know what’s strange? Unbelief is contagious, just like faith is contagious! Satan’s negative influence has been significant throughout history, is present with us all today, and as we see here will play a part in future events, right up until the end. Before Mary even gave birth to Christ there was great resistance to that birth and the Man Who would result from it. And after Jesus was born all the spiritual battle lines were deeply drawn:
Verses 5-10: “ 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
The Lord parted the Red Sea before Moses and the People of God allowing them to escape from Egypt and prosper. Today the Lord still guards His Church. I don’t mean the church buildings, I mean the living and breathing Believers that are all around the World right now! And even Heaven itself must be fought for, and cleansed. O, I don’t understand it all, but I believe it all. Over 2,000 years ago, when He was on the Earth, Jesus said that He had already seen Satan fall from Heaven. The exact timeline is beyond me, but that mustn’t stop me from trying to appreciate the significance all these events and the Power of God to defend those who love Him.
How can I, how can you and I, ever stand against the dark resistance we are facing today? John tells us that we must, ultimately, be fully committed to Christ, just as He is to each of us. Listen:
Verse 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.”
We aren’t in Heaven yet. Our War isn’t over. Again, I can’t order these events into a specific timeline, but I know they are real and relevant. Anyone who has struggled against evil, within or without, can testify to the Truth of what the Apostle John saw. Satan pursues, but those whose righteousness is in Christ will be aided by God. And so the struggle continues, for now.
Verses 12-16: “ 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. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. 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. 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.”
Where do you stand in this struggle? Are you with Mary and the twelve stars of Old Israel? Do you, by belief in Christ bear the spiritual DNA of King David and faithful Father Abraham? If so, you will pay a cost by participating in real battles against nonbelief and evil. Like the old preachers used to say to us, you must daily fight a battle, one you can never win in your own strength, against the World, the flesh, and the Devil.
Or are you not concerned about Satan at all? Does he seem to be at “peace” with you? You haven’t really noticed any attacks to speak of? I felt that way at one time in my life. What a fool I was! Please remember, he doesn’t need to strive for territory that’s already been conquered. Just think about that. And think about the true honor and ultimate joy it will bring you to stand WITH Christ!
In closing, let’s let John tell us how we can know for sure where we stand:
Verse 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.”
By faith we share the pedigree of this woman, of the Virgin Mary and of the Holy Child she bore on the very first Christmas Day. But to fight in Our War, at least to fight and to win, will take more than just a pedigree or a title. Do you see it there in verse 17? We must also obey Him! Let’s read it again.
John says that one day we will sing with Angels. Let’s close tonight with this great old hymn. . .