STUDY: PART 37
V. 1, 2. Chapter twelve actually begins with verse 19 of chapter 11. In verse 15 of chapter 11 we heard the seventh trumpet sound, but what comes from the blowing of the last trumpet doesn’t actually happen until the 16th chapter of Revelation. In chapters 12 and 13 we’ll see the prophecies, or signs, of the end times and get to meet the seven personages of the end times revealed here.
Here is a quick list of all seven and what they represent before we get into the study.
1.A woman clothed with the sun representing Israel.
2.The red dragon with seven heads and ten horns representing satan.
3.The male child representing Jesus Christ.
4.The archangel Michael casting satan out of heaven.
5.The offspring of the woman persecuted by the dragon.
6.The beast out of the sea representing the world dictator.
7.The beast out of the earth representing the false prophet.
These are personages that are operating in the Tribulation. John does not take us further into the Tribulation until chapter 16 when the bowls begin to be poured out.
The first character we meet is the woman clothed with the sun, with the stars under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She is referred to as “a great sign”. She is the first of the signs we will see. Others signs are in Revelation 12:3; 3:13,14; 15:1; 16:14; and 19:20.1. Signs are uncommon appearances and are warnings from God of what’s to happen. Although the woman is in heaven, all events surrounding her will take place on earth.
As I’ve mentioned before, there is much controversy about things in Revelation. This woman is one of those. She is reported to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, or a woman who represents “the church of all ages”. Actually, this woman represents Israel. Most of the commentaries I checked say to read Genesis 37:9-11 to see why they feel this is Israel. “And he (Joseph) dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. The dream Joseph had was of the sun, moon, and stars. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” That is, he watched over Joseph’s dream to preserve it. He knew there was truth to it. Remember the story and how Joseph’s ten brothers did bow down to Joseph in Egypt during the famine? (Genesis 42-50)
To me, the woman is not a real person, but the persona of Israel. The twelve stars in her crown represent the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel. Also, Israel is where Jesus came out of when He was born. He was a Jew.
Let’s read Isaiah 66:6-9, “A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.”
And now look at Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Who was Jesus born for? Remember He said He came to the house of Israel. Matthew 15:24, “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He was born first for Israel.
One thing to remember is it can’t be the woman of the “church of all ages” as the church has already been taken up to heaven. This woman represents a nation still on earth, Israel. “Travailing in birth” also refers to Israel as stated in the above Scripture.
STUDY: PART 38
V. 3,4. We will now meet the second character from chapter 12. This is the red dragon. Remember that we talked about whether things are literal or symbolic in John’s Revelation? These things we know are signs, representations of things, and the red dragon is a symbol of satan the devil. John states that very clearly in 12:9, “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.”
Let’s also read Daniel7:7, 8, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things,” and 24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
The description in Daniel begins with the first Roman Empire and ends with the renewed Roman Empire which is the feet and the ten horns. Look at the words used to describe this last beast: dreadful: terrible: strong exceedingly: iron teeth: devouring and breaking: stamping, and diverse from the other three beasts. This beast is evil and wicked beyond what the first three beasts could conceive.
These following words show us the character of the beast.
1 - He’s called great. Remember, satan controls the earthly kingdom till Jesus retakes control. Satan offered to give Jesus the kingdom of this world if He would denounce His Father and bow down and worship satan. We know from His response recorded in Matthew 4:8,9, what Jesus thought of that.
What satan did and said: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
What Jesus responded: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
It’s pretty clear here that Jesus told satan to bug off. He refused the offer which would lure Him away from His Father, or from His mission on earth. Satan had a two-fold reason for making this offer. First, he longs for and desires to be worshipped as God is and who better to get that ultimate worship from than God’s own Son? Second, he knew what Jesus had come for and knew that if the Lord did not cave in to this temptation, the devil was doomed!
2 - satan is described as red because he is a murderer. He has shed much blood. It began with the slewing of Able and will continue until he is finally cast down and never allowed out of hell again. I’ll give you a good example of how satan is committing murders daily. In a word; drugs. So many of our children are falling into the death trap which is a “high” created by satan. No, satan did not create the substances which cause this, but he has perverted them. Can we believe that something as innocuous as canned air can kill? It does. Kids inhale the propellant in the cans of many household products. Some die the first time they try it, others get away with it a bit longer.
Name for me some other ways satan kills men, women, and children each day?
3 - He is called the dragon because he’s vile. It’s hard to imagine that one so honored by God that he was placed on God’s holy mountain and was allowed to walk in the Garden of Eden, (Ezekiel 28:12-19) could be cast down to the pits. We know this is so because the sins of pride and lusting entered into Lucifer so that he caused an insurrection in heaven against God. Isaiah spoke of this fall in Isaiah 14:12-15, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! And because of his impudent actions, he will be cast into the pit in the deepest part of the earth. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Note: A recent Barna survey concluded that 67% of Americans think the devil is a symbol of evil and not a real entity. What believers have to do is acknowledge the reality of satan, his dominion on earth, and the fact that he can manipulate even the most mature Christian. Once we see who and what he is, we can learn to deal with him aggressively in our lives. “Stomp on the devil” isn’t simply a cute Christianism, it’s a true statement of fact. We need to learn how to practice stomping in order to overcome the devil and his taunting and temptation. We can find the authority to do this given to all believers recorded in the Bible. Look at Scriptures like Matthew 10:8 where the followers of Jesus were given the right to cast out devils; and at John 14:12 where Jesus said His followers would do all He did and greater than He did, meaning more, not larger. Remain aware also of what’s written in Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22. We are that “elect”.
Seven heads denotes the perfection of wisdom and beauty that satan possesses and his complete authority as ruler of this kingdom. He’s smart and can twist us all sorts of ways if we are not wiser than him through the study of God’s Word to overcome him.
Ten horns are the ten divisions of the Roman Empire. Each head will wear a crown of authority given to it by satan. These are the final ten kings that will be in rule before Jesus takes over.
When the devil was cast from heaven, he took 1/3 of heaven’s angels with him. These angels are the demons active in society today that tempt us. They no longer work for the benefit of man or in service to God; they are now serving their counterfeit god, satan.
Look at what Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The devil knew that if Jesus was allowed to be born to the “woman” (the Jewish nation), his days would be numbered. Satan also knew that Jesus would save many from satan’s destruction through salvation in Him, which satan hated. The devil so despised that possibility of what Jesus would accomplish that he had Herod try to devour (kill) Jesus. In the attempt, all boys under two were killed in the region where Jesus was born. This is another instance of the blood of God’s children being on the dragon to make him red.
STUDY: PART 39
V. 5,6. This reveals the third character in Revelation 12.
Let me begin this study by giving you Jesus’ resume. When we understand who He is and where He came from, and what He was/is to accomplish, we can understand Revelations more deeply. Remember, the Old Testament promised Jesus the Messiah to come; the New Testament delivered Jesus to the world where He ministered, built the church, and then suffered, died, and was resurrected. Revelation reveals to us the ascended Christ and His activities in the end times. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
1. Jesus is the Seed of Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:18) and “Now to Abraham and his [seed] were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).
2. Jesus is an Israelite from the house of Abraham. Read His genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 when you have time. There is nothing but pure Israeli blood in the Master. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. To redeem (ransom; buy back) them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4, 5). Who was under the law but Israel? Who was Isaiah addressing when he said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6)? Isaiah was a Jew; therefore, his comment was to the nation of Israel.
3. Jesus is the King who is to rule with a rod of iron. “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel“(Psalm 2:7-9).
4. Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” Acts 4:12).
5. Jesus is the One who will catch up the dead in Christ and the church. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
6. Jesus is the Lord of lord, King of kings and will reign forever once Revelation’s prophecies have been fulfilled. “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords…” (I Timothy 6:15); “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful (Revelation 1:14), and “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16).
I could go on about all that He is and still has left to do, but you have the idea. Without Jesus and His resurrection and ascension into heaven, there is no salvation, no church, no rapture, no Revelation. It stands to reason then, that the Child of the woman is Jesus and the woman is Israel.
The woman, or the remnant of Israel (Messianic Jews), will then, during the second half of the Tribulation, be taken away and preserved for 1260 days. She cannot be allowed to vanish from the earth or God is a liar. Everything that has happened since the day God made covenant with Abraham has been directing us to the events in Revelation that will wind up satan’s rule on earth. There is controversy among theologians as the where God will hide Israel during that time. Some say they will be in the stoned city of Petra. I think the truth of the matter is, we don’t know. John has not stated where they will go, nor is there any revelation of the position in the Bible that I can find.
V. 7-9. The casting down of satan reveals the fourth character in this chapter.
Once Jesus takes command of the world and the Messianic Jews of Israel are covered by God, war will break out in heaven. Notice that not all Jews will be protected. Only those who have accepted Christ as their personal Redeemer will be covered. Michael, the archangel who protects Israel, will lead a war against the devil and his angels. Please understand, the devil still has access to heaven and to God’s throne. If that were not so, we would not require to the services of an Advocate (My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous… [I John 2:1]). The devil is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:12) and comes before God often to tell Him how His children have failed. I can hear that liar now, “God, Rev got mad at Larry today and snapped at him. Where is the love she’s supposed to have?” And Jesus responding in my behalf, “I’ve got that covered, Father. She’s innocent.”
Can you understand that a war will take place in heaven? It seems an unlikely place, but John would not have been instructed to “reveal” that to us were it not true. Michael the guardian angel over Israel (Daniel 10:21) and his angels will fight satan and his army until they finally retreat and leave heaven for good. Verse 8 says that they did not prevail; they were not strong enough to defeat Michael and the angels of heaven. They lost that battle. This brings us almost to the end of the war. Bless the Lord!
Satan and his minions will be cast out of heaven and never allowed back there. Look at the names he’s called in here: The serpent of old, referring to his lying and deceiving of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: The devil (diabolos) which means slanderer or accuser: satan, God’s adversary and ours, and finally, the deceiver. During the Tribulation satan will deceive the people and their hearts will be hardened against God. If the New Testament likens a rich man being saved to trying to feed a camel through the eye of a needle, what will it be like in the Tribulation for anyone to be saved?
At this point in Revelation the devil is cast out of heaven with his angels and they will only be able to work on the earth.
Note: I remember as a child hearing people say, “He’s a devil of a man,” meaning someone who was rude or obnoxious or a womanizer. As you can understand now, this was a curse against that man. Then there’s the old saying we still curse people with today, “Speak of the devil and he shows up.” What’s probably a worse curse than either of those two sayings is a parent saying to a misbehaving child, “Oh! You little devil!” Now that we know the truth of the unredeemable nature of the devil, let’s not call any man, woman, or child by the name devil.
STUDY: PART 40
V. 10 – “Then I heard a loud voice…” Once again John reminds us that he is viewing and hearing things in a vision, a prophecy of what has been and what is to come. What he heard here is a “loud voice” which is the united voices of the martyrs who have been killed for the truth of the Word of God. They are martyrs (Greek martus), or witnesses. They testified to the truths of the gospel and were killed for it. Now, when Jesus finally casts the devil from heaven with his angels, the martyrs will rejoice with a great voice. Jesus will now be in command. Jesus will be reigning, judging and ruling this earth, not satan. He will finally retake the authority over earth that was first given to Adam. Jesus is the second and final Adam and He will reign forever.
God gave me a revelation today that answered a question which has often loomed in my mind about Job (Job 1:7-12). That is, why would a loving God sic satan on Job? When we read of this encounter between God and satan in the true context of the Word, we finally understand that He did not! He simply was bragging about His servant Job. That caused satan to rear his ugly head, and he said, “Oh yeah, You think he’s so much, let me do my evil works in his life and see if He still loves You and serves You.”
satan was tempting God!
satan had been wandering around the earth looking for someone to accuse. Not being like God, omnipresent, he had to go running around to find sin. I’m sure that wasn’t hard to find with all the idol worship and other things going on in Job’s day. Revelation 12:10 says that satan accused the brethren day and night. I feel sure this conversation took place between God and satan because satan was accusing Israel and God said, “Oh yeah! Not every one of my children is wicked. What about my buddy Job? He’s still good and righteous. He’s not walking in sin,” and satan assured God he could turn Job’s heart from Him by killing, stealing and destroying all Job had been given by God. When that didn’t work, satan set Job’s bereaved wife against him.
Can you hear Mrs. Job now? “Job, you old fool, what do we have left to live for. Our family, property, servants, and wealth was recalled by God. Curse God and die.” I believe that, had Job taken his life, she would have taken hers. Mrs. Job didn’t have the sores to contend with, but her grief was profound. Bless the Lord, as a type of Christ, Job overcame the devil and his temptation when he responded to his wife with, “…Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10). Job’s integrity never wavered even in the face of his mournful grieving wife.
I also want you to see verse 13, “So they (his three friends) sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job was so deeply steeped in grief his companions could not bring themselves to enter into that grief with him and, yet, Job maintained his integrity before God, man, and the lying devil who is the accuser of the brethren.
If Job, who had not met Jesus personally, was not saved, and did not have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost could resist the temptations of the evil serpent of old, how much more able are we to walk in uprightness of heart before God?
V. 11 – “And they overcame him (the devil and his angels)…” What and who overcame him? It was the Blood of Jesus and the word of testimony from the martyrs. The martyrs gave their lives willingly (“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” [Luke 14:26]) for the Lord and He will allow them to take part in His victory over the devil and his angels. The martyrs who were station under the altar (Revelation 6:9) were convened to shout of the glorious victory for themselves and the saints.
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:2). Shortly does not mean quickly but swiftly. Jesus will suddenly knock that devil out of heaven forever. At the appointed time, it will be done, as they say in Maine, in a quick hurry.
V. 12 –“Therefore rejoice of heavens…” Look with me at Psalm 96:10-13.
“Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”
The defeat and casting down of satan ushered in the third woe. “Woe to the inhabitants of earth and the sea.” The devil is angry, furious, boiling! He wants to kill everything in the earth so that Jesus will have nothing to rule over. But God has that taken care of. He will only allow the devil 1,260 days, 42 months, to vent his rage (“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” [Matthew 24:22]) and “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days” [Mark 13:20). This woe will be in effect throughout the spilling out of the seven bowls of wrath.
Another thing I found while doing research for this study, is a verse that confirms what many pastors are finally preaching today. There is power in the tongue! This power comes from repenting, diligent searching for truth in the Word, and accepting and putting into effect in our lives the corrections we find in the Word. When you set your heart and mind on finding the truth of God and begin speaking the words of truth, your words change things.
Read with me now from Daniel. “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words” (Daniel 10:12).
“…thy words were heard…” When we pray, God hears and immediately begins to act on our requests. “…and I am come for thy words.” Who comes? The Holy Spirit of God comes to put the prayer answers to work in our lives. That’s why it’s vital for Christians never to speak negatively of something we have prayed positively about. It’s called digging up your seed. We plant the seed of faith (prayer) with words and we dig them right back up with words.
Let me give you an example: We pray, “Lord, please take this headache from me.”
We then say, “Oh man, get me a Tylenol, my head is killing me!”
We loose in heaven our healing with prayer and bind it right back up with unbelief. The martyrs under the altar did not renounce their words. They spoke the truth and died for defending it. Your words have power. Please begin to speak what you want instead of what you have. It does not constitute lying to declare that God has healed your throbbing head in heaven and that the manifestation of it is coming to earth. If you want to take a Tylenol meanwhile, there is nothing wrong with that unless you declare God’s healing of no effect. Do you need medication? Take it! But take it in faith that it’s the healing power of God, not a concoction of men.
STUDY: PART 41
V. 13 – We understand that during the Tribulation there will arise an all-out winner take all war in heaven between the Archangel Michael, leader of the angelic host, and his angels against the devil and his angels. We know the outcome is certain as satan was defeated on the cross. His defeat actually began in the garden, but Jesus took all control from satan when he went to Hades before His resurrection to get the keys of death and hell from the devil. After the war in heaven that we studied in Revelation 12:5-9, satan was cast from heaven for the final time. satan realizes now that he’s out for good and begins to persecute the “woman” which is Israel.
Israel is the woman who “gave birth to the male” child. It was from that nation that Jesus Christ came forth, was born of the Virgin Mary, and became the Savior of the world. satan hates Jesus and wants Him defeated, but this will never happen. His only line of defense against the Lord is to destroy the Jews. “He persecuted* the woman” represents the worst demonstration of anti-Semitism to ever come against Israel. Hitler was bad, but satan will be harsher. He will destroy 2/3 of the Israelites who remain. The devil is now very angry for having lost his place in heaven finally and absolutely. He can no longer stand in the presence of God to accuse the brethren. He’s been cast to earth and will work his way toward his final move, the Lake of Fire.
V. 14 – “And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle…” What these two wings represent in unknown. There is much speculation that it would be caravans of camel or horses, troop transport vehicles, or airplanes. I’m not willing to take part in this speculation. I believe God has always protected Israel supernaturally and can’t see why this occasion would be any different regardless of what He chooses to use. Remember how God took Israel across the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-28) then parted the River Jordan when Elisha struck it with Elijah’s mantle (II Kings 2:14). Remember how He supplied manna and water supernaturally each day to sustain Israel in the wilderness. Remember how He sent the ravens to feed Elijah at the brook of Cherith. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
This promise of protection by wings was given to Israel a long time ago by the prophets. Here is one instance, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). (Other verses to read: Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, 12; Ruth 2:11, 12; Psalm 36:7. I’m sure you can find more.)
Israel has always been under God’s protection since He called them out to be His own nation. God has made a divine plan for her redemption and salvation. There is no way He will change His mind about her even during the Tribulation. Remember, eagles catch and devour snakes. satan will be no exception. She will be protected for 3 1/2 years, or the second half of the Tribulation period.
V. 15, 16 – “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as (like) a flood after the woman…” No one can know for sure what the river is, but the word “as” might indicate it’s not a real water flood. It could be that he will pursue Israel with the armies from the north that will flow toward her as a river. We can find this spoken of in Isaiah 8:7, 8, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” And again in Jeremiah 46:7, 8, “Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.” So – it’s not farfetched to consider the flood one of people converging in the opening of the place where the Lord has hidden Israel.
As always, God came to Israel’s rescue. This time He opened the ground to swallow the army. Whether this is with an earthquake or a nuclear weapon as some speculate, I do not know. It says that the ground literally opened and swallowed, and I believe it. This is not a new concept in the Bible either. God used this method of ridding Israel of her enemies in the Old Testament. Let’s look at Number 16:28-33, “And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.”
V. 17 – “And the dragon was wroth (enraged; extremely angry) 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.” It’s pretty sure who the remnant is in this verse. Since they keep the Commandments of God, which is the Jewish law, they are Jews. That they also keep the testimony of Jesus means they are saved. These are the 144,000 Messianic Jews, 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, who are witnessing throughout the earth and all the saved ones who maintain their testimony of Jesus as Savior and Lord.
What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? Let’s see how Paul says it. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (I Corinthians 2:1, 2). And Paul warned, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy). I believe the devils last attack, after being soundly defeat so many times before, will be against all professing Christians.
Let’s look at three of his most embarrassing defeats contained in this chapter of Revelation.
1. He has failed to destroy the man child (12:1-6).
2. He has lost the war in heaven (12:7-9).
3. He failed to destroy the woman (12:13-16).
The only ones left to destroy are the Christians who did not flea, but stayed and witnessed to a lost, dying world.
I’ll finish with I John 5:2-5, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
*Persecute has two meanings as a verb. It can be to “drive away” or “to pursue”. In this verse, both meanings apply. The devil will drive the woman forward toward what he thinks will be her destruction and he will pursue her to be sure of the results.