Thursday, May 07, 2009

Revelation 12

The seals and the trumpets (Revelation 6-11) describe the themes and characteristics of the period from Pentecost through the Great Tribulation (AD 70). Remember, the Great Tribulation is a time of trouble for believers. Believers are rejected, persecuted, and martyred. This Tribulation for believers leads to God taking vengeance on those who persecute.

Next, we are going to cover Revelation 12-16. Revelation 12:1-15:4 backs up and further describes the times of the seals and trumpets. Revelation 15:5-16:21 describes the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by the Seven Bowls of Wrath.

In Revelation 12, John is given a new vision, which is a retracing of the birth of the Jesus and of the church. This is described as two signs appearing in the heavens.

“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. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).

The first sign is a woman. This woman is Mary (specifically) and Israel (generally). She is pregnant and about to give birth to Jesus.

“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 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” (Revelation 12:3-4).

The second sign is a dragon, who is Satan. He has seven heads with seven diadems and ten horns. These will be explained later.

Satan wants to kill Jesus (specifically) and the church (generally). After the birth of Christ, Satan kills all males under the age of two. After the birth of the church, Satan persecutes and kills those in Jerusalem.

“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. 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” (Revelation 12:5-6).

This describes the incarnation, the ascension, and the dispersion. Jesus is born to rule, and so he ascends to heaven to take his throne. Because of persecution, the church flees Jerusalem into the “wilderness.”Again, these visions are not a comprehensive history of Christ and the church, but a selective, thematic history.

The 1,260 days is the exact same period of time that the two witnesses prophesy (Revelation 11:3). This is 3 years and 5½ months. The spiritual battle during this period is described next:

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 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” (Revelation 12:7-9).

Michael is an archangel. He and his angels fight against Satan and his angels (demons). This is the heavenly battle behind the earthly persecution. Michael’s side prevails, and Satan and his demons are cast out of heaven.Notice, we see four more names of Satan: dragon, serpent, Devil, and Satan (Revelation 12:9).

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth {geo=land} and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.’ And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 12:10-12).

Satan and his demons are kicked out of heaven, firmly establishing the kingdom of Christ in heaven and the church on earth. God has given Satan a short time (forty years) to torment the earth (geo, or land of Israel) and the sea (Gentiles).

“Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:13-17).

When Satan is cast out of heaven, he enters the temple and persecutes the woman (the church) via the Jews, as described in Acts 3-7. The Jewish believers flee into the wilderness (Acts 8:1), as Satan continues to try to persecute the them, but he is deterred. Instead, Satan goes after “the rest of her offspring,” which are the Gentile Christians.


Frontier Forest said...

So Eric, as you explain, “Satan and his demons are kicked out of heaven, firmly establishing the kingdom of Christ in heaven and the church on earth. God has given Satan a short time (forty years) to torment the earth (geo, orland of Israel) and the sea (Gentiles).” So as I read and try and understand, this 40 year passing of time has already occurred 2000 years ago. When Jesus died on the cross, around 33AD, then adding 40 years, the Temple was destroyed and the Jews were dispersed in 70 AD… Titus and the Roman legion tore down every rock, thus fulfilling this prophecy?

Eric Adams said...

Yes, more on this when I get to Revelation 20.

Frontier Forest said...

THE TRUTH REVEALED in why I too am not a dispensationalist!