Scripture Focus- Revelation 12 and 13
All of history as we know it, is progressing toward a conclusion on God’s timetable. God is the Creator, and He will bring what He has made, to a final conclusion.
Jesus warned in Matthew 24:23-24 If anyone tells you then, “Look, here is the Messiah!” or “Over here! Do not believe it! False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note: I have told you in advance. So if they tell you, ‘Look, He’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Look, He’s in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.
One such false prophet, David Meade, a self-proclaimed, “Christian numerologist,” predicted the rapture would come on April 23, 2018. His reasoning was the sun and moon would be in Virgo, as would Jupiter, which supposedly represents the Messiah. He based his prophecy on Revelation 12:1-2. He is one, in a long line of false prophets.
Creation-Nations-History of Israel
The Coming of Jesus to the World
Life-Death-Resurrection-Ascension of Jesus
The Birth of the New Testament Church at Pentecost
The Church Age- Great Commission
The Tribulation Period (7 years)
Second Coming of Jesus
The Millennium (1000 years)
Eternity (Heaven and Hell)
There are many nuances regarding end times views.
Premillennialism: Christ will return before the millennium to establish his millennial kingdom. History will continue on a downward spiral until that time.
Postmillennialism: Christ will return after the millennium. Until then the church will spread the gospel and peace will be established on the earth.
Amillennialism: Christ will return after the millennium. The defining characteristic for this view is that the millennium is a present reality, it is now between the departure and return of Jesus.
A significant question for many in end times events, is the rapture and its timing. The word rapture comes from a Latin translation of the Greek word harpazo, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 meaning “a carrying off, a transport, or a snatching away.” Some believe this verse, along with Revelation 12:5 which we will consider today, point to a pre-tribulational rapture.
The pre-tribulational position holds that the second coming of Jesus will be in two phases. First He will come for believers, both the living and dead, in the rapture, and it will be a secret return. Then after the seven-year tribulation He will return to earth with the church.
The post-tribulational position holds that the return of Christ will be at the end of the seven-year tribulation period and will not be secret. Christ will return visibly and triumphantly to end the present evil age.
The Practical concern- Either the church is on earth from Revelation chapters 4-18, or not.
2000 Baptist Faith and Message X. Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
End Times Essentials- The end is coming. Jesus will return personally and visibly. The dead will be raised to judgment. The righteous will receive their reward. All people who have ever existed will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell.
Let’s work our way through Revelation 12-13 and consider what is represented here.
Rev 12:1-6 A Woman, a Child, and a Dragon
John saw a great sign, the first of seven in the second half of Revelation. The woman he saw is symbolic of a mother, representing Israel, not an individual. In the OT, Israel is the adulterous wife of God and He will eventually restore her to Himself.
The woman here is clothed with the sun, and has the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. The symbolism echoes Genesis 37:9-11 and Joseph’s dream. In Joseph’s dream the sun represents Jacob, the moon Rachel, and the eleven stars his brothers. Joseph’s life parallels Israel’s history. Both were taken captive by Gentile nations, and ultimately delivered and exalted in God’s kingdom.
The woman being clothed with the sun tells of Israel’s glory as God’s chosen nation. It also connects with Jacob, the sun in Joseph’s dream, an heir to the covenant with Abraham and Israel as the fulfillment of the covenant.
The moon under her feet is likely related to Israel’s times of worship. The crown of twelve stars on the woman’s head refers to the twelve tribes of Israel. She was with child, and cried out being in labor and in pain to give birth.
The nation of Israel waited for Messiah to come forth. Satan wanted to destroy the mother and child. The nation was in pain awaiting the first arrival of the Messiah and will be again awaiting his second coming.
The great red dragon is symbolic of Satan. A dragon is a terrifying figure. The Old Testament word in Hebrew translated as dragon is monster or sea monster a large and ferocious animal. The Hebrew word for serpent in Genesis 3:1 is used interchangeably with the word for dragon. He is destructive and deadly.
The dragon is said to have seven heads and ten horns with seven diadems on his head. Some commentators believe the seven diadems represent the dominion of Satan in the world historically, chronologically, through Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and finally the future world rule of the Antichrist. The ten-horns represent the kings who will rule under the Antichrist.
When Satan fell from Heaven he took a third of the angelic host with him. They were cast down to earth from heaven. He stood before the woman who was about to give birth to devour her child. Satan attacked Jesus through Herod because he wanted him dead. She still gave birth to Jesus who was to rule all the nations.
God will once again block Satan’s attempt to destroy his people during the Tribulation by hiding them. The Jewish people will flee into the wilderness where they will be nourished by God. The 1,260 days corresponds to the last half of the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 12:7-12 The Dragon is thrown out of Heaven
There has been an ongoing spiritual war, since Satan fell from Heaven. The earth is Satan’s domain. The Bible describes him as “the god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. The war will rage during the time of the Tribulation. Michael the archangel and his angels will wage war with the dragon. Michael is portrayed in the Bible as the defender of God’s people.
The dragon and his angels are Satan and the fallen angels under his command. A fierce battle is coming in the future. Their defeat will be so thorough that no place will be found for them. As a result of their defeat, the great dragon will be thrown down from heaven to earth. This is the second and permanent expulsion of Satan. He is called the serpent of old, because he was the serpent in the Garden of Eden. He is Satan, because he is the adversary of God’s people. He is the dragon who deceives the whole world.
When Satan is defeated, there will be resounding praise in heaven from the glorified saints.
Revelation 12:13-17 The Woman is Persecuted
The devil, knowing he only has a short time, will persecute the woman who gave birth to the male child. The two wings of the great eagle, given to the woman so she can fly, are symbolic of escape from the persecution of Satan. Wings symbolizes swiftness and strength.
Jesus said in Matthew 24 Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let the reader understand, then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. . .Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.
The duration of hiding is said to be time and times and half a time. The phrase is from Daniel 7:25, and refers to the second half of the Tribulation. It is the same period defined in v6 as 1,260 days. God will protect his people from the presence of the serpent.
The serpent, representing Satan, spews water like a river out of his mouth. The earth will open up and drink up the river symbolizing the destruction of Satan’s attacking army. Satan will then turn his focus toward new targets, all who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 13:1-10 The Beast comes up from the sea.
The account of the dragon in Chapter 11 concludes the account of the dragon, and his war against God and the people of God. The dragon will summon the Antichrist, described as a beast coming up out of the sea. The beast represents a kingdom and a person. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the Antichrist will be a man, but guided by the dragon, controlled by evil. Again, is the description of Satan having ten horns, seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, the same description as used in verse 3.
The description of the beast in v2 parallels Daniel 7:3-7. The dragon works his power through the beast. Antichrist will exercise authority over the whole world. John saw one of the heads as if it had been slain and his fatal wound healed.
The whole earth will be amazed and follow the beast because of his power. The amazement will soon turn to worship. By worshiping Antichrist, they will be worshipping Satan. Deity will be attributed to him and his power will be unsurpassed politically, militarily, and in religion.
Antichrist will speak arrogant words and blasphemies against God. He will have authority to act only for forty-two months the second half of the Tribulation. He will have power to overcome the saints physically, but not spiritually. All whose names are not written in the Book of Life will worship the Antichrist. Whether destined for captivity or death, God’s people are to entrust themselves to Him.
Revelation 13:11-18 Another Beast comes up from the earth.
Like the first beast, the second beast will be a person also. Rather than coming up out of the sea, this beast will come up out of the earth. This beast will have two horns, and he will seem as harmless as a lamb. He will be a deceiver, and be the dragon Satan’s mouthpiece. His focus will be on leading people to worship the first beast. His efforts will be boosted by the healing of the Antichrist’s fatal wound, a supposed resurrection. He will perform great signs on his own.
Satan is able to fabricate supernatural miracles to deceive people. People on the earth will be deceived because of the signs he will perform. People will be so deceived they will make an image of the beast in blatant idolatry.
All who refuse to worship the beast will be killed. All will be required to take a mark to be preserved from his attack. There will be the threat of death, and there will be life consequences for this as well. Without the mark, you won’t be able to buy or sell anything, and economic control over the whole world will be exerted. There has been much speculation about what the mark is- maybe a microchip or something along those lines. John indicates it will either have the name of the beast or the number of his name. Seven is God’s number. The number six is that of man.
What conclusions can we draw from these symbols?
We have a strong enemy.
The strong enemy is the great fiery red dragon. Ch 12:3
The Bible gives us a clear presentation of who Satan is and what he does. He is an angelic being who fell from his position in heaven due to sin rooted in pride.
He was created as a holy angel. Isaiah 14:12 gives Satan’s pre-fall name as Lucifer. Ezekiel 28:12-14 describes Satan as having been created a cherub, apparently the highest created angel. He became prideful in his beauty and status and decided he wanted to sit on a throne above that of God. God permanently removed Satan from his exalted position and role.
He became the ruler of this world and the prince of the power of the air John 12:31. Another of his titles, the devil, means “slanderer.”
He counterfeits what God does, hoping to gain the worship of the world and encourage opposition to God’s kingdom. Satan is the ultimate source behind every false cult and world religion. His destiny is certain, an eternity in the lake of fire.
The strong enemy opposes God and his people. Ch 12:17
His name means “adversary” or “one who opposes.” Jesus called him a liar and a thief and said the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
The strong enemy is the accuser of the brothers and sisters. Ch 12:10 He accuses the brothers and sisters day and night.
For now, God has allowed Satan the accuser limited access before the throne of God in heaven. In the book of Job, Satan stood before God and accused a righteous man named Job, claiming that Job was only faithful because God had blessed him abundantly. Satan argued that if Job is put to the test, he would eventually turn from God and forsake his righteous life. God gave Satan the accuser permission to test Job.
Satan is relentless in his accusations—he accuses God’s people continually. Satan the accuser stands before God in an attempt to somehow lessen God’s love or diminish God’s mercy. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” Romans 8:33
Satan wants to remind you of your sin and sow doubt into your heart and mind. Satan says, “Look at your sin”; God says, “Look to your Savior Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.”
In his book Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan described a battle between the accuser, Apollyon, and Christian in the Valley of Humiliation. One of Apollyon’s ploys is to recite a list of Christian’s sins. Christian’s response to the accuser is full of humility and faith: “All this is true; and much more which thou hast left out: but the Prince whom I serve and honour is merciful and ready to forgive.” At the mention of Christ’s forgiveness, Apollyon flies into a rage.
The strong enemy hates those who keep the commands of God and hold firmly to the testimony of Jesus. Ch 12:17
We have a great Savior.
Ch 12:10 The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have now come.
Jesus is great in who he is.
Hebrews 1:8 To the Son, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
Jesus is great in what he has done.
Colossians 2:14-15 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly, he triumphed over them in him.
Jesus is great in what he will do.
Titus 2:13 We wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We have a secure future.
Ch 12:11 They conquered the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the power of their testimony for they did not love their lives to the point of death.
We will conquer the enemy by the blood of the Lamb.
We will conquer the enemy by the power of our testimony.
We will conquer when we do not love our lives even to the point of death.
Ch 13:8 He has secured the lives of those whose names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the world through his blood.
The Book of Life is the set of names of those who will live with God forever in heaven. It is the roll of those who are saved. The same book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life because it contains the names of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus.
How can I be sure my name is written in the Book of Life? Repent of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Once your name is written in the Book of Life, it is never erased. The saved are written in God’s registry and have the promise of eternal security. God keeps good records. He knows His own, and He has set the names of His children permanently in His book.
Believe and endure!
According to Ch 13:10 endurance and faithfulness is called for from the saints.
From 1985 to 1987, Rick Hanson, a paraplegic athlete, circled the globe on his wheelchair to raise awareness of and money for spinal cord research. For 26 months, he and his team wheeled over 40,000 kilometers through 34 countries. There are photos of him in all kinds of weather: burning heat, slashing rain, swirling blizzard, howling wind; and in all terrain: desert wastelands, dense forests, patchwork farmlands, craggy mountains. Mile upon mile upon tiresome mile. Hands thick with calluses. Thighs bruised, back blistered.
But on May 23, 1987, Rick Hanson came home. When he was still far away, many miles from Vancouver, people gathered to welcome him. As he got closer, the crowd grew along both sides of the highway: hundreds of people, then thousands, then thousands on thousands. They roared, clapped, cheered, and wept. They threw flowers. Rick moved with power and grace, effortless.
A capacity crowd of sixty thousand people national and international dignitaries, rock stars and movie stars, television crews, family, friends, those lucky enough to get tickets waited inside, delirious with anticipation. As Rick got nearer the stadium, the streets grew impossibly dense with people. Helicopters hovered overhead. Police in cars and on motorcycles flanked his sides. Other wheelchair athletes joined him, coming up behind like a legion of charioteers, flashes from their spinning spokes spilling down the roadway like fistfuls of tossed coins.
Rick could hear the roar of voices coming from inside the stadium. But not even that prepared him for what happened next. He swooped through the wide lower gates and glided out onto the stadium floor and sixty thousand people went berserk. Leaping, dancing, blowing horns, whirling clackers, the air shrill with wolf whistles, exploding with applause, swelling with throaty shouts of welcome and triumph. And every time it seemed about to taper off, a fresh wind caught it and carried it higher, louder, brighter, fuller. Such a great cloud of witnesses.