Added Details: The Judgment of Israel
Revelation 12 – 14
Revelation 12 – 14
False Triad of Evil. Satan is involved in a false triad, described in Rev. 12 and 13.
- The Great Red Dragon (Satan). Satan seeks to destroy the man-child (Christ and the church) who is caught up to God and to His throne. He then persecutes the seed of the woman (remnant). Satan is in contrast to the Spirit of God who seeks to glorify Christ.
- The Beast from the Sea (Beast). The personal beast is under the control of Satan, and seeks to subject the world under his dominion. The Beast is in contrast to the Father.
- The Beast from the Earth (False Prophet). The False Prophet or Antichrist leads the Roman earth into an idolatrous worship of the personal Beast. He imitates the Lamb, but is opposite from Christ in his moral character. Antichrist is in contrast to the Son.
The Believing Jewish Remnant under Satan’s Persecution
¶ 19 And the temple of God in the heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple: and there were (1) lightnings, and (2) voices, and (3) thunders, and (4) an earthquake, and (5) great hail. v.19 The Temple Opened. All expositors agree that v.19 belongs with ch.12. The “temple of God in the heaven” being opened marks a division in the book. Revelation 6-11 are judgments from the throne connected with creation, and Revelation 12-16 are from the temple connected with the holy character of God. The “ark” is the divine link with God’s ancient people Israel, now being resumed again, on the basis of God’s faithfulness. Then proceed five symbols of judgment that prepare us to receive greater details than we have had before (see Rev. 4:5, Rev. 8:5); “lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail”.
Historical: Satan’s Personal War Against Christ (12:1-5)
¶ And a great sign was seen in the heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; v.1 The Woman. The mention of signs (v.3) tells us we are on Jewish ground (Matt. 16:1). The “woman clothed with the sun” is The nation of Israel (Genesis 37:9-11) in the purpose of God as a supreme governing authority; i.e. what she will be under Messiah (Isa. 60:1-3; e.g. Num. 23:25). The “moon” or subordinate powers (the nations) under her feet. The crown of twelve stars speak of all twelve tribes, seen together, a picture of completeness of administration. Note: there are two types of crowns in Revelation: “crowns” speak of honor, and “diadems” which speak of victory.
2 and being with child she cried, being in travail, and in pain to bring forth. v.2 Ready to Deliver. The woman is pictured as pregnant, and entering labor. The child in her womb is the Messiah. The birth pangs represent Israel’s low moral condition, and their suffering under Roman rule at the time of Christ’s birth. An example of the woman crying is in Matt. 2:18. Meanwhile the remnant were waiting for Christ’s advent, because they had intelligence in the prophecy of Daniel’s seventy weeks).
¶ 3 And another sign was seen in the heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems; v.3 The Great Red Dragon. Another sign is introduced: a great red dragon. The dragon is Satan acting in a political capacity. He is only called “great” in this chapter while he is in heaven. When he is cast down, “great” is no longer used. “Red” is the color of bloodshed, but it is also the color of earthly rule (scarlet is rule, but purpose is royalty). “Dragon” represents Satan’s character in exertion of his power. The characteristics given are anticipative of Satan’s role in prophecy. The “seven heads” represent spiritual completeness of evil. The “ten horns” represent incompleteness in administration (Dan. 7:7, Satan controlled the historical Roman Empire). The“seven diadems” represent the fact that spiritual evil will be crowned, in contrast with Rev.13:1 where the horns – political aspect – are crowned.
Things with ten horns:
- the Old Roman Empire (Dan. 7:7)
- the Revived Roman Empire (Rev. 17:7)
- the Now Satanic Revived Roman Empire (Rev. 13:1)
- the Dragon, power behind Roman Empire (Rev. 12:3)
Whenever you get 7 heads and 10 horns combined it is connected with the revived Roman Empire.
4 and his tail draws the third part of the stars of the heaven; and he cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, in order that when she brought forth he might devour her child. v.4 The Dragon’s Efforts. The dragon is pictured first of all as drawing “the third part ot the stars of the heaven”, and casting them “to the earth”. These stars are the leaders of the Roman Empire, which were brought under Satan’s control; apostatized, and mobilized to thwart God’s purpose in the coming of Christ. The dragon stands before the woman, ready to devour her child. This was historically fulfilled when Satan, using Herod the Great, tried to kill the Lord (Matt. 2). This verse exposes that Satan’s controversy is really with Christ. He wages a proxy war with the saints, but his animosity is really against the woman’s Seed.
5 And she brought forth a male son, who shall shepherd all the nations with an iron rod; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. v.5 The Man-Child caught up. The woman gave birth to the child, representing how Christ came to Israel (Rom. 9:5). A statement is made of His dominion, which will go far beyond Israel, including “all nations”. He will “shepherd” them (Psa. 72:11, Matt.25:32), exerting His authority. But contrast “iron rod” with “iron teeth” (Dan. 7:19). The account jumps from Christ’s birth to His ascension. This word “caught up” is only elsewhere used for the Church, and for Paul caught up to the third heaven. This verses may include the rapture of the Church, because in prophecy the church is not distinguished from Christ, as the two are united in the purpose of God. Christ is still seated on His Father’s throne. Soon He will take His own throne, but that will be in the Millennium (distinguished in Rev. 3:19). This corresponds to Daniel 9:26; “And after the sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing”. In heaven He got everything, but as regards the kingdom on earth, He got nothing. In heaven Christ waits for the kingdom-glory.
Mid-trib war in heaven and its results (12:6-12)
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has there a place prepared of God, that they should nourish her there a thousand two hundred and sixty days. v.6 The Remnant Sheltered. The narrative now jumps forward over two thousand years, plus three and a half years, because the Church period is a parenthesis in God’s dealings with Israel. This is the same event as v.14; the remnant fleeing from Judea to escape the storm of judgment. But between v.6 and v.14 is the reason why she fled. The majority of the faithful remnant flee Judea at the Lord’s direction (Matt. 24:15) to the mountains, and stay until the Lord appears and reveals Himself to them (Zech. 14), and the she will come up “out of the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved” (Song. 8:5). Some of the surrounding nations will shelter the fleeing Jews (Isa. 16:4, Ezek. 11:16). The “they” who nourish the woman might include the Maskilim, who teach the remnant and ‘feed’ them (Dan. 12:3). The duration of her time in hiding is 1260 days, which is the last three and a half years, although every day of their care noticed (Matt. 25:34-40).
¶ 7 And there was war in the heaven: Michael and his angels went to war with the dragon. And the dragon fought, and his angels; 8 and he prevailed not, nor was their place found any more in the heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent, he who is called Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole habitable world, he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. vv.7-9 War in Heaven. God must cleanse the heavens first, then the earth (Job 15:15, Heb. 9:23). Michael is the only archangel ever mentioned, always connected with Israel (Dan. 10:21). This time (v.7) corresponds to when Michael “stands up” (Dan. 12:1). Micheal and Satan have had one controversy in the past, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9). Satan outranks Michael in status, although Michael is elect. Therefore, Michael did not dare to accuse Satan, because he had respect for authority. But in the middle of the prophetic week, God will instruct Michael to stand up, and the two armies of angels – on elect, the other fallen – will join in battle. Satan will be vanquished in the heavenly places, and cast down to earth. Satan’s influence will be restricted to earth (Job 1:6). This wonderful defeat was foreseen by the Lord on earth, when the victory was foreshadowed by the disciples’ power over demons (Luke 10:18). In v.9 we have four names of Satan. First, “Dragon”, symbolizing cruel power (Rev. 12:3) and marked by persecution (Rev. 12:4). Second, “Serpent”, symbolizing the deceiver (Gen. 3:1), deceiving or beguiling the woman. Third, “Devil”, symbolizing the slanderer or tempter (Luke 4), as in the three temptations. Fourth, “Satan”, which means the adversary or opposer (Zech. 3:1, 1 Chron. 21:1), and this is same word as “Abaddon” or “Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11). This is the last time in scripture that the Dragon is called ‘great’. After v.9 he is simply ‘the dragon’. The demons also will be restricted to earth.
Satan's Downward Progression. It is striking that we always see Satan moving down, down, down...
- Iniquity was found in him; "I will cast thee to the ground" (Ezek. 28:14-16)
- Cursed in the garden; "upon thy belly shalt thou go" (Genesis 3:14-15)
----- 4000 Years ------
- Bound in the wilderness; "first bind the strong man, and then spoil his house" (Matt. 12:29; Luke 4:13)
- Defeated at the cross; "through death he might annul him who has the power of death... the devil" (Heb. 2:14)
----- 2000 Years ------
- Cast down to the earth; "he was cast out into the earth" (Rev. 12:9)
- Cast into the abyss; "and cast him into the abyss, and shut it" (Rev. 20:3)
----- 1000 Years ------
- Cast into the lake of fire; "was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" (Rev. 20:10)
¶ 10 And I heard a great voice in the heaven saying, Now is come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren has been cast out, who accused them before our God day and night: 11 and “they” have overcome him by reason of the blood of the Lamb, and by reason of the word of their testimony, and have not loved their life even unto death. vv.10-11 A voice is heard in heaven, and it is a united voice of the heavenly saints. Heaven has witnessed the opening motion (“kickoff”) of the Lord’s work to set up His kingdom, and so an anticipative statement is made; “Now is come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ”. The power which Christ will exert in establishing the kingdom will first be put forth to cast Satan out; “the accuser of our brethren has been cast out, who accused them before our God day and night”. This helps us to understand the activity of Satan, who always accuses the object of God’s delight (e.g. Job), or Christians today, and in context “our brethren” would be the faithful remnant. This also dovetails with 1 John 2 where we learn that Jesus is our Advocate with the Father. Satan accuses, our Advocate answers! The praise is twofold: (1) because Satan is cast down, and (2) because the saints on earth have overcome Satan “by reason of the blood of the Lamb, and by reason of the word of their testimony”. This must be talking about the martyred portion of the faithful Jewish remnant, because it says “to the death”. However, we can apply it to ourselves. We can overcome Satan, who wants to control us by accusations, because the blood has given us a purged conscience (Heb. 10:2).
12 Therefore be full of delight, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great rage, knowing he has a short time. v.12 Heaven and Earth. The heaven is told to rejoice, and the earth is told to watch out. In contrast to earth-dwellers, there are heaven-dwellers, who can rejoice because God is in the final stages of victory. But woe to everything below; stable (earth) or unstable (sea). It doesn’t matter where people are on earth, the Devil is going into overdrive; “the devil has come down to you, having great rage”. The devil knows that he has “a short time”, which would be three and a half years (Job 20:5).
War on Earth, Persecution of the Remnant (12:13-17)
¶ 13 And when the dragon saw that he had been cast out into the earth, he persecuted the woman which bore the male child. 14 And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the desert into her place, where she is nourished there a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. vv.13-14 Persecution and Deliverance of the Remnant. Satan’s fall will spark intense persecution of “the woman”, who pictures those of faith who stand in the place of Israel (although not all twelve tribes will be there). The “two wings of the great eagle” represent providential help (rapid motion and guaranteed protection) from God (see Ex. 19:4). In v.6 the sheep-gentiles of Matt. 25 are in view under the pronoun “they”, and so there each day (1260) of their kindness is noticed. In v.14 God’s protection is in view, and “a time, and times, and half a time” (three and a half years, see Dan. 7:25) are mentioned.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth behind the woman water as a river, that he might make her be as one carried away by a river. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. vv.15-16 Phase 1: Corruption. Satan unleashes a “river”, the movements of people under the influence of special motive and guidance, to overwhelm the woman and bring her under Satan’s power. This river of apostasy will be escaped by those who flee to mountains (Matt. 24:21-26). The “earth”, the organised system in which men live, providentially absorbs the attack and it fizzles out. “The forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured” (2 Sam. 18:8).
17 And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus. v.17 Phase 2: Violence. Satan unleashes a “war” of intense physical persecution, to be endured by those who remain. There is no providential help for these; they are martyred or hurt badly. These ones have the “testimony of Jesus”, His personal testimony. They also are those who “keep the commandments of God”, which implies faithfulness and obedience to the Word of God.
Events that take place in the Middle of the Week. The middle of Daniel's seventieth week is an important milestone in prophecy. It is referred to as "the midst of the week" in Daniel 9:27.
- War in heaven, and Satan cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:9)
- False Church demolished by Roman Empire (Rev. 17:16)
- Transfer of Roman government to the Beast (Rev. 13:3)
- Tremendous upheaval in the West (Rev. 6:12-17)
- He will subdue three of the horns (Dan. 7:8, 20, 24-25)
- Then the others will capitulate (Rev. 17:13)
- The Antichrist is revealed (Rev. 13:11; 2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 9:1)
- Jewish sacrifices forced to stop (Dan. 9:27)
- Abomination of desolation set up (Dan. 12:11; Matt. 24:15)
- Part of the faithful remnant flees to the mountains (Matt. 24:16)
- Intense persecution begins (Matt. 24:21)
- Two witnesses begin to prophesy (Rev. 11:3-6)
- Half hour silence, then first trumpet blown (Rev. 8)