Rev Mar’s text and and slides for his January 10 sermon may be downloaded here:
The War in Heaven and on Earth
- Parenthetical Chapters
- As a review, this slide before you presents the parenthetical chapters 12-14 of the Book of Revelation showing the events of the parentheses and the characters involved. Parenthetical chapters do not advance the narrative of the chronological order of events of the Tribulation Period but focus on important characters during the pertaining period. A parenthetical chapter is like a parenthesis inserted in the middle of a sentence with the purpose of giving more information about the subject without breaking the sentence structure. Chapters 12 through 14 covers the changes that take place in characters and relationships during the middle of the Tribulation period.
- The final battles of satan’s long war against the Lord God are yet to be fought in the future. These will take place from the middle of the Tribulation Period until the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period. That period encompasses the last 2nd half of the Tribulation Period. At this period, satan will assault the purposes of God and His people with fury but will fail. Satan will fight desperately to prevent the Lord Jesus Christ from establishing His millennial kingdom. Satan and his cohorts will be utterly defeated at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and will be enchained in the bottomless pit during the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of the millennial reign of the Lord, satan will be released to wage the final war against the Lord together with those he has deceived but with fire from heaven will be vanquished and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet have been previously cast to be tormented forever and ever.
- The important characters presented in Revelation chapters 12-14 are:
- The woman representing Israel (12:1-5)
- The dragon or satan (12:7-17; 13:1-2, 4, 11)
- The Man-child, Christ (12:4-16)
- Michael, representing the angels (12:7-9)
- The remnant of Israel represented by the 144,000 Israelites mentioned in Chapter 7 (7:4-8; 14:1-5)
- The beast out of the sea, the world dictator of the end time (13:1-8)
- The beast out of the earth, a religious leader who is a false prophet and supports the world dictator (13:11-17)
- Chapter 12 Study continued. Chapter 12 will be broken down into three sections: (1) the characters involved for the period, (2) the war in heaven and (3) the war on earth.
- Characters involved:
- The woman that is clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars is an allusion to Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9. The sun and moon in this dream refer to Jacob and Rachel and the 11 stars refer to the sons of Jacob or Israel with Joseph making up the 12th star. This is a familiar imagery describing Israel. The woman is definitely not Mary, an actual woman who could not be dressed as described in the passage. Also, the woman is not the church because the church did not bring forth the Messiah but instead, Christ brought forth the church. The fact that the woman is pregnant and in pain refers to the experience of Israel awaiting the coming of her Messiah. Her sufferings refer to the nation as a whole.
- The dragon is identified in verse 9 to be the old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. Satan is not a dragon but a fallen angel but the symbolic description as a red dragon tells of his thirst for blood and deadly nature. It has 7 heads and 10 horns with diadems on its 7 heads. The 7 heads refer to the 7 consecutive world empires under satan’s dominion: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the ten-toes in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which is the Revived Roman Empire which will be the one-world government of the antichrist. The final kingdom ruled by the antichrist will be a ten-nation or ten-region confederacy. The ten horns represent the ten kings who will rule under the antichrist with 3 kings uprooted by the antichrist. (Daniel chapters 2 and 7; Revelation 13)
- The apostle John predicted that the tail of the dragon will throw a third part of the stars to the earth. These are the angelic host that rebelled along with him and cast down from heaven to earth together with satan (Isaiah 14:12-25; Ezekiel 28:12-17). If 1/3 of all the angels are fallen and the holy angels in Revelation 5:11 are numbered as ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands or 100 trillion (1 x 1014), therefore the fallen angel must be 50 trillion.
- The dragon is pictured as awaiting the birth of the child to devour Him as soon as the child is born. This refers to the birth of Jesus Christ and the attempts of Herod to kill the infant Jesus. Advised in a dream, Joseph had to take Mary and the child to Egypt because Herod has issued a decree that all male children from two years old and below in Bethlehem must be killed because of Herod’s jealousy of his throne to be taken away by the King of the Jews as inquired by the wise men from the east. (Matthew 2:16-18)
- The “male child” the woman bears, the one who is caught up to God’s throne is Jesus. We know that from the two psalms alluded to in verse 5. Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 both speak of the Messiah, that He will “rule the nations with a rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9), and that He will “sit at [God’s] right hand until [He] makes [his] enemies a footstool for [his] feet” (Psalm 110:1). Jesus’ rule over all nations with a rod of iron refers to the triumphant return of Jesus when He sets up His Millennial Kingdom.
- The Devil sought to kill Him or kept Jesus from saving the world. That continued throughout Christ’s ministry as satan tempted Jesus from going to the cross (Matthew 4:1-11). (John 8:58-59 People wanted to stone Him but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.) (Mark 4:35-41 a great storm of wind and the waves beat into the ship so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?) (Luk 4:29 People thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. Luk 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way.) (Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.) And up to His betrayal and death on the Cross. At every turn, Satan was at work to “devour” God’s Son. But he failed
- Despite Satan’s relentless efforts to prevent the prophecy of the birth of the seed of the woman to bruise the head of satan, the old serpent (Genesis 3:15), the fulfillment of the prophecy came when God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came in the flesh, born of a virgin, a descendant of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3) satan could not stop Christ from accomplishing redemption saving the world and was exalted to the right hand of the Father. The Lord will frustrate satan’s attempt to destroy Israel during the tribulation by hiding His people for 1,260 days in a place prepared for them in the wilderness and protecting them and nourishing them there as the Lord Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:15-21.
- The war in heaven. This is the first phase of satan’s final assault on the Lord Jesus Christ before He returns:
“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.” (12:7-8)
- There has been war in heaven since the fall of satan (Isiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11-19). Satan and his evil angels have actively opposed both the holy angels and God’s people since Satan’s fall (Daniel 10:12-13; 1Peter 5:8).
- The war in heaven between supernatural beings in the heavens will be at its peak during the tribulation period. But there have been battles between Michael and satan in the past. Michael, one of the chief princes came to help a holy angel against a powerful demon. (Daniel 10:13) Michael, the great prince which stands to defend the people of Israel. (Daniel 12:1) Also, Michael the archangel, when contended with the devil when he disputed about the body of Moses. (Jude 1:9)
- How long is the duration of the battle between Michael and satan before satan is cast down from heaven is not known. But satan is cast out of heaven between the start of the rapture to the middle of the tribulation period. After they leave heaven, they will have only 3 ½ years, a short time to deceive the earth. During that time the fury of satan will be directed on Israel or any follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The victory over satan. “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.” (Revelation 12:9)
- His defeat caused him to be permanently evicted from heaven. The most glorious created being, the star of the morning (Isaiah 14:12) is now and forever branded “the adversary”. He assaulted the Lord in his original rebellion when he demanded to be like the most High (Isaiah 14:14)
- The defeat of satan and eviction from heaven causes a celebration in heaven and the saints began rejoicing:
“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.
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.
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.” (Revelation 12:10-12)
- So certain is the establishing of the kingdom and the rule of Jesus Christ that though yet future, they are spoken of in the past tense. The heavenly worshippers also offer praise because their brethren on earth overcame satan.
- Being ejected from heaven, satan now will vent his full fury on God’s people on earth (Israel and other tribulation saints alive on earth) but they will not suffer defeat. The apostle John sees the victory already won because:
- First of all, “because of the blood of the Lamb” shed for all their sins. They “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14);
- Secondly, through “the word of their testimony”. Despite all the persecution they suffered, they remain faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Thirdly, they love not their lives even in the face of death. They are willing to pay the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Because of the defeat of satan and the triumph of the saints, heaven and earth are called to praise the Lord Jesus. the joyful praise is followed by a sobering warning, “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.”
- Believers are to be aware of satan’s strategy. (2Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.) Keep these in mind:
- The war on earth. There are 3 attacks satan’s forces will wage against Israel during the Tribulation.
- First attack:
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 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.
- Satan, the dragon, persecutes the woman (Israel). The Jews will be desperately needing assistance. By the Lord’s providence, there will be people to help them. These would be the people during the judgment of nations (the sheep and the goats) where the Lord Jesus separate the sheep nations from the goat nations. The sheep nations are the people who fed the Jews when they were hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed them when they were naked, visited when sick, visited in prison. (Matthew 25:34-40) These people who did kind deeds to the Jews, did them to the least of the brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in effect, they did them unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus they are the sheep that were blessed by the Lord saying to them,” Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” In other words, these are the surviving saints of the tribulation period who, at the risk of their own lives, have assisted the Jews during their intense persecution by satan. They are the ones who will enter the millennial kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- On the other hand, those who refused to assist the persecuted Jews during the tribulation will be separated as goats and they will be cursed by the Lord Jesus saying, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
- Aside from the Lord providentially using the Gentile tribulation saints in assisting the Jews, the Lord will miraculously intervene to give them “two wings of the great eagle” to bring them to the wilderness where they will be taken care of during the second half of the tribulation period. This is the same picture as to when Israel as a nation was delivered from Egypt. Exodus 19:4 “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” Wings also represent protection as when Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34)
- The location where the Jews will be protected by the Lord is not revealed but scholars have suggested Petra, an ancient city carved into rocky cliffs of Edom between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. This is approachable only through a narrow passage. In refuge, Israel will be supernaturally fed by the Lord and protected by the Lord for 3 ½ months. This intervention by the Lord is just as He provided their ancestors with manna and quail and water from the rock in their journey in the wilderness.
- Second attack:
Rev 12:15 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.
Rev 12:16 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.
- In the Old Testament, flood symbolizes trouble. The imagery here can be a literal flood of water (2 Samuel22:17; Job 27:20) or it can be figurative like an invading army (Jeremiah 45:8; 47:2; Daniel 11:26).
- Whatever it is, the Lord will open the earth to swallow the water or satan’s forces. One of the big earthquakes (Revelation 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18) during the tribulation may cause the ground to split to swallow the flood or satan’s army.
- Third attack:
Rev 12:17 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.
- In his frustration, satan will turn his fury toward new targets. Some have identified these as “the rest of her children with whom satan will make war” as the 144,000 Israelites (Revelation 7:2-8; 14:1-5) or they could be Gentile tribulation saints (7:9-14) who are the sons of Abraham by faith (Galatians 3:7)
- They are further described as “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17)
- Conclusion: Like the first two attacks against Israel, satan’s third attack on God’s people will also fail. all of satan’s efforts to prevent Jesus Christ from establishing His Kingdom are doomed to fail. We as believers in Jesus Christ shall also overcome the world by faith in Him (1 John 5:4-5). Let us keep in mind that:
- Our enemy is on the prowl. “Your adversary, the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (1Peter 5:8)
- Our enemy is one of the most powerful of all God’s created beings but he is not invincible. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
- Do not allow satan to get a foothold on you (Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.) but instead resist him (James 4:7 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)
- What we have here in Revelation 12 is a symbolic description of the very truth that Paul laid out in his letter to the Ephesians:
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Lord’s message: 10/1/2021