The Weekend Word
What are we to consider for these next 3 chapters (12-14)? Chapter 11 finished the 7th trumpet.
- Do these stand alone? Do they connect directly to the 7 trumpets?
- I hold the position following the repetitive spiraling, cyclical view – seeing through pictures and different presentations and perspectives the retelling of the era of the church as it goes from the conclusion of the time of Christ when he was with us on the earth through to the time of the conclusion of this earth when Jesus will return in glory.
- So 12-14 is another perspective but in a strange way as an interlude between the judgments – and interlude between the 2nd and 3rd 7 fold visions of events.
- As we go through these various accounts we must keep in mind that they are John’s attempts at answering the question asked earlier – what about the enemies of God? How long Lord? Rev 6:10
- This is the 3rd scene of the end times – the battle between the triune God and the anti trinity. (which again is constantly before us in our daily lives.)
The Woman and the Dragon
As we go through chapter 12 we have an interesting cast of characters – The Woman – The Child – The Dragon – The Earth.
This vision that John now witnesses is unique in that it gives us insight into what is happening in the spiritual world. As Paul Harvey so characteristically use to say, “you’ve heard the news, now you’ll hear the rest of the story.” So it is with this chapter. Up to this point, John was shown things that were about to happen in the very near future. All these events were important to the Christians who were being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Now, he is being shown the real cause that was responsible for the tribulation that they were enduring. God is going to unmasked the real enemy of the Church.
1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
- What do we know of signs? We see the word 7 times in Revelation. Three times signifying a significant scene in a vision – Rev 12:1; 12:3 and 15:1 (12:1 & 15:1 are called great signs.)
- How about the sign given in Isaiah 7:14 – that was a good one.
- Four times we see signs in the plural and they refer to deceptive signs = 13:13 & 14; 16:14 and 19:20.
- The miracles of Jesus in John’s gospel are called signs – they point to Jesus as the promised Christ, the promised savior. Signs = the breaking in and revelation of the kingdom of God on the earth through Christ.
- So, in John’s gospel the signs climax with Jesus reigning from the cross – that the end time, the last days have come with Jesus – now the sign in heaven is a woman.
- Who is this woman? She is Zion – the mother of the faithful – the one undivided church of believers from both the old and new covenants – Isaiah 66:6-11. She is the Bride of Christ. Review her appearance above – she is beautiful and glorious, adorned as a bride.
- This is not the accidental church. This is not the church that was never supposed to be here – this church is not Plan B.
- Paul in Galatians 4:26 reminds us, as he quotes from Isa 54 – to show that Jerusalem is our mother in the faith. Also in Galatians 6:16. The church is the Israel of God.
- This woman is in contrast to 2 other women – the pagan false goddess Artimus, a representation that the 7 churches were well acquainted (see ch 2&3) and the Whore of Babylon who we will see in chapter17 working together with the scarlet beast.
2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
- John is picturing this pregnant woman as the OT people of God – everything they are / were is pointing to the birth / coming of Jesus – that messiah would come from the faithful remnant in Israel. God had promised messiah would be born of Abraham’s seed. Crying out in pain = the anxious waiting for the messiah to come.
- Verses 2-5 are very interesting. When John wrote his gospel he set out the life of Christ in 21 chapters. In Revelation, he chooses to lay it all out in these 4 verses – his birth through his ascension into heaven.
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.
- Dragon = the devil —- Diadems = crowns.
- We need to be careful in what we think of the devil and what place we give him in our worldview. This is not a case where God (the symbol of light) is in battle / struggle with the devil (the symbol of darkness).
- This is not to be understood as dualism (two gods fighting for dominance over the other) in the Christian worldview. The Christian worldview has been set in Genesis 1 – “In the beginning God…”
- In v 9 we will see who this dragon is. The description describes a form of mimicry and mockery of the true God / Lamb (see 5:6). Seven heads crowned with the symbols of power (horns) and authority (crowns of royalty).
- Again in the language of Revelation, horns = power – 10 horns = immense power.
- The power of this dragon vs the pregnant woman does not seem to be much of a match.
4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
- We find that the objective of the dragon was to destroy the baby which was soon to be delivered by the woman. We can find this historical event recorded in Matt 2:16-18.
- Here is the devil – right there in the delivery room. We know what he is up to, this sounds like the passage in Peter = a roaring lion.
- This is the purpose / goal of the devil – to destroy Jesus and his church. The devil never waited for the child to be born to destroy him. Satan has worked all through redemptive history to destroy the messianic line. Ezekiel speaks of this when he describes the dragon as Pharaoh in his attempt to destroy Moses. (Ezekiel 32)
- As I showed above, Satan takes the form of Herod in an attempt at killing the Christ child (Matt 2).