Chapter 12:1-4 –A DRAMA Act 1
In our last chapter, we saw that the ark of the covenant was in its rightful place, in the heavenly temple. Do you remember What the ark represented from our last lesson? It stood for the presence and protection of God for His people. Someday the lost ark will be returned to its proper place. There is no doubt in my mind that the ark will be found and returned to the temple in Jerusalem when it is built. Nothing can ever remove or destroy God’s protection for a child of His. God is going to keep the covenant He made with Israel. What was that covenant? That He would write His law in their hearts instead of on cold tablets of stone.
Chapter 12 is quite different from all the rest. In order to understand it you must think of it as if you are watching a stage play. We are going to see a drama played out in Heaven for John’s benefit. It is a history of the Jewish people and God’s dealing with them. This is not in chronological order. Don’t try to fit it into the 7- year period. It won’t work that way. This is an interlude for the purpose of explanation.
Spiritual Warfare – what it is? What is our best defense in a spiritual war? Know your enemy. In spiritual conflicts, we must know and understand our enemy, or we will be the victims of surprise attacks. This is an unseen enemy.
In this chapter we are going to be spectators in a drama that is going to give John a glimpse of the entire battle between good and evil, between God and Satan. From the beginning of time until the end of time. We will see 7 personalities introduced here in this drama. We will name them as we encounter them. It is vital that we understand who these personalities are in order to properly understand this book of the Revelation. This is totally symbolic, all of it. We know this because in the first verse of this chapter, John calls this a great wonder. A wonder is a sign, a sign is a symbol.
Let’s begin by reading verses 1 and 2, to see the first Personality.
12:1 A great and wonderous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
The first question we should ask is, who is the woman? The Catholic Church believes it is Mary. A lot of Protestants think it is the Church. But the church did not give birth to Jesus. The answer is Israel. How do we know? Look at her identifying marks, Sun, Moon, and Stars. These belong to Israel as seen in Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9, 10.
Gen 37:9, Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10. When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?
She is not a literal woman; she is a sign. A sign is a symbol. In Joseph’s dream, the sun, represented his father, Jacob, the moon represented his mother, Rachel. The 11 stars, his brothers. The dream did come true. From this we come to the conclusion that the woman is Israel, and the 12 tribes are the founders of her nation.
There is an interesting prophecy in Isaiah 9:6, for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We usually read it at Christmas, but it does not concern us at all. Who is referred to here when Isaiah says, “unto us”? The church? No, Israel. It is not referring to a savior but to a Ruler, a King. As a child He was born in humanity, but as a Son, He came from eternity, and was given.
Notice something else also from Isaiah 66:7,8. It says “Before she travailed, she brought forth” – Great tribulation is referred to as a time of travail. Israel went through a great tribulation (a time if travail) after Christ was born.
Are you with me so far? If so let’s go on to the second personality, introduced in verse3.
3.Then another sign appeared in heaven; an enormous red dragon with seven heard and ten horns and seven crowns on his head.
An enormous red dragon represents Satan. Seeks to destroy the woman. How do we know it is Satan? He will be clearly identified down in verse 9. Notice it says, “another wonder”, another sign, same as the first. This is symbolism, not literal. Now we know why the Devil is depicted as having a long tail and horns.
Notice the clues we have here about Satan.
1. Called “great – because of his vast power. Controls nations (he offered those nations to Jesus when he tempted Him after His baptism) To be worshipped is Satan’s ultimate goal.’
2. Called “red” because he was a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44). He has no regard for human life.
3. Called a “dragon” because of the viciousness of his character. He was originally named Lucifer and called the son of the morning in Ezekiel 28:12-19. Now he is the epitome of evil – the enemy.
Seven heads suggest the perfection of wisdom.
7 remember, stands for complete and perfect – the totality of his power.
Heads – symbolize wisdom – he is a highly intelligent, clever being. His IQ would be off the charts.
Horns symbolize rulers. He will rule the rulers. Is there any doubt that he rules the rulers of nations today?
Satan was originally the “covering cherub” Ezekiel 28:12 says he is
“full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” This picture of a great dragon is not an indication of how he looks, but symbolic of his cruel, vile nature.
10 horns suggest the final division of the Roman Empire dominated by Satan – his final effort to rule the world.
Crowns represent kingly authority and rulership. Crowns are on the heads, not on the horns, symbolizing that power is delegated by Satan. The power comes from the wisdom of Satan, not from the rulers who serve him.
Now look at verse 4
12:4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.
A third of the stars of heaven indicates the extent of the rebellion in heaven of the angelic hosts. (see Daniel 8:10 and Jude 6).
Notice also that Satan knows prophecy. Why would he stand ready to devour the child? He knows from the beginning that the child would mean the end of him (Satan). In Genesis 3:15 Satan heard God in the Garden of Eden when He said this. He motivated Cain to kill Abel, but
God raised up Seth to carry the seed. Satan caused such evil in the world that God had to destroy it with a flood. But God saved Noah and his family. Satan motivated Esau to attempt to kill Jacob. But God saved Jacob. Satan motivated Pharaoh to destroy all male children of Hebrew families. But God saved Moses. At other times Satan tried to kill all the Jews so Messiah would not be born. He motivated Herod to kill all babies in Bethlehem. But an angel warned Joseph and he took Mary and Jesus to Egypt out of harm’s way.
On Friday afternoon at 3:00, the day after Passover, Satan thought he had won, when our Lord was wrapped in linen, embalmed with spices, and sealed in a tomb. Satan rejoiced.
But God won again. God’s triumph became Satan’s defeat. When Satan saw the resurrection of Jesus, he turned his fury upon the body of Christ, which is the Church, the apostles, missionaries, evangelists, Christians everywhere. This is the wrath of the dragon.
Keep studying, read ahead, this drama gets easier to unravel as we get into it further. Next week, meet personality #3. Who is it?
God bless, precious ones,