Day 354 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Revelation. Here’s the overview video for Revelation 12-22.
Video – Read Scripture: Revelation 12-22
Watch here in Vimeo.
How does this video help you understand Revelation 12-22 better?
Revelation 12 – depicted witnesses proclaiming the Gospel for the whole of church history. Another symbolic depiction of the same thing is presented in , this time with the focus on the outworking of as the Serpent makes war on the offspring of the woman, both individually and collectively (in this reference the “offspring” indicates all who are identified with Jesus, i.e., His church; Galatians , ).
The woman seems to be a sign of (1) the mother of Jesus in particular, with her descriptions echoing aspects of Jesus’ nativity and of her child’s being destined to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and (2) of the people of God in general. The earthly life of Jesus’ first coming is collapsed into one line in verse 5; only His birth and ascension are directly mentioned, with everything else, including His death and resurrection, being assumed. The flight into the wilderness seems to echo both the holy family’s flight to Egypt for protection from Herod and also Israel’s wilderness experience prior to entering the Promised Land—both periods of spiritual preparation prior to blessing with which a persecuted church would want to identify (Hosea 2:14).
The designation of 1,260 days echoes the three and a half years of the divided seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27), whose direct reference scholars debate (i.e., was this the period of Jewish persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes; or is it a period of future tribulation; or, on the analogy of previous persecutions, does it symbolize the persecution the church faces in all ages until Jesus’ return?). What is clear is that the days designated are symbolic of a time of trouble from which the woman and her child are sheltered in preparation for the great war described in following verses.
On the basis of what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection, Michael is enabled to drive Satan and his angels from the heavenly field of battle. The account echoes the description of heavenly warfare mentioned in Daniel 12:7, reminding us that we are not alone in the spiritual battles we fight on earth. They are paralleled in the heavenly realms with heavenly hosts as our advocates and champions.
We see what this means when Revelation 12:10 states that the “accuser of our brothers” has been thrown down. Formerly, Satan had been standing in heaven to accuse God’s people (Job 1–2; Zechariah 3:1–2). Now that Jesus has died and risen, however, Satan no longer has any standing before God to accuse us. His charges are thrown out, and he is thrown down to the earth (verse 9). On the basis of the blood of the Lamb, the people of Jesus can conquer the dragon by testifying to the Gospel and being faithful unto death.
To lay down one’s life to benefit others with the message of the Gospel is to conquer in the same way that Jesus did. For Jesus and for us, real life comes through death.
Just as the two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days (11:3), the woman will be nourished in the wilderness for 1,260 days (12:6), which is also “a time, and times, and half a time.” These references to three and a half years interpret the halving of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:27). Satan has failed to devour the male child, and God delivered the woman from him as well, so Satan sets out to make war on the rest of her offspring.
We are reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10–20). Our lives are part of a great cosmic battle that has been raging since Genesis 3—but the outcome is certain!
How does it feel to know that as a Believer you’re on the winning team?
Revelation 13 – Satan pursues his war on the collective offspring of the woman ( ) by conjuring an imitation of the Christian gospel. This deceptive imitation intends to establish Satan himself in the place of God the Father ( ; ), the beast in the place of Jesus (verse ), the false prophet in the place of the Holy Spirit (verse ), and those with the mark of the beast in the place of those sealed by the Spirit (verses ).
John equips those who believe the Gospel to maintain their testimony to it in spite of Satan’s war on them by pulling back the curtain on the satanic scheme. Those who view the descriptions of as entirely future will primarily look for future world events to be represented by the descriptions in this passage; those who view the earlier descriptions as representing the church’s battles in all ages see this passage as analogous to the spiritual battles that Believers will always face until Jesus’ final victory.
In this spiritual war, God has a Lamb (5:6), while Satan has a beast (13:1). The Lamb is the image of God. The beast is the image of the dragon, both having seven heads and ten horns (12:3; 13:1). The Lamb in 5:6 was “standing, as though it had been slain,” and now Satan deceives the nations (12:9; 13:14) with a fake christ, this beast who “was wounded by the sword and yet lived.” All the heavenly host and every creature in heaven and on earth worshiped the Lamb standing as though slain in 5:5–14, and in 13:3–8 the whole earth marveled at and worshiped the beast whose head “seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed.”
Words that should be spoken only of the living God are blasphemously spoken of Satan’s beast, and verse 7 is a close parallel with 11:7, both verses speaking of those who die for their fidelity to the gospel. God is able to keep those whom He has recorded for Himself from Satan’s deception (13:8), and one of the means for their preservation is John making Satan’s ways known in this passage. John himself applies the message to his readers when he warns them that even their suffering is foreordained, and as he announces that his making it known is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.What John put in verbal form elsewhere (1 John 2:18) he puts in picture form here. The beast in verse 11 looks like a lamb, that is, like Jesus (cf. 5:6), but it speaks like a dragon, that is, like Satan (12:9).
This warns Believers not to be deceived by those who dress “in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). John is warning the churches against those who come claiming to present the Christian gospel but who in fact proclaim Satan’s message. John warns that Satan’s counterfeit might even do powerful signs that look like what the two prophets did in Revelation 11:5, making fire come down from heaven (13:13). Christians must be vigilant against false gospels and the imposters who peddle them, and this calls for wisdom. Christians must see that they are not deceived. Satan and his false trinity deceive those who dwell on earth (12:9; 13:7), but one day Jesus will come and put an end to their ability to deceive the nations (20:1–3).
True Believers endure until then, even if it means they cannot buy or sell or must be slain. For whatever happens, we have Jesus , and He is everything.
These descriptions are not meant to scare the true Believer, but to inform and encourage.
How do you look to Jesus in all things?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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