THE CONFLICT IN HEAVEN AND EARTH
Revelation (Chapter 12)
To teach pupils about the great conflict of the ages and some of the important persons involved as well as some of the great events that will yet occur.
POINT OF CONTACT:
How many of you like team sports? What team sport activities do you like? Do you like to play on a losing team? No, of course not. In todays lesson we see two great armies or teams arrayed against each other (Gods team and Satans team). Let us see how the battle turns out.
In chapter eleven, we are carried through the Tribulation and the Millennium to the brink of Eternity and a lot of detail was omitted. Chapters twelve through fourteen fill in much of the detail of the Tribulation Period. Several prominent personages are introduced which play an important role during the Tribulation. In this chapter, we will study about the woman representing Israel, the dragon representing Satan, the man-child representing Christ, and Michael, the Archangel.
The study of history is the study of wars and conflicts. The history of the Bible is also the history of wars and conflicts. From Genesis through Revelation, we have a record of a mighty conflict between two forces, between right and wrong, between God and Satan, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). The conflict has been raging about 6,000 years and in Revelation, we will study about some of the important persons involved in this conflict and some events which will help us understand the last years preceding the defeat of Satan and the end of the conflict.
I. The Sun-Clad woman (verses 1 and 2)
The word "wonder" means "signs" or "symbol". So we see that this chapter deals largely with symbols. When God speaks in symbols, He tells us so.
The Sun-Clad woman is a symbol of Israel (Genesis 37:9,10). Jacob understood these symbols to represent his whole family, Israel, a chosen people.
She had a crown of twelve stars representing the twelve tribes.
Notice she was with child which speaks of Christs birth (Isaiah 9:6,7). "Unto us" a child is born and a son given. Isaiah also prophesied that before her travailing was over she would give birth to the man-child (Isaiah 66:7,8).
Israel has been a nation continually in conflict and almost continually in suffering.
II. The Red Dragon (verses 3 and 4)
As soon as the promise of the child was given there appeared a dragon to try to destroy the child. The dragon is Satan.
A. He is great because of his vast power (Matthew 4:8,9).
B. He is red because of the fact that he was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).
C. He is a dragon (verse 9) because of the viciousness of his character (Ezekiel 28:12-19).
Seven heads suggest the perfection of wisdom which characterized the creation of Satan who was originally the "covering cherub".
Ten horns suggest the final division of the Roman Empire which is dominated by Satan and which is his final effort to rule this world. Satan will rule over ten kingdoms through seven puppet rulers.
A third part of the stars of heaven indicates the vast extent of the rebellion in Heaven when one-third of the angelic host followed Satan to their own destruction (Jude 6). Some of these angels inhabit the air around us and some are in chains.
Satan wanted to destroy Christ and attempted to do so in many ways (Esther; Matthew 2:16).
III. The Man Child (verse 5)
The child is Christ (Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 2:8,9). Christ will yet rule all nations with a rod of iron during the Millennium. But now He has ascended into Heaven. Israel gave us our Saviour and we should be eternally grateful to them and show it by our kindnesses to the Jew. And remember, they need to be saved.
IV. The War in Heaven (verses 7-12)
Michael and his angels are those fighting for right.
Verses Eight and Nine
"Prevailed not" means "conquered not." Satan loses this war and he and his angels are not allowed to inhabit the heavens anymore.
Satan is our "accuser" today. That is why the "advocate" work of Christ is necessary for us (I John 2:1,2; Job 1).
Satan is seen in three characterizations opposing Christ. As accuser, he is in opposition to Christ. As priest, he is the one who brings forth the first beast (13:1). He is in opposition to Christ as King as the one who brings forth the second beast (13:8). He is in opposition to Christ as Prophet.
This verse gives us the only way we can defeat the devil in our Christian life:
1. By the blood of the lamb the devil does not mind the preaching good works, or living of a good life, or helping the poor; but he hates the blood and those who preach the blood.
2. The word of our testimony also defeats the devil. If he ever gives you any trouble, just give your testimony he hates that.
3. Love not your own life. When we love Gods work more than our own life, the devil becomes defeated in our lives.
As the devil is thrown out of Heaven, Heaven swells into a great joyful song. What a happy day when the devil can no longer accuse the brethren. Now the devil knows his time is short and he will be more vicious than ever. He will put all of his efforts and wicked devices to work on the earth. Therefore, the last three and one-half years will be the worst of all. A dying animal is the most vicious.
V. The Flight of the Woman (verse 6; 13-17)
Satan immediately turns his persecution and the violence of his wrath upon Israel. Remember, she had been enjoying the peace that was protected by their covenant with the Anti-Christ during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27). Now, the Anti-Christ, who is Satans puppet, breaks the covenant and vents his wrath on the Jews.
The Jews will then flee into the wilderness, into the place that God has prepared for them. Some think this is the Rock City of Petra in the desert between Palestine and Babylon. Some think it will be the Sinai area. Some think it will be the caves in the Palestinian hills. The important thing is not the place but the fact that God will protect them by His grace. NOTE: God does this for His people, even us (Matthew 6:25-34).
God will take care of Israel and feed her for three and one-half years and protect her from Satan.
"Two wings of a great eagle" is a term given to teach that God will be their protector and strength in their flight (Exodus 19:4).
In view of the fact that the wilderness is literal, the water could also be literal. The water could refer to armies flowing like a river. This figure of speech has been used of God in the past (Isaiah 8:7,8).
At any rate, God will use the earth to swallow up the enemies instrument of destruction.
Israel, as a nation, will still be in existence and in large numbers at the close of the Tribulation.
Satan turns his fury now upon "the remnant of her seed" referring to the 144,000 sealed Jews and Christians. NOTE: Satan is the arch enemy to Christians in all ages. Christians who win souls and live for God will be persecuted by him. Churches that are evangelistic and fundamental will receive the most internal trouble and external trouble. But God giveth us the victory!
A great conflict is even now being fought and you can not be neutral. Whose side are you on? Are you saved? If not, you are Satans side. Are you a dedicated Christian? If not, you are on Satans side. Get on Gods side, that will be the winning side.
1. Name four different persons or groups that we studied about in this chapter.
2. Who does the sun-clad woman represent?
3. Who does the Dragon represent?
4. Why is the Dragon called the "great, red dragon"?
5. Who is the Man-Child?
6. Who gave us the Man-Child?
7. What did Isaiah say about His birth (Isaiah 7:14)?
8. What did the crown of twelve stars on the woman represent?
9. What do the ten horns on Satans head speak of?
10. How many stars or angels were cast down with Satan?
11. What is Satan doing in Heaven now?
12. How can we defeat Satan in our own life?
13. Why will the last three and one-half years be worse than the first three and one-half years?
14. Who protects and strengthens Israel in her flight and hideaway?
15. Why will the Anti-Christ break his covenant with the Jews?
16. When Israel is hidden, who will the Anti-Christ vent his rage upon?