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July 18, 2022 2:00 am
I had a conversation with David Cassels this weekend.
He sends his love in regards to the beacon saints, and his appreciation for your remembrance of he and Isabel and for our support as we support them through our missions program.
There doing well their health as well and no I wanted to share that greeting with you.
Well you know and I know that the New Testament characterizes the Christian life is warfare and unwise is the person the professing believer who does not understand that the Christian life is a warfare. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, against spiritual forces in high places. This would begin our study here in Revelation chapter 12 were beginning the second half of the book, and you've heard the expression, not being able to see the forest for the trees when we come to chapter 12 were going to look at this world and its conflicts and the opposition.
The church faces and were gonna look at it through a wide lens so that a back up and were going to not focus on trees but were going to try and see the forest and get the big picture and that's what John is doing that's there's a change in his writing style and it's helpful to know that as we begin to try and understand accurately what he is conveying to us. Chapters 12 through 22 basically tell the same story as chapters 1 through 11, but explain it in greater detail what the first half of the book introduce and imply chapters 12 through 22 will expand upon and broaden along before there was a conflict on this earth long before the church faced persecution in the Lord Jesus dealt with spiritual opposition long before that happened. There was conflict in heaven. John begins chapter 12 but introducing us to a great sign in heaven. Notice with me verse one. Now a great sign appeared in heaven a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars a woman, a woman of glorious splendor, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and her head a garland of 12 stars speaks of glory and beauty in under the feet speaks of dominion in a garland of 12 stars is a reference to the redeemed of this woman is with child notice verse two then being with child cried out in labor and in pain to give birth that sign in heaven is in contrast to another sign I want you to know John says now a great sign. Verse one appeared in heaven a woman.
Verse three says and another sign appeared in heaven.
Behold a great fiery red Dragon, having seven heads and 10 horns and seven diet dams on his head, so there's a contrast being drawn here between two signs a great sign verse one and another sign in verse three, and obviously the question is what is the identity of these two sign. Let's deal with the easiest one first which is this the second verse three and another sign appeared in heaven.
Behold a great fiery red Dragon, having seven heads and 10 horns and seven diet dams on his head. Let's skip the suspense and the wonder and speculation enough to go directly to verse nine because John without question identifies this personage forests verse nine so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. John clearly identifies him as the devil Satan. He is according to verse three. Notice a Dragon, a great fiery red Dragon why those explain explanatory words. What's the point of that while he is a fiery red Dragon. He's fiery and colored drawing attention to the color of blood and of war and of destruction. He is a blood thirsty destructive person in nature verse four tells us that with his tail. He drew 1/3 of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Now, Job called the Angels the MorningStar so the stars of heaven are angels.
If you're familiar with your Bible, you are aware that this is a reference to the devil and his attempted coup to overthrow the government of God and challenge God's authority and he convinced one third of the angelic host to join him in his rebellion now John further describes this attempted overthrow as war look with me.
Verse seven verses seven through 12 is just him revisiting what he's said in verse one through 60 is not something new, something that's adding more detail. He says in verse seven and war broke out in heaven.
Michael and his angels fought with the Dragon and the Dragon and his angels fought on many angels third of the angelic host portal but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast within a battle in heaven. But the battle shifts from heaven to the earth that takes us back to the verse four and verse five the stop and think for a moment about what position what stance the devil Satan has in this world the has a delegated authority is a usurper of authority he has power needs to be feared needs to be acknowledged he's not someone to trifle with John chapter 12 verse 31 John 14 in verse 30 John 16 in verse 11 John over there calls him the Prince of this world, the prince of this world. Ephesians chapter 2 in verse two.
He's the prince of the power of the air. Second Corinthians chapter 4 verse four. He is the God little G of this world.
So in this cosmic war. In this spiritual conflict on the one side we have the devil Satan now let's go back and identify the woman of the great sign in heaven, from verse one again verse one.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
Interesting descriptive language.
The woman's child becomes the target of the devil from his birth. Notice verse four. Talking about this second sign. Again, the devil verse for his tail drew 1/3 of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth and the Dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born. She bore a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.
And her child was caught up to God and his throne is very important that you and in interpreting Scripture that you take your cue from the divine author of the divine author is telling us that this is a sign when he says it's a sign on. That means where not to take it literally. K this is symbolic language not the Roman Catholic Church would take that queue than they would abandon the notion that this woman that's being referred to here is Mary. This is not Mary RA selects set that aside right now. This is not Mary.
I the Dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon it was born.
You remember in Matthew chapter 2 I think verse 16 where Herod murders all the male children in Bethlehem who were two years and on. Herod did that but who's behind what Herod did the devil. The devil was the plot of the Jewish leaders recorded in Mark chapter 3 in verse six, where they sought to arrest him and kill him.
Also in John chapter 7 verse 30 John 744 through 48 John 858 to 59 where there were attempts to arrest him to kill Jesus. So is the hatred of the evil one for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice this child clearly is the Christ child, who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and then John says very interestingly the end of verse five and her child was caught up to God and he is wrong. He was her child was caught up to God and his throne again. He is referring to Christ.
But John omits all the details of Christ's life in his ministry and his death and he moved directly from his birth to his ascension again. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The question is why would why is John being directed to write and communicate this way. Well, I believe the reason is that it is from the ascension of Christ and the exaltation of Christ that he exercises his rule and authority. Don't miss this detail the text adds that the child was caught up to God and what is thrown caught up to God and his throne from which he will rule so were still trying to answer the question. The who is what is the identity of the woman here and let me try and help you look at verse 17 of the chapter. I think will get you clue here and the Dragon. The devil was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So what are we told about the offspring of the woman.
They are those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. What is the identity of the woman.
The woman is the church of the living God. She is the new Israel, made up of both Jew and Greek. The church appears throughout the New Testament as a woman as a bride adorned for her husband so that is the conflict is between the devil and God and his church's church is the object of the wrath of the adversary of God not only deliver the child says, and her child was caught up to God and his throne.
But back to verse six. Some more information about the woman which we've identified as the church then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, that she should feed her that they should feed her there 1260 days. What we mean what we take from that will God is committed to deliver protect his church from the evil, murderous intentions of the devil. And as the Dragon pursues those of Christ Church. They flee to a place prepared by God. Notice that then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there 1260 days. Here's a present tense verb God has prepared present tense verb which means and stresses God's continual care and nourishment during periods of spiritual warfare.
As I prepared this message. There is a verse from Psalm 23 that jumped out at me.
I had really ever thought about it in this way, but think about what we just looked at Psalm 23.
Thou prepares the table before me. Where in the presence of mine enemies.
So God is making provision for those that he is redeemed a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there 1260 days. I'm not going to get into the.
The numerical reference, there will do that at another time because that's repeated in this chapter, but the devil. The devil ultimately is a defeated foe's defeat is certain. How do we know that well the church is already celebrated the end of chapter 11 and said woodlot voices, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. So it's wonderful to be in a place where we know the whole story, we know that victory is already been secured.
But again, here's another one of those already not yet the devils already defeated.
He was defeated at the cross of Calvary's purposes. His plan was thwarted and yet he still creating havoc in this world and there is yet a time while waiting when he will be cast into the lake of fire forever and ever. So the devil is a defeated foe already and there is yet a final dealing with him that yet awaits in the consummation the devil knows two things by May no more than two things but there's two things I want to speak to you right now about the devil. The devil knows of his ultimate doom. He knows of his ultimate doom and is one other thing. Knowing this is it is a cause for his inflamed rage. Notice verse 12.
John's writing therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea, or the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
He knows that his time is short. How short I don't know, but his time is short.
He doesn't have as much time as he would like his time is short so God is restraining him in terms of the duration of his activity. God is restraining him and in a number of other ways it will look at as we move further on through this study now wasn't sure where I'd be at this point so look at something with me, we see five times that the devil is cast down notice with me.
Verse nine. Let's count them so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.
He was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast with him. These defeated his attempt to overthrow God in heaven was unsuccessful. He was defeated three times reference to him and his angels were cast out notice that I heard a loud voice saying in heaven now salvation, and strength in the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been what has been cast down, and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time so he's been cast down these been defeated and that has enraged him. Listen to the words of Martin Luther's famous him a mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing for still our ancient foe.C2 work cost will his craft and power are great and armed with cruel eight on earth is not his equal, stanza three and though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us. We will not fear for God hath whittled his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. He is rage we can endure and low his doom is sure one little word shall fail Saints of God.
We are living in perilous time.
The nature of the Christian life is conflict, opposition, we wrestle against the world the flesh and the devil in any particular time is hard to sort out and discern whether the conflict and the difficulties were having is that the flashes that the world is that the devil while the devil is in it more often and probably we realize he's against us. He's opposed to us. He's seeking to attack us. He seeking to undermine us. So let's not be ignorant of his devices. Let's gird up the loins of our mind, let's be alert. Let's be aware were living in lion country is roaming about, seeking whom he may devour. But for in Christ before in Christ were kept by him, and though though we lose our life. The only die though. They kill us. They cannot kill ours and that's the glorious truth about it is, let us pray father, thank you for your word.
Thank you for alerting us and bringing this sober reminder that there is an adversary and he is the accuser of the brethren is a hater of God is a hater of you, Lord Jesus.
He's a hater of the church is a hater of the redeemed. But greater is he who is in Austin. He who is in the world so strengthen us and fortify us and encourage us in this fight that we might represent the Lord Jesus. Well not be cowards in the day of battle. Pray in Jesus name, amen