Friday, June 4, 2010

Revelation Chapter 12

The most frequently requested Christ in Prophecy television show episodes on Revelation have been pulled out of the vault and re-released!

Over the six episodes, Dr. David Reagan and guests Don McGee of Crown and Sickle Ministries and Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries go chapter by chapter through the book of Revelation, explaining that the book of Revelation isn't difficult to understand, rather it is difficult to believe. But, if you will believe it for its plain sense meaning, you will understand it. For anyone who's been born again and has the Holy Spirit residing within them, Revelation can become very clear.

We'll continue on in our journey through the great book of Revelation by discovering in Chapter 12 what the book of Revelation is all about. Feel free to watch, listen, or read along by clicking one of the icons below.

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Revelation Revealed: Chapter 12

[Read Chapter 12 in the NASB version via Biblegateway.]

We come now to Chapter 12, one of the most crucial chapters in the book because it explains what Revelation is all about.

The first six verses of Chapter 12 constitute another one of those parenthetical passages. But, unlike the previous ones we have run across, this one is a flashback rather than a flash-forward. It is designed to help us better understand what the Tribulation is all about.

What the chapter in effect says is that the Tribulation is the consummation of a cosmic battle between God and Satan that has been going on in the supernatural world since the revolt of man in the Garden of Eden. It reminds us that Satan tried to stop the First Coming of the Messiah, just as he is now trying to prevent His Second Coming.

The chapter is full of symbols. Let's take a look at them.

The Woman Israel

The first symbol in Chapter 12 is, "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars over her head." Now, many different interpretations have been given of this imagery. Some commentators claim that this woman represents the Church. Catholics claim she is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here is a classic example of why it is important to let the Bible interpret itself wherever that is possible. The point is that this imagery comes right out of Joseph's dream in Genesis 37, where the sun stood for Jacob, the moon for Rachel, and the stars for Joseph's brothers. So, we can conclude that this woman represents the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob.

The Male Child

The woman is pregnant and is about to give birth. This refers to Israel providing the Messiah to the world. In verse 3, "a great red dragon," which is Satan, "tries to devour a male child" when he is born, which is, of course, exactly what Satan tried to do when he motivated King Herod to send his army to Bethlehem to kill all the babies at the time of Jesus' birth. But the male child Jesus is "caught up to God and to his throne," a reference to the ascension of Jesus.

And then, the passage says He is in Heaven waiting, "to rule over all the nations with a rod of iron." These verses remind us that there is a great cosmic battle going on over the dominion of planet Earth. You see, God originally gave that dominion to man, but it was stolen by Satan when Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and rebelled against God. Consequently, Satan is now, "the ruler of this world," and "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

But, one of the reasons Jesus died on the cross was to make it possible for man to reassert his rightful dominion over the earth. This is one of the many delayed benefits of the cross; our glorified bodies being another one. Jesus will reclaim dominion over the Earth when He returns at the end of the Tribulation.

War in Heaven

In Revelation 12:7 the action resumes once again. We are in the middle of the Tribulation and Satan tries one last time to take the throne of God. The result is a war in Heaven. The archangel Michael and the angels under his command fight against Satan and his demonic angels. Satan loses the battle and is cast down to earth. His access to Heaven is cut off.

Verse 12 tells us something absolutely remarkable. It says that Satan realizes at this point that his time is short. That means Satan knows Bible prophecy! But, despite his knowledge, he continues to struggle because he has deceived himself into believing that he can obstruct God's plans and emerge victorious.

The Antichrist's Hatred

At this point it appears that Satan actually possesses the Antichrist, even as he possessed Judas. We are told in Revelation 13:2 that Satan gives to the Antichrist, "His power, his throne and his great authority." Daniel also says that the Antichrist's power will be mighty, "but not by his own power."

The first thing that Satan does is to motivate the Antichrist to launch a great persecution of, "the woman who gave birth to the male child." In other words, he picks up where Hitler left off with a maniacal campaign to destroy the Jewish people. According to Daniel, the Antichrist will launch this holocaust by marching into the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and stopping the sacrifices. He will set up an "abomination of desolation," probably a statue of himself, and he will blaspheme God and declare himself to be God.

The Jews, of course, will be horrified by these actions, and they will revolt. This will prompt the Antichrist to launch an all-out attack on the Jews worldwide. His purpose will be to annihilate every last one of them so that God cannot keep His promise to save a great remnant at the end of the Tribulation. Keep in mind that Satan hates the Jews with a passion. He hates them because they gave the world the Bible and the Messiah. He also hates them because they are God's chosen people — chosen to be a witness of what it means to have a relationship with God. Another reason he hates them is because God has promised to save a great remnant of the Jews at the end of the Tribulation, and Satan does not want to see God fulfill that promise.

The Antichrist's extermination campaign in the middle of the Tribulation prompts many Jews to flee "into the wilderness" to a special place where they will be protected and nourished by God for "a time and a times and a half times" — a Jewish colloquialism for three and a half years. Daniel indicates the location of the wilderness safe place where the Jews will flee. He states that the Antichrist will conquer all the Middle East except Edom, Moab, and Ammon. These are areas that are all included in modern day Jordan. The wilderness hideaway in Jordan is likely to be the remarkable box-canyon city of Petra. It is a city whose buildings are carved out of the walls of the surrounding canyon. In its heyday about 400 years before Christ, it contained a population of tens of thousands.

Chapter 12 concludes by telling us that Satan is so enraged by God's protection of the Jewish remnant that he decides to "make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" — a reference to Messianic Jews in other parts of the world.


We'll continue on in the next part of our journey through the great book of Revelation by getting our teachers back together to discuss Chapters 8-12.


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4 comments:

hartdawg said...

hey, i was once taught the rest of her offspring "thos who keep the testimony of jesus" is the spiritual offspring. the "true isreal of God" christians

Dennis said...

I've studied in the expositor's study bible, they think the woman is the nation of israel as well, but the offspring to be the 144,000jews to be saved, and give the message of salvation, and her child being caught up, is another rapture at the midpoint of the tribulation of these 144,000 jews. They do ascribe to the pre-trib of the true church. they believe israel under Christ will fulfill the rule with rod of iron during the 1000 yr reign. A interesting view I think, but I still think the word is reveling Jesus here. Have you heard of this view of the 144, Nathan, or anyone?

DrNofog said...

Dennis said... ...another rapture at the midpoint...

That's one I've never heard before!

Did the expositor's happen to mention their preference in what they were smokin' at the time?
;-D

...learn something new every day!

Dennis said...

well the book is quite good over all, but like all, they have a view on that specific point and think the 144,000 are caught up futute, instead of it being Christ caught up past. It's wear many put the mid-trib rapture of the church, and sadly the replacement view of the church over israel, which the expositor don't adhere. I thought it to be quite interesting, but not correct. Another area I don't agree with is the gap theory btween Genesis 1 gap and 2 lol. They do believe in this as well. But again, I truly do enjoy using it as a study reference.