Thursday, February 1, 2018

Revelation 12:13-17 War Against the Saints


KEY TEXT: Revelation 12:13-17 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. 

KEY THOT: Once the red dragon (Satan) is cast out of heaven, he turns his fury against Israel (v.13 "the woman who had given birth to the male child") and the Church (v. 17 "the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus"). If we follow the straight chronological interpretation of Revelation, we are now in the period of the seventh trumpet before the outpouring of the seven bowls of God's wrath (Revelation 16). And if this interpretation is correct, then Israel and the Church will still be around during the period leading to the final outpouring of God's wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth. And Satan will make wars against Israel and the saints of God (Church) who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Note that the red dragon (Satan) is described as having "seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems" (v.3). This description is similar to Daniel's description in Daniel 7:7-8, 24-25.

  • Daniel 7:7-8 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
The interpretation of this fourth beast is given by the angel to Daniel in the following verses:
  • Daniel 7:24-25 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time

Notice the similarity to John's vision that this beast has ten horns and will make war against the saints (v.25 "wear out the saints of the Most High"). The period of his reign is given as 3.5 years ("time, times and half a time", identical with with Rev. 12:14). So, this dragon who is Satan actually operates through a kingdom comprising 10 kings (heads of states). But three of these kings will be deposed by another king who would take over these kings' territories, either by force or deception. This new king will speak against God and His laws and make war against the saints.

Satan's modus operandi in the last days will be to work through this new anti-christ kingdom to undermine God's laws and persecute Israel and the saints of the Most High (Church). But when Satan couldn't touch Israel because of God's hand of protection upon her (v.14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time"), he turns his attention on her "offspring", referring to the Church (v.17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)

It would seem that the Church would not have the same shield of protection as Israel, and Revelation 13:7 ("Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them") seems to confirm it. Many Gentile believers will have to suffer martyrdom during these 3.5 years reign of the Anti-christ. And Jesus's call to the church in time of tribulation is to be "faithful unto death" (Revelation 2:10), for "the one who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).

Abba-Father, prepare our hearts and minds to remain faithful to You till the end. Amen.

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