Revealing Revelation – Woman, Child and Beast

01Feb11

After several posts in which just a verse or handful of verses have been addressed, with this post we will tackle the entire twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation. We will do it sections, but the entirety of the Chapter will reside in this post. the reason is because our focus continues to be on the prophetic, and with Chapter 12, we actually have a retelling of the Gospel story in history.

It should be noted, though, that at this point in the book there is a shaft for some, but not for others. Many claim that with the end of the seventh trumpet we close the chapters on the discussion of Israel, and with this chapter we introduce the second persecutor of the church, Rome. They argue the rest of the book deals exclusively with Rome.

While I see the introduction of Rome and God’s dealing with them, there is also much to be said about Israel, her divorce from God and the introduction of the Jesus’ new bride, the church. So it is true that the focus may now have shifted from the judgment against the one and is now transferring to the many kings, nations and languages, but Israel is not out of the picture as we will see.

Rev. 12:1-2 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. [2] She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

John starts this section be introducing a woman who gives birth to a child. This woman should be seen as “Faithful” Israel as the image of the sun, moon and stars suggest. This image is taken from Joseph’s dream regarding his family. The son, of course, is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is born amongst great trial and tribulation as Israel is under Roman rule at this time. Since part of the revealing process in Revelation is related to the Messiah-ship of Jesus Christ, John introduces this image by having it correlate with Biblical prophecy regarding the Messiah.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Also, faithful Israel fulfills the Covenant with God by bringing forth the Messiah. Apostate Israel, though, rejects this truth. As a result, faithful Israel (the Church) will be contrasted with apostate Israel, which will be seen as the Harlot.

We are then introduced to the other central character in this section and it’s influence on the rest of the book.

Rev. 12:3-4 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. [4] His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

This great red dragon is obviously the devil, and in fact, we are told this explicitly later. The devil is seen as a combination of the four great nations of the earth; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. This picture combines the four nation imagery from Daniel. We will see later that the Beast of Rome is a spitting image of this Beast. This denotes Satan’s working behind the scenes to orchestrate the persecution of the Church.

We are given images of the fall of Satan as when he is forced out of Heaven he takes one third of the angels with him. This is symbolically represented in the swiping of the tail that removes 1/3 of the stars from the sky.

We then see Satan there at the birth of the child in hopes of killing Him. This would be seen through the historical actions of King Herod and his act of killing all male children under two near the time of Christ’s birth.

Rev. 12:5-6 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, [6] and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Since this is not a retelling of the life of Christ, since that was covered in the Gospels, this quick snapshot jumps to the ascension of Christ. This again is a picture of the current enthronement of Christ. Then the image moves to the Churches escape during the siege as proof of God’s protection of His people. This correlates with jesus’ Olivet Discourse and the warning to His people to flee the city.

Rev. 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, [8] but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him … [11] And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

The story reverts back to a battle in Heaven previously in which Satan is cast out. But the most important thing that is nearly always overlooked here is the way in which Satan is defeated. he is overthrown by bombs, tanks and missiles, but rather through the spread of the Gospel of the shed of blood of Christ. This becomes even more important to understand when one gets to Chapter 19.

We see that after Satan is cast out he begins his pursuit of true Israel, especially those found in Judea. But since they escape and are protected he now begins to pursue those not in Judea, but in the rest of Rome.

Rev 12:17 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. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Here the shift of Rome’s persecution, orchestrated by the identical looking beast (Satan), now moves to those in other Roman provinces, including Rome itself. This would take place under the rule of Nero. Since historically these things take place simultaneously with the fall of Jerusalem, both Rome and Jerusalem are in view throughout the rest of the book.

It is now that we will turn our attention toward the most famous portion of the book of Revelation. Chapter 13 introduces us the Beast, the Mark and the dreaded number; six hundred sixty and six!

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Revealing Revelation – Woman, Child and Beast”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: