John, in his Revelation, receives three separate visions: seven churches, seven seals and seven trumpets. Now he receives a fourth and it focuses on the pregnant mother, the promised son, the persecuted family, and the prince of darkness. Within the upcoming chapters one sees the church from beginning to end. If a student desires to read the Clift Notes of church history, chapter twelve is a great place to start.
In the first six verses of Revelation 12, John sees a gloriously pregnant woman who represents the Jewish Church. She is not so lovely in the eyes of man, but she is oh so lovely in they eyes of God. She is one bejeweled by the sun, moon and stars. She is made radiant in the eyes of God.
Here, she is in great anguish and pain as she labors to deliver her son. From Genesis throughout Malachi, the Jewish Church is waiting to deliver the promised seed. To Eve, the male child was promised. All the patriarchs looked forward to this day. David was promised a male descendent who would sit on the throne, rule all the nations, and dominate with a rod of iron. It didn’t seem like it would happen. Despite innumerable foes and holocausts, the Jewish Church continues to exist. Despite barrenness and impossible odds the time has come. In Revelation 12 the Jewish Church has conceived and her time of delivery is at hand.
But the mother and child are in great danger. While she and he are in their most-weak condition, a great dragon appears. His seven crowned heads and ten horns point to his might and power. He is later called Satan, the Devil, the Deceiver, or the Accuser. One-third of the heavenly host now swear allegiance to him, and he is poised to pounce on the male child the moment he breaks the womb.
However, despite the dragon’s greatness and the mother and child’s apparent weakness, the child is safely delivered. Then, despite Satan’s greatest schemes and efforts, he is ultimately caught up by God to sit on his heavenly throne.
Now, from on high he rules, Satan cannot touch him. Therefore, the dragon turns his attention to the woman. It is his desire to eradicate her. However, God will not let this happen. She will walk through the valley of the shadow of death. She will dwell in the presence of the enemy, and there she will be protected and nourished by God.
At this point in the vision, John sees a further humbling of Satan and a worship fest in heaven:
Revelation 12:7-12 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 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. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 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. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! ….
The angels are singing, for the salvation, power, kingdom and authority of Jesus Christ are being more clearly seen. The final day of Satan’s demise is coming closer. He has already lost the battle with the promised son – the Lamb of God, and he is in the process of losing the battle with the followers of the Lamb. It is a glorious thing to behold, “Rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!”
But then the heavenly choir changes its tune. Another song of woe is uttered forth from the choir loft, “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” 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.”
Satan then seeks to destroy the church beloved by God. He is relentless in his attack on the woman and all the rest of her family. It is open season for the church, and Satan is hungry for her blood. First, he seeks to take her down through a blasphemous beast that comes forth from the sea. Later, he transitions to utilize a beast coming forth from the earth. And where is God during this time of tribulation? He is watching; it is God who “allows the beast to make war on the saints and conquer them.” (13:7) He is protecting; he will not let his saints apostatize. As the vision continues, the Antichristian Trinity seem invincible and incredibly winsome. It appears they are carrying the day, almost everyone on earth worships them and are marked with their number. As a matter of fact, the only people not worshiping them are those whose names have been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb. These believers are taken captive and martyred, but they will endure, and they will not worship.
In chapter fourteen, the vision continues. However, I think it is best to pause at this point and ask the question, “WWJD” or “What Would John Discover.” From this revelation, John is reminded of the following: The increase of the Kingdom has nothing to do with the decrease of persecution. Those in Christ’s church should be militant, optimistic and realistic. Christians should expect to conquer while enduing conflict until the day of paradisiacal communion.
Therefore believer, are you militant? Are you like one on a cruise ship or like one on a war ship? We are not yet in Glory, therefore our work is not over. If Jesus gave his assessment today, would he declare you to be one fervently working to expand his glorious kingdom? Satan’s casualties are everywhere. Let us recommit to rescuing as many as we can before they pass on and spend eternity with the shipwrecker of their souls. There is a great harvest to reap; let’s hit the field again.
Christian, are you optimistic? God is watching and he is ruling. He is still omnipresent and omnipotent. With ease Michael booted Satan from heaven, and with ease Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Therefore, take heart and do not be so poor-mouthed. The pain is real, and the casualties are great, but God’s truth is marching on. In the end, we get heaven, where we will spend millions and millions of years forgetting the pain we encountered here on this planet. Christianity and the Church are not in trouble. America may be. Your church may be, but God’s kingdom is in very, very, very good shape.
Finally, Christian, are you realistic. Tribulation is the order of the day. It is coming, so do not be surprised. Let us persevere till the end. Let us not be like some, who produced fruit for a time, but in the day of persecution turn away.