Revelation 12:10-17

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

THE CONFLICT IN HEAVEN AND EARTH

INTRODUCTION:

In chapters 12-14 the great actors of the tribulation era are introduced in another parenthetical section ending at 14:20. Parenthetical sections do not advance the narrative.

There are seven characters.

1. the woman, representing Israel

2. the dragon, representing Satan

3. the man-child, referring to Christ

4. Michael, representing the angels

5. Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman

6. The beast out of the sea, the world dictator

7. The beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world

We have already seen -

I. THE FIRST GREAT WONDER, THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN: ISRAEL - 12:1-2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:1-2 - (1) And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (2) And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

We have also seen -

II. THE GREAT RED DRAGON: SATAN - 12:3-4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:3-4 - (3) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

In addition, we have seen -

III. THE MAN-CHILD: CHRIST - 12:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:5-6 - (5) And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

Finally, we have seen -

IV. SATAN CAST OUT OF HEAVEN BY MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL - 12:7-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:7-9 - (7) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

We move on to an -

V. ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COMING DAY OF SATAN'S WRATH AND THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OF THE SAINTS - 12:10-12

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:10-12 - (10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (11) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (12) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

In verse 10 John hears a loud voice in heaven which indicates that the second coming of Christ is about to take place.

In I [i.e. John] heard a loud voice saying in heaven.

A loud voice is literally a great voice. In 11:12 the same two words were translated a great voice; whereas, in 11:15 the same two words were translated great voices.

This loud voice was saying or (was speaking) in heaven. In the Greek text, the appears before heaven indicating that this is not just any heaven; it is the heaven where God dwells.

The voice is the voice of the redeemed in heaven who are saying, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Now is just now, and the context indicates that this now represents the time which has come to pass as a result of Satan's having been cast down into the earth.

Is come is understood in the sense of has come to pass. The King James translators have translated it in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

What has come to pass is salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. In the Greek text the appears before salvation. Rather than referring to the saving of the soul, salvation is used in the sense of deliverance and refers to the specific deliverance God will provide for His people, particularly the nation of Israel, at the second coming of Christ, which is just about to occur.

Strength is understood in the sense of power, might, or force. It is the same word translated power in Romans 1:16 ,

Romans 1:16 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

God's power or strength will be manifest at the second coming of Christ. The before strength in the Greek text indicates that John means the sum total of strength or power. It is all there is, and none is excluded.

Something else has come to pass in addition to salvation and strength. It is the kingdom of our God where kingdom refers to God's rule, not only in the hearts of men, but particularly to His specific rule in the millennium which will follow the second coming of Christ.

God is God the Father.

Our makes it very personal. He is literally the God of us.

Another thing has also come to pass. It is the power of his Christ.

The power is the authority or the absolute power, and of his Christ means of His Messiah or of His Anointed. Christ is the One Who will exercise all the authority or absolute power of God the Father as He reigns over the millennial kingdom.

Similarly, in 11:15 it was stated, The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.

What makes it clear that the salvation, and the strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ have come is indicated by for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is used in this sense here.

The accuser of our brethren is a reference to Satan. It pictures Satan as having been continuously bringing charges against our brethren, i.e. against our brothers in Christ or against our fellow believers, before God the Father. Don't forget that you as a believer are one of those whom Satan is repeatedly accusing before God the Father.

Which is who and is used in reference to the accuser of our brethren, i.e. to Satan.

Accused is the verb form of the noun translated accuser. Its tense indicates that its action is ongoing or repeated. The King James translators have translated it as a historical present. Which accused is literally the one who accuses or as a historical present, the one who was accusing. It means to accuse and is nearly always used as a legal technical term meaning bring charges in court. Here, the charges are made before God Himself, just as Satan did with Job when God asked if Satan had considered His servant Job, just as also Satan does with us.

Them refers to our brethren as the ones whom Satan was constantly or repeatedly accusing.

Before our God tells where Satan was accusing the brethren and means in the sight of our God or in the presence of our God. It is a reminder that even though Satan has been accusing believers before God day and night, it is the omniscient God Who has declared believers to be righteous so that no one can charge believers with anything that will adversely affect their salvation. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:33 ,

Romans 8:33 - Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Yet, Satan has continuously given it his best effort day and night, i.e. in daytime and in nighttime.

Romans 8:33-34 - (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

In verse 11 the believers whom Satan had accused day and night overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. They preferred death to failing to live faithfully for the Lord for the rest of their lives.

They overcame him means that they conquered him or they vanquished him.

The means by which believers overcame Satan is by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.

It is the blood shed by Christ on the cross at Calvary that has made salvation possible. Inasmuch as they have been saved by placing their trust in Christ's death for their sins and inasmuch as Christ has paid in full the price of their redemption by shedding His blood for their sins, they have been forever forgiven and through Christ have won the victory over sin and Satan. Paul wrote in Romans 8:34 ,

Romans 8:34 - Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

A second means by which believers have overcome Satan is by the word of their testimony.

The word is the message and speaks of the gospel.

Of their testimony speaks of their bearing witness to others that Christ died on the cross for them as well. As a result, some of those to whom they have witnessed can be expected to have been saved. They in turn can be expected to have witnessed to others, some of whom can likewise be expected to have been saved.

Furthermore, they [i.e. the believers whom Satan has accused day and night before God, who have also overcome him through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of their testimony] loved not their lives unto the death.

Loved is the same word used in John 3:16 . It indicates the kind of love which gives itself completely on behalf of someone else without expecting anything in return. What they did not love is their lives.

Unto the death indicates that these believers preferred death to failing to live faithfully for the Lord for the rest of their lives. They have died in the persecution of the tribulation rather than bowing down and worshiping the antichrist and receiving the mark of the beast.

These people may have actually been martyred, or they may have loved the Lord far more than life and were willing to be martyred even though they were never actually martyred for their faith.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

In verse 12 heaven and its inhabitants are called upon to rejoice; whereas, the inhabitants of the earth and sea have nothing to rejoice about because Satan has been kicked out of heaven and is very angry about it.

Therefore means because of this or on account of this. It is because Satan has been cast out of heaven and into the earth, because the second coming is just around the corner, and because the devil only has a short time left.

Rejoice indicates that they are to be rejoicing.

This command is addressed to ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.

Ye heavens is literally the heavens. It speaks of the place where God dwells, and the reason for the rejoicing is what is about to take place on the earth. Furthermore, Satan no longer has access to heaven.

Others also called upon to rejoice are ye that dwell [i.e. you who live] in them [i.e. in heaven]. It can certainly refer to saved people who are in heaven as well as to angelic beings who occupy heaven.

By contrast, although the heavens and the inhabitants of heaven are to rejoice, a woe is pronounced upon them that dwell on the earth: Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!

Woe or alas indicates that things are not going to be quite as good as they have been for those on this planet.

To the inhabiters of the earth and . . . the sea is to the ones who are living on the earth and . . . the sea. Although those who dwell in the heavens are called upon in the previous phrase to rejoice, here those who dwell upon the earth have a woe pronounced upon them because Satan has been kicked out of heaven into the earth.

The earth is referring to the land portion of the earth; and the sea is referring to the various large bodies of water.

The reason this woe is pronounced upon the earth and the sea is indicated by for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The word translated for is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here as well.

The devil is the slanderer or Satan.

Is come down unto you is has come down unto you where you is the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea.

Is come has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Having is understood in the sense of and has.

What the devil has is great wrath, i.e. great anger or great rage.

Because he knoweth [i.e. perceives] that he hath but a short time indicates the reason Satan has great wrath: he has little time. His days are definitely numbered, and he is running out of time.

According to verse 14 Satan is actively and aggressively persecuting Israel throughout the great tribulation, a period of 3 1/2 years. This indicates that his battle with Michael and his angels and his being kicked out of heaven occurred somewhere late in the first half of the tribulation.

VI. THE PERSECUTION OF ISRAEL IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION - 12:13-16

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:13-16 - (13) And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (14) And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (15) And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (16) And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

Daniel 7:25 - And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

When the dragon [i.e. Satan] saw is when the dragon perceived.

What Satan saw is that he was cast [i.e. was thrown] unto the earth.

He persecuted the woman means that Satan persecuted Israel, the woman mentioned in verses 1-6.

Which brought forth the man child [i.e. who gave birth to the man child] identifies the woman as Israel. According to verse 5, she gave birth to a man child, a reference to Christ.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

According to verse 14, Israel escapes from Satan into the wilderness where she will be protected and her needs met throughout the great tribulation. This indicates that Satan's defeat by Michael and Michael's angels and his being cast unto the earth had to occur just before the beginning of the great tribulation.

To the woman is to Israel, i.e. the woman who bore the man child.

Were given two wings of a great eagle. An eagle is capable of soaring.

The reason these two wings of the great eagle are given to the woman is that [i.e. in order that or for the purpose that] she might fly into the wilderness [i.e. into the desert], which is reminiscent of verse 6 where it was seen that -

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:6 - . . . the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

The two wings of an eagle are reminiscent of Israel's departure from Egypt as reported in Exodus 19:4 ,

Exodus 19:4 - Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

Into her place indicates where the woman flees with the eagle's wings. By combining the thoughts of verse 6 with those of verse 14, a conclusion is drawn that the woman is permitted to escape to a place in the wilderness which God has prepared for her, which is referred to as her place.

Where she is nourished is where she is fed in that place.

A time, and times, and half a time is equivalent to a thousand two hundred and threescore days, forty-two months, or three and one-half years and refers to the great tribulation. It is taken from Daniel 7:25 ,

Daniel 7:25 - And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Time, times, and a half indicates an extent of time, a period throughout which the woman will be nourished.

From the face of the serpent (or from the face of the snake) indicates what she will flee from by flying into the wilderness.

The face of the serpent represents the serpent himself. She is seeking to escape from Satan so that he may not harm her.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

In verse 15 the serpent makes another attempt to destroy the woman, i.e. Israel. The serpent or the snake, i.e. Satan, the dragon, cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman.

Cast is the word used several times already in this chapter translated cast out three times in verse 9 and once in verse 13.

Out of his mouth indicates that the water was in his mouth before he cast it out.

What he casts out of his mouth is water as a flood. The word translated flood is river or stream. Of course, this would require a tremendous amount of water.

After the woman indicates where Satan casts out this great amount of water as a river or stream.

That [i.e. in order that or for the purpose that] he might cause her [i.e. the woman] to be carried away of the flood, i.e. that he might sweep her away by a river or that he might overwhelm her by a stream so that the phrase means that he might sweep her away with the stream and suggests that he might drown her. In some way it indicates that Satan will attempt to destroy Israel with a flood or deluge. Inasmuch as the terrain in the wilderness may not be conducive to a flood of water, it has been suggested that the flood is symbolic of invading armies seeking to destroy Israel. This would be consistent with Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:15 ,

Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:15 - And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (emphasis added).

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

In verse 16 the earth provides protection for Israel against Satan's effort to destroy her.

The earth helped the woman personifies the earth as an aide to the woman [i.e. to Israel].

Helped is came to the aid of.

The earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

The earth is pictured as opening a hole (or fissure) in the ground.

The earth swallowed up the flood, i.e. swallowed up the river or stream.

Which the dragon cast out of his mouth describes the particular flood in view. If this is symbolic of invading armies seeking to destroy Israel, then verse 16 suggests that the earth may open up and swallow the soldiers much as the earth opened and swallowed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families. In any event, in some way, the earth will destroy those seeking to destroy Israel.

VII. THE PERSECUTION OF THE GODLY REMNANT OF ISRAEL - 12:17

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The dragon is the same one mentioned throughout the chapter who has been identified as the Devil and Satan.

Was wroth is another term meaning was angry.

With the woman refers to Israel and indicates the one toward whom his anger is directed.

The dragon went [i.e. went away in order] to make war with the remnant of her seed [i.e. with the rest of her seed].

Seed is used figuratively in the sense of descendants, children, or posterity. These are Jewish people.

They are further described by which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Which keep the commandments of God suggests that they are attempting to obey God.

Which keep . . . and have is the ones who are keeping . . . and have. They not only seek to obey the commandments of God, but they also have the testimony of Jesus Christ. In other words, they are saved Jews. They might be, or at least include, the 144,000 who have been sealed with the seal of God on their foreheads in Revelation of Jesus Christ 7:4-8 . Although the text does not state this, their appearance in Revelation of Jesus Christ 14:1-5 makes this somewhat likely in view of the fact that they are saved and witnessing Jews who are not in hiding but protected by God.