The Dragon’s Defeat (Pt. 1), Revelation 12:1-6

 

Why does Satan want to kill the Christ?  Because the Christ is going to kill Satan. 

Revelation is famous for its imagery, and, perhaps nowhere else does its imagery become so fascinating as in chapters 12 through 14.  Prepare to meet a pregnant woman, a 7 headed dragon, a male-child, a 7 headed beast that comes up out of the sea, and another beast that will partner with the first beast.  In this section we will learn of the mark of the beast, the song of the 144,000 Jews, the 3 angels flying over the earth with heavenly declarations, and another of the 7 beatitudes found in Revelation.  

 

We begin this captivating section in chapter 12.  Here we are given a big-picture, panoramic view of the career of Jesus Christ beginning with His first coming and spanning all the way to His 2nd Coming.      

 

Right away you will see that there are 3 main characters in this dramatic scene:  a woman, a dragon, and a child.  They represent God’s chosen nation Israel, Satan, and Jesus Christ, respectively.  It is impossible to understand the Bible, what God has done in history, and is going to do in the future, unless we understand relationship between Israel, Satan, and Jesus.

 

This condensed description unveils the spiritual world behind the activity on earth.  Much like Job 1-2 let us peek behind the scene to know how the invisible spiritual world was affecting Job’s earthly situation, so too Revelation gives us insight into the invisible world’s power to cause the course of earth.

 

#1:  The Pregnant Woman (v1-2)

Our first encounter is a pregnant woman in verses 1-2, [read].

 

Clearly this woman is giving birth to Jesus, and, it might seem reasonable to understand her to be Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus.  But, when the whole passage is considered, it becomes very evident that John was not shown a vision of Mary, the wife of Joseph, mother of Jesus.  Well, who is it then?  This woman is symbolic of the nation of Israel.  How do we know that?  Let me show you:  

 

First, notice her celestial wardrobe.  In verse 1 it says she is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and has a crown of 12 stars.  These same 3 elements appeared when the nation of Israel first began.  Turn with me to Genesis 37:9-10.

 

The nation of Israel gets its name from its founder, the man named Israel.  His name originally was Jacob but God changed his name to Israel.  Israel had 12 sons and they became the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel.  Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, had this dream where the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed down to him.  It was a dream foretelling that one day he would rule over his father, mother and brothers.  Now, this dream got him into a lot of trouble, and you can read the rest of Genesis to find out that story.  But what we need to see is that in his dream, the sun, moon and stars represent the first family of Israel, the first group of people from whom the nation of Israel would come.  This is one reason the woman in Revelation 12 represents the nation of Israel.

 

Secondly, we can know this is Israel because the Christ comes from her.  Clearly, she is pregnant with Jesus Christ, as we will soon see in more detail.  But what I want us to see is that the nation of Israel gave birth to the Messiah.  The Savior was born a Jew, and the Jews gave the Savior to the world.

 

A third reason why this is the nation of Israel is because after she gives birth the woman must flee satanic persecution.  Notice verses 6 and then 13-14.  When you examine the Scriptures you see that there is a final, end-times escape the Jews will be forced to perform.  It will be the biggest “get out of dodge” and “run for your life” period in their history.  But it will be the last time they are parted from their homeland.  

 

Altogether, by the time Jesus returns the Jews will have been on and off their land 3 times.  They first possessed it from the wilderness to Babylonian captivity.  Then they possessed it for the 2nd time after the captivity until 70AD when Emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem causing the Jewish people to scatter around the world (for 2,000 years).  Then their 3rd possession of the land began in 1948 where they are to this day.  

 

They will remain there until the ½ way point of the Tribulation.  

  • Daniel 9:27 says the Jews will make a 7 year treaty with the Antichrist and that 3 ½ years into that treaty, at the half-way point, the antichrist will break that treaty.  
  • Second Thessalonians 2 says that at that point the Antichrist will end all the Jewish sacrifices in the temple and set himself up as god in the temple and demand to be worshipped.  
  • Revelation 11 says that the Gentiles (the people of the Antichrist) will trample on Jerusalem for 42 months, which is 3 ½ years, which is the last half of the 7 year period.  
  • This last 3 ½ years is called the Great Tribulation by Jesus in Matthew 24 because it is the worst time in all of human history.  Turn to Matthew 24 with me and let’s read verses 15-22.  Jesus is describing a terrible time that will begin when the Antichrist turns on the Jews and they will have to run for their lives.  Everywhere and anywhere.  This is what we see in Revelation 12:6, “The woman [Israel] fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days [3 ½ years]”  Why would she need to run?  Because she will be persecuted by the Satanically possessed Antichrist as we see later in verses 13 and 14, “….”

 

The woman is Israel, and, as so much of Revelation has been “Jewish” so far, this passage emphasizes again the central role the Jews play in God’s plan for human history.  God delivered them out of Egypt.  He has preserved His people from then all the way up to today, and, He will keep them through to the end of Tribulation so that He can fulfill all His promises to their nation in the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

 

 

#2:  The Dragon (v3-4)

Next we see the Dragon in verses 3-4, “….”

 

The dragon is Satan, as verse 9 tells us, “….”  Let’s look at the dragon’s (1) appearance, (2) influence, and (3) purpose.  

 

His appearance.  I don’t know why he is red rather than black, or puke green.  Maybe to symbolize all the blood he has shed.  But it is his form that I find intriguing:  “seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns.  Is this really what Satan looks like?  No.  He was a Guardian Cherub according to Ezekiel 28:14.  So why the 7 heads, 10 horns and 7 crowns?  Well, Satan looks this way in the vision because it corresponds with the way his world empire is going to look in the last days.  The seven heads, horns and crowns are representative of kings and kingdoms that Satan will align together for his worldwide government headed by the antichrist.  Turn to chapter 17:3 and then 7-14.  

 

We’ve been learning that Satan has two goals:  power and worship.  He wants to rule in God’s place, and, he wants to be worshipped as God.  This is why he is actively creating false religions around the world but also it is why he is actively influencing world politics.  

 

I want us to see next his influence, as verse 4 says “his tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung tem to the earth.”  Most commentators agree that this refers to Satan convincing ⅓ of the population of angels to join him in rebellion against God.  In this same chapter, in verses 7-9, we see Satan banded with his angels fighting and losing against the archangel Michael and his army of angels.  If this is the meaning, then for every demon there are 2 holy angels that chose loyalty to God.  

 

Lastly, I want us to see his purpose:  kill the Christ.  Notice verse 4 again, “The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.”  This begins back in the garden of Eden in Genesis 3 when God said to the serpent that a woman would give birth to a child and the serpent would strike his heel but that the child would crush the serpents head.  From that point on Satan has tried to thwart the coming of this child.  When God said it was through David’s line the Messiah would come Satan tried to wipe out David’s whole family.  At one point it was down to one infant who was smuggled to safety.  You’ll remember that while Jesus was still very young, maybe still an infant, his parents were told by an angel of God to flee to Egypt because Herod was going to kill Jesus, and what happened?  Herod killed all male children 2 and under in Bethlehem hoping to get Jesus in the process.  

 

Why does Satan want to kill the Christ?  Because the Christ is going to kill Satan.  God told Satan that the Christ was going to “crush his head”.  Jesus is Satan’s worst nightmare come true.  Satan plunged mankind into death by leading him into sin, but God sent Jesus to rescue mankind from sin and death.  Satan’s goal was to ruin mankind by getting him to sin against God.  But in stepped Jesus who went to the cross to take the guilt of mankind on Himself.  The cross is where man can be pardoned and it is the cross that strips Satan of his power over mankind.  Satan is the accuser who accuses believers day and night (Revelation 12:10), but, Romans 8 says “who shall bring any charge against us?  It is God that justifies a man.  Even Jesus who intercedes for us at the right hand of God!”  He tried hard to prevent the cross.  He failed.  So now he’s trying to prevent the kingdom of Jesus from coming to this world, and to do that he will try to eliminate the Jews.  

 

What do the Jews have to do with it?  Everything!  They are God’s chosen people, his special nation picked out of all other nations.  They will be duped by the antichrist during the Tribulation, but, at the end of the Tribulation they will believe on the True Christ.  Furthermore, they have never received their promises from God.  They will though when Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom and rules over all the nations.  During His kingdom Israel will be the most honored nation and all other nations will revere the Jews because they will see that they are first to God.  

 

 

#3:  The Male-Child (v5)

Last we see the male-child, read verse 5, “….”

 

Here we have the highlights of Jesus’ career:  His incarnation (birth), His Ascension (snatched up to heaven), and His Kingdom (will rule the nations).

 

His whole career of Jesus Christ, His becoming flesh, His return to heaven at His Father’s side, and His future return to earth.  Now what we can get from this is this:  Satan cannot stop the career of Jesus.  The incarnation and ascension happened.  Satan failed to prevent those.  Take that as assurance the rest of Jesus’ career is going to happen and Satan will not thwart the coming of Jesus’ kingdom on earth.  

 

Conclusion:

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