Friday, December 2, 2011

Two Wonders in Heaven

Revelation Chapter 12

It has been a few days since my last post on the book of Revelation. I would like to pick that up and continue where we last left off. Beginning in chapter ten we are given seven parenthetical chapters. These chapters explain to us things that are taking place during the last half of the tribulation period. In chapter ten we are told of a mighty angel with a little book. In chapter eleven we see the work of God’s two witnesses.

In chapter twelve are now in the middle of the week. At this time John witnesses to wonders in heaven. He sees a wonder of a sun clothed woman, and a wonder of a great dragon.

The Sun Clothed Woman

There is a lot of speculation about who this woman represents. Some would have us believe that the woman is the church. They claim that the church is pictured in this woman by saying that the woman is the visible church or the outward church, and the man-child is the real church. And that the man-child or real church is to be called out at the middle of the week. If this be true then you must believe that the church will go though the first half of the tribulation period. We know this is not true, as we have seen in chapter 4:1.

Others claim that this woman is the Virgin Mary. This is not true for the Virgin Mary has never been described as this woman is described.

This woman is Israel. The word “wonder” in this verse is the same word used in the Greek for sign. Therefore this woman is a sign. I believe this woman is a sign of Israel. When you compare the description of this woman, with some Old Testament descriptions of Israel you can see the similarity. For example look back to the dream of Joseph in the book of Genesis.

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”  Genesis 37:9

The woman in this chapter is seen to be with child. This condition has never been said of the church. The church in the scriptures is called a virgin and an espoused virgin at that. In fact if the condition of this woman were the condition of the church, then it would make the church unfit to be the bride of Christ.

The church is never a mother, but being a mother was prophesied of Israel.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

The Great Red Dragon

The second wonder in heaven that appears is a red dragon. There is no doubt who this dragon is. He is identified for us in verse 9. In this verse the dragon is named “that old serpent, the devil, and Satan.”

Notice the description of this dragon. First notice the color of this dragon. He is red in color which is the color of blood. This is a fitting description for Satan because we are told in John 8:44 that Satan is a murderer, and has been from the beginning. Second I would like for you to notice that this dragon wears a crown. This tells of his earthly dominion. Some people have a hard time accepting the earthly dominion of Satan, but the fact that Satan has a kingdom is something that is clear in the scriptures. In fact in Luke 4 Satan offers Christ the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus did not dispute with Satan over his claim to kingdoms.

“And the devil taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”   Luke 4:5-7

His seven heads, ten horns and crowns associate him with the beast that comes out of the sea in chapter 13. The beast from the sea is the Antichrist. These two have some relation. The dragon will embody the Antichrist and at that point he will become the beast, break his covenant with the Jew, and set up himself as God.

John then tells us that the dragon awaits the birth of the man-child, or Jesus Christ, so that he can devour Him as soon as He is born. It is interesting to trace the story of the fight between  Satan and God to bring forth the man-child. From the Garden of Eden until the cross, Satan has tried to destroy the man-child. Satan however was unsuccessful.

As a result of the travel, the woman brings forth a man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron. There is no question who this man-child is. He is the Christ.

The man-child is not the church, because the man-child is caught up to the father's throne where he is now seated. The church is not caught up to the Father's throne but to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air.

Now we come to a source of confusion for many. They read these verses and assume that the woman flees into the wilderness immediately after the birth of her child. Since the time of her departure is in the middle of the week, they are very confused.

What these people fail to see is how her child can be Christ, for he was born and caught up to his father's throne thousands of years ago. But what we are overlooking is the fact that between the 5th and 6th verses is found the church period. This is the same as the gap between Daniel's sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks.

In verse 5 John described the birth of Christ and His ascension. Then John jumps the gap and describes the flight of the woman in verse 6. The reason for this jump over the gap is due to the fact that John is simply dealing with God's dealings with Israel. The flight of the woman in this verse does not take place until after the war in heaven, in the middle of the week.

A War in Heaven

The war in heaven begins by the attempt to expel Satan or the dragon from the heavenly. These verses are not describing the fall of Satan at the time of his rebellion. This is clearly taught in the scriptures, for Satan up to this point has liberty to go to and fro on the earth and even into heaven. We know that he came into the Garden of Eden in the days of Adam and we even see him approach God in heaven in the days to Job.

Since this war, and casting out of Satan, is not the casting out that took place many years ago. It is safe to assume that there must have been something new that started this war. Many, as well as myself, believe that this war could very well be started by the rapture of the church. When the church leaves this world we will go directly through the domain of Satan in the heavens. As the church is raptured, Michael will withhold Satan and his forces, and prevent them from disrupting the departure of the saints. As a result, war will begin to brew in the air.

This has happened before, therefore why could it not happen again. You ask, when did this happen before? In the book of Daniel chapter 10 we are told that God sent a message to Daniel by his messenger Gabriel. Gabriel was not able to deliver the message however because he was hindered by Satan. Therefore Michael came and fought with Satan allowing the message to be delivered to Daniel.

Michael overcomes Satan and cast him to the earth. As the dragon is cast down there will be great rejoicing in heaven, but it brings woe to those on the earth.  The dragon is filled with wrath because he knows that he has but a short time to vent his anger on the inhabitants of the earth. It will not be long until he is chained and placed in the bottomless pit.

When Satan realizes that he has been cast to the earth he immediately begins to persecute the woman (Israel). It is through Israel that Christ came. Notice that Satan will pursue after Israel, but God does not allow him success. God hides His people in the wilderness for the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

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