Title: THE TERRIBLE TRIO
Text: Revelation 12:1-17
With the death of God’s two witnesses in chapter 11, the stage is set for the dramatic appearance of the unholy trio that Satan uses to conquer the earth: the Antichrist and the False Prophet and the Great Harlot. The Antichrist is Satan’s masterpiece – a false Christ who will momentarily control the world. To accomplish this Satan uses the False Prophet to be a forerunner to the false Christ, along with a seductress.
Satan has always been the enemy of those that belong to God, and he fights with deception, lies, accusation, imitation, and empty promises. Hasn’t this been the pattern God’s people have faced over the centuries? He has made empty promises only to lead man into slavery. He uses a human associate to promote his program to entice man into submission, and sometimes to even worship him. He is the angel of light that has fallen from Heaven, and ever since he has been trying to demand worship from God’s creation that belongs only to the Lord. In the last days he will make an all-out effort.
To keep confusion to a minimum, you need to understand there are some details in this chapter that addresses both history past and the future. It’s an overlap as if John were putting a parenthesis in the middle of a sentence and taking us back to a series of events long ago to help us understand the current conflict. Read Text.
1. Who do you think the woman clothed with the sun is, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars? (Israel. Compare to Joseph’s dream.) Gen. 37:9 Who is the child of verse 2? (Jesus.) Rev. 12:5; 19:15; Ps. 2:7-9 What is verse 5 symbolic of, when it says her son was caught up to God and to His throne? (His resurrection, ascension, and now seated at the right hand of the Father. The semicolon in the middle of v. 5 represents 33 years of history!)
2. Who do you think the red dragon of verse 3 is? (Satan.) Rev. 12:9 What have we associated with the color red thus far? (Slaying of people.) Rev. 6:4; Jn. 8:44
3. Any guesses on what the seven heads and ten horns represent? Rev. 17:7-13
4. Where did Satan come from? Dan 8:8-10; Isa. 14:12-15
5. How long has Satan been working at trying to destroy the woman’s son, Jesus? Rev. 12:4; Gen. 3:15 When Jesus was born, who did Satan use to try to kill Jesus? (King Herod.) Who did Satan use at the end of Jesus’ life? (Judas.) Who is Satan trying to destroy today?
Insight: Satan has a special hatred towards Jesus, for He delivered the crushing blow at Calvary and resurrection from the dead. Remember, Jesus took away the keys of Hades from Satan. And so now he hates anyone who has Jesus in their heart. During the Great Tribulation there will be a wave of destruction against them such as the world has never seen.
6. What will God do for Israel during this time of persecution? (He will protect her.) Rev. 12:6, 13-14; Matt. 24:15-22
Insight: God has always preserved a remnant of His believers no matter how many have fallen to the hands of Pharaohs, Stalins, and Hitlers.
How long does this protection last? (1,260 days = 3.5 years)
7. When Satan was cast out of Heaven, how many deceived, rebellious angels did he take with him? (1/3 – 12:4 – he is outnumbered 2 to 1!!)
8. Verse 10 says that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. How does he accomplish this? (By accusing us before God that we are no good.) Job 1:6-12; Lk. 22:31 How does Satan have access to Heaven? Lk. 16:19-31
9. How is Satan cast down and defeated in our lives? (He was defeated at the cross - when you, through the help of Christ, kick him out of your heart – when we you win a soul for Christ.) Satan will be cast down to two more places. Can you identify them? Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10
10. When it comes to strength of angels, who is stronger than Satan? (Michael 12:7) Dan. 10:10-21; 12:1 After this war in Heaven, will Satan intensify his war against those that love God? Why? (He knows he has but a short time. Rev. 12:12)
11. If Satan is our accuser, what does that make Christ? (Our Advocate.) 1 Jn. 2:1-2
12. How will Satan intensify his battle against God’s people during the Tribulation? Rev. 13:6-8
Insight: During the final days Satan will deceive the nations to get rid of the people of God. Acts 4:25-28 But we can defeat him by being faithful to Christ. Acts 4:29-31 Satan is not equal to God, and his power is limited. God cares for those He uses to accomplish His purpose on earth. True, some will give their lives, but others will be spared.
13. After Satan is cast out of Heaven and begins to persecute the woman, Israel, what does he use to try to overtake her? (A flood of water from his mouth. 12:16) What do you think this symbolizes? (Anti-Semitic propaganda.) Ps. 124:1-8; Isa. 57:20
14. What does the earth do in response to this? (12:16) What do you think this symbolizes? (The world will not stand for the propaganda.)
15. When Satan discovers that the Jews are protected, where does he then aim his persecution? (12:17 Her offspring, Christians.)
Whether you find yourself in the days of the final count down, or you face strong opposition from Satan today, your defense is the same: He is overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and not loving life even to death. We are always to bear the brand mark of Jesus: “…her offspring who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (12:17)
One of His commandments is: “Be faithful even unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) The testimony you have to share from your heart is what He has done for you that you never deserved. He has taken away your sin, given you a new name, and secured in Heaven a place for you for all eternity. All that is secure where no moth eats, no rust destroys, and no thief can steal. The temporary affliction has no comparison to the eternal reward for those who defend the name of the Lord and take the abuse that Satan wants to hurl at Christ. Since he can’t strike at Christ, he strikes at those who look most like Him and profess His name.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.” (Matt. 5:10-12)