April 12, 2012
By: John Barnett
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Above the softness of our blue green planet there are hostile forces poised. They range across space lurking and flying about at their master’s bidding. They are former angels. They are Satan the Dragon’s army. They are deadly, vile, malignant and very intelligent. In fact, the word demon in Greek means “intelligence”.
These aliens to our planet are highly skilled, incredibly powerful, usually invisible - warriors. They can hear us talk, they can pass through walls, they can fly through space, they inhabit human and animal bodies, they alter human behavior, they afflict humans with disease, anguish and turmoil.
These extra-terrestrial beings can take on various forms looking human, looking powerful, looking fearsome. They are watching over the realm of the serpent and his seed. You see, we saints of God are at war this morning. There is a conflict going on the likes of which most of us haven’t fully comprehended. Swirling around us the unseen beings of the spirit world are locked in mortal combat. Behind the scenes in every boardroom, political planning session, military strategy session, classroom, worship service and everywhere else, these unseen spirits watch, listen and whisper their lies. It is the battle for the Earth that rages. The god of this world has dispatched his demon warriors with one target, blind the minds of earth’s inhabitants until they can’t see and won’t follow - God !
Seventeen verses lay before our minds and hearts this morning. In no other place in the Word of God is the situation more clearly laid out. God names the key players in the Conflict of the Ages: The Battle for Earth. And Revelation 12 is His Battle Plan!
Let's Read Revelation 11:19-12:17
These verses are divided into three powerful insights for our lives today:
• VICTORY IS IN JESUS BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL (11:19-12:6)
• VICTORY IS IN JESUS BECAUSE SATAN IS VANQUISHED (12:7-9)
• VICTORY IS IN JESUS BECAUSE SAINTS WILL SUFFER (12:10-17)
For just a moment, why is earth so important? Simply because God has staked His very Name on a person (Jesus) an event (Calvary) and a people (Jews).
Two lines run through the history of mankind: the line of Christ and the line of Antichrist, the line of the Woman’s seed and that of the serpent.
• The Christ line begins with Adam, passes via Golgotha, and leads to the heavenly Jerusalem.
• The Antichrist line begins with Cain, passes via Babel, and leads to the lake of fire.
There are only 2 families (God's and Satan’s) , 2 destinies (Heaven and Hell) and 2 choices (repent or reject). Each of us today belongs to one family or the other. You are choosing your own future.
There are two programs at work in the world today: God’s program of salvation, and Satan’s program of sin, “the mystery of iniquity.” God has a timetable for His program, and nothing Satan does can change that timetable. Just as there was a “fullness of the time” for the coming of Christ (Gal. 4:4), so there is a “fullness of the time” for the appearance of Antichrist; and nothing will be off schedule. Once the restraining ministry of the Spirit of God has ended, the next event can take place.
WE HAVE VICTORY IN JESUS
BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL
First we start in 11:19 because The Victory of Jesus is based on God's Faithfulness. And here’s we see the ark (but don’t look for Indiana Jones and the distortions and errors of this swashbuckling explorer)... It’s in heaven. What is so important about the ark and why is it opened?
THE ARK IS A SYMBOL OF
GOD'S ABIDING PRESENCE AND PROMISES
Remember its contents?
1. The two stone tablets of the Law which declare that our God is unceasingly holy in His character.
2. Aaron’s rod that budded which reminds us that God gives life, and we can have eternal life through His Son Jesus who is the Resurrection and the Life.
3. The Pot of Manna which was kept as a picture of Jesus Christ who came as the Bread of Life
Remember what God revealed about Himself by what He called His ark?
1. God called it the ARK OF THE COVENANT (Num. 10:33) because THE ARK SPOKE OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS
2. God called it the ARK OF THE TESTIMONY (we are lost, God sent His Son as the only way Ex. 25:22), because THE ARK SPOKE OF GOD'S HOLINESS.
3. God called it the ARK OF GOD (I Samuel 3:3) because THE ARK SPOKE OF GOD'S UNIQUENESS there is no other God nor any other way to Him but His way .
4. THE ARK SPOKE OF GOD'S MIGHTINESS because it was THE ARK OF GOD'S STRENGTH this associated it with God's power and miracles (Psalm 132:8).
5. THE ARK SPOKE OF GOD'S APPROACHABLENESS: because it was THE HOLY ARK where God's throne was set, placed in the center of the camp, with lights never to go out, it was God offering his salvation to all! (II Chr. 35:3).
Remember what happens every time we are transported into the Throne Room? There is a powerful display of God's Majesty and Omnipotence .
THE ARK IS OPENED IS A SYMBOL OF
GOD'S AMAZING PLAN
Remember how God shares His plan with us by opening all the events to us by His servants like the Apostle John? Remember the Seven Openings in Heaven ?
Revelation 12 contains 2 Signs and describes four great things. There are seven signs in Revelation :
The Panorama: God highlights five cast members:
Saints: True Believers
"Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth."
Revelation has four women mentioned who represent special things :
There are many ways Bible teachers have identified this woman. Some like Barnhouse says it is the spiritual conflict of all the ages from Eden onward including Israel and the church; others have said it is Eve, all women of all time, Mary, the church and others Israel (Scott, Ironside, Newell, Gaebelein). Lets look at the clues:
• First, her clothing corresponds to Genesis 37:9-11 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”10 So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
• Second, her cries. When God sent forth His Son to be born in Israel it was a time of oppression at the hand of Rome. All of creation groans awaiting redemption. All women groan in childbirth.
• Third, her exalted child, it can only be Jesus .
• Finally, her care by God in the tribulation hours. Only Israel is promised such care.
"And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads."
• The 2nd sign is easy. Satan has been well identified as:
1. Prince of the world John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (Also John 14:30; 16:11).
2. Murderer John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
3. Adversary the Lion 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
4. The seven heads are later stated to be (17:10) seven past kingdoms and the ten horns (17:12) to be ten kings of the end times.This beast is quite similar to the one Daniel saw with one head and ten horns (Dan. 7:7, 20, 24)
HIS PAST HISTORY IS DESCRIBED:
HIS PRESENT ACTIVITY IS DETAILED :
"His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born."
Satan is powerful. WHAT CAN HE DO? Only what God allows, but that is substantial. He tempted Eve [Gen. 3]; he tempted Christ [Matt. 4]; he perverted God's Word [Matt. 4]; he hindered God's servant, [I Thess. 2]; he fought with Michael [Jude 9]; he brought sin into the world [Gen 3]; he hinders the gospel [2 Cor. 4]; he snares the wicked [I Tim. 3]; he desires the nations [Rev. 16]; he has the world in his lap [I Jn. 5].
WHAT IS HE LIKE? His Character: He is described by our Lord in John 8:44 as a murderer and liar. He works overtly and covertly with doctrines of devils and seducing spirits. He is a sinner [I Jn. 3:8], an oppressor [Rev. 12:10], a perverter [I Tim. 4:3] and an imitator [2 Cor. 11:13-15].
"She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne."
• Three elements unique to Jesus in all the Universe are noted:
1. His Incarnation
2. His Ascension
3. His 2nd Coming to Psalm 2:8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”
• The Man-child who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron.
1. This is Christ (Scott, Newell, Gaebelein, Alford).
2. It is Christ and the true church, His body (Ironside).
3. It is the invisible church (Seiss).
• The word for Jesus being caught up is harpadzo and is the same word used for the Rapture (I Th. 4:17) as well as Paul going to the 3rd heaven (II Cor. 12:2)
"Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
So we have seen our VICTORY IN JESUS BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL (11:19-12:6). Next we need to consider our VICTORY IN JESUS BECAUSE SATAN IS VANQUISHED (12:7-9)
"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
We first must ask what is this celestial warfare all about? Notice that Michael leads God’s angels to victory. This becomes significant, when we note Michael is identified with the nation Israel (Dan. 10:10–21; 12:1; note also Jude 9). Another key is that the name Michael means “who is like God?”. This may point to Satan’s when He rebelled against the Lord and said “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14). This battle may be becuase the devil’s unbridled hatred of Israel spurs him to make one final assault against the throne of God. And as recorded, he will be defeated by Michael and the angels of God.
v.9 is the middle verse of the Book of Revelation !
So we have seen our VICTORY IN JESUS BECAUSE GOD IS FAITHFUL (11:19-12:6), and our VICTORY IN JESUS BECAUSE SATAN IS VANQUISHED (12:7-9); now finally our VICTORY IN JESUS BECAUSE SAINTS WILL SUFFER (12:10-17)!
10 "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.12 “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
They like us conquer as more than conquerors through the blessedness of our four powerful weapons. Do you know them ?
1. THE WORD
• Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
• Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2. THE NAME Philippians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
3. THE BLOOD Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.
4. THE CROSS
• Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
• Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
Last of all, our attention is drawn to the triumph factor. John says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.” Satan cannot win. Just as the blood of the martyrs has proved to be the seed of the church, so during the tribulation, persecution will but drive many Jewish people into the arms of the Lord Jesus. Satan, in his rage, displays a notable lack of imagination and originality. He has tried persecution many times before, and it has always failed to deter faith and conversion. That he tries it again is a mute confession of failure, the last resort of a desperate and darkened mind. The godly Jews will not recant. They will only scatter far and wide, bearing as they go the gospel of the kingdom and their triumph will be complete. What can Satan do with the likes of these? Lock them up in prison, and they convert their jailors; torture them, and they become partakers of Christ’s sufferings and heirs to a great reward; martyr them, and they go straight to be with Christ; turn them loose, and they evangelize the world!
13 "Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Satan has always tried to destroy his mortal enemy the seed of the woman. All of history has been a record of this conflict between the seed of the serpent and the sed of the woman. He tried to stop God's plan all along the way:
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan when He rebelled against God as the Annointed Cherub (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan when He tempted Eve with his lies, and as she led Adam into the Fall (Gen. 3)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan when Cain murdered Abel (Gen. 4)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan by the demonic intrusion into the human line before the flood (Gen. 6)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan through Goliath, as the serpents seed sought to destroy the line of the woman’s seed as young David stood before him (I Sam. 17).
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan through Haman a descendent of Agag the Amalekite, and nearly succeeded at Satan’s promtings to wipe out the Jews. (Esther)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan by the decree of Herod to kill all the male infants (Mat. 2:13).
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan by tempting Jesus to take the esy road (Mat. 4).
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan as he entered the enfuriated mob who sought to cast Jesus over a cliff (Luke 4:28-29).
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan when he spoke through Peter telling Jesus to not go to the Cross (Matthew 16)
• Satan attempted to destroy God's plan when he entered Judas and led the mob to capture Jesus in the Garden (Gen. 4)
Jesus won every time and as the writer of Hebrews says Hebrews 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
From Eden to the end, there have been two groups on earth:
Satan and Rebels/ God And Saints
Drunken Harlot / Chaste Bride
Followers of Lie /Seekers of Truth
Walkers By Sight/ Walkers By Faith
But, a collision lies ahead – Satan’s Kingdom is nearing its hours on earth – a time when the powers of darkness, demons, and all will rule…The earth will follow the false God Anti Christ, but how?
So, there are two competitions, two destinies —
• choose Christ: follow Adam, pass Golgotha, go to Heaven.
• choose Antichrist: follow Cain, pass Babel, and to to the Lake of Fire.
“No Condemnation Now I Dread”