Revelation Series # 17
The Woman and the Dragon p1
Remember that "in the days of the 7th trumpet" … the end of the last chapter gave us a preview or overview of what was to come and now we are about to get into the details of what is to come …
READ chapter 12
Of course the further we get into this book, the wider the gap becomes between some of the different viewpoints on Revelation
So let's look quickly at the viewpoints on the first part of this chapter
Historicist - they would see this and referring to events that have already been recorded in the Revelation but referring to them in different ways
The WOMAN - is the true church at a time of promise and growth since she is "about to give birth"
The sun, moon, stars in the Heaven … are the political climate and authority and hierarchy
The Male child - the children of the church … raised to dominant power
The dragon - imperial rome … 1/3 of the stars that their persecution only dominated 1/3 of the political "heaven"
The persecution couldn't prevent the destiny of the church … the child caught up into God and his throne is symbolic of Constantine's empire in 324 being caught up to a place of supremacy … and they ruled with an iron rod
Preterist - there are TWO preterist viewpoints and they part ways here …
1) believe that the remainder of Revelation refers still to the Destruction of Jerusalem and just restates in more detail the same information as before. They would see the 1st half of the book dealing with the Lamb of God and the 2nd Half revealing the church in conflict with the world
2) the second group believe that Babylon is Rome and the remaining chapters assume the judgment of Jerusalem is complete and now Jewish Christians are fleeing Jerusalem
The woman is the faithful remnant of OT Israel
The child is Christ
The Dragon is just restating the 4 parts of Daniels prophesy of empires
The woman as in chapter 11 leaves for the desert for 3 ½ years until it is safe again and is the length of the Jewish War AD 66-70
Futurist - Will be covered in our study tonight
Spiritual / Idealist - Ch's 12-13 are the 4th Act in this drama. They are descriptive rather than prophetic. The birth of Christ is shown, but his life is skipped over and tells of Satan's attempt to destroy Jesus
The woman in labor is either the Remnant OT Israel, or All of God's people in History
The dragon's heads/horns, speak of universal authority and political strength.
The 1/3 Stars cast down are the portion of angels who fell originally.
The dragon is frustrated with Christ's ascension and takes it out on the church. The Flight of the woman for 3 ½ years is a picture of God's care for the church during the entire church age
Well … that's a widely differing viewpoint as you can see
Let's just break down these Characters that are Revealed tonight and focus a bit on the woman and then we will pick it back up next week
So we learned that in the days of the sounding or the voice of the 7th trumpet, the mystery of God is finished … so now we are in the middle of the tribulation and receiving MORE details about this time period and we are being introduced to the critical players in this drama.
Today we will talk about 5 of them,
1.The WOMAN clothed with the sun
2.The Great Red Dragon
3.The Male Child
5.The Offspring of the Woman
We are going to begin today as in one book I read and start with the 2nd character in this Drama
The Second Character is
2. The Great Red Dragon
Remember that this picture is a SIGN appearing tells us that we are viewing something symbolic … Showing us something that means something or someone else
The word appears for the first time in Revelation - the word seimeion /say-mi-on/ -= a sign, a mark, a token … something that distinguishes one from another
These signs are given us so we would KNOW who it was and what it refers to
a. great red dragon - powerful, exalted, higher
b. that ancient serpent (the garden of eden)
c. the Devil - diabolos /dee-ab-ol-os/ = prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely, a calumniator (one who utters false statements, charges or imputations)
d. Satan - adversary
So … no doubt we aren't talking about a system of evil, or evil people, or an evil government … we are talking about only one person … Lucifer, the Fallen Arch Angel, a real spiritual being, just as real as Jesus, just as real as you and I. If he is NOT real, the Jesus is not real, then Peter is a liar because he taught of us him.
3. The Male-Child
"the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."
Psalm 2 says - ?6? "I have installed my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
?7? I will proclaim the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, "You are my Son
today I have become your Father.
?8? Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
?9? You will rule them with an iron scepter;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery."
Who is THIS?
The Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 2nd Person of the Trinity.
Appears several times in the Old Testament …
He is Israel's great Prince defending her against the Prince of Persia in Daniel's prophesy
He is also an archangel and is the only NAMED archangel … we will talk of him more later … perhaps next week
5. The Offspring of the Woman
these are the remnant Children of God … who they are will be most clear as we define who the woman is ….
SO … who IS She
1. The Woman Clothed in the Sun
There have been quite a few offerings as to who she Is.
1. The Catholic Church says that she is Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus
2. not really possible
3. well Mary went into Egypt to protect Jesus … but Egypt wasn't the wilderness it was the most modern of countries in that day.
4. v6 says that she fled for 3 ½ years as does verse 14 … to a place God prepared for her
5. it says that the dragon went to war against the woman and the rest of her offspring … well that right there should trouble the Catholic church because it refers to MORE offspring than just the child …
B. The Church?
1. if TRUE, this would reverse the prophesy … Because JESUS gave birth to the CHURCH, the CHURCH didn't give birth to Jesus
2. The church came from the SIDE of Christ like EVE came from the SIDE of Adam and Adam said "you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh"
3. so we are out of Christ's side "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh" so the Church was born from the spear opened and bleeding side of Christ, the blood and water flowing mixed together and thus we are born of water and born from above, we are not of his blood but mixed into his blood.
4. Some would say that the Church is not birthing Christ but birthing Christ INTO the lives of unbelievers
5. others say that it's the churches work in evangelism that speeds the coming of Christ in judgment
6. BUT … all of these are a misinterpretation of this simple picture this SIGN to show us this woman, child, dragon, Angel, and Remnant children
C. Who is She?
1. Romans 9:4,5 the people of Israel. Thers is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises 5 theirs are the patriarchs, and FROM THEM IS TRACED THE HUMAN ANCESTRY OF CHRIST, who is god over all forever praised. Amen
Paul, under God's inspiration that the one who gave birth to Christ is the people, the family, the nation of Israel.
2. you won't read far through the OT without seeing Israel referred to as a woman baring a son. And that he will rule.
3. When we see this everything makes sense and fits!
4. throughout the OT Israel is seen as a MARRIED WOMAN … to WHOM … to God … to the FATHER …
5. when She rejected God she was often called a widow as if her husband were dead, or a divorced woman. Is 47:7,9; 50:1
6. BUT THE CHURCH is called the promised BRIDE of Christ that means she is a VIRGIN yet to be joined completely to Christ. We are promised to Christ but not yet fully in union with him until the end at the Marriage supper of the lamb. We will be presented PURE and BLAMELESS to Christ by Christ. 2 Cor 11:2. SO, the Bride of Christ would NOT be seen WITH CHILD, that would inappropriate.
7. The church is never called a mother … John said "he who has the bride is the bridegroom, and I am the friend of the bridegroom rejoicing in his voice." That is the picture Paul paints in Ephesians 5 of Husband and Wife LIKE Christ and the Church
8. But Israel is a mother, giving birth to children, born to GOD. SO, God is the Father, Israel the mother, and Christ the Son. It is OUT of God's love for Israel that Christ is born through her
9. What is she wearing The Sun, and the moon is under her feet, and a crown with 12 stars … Do you remember the dream Joseph had in Gen 37:9 … he saw Jacob (Israel) as Sun, his Mother as a Moon, and 11 stars bowing to him as the 12th star, (those are his brothers) … NOW, this WOMAN, Israel, clothed in the Ancestry of Jacob, wearing the crown or adornment of the 12 tribes … Criswell said it this way "sold into captivity to the gentiles, buried among the nations … yet in promise and purpose of God … raised to an exalted position with her son, the Messiah, who is destined to rule the earth.
The woman is ISRAEL … the Chosen People of God and the Male Child is the Messiah
D. What about the Chronology?
1. the Chronology of events here seems to be bare and with gaps …
2. how do we know where this prophesy falls --- "she goes into the wilderness and is cared for by God for 3 ½ years" ---
3. Remember Daniel … in Chapter 9 he prophesied of "70 weeks of years" in regards to Israel before the final conclusion or consumption of things. If you remember there were 62 + 7 weeks of years from the order to rebuild the Temple until the Cutting off of the Messiah … Then the final "week" or 7 years is when God will deal with Israel for rejecting his Messiah and it is separated from the others. If you remember THAT week is divided into 2 parts of equal length. The week begins when the Antichrist, makes a treaty with Israel for One Seven or Seven years but in the middle he breaks the treaty and cuts off the sacrifices etc. That LAST week is critical … that is when God will bring to fruition his Kingdom and deal with those who have long rejected him. So, the woman fleeing, for 3 ½ years, when would that be? Well we know that she wouldn't flee during the Peace Treaty, no need, but we know that AFTER the 2 Witnesses, Jerusalem is trampled by the world, why? Because the Antichrist will break his treaty. Thus comes what scripture calls, Jacob's Trouble, the dy of the Lord, but also a day and time when God will again elevate all of his people, Israel who turn to him as Messiah and King.
4. The child is to rule over the world with an iron scepter … when is that? At the end …
5. But isn't there then a GAP between vv5 and 6 ?
a. she gave birth … who WILL RULE …
b. her child was snatched up … (gap of 33 years)
c. the woman fled into the desert for 3 ½ years (gap of nearly 2000 years)
6. SO ALL of the Church age is left out of this story? All of the Life of Christ left OUT of this story? All of his MINISTRY left out of this Story? Does GOD tell stories, prophesies like that?
a. well In Gen 6 Noah who was 480 years old when he got Word to build an Ark - God told him what to do and then verse 22 says "noah did everything the Lord told him to do" and then 7:1 … he gets in the ark … 7:6 says he was 600 years old … so 120 years passed in verse 22 of chapter 6. Why? Because it wasn't important to the story God was telling
b. We think linearly God thinks and sees everything completely and perfectly past, present, and future… God can see everything beginning to end in one sentence" (Criswell)
c. Gave birth … caught up … leaves out all of Jesus on earth, life, death, ministry, resurrection … WHY? Because God is talking about something else and only includes what is important to the story
d. the Apostles Creed says "born of a virgin, crucified by Pilate" again it leaves out great detail but it isn't pertinent to the story being told/communicated
e. Isaiah 61 was quoted by Jesus ABOUT himself in Luke 4 … The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … to preach good tidings to the poor, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord … and the day of vengeance of our God …" There is a BIG gap between acceptable year of the Lord … and the day of vengeance … when Jesus quotes it in Luke … he leaves out the last Phrase … why? Because the Spirit of the Lord wasn't on him to do that YET … that was to come … but that day is coming and was prophesied as in one complete prophesy in Is. 61
f. In Eph 4 Paul calls our period of Age of Grace a great mystery that the former prophets didn't see or understand until the Apostles made it known by God's revelation.
g. Isaiah 11 speaks of a shoot coming from the root of Jesse's stump … that's Jesus … and then it says in vv6-8 that wolf will lay down with lamb, leopard with goat, calf and lion … lead by a child, cow and bear eating together, infant playing with a cobra …" that's a jump forward to the time of the millennium FROM the birth of Christ … that's a 2000 plus year jump.
h. I've hit golf shots from a distance that I thought were nearly sitting on top of the hole, but the closer I got, the farther away they were. My perspective was off because they were lined up
i. Criswell says "it is only as we draw near the mountains that we noticed the great distance between the peaks, one is in front of the other …" They appear close together but are not
7. SO WHY is the church age, gap left out here … Because God is NOT dealing with the church here, he is dealing with Israel, with his people. This woman who gave birth to the son, her offspring. We have said before that God's Prophetic Clock for Israel has stopped … but there is yet 7 more years left to be fulfilled. The clock from Daniel 9 stopped at 69 weeks but there is one left.
a. what about individual Jewish believers today in the church age … scripture says there is "neither jew nor greek, slave or free," we are all alike … we must all come to Christ the same way. When we trust Christ we ALL become part of the household of Faith, the Church.
b. But one day … the Church will be caught up, like a thief in the night, changed in the twinkling of an eye, transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, I don't know what that is, but like John, I know that we will be like Christ for we will see him, know him, experience him in the fullness of who he is … then THEN one who will be revealed as the Antichrist will make a treaty of peace with Israel, and THEN the clock begins again for the nation of Israel. During that great day of the Lord, the Day of Jacob's trouble, the day of agony and sorrow, God's purpose will be made know. God will purge Israel, his people … and the True Israel will be born as if overnight. As God's people as a nation turn to him again, does that mean everyone? No, because not every Hebrew in the Old Testament was truly a Son or Daughter of Abraham.
c. Those who reject Christ today have a veil of unbelief over their eyes but one day that veil will be removed … and God will care for those … her offspring … the remnant of the descendants of Abraham "obey his commands" AND "acknowledge Jesus Christ" … He will care for them in the dessert and will prepare them for the promised land
More on that to come
Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006
The following resources were used among others in preparation
Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg
W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation
Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations
MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur
Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation
The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation
Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary