Sunday, February 7, 2010

#Revelation 12> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Seal Judgments ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 19) 
          5. The seal judgments (8b, 9, 11b) 
          Summary of who plays a role in the tribulation (12-13) 
               1. The Woman (12) 
               2. The Beast (12) 
               3. The Man Child (12) 
               4. Michael the Archangel (12) 
               5. The Remnant (12) 

1. The Woman 

Who is the woman clothed with the sun? Who is the dragon? And who is the male child? Chapters 12 through 16 do not advance the unfolding of judgments, but show situations and events which occur at the same time as the sounding of the trumpets. Chapter 12 introduces five characters who play a role in the unfolding of the tribulation. 

In heaven, "a great wonder appeared". The word "wonder", means a sign, and symbolizes the events which will actually occur on earth. John saw a "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon 
under her feet". Upon her head was a crown of twelve stars. In Genesis 37:9, Joseph had a dream that "the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down" to him. His father interpreted this to mean that he, Joseph's mother, and brethren would bow down to him. Thus, the woman represents the nation Israel. 

Being with child, the woman travailed in birth, and pained to be delivered. This travail refers to Israel's agony during the Great Tribulation. In the OT, birth was often used to picture intense suffering, particularly "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:5-7; Isaiah 26:15-18; 66:7). The child the woman bears seems to refer to both Christ (v 5), and a godly remnant of Jews (cf. v 17). 

2. The Beast 

After the woman, John saw another wonder in heaven--a great red dragon, "having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. The beast represents Satan's control over the revived Roman empire (cf. 12:9; 13:1; Daniel 2:39-43; 7:7-8, 24). Seven heads and ten horns represent ten kingdoms which will be subdued by the "little horn" (Daniel 7:8), the ruler (anti-christ) who controls the revived Roman Empire. 

With his tail, the dragon drew "the third part of the stars of heaven, and...cast them to the earth:". This may picture Satan's original fall (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15), and could also typify anti-christ's gathering of support against his enemies. 

3. The Man Child 

Standing before the woman, the dragon prepared to devour her child as soon as it was born. In view, may be Herod's attempt to kill Christ by commanding that all the male children of Israel be destroyed (v 5; Matthew 2:13-18), and anti-christs desire to destroy the godly remnant (v17). The woman brought forth a "man child" (Christ), who would rule all nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9), and who was caught up to God (His ascension, after the resurrection). The man child is Christ, and may also represent the godly remnant (v17). 

At this time, the woman fled in to the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that she should be fed for three and a half years. This may be what Christ alluded to in Mark 13:14-19, when he commanded those of Israel who would live when the "abomination of desolations" (anti-christ setting himself up as God in the temple) stands where it should not, to flee. Evidently, God has prepared a place for the people of Israel to escape during the Great Tribulation (last half). 

4. Michael the Archangel 

Next, John saw war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels were cast out into the earth. Currently, Satan has access to the heavens, where he accuses believers (cf. v 10; Job 1:6) day and night. Now, however, Michael and the good angels cast Satan and the bad angels to earth, where they lose access to the heavens. This marks an aspect of arrival for the salvation of martyrs, who overcame Satan's accusations by the blood of the Lamb, by their testimony, and by not loving their lives. 

While this is cause for rejoicing in heaven, it is also a cause for woe to the inhabitants of the earth and sea. Knowing his time is short, and being cast to earth, Satan will rage against the people of earth, especially Israel. 

5. The Remnant 

Since Israel receives "two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness" (to the place where she will be nourished from the face of the serpent), the Devil casts a flood of water out of his mouth, after the woman. 17:15 refers to waters as the Gentile nations. If this is the case, perhaps the flood Satan sends is people with hatred for the Jews. The picture of the earth helping the woman may refer to friendly nations who heed the gospel of the kingdom of Christ, by protecting Israel. It also may refer to natural hiding places, like the desert and mountains. 

This makes the dragon wroth with the woman, and he goes to make war with the remnant of her seed, "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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