"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
1 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.
In this chapter there is so much symbolism! God paints the most beautiful pictures with words! As only God can, he tells us the truth through His most beautiful imagery!
He begins with a sign, a symbol telling us of something. Here we are witness to the first of seven signs revealed in the Great Tribulation, or the final three and one half years. The sign begins with a woman, not a real woman, but a woman symbolizing the nation of Israel!
There are actually four views of just who this woman is. They are:
1) The woman is the church and the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles.
2) The woman is Mary and the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles.
3) The woman is the redeemed and the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles as well as the twelve tribes of Israel.
4) The woman is Israel and the twelve stars represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
As we shall note in verse 5, the male child born to the woman has a rod of iron in-which he rules the nations. At Jesus' return in chapter 19, verse 15, Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron, so clearly this Child is the Messiah! Having determined the identity of the Child, the woman could not possibly be the church or the redeemed; sense neither will give birth to the Messiah. The woman could not be Mary, as she was not hidden in the wilderness, but rather escaped to Egypt possibly two years after the birth of Jesus. Also, Mary was not pursued by Satan for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, or three and one half years.
The woman was clearly Israel as it would be Israel who would bring forth the Messiah!
She is clothed with the sun, which certainly would represent the Glory of God assigned to Israel. You simply cannot have a discussion about God without the mention of Israel!
The moon is under her feet. Have you ever heard the hymn "Standing on the Promises of God?" In this picture, Israel is standing on the promise or covenant of God's protection!
The garland of twelve stars represents the Twelve Tribes of Israel. This is somewhat similar to the seven stars of Revelation 1:16 in-which the stars represent the messengers or heads of the seven churches of Asia Minor.
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
The Bible refers to Israel's long and painful longing for the coming of their Messiah as labor pains quite often! Micah 5 is just an example of that.
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
3 Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
There is also imagery in the Bible regarding the whole of creation longing, as a woman in labor pains, for the return of Jesus Christ!
22 for we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
and another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
Satan, the dragon, is the mortal enemy of Israel, or the woman. Satan is called a dragon thirteen times in the book of Revelation! That the dragon is red refers to the horrific bloodshed he will bring!
The dragon's seven heads and seven diadems on his heads most likely refer to Satan's dominion over the seven world kingdoms; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the final, revised Roman Empire, or kingdom of the Antichrist. Satan will rule the world until the seventh trumpet blast in revelation 11:15.
The ten horns of the dragon refer to the ten future kingdoms of the Antichrist! Horns always represent power and the number ten represents the culmination of political and military power which will fall into the hands of the Antichrist during his short reign of terror!
All of this incredible imagery fully coincides with the book of Daniel which we will cover in our study of the book of Daniel.
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 rebelled and was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12). The imagery here points to the one third of the angels who rebelled with him and became demons!
Satan was unsuccessful in preventing the birth of Jesus, so he set out to destroy him in a slaughter of all male children up to the age of two!
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son." 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
5 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. 6 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.
Jesus was born and by the word of God was protected from Herod by leading Joseph, Mary and Jesus to Egypt until the death of Herod. That the Child was caught up to God refers to the ascension of Jesus as recorded in Acts 1:9
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
The mention that the male Child would rule the nations with a rod of iron, clearly refers to Jesus at His second coming in Revelation 19:15
15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Verse 6 refers to Israel at the mid point of Tribulation. She will flee into the wilderness for three and on half years to a place God has prepared for her safety. I, as well as many others believe that place is Petra!
This silent city carved from the cliffs in southern Jordan stands ready to receive and shelter those who are forced to flee from Jerusalem at the mid point of tribulation according to Matthew 24.
15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
7 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.
Satan and his demons were cast out of heaven at the original rebellion described in Isaiah 14:12-15, but have been allowed access to this point. As the ongoing war is intensified during this time of tribulation in both the the physical world and the spiritual realm, Satan is now denied access and cast out of heaven on every level, forever!
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.
Satan's anger will intensify and crescendo as he lashes out against Israel for the last time!
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.
An incredible announcement is made, possibly by Gabriel himself, proclaiming to all creation the significance of what has just taken place! Satan has been allowed access to the throne room of God. His agenda? To accuse believers of their sin! Now, the time has finally come when he is cast down, no longer able to accuse our brethren! Amen!!
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.
No accusation will stand against those who have trusted in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior! The accuser is powerless against the children of the Most High God!
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."
There is a huge celebration in heaven! Who is part of this celebration? Several groups are celebrating this great day! All old and New Testament saints who have died and gone to heaven, the raptured church, which along with all of the saints, were resurrected and given new bodies fitted for eternity, as well as the entire angelic realm! What an incredible reason to celebrate! I am reminded of the song; "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!"
But on earth we find a very angry Satan! He is out of control with explosive anger as he realizes that his time is very short indeed! His agenda? Destroy Israel at any cost!
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
Satan not only realizes that he has been cast down to earth...again, but now he has absolutely no access to heaven! He has been completely banned from the throne room of God and can no longer accuse the body of Christ! His hate and anger towards Jesus, Israel and all believers is now at an all time high! All he can see is blood red! He now attacks the woman, Israel with such vengeance that unless God shortened Satan's days of hate filled persecution, no one would survive!
15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
From the beginning of time, God has prepared a way for those whom He loves! Whether by creation or construction, God's ultimate purpose will be fulfilled!
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.
This verse could very well be describing a massive evacuation! The enemy is coming with all of his murderous hate and now the inhabitants of Jerusalem must be airlifted to that safe hideout that by God's incredible plan was created/constructed centuries earlier for just such a time as this...Petra!
I wonder if the Prophet Isaiah envisioned this scene when he penned this incredible verse!
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
When Jesus is our Lord and we trust only in Him, then whenever we walk through the fires of life's trials, He will not leaves us there to die, but rather He will walk with us, always to the other side!
1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
A time and times and half a time refers to three and one half years, or the Great Tribulation! God will sustain and protect those in Petra from the serpent, the dragon, or Satan until the return of Jesus! Amen and amen!
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.
Satan will pursue the Jews as they flee from Jerusalem with a great army as a flood! Zechariah 13:8-9 prophesies that two thirds of the Jews will die in this vicious attack! The good news? One third of the Jewish people, the remnant, will live to call Jesus Messiah!
And it shall come to pass in all the land,
Says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it: 9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name, and I will answer them.
I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God."
This remnant is what will be the "Saved Nation of Israel!" The surviving one third will stand face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ and call out; "My Lord and My God!" They will walk into the Millennial Kingdom and be with their God!
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.
Just what will this look like? God has done this before!
28 And Moses said: "By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD."
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up also!"
An example of how God will come to the rescue of those whom He loves! Wait upon the Lord and He will vindicate you!
8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
9 Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also, and bear them up forever.
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.
At this stage of the battle, Satan's anger knows no bounds! There is only one hope for mankind and that is Jesus Christ! Jesus will soon return, but not before God issues the seven bowl judgments introduced at the seventh blast of the trumpet. God's wrath will be complete and it will be just! Praise His Holy Name that those who have been sealed in His love will not be subject to the judgments to come. Although some may die as a result of the ensuing judgments, that will only mean that those who die will go to heaven and as a result be included in the greatest day of horseback riding in all of the ages! See chapter 19 verse 14;
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
What a day that will be!!
Satan may growl and frighten, but remember what the word says in 1 John 4:4
1 John 4:4
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Jesus is our protector! He is the lover of our soul! If He is for us, who then can be against us? Trust is God and God alone and you shall be victorious!
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