(12.5) And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
1. If the woman is a symbolic description of the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, and if the dragon can be identified with Satan, then the man child she brings forth can only be the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Let me substantiate this with two passages that shed light on who it is who wields this rod of iron. First, turn to Psalm 2, which is a Messianic Psalm that is obviously related to the Lord Jesus Christ as the conquering king, as well as the Savior:
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
3. Now turn to Revelation 19.15-16: “15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” I cannot wait to study this chapter. Oh, how glorious will be the second coming, in power and great glory, of the Lord Jesus Christ. That He will rule with a rod of iron seems to verify that the man child of Revelation 12.5, “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” does refer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Could this man child possibly be Satan? Some has advanced that view. Valid question, since there are some verses in Daniel chapter 12 that at first glance might seem to refer to the Lord Jesus, but which turns out to be the antichrist. So, it is good to challenge a position, to question it.
5. The conclusive evidence for this being the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of some interloper or fraud who is posing as the Messiah, is the statement that “her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.” This brief statement obviously jumps from the birth of Christ, to the ascension of Christ, to the throne of God, after His crucifixion, after His burial, after His resurrection, and after His post-resurrection ministry. But such are prophetic visions that it is not all that unusual for certain prophetic features to be seen by the prophet with no recognition in his vision or prophecy of important events in between.
6. Suffice it to say that it is established that the woman is Israel, Jewish people, and the man child is the Lord Jesus Christ.
(12.6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
1. This refers to the last three and one half years of the seven year tribulation, when the Jews who have been regathered to Israel, here again seen as the woman, must flee to the wilderness to escape the persecution of the antichrist.
2. Turn to Matthew 24.14-22 and take note of what the Lord Jesus Christ taught the apostles about this same event, only from an earthly perspective:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
The reference to the “gospel of the kingdom,” in verse 14, and the “great tribulation,” in verse 21, nails down the time frame. The “gospel of the kingdom” suggests the Church is no longer on the scene, but Israel is back in full view as the focus of God’s workings. And “great tribulation” is a phrase used only to describe the last half, the worst half, of the 70th week of Daniel.
3. Although it will be horrible, God will see to it that the Jewish people are preserved from satanic persecution.
(12.7-8) 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
1. This is a scene in heaven which will not be witnessed by the inhabitants of earth when it happens, some three and one half years after the Rapture. But try to imagine what kind of warfare it will be. What will warfare between two incorporeal armies be like? What kind of conflict can be engaged in between two armies comprised of creatures who are spirits?
2. Consider also the fact that these creatures all know each other. This is not a war of faceless soldiers. This is a war involving beings that were created by God, Himself, and who at one time worshipped and served the Lord God Almighty side by side, giving to the Him praise and honor and glory that He so richly deserves.
3. Consider also the outcome of the war, or of this great battle. What can these creatures actually do to each other? They cannot kill each other, since they are immortal beings. All they can strive for, then, is the mastery of the one group over the other.
4. How will it turn out? Michael and his holy angels will prevail over the dragon and his unholy host. How can we be sure? Because God has ordained that it be so. Just a glimpse at what is at the disposal of God’s servants can be found in Jude 9, where Michael’s skirmish with Saran is recorded: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
5. My own opinion is that this conflict will not be one of blood and gore, of brute force and cunning. I imagine this to be a conflict between truth and lies, between humility and pride. I am not suggesting that it will not be a real fight with real stakes. I am just suggesting that Michael will once again lead his army of angels to adopt the same strategy that he used in conflict against Satan for the body of Moses. He quoted Scripture; Zechariah 3.2 to be exact: “And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
6. Why should Michael not use this strategy of quoting Scripture? The Lord Jesus Christ did the same when tempted in the wilderness, did He not? Did He not combat Satan’s temptations with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God? We should do the same. Amen?
7. When the struggle is finished, Satan and his minions will lose their access to heaven. But what does this mean? I am of the opinion that this struggle between Michael’s forces and the forces of the dragon will result in the dragon being confined to the earth. No longer will he have the freedom to roam the universe. No longer will he have opportunity to enjoy any freedom of action. With this step taken by Michael and his angels the dragon begins to be hemmed in.
8. I think it will be at this point in time that the dragon really begins to realize that his time is drawing to a close. His confinement is imminent. To resist what he knows must happen he breaks forth in a last ditch frenzy of thrashing destruction, seeking to do as much damage as he possibly can.
(12.9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
1. This confirms my suspicions about Satan’s fate being confinement to earth, as well as that of the fallen angels who follow him.
2. I want you to take note of something else we find in Revelation 12.9. Think back to the Garden of Eden, Genesis chapter 3. Who was it that tempted Eve? It was the serpent, more subtle than any beast of the field. Amen?
3. You may not have realized this, but this verse is the first verse in Scripture which conclusively identifies the serpent as Satan. From this verse we know that the dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan, are all descriptions of the same malevolent being.
4. One final observation before we move on to the next verse. John describes this being by his names, dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan, and by his activity. He is the one “which deceiveth the whole world.”
5. You be careful of this great enemy. He is the master of deception. He fools everyone, the whole human race, the entire planet. He can fool you. You better be careful to know God’s Word and to follow God’s will, lest you be led completely astray and your life ruined.
(12.10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
1. At the precise moment Satan is cast down to the earth the loud voice makes this glorious proclamation. There are two parts to this proclamation, one part dealing with salvation, God, and Christ, and a second part that deals with Satan’s nefarious activities.
2. “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ.” Is this a summary of the events related to the crucifixion of Christ, the burial of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and His ascension to the Father’s right hand? Or is this loud proclamation that John hears a declaration that the final events that will culminate with the second coming of Christ in power and great glory that is about to commence? I tend to think it is the latter of the two possibilities.
3. Whatever is meant by this proclamation, there is absolutely no suggestion that God will be on the defensive when the Jewish people are being persecuted by the antichrist. This should serve to remind us that when conclusions are drawn about whether the work of God and the plan of God is advancing we should not limit our conclusions to facts related to circumstances that can be seen only, but also to facts related to circumstances that cannot be seen. Though God’s people will be on the run at this time in the future, God’s plan will be unfolding exactly on schedule.
4. “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Let us rejoice, first, in the fact that Satan will be cast down to earth as a prelude to being utterly cast down to the lake of fire at the end of the millennium.
5. But by way of application, let us take note of the activity Satan engages in right now, before this struggle with Michael and his eventual confinement to earth. At this moment in time, in the past from John’s frame of reference in this verse, Satan is the accuser of the brethren. From the Greek word kathgwr, the word “accuser” refers to someone who brings a legal charge against someone. Thus, Satan is the plaintiff against believers.
6. Take note, however, of where Satan’s accusations are registered. Satan accuses the brethren night and day before God. That is very important. The main difference between Satan’s activities and the Scriptural confrontation of someone who has done wrong is this: When you deal with someone about wrongdoing you are supposed to deal first with that person, and then with others in the presence of that person if need be. Satan, on the other hand, does not seek to confront you directly, for your benefit. Instead, he is the ultimate rat who runs to God with accusations, which are likely true, but which are voiced for the purpose of harming you, not helping you.
7. In like manner, when you tell another of the wrongdoing of a Christian, when you should have told that Christian to his or her face, you are doing exactly what Satan does. Folks, we cannot do that. And we cannot allow our children to develop that habit. In our Christian school I allow kids to tell me things that other kids do only when they are obviously trying to help keep the kid out of trouble, or when they are obviously trying to prevent some kid from being injured. The plain old tattle tale is not well received by me. And you would do well to refuse to listen to the younger child who tries to tattle on an older brother or sister, when the obvious intent is not help but to get the sibling into trouble.
8. There is a great deal of Satan-like behavior among people who claim to be Christians. Let us learn to deal with what we see ourselves, rather than running to someone and tattling, like Satan runs to God, just trying to get people in trouble. If the problem is not important enough for you to muster the personal courage to deal with them, then the problem is not important enough to tell anyone else about. Amen?
9. By the way, what good does it do Satan to approach God day and night with accusations leveled against those of us who are genuinely saved? No good whatsoever. Read Romans 8.28-39 with me:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How some people can think it is possible for a genuinely born again Christian to lose his salvation and ultimately perish in the lake of fire, I will never know. If the most powerful created being in all the universe cannot loosen God’s grip on you, how can you be lost once you are saved?