THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON
As far as timing is concerned, please allow me to reiterate. When the all important seventh Trumpet is blown, the seven Bowl judgments will immediately commence down on Earth in rapid-fire succession. These judgments will occur in a matter of days or possibly even hours culminating in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, since we will be given a good deal more information before we actually come to the description of those events here in Revelation… it will seem much longer to us than it will actually take when it happens in time. Keep that in mind as we come now to the third interlude in the book of Revelation. This is the interlude between the blowing of the seventh Trumpet and the pouring out of the first Bowl judgment. It will take up all of chapters 12 and 13. In these pages, our Lord will enlighten us concerning many of the events, conditions, peoples and politics that will exist on Earth during the Great Tribulation. Also, this will go a long way in helping us to understand why God will strike Earth-dwellers with such a clenched fist during those final climatic hours of secular world history and Gentile dominion over the earth.
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. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 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. 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.
What awesome visages greeted John’s eyes in this new vision! First, a resplendently dressed pregnant woman appeared who was in the throes of childbirth. Then, ominously, a terrible many-headed red dragon appeared and murderously positioned itself before the woman to devour her Child as soon as it was born. The repeated word, sign, here, tells us that these are symbolic representations. Careful analysis will make their significance clear. Let's look at them.
…The woman. There is something vaguely familiar about her. Oh yes, some of the same elements in her makeup are also found in Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-10. There we read,
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.’ 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?’
The woman was clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. These are the same three elements Joseph saw in his dream. He saw the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowing down before him. It was clear to Joseph's family that the sun represented Jacob; the moon represented their mother, Rachel, and the eleven stars, Joseph’s eleven brothers. They were all greatly incensed by Joseph’s dream.
Later, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and his sons became the twelve tribes of Israel. The Apostle Paul, speaking about the descendants of Israel says in Romans 9:35,
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
The woman ... sign that John saw is clearly symbolic of the nation of Israel from whom, Paul says, Christ came.
…The dragon. What a fearsome and murderous specter the fiery red dragon with seven heads and ten horns presented to John’s eyes. As he watched, its gigantic tail thrashed across the skies and drew a third of the stars of Heaven and threw them to the earth. Then, the awful thing halted menacingly before the woman. Its evil intent was obvious. It was awaiting the birth of the woman's child in order to gobble it up as soon as it was born! The dragon ... sign represents Satan. Verse nine identifies him as such, by name. Let’s consider some of the elements of his symbol and see if we can discern what they might allude to.
a. He is red. I believe this speaks of his bloody and murderous nature. Our Lord says of him in John 8:44b,
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.
b. He has seven heads. Like many other monsters in ancient mythology, this probably speaks of Satan’s perceived indestructibility. It would be a formidable task to kill a seven-headed monster such as this.
c. He has ten horns. His ten horns speak of his self-perceived power. I say self-perceived because, although he is very powerful indeed, his power is not as great as he thinks. As we have noted before, horns are often used as a symbol of power in the Scripture. The Lamb, back in chapter 5, had seven horns, a symbol for total or complete power. Satan's symbol here, having ten horns, is an indication that he views himself as stronger than the Lamb.
d. He dragged a third of the stars of heaven down to Earth with his tail. As previously noted, stars are sometimes used as symbols for angels in the Bible. I believe that to be the case here. We know from the Scripture that Lucifer was not the only angel that fell (First Peter 3:18-20). The stars, which the dragon flung down to the earth, no doubt refer to the angels who Satan caused to fall along with him. We refer to them as demons today. And, by the way, a third of the angels of Heaven is no small number, for God's angels are said to be innumerable (Hebrews 12:22).
e. He positioned himself before the woman to gobble up the male child as soon as it was born. This is an obvious allusion to Satan’s attempt in history to kill the baby Jesus. An account of it is found in Matthew 2:16,
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.
No mistake about it, Satan was the one behind King Herod in that awful incident.
May we step aside again here for a minute? Satan has been trying to stop Christ from coming into our world ever since the Garden of Eden. After the fall, the Lord said to Satan,
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15
Christ is the promised Seed that the Lord was referring to there. I take it that Satan’s seed refers to his demons as well as to all unregenerate human beings that are currently under his control. People who don't know the Lord belong to Satan, just as the fallen angels do. They are his property and confederates and he uses them as he pleases. So, in a very real sense, they are all Satan's seed. As Jesus put it to the Pharisees in John 8,
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. John 8:44a
Paul, speaking of lost and unsaved people, said,
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. Second Timothy 2:26 (KJV)
Jesus, in the commissioning of Paul, said that he was sending him forth with the gospel...
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Acts 26:18 (KJV)
The Hebrew word translated bruise in Genesis 3:15, actually means to crush. God's words to Satan were unmistakable. Someday the Seed of the woman will come and he will kill you. Doubtless, these words have made Satan sweat. No one can fully understand biblical or even secular history until they understand how its events are related to Satan’s attempts to stop the promised Seed from coming into the world.
Shortly after this prophecy was spoken, Satan moved Cain to kill Abel in order to keep the Seed from coming ... but God raised up Seth. During the time of the great Flood, Satan moved all of mankind to become so wicked that God would have to destroy them all and thereby nullify the coming of the Seed of the woman, but God raised up Noah. When Abraham arrived upon the scene, God made a covenant with him saying, in your seed shall all the nations of the world be blessed (Genesis 22:18). From that day on, the Seed became embedded in a specific line of the descendants of Abraham. So, Satan began to attack that line and moved Esau to say, I will slay my brother Jacob (Genesis 27:41) ... through whom the Seed was to come ... but Rebekah sent Jacob away to Laban’s house.
In the days of the kings of Israel, God further defined the Seed’s coming when he pronounced it would come from the royal line of the seed of David (II Samuel 7:12). The history of the aftermath of this new refining of the path of the Seed can be read in First and Second Kings and First and Second Chronicles, as well as several other places in the Old Testament. These books are replete with accounts of Satan’s onslaughts on the royal line. Take for example, the account of wicked Queen Atheliah in Second Kings 11. When her son, king Ahaziah, died, she seized the throne and immediately set about to exterminate all of the royal seed so that she alone would sit on the throne of Israel. She almost pulled it off too, having murdered, she thought, every one of her grandchildren. But, God had seen to it that she missed one. While Atheliah was busy killing all the royal seed, Jehoshiba whisked away little baby Joash, and his nurse, and brought them to Jehoiada the priest for protection in the temple. For six years, God’s whole purpose in the promised Seed rested in the life of that one sole little boy. Then, when Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada set him on the throne as the boy-king of Israel and wicked Satan instigated, Atheliah, was put to the sword and the promised Seed was secured and preserved.
Finally … Satan not being able to stop Him … the Seed of the woman came to Earth. As you have it in Galatians 4:4,
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law…
Satan was then faced with the Seed Himself. He had come. Immediately, he moved Herod to destroy the child, but the plan failed. Being warned in a dream, Joseph fled with the infant into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14). All through Christ's life on Earth, Satan continued to plot to kill him. Finally, by means of Jewish and Roman leaders, the Seed was nailed to a Roman cross. Satan’s laughter must have echoed throughout the universe! At long last, he thought, he had succeeded in destroying the promised Seed! He had killed the one who God had said would kill him ... and the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, had been nullified. What Satan didn’t know, however, was that it was in the sovereign plan of God that his Son die on the cross. Jesus had come specifically to lay down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (First John 2:2). Then, after having satisfied God’s righteous demands, the Seed arose from the dead.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. Romans 8:33
What a shock it must have been when Satan realized that he had not only lost again but now, he had been set up to lose scores of his slaves as well! As you have it in Hebrews 2:14-15,
In as much 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, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Ha! Because of our Savior’s death on the cross, a Door was now open for the captives to be set free (John 10:9). By faith in Christ, Satan would no longer be master ... and death, which brought so much fear to us all, had lost its sting. Nevertheless, ever since that wonderful resurrection morning, Satan still pursues his dogged opposition to the Seed. Now, however, he concentrates on anything and anyone who has anything to do with Christ as he stalks the Earth seeking whom he may devour (First Peter 5:8b). Today, Satan continues to scratch and claw for every advantage to thwart the Seed’s people and Christ’s purposes … and especially his coming to Earth again one day. But, Satan is a loser and an already defeated foe. He lost in Eden and he has lost over and over again down through history in his opposition to God’s Seed. He lost big time at the cross and he is losing today. Jesus said, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Inexorably, Jesus Christ is now systematically ransacking Satan's kingdom and calling out of it a people for his name's sake.
We are given this history lesson here in Revelation 12, to remind us of the great struggle that has gone on, and continues to go on, concerning the Seed of the woman. The struggle will greatly intensify during the dark days of the Great Tribulation. At that time, Satan will pull out all the stops to attempt to hold on to what is his and to oppose the Seed. He will seek to exterminate anyone and everyone who has anything to do with Christ and, ultimately, will make war with the Lamb Himself at his Second Coming. But, as the saying goes, The bigger they are, the harder they fall!
…The male Child. John says, She bore a male child … who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. This universal rule with a rod of iron is an unmistakable allusion to the prophecy of the Son in Psalm 2:7-9,
I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to me, 'you are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'
Clearly, the male Child represents Christ. As John continued to watch the awesome drama unfold, a male Child was indeed born but, before the dragon could gobble him up, he was caught up unto God and to his throne. This is an obvious reference to Christ's ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God. As you have it in Acts 1:9,
...And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (KJV)
And, in Hebrews 1:3, we read,
…and when he had by himself purged us from our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High...
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[three and a half years].
When Antichrist breaks his treaty with the Jews, and seizes their temple at the middle of the Tribulation, Jesus forewarned his covenant people, the Jews, they must immediately flee out of Jerusalem...
Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… Matthew 24:15-16
When this actually occurs in time, our text says that those who obey Christ's words to flee will ultimately arrive at a place of refuge. We read here, Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God. God will make a place of refuge in the wilderness for his covenant people who obey him and make it out of Jerusalem on that awful day when Antichrist breaks his treaty, seizes their temple and attempts to destroy them all. How will God protect them there? Let me assure you, he will have no problem on that score. Do you remember how Jesus escaped from the mob at Nazareth? They were hell-bent on throwing him off a cliff (another instance, by the way, of Satan's attempt to destroy the Seed). But, Jesus simply walked right through them, did he not (Luke 4:28-30)? With God, such things are a piece of cake.
Our passage continues... that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days (three and a half years). Who do you suppose the they are who will be doing the feeding at that time? Also, what do you suppose they will feed those Jews for three and a half years? Would it surprise you to learn that these Jews will be fed with manna? That is the implication here. I believe they refers to angels who will daily feed these Jews, just as they fed their ancient counterparts out there in that same wilderness in Moses' day. Soon, the Jewish people will once again dine on angel’s food (Psalm 78:25).
One more thing here … do you remember from our discussion that we talked about the fact that the Jews of the Tribulation would be saved by direct confrontation, like the Apostle Paul was saved before them? Although that will be the method of many of the Jews' salvation during the Tribulation, no doubt they will not all be saved at the same time or at the same place. I believe that many will be saved through the confrontation of the sixth Seal. I place the 144,000 in that group. However, these who are fleeing from Satan here in Revelation 12 are yet another group of Jews. They are Judean Jews who will have been living in and around Jerusalem and worshipping at their rebuilt temple. They also will have recently experienced the trauma of the sixth Seal but now ... to compound that awful experience ... as soon as the skies have been zipped up again, they find the invading Antichrist on their doorstep overrunning Jerusalem and seizing the temple! Those Jews who are wise will immediately flee for their lives. For three and a half years they will have been prospering under Antichrist’s protection and blessing ... trusting in his treaty of protection with them. They will have had peace … but, on that day, they will experience his treachery, as prophesied in Daniel 7, and warned about by Jesus in Matthew 25.
Those who flee to the mountains, as Jesus instructed, will ultimately arrive at the place of refuge. But, upon their arrival, boy will they be in for a shock. The Lord Jesus Christ, their God and their Messiah, will be waiting for them there! And then, he himself will save them by direct confrontation! As you have it in Ezekiel 20:35-38,
’And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead my case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead my case with you,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; [I take this to refer to the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34)] I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’
What an amazing prophecy, aye? Wouldn’t you like to be “a fly on the wall” observer when that event takes place?
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 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. 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. 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. 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.
As I have said previously, I am persuaded that the events in Revelation are given to us in the exact chronological order in which they will actually occur in history. This passage adds further weight to that hypothesis because, right here in the middle of the story of these fleeing Judean Jews, it's as if the phone rings and we readers are suddenly summoned back up to Heaven. Why? Because, at that same exact point in time, something extremely significant will also be happening up there. A parallel crisis will have begun in Heaven. As God’s people, the Jews, are fleeing for their lives down below, God Almighty is going to make his own move on Satan up above … to cast him permanently out of Heaven. Again, may I say to you, my how God loves his covenant people. Because of their awful plight at, Satan backed, Antichrist's hands down on Earth ... God will retaliate tit for tat against Satan in Heaven above.
Now, it is important to understand that Satan and his demons presently have access to Heaven. We read in our passage that, up there, they constantly accuse the brethren before our God day and night. Right this very moment, up in Heaven, Satan and his demons are hard at work tattling on the people of God and laying out endless accusations against them. Did you know that your name is being brought up before God in Heaven by demons, dear saint? Our sins, our defeats, our weaknesses, our falters and our failures (and who knows what else) are constantly being presented before God by Satan's crowd. Don’t think he doesn’t watch us. But thanks be to God, we have an Advocate, Jesus the Righteous One, who stands up for us! As you have it in First John 2:1,
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
And again, in Hebrews 7:25-26,
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens…
Satan has access to Heaven today, just as he has had throughout history. Job’s story is more than ample proof of that fact. We learn here from Revelation 12:9-10, however, that there is a day coming when our God will no longer tolerate his presence nor his scurrilous accusations any more. There will come a day when he and his are going to be tossed bodily out of Heaven. Our text says this will precipitate war in Heaven. When the Judean Jews are fleeing Satan’s man on Earth, Satan will suddenly find himself in hand to hand combat in Heaven above with God’s archangel, Michael. Can we even imagine such a thing?
I picture it unfolding something like this. God ... observing his people fleeing from Antichrist down on Earth ... suddenly says to Michael, Throw Satan out. Satan says, What! God says, Michael, throw him out, and all of his demons with him. Satan says, Michael????… you must be kidding … why, I'm so much greater than Michael that he didn’t dare even to make an accusation against me when we disputed over Moses’ body … remember that?!! (Jude 9). Michael will never see the day he can take me! I was above him from the beginning. I’m Lucifer, Son of the Morning! What a scene that will be, brothers and sisters, and you and I are going to be there to witness it, by the way. It says here that war broke out in Heaven. Hot battle raged for every inch of ground, but Michael (who is like God) will live up to his name on that day. He will prove to be more of a match than Satan had bargained for. The war continued, our text says, until no place was found for them in Heaven any longer. Apparently, Satan and his demons will seek to retain a foothold in every nook and cranny of Heaven, but to no avail. The whole sorry lot will be forcibly evicted!
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 has always thought of himself as greater than all the angelic beings and, incredibly, even above God himself. It is going to be quite a shock when he discovers that he's not even Michael's equal when, at that great Archangel's hand, he is unceremoniously tossed out of Heaven! Isaiah called it right when he said,
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
Immediately upon Satan’s expulsion from Heaven, John heard a loud voice saying, Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ has come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. This cleansing of Heaven will be a giant step in the establishment of Christ’s dominion over all. At the expulsion of Satan from Heaven, Christ's train will have truly left the station and will be continuing on its unstoppable course to victory. A great celebration commenced. The voice continued … and they overcame him:
...by the blood of the Lamb. Satan's accusations cannot and will not stand in the face of Jesus’ shed blood on the behalf of his saints. They all have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, you see. Regardless of what anyone has to say about a true child of God, as far as God is concerned they have all been made perfect in Christ. As you have it in Ephesians 5:26-27,
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (KJV)
...and by the word of their testimony. Satan's accusations cannot and will not stand in light of the words of the saint's verbal testimonies either. Their confession of Christ sets them apart from all accusations. As you have it in Romans 10:9-10,
…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
And again, in Romans 8:33-34,
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 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.
…and they did not love their lives to the death. Nor could Satan's accusations stand in light of the perseverance of Christ's saints. As Satan already knows, and all other intelligent beings will one day know, a true child of God just will not quit!
Then John heard a loud voice say, 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. You can bet that, after this event has taken place, Satan will be livid. John’s attention was now drawn back to Earth where the Judean Jews were still fleeing for their lives. Down there, Satan, filled with wrath from being tossed out of Heaven, had just arrived. That will not bode well for the Jewish people.
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 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, [Hebrew idiom for three and a half years] from the presence of the serpent. 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. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the floodwar with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make [NU omits: Christ].
When Satan arrived on Earth, still licking his wounds from being expelled from Heaven, our text says he came down with great anger toward Israel. We read, when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. At that time, Satan will throw his full weight behind Antichrist's forces as they pursue the Judean Jews who are fleeing out of Jerusalem. 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 face of the serpent. When it says here that these Jews were given the wings of a great eagle, it is doubtless referring to the supernatural assistance of their great God. Isaiah 40:31, comes to mind, does it not?
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Although this passage from Isaiah is speaking figuratively, it has, in fact, been fulfilled literally on several occasions. For example, when Elijah tirelessly out-ran Ahab's galloping chariot all the way from Mount Carmel to Jezreel, a distance of around thirty miles (First Kings 18:46). And again, we saw it in the life of Sampson (Judges 14-16) as well. Apparently, there will be a similar literal fulfillment of Isaiah 40:31, when God helps Israel flee from Antichrist in that future day. The implication is that they will be given supernatural speed and agility in the day of their escape. Israel will have two wings of a great eagle in that day …a direct illusion to their great God’s assistance in allowing them to escape. Truly, as you have it in Romans 8:31b,
If God be for us, who can be against?
In a way, I envy these fleeing Jews of that future day. They are in for an incredible experience of deliverance by the great, omnipotent, delivering hand of their God. And, it will come about in the same manner that Moses and the ancient Israelites who fled before Pharaoh before them, experienced. For, just as it was with those ancient counterparts, once again there will be a pursuing enemy behind (Antichrist and his armies) and a seemingly insurmountable water obstacle before them (the flooding Jordan River) which will appear to seal their doom. As the Red Sea blocked ancient Israel’s way to safety during the Exodus, a supernatural flood from Satan will confront the fleeing Judean Jews of the Great Tribulation. I believe that Daniel 9:26, also speaks of this flood,
And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince who is to come [Antichrist] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it [the entire event of Antichrist's sudden seizing of the Jews temple and subsequent pursuit of the fleeing Jews] shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war [Armageddon] desolations are determined.
God’s people will have to cross the Jordan River to reach the place of safety in the wilderness beyond. Satan, knowing this, will supernaturally cause a tremendous flood at the river to stop them and to hold them there so that Antichrist's armies can destroy them on its banks. Most likely, he will cause a torrential rain in the terrain above where they will be attempting to cross. I suspect that it will be like no other flood that the Jordan basin has ever experienced. We can only imagine how terrifying that will be to those who are fleeing for their lives from Antichrist's soldiers. But God, (I love that phrase, don't you?) … but God … the same God who divided the Red Sea of old and delivered his people from Pharaoh, will intervene once again. Our text says, But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood. An earthquake … the earth cracked open … and Satan’s flood went cascading down into the bowels of the earth as God's people, once again, crossed over an impassable water barrier on dry ground! Wouldn’t you love to be there to see it!? At that time, that great promise of Isaiah 43:1-3a, will be literally fulfilled,
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. 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. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…’
And also, the prophecy of Psalm 124, will likewise be literally fulfilled on that day,
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, Let Israel now say; 'If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul; Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul. Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.’
Isn't our God, his power, his faithfulness and his Word amazing!?
Once again, Satan will be forced to turn away in defeat. But, as he goes, he will be vowing bloody war on the rest of the people of God. Our text says he will go to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. After these humiliating defeats, Satan will turn away in rage and go after the remainder of the Jews who know Christ, which includes the 144,000. This, I believe, will begin the days of the systematic slaughter of the people of God on Earth. Thus, the chapter ends.
We have been given a great deal of important information here. Our Lord has given us a panoramic view of his purpose for the Jew from the time when he, himself, came into our world through them … and then all the way down to their future flight out of Jerusalem during the opening days of the Great Tribulation. We have read about two key players in the coming Great Tribulation: Satan and the Jews. We have learned about two key events: the fleeing of the Jews from Antichrist and the expulsion of Satan from Heaven. These characters and events, rightly understood, add greatly to our understanding of the Great Tribulation. This chapter also adds further weight to the proposition that the entire Tribulation period is primarily about God's program for his covenant people, the Jews. It is designed to refine and purify them and set the stage for their God and Savior to deliver them ... once and for all for his name's sake.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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