The Apocalypse – Chapter 12 – Part 1
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy (in the book of the Apocalypse / Revelation), and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev 1:3. The time is near. Nearer today than it was yesterday and it will be ever nearer tomorrow. May we be a people who have made themselves ready. The Woman and the Dragon.
Now is the Victory I am delivering you But not from your circumstances alone But from the self-ties that bind you From the things of this earth you would call your own. They can only hinder your entrance Into My Kingdom wherein lies Perfect freedom from All earthly ties. All is well. To newness of life you shall rise As you free yourself from toils and sins The failures that cloud your eyes. No past sins can enchain you. You look to Me and are saved. You are forgiven; No longer are you enslaved. In My strength now Conquer your faults. What then can prevent you from rising To open heaven’s victorious vaults. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The Woman and the Dragon
- Know that we have the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, not of ourselves.
- We may stand upon the world, but we live above it and are seated with Christ in heavenly places.
- All attempts against the church will ultimately be unsuccessful.
- Though the church appear to be in an obscure state yet we are secure, through the care of divine Providence.
- The state of the church though obscure is a limited time, not to continue always.
- The strength of the church lies in having the Lord Jesus as the Captain of our salvation.
- Let us take heed that we give the enemy no cause of accusation against us.
- When we have sinned may we go in before the Lord and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate.
- The servants of God overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb.
- By dying Christ destroyed him that has power over death, that is, the devil.
- We overcome by the word of our testimony, as the great instrument of war.
- Also by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God—a resolute powerful preaching of the everlasting gospel, which is mighty, through God, to pull down strongholds.
- Our courage and patience in sufferings will win through.
- We are not to love our lives so much as to resist death for His name’s sake.
- When the love of life stands in competition with our loyalty to Christ we are to be willing to give up our lives.
- Our courage and zeal will confound our enemies and so contribute greatly to victory.
In this chapter we have an account of the contest between the church and antichrist, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It was begun in heaven, Rev. 12:1-11. and was carried on in the wilderness, Rev. 12:12-17
The Woman and the Dragon
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 labour 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. 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.
Satan Thrown Out of Heaven
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.
Clothed with the sun
Henry says – Here we see an earlier prophecy which has been fulfilled in which God said He would put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, Gen. 3:15.
Satan and his agents have sought to prevent the increase of the church, by devouring her offspring as soon as it was born. The church is represented in this vision as a woman. She was clothed with the sun, the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having put on Christ, who is the Sun of righteousness, she, by her relation to Christ, is given honourable rights and privileges. She shines in His rays.
Standing on it, but living above it
She has the the moon under her feet (that is, the world) and stands upon it, but live above it. Her heart and hope are not set on the things that are in heaven, where her head is. On her head is a crown of twelve stars. This is represented by the doctrine of the gospel preached by the twelve apostles, which is a crown of glory to all true believers. She was in travail, crying out. She was pregnant and in pain about to bring forth a holy progeny to Christ. This is representative of the desire that what was begun in the conviction of sinners might end in their conversion.
The grand enemy of the church is represented as a great red dragon. A dragon for strength and terror—a red dragon for fierceness and cruelty. As having seven heads, that is, placed on seven hills, as Rome was. A type of which is thought to be that pagan Rome is meant here. It had ten horns, divided into ten provinces, as the Roman empire was by Augustus Caesar. Seven crowns were upon his head, which is afterwards expounded to be seven kings, Rev. 17:10.
Caught up to God’s throne
He drew a third part of the stars in heaven with his tail and casting them down to the earth. He turns the ministers and professors of the Christian religion out of their places and privileges and makes them as weak and useless as he could. It stands before the woman, to devour her child as soon as it should be born. There is a vigilance to crush the Christian religion in its birth and prevent the growth and continuance of it in the world.
These attempts against the church were unsuccessful. For she safely delivered a man-child (Rev. 12:5). A type of which some understand to be Christ, others Constantine. Others, with greater propriety understand it to be a race of true believers, strong and united, resembling Christ, and designed, under Him, to rule the nations with a rod of iron. They judge the world with their doctrine and lives now, and as evaluator with Christ at the great day. Care was taken of this child. It was caught up to God, and to His throne. It was taken into His special, powerful, and immediate protection. The Christian religion has been from its infancy the special care of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
There was war in heaven
Care was taken of the mother as well as of the child, Rev. 12:6. She fled into the wilderness, a place prepared both for her safety and her sustenance. In the vision the church was in an obscure state, dispersed yet secure, through the care of divine Providence. Her obscure and private state was for a limited time, not to continue always.
The attempts of the dragon not only proved unsuccessful against the church, but fatal to his own interests. His endeavours to devour the man-child resulted in the enagagement of all the powers of heaven against him (Rev. 12:7). There was war in heaven.
Jesus, the Captain of our salvation
The seat of this war was in heaven, in the church, which is the kingdom of heaven on earth. This war involved two parties. Michael and his angels on one side, and the dragon and his angels on the other. Christ, the great Angel of the covenant, and His faithful followers; and Satan and all his instruments. This latter party would be much superior in number and outward strength to the other. But the strength of the church lies in having the Lord Jesus for the Captain of their salvation.
The dragon and his angels fought and did not prevail. There was a great struggle on both sides, but the victory fell to Christ and His church. The dragon and his angels were not only conquered, but cast out. In the time of Constantine the pagan idolatry of worshipping devils was cast out of the empire . A type of what was to come.
Ascribed to the King
A triumphant song was composed and used on this occasion, Rev. 12:10, 11. Observe how the conqueror is adored. Now have come salvation, strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ. Now God has shown Himself to be a mighty God and Christ has shown Himself to be a strong and mighty Saviour. His own arm has brought salvation, and now His kingdom will be greatly enlarged and established. The salvation and strength of the church are all to be ascribed to the King and head of the church.
The adversary was the accuser of the brethren, and accused them before their God night and day. He appeared before God as an enemy to the church continually bringing indictments and accusations against them, whether true or false. He accused Job, and thus he accused Joshua the high priest, Zech. 3:1. Though he hates the presence of God, yet he is willing to appear there to accuse the people of God. Let us take heed that we give him no cause of accusation against us. When we have sinned may we presently go in before the Lord and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate.
He and all his accusations are cast out, the indictments quashed, and the accuser turned out of the court with just indignation. The servants of God overcame Satan By the blood of the Lamb. Christ by dying destroyed him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil. They overcame by the word of their testimony, as the great instrument of war. Also by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God—a resolute powerful preaching of the everlasting gospel, which is mighty, through God, to pull down strongholds.
Their courage and patience in sufferings won through; they did not love their lives unto the death. When the love of life stood in competition with their loyalty to Christ they could give up their lives to death. Their love of their own lives was overcome by stronger affections of another nature. Their courage and zeal helped to confound their enemies and so contributed greatly to this victory.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Prayer: Father, I come to You. Thank You that we have the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not of ourselves. May we be in the world but not of it. May we live our lives above it to be truly seated with Christ in heavenly places. Thank You that Your Word assures us that all attempts against the church will ultimately be unsuccessful. Though the church appear to be in an obscure state yet we are secure, through Your care. This state will not continue always. We look to our strength in having the Lord Jesus as the Captain of our salvation. Let us take heed that we give the enemy no cause of accusation against us. Yet when we have sinned may we go in before the Lord and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate.
Thank You that we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb. And that by His dying Christ destroyed him that has power over death, that is, the devil. May we be ready to overcome by the word of our testimony. May we be skilled in utilising the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let us be resolute in the powerful preaching of the everlasting gospel, which is mighty, through God, to pull down strongholds.
May our courage and patience in sufferings win through all trials and tribulations. May we not love our lives so much as to resist death for the name of Christ. When the love of life stands in competition with our loyalty to Christ may we always be willing to give up our lives. May our courage and zeal confound our enemies and so contribute greatly to victory. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
The Woman and the Dragon
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