The Apocalypse – Chapter 12 – Part 2
We are continuing our study of the book of Revelation or Apocalypse for Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Rev 1:3. We are now ending Chapter 12. The Woman Persecuted.
The Lord my Protector From Psalm 121 I lift my eyes to the hills Will my help come from there? No it will come from the Lord; He is the One who truly cares. The Maker of heaven and earth, My protector from all large or small He never sleeps He will not let me fall. The Lord watches over me. I am never away from His sight. The sun will not harm me by day Nor the moon by night. The Lord will safeguard me from all danger For He sees beyond closed doors So protecting me as I come and go Both now and forevermore. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The Woman Persecuted
- In times of grave danger the church shall be secured by the special care of her God and Saviour.
- We shall be given warning regarding the distress and calamity that will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
- Know that ultimately the devil will be defeated in his designs against the church.
- He is limited both in place and time.
- God so cares for His church that He carries her on eagles’ wings, into places of safety provided for her.
- She shall be protected from the enemy who rages against her.
- The church of God is in more danger from heretics than from persecutors.
- God often sends the sword against those who would disturb those of His covenant.
- Our fidelity will expose us at the end of the world but then the last enemy shall be destroyed.
In this account of chapter 12 of Revelation we have 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 Persecuted
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.” 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, 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 flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 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.
Secured by her God
Henry says – This war which had been finished in heaven was again renewed and carried on in the wilderness. This is the place where the church had fled, and where she had been for some time secured by the special care of her God and Saviour.
Warning was given regarding the distress and calamity that would fall upon the inhabitants of the world in general, through the wrath and rage of the devil. Though his malice is chiefly against the servants of God, yet he is an enemy and hater of mankind in general. He was defeated in his designs against the church and so resolved to give all the disturbance he could to the world in general. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, and the sea, Rev. 12:12. The rage of Satan grows greater as he is limited both in place and time.
Danger from heretics
Now in the wilderness he attempted once more to come against church. He persecuted the woman who brought forth the man-child, Rev. 12:13. God so cared for His church. He carried her on eagles’ wings, into a place of safety provided for her. She was to continue here for a certain length of time, protected from the enemy who raged against her. Dan. 7:25 (He shall speak pompous words against the Most High and shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law).
However her obscurity could not altogether protect her from this dragon of old. The old subtle serpent, which at first lurked in paradise, now follows the church into the wilderness. He casts out a flood of water after her, to carry her away. This is thought to be meant of a flood of error and heresy. The church of God is in more danger from heretics than from persecutors than from the devil in open force and violence.
He makes war with her seed
There was help provided for the church at this dangerous time: The earth helped the woman, and opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood, Rev. 12:16. God opened a breach in the war, and the flood was swallowed up allowing the church to enjoy some respite. God often sends the sword to avenge the quarrel of His covenant. When men choose new gods, then there is a danger of war in the gates.
The devil, being defeated in his designs upon the universal church, now turns his rage against particular persons and places. His malice against the woman pushes him on to make war with the remnant of her seed. There have been many shadows of this throughout history. One of which were the Albigenses in the 12th Century, who were driven up into barren and mountainous places, and afterwards cruelly murdered by popish rage and power. This for no other reason than because they kept the commandments of God and held the testimony of Jesus Christ. Their fidelity to God and Christ, in doctrine, worship, and practice, was that which exposed them to the rage of Satan and his instruments. Such fidelity will expose men at the end of the world, when the last enemy shall be destroyed.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Prayer: Father, I come to You. Thank You that You promise that in times of grave danger we shall be secured by Your special care. In these times we shall be given warning regarding the distress and calamity that will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. May we watch for the signs. Thank You that we have an assurance that our enemy is limited both in place and time and ultimately his designs against the church will be defeated. We bless You that You care for us and that You carry us on eagles’ wings, into places of safety. Thank You that Your Word tells us that we shall be protected from the enemy who rages against us. For no weapon formed against us will prosper. May we be protected from deception from heretics and remain faithful to You until the end. In Jesus name. Amen.