Morning Bible Study
John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.
As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place
on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
the seventh seal were seven trumpets, and the last three trumpets bring such bad things they are
called the three “woes”. We’ve just
heard the seventh trumpet.
12:1-6 The Woman
and the Dragon
: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.
– semeion – a sign, mark, token
What does this mean that a “sign” appeared in heaven?
Is it a big traffic sign?
It means that
what we’re going to read about is symbolic.
Not all of Revelation is meant to be taken symbolically, but here we are
told that we need to look at these events of the next couple of chapters as
We are going to see layers of things - things happening on earth, things
happening in heaven, all describing things that are happening at the same time,
:2 Then being
with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
:1 woman … sun …
moon … twelve stars
first character in the symbolic story.
Who is this “woman”?
She will be identified partly from giving birth to the Messiah.
Though some see this as Mary, it’s better to see it as the nation of Israel.
This idea fits better with the rest of the text (like fleeing into the
We see a
similar picture in one of the dreams of Joseph:
NKJV) 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.”
Jacob knew what his son Joseph’s dream meant. It was a picture of Jacob’s family bowing
down before Joseph.
that John is watching is of the nation of Israel giving birth to the Messiah.
:3 And another
sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads
and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
:3 fiery red dragon
Now we’re introduced
to the second major player in the story… Satan.
So the great dragon
was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan…
:3 seven heads … ten
horns …seven diadems
This is a
picture of Satan’s huge authority on the earth.
Heads speak of empires, horns speak of kings. More when we get to Rev. 17.
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And
I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of
blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out
of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth
will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the
foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet
“Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads
are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and
the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.
11“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received
no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the
The point is that this “dragon” has a lot of influence.
6Therefore, if You
will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
:4 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.
:4 a third of the
stars of heaven
We believe this is talking about the great revolt in heaven when Satan
rebelled against God and a third of the angels followed him.
Those angels that followed Satan’s rebellion are called “fallen angels”, or
When did this take place historically?
We believe it
took place before the Garden of Eden. In
the Garden, Satan is already evil.
More on our side
Did you pay attention to the numbers here?
1/3 of the angels is a pretty hefty army, and this means that Satan has a
powerful army at his disposal, but there’s still twice as many angels on God’s side.
We have this promise:
(1 Jn 4:4
NKJV) You are of
God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in
Even without the angelic armies, God alone is greater than
Satan and all his demonic horde.
:4 to devour her
This reminds us
of what Satan tried to do when Jesus was born, when Herod tried to kill all the
babies born in Bethlehem around the time of Jesus (Mat. 2).
16Then was fulfilled
what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18
: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.
:5 to rule all
nations with a rod of iron
This is a
description of what the Messiah would one day do – rule the nations. (Ps. 2)
This speaks of not
only a good government, but
a strong government.
Nobody will be arrested who isn’t truly guilty.
Nobody will go free who isn’t truly guilty.
Then we who are alive
and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall
always be with the Lord.
:5 her Child was
into heaven after His resurrection. (Ac
Now when He had
spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received
Him out of their sight.
: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.
:6 fled into the
This is an example
of what we call “prophetic telescoping”.
We have just
skipped 2,000 years between verses 5 & 6.
Prophecies do that. Get used to
The same word
for “fled” (pheugo) is used by Jesus
in connection to the end times:
24:15–16 NKJV) —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.
This is that time
marker we’ve discussed before – the abomination of desolation – that takes
place in the middle of the seven year Tribulation period, 3 ˝ years into it. This is when Israel, the woman, flees.
:6 a place prepared
suggested that this “place” might be the ancient city of Petra, also known as
“Sela” (Is. 16). You know it from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.
possibility is the ancient city of Bozrah, one of the ancient capitals of Edom. It appears that when Jesus returns, this is
one of the places that He visits as He conquers His enemies (Is. 63:1-4)
1Why is Your
apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? 3For the day of
vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come.
possibility is an area to the north that covers Jordan and southern Syria named
“Kedar” which is “rejoicing” when the Lord comes back (Is. 42:11).
Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice,
The villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, Let
them shout from the top of the mountains. 12Let them give glory to the Lord,
And declare His praise in the coastlands. 13The Lord shall
go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.
He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.
Play map video
– “Wilderness Refuges”
:6 one thousand two
hundred and sixty days
Again we see 3
˝ years. This group of refugee Jews will
be hiding out for the remainder of the Tribulation before Jesus comes back.
12:7-12 Heaven’s War
:7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the
dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
– “who is like God”
This is the “head” angel, the archangel Michael (Jude 9)
One of his job duties
is to guard the nation of Israel. (Dan.
“At that time Michael
shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your
people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was
a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be
delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.
:8 but they did
not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
:9 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.
:9 he was cast to
There are some
who picture Satan sitting in hell ruling over his kingdom from there.
The truth is
that Satan still has access to heaven where he accuses us before God.
It’s not until
the middle of the Tribulation that Satan is removed from heaven.
I think there may be a coincidence with the timing the antichrist’s
declaration that he is “god” with the falling to earth of Satan.
:10 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.
15And the twenty-four
elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped
God, 17saying: “We give You
thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
:10 the accuser of
There is a
sense in which heaven is pictured as a courtroom.
God the Father
is the judge.
Satan is the
prosecuting attorney, whose job is to present the case against you.
He’s not a very ethical prosecutor – he not only presents the factual case
of what you have done, but he also manufactures lies about you as well.
know when Satan is presenting his case before the judge, because those are the
times when you are overwhelmed with condemnation.
Satan’s accusations against you are meant to alienate you
from God and to think that God no longer cares for you and that you are no
longer worthy to be God’s child.
If you find yourself in court, it’s a good idea to get a good defense
Jesus is our
(1 Jn 2:1b NKJV)…And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
33Who is he who
condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is
even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
:11 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.
:11 they overcame
It might seem
like Michael is doing the fighting in heaven, but the descriptions of these
weapons are things that belong to men, not angels.
Angels are not creatures that can “die”.
The phrase “they did not love their lives to the death”
refers to humans, not angels.
We have a part
in the warfare of heaven.
What we do on earth impacts what happens in heaven.
Jesus taught us
that our prayers affect what happens in heaven:
(Mt 18:18 NKJV) “Assuredly,
I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever
you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
We’ll talk more about the weapons in a minute…
For we do not wrestle
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of
wickedness in the heavenly places.
Gently instruct those
who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they
will learn the truth. 26Then they will come
to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held
captive by him to do whatever he wants.
For the weapons of
our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down
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.”
:12 Woe to the
inhabitants of the earth
For those of
you tracking the “three woes”, this is the third “woe” that is tied with the seventh
Then the seventh
angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of
this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and
He shall reign forever and ever!”
:12 he knows that
he has a short time
Satan isn’t going to go quietly. He will be angry about
what has happened to him and he is going to try and take as many people to hell
with him as he can.
:13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he
persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
:14 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.
:14 a time and
times and half a time
Another 3 ˝
He shall speak pompous
words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And
shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given
into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
:15 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.
:15 carried away by
This could be
an actual flood of water.
It could also
be descriptive of an army.
God called both
Assyrian and Roman armies floods (Is.
28:2; Dan. 9:26)
:16 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.
Somehow, miraculously, Israel is rescued from the Antichrist’s attack.
:17 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.
:17 the rest of her
The dragon is unable to get to those that have taken refuge in the
wilderness and so he goes
off to hunt down other Jewish people who have started to follow Jesus Christ.
:11 they overcame
him by …
As we've seen,
one of Satan's major works is that of accusing or condemning. With it, he alienates us from God and makes
us ineffective – spiritual nerve gas.
But we have an antidote for that – the blood of the Lamb.
From the ancient days of Moses, God explained that the most important part
of a sacrifice was the blood of the animal.
NKJV) For the life of the flesh is
in the blood, and I
have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the
blood that makes atonement for the soul.’
God wanted mankind to start thinking of blood as being
equivalent to the life of the creature.
When an animal become a sacrifice for you, its blood is
shed to show that its life has been given.
It dies in your place. It pays
the price for you.
Jesus did for us. He died for us. He is
(Jn 1:29 NKJV) …The Lamb
of God who takes away the sin of the world!
It’s the blood of Jesus that cleanses us and frees us from all of Satan’s
accusations and condemnation.
(1 Jn 1:7 NKJV) But if we
walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ
His Son cleanses us from
As we allow God’s light to expose our sin, we bring our
sin to God and allow Him to cleanse us by the blood of Jesus.
(1 Jn 1:9
NKJV) If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
The cleansing comes as we confess our sin to God.
overcame him by …the word of their testimony
The Bible, and especially the New Testament, contains the “testimony” of those
who knew Jesus.
The Bible is
one of our main weapons of spiritual warfare.
Paul called the Bible a “sword”
NKJV) …the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
For the word of God is
living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of
the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We see Jesus
using the Scriptures when He was tempted by Satan.
NKJV) —3 Now when
the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that
these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered
and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
With each temptation that Satan put in front of Jesus,
Jesus countered with a Scripture that spoke directly to the issue.
Jesus didn’t use the Bible as a book of magic sayings, He
used the Bible as a book of principles to live by and guide His life.
Satan comes when we live less and less like Satan wants us to live, and we live
more and more like the Word of God tells us to live.
did not love their lives to the death”
The victors in the Bible are those who, if necessary, will face death in
order to take a stand for what’s right.
Meshach, and Abednego lived in Babylon.
When Nebuchadnezzar came up with a new religion which demanded that
everyone bow down to his statue or face being thrown into a blazing furnace,
they responded by saying:
3:17–18 NKJV) —17
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from
your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be
known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the
gold image which you have set up.”
They were not going to compromise what they knew to be
right, even if it meant death.
They stood up to evil and were miraculously delivered as
they survived the fire, but there are countless others who had no miraculous
protection, but instead were ushered into the presence of God.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and
saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God!”
Sometimes the issue isn’t my death, but a scratch on my
What can the enemy do against people like this? Nothing but lose.
Jesus knows how to do spiritual warfare.
(Heb 2:18 NKJV) For in
that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are
I find it fascinating
that before Jesus started His ministry, He was led by the Spirit into the
wilderness where the Jews will flee to. He fasted for 40 days, and faced Satan.
Play “40” clip.
Jesus knows how
to help you. He knows how to fight for
you. Trust Him.