Summary: Knowing Jesus is enough to give the foundation for us to give thanks in difficult circumstances. The future will bring great difficulties for the people who experience it; knowing Jesus is their only foundation for hope.
We're tempted to just throw things away that don't do what we want. Luke 13:6-9 gives one of Jesus parables, about a fruitles fig tree, that was fertilized to give it another chance, its best chance for growth. If no growth was forthcoming, it then would be destroyed.
The Tribulation is a similar time. The world has not responded to God's Gospel of Jesus. Before destroying it, God works in the world, using harsh "fertilizer" to get it to repent and seek Jesus. Those that do not respond will then be destroyed; the rest enter God's family.
1. Israel and Satan (12)
Introduction to another explanatory parenthesis in our book (chapters 12-14)
Gives some additional details not listed in the general overview of the seven trumpets
Gives some information that may overlap into the next set of judgments if they are not completed
2. The Woman (12:1-2)
12:1 A great sign
A literal event with spiritual significance
The woman…who is she?
Not the church, not Mary
Imagery used of her in Isaiah 47:7-9; 54:1-6
3. The Devil (12:3-4)
The great red dragon
Probably fallen angels
The origination of anti-Semitism is Satanic
4. The Child (12:5-6)
“Male child “ (12:5)
This is best way to understand this; not a “man”
Psalm 2 indicates the Messiah is in view
“Rod of iron”
“You shall break them with a rod of iron” (2:9a)
A time gap is seen between the two verses
2:5 has taken place
2:6 has not yet taken place
“Having been prepared”
“They” refer to God and the Child taking care of Israel
The place is not clearly described; stays there for the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (1260 days)
5. The War in Heaven (12:7-12)
The results of this war influence what occurs on earth (see 12:13-17)
Satan is cast out of heaven (12:7-12)
Occurs in the mid-point of the Tribulation
No longer has access to heaven (see Job)
A result is praise to God (10)
The victory over Satan is explained (11)
The blood of the Lamb is its basis
The Word of their testimony is how it’s appropriated
Not loving their lives is its resulting attitude
Satan’s coming with “great wrath” results in woe on the earth
6. The War on Earth (12:13-17)
Resumes the story from 12:6
Now is the time of Jacob’s Trouble
Jeremiah 30:7’s fulfillment
Provision for Israel’s protection (12:14)
The protection is described using figurative language
So the river and flood are probably not literal
Daniel 9:26, “the end of it shall be with a flood…”
Satan can’t get those in the land who fled (12:16)
He turns on scattered believing Jews in the world
Principles for us:
We need to rely patiently on God’s protection, even if we don’t see any way for it to make any difference.
God’s protection often comes to help as we slowly go through difficulty, not from keeping us away from difficulty.
Our best response to God’s protection is praise in word and action, just as the voice in heaven gave as God fought Satan.
March 7 2010 was one day short of the one year anniversary of the death of Pastor Fred Winters, killed during a church service by a disturbed individual. His widow Cathy took the pulpit, and indicated that she felt her late husband's death was a extreme form of Satan's attack on the church. She expressed, "Satan will not win." Winters told the crowd that religion isn't about knowing lots of facts or doing lots of good things. It is about knowing and trusting Jesus, that he's there even in the darkest moments.
"When it was my tragedy that made the headlines, I had to determine one thing: Was knowing Jesus enough?" she said. "It is."