Summary: Following Jesus can get you killed. God warns us that the enemy is near, large, dangerous, but temporary. Christian, hold on. In the end we win.
Revelation, the Grand Finale of God’s Word
Heaven’s Horrible Enemy Here on Earth
Are you old enough to remember when we feared an atomic holocaust? The world super powers had amassed enough nuclear warheads to blow up the planet two or three times, and they had these missiles aimed at one another! Books, movies and predictions about the end of the world were common. The destruction such powerful weapons are capable of is terrifying to imagine. Just think, push one button and an entire country could be blown up. On the other hand today’s preadolescent has seen a dozen science fiction movies where planets populated with people are pulverized with some alien ray gun. We are living in the age where we entertain ourselves with special effects designed to look as real as possible then after the movie, academy awards are given to the actors. And all just for fun! Why people want to terrify themselves for entertainment purposes is a phenomenon with unhealthy overtones, if you ask me. Some people seem to enjoy being scared.
What scares you today? Is there anything deeply terrifying that lies in the recesses of your mind; anything that you keep hidden from your consciousness because it is too chilling to think about?
God has an enemy described in Revelation who has all the qualities of the most hideous and evil presence imaginable. He is real. He is in our world. And he is out to get you. He is deceptive and terrifyingly powerful. This is not a science fiction story. It is the Word of God warning and encouraging His people to be faithful, no matter what. The enemy is able to hurt you. He can even kill you. But he can’t defeat you. Listen to this warning: 13:7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
Be faithful, dear student, and do not give in to fear. Would you join me in prayer?
Holy Father, we praise you! You are the holy one; our hope and salvation rests in you. We do not understand why evil is allowed to exist and rule in this world. We seek your face and look for your grace. We hate evil with all our hearts. Help us to see it for what it is. Help us to flee from evil and do your will. O holy Lord, we have no power to face such a foe! Only with your strength can we ever be victorious. We open our hearts and minds and lives to you. Fill us so that we will be faithful no matter what. Help us to be like Jesus and stand in your will and walk in your ways, no matter what. Help us to encourage and strengthen one another in the faith and support one another in this fallen world. Fill us with your Spirit, Lord, and deliver us from evil. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Read chapter 12:1-6
What characters appear in this chapter?
Where do these events take place? Notice the setting changes as you read the chapter.
Who do these characters represent, (or seem to represent)?
The red Dragon:
Briefly describe what happens with each of these characters.
What is the child going to do?
Where does he go?
When does the attack of the dragon begin?
How long will it last?
Pay attention to the attitude of the dragon. Notice how it progresses through the chapter.
What do the seven heads and ten horns imply about the dragon’s power?
What is his first desire? How successful is he?
The woman is clothed with the son. This word in Greek is halio from which we get our word “halo.” There are four women in the book of Revelation: Jezebel, the whore on the dragon, the wife of the Lamb, and this woman. Remember that these are signs that appeared. They teach a much-needed lesson about how difficult our struggle with evil can be. And yet, dear student, Satan is only successful with those who do not follow the Lamb. He may persecute us, but he can’t defeat us!
Read chapter 12:7-17
What happened with the dragon in heaven?