Summary: Be alert! Keep your eyes and ears open. The world wants to tear you down. It seeks to destroy tour faith. Face all of life with this in mind.
“See Evil Clearly”
We’re moving forward this morning in our study of the book of Revelation. As we get started, take your Bibles and turn to Revelation 12-14.
What is the scariest thing that you can think of? For some Christians, that question might be answered by saying: “Trying to read and understand the book of ‘Revelation.” And for some people, the book of Revelation is something to avoid read or studying if there’s any way not to do so.
Today, we’re still in our study of this very same book of the Bile – the book of Revelation. The passages we’re going to look at today have been some of the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misapplied sections of Scripture - especially over the last 100-150 years. So before we move forward, let’s review some of our guidelines for interpreting this book.
The first thing we have to consider is the setting into which the book was written. Remember, if it didn’t mean anything important to its original audience, it can’t mean anything to us today. The book of Revelation was originally written to Christians in seven churches in the Roman province of Asia at the end of the first century AD who were undergoing severe persecution and pressure to conform to the ways of the world.
Second, we have to consider the style of writing used in this book. The book of Revelation was written according to a specific style of writing in the ancient world known as the apocalyptic style. – hence in some translations you will see this book called the Apocalypse of John. The word “apocalyptic” is used in our language today to refer to something catastrophic or what might be termed “end of the world” stuff. The word as originally used meant “an uncovering; a revealing.” It meant to pull back the curtain and look behind the scenes. 1ohn does that by pulling back the curtain and lets those of us on the earthly side of things see more clearly into the heavenly side of things.
Third, we have to keep in mind the symbols of this book. The book of Revelation uses word pictures and numbers to communicate its message instead of the normal narrative style to which we are accustomed. Therefore, we can’t try to put the events described in the book of Revelation in chronological order. It paints sweeping pictures that portray not just what is going to happen but in many cases what always happens.
So we move forward this morning in our study. Chapter 11 of Revelation concludes with references to judging the dead, rewarding the servants of God, and the opening of the temple of God in heaven. It could have been a fitting end to this book but John has much more to show us.
Rev. 11:15 – The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
When this letter from John was read to the churches, the people walked out of the door having to deal with the kingdom of Rome that hadn’t “become” anything. What does John say about that? John warns them that evil is all around them. Be alert! Keep your eyes and ears open. The world wants to tear you down. It seeks to destroy tour faith. Face all of life with this in mind.
A Woman, A Dragon, A Child and More Children
Rev. 12:1-12 – A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”