Summary: We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) and knowing his character, strategy, and tactics equips us for victory.
THE ART OF WAR (PART 1)
Sermon Objective: We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) and knowing his character, strategy, and tactics equips us for victory.
General George Patton of WWII fame was a great student of the history of warfare. During the battles of North Africa, Patton’s troops and tanks were engaged in a series of attacks and counter-attacks with the German Panzer Divisions under the command of General Erwin Rommel, generally considered the greatest battlefield commander ever. Patton’s forces did not fall for one of Rommel’s traps, and in fact, successfully counter-attacked and defeated the Germans. Patton watched the battle unfold, and at the moment he saw the battle turn, he stood up in his staff car and cried out, "Rommel, I read your book I read your book" He was referring to Rommel’s book on warfare. Patton had learned Rommel’s strategy, had planned his moves accordingly, and defeated him.
A few years back I read the book, “The Art of War.” The book is over 3,000 years old and was written by the Chinese general, Sun Tzu. It is still studied and utilized for its military tactics today. One of the principles that Sun Tzu addresses time and again is, “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”
Patton knew that. And so did the writers of the Bible. Just as Patton read books to know his adversary (Rommel) we, too, must read “The Book” if we are to know ours. Satan has written no books, but God has exposed the enemy’s schemes in order that Satan might not outwit us. As 2 Cor. 2:11 tells is we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Rev. 12, which is right in the middle of John’s apocalypse, is dedicated to exposing our enemy. Here we learn much about his character, motivations, strategy, and tactics.
There are some things about chapter 12 that I need to clarify before moving on. Understanding how any passage fits within the larger context of its book is essential if we are to properly grasp its purpose. So, allow me to chase a rabbit for a moment because it will be important as we move on in the book.
 Chapter 12, like the book of the Revelation as a whole, is NOT about the end of times. It addresses the end of times but it is about the reader’s time and place; the here and now. The mention and descriptions of the end of times is intended to serve as an eschatological vision that empowers the church for faithfulness and endurance.
 Chapter 12, like The Revelation as a whole, is about the church and its role within society (the world). It is not about Satan as much as it is about how the Church is to act in response to the enemy. Chapter 12 envisions a church that will be courageous enough to resist the powers of the day while embodying the peace and message of the Gospel (v.11).
 Rev. 12 in particular is part of an interlude that spans from chapter 12-15. You may recall I referred to this section much like a symphony with movements, or a drama with antagonists, protagonist, and a climax. It sets the stage for what is to come (chapter 13-15) by giving us the background necessary to look behind the veil and see a greater reality … a parallel universe if you please. These chapters conclude the trumpets which evaluate human history from the perspective of the supra-natural’s activity and influence (in contrast to the seals which showed human history from the perspective of human activity / influence and the bowls which show human history from the perspective of God’s activity).
 Chapters 12-15 are crucial to the internal/structural integrity of the book. Until one’s understands that they are giving us a peak “behind the veil” (i.e., apocalypse – revealing) and giving us a clearer grasp of the unseen enemy at work, we will not understand the narrative. Nor can we understand the purpose of “The Revelation” as a whole. There is a sense of which chapters 12-15 explain everything else that is happening in John’s Apocalypse.
Now – back to your regularly scheduled programming.
1A great and wondrous 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. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His 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 he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She 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. 6The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.