Summary: The Prelude
The sounding of the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11 and its affects will not be seen again till Revelation 15-18. Chapters 6-11 describes the events of the Tribulation up to the sounding of the seventh trumpet; chapters 12-14 recapitulate that same period, describing events from Satan’s vantage point. In addition to this Chapter 12 takes the reader back to the rebellion of Satan which is found in 12:3-4 with the result that the chronological narrative of the Tribulation events will resume in chapter 15. Today we will thus examine Revelation 12 which I have broken into four parts but thus discuss mainly the same key issues which we will be identifying here shortly. First we will define whom the woman, the dragon and the male child are. We will then take a look at some thought surrounding Petra as well as events surrounding Michael (Archangel) and discuss Michael’s purpose and mission as defending Israel (Daniel 12:1) and the fact that the reference to Michael is one of only two mentions in Scripture to an Archangel the other being Christ in 1st Thessalonians. Finally we will conclude with a look at how the Anti-Christ’s domain is limited first here to the earth, his fury against Israel and finally with the fact that while all this is going on God is still Sovereign.
Satan’s initial onslaught began in heaven when he tried to take the place of the Most High God, and when he rebelled (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezek 28:12-17), one third of the angels foolishly and wickedly cast their lots with him. When the now dark angels cast their lots with them it is hard to imagine that they new Satan’s sinister plans although they had to have known that they wanted to take over the position of the Most High but what I find hard for them to understand would be the fact that they would have in turn eternal consequences for what they had done. Wanting to become like God, they became instead as much unlike Him as possible. These fallen angels or demons became Satan’s soldiers doing the bidding of their evil general. Instead of doing the divine purpose they are against the divine purpose which as a result make worth with both the holy angles and the human race.
This same is true with the human race. Eve choose to eat of the apple and Adam choose not to take up his position as a man and thus the whole human race plummeted into rebellion through listening to Satan’s schemes and tricks much like the dark angels did. Thus we see the nature of choice is revealed in our obedience to Christ or in our obedience to the satanic forces of darkness. Remaining neutral is not a choice which Jesus addressed in Matthew 12:30 when he declared “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
These final battles have not yet begun. These battles will take place as we will be seeing here in Revelation 12 in the last half of the seven year tribulation period, the time Jesus called the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). At this time Satan aided by the Raptured Church and the presence of the demon hordes (9:1-11), will mount his most devastating assaults against Gods purposes and His people. Despite Satan’s greatest efforts though Satan will lose, the Lord Jesus Christ will effortlessly crush Satan and his forces (19:11-21) and send him to the abyss for the duration of the millennial kingdom (20:1-2). Finally after leading a final rebellion at the close of the Millennium, Satan will be consigned to eternal punishment in the lake of fire (20:3, 7-10).
The sounding of the seventh trumpet then will proclaim the triumphant victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over Satan’s forces. There will be joy at this time because Satan’s time will thus be limited which we discussed at the close of Revelation 11. The Tribulation then will feature both the unprecedented judgments and desperate fury of Satan’s efforts to thwart both the unprecedented judgments against mankind and God’s eschatological wrath but despite Satan’s greatest attempts will not be able to thwart God’s sovereign involvement in this and in all history. All this deadly combination leads us to say that the Tribulation will be the most devastating time in human history (Matthew 24:21-22). During that time, horrifying events will take place caused both by God’s judgments and by Satan’s fury. Before describing the final war the Apostle here first introduces the main characters involved in it: the woman (Israel), the dragon (Satan), and the male child (Jesus Christ).
Revelation 12:1-2, “1Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant, and she cried out in the pain of labor as she awaited her delivery.”