Sermons

Summary: Many of us may have to make the ultimate sacrifice, to lay our last full measure of devotion on the altar of Freedom, but that freedom will be precious bought and well won. The outcome is certain. Good will conquer over evil in time, and even beyond time.

CHAPTER 12

1. And a huge sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

2. and she was pregnant, and cries out in labor pains, even the pains to give birth

3. and another sign appeared in heaven, and look, a red dragon, huge, having seven heads, and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns (diadems);

4. and his tail drags a third of the stars of heaven, and casts them to the earth. And the dragon stands in front of the woman, who is about to give birth, so that when the child his born he can eat it up.

5. and she gave birth to a son, a male, who will shepherd all nations with a rod of iron; and she and the child were taken up to God, and His throne.

6. and the woman fled into the desert, where she has a place prepared by God, in order that they shall take care of her one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

v 1-2 This sign, John sees in heaven is the subject of much debate. There are many interpretations given for this woman: 1) she is the church 2) some system of teaching 3) the virgin Mary 4) Johanna Southcott, Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy, etc. or 5) she is Israel. See Isaiah 26:17-18; 54:1; 66:7-11; Micah 4:10, 5:2; Romans 9:5; Galatians 4:26; Genesis 37:9-11. All of the images surrounding the woman point to Israel. She is crowned with a stephanos, or victor’s crown. Her pain is actually torture. The child she gives birth to is seen in Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 2:26-28; and 1 Corinthians 12:12. To unwrap this for you, in case chasing down all those verses requires a bit too much time for you, in Genesis 37, Joseph has a dream. In the dream the sun & the moon & stars all of which bow down to joseph are understood as Joseph’s father, and mother & brothers. It’s Israel. Israel gives birth to Jesus, the Church and there is no question the enemy of our souls has sought to devour followers of Jesus. Though Christians today occupy many positions of extraordinary power, Christians are also, still, the most persecuted religious group today and in history (see www.persecution.org for more information on this).

v 3 This dragon with seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns has elements we have seen before (Ezekiel 29:3; Revelation 6:4; 13:1, 17:3, 7-13; Psalm 74:14; Daniel 7:7, 24; Revelation 13:1; and 19:12, 16). These crowns are diadems, not stephanos-crowns symbolizing a realm of authority or power, rather than crowns won by deeds.

v 4 The stars are either angels (Dan 8:10) or the great power of the dragon (see v 9). It wants to devour the child (Matt 1:16-18, etc.). Satan has always sought to kill and destroy Jesus and His people.

v 5 This child who will rule, or shepherd, the nations (ethnos) is caught up or raptured (harpazo).

v 6 The flight may be a number of things: 1) in 66 AD the Palestinian church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the Jewish war. 2) The protection of God for those facing martyrdom is symbolized 3) the Jews, in the midst of the Tribulation, will be brought to safety in the rock city of Petra, or 4) God will bring Israel to deliverance, just as He led them from captivity in Egypt (Ex. 19:4).

vv 7-8 This war (fought is the same word) could be past, continuing, or future (Is. 14:12-17; Lk 10:18; Job 1:1). Michael is the warden of the well being of Israel (Dan 12:1).

The Rebel Alliance

Star Wars fans would have seen the most recent permutations of the Space Opera in which a ragtag small group of rebels stands against the tyranny of a galactic empire. Their numbers are few and the odds against them immense, yet they succeed in thwarting the evil machinations of their enemy with the aid of a mysterious Force that is always pushing toward achieving balance. Just a few faithful warriors consistently come out ahead and defeat the darkness. You may wonder why I’m writing about this here and now. I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan. But it’s not just because of that. Those who would stand against evil and embrace the light of God’s love and teachings of His Son have always been in the minority. Jesus taught the Kingdom of God would be inhabited primarily of unfruitful people and a significant number of tares (weeds as opposed to wheat). Those who produce fruit for the Kingdom of God will always be in the minority (Mark 13, etc). We’re kinda a Rebel Alliance-a group of people who are not willing to go along with how everyone seems to think the world should go-who want to make the world a better place and to be a part of the positive change. But the problem is, evil is often profitable. People who promote themselves and are completely unconcerned with the wellbeing of humans and our beautiful planet often win elections.

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