Summary: There is nothing wrong with being holier than thou, if we do it with humility, acceptance, and love. The problem is when we have a holier than thou attitude that says I am better than you, because I live like this. We have gotten so afraid of being seen i
Here we are back in Revelation after a couple weeks off and what an appropriate passage of Scripture we have today for Halloween. The Dragon and the beasts, this is a literal horror show with evil that can’t even be replicated by Hollywood.
Let’s begin by looking at
The Dragon, or as we see ahead in verse 9, the ancient serpent that is clearly the one from the Garden of Eden in Genesis.
Now before we are introduced to him there is this first sign, a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and 12 stars as a crown. This sounds familiar if we look at Genesis 37:9 (read). There are only 11 stars in Joseph’s dream because he himself would be the twelfth.
Israel is referred to as a woman throughout the Old Testament, and the church is later referred to as a bride, so this is the second woman in the book of Revelation and she is good. She is the nation of Israel, the twelve tribes of Jacob.
The Catholics and at one time myself, believed that this woman was Mary, but the problems with that are the reference we saw to Genesis, and the fact that she never fled to the wilderness for three and a half years. Yes she did have to go to Egypt after Jesus’ birth to escape Herod, but if we read carefully, this fleeing in Revelation occurs after Jesus is caught up to God, after his resurrection.
She is also not the church, Christ birthed the church, not the other way around. The only explanation then that seems irrefutable is that this is Israel, and she is crying out in birth pangs as we see in Isaiah 26:17, relating to Israel.
Why is this important? Because our interpretation of who this woman is provides a key to the interpretation of the whole book, and the importance of Israel and the Jews throughout history and in the future.
The second sign John sees is the dragon. This one has no interpretive problems as we are told clearly in verse 9 that he is Satan. We’ll look at the symbols when we see them again with the first beast.
Now we need to be careful with verse 4. Here we see Satan casting a third of the stars out of heaven. These are demonic angels that he sends down, who rebelled against God with him. He must be pretty persuasive for a full third of these angels to go over to his side. Notice though this is not the same as verse 9 where Satan himself is thrown out of heaven.
These demonic angels in verse 4 are there in the world before Christ is born but Satan still has access to heaven. I think we can safely say that verse 4 details the fall of Satan and his angels, and verse 9 represents the defeat of Satan through the cross and his being chained in the abyss. More on this in chapter 20.
The next verses probably describe very quickly the life and resurrection of our Lord, and Herod’s attempt to kill him by slaughtering all the male infants in the area. And after Christ’s ascension, the woman, the nation of Israel is protected for 1260 days. This I believe is the first part of the tribulation, or the church age after the resurrection of Christ. Though the Jews have scattered around the world and been persecuted terribly, God is maintaining a remnant and preserving the nation of Israel.
Now in verse 7 the scene again shifts to the spiritual realm where Michael, the guardian angel of Israel from references in Daniel, and his angels, are at war with the dragon. Now again I believe we see the beginning of the first part of the tribulation. When Christ saved the world and defeated Satan on the cross, Satan is now thrown down to earth with his angels and he is going to terrorize the woman, no longer able to accuse the brothers and sisters in heaven before God.
He can now only work on the earth. We see that he couldn’t destroy Israel or prevent the Saviour from completing his work, so he turns his war on the church, the rest of the offspring of the woman who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
How does a person, how does the church defeat the Devil? Very simple answer here in verse 11. With the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Satan cannot fight the reality of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and we saw with Jesus in the wilderness, he has no power over the word of God and the testimony of Jesus by God’s children. Satan can be conquered by spreading the gospel to the point of “loving not our lives even unto death as our Lord did”.