Summary: Heaven’s horrible enemy is cast down to earth where he reeks havoc with the Saints. God’s people are not immune from trials and troubles. But blessed are the dead that die in the Lord!
Are you old enough to remember when we feared an atomic holocaust? The last quarter or so of the 20th century our world super powers had amassed enough nuclear warheads to blow up the planet two or three times, and they had these missiles aimed at one another! Books, movies and predictions about the end of the world were common. The destruction such powerful weapons are capable of is terrifying to imagine. Just think, push one button and an entire country could be blown up. On the other hand today’s preadolescent has seen a dozen science fiction movies where planets populated with people are pulverized by some alien ray gun. (Remember the Star Wars Death Star?) We are living in the age where we entertain ourselves with special effects designed to look as real as possible, and all just for our amusement (and, of course, the income it generates)! Why people want to terrify themselves for entertainment purposes is a phenomenon with unhealthy overtones, if you ask me. Some people seem to enjoy being scared.
What scares you today? Is there anything deeply terrifying that lies in the recesses of your mind; anything that you keep hidden from your consciousness because it is too chilling to think about?
Well, maybe that’s why we don’t read Revelation much. God has an enemy described in Revelation who has all the qualities of the most hideous and evil presence imaginable. He is real. He is in our world. And he is out to get you. He is deceptive and terrifyingly powerful. And remember, this is not a science fiction story; this is the Word of God warning and encouraging His people to be faithful, no matter what. The enemy is able to hurt you. He can even kill you. But if you remain faithful to Jesus Christ he can never defeat you.
Listen to this warning: 13:7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
Be faithful, fellow followers of Christ, and do not give in to fear. Would you join me in prayer?
Holy Father, we praise you! You are the holy one; our hope and salvation rests in you. We do not understand why evil is allowed to exist and rule in this world. We seek your face and look for your grace. We hate evil with all our hearts. Help us to see it for what it is. Help us to flee from evil and do your will. O holy Lord, we have no power to face such a foe! Only with your strength can we ever be victorious. We open our hearts and minds and lives to you. Fill us so that we will be faithful come what may. Help us to be like Jesus and stand in your will and walk in your ways, no matter what. Help us to encourage and strengthen one another in the faith and support one another in this fallen world. Fill us with your Spirit, Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
(Read Revelation 12)
The woman here is clothed with the sun. This word in Greek is halios from which we get our word “halo.” There are four women in the book of Revelation: Jezebel, the whore on the dragon, the wife of the Lamb, and this woman. Remember that these are signs that appeared. They teach a much-needed lesson about how difficult our struggle with evil can be. And yet, make note of this, Satan is only successful with those who do not faithfully follow the Lamb. He may persecute us, and he may even kill us, but he can not defeat us!
Who is Michael?
Michael the archangel. Notice these features: (1) His name. It means “Who is like God?” This bears testimony to the uniqueness of the God he serves. (2) He is clearly designated as “the archangel” (cf. Jude 9). Nowhere in Scripture is there a plural to this noun (cf. I Thess 4:16 Jude 9). (3) He has the added description of “the great prince” (cf. Dan 12:1). (4) He has power even to challenge Satan (cf. Jude 9). (5) He has angels at his command (cf. 12:7). (6) He will be present at judgment (cf. I Thess 4:16). (7) He is the champion of Israel and the espouser of their cause (cf. 12:7; Dan 12:1). He appears when they are in question and their interests are involved. His presence immediately alerts the reader that the events relate to Israel and her enemies.