Today, Saturday May 21
“A Great Sign”
Revelation 12:1-5 “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
Here in Revelation 12, we are in the middle of the Tribulation, and we are going to see three key characters that will play a major role in the events we read about in the rest of book. They are Satan the dragon. Next, the false Christ or Antichrist, who is also called "The beast", who is the future world dictator who promises to solve the pressing problems of the nations. The third character is the false prophet who is his "propaganda minister."
Mark it down, the devil is a real person. He is not a made-up mythical creature dressed up in a red suit with a pitchfork and a forked tail. Peter warned us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Apostle Paul reminded us that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan’s agenda has always been and still is to destroy mankind and especially the promised “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15), who is Jesus Christ. This is what we see here in the first verses of this chapter. Satan also hates the church because it is the body of Christ, and he has always opposed it as he has Israel over the centuries.
Satan uses his angels (demons) to possess or control people to fulfill his purposes. This has been the pattern for the church's conflict with evil over the centuries. Whether the ruler has been a Caesar, a Hitler, a Stalin, a Putin, or an agnostic humanist, Satan has energized and motivated him. The ruler has promised the people all that they want and need, only to lead them into slavery. He has usually had an associate to promote his program to the people and to entice them, if not force them, to obey. Often their submission amounted almost to worship.
God has permitted His people to suffer under the despotism of these rulers, but He has also enabled His people to experience great victories, even in martyrdom. They have been true overcomers! Then He has brought deliverance, only to have the cycle repeat itself, with each succeeding dictatorship worse than the previous one. The climax will come with the appearance of the Antichrist in his time (2 Thes. 2).
John's vision opens with two wonders in heaven (Rev. 12:1-6). The first is a woman giving birth to a son. Since this child is identified as Jesus Christ (compare Rev. 12:5 with Rev. 19:15 and Ps. 2:9), this symbolic woman can be none other than the nation Israel. It was through Israel that Jesus Christ came into the world (Rom. 1:3; 9:4-5). By further comparing the description in Revelation 12:1 with Genesis 37:9-10, the identification seems certain. In the Old Testament, Israel is often compared to a woman, and even a woman in travail (Isa. 54:5; 66:7; Jer. 3:6-10; Micah 4:10; 5:2-3). The apostate world system is compared to a harlot (Rev. 17:1), and the church to a pure bride (Rev. 19:7).
The son is born and is then caught up to the throne of God (Rev. 12:5). We have symbolized here the birth of Christ and His victorious ascension, but nothing is said about either His life or His death. The nation of Israel is God’s great sign along with the birth of Jesus Christ! There is no greater proof that the Bible is the Word of God and that there is God in heaven than the Nation of Israel, and the birth, the life, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ!
These are very descriptive verses that are very helpful in understanding God’s program for these end times. Every day we are being reminded, with the events happening around us, that we should be looking up!