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 August 10, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Isaiah 59-63
Audio: Isaiah 59-63

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
(Revelation 9:20-21 ESV)

Revelation 12 (ESV)

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

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Next: Revelation 13

Back: Revelation 11

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Revelation 12:17

    Battle of the World and the Church

    Today I'm going to lean heavily on trusted resources to help us understand this chapter. I was awake for three hours in the middle of the night and after doing some research on Revelation 12 and going to the gym, I'm wiped.  

    In his commentary on Revelation, Richard Phillips writes, "Chapter 12 begins the second half of Revelation. The first half provided general overviews of history. We saw the world’s opposition to the gospel, Christ’s judgments on the wicked nations, and our calling to persevere in faith. The second half of Revelation homes in on the chief characters in the spiritual warfare taking place behind the scenes. The primary enemy is Satan, the dragon. He is aided by two beasts, the harlot Babylon, and the people who bear the mark of the beast. One by one, these figures are introduced in chapters 12–15, and one by one their defeat and judgment is shown in chapters 16–20."

    Phillips, R. D. (2017). Revelation. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (p. 342). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

    Pastor and author Sam Storms says of the purpose of Revelation 12, "is to provide us with a deeper perspective on the spiritual conflict between the world and the church. It develops, interprets, and expands on a number of the principles already articulated in chapters 1-11. At the heart of its message is that, although Satan is the principal source of the persecution of God’s people, he has been decisively defeated by Christ, a victory in which we now share even in the midst of suffering and martyrdom.

    http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/war-in-heaven–war-on-earth:-a-study-in-revelation-12—part-i

    In speaking of the "woman" mentioned in this chapter, the Reformation Study Bible says, "the imagery calls to mind Joseph’s dream (Gen. 37:9, 10) and the picture of Jerusalem bringing forth the Messiah and His remnant (Is. 54:1–4; 66:7–13; Mic. 5:3). The OT saints collectively are in view. Mary the mother of Jesus is included in this group, but only as an outstanding member of the whole. The later history shows that the NT saints also are included (vv. 13–17). The light-bearing character of the woman foreshadows the glory of the New Jerusalem (21:11, 22–27). In her privileges, the church now partakes in the blessings that will be consummated at Christ’s return. In the meantime, she is buffeted by Satan (12:1–14:20 note).

    And of the "great red dragon" it is "identified as Satan, the devil, in v. 9. The image of a dragon depicts Satan in his monstrous power and hideous enmity against God. Satan has constantly opposed the plans of God and has been repeatedly defeated in the great acts of God’s saving power (Gen. 3:1, 15; Ps. 74:13, 14; Is. 27:1; 51:9, 10; Ezek. 29:3; Luke 10:18; 11:14–23; John 12:31; Col. 2:15). He rises against the Messiah (vv. 4, 5) and His servants (v. 17) but will finally be consigned to everlasting punishment (20:10)."

    Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2319). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

    Sam Storms, in writing about the "war between angelic and demonic beings" as seen in Daniel 10:1-21 says, "There are several questions related to the kind of 'war' John has in mind, such as: What kind of 'weapons' might have been employed, if at all; was there some sort of contact, appropriate to spiritual beings, that occurred; could such war have resulted in some form of injury to the combatants, even death; or is the use of the terminology of “war” simply a metaphor designed to paint a theological picture? If so, what is that picture?

    There are a variety of theories on the time when this expulsion of Satan and his demons from heaven occurred (or will occur). 

    Theories:

    (1) According to futurists, it will occur in the future, during the seven year "tribulation" period.

    (2) Other say it is timeless. No specific moment in history is in view. It is simply a highly symbolic description of Satan's downfall.

    (3) I believe it is because of the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that this defeat of the Devil occurs, indeed, has already occurred. Michael and his angels are given the task of expelling Satan consequent to the victory of Jesus at the time of His first coming (Lk. 10:18). Christians carry on this victory over Satan (v. 11) as they stand on the achievements of the cross and boldly proclaim the authority of Jesus' name. 

    http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/war-in-heaven–war-on-earth:-a-study-in-revelation-12—part-ii

    How interesting this chapter closes with the dragon's focus and attention is towards those who "keep the commandments of God" and "hold to the testimony of Jesus?"

    We must remember that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

    No matter how much we suffer for Christ, despite trials, tribulations and suffering, Satan will never prevail!

    Are you aware of the suffering many Christians face today around the world?

    What are some ways you suffer for the cause of Christ? 

  2. Although I've lost some friends who are not interested in hearing about Jesus, I hardly would call anything I've gone through as a result of my beliefs "suffering."

    Compared to the imprisonment and execution of Christians around the world, I feel my journey in faith has thus far been a cake-walk. That makes me feel guilty sometimes, and trepidatious at others; I feel like I haven't suffered enough, and that that could be coming in the future. But I will happily suffer for Christ, always remembering what he did for me. 

    I was really excited to learn about the Voices of the Martyrs website, and even more excited when I saw that there was an opportunity to reach out to Christians who have been imprisoned for our faith. 

    I've always thought about and prayed for prisoners, captives, slaves and hostages, whether Christians or not, probably because I know how close I came to being a prisoner myself a few times. I have compassion and concern for them, as I know how terrible the conditions can be and the evil that some face everyday. 

    I really feel called to write letters to Christians in prison; I feel like this is an area I could really use my gifts. I'm sure I will learn more from them rather than the other way around, but if I can offer anything with correspondence, even just that they look forward to mail, that's enough for me. 

    1. Wow, Brynne!! ❤️ I didn’t know you had this heart for prisoners, hostages, captives, etc.. This is the heart of Jesus. I’m praying for this special encouragement ministry the Lord has placed in your heart. 

  3. I am late in posting, primarily because I want to dig a bit deeper into these passages. Like Scott, ultimately I depend on the writing of others who have spent years studying the scriptures. Just like with Revelation 11, I have far more personal notes than what I am posting here. Even so, forgive me for the very long post.

    Revelation 12:1-6 (ESV)

    The initial imagery echoes Joseph's vision in Gen 37:9. The description of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth recall Gen 3:15-16, and it is possible the prophecy of the virgin birth (Isa 7:14) is also in view. Similarly, the dragon (Satan; Rev 12:9) is tied all the way back to the angelic rebellion against the Lord. The wording in Rev 12:4-15 implies that Herod the Great's attempt to kill the baby Jesus was satanically inspired. Though there is no mention of the death or resurrection of the messianic child, it is implied from other passages in Revelation as well as from the parallel to the two witnesses in Rev 11:11-12. The woman is taken care of by the Lord for 1,260 days, the same length of time the two witnesses were protected (Rev 11:3-6), though it is probably after the witnesses have ascended, since the "woman" fleeing refers most likely to the converts after the two witnesses were resurrected and ascended (Rev 11:11-13).

    A. Boyd Luter, “Notes on Revelation,” in The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe, ed. Ted Cabal, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1902-1903.

    Twisted Scripture: Revelation 12:5

    Some charismatic sects have adopted a belief that in the last days God will raise up a "male child" company of believers, often referred to as "manifested sons." This faithful remnant of overcomers will reach such a state of perfection that their bodies will become immortal. The male child in this verse, however, is none other than Jesus.

    A. Boyd Luter, “Notes on Revelation,” in The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe, ed. Ted Cabal, (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1903. 

    Revelation 12:7-12 (ESV)

    7  Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8  but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12  Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

    It is hard to understand the timing of this particular battle described here. One key thing that stands out to me: the dragon is clearly referring to Satan.

    • Great Dragon
    • He is thrown down, aka, defeated
    • Ancient serpent (Genesis 3:1)
    • Called the devil
    • Called Satan
    • He is the deceiver of the whole world
    • Cast down to the earth
    • Has angels (demons)

    Rev 12:10-11

    The dragon’s expulsion from heaven shows that Satan cannot press charges as the accuser of our brothers because the Lamb shed his blood for them and they maintain their testimony of trust even unto death. Although “conquered” by the beast physically in death (Rev 11:7; 13:7), in fact the martyrs have conquered both the beast (Rev 15:2) and the dragon that empowers it. They have conquered him is set in ironic and beautiful contrast to Rev 13:7.

    Rev 12:12 his time is short. Jesus’ death and exaltation inaugurated “the kingdom of our God” (Rev 12:10) and guaranteed the certain and approaching demise of Satan’s tyranny. All the demonic activity here and in the Gospels is connected to Satan’s frustrated anger.

    Rev 12:14 two wings of the great eagle. A metaphor of the exodus (see Ex 19:4) becomes an image of God’s care for his church, exposed in the wilderness yet guarded and nourished in its pilgrimage. a time, and times, and half a time. This half-sabbatical period, derived from Dan 7:25, signifies the brevity of the saints’ suffering and of their persecutors’ power.

    Lane T. Dennis, ed., ESV Study Bible, The: English Standard Version, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles, 2008), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Revelation 12".

  4. And here in this chapter of Revelation we see the great hatred Satan has for those who have been set apart by God and “hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Like Brynne, I haven’t suffered for my faith in Christ. Being born in America is a gift of God’s grace. Do I take it for granted? Do I care for my brothers and sisters in Christ who live in areas of the world where Christian persecution is rampant? Do I want to help them? Do I pray for them? Should persecution come to America, what would encourage me? How can I encourage those who are being persecuted? 

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