When you're reading a story, or watching a movie or a play, how important is it to you that a story have a happy ending?
Personally, mine need to end happily. Movies or shows that don't have happy endings, "The Break-Up," I never want to see again. I want my movies to have a happy-go-lucky ending. You know, like "Mannequin."
As we continue our study of Revelation, we can assume that John knew about the popular theater of his time. During his exile God showed him a vision of the best happy ending of all time!
UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT
*** Today we'll study the ongoing spiritual conflict between good and evil. Revelation chapters 10 through 20 detail a monumental struggle between the Holy Trinity and Satan and his minions (who aren’t nearly as adorable as the ones in the movie).
*** The events of Revelation 12 are presented as a kind of drama in the skies—a cosmic drama.
--- The main point of this dramatic chapter in Revelation is the portrayal of the conquest of evil, and how we as saints are participants.
SATAN DEFEATED (Rev. 12:1-9)
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 His tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth he might devour her child. 5 But she gave birth to a Son—a male who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter—and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, to be fed there for 1,260 days. 7 Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, 8 but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was thrown out—the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him.
*** The war of the ages.
--- Ever since Lucifer became the devil, the enemy of God, there has been a constant battle throughout the universe. (This is the real “Star Wars.”)
--- The conflict won’t end until Jesus Christ once and for all defeats Satan and casts him and his demons in to the pit.
--- The climax of the whole thing is during the Great Tribulation, as we see here in Revelation. God began His judgments on the world, and Satan brings everything hell’s got.
*** The woman giving birth.
--- The pregnant woman is a symbol of Israel, the Promised Land, the area specifically chosen by God to represent his Kingdom on earth.
--- The interesting connection of the woman to the sun, the moon and the crown of stars is that it has roots in Genesis chapter 37. Joseph has a dream in which he says "the sun and the moon and the eleven stars were bowing down to me." That was one of the things that made Joseph's brothers so jealous. So what happened? After he ended up in Egypt and the sun (Jacob), the moon (Rachel) and Joseph's 11 brothers eventually bowed to his authority. Joseph, of course, would be the 12th star, all of which refer to the 12 tribes of Israel.
--- She brings forth the Messiah and other offspring, described as Christians later in verse 17.
--- The woman cries out in agony giving birth. Israel agonized and suffered for centuries, waiting for the One who would set up a kingdom for His people. Satan has done everything to weaken and destroy God's chosen people.
*** The red dragon.
--- This image depicts Satan in his power and evil as he constantly opposes the plans of God. (Dragons in "Game of Thrones:" Cool. Dragon in Revelation: Not cool.)
--- When Satan fell he dragged a third of the angels into the war with him, and in the Garden of Eden he brought humanity into the war as well.
When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt when Herod tried to kill the newborn Savior (see Matt. 2:13-15). When Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan continuously tried to tempt Him into sin (see Matt. 4:1-11).
*** The child.
--- Verses 5 and 6 describes Jesus as the One "who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter."
--- The King of Kings and Lord of lords, victorious over every wicked effort against Him.
--- Just as God provided and protected Jesus even through death, "the woman," a.k.a. His followers, will be protected.
*** Michael and the angels toss Satan and his demons out.
--- This is a serious fight, melee, fracas, brouhaha. It could be one of three things: (1) a heavenly battle of holy spirit-beings versus evil spirit-beings (led by Lucifer—that is, Satan), which occurred prior to events in the garden of Eden; (2) some as-yet-future battle; and (3) a representation of the ongoing warfare of godly forces against evil forces.
--- No matter what, evil would not prevail. Evil can cause chaos and destruction, but in the end it's a giant FAIL.
--- We are called to fight. Ephesians 6:11-12 - "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Question - How do these scenes help you understand the nature of spiritual warfare, as compared with how Paul described it in Ephesians 6:11-12?
THE LAMB PRAISED (Rev. 12:10-12)
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, for the Devil has come down to you with great fury, because he knows he has a short time.
*** Victory in the blood of Jesus.
--- Satan appears intimidating and offers power to humanity, the heavenly host triumphs.
--- Satan has spent time after time accusing believers (see Job 1:9-11), but no longer, he has been thrown out.
--- We conquer not through our own means, but our testimony. In the face of pressure to turn away, true saints stick with it and show their faith is the real deal. Loyalty to Christ overcomes the Devil and brings reward.
Peter writes in 2 Peter 2:20b – “When you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.”
*** Question - Does knowing about Satan’s ultimate defeat give you confidence each day in living for Christ?
THE DRAGON REGROUPS (Rev. 12:13-17)
13 When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. 15 From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. 17 So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.
*** The Devil went down to Georgia.
--- He was looking for a soul to steal, alright, and while the heavens rejoice, woe to the earth as Satan spends his last fury on the people of Christ through persecution.
--- There is protection, however, after a period of intense testing.
--- Christ has promised to preserve His church (see Matt. 16:18). Despite this, the Devil has tried his best to destroy the church throughout time. But he has failed.
*** Question - Think about ways Satan is attacking today. What do we need to remember about God when our testimony of Jesus is met with hostility?
This month marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Even now, around the country there were celebrations, including sailors kissing women in Times Square like the famous photo from V-J Day in 1945.
It was a celebration as the war ended, after tens of millions were killed in just six years of world war.
Today we talked about the ultimate war of the ages. It started at the beginning of time and it will last until Satan is destroyed for good.
Imagine if there was a newspaper headline that says "WAR ENDS" or "SATAN DEFEATED" for the end of the war of the ages. Think of how it would make you feel.
There will be cause for celebration one day, starting today, because we know that the events of Revelation will happen!
*** Remember that we’re called to focus on God and His eternal plan.
*** Have confidence in living for Christ as a winner!
*** Think of someone who needs to hear this message, and share it with them.