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November 24th, 2020
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gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron


Chapter 12 of Revelation begins a second major division in the last book of the Bible. At the end of chapter 11, readers could have skipped directly to chapter 21 and the vision of the new Jerusalem. Instead, through the apostle John we’re shown a flashback or replay, to help us better understand an epic struggle that has already occurred in heaven, and what’s coming in the end. 

A quick review of previous studies showed the first chapter as an initial revelation of Jesus, to John, who was exiled on the island of Patmos. In chapters 2-3 we saw Jesus’ concern for the church. Chapters 4 and 5 revealed the throne room, with God the Creator and Christ the Lamb. The next section (chapters 6 and 7) concerned the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the sealing (securing) of the saints. In chapters 8 and 9 we read of six trumpets, then a period of waiting, which showed God’s last effort of evangelism. Chapters 10 and 11 brought love’s last call and the announcement of the King’s reign. All of these articles are available at under the Opinion tab.

Chapters 12 through 14 will disclose a war in heaven, which in part may have occurred before human history. The seventh trumpet sounds, and through a series of visions, John discloses to us the end time struggle, victory and judgment. 

John writes, “‘A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was pregnant and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth’” (Revelation 12:1-2). The woman with the sun, moon and stars represents God’s salvation through his people. Eve was promised that her seed would bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Isaiah prophesied a young maid would bear the Child who would save from their sins (Isaiah 7:14). God’s promises that he would bring salvation through the child of a woman were fulfilled when Mary became the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7). 

Most see the stars depicting Israel (12 tribes) or the Church (12 apostles). In the Book of Revelation there is no distinction between believers in the Old and New Testaments; the woman signifies all who believe in the one true God. Her purpose is to be fruitful, but we know there is pain and suffering in birth, including even our own new birth. 

The next verse reveals a red dragon, leader of all that is evil, the devil, who awaits the birth of the child to devour him. Satan is a supernatural predator who seeks to destroy any who would be instruments of good; he possesses great power (ten horns and seven crowns) and intelligence (seven heads). The woman births her child, who is caught up in God's care, and she flees to the wilderness for shelter during the next three and a half years (Revelation 12:3-6). 

John is given access to view the ensuing scenes in heaven: God’s angel Michael wages war with “‘…the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him’” (Revelation 12:9). The apostle Paul explains what all humans face because Satan has entered his new domain, earth, after being expelled from heaven. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). 

Back to John’s account. “‘So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus’” (Revelation 12:17). Through history this evil one has worked, a wounded predator bound on harm because he knows his end is imminent. There’s no reasonable purpose to his destructiveness – he’s a deceiver, disrupter, persistent persecutor, predator, adversary, and accuser. 

However, chapter 12 contains rejoicing (verses 10-12) along with the explanations and warnings. Believers abiding in the name of Jesus are to be alert but not fearful; watch out for the wicked one’s deceptions, but remain confident abiding in His care. Demons asked Jesus, “Art thou come to destroy us?’” (Mark 1:24 and Luke 4:34), knowing what the final outcome would be. 

The next chapter will contain visions of great tribulation, but believers who have put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) can stand in the midst of struggle. A new heaven and a new earth are approaching, which will replace everything that has been spoiled by evil. 

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