Bookmark Site !
   
 
BIBLE STUDIES
   
READING ROOM

This area holds ample reading material including:

[
The Gift of Prophecy]

[
What is God Like?]

[
The Power of Forgiveness]

This large selection of material has something for everyone. You will not be disappointed.
   
: Join Our Mailing List :
   
 
   





































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Christian Counter

 
 

 

Revelation 12

The Four Beasts of Revelation

#1.   The Great Red Dragon

 

Begin Text:

 

Thus far, we have covered the first 11 chapters of Revelation, verse by verse.

 

We have carefully studied the seven churches,

The seven seals,

The seven trumpets,

The 144,000 and The Two Witnesses

 

If you have studied all of these segments, you know that the book of Revelation is not simple or shallow, but you should also know that it can be understood. The ways of God are profound and there is nothing more wonderful and intricate than studying His Word.

 

We have to give God’s Word “due diligence” if we are going to understand anything about Him. Today, we are beginning a new segment on Revelation. I call this segment “The four beasts of Revelation.”

 

As this section unfolds, you will behold a compelling story, you will learn about a great contest between Jesus and Lucifer that has been ongoing for a very long time. You will also see this ancient conflict transformed into an end-time story that involves you and me!

 

Apocalyptic prophecy is a process that has been unfolding for thousands of years. We are living at a time when Jesus will declare there is no more delay, the 144,000 will be selected and sealed, the fourth seal will be broken, The Two Witnesses empowered, the censer thrown down and the first trumpet will sound. I hope you have already noticed the marvelous harmony that comes from the sum of all of these prophetic parts.

 

The books of Daniel and Revelation, when properly understood, produce one huge harmonious story. This story is so wonderful and comprehensive; it is very difficult to tell. If you do not believe me, just try telling it!  

 

Our study on the four beasts begins with Revelation 12. This chapter contains a short prophecy of six verses and verse 7 marks the beginning of a long prophecy that ends with Revelation 14:5.

 

When these two prophecies are put together, they allow us to see and understand things about the devil that would otherwise be impossible to know.

 

As you know, I rarely say anything profound, but I have something profound to say today. The origin, nature and work of the devil is a complicated topic and it is not often discussed by Christians because it is just too complicated!

Here are three obstacles that make any investigation of the devil difficult:

 

1.   We can’t physically see the devil and his demons at work, so it is very difficult to determine what they are doing and how much they actually contribute to the rebellion and suffering that we see everywhere.

 

2.   When studying the behavior of human beings, it is difficult to determine the devil’s participation. We know that human beings have the power of choice and we know that everyone is born with a carnal heart. So, people can choose and do choose to do wicked things on their own without any help from the devil.

 

For example, when it comes to murder, we can ask: “What role did the devil play – if any?” Did the devil manipulate the murderer’s emotions to a point where the man committed the murder or did the man commit murder without any influence from the devil? We can also ask, “Was the murderer under demonic control or influence when he committed the murder? You can see from these questions that it is almost impossible to sort out valid answers.

 

3.   Human being are no match for the devil and his demons – either in strength or intelligence. Since the devil and his angels are hidden from eyesight, human beings would be the easy targets except for one thing. God has a host of angels on Earth constantly battling with the devil and his angels to ensure that human beings are free to exercise their power of choice.

 

 Make no mistake about this, the devil and his demons do not sleep or rest. They work around the clock – 24/7’s. When one time zone goes to sleep, the devil and his angels move on to the next. The devil and his demons don’t sleep. They are in motion, constantly moving around and round the world – stirring up trouble, hatred and evil passions.  

 

I might add there are some cities that never sleep – cities like Chicago, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Houston. In these cases the devil keeps “a den of demons” in such cities at all times.

 

Many people do not believe in a devil. Many people do not believe in demonic possession. Many people who believe in a devil have no idea that Lucifer and his angels were once in Heaven. Even worse, many people do not believe the coming Antichrist will be Lucifer. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us the devil will play a very visible role during the Great Tribulation.

 

Down through the centuries, artists have rendered the devil as an evil manlike creature. He is red and has horns, a tail and a pitchfork. This imagery, no doubt, rises from Revelation 12 where the devil is portrayed as a great red dragon having heads, horns and a tail. However, the devil was once a most beautiful and glorious being.

 

And it delights the devil when people think that he is ugly and scary looking, because he usually presents himself to us robed (or disrobed as the case may be) in beauty and innocence. He is the master of illusion and deception and he and his demons are the most underrated force on Earth today.

 

In fact, many scientists think that Satan and demons are myths, figments of uneducated imagination, and a superstitious holdover from the Dark Ages. They reason, if there is no God, there can be no devil.

 

Look at the logic: If the Creator of Heaven and Earth – the Creator of everything that exists can’t be proven to exist, then how can a devil – who has created nothing but trouble – be proven to exist?

 

Truth is, the argument that there is no God is another deception by Lucifer. Lucifer never stops lying or doing everything possible to separate mankind from God. The Bible teaches there is a devil and has a lot to say about him. Unfortunately, very few sermons are actually presented on the devil because of ignorance or fear.

 

Christians do not like the idea of being told they are being stalked by invisible intelligent beings. If we could see as God sees, the actions of Lucifer and his demons would make us so furious and angry, that we would be moved to immediately terminate his existence.

 

But, God permits the devil to live and prosper on Earth because God has a higher purpose. Once this purpose is accomplished, the devil and his angels will be destroyed. You might ask, what purpose is so large and important that God allows the devil to remain alive?

 

Actually, two purposes dovetail together to make one:

 

1.   Before Lucifer was created, God foreknew Lucifer’s evil actions, He foreknew the loss of one-third of His angels, He foreknew the fall of Adam and Eve, so He predetermined the duration of sin on Earth before it began. (Revelation 17:8)

 

Think about the possibility: Before sin began, God did some basic math and He calculated it would take 6,000 years to produce enough born-again sinners to repopulate Heaven. I believe this is why He created the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Jesus could have created the Earth in one day, but He chose seven because He wanted to give us a template. The weekly cycle is a template of Earth’s duration! Seven days translates into seven thousand years. (We discussed this at length in our March, April, May and June 2004 segments on the Jubilee Calendar.}

 

2.   God understands from the beginning that sin must be allowed to mature to the point that created beings would never want to sin again. God foreknew that if he had enough time, a watching universe would be so offended and disgusted with sinful behavior that sin would not occur again! Remember from our study on the seven seals, that preventing a second rise of sin is God’s greatest problem. So, God is waiting for His larger purpose to be accomplished before bringing sin to an end and destroying the devil.

 

Earlier, I made this point: When studying the behavior of people, it is difficult to determine the devil’s efforts on mankind since we already have a carnal nature. Does the devil really influence people to do things they would not otherwise do?

 

The Bible says “yes!”

 

1 Peter 5:8   Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

1 Peter 5:9   Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.

 

James 4:7   Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

James 4:8   Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

 

Think about this:   The Bible teaches that the devil and his demons can take control of people. Jesus cast demons out of many people. Perhaps the best known story is this one:

 

Luke 8:26   They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.

 

Luke 8:27   When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.

 

Luke 8:28   When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”

 

Luke 8:29   For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

 

Luke 8:30   Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him.

 

Luke 8:31   And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. 

 

Luke 8:32   A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.

 

Luke 8:33   When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

 

Luke 8:34   When those tending the pigs saw what happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside,

 

Luke 8:35   and the people went out to see what happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.

 

Once a person is demon-possessed, they cannot set themselves free. Demon possessed people do not have control of themselves – they cannot exercise their power of choice. They are prisoners of Lucifer until or unless they are set free by divine power! No amount of medicine, no amount of counseling, no amount of therapy can set a demon-possessed free.

 

There is only one way out of demonic possession. Deliverance comes only through divine power. This is important to know because a growing number of people are demon-possessed. Demonic possession is often diagnosed as different forms of mental illness or insanity!

 

Listen carefully: There is a difference between insanity and demonic possession and it can be very difficult to differentiate between them because demonic possession can mimic insanity!

 

In the criminal justice system, insanity is defined as a degree of mental malfunctioning sufficient to relieve the accused of legal responsibility for the act committed.

 

In terms of mental health, insanity is a grave, often prolonged condition that prevents a person from being held legally responsible for his or her actions.

 

1.   Lunacy is generally defined as a mental derangement relieved intermittently by periods of clear-mindedness.

 

2.   Madness is defined as the violent aspect of a mental illness.  

 

3.   Mania generally refers to the excited phase of a bipolar disorder.

 

4.   And dementia is a mental deterioration brought on by an organic brain disorder such as Alzheimer’s. 

 

Demonic possession can go undetected and undiagnosed for a while. Mental health experts do not have a classification of demonic possession because:

 

(a) The spiritual dimension of man is poorly understood by most medical practitioners. It appears that theologians and medical doctors parted company shortly after medical insurance was created. 

 

(b) Mental health experts can’t quantify the symptoms of demonic possession. There are to many deviations and inconsistencies.

 

Unlike mental illness, demonic possession is a supernatural power controlling a human being. The symptoms can come and go, as the demon wants. The manifestations of demonic possession can be different at different times. There’s no rhyme or reason with demonic possession and this makes a clear diagnosis very difficult.

 

So how is demon possession detected?

 

I apply a simple test. When I hear about a great tragedy, and the person causing the tragedy suddenly “snaps” and surprises everyone by doing something very evil, I suspect demon possession. For example, do you remember the case of Charles Roberts? He’s the 32-year-old man that entered the Amish school in Pennsylvania in October 2006, and killed five young girls before killing himself.

 

I would agree, based on the evidence of his premeditated planning (the cruel things that he planned to do), that he had to be demon possessed. If my assessment is correct, then the demons found a way to gain control of Charles Roberts – perhaps they found entrance through pornography – but once they gained control of him, his passion for sex became insatiable and he carried out their demonic desire.

 

Think about this: If a human being can be filled with the Holy Spirit and through the power of the Spirit overcome evil, doesn’t it make sense that a human being can be filled with a demonic spirit and be overcome with evil?

 

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit can transform the carnal heart into a noble character of love and service and it is interesting that while doing this, the Holy Spirit leaves the saint’s freedom of choice intact! In other words, a saint can drop out of the sanctification process anytime if he wants to! (And many do, even while regularly attending church!)

 

There is a serious consequence for doing this: When a person turns from their sin to follow the Lord and then backslides, that person is in real trouble:

 

Luke 11:24   “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house that I left.’

 

Luke 11:25   When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.

 

Luke 11:26   Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of the man is worse than the first.”

The point here is that a great struggle over each human being is under way and it is intensifying. Demons will tempt you to give into the desires of your carnal heart in hopes that you will exchange the illusion of pleasure for your power of choice.

 

During the Great Tribulation, demons will eventually control every person that rejects the gospel of Jesus. Those taking the mark of the beast will commit the unpardonable sin, and every one of them will be demon possessed. 

 

Those choosing to obey God will have their faith tested before they are sealed. The sealing is the removal of the sinful nature, but the sealing does not remove the power of choice.

 

On the other hand, the devil accepts forced worship because he wants control at any cost. The last resort of false religion is always force.

 

God knows that we don’t understand the spiritual dimension very well – the dimension in which the devil and the Holy Spirit function. This is one reason why He has given us Two Witnesses, the Bible and the Holy Spirit. God wants us to understand spiritual things because there is a spiritual dimension to life. The spiritual realm is a reality just like time and space are realities.

 

There are invisible spiritual beings on Earth who are superior in every way to human beings and we can’t see them!

 

1 Corinthians 2:14   “the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

 

If there could be one “telltale” piece of evidence that distinguishes between mental illness and demonic possession, I would say it is “predatory violence.”

 

Lucifer and his demons are violent predators and when they possess an individual, that individual becomes a violent predator. (I think this is the number one problem in Iraq today. Demons are at work. Destroying thousands or innocent people.) Remember the demon-possessed man in Luke 8:26-39? “…This man was so violent that no one could pass that way.”

 

The video game industry is a $30 billion a year industry and many, if not most, video games are based on violence. Something in our carnal nature rejoices when an opponent is defeated or destroyed. This feature is the essence of sports – although to a lesser degree. Video games are big sellers because our carnal nature is excited by the drama of violence.

 

During the Great Tribulation, you and I are going to be shocked to see whom Lucifer is able to control – including people we know and love! Once you understand the reality of Lucifer, you will discover that things aren’t the way they are because human beings are stupid, ignorant and arrogant. 

 

No! It’s much worse. Things are the way they are because Lucifer has gained control of an increasing number of human beings! More and more people are becoming demon possessed and this epidemic is not yet detected nor understood by most people. I think demonic possession is a greater problem than nuclear proliferation. It goes without saying that when put together; these two developments are catalysts for an enormous disaster.

 

Ok, now that my introduction on Lucifer and his demons has been presented, let’s begin reading Revelation 12 and notice how these matters apply to Bible prophecy. As we read verses 1-6, notice two things:

 

First, notice there is commentary in verses 1-4. John “sets the stage” in the first four verses of Revelation 12 by introducing three characters: the woman, her male child, the great red dragon.

 

When we get to verse 5, the chronological order of the prophecy begins and it ends in verse 6. The apocalyptic sequence is simply stated in two verses. I’m also going to read verse 7 to show you when chronological order is broken a new prophecy begins…

 

Second, as we read through the two prophecies in Revelation 12, I want you to observe that we are studying a dram that specifically concerns Lucifer’s hatred for Christ and Christianity. I want you to notice that from it’s beginning, Christianity has been especially hated by Lucifer.

 

[Commentary]

Revelation 12:1   A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

 

Revelation 12:2   She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

 

Revelation 12:3   Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.

 

Revelation 12:4   His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth, The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment that it was born.

 

[Chronology begins – Rule 1]

Revelation 12:5   She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

 

Revelation 12:6   The women fled into the desert to a place prepared for her from God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

 

Chronological Sequence:

1.   Woman in pain, dragon ready to devour child

2.   Woman gives birth

3.   Dragon tries to kill Jesus

4.   Jesus taken to Heaven

5.   Woman flees to desert for 1,260 days

   

[According to Rule 4, the 1,260 days have to be translated as 1,260 years because they occur while the Jubilee Calendar is operating. We learned in our study of Daniel 7 that this 1,260 day time-period began in A.D. 538 and ended in 1798 and to eliminate any confusion, this time-period is mentioned a third time in verse Revelation 12:14 (as a time, times, and half a time). During these 1,260 years, the devil, utilizing the powers of church and state, attempted to “wear out” the saints of the Most High.] 

 

Now, look at verse 7:

 

Revelation 12:7   And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

 

We will see later on, this war took place on Resurrection Sunday. Because verse 7 does not chronologically follow the end of the 1,260 years in 1798 (verse 6), Rule 1 forces the beginning of a new prophecy with verse 7.

 

So much has been said in just six verses! Revelation 12:1-6 is a short story summarizing Lucifer’s hatred for Jesus.

 

Consider this: After Adam and Eve sinned; Lucifer learned that God had a plan to save man from the penalty of sin. 4,000 years later, Lucifer saw the wise men searching the Scriptures. He saw them leave home to find the Savior of mankind. Lucifer saw Jesus born in a stable. Lucifer was determined to ruin God’s plan to save mankind from the penalty of sin by killing Jesus at birth. 

 

This tiny prophecy highlights a serious contest between God – who is endeavoring to save man – and Lucifer – who is determined to destroy God’s plans.

 

Remember this:

 

Revelation 12:1-6 is a Lucifer versus God prophecy and the next prophecy, Revelation 12:7-14:5, is a Lucifer versus the church prophecy.

 

The story in Revelation 12:1-6 tells us of Lucifer’s failure to kill Jesus at birth…. What is more bitter to the carnal heart than failure and humiliation? All of the demons must have been surprised to see Lucifer fail at killing baby Jesus. Then, after torturing a sinless Jesus and killing Him on the cross, the devil failed again.

 

A watching universe rejoiced as the Father raised Jesus from the dead. That empty tomb became the devil’s destiny. Lucifer and his demons experienced another bitter defeat at the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus sealed their fate. They are destined to suffer in the flames of hell. They will writhe in pain as Jesus and the saint’s watch. The demons know there is no chance of escaping hell. ZERO! 

 

I have mentioned these things because I want you to understand something of Lucifer’s anger and bitterness. This is why I believe predatory violence is a “telltale” sign of demonic possession. Lucifer and his demons are so full of rage toward God that violent destruction is their most powerful expression.

 

I have spent a lot of time talking about demonic possession because every Christian needs to understand the enormous violent energy that will be released against the saints during the Great Tribulation. The devil and his demons are “hell-bound” and they are on a tear to destroy everything that belongs to God.

 

Revelation 12:5   says the male child was snatched up to God’s throne.

 

After Jesus ascended to Heaven, Lucifer attempted to destroy the woman and fled to the desert.

 

The desert is a harsh place to live. The devil tried to starve the women to death, but he failed again. God had prepared a place of survival for her. Ultimately, this short story contains a glorious promise that we need to understand. A time is coming when Jesus will rule all nations with a rod of iron – the phrase, a rod of iron, indicates a sovereign rule that cannot be broken. The unending victory of Jesus is paralleled from Plan A in the words of Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 9:6   For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

Isaiah 9:7   Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

 

Interpretation:

 

The woman in Revelation 12 represents the virgin bride of Christ. (Revelation 21:9)

 

The love relationship between Jesus and His people is compared to that of a bride and bridegroom in the book of Revelation. (For purposes of contrast, the great whore in Revelation 17, the woman riding on the beast, represents the people who will embrace Lucifer as Lord and Master.)

 

Listen carefully, the bride of Jesus is not a denomination, it is not ‘a remnant church,” in fact, the bride is not predominately made up of Christians for there were no Christians at the time of Christ’s birth! The virgin bride of Christ consists of all people who love God, those who follow and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

 

When Revelation 12 begins, the woman is in pain to be delivered. Notice the chronology: The woman precedes the birth of Jesus and the formation of Christianity. The pregnancy pain indicates the appointed time for “deliverance” had come.

 

Galatians 4:4   But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, under the law,

 

Galatians 4:5   to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

 

The devil is ready for the birth of Jesus. He is poised to kill the male child as soon as He is born. Now that we know about Lucifer’s efforts to kill Jesus at birth, let’s see how this was accomplished through demonic possession:

 

Matthew 2:16   When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

 

Matthew 2:17   Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

 

Matthew 2:18   “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”  

 

Why did Herod kill all baby boys, two years old and under?

 

I believe that Herod set these parameters because the wise men had been traveling for about a year and if Jesus had been born when they first saw the star, His age would have been between one and two years.

 

The Bible indicates that Jesus was born in a stable (Luke 2:7) and I assume that after a day or two of staying there, Joseph found a house where his family could stay. After Joseph, Mary and Jesus moved into this house, the Magi arrived.

 

Matthew 2:11   “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and incense and of myrrh.”

 

The Magi didn’t show up at the stable, so let’s get all of these nativity scenes corrected. Incidentally, for reasons beyond today’s discussion, I believe that Jesus birthday occurs on the Day of Atonement. I like to think of the 10th day of the seventh month as the birthday of our Atonement.

 

Ironically, the Day of Atonement in 4 B.C. fell on what we call October 31, Halloween. I also believe that demons have transformed the birthday of Jesus into a day devoted to themselves.

 

But, the primary point in Matthew 2 is that Lucifer influenced Herod to kill every baby boy in an effort to kill one baby boy. This is predatory violence!

 

Here’s a good question:

 

How should the guilt of this genocide be assigned? Should Herod’s guilt be the same as Lucifer’s? I think so. Both should be assigned 100% of the guilt.

 

Lucifer wanted Jesus dead at birth and He would have killed Jesus Himself if that had been possible. So I give him 100% responsibility for this horrible crime. I believe that Herod was demon possessed. He was a totally evil man. He was so self-centered and insecure that any threat to His authority had to be promptly destroyed. He wanted Jesus destroyed so badly that he was willing to kill all of the baby boys in Bethlehem to eliminate one child.

 

So, Herod is due 100% of the guilt that goes with this crime. So, the murder of a hundred (?) innocent baby boys now rests upon Herod and Lucifer and restitution for the grief and suffering they caused surely awaits fulfillment.

 

We can be sure that God will fully extract the appropriate suffering from Herod and Lucifer when hell begins…. “Payday Someday.” 

 

As I said earlier, the prophecy in Revelation 12 is a Lucifer versus God prophecy. The male child is Jesus. The woman represents the bride of Christ, the people of God. The great red dragon represents Lucifer, that ancient adversary of God who caused 1/3 of the angels to be expelled from Heaven!

 

Revelation 12:4   “His tail [tale] swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.”

 

After failing to destroy Jesus, and after failing to keep Jesus in the tomb, Lucifer turned his wrath on the followers of Jesus. The followers of Jesus split into two groups…. I call these two groups:

 

1.   The church visible

2.   The church invisible

 

The church visible is an institutional church. Institutional churches have definition and form. They have buildings, creeds, members, and budgets. The church visible gives the appearance of spiritual life, but inwardly, it is often dead.

.

Revelation 3:1   “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

 

On the other hand, the church invisible is an unseen body of believers. They have no buildings, creeds, definition or form. This church is widely scattered and it has no visible organization or budget. To the naked eye, it doesn’t even exist! If it weren’t for the gift of the Holy Spirit who constantly keeps the invisible church fed and alive, this church would have vanished long ago.

 

Now that you know there are two churches, this statement should make some sense: When the Bible says the dragon chased the woman to the desert for 1,260 years, the Bible us talking about the devil chasing the invisible church.

 

History [and Daniel 7] clearly tells us what happened to the visible church. By the fourth century A.D., Christianity had become rich, powerful, and arrogant. It had assumed the prerogatives of God. It thought to ‘change times and laws” and it ruled over the kings of Europe until the French Revolution deposed the pope.

 

The point here is twofold:

 

1.   I often hear people saying, “But Larry, every Christian needs to attend a visible church or people will lose their faith!  They will soon fall away and forget the Lord. The apostle Paul says we shouldn’t stop meeting together.”

 

My response is simple: I say, let the dead prop up the dead. If the essence of Christianity is so weak that it has to be sustained by “cheer leaders” and church services, then it stands to reason that visible Christianity will disappear when church services are no longer available!        

 

2.   We need to know that Revelation 12 isn’t concerned with the visible church. This prophecy is focused on the church invisible – the church in the desert is full of lonely people, people isolated from one another, but not from God. This is the church that matters to God!

 

The devil did everything possible to shut down the church invisible between 538 and 1798, but he failed! The flame of God’s truth did not go out, and in 1798, Protestantism finally burst the iron chains of Catholicism and the truth about God and His will became clearer and brighter than ever before! The church invisible overcame the church visible! If you remember our earlier study on the seven seals, you will recall that 1798 is the year when Jesus was found worthy to receive the Book of Life, and He began opening the seven seals that year and as each seal is broken, a brighter revelation of Jesus occurs.

 

Ok, let’s take a final read of Revelation 12:1-6 before moving to the next one:

 

Revelation 12:1   A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun [the righteousness of Christ], with the moon under her feet [God’s covenant promise to save man] and a crown [stephanos – crown of victory] of twelve stars on her head [12 tribes].

 

Revelation 12:2   She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. [Its ironic, the birth of one baby caused the death of a hundred. The joy of one woman was hushed by the sobbing of a hundred.]

 

Revelation 12:3   Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. [These crowns = diadema, these heads = religious systems, indicating the devil would use religion and religious leaders to put Jesus to death and persecute the church invisible]

 

Revelation 12:4   His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.

 

Revelation 12:5   She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. [4 B.C.] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. [A.D. 30]

 

Revelation 12:6   The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days [1,260 years]

 

So, the dragon chased the woman [the church invisible, the people of God] to the desert for 1,260 years, but they survived the hardship! But wait! The devil isn’t finished with the woman….

 

Coming down to our day…

 

Revelation 12:17   Then the dragon was [outraged] enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest [or the last] of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” This will occur during the Great Tribulation.

 

Revelation 13:7   He [the composite beast] was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.  And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.”

 

Ok, we have examined the prophecy of Lucifer versus God in verses 1-6. Actually, we have read an overview on demonic possession.

 

Now, we have examined the next prophecy: Lucifer versus the invisible church. This is a lengthy prophecy (Revelation 12:7-14:5); so try to stay on track. This prophecy begins with verse 7:

Revelation 12:7   And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

 

Revelation 12:8   But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

 

Revelation 12:9   The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

 

When did this war in Heaven occur? We will examine this question in our next segment.

 

End Text:

 

[top]


   
  l home l about l contact l site map l privacy l feedback l chat l
   
      Daniel Revelation Bible Studies. All Rights Reserved