Revelation 036 – The Mystery of Antisemitism

Revelation 036 – The Mystery of Antisemitism
Revelation 12:6-12 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 14, 2019 • Revelation


Dr. Andy Woods

The Mystery of Anti-Semitism      4-14-19

Revelation 12:6-12       Lesson 36

Good morning everybody.  A happy Palm Sunday to everybody.  Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 12 and verse 6.  The title of our message this morning is The Mystery of Antisemitism.  I think this will probably be a Part 1, The Mystery of Antisemitism.  As you’re turning there just to kind of take you back on what was Jeff was saying there about Camp Areté, you know the name Areté means excellence. And I think it comes from Philippians 4, I think around verse 8, of the things that we are to meditate on, it gives you a list of things.  [Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”]

And one of the things we’re to meditate on, it gives you a list of things, and one of the things we’re to meditate on is “any excellence.”  And then there’s one other thing that I wanted to bring up concerning Camp Areté is its actually fun.  I mean, these people know how to put the word “fun” into fundamentalist because I was there and I don’t want it to be fun, I want it to be biblical, as if biblical and fun are mutually exclusive.  So I was one of the speakers there in Colorado and my wife was having so much fun she basically took over the whole camp.  She was teacher, counselor, cook. I mean you name it and she can’t wait to go back.  And it is camp as you envision camp, fond memories and a lot of fun but a real focus on God and His Words.  So that’s why my wife and I really fell in love with Camp Areté.

We are continuing our series through the Book of Revelation; we are in a section of the book where the trumpet judgments have been sounded.  Every time a trumpet blast occurs a judgment comes to the earth and we have been studying the seventh trumpet.  The seventh trumpet is it says as follows: the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.  [Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”’]  What is happening here in the Book of Revelation is  there is a legal transfer of authority taking place from the grip of Satan unto the majesty and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The time in history is coming when He will reign upon the earth and over the earth.

Now there are about five times in the Book of Revelation where the chronology is halted or paused to fill in a gap, if you will, of things happening in the sequence to just give more clarity on these things.  And so we are at the end of the trumpets and there’s a halt in the action there in chapters 12-14.  In fact the Book of Revelation does this about five times and we’re on our third occurrence where the chronology has stopped, where the Holy Spirit says slow down, let Me give you some details concerning things happening in the chronology.

And so what we have is Revelation 12-14 which represents Israel’s flight, chapter 12, the two beasts, chapter 13, and six scenes of hope.  And the last time we were together we began moving ever so slowly into Revelation chapter 12, and as we moved into that chapter I told you that I have become a tremendous student of Revelation 12, probably more than any other chapter in the Book of Revelation.  And the reason that I hold it in such high esteem, as I hold all chapters in the Bible in high esteem, is it describes the reality of the angelic world.  All around us there’s an invisible world that we as human beings can’t necessarily see where a great conflict is taking place, the angelic world, the angelic warfare.

And what we discovered in Revelation 12 is Satan has strategies.  In fact what you see in Revelation 12 are his two strategies.  He has worked in history to stop two things.  Paul the apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”  Scheme is a strategy.  I’m afraid today that the body of Christ largely is unaware of the schemes or the strategies of Satan and yet we need not be that way because the whole playbook is revealed right here in Revelation 12.

If you can understand Revelation 12 you can understand largely what the Bible is about; you can understand things that are happening in our present world, why they’re happening.  We would have no such knowledge had God not pulled back the veil and seen fit to disclose what He discloses to us here in Revelation 12.  These are two strategies that Satan used to stop God’s plan.  And you say well how smart is it to try to stop God?  The fact of the matter is it’s not a matter of smarts, it’s not a matter of logic; when the intellect is divorced from God the intellect doesn’t work right. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of” what? “wisdom,” actually knowledge, chapter 1 verse 7, followed by wisdom.  The mind works currently when it’s in submission to the Creator that made that mind.  And yet when the mind is doing its own thing, not under the authority of God, the intellect, whether it’s human or angels doesn’t work correctly.

Of Satan’s intellect we read this in Ezekiel 28:17, “You” God speaking to Satan, “corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”  The wisdom, the intellect, the mental acumen is not logic based when it comes to Satan; it is power based!  And consequently, Satan irrationally tries to do two things in human history.  Number one is a past strategy that failed involving the first advent of Christ.  We looked at that last week, verses 1-5.  The second thing he does, now that back strategy has failed is he works in history to destroy the nation of Israel, verses 6-17.

We studied last week verses 1-5 as we looked at Satan’s great strategy. We made a reference to the fact that this material here, Revelation 12, is the most symbolic chapter in the most symbolic book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.  There are three principle characters and when you study a couple of rules and understand a couple of rules of interpretation that we looked at last week you can identify who these principle characters are.  The son, s-o-n, is the Messiah.  The dragon is the devil.  The woman is the nation of Israel.  So we have a Messiah, Satan, and Israel.

Now if you’re trying to understand how we got all of that you might want to listen to last week’s sermon because we went through that in detail.  We made a reference to the fact that God wants the Book of Revelation understood.  In fact, that’s the title of the book, the disclosure.  A lot of people just throw up their hands, they don’t think they can get it or understand it.   And yet all the symbols in the Book of Revelation are readily identifiable by the design of God Himself.  And the key verse in that paragraph is in the middle of verse 4 when it says, “and the dragon” who’s the dragon? Satan, “stood before the woman,” who’s the woman?  Israel, “who is about to give birth so that he might devour her child.”  Who is the child?  The Messiah.  And that is a revelation of what Satan did in strategy number one.  He worked overtime in history to stop the birth of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2 gives you the story of Herod killing all of the male infants there in Bethlehem.  Matthew 2 explains that story from the realm of the physical world.  Revelation 12:1-5 comes along and gives  you the exact same story but from a different angle.  This is an angelic perspective.  And what you learn is that Satan himself was using Herod’s insecurity over his own throne to prevent the birth of the Christ child.  In fact Satan has worked overtime in human history to prevent the fulfillment of this verse which is the first Messianic prophecy ever given in the Bible, Genesis 3:15, where God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman,” in this case the woman is Eve, “between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”  There is coming one who is going to take your head, Satan, from Eve’s lineage and crush it.  Satan says to himself well, we’ll see about that.  And so consequently all the way through the Old Testament, we looked at all these different verses last week, he works in history to stop  the lineage leading to Christ.   And that’s why when you go through the Old Testament you’ll see that the lineage leading to Christ is threatened over and over and over and over and over and over again.  But it’s not till you get to Revelation 12 that you understand it’s actually Satan influencing people to halt the birth of Christ.

And yet that was round one, Satan went down in defeat in round one.  Everything he did to stop the birth of Christ failed, the Messiah was born.  And now we are at a point in the Book of Revelation where the kingdom of the world has been become or is becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.  [Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”]  The kingdom of God is coming, Satan says to himself, you know what, I’m going to stop that from happening!

And now we move into Rocky Part 2.  Now I guess there’s Rocky Part 15 or something, where their grandkids are in the ring duking it out.  But this is another attempt by Satan to stop the plan of God.   Next time he’s not trying to stop the Messiah’s birth, that round he went down in defeat.  This time he’s trying to stop the manifestation of the kingdom and the reason John is bringing all of the up is it’s Satan’s reaction to trumpet number seven, “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ.”  God makes a move, Satan is now making a counter move.  Why is Satan doing this?  Because he is the one ruling the present world; it’s been that way ever since the fall of man in Genesis 3.  You read through the verses I have on the screen and you’ll see over and over again that the Bible matter of fact declares that Satan is the god of this world, the prince and power of the air, the prince of this world, the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one.

These are the different designations given to Satan.  He’s the one we wrestle with.  He is the one that roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  This explains why we are not yet in the millennial kingdom because in the millennial kingdom Satan will be bound.  That’s why I always get a chuckle out of people that think we’re in the kingdom today.  I mean how could that be?  Satan is not bound, if he is bound, as one commentator said, he must be on a very long leash.  Because he’s not bound, he’s running the world system and when you have trumpet number seven and the legal proclamation that “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,” [Revelation 11:15]

Satan is now moving into strategy 2 to try to stop the birth of the kingdom.  And how’s he going to do that?  It’s very simple, he’s going to attack the instrument through which the kingdom will come.  What did God say all the way back to the time of Abram, Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, the one who curses I will curse,” look at this last clause, “and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  God has purposed in history to bless the world through the Hebrew race.  You say well why did God choose them?  You’ll have to talk to God about that.  That was His choice, He unilaterally made a decision.

He says in Deuteronomy 7:7, by the way, I didn’t choose you because you were so… you know, more numerous than the other people.   [“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples”  Deuteronomy 7:7] “I chose you out of a sovereign choice that God is allowed to make, I will create the Hebrew race, the nation of Israel, and I will bless the world through the nation of Israel.  That’s the decree of God.

And so there are three blessings that have come into our world, two past, one future, things that the world would not have had it not been for the Creator’s work with the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The first blessing is this book we’re holding our hand called the Scripture.  I’ve been reading the Bible for a long time, I can’t find a single Southern Baptist or Presbyterian author; every single one of them, the only one even to debate anymore is Luke, every single one of them was Jewish.  By the way, Jesus was not a member of a Bible church, He was Jewish.  John 4:22.  [John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.”]

Had it not been for God’s work with the nation of Israel creating them, protecting them, giving them promises, A. we wouldn’t have a Bible.  B. we wouldn’t have a Savior.  And here’s the deal—Satan worked in history to stop those first two blessings from materializing.  He failed and now there’s a third blessing on the horizon, that he’s trying to stop, called the kingdom.  Isaiah 2:2-3 very clearly says that when the kingdom materializes one day, for a thousand years, it will not be headquartered in Brussels, certainly not Washington D. C. (praise the Lord for that) but it will be headquartered in the city of Jerusalem.  [Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.  [3] And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.”  For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”]

Jesus will reign over the planet for a thousand years from the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem.  And you see, this third blessing, of all the blessings I think it’s the one that Satan may hate the most because once the kingdom materializes, you see down there in number six and seven, Satan will be bound.  He’s not bound right now, he will be bound and at the end of that kingdom age he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  And so since Satan works in history to try to stop in his corrupted intellect the program and plan of God, since he works preemptively I will take you out before you take me out, just as he tried to stop the lineage leading to Christ, Revelation 12:1-5, what he’s doing today and what will reach its zenith in the middle of the tribulation period is his attack, a Satanic attack on the nation of Israel.

[Revelation 12:1-5, “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; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. [4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”]

There’s one thing I do respect about Satan is number one, he reads Bible prophecy. To some extent, he takes it literally.  He knows that the kingdom will come through Israel. The problem is with his darkened intellect, he thinks he can stop the manifestation of the kingdom by taking out Israel prematurely.  No Israel, no kingdom. No kingdom, I run the show as I have for these many, many millennia.  I stay on the throne.

It’s sort of the same kind of thing that Saul was trying to do with David, when it became very clear that Saul, the anointing had left Saul that the anointing had come onto David; that created in Saul tremendous jealousy.  It was just a matter of time before David ascended to the throne.  Saul didn’t like that, he didn’t like people praising David because it reminded them of David’s future and Saul’s future.  And so, he set out many times in the book of 1 Samuel to kill off David prematurely. Yet somehow David keeps miraculously escaping.  That this sort of, this game of chess is sort of what’s happening related to Satan’s attitude towards the Jewish people and his desire to blot them out.  And that’s why when you understand this you begin to understand what motivates anti-Semitism.

Why is it that in every generation there seems to be this irrational hatred for the Bible, and by the way, they’re teaching this on all your college campuses to your children and grandchildren.  It’s called the BDS movement, Boycott Divestment Sanctions.  It’s anti-Israel.  I mean how could we do that so close to emerging from the holocaust?  It doesn’t make any sense, it’s illogical.  And the problem is people try to analyze this from a logical perspective and yet this is, as we said earlier, is not logic based, it’s power based.  It’s related to Saul, a type of Satan, wanting to stay on the throne.   It doesn’t like the prophecies of the kingdom so I will destroy the instrument through which the kingdom comes.  And see all of that is important background to understand the passage that we are merging into now.

Notice, if you will, Revelation 12:6, “Then the woman” who’s the woman? Israel, “fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God so that she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”  You say well what does this mean, one thousand two hundred and sixty days”?  Ready for this, this is really deep—it means one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  Another way of saying it is forty-two months.  And we’re going to see in Revelation 12 a reference to another way of saying it, “a time, times, and a half a time.”  Time–a Jewish year, times—two Jewish years, half a time—half a Jewish year.  Three and a half years total.  All of these are synonyms for describing the second half of the tribulation period.

It’s interesting that we are celebrating this morning Palm Sunday and it’s interesting to me that the Lord would have us in this passage on Palm Sunday.  Why is that interesting?  It’s interesting because Palm Sunday is predicted to the day by Daniel in Daniel 9:25. [Daniel 9:25, “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.”]  It’s dealing with a four-hundred-and-ninety-year clock, the time period from the beginning point in Daniel gives in Nehemiah 2 until the coming of Christ on Palm Sunday is exactly 483 years.  It’s exactly 173,880 days.  And then the clock stops because Israel rejected their king, seven years future, and people ask well how do you know this 1,260-day figure is literal?  Look at the track record of the same prophecy. If it was fulfilled to the exact day why wouldn’t it be fulfilled to the exact day in the part of it that’s yet to come, the second half of the tribulation period?

So when God gives us numbers like this these are things you don’t just allegorize or symbolize away; these are specific numbers you pay attention to given the track record of the seventy weeks prophecy.  If you want some background on the seventy weeks prophecy we’ve done a sermon series all the way through the Book of Daniel.  We spent an awful lot of time in the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, I even tried to do seventy sermons out of the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, I didn’t quite get there but we spent a lot of time on that.  All of that’s archived for you if you want more information on it.

So this woman in the second half of the tribulation period is to flee into the wilderness.  And you say “the wilderness, where is that, where is Israel where this woman is going?   Well, we wouldn’t know unless we could peace together several other areas of Scripture which comment on this same place, seven things total helping us identify where this woman is headed.  Number one, it’s a place prepared by God, verse 6.

Number two, it’s a place where the woman, Israel, is going to be nourished.  We learn from Isaiah 33:16 that the woman or Israel is going to be nourished miraculously with food and water during this time period.  [Isaiah 33:16, “He will dwell on the heights, His refuge will be the impregnable rock; His bread will be given him, His water will be sure.”]

Number three, it’s in the wilderness, verses 6, verse 14.  [Revelation 12:6, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”  Revelation 12:14, “But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”]

Now the Lord in a cross reference tells the Jews during the time period to flee into the mountains.  More on that in a minute.  Matthew 24:16.  [Matthew 24:16, “then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.”] Wherever this place is it’s got to be in the mountains.  Beyond that, Isaiah 33:16 tells us sit’s got to be a place that’s defensible.  [Isaiah 33:16, “He will dwell on the heights, His refuge will be the impregnable rock; His bread will be given him, His water will be sure.”]

Number six, the best guess is that this is in what we call modern day Jordan, directly to the east of the nation of Israel.  There’s a very interesting reference to that in Daniel 11:41 about the antichrist going through the nation of Israel like a savage.  [Daniel 11:41, “He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.”]  And yet his reign does not extend into Moab and Ammon.  Why does it not extend into Moab and Ammon?   That apparently is an area that he will not be able to get to and that is likely there because that’s the place where Israel will flee to, Moab, Ammon, and Edom is what we call today modern day Jordan.

And beyond that we have number seven there, Micah 2:12 which tells us that this place is a place called Bozrah.  [Micah 2:12, “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.”]

So whatever view you come up with as to the place of the woman’s refuge it’s got to be prepared by God, a place where He will give divine provisions, it’s in the wilderness, it’s in the mountains, it’s in an area that’s defensible, it’s in what we call modern day Jordan, and more specifically it’s a place called Bozrah.  Put all seven clues together and what’s your best guess?  The best guess is it’s Petra in Mount Seir in southern Jordan.  I have Petra there on the picture on the right there circled.  That’s where the nation of Israel most likely will flee to during this time of tremendous persecution. It’s a place that you can visit today if you go to the nation of Israel you can oftentimes get a Jordan extension and visit this very area where the nation of Israel will flee to.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum describes it this way:  “Another suggestion is that the city known as Petra, this author prefers the identification with Petra.  Petra is located in a basin within Mount Seir, and is totally surrounded by mountains and cliffs. The only way in and out of the city is through a narrow passageway that extends for about a mile and can only be negotiated by foot or by horseback. This makes the city easy to defend, and its surrounding high cliffs give added meaning and confirmation to Isaiah 33:16.” Which is a parallel passage commenting on Revelation 12:6.  “Only a few abreast can enter through this passage at any one time, giving this city even greater defensibility

The name Bozrah means ‘sheepfold.’ An ancient sheepfold had a narrow entrance so that the shepherd could count his sheep. Once inside the fold, the sheep had more room to move around. Petra is shaped like a giant sheepfold, with its narrow passage opening up to a spacious circle surrounded by cliffs. This is not true of another town which he dismisses here, [“the town of Buseira.]  Furthermore, by modern Petra is a site known as Butzeira, which retains the Hebrew Botzrah…It will be a very defensible city located in Mount Seir…Furthermore, as they flee and while they are living there, food and water will be miraculously provided.”  [Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, Page 296-97]

It is interesting to me that in the height of the attack on Israel God has already provided a way of escape and protection.  You saw well how does this apply to my life.  Well, because in your life right now no doubt you’re walking through some kind of trial, some kind of difficulty, some kind of valley, and if God’s nature never changes, if He is the same yesterday, today and forever and will provide for Israel during her darkest hour, why wouldn’t He provide for you?  Isn’t that what David was talking about in Psalm 23, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and he begins to describe the presence of God, the protection of God, the table of God, in the midst of one of the most difficult times in David’s life.  This is why the woman or Israel is fleeing to this place, because she’s going to be supernaturally protected there from the adversary.

Over in Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus describes the same flight of Israel from the human perspective.  [Matthew 24:15-22, “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—         [16] “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”  [17] From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  [18] Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. [19] And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. [21] Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. [22] Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”]

Revelation 12 gives you the same story from the angelic perspective.  [Revelation 12:1-5, “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; [2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.  [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. [4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [5] And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”]

Notice what Jesus says to the Jews living on the earth, during the tribulation period who watched their temple desecrated.  Matthew 24 15, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader under­stand), [16] then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.”  [17] Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.  [18] Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.  [19] But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  [20] But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” Doesn’t that sound kind of Jewish?  [21] “For then there will be a great tribulation,” what is he talking about? He’s talking about the second half of the tribulation period as the wrath of Satan is now being kicked into high gear, as he’s pursuing strategy number two.  Matthew 21:24, “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. [22] Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect” the elect here is Israel, “those days will be cut short.

Matthew 24 explains the story from the physical world perspective.  John in Revelation 12:6-17 talks about the exact same event from the angelic perspective, just like Matthew 2, the story we looked at last week, the attacks on the birth of Christ, Matthew 2 gives us that story from the perspective of the physical world, Revelation 12:1-5 gives you that same story from the angelic perspective.

You’ll notice as we continue on, verses 7-9, what begins to happen here.  Notice what it says.  “And there was war in heaven, and Michael and his angels were waging war with the dragon,” who’s the dragon?  The devil.  “…the dragon and his angels waged war.”  Verse 8, “and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  [9] And the great dragon” the devil, “was thrown down,” now notice this, we don’t have to rely on our sanctified imagination to figure out who the dragon is because it says in verse 9, of the dragon, he was “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan,” watch this, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  You say pastor, what in the world is going on here?   I think to some extent it is a description of how Satan originally fell.  We know from passages like Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-17 Satan was not always Satan, he was at one time a beautiful cherub, an anointed cherub.

[Isaiah 14:12-15, ““How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!  [13] “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly i the recesses of the north. [14] ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ [15] Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”]

Ezekiel 28:12-16, “The prince who is among them will load his baggage on his shoulder in the dark and go out. They will dig a hole through the wall to bring it out. He will cover his face so that he can not see the land with his eyes. [13] “I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans; yet he will not see it, though he will die there. [14] “I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them. [15] So they will know that I am the LORD when I scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries.  [16] “But I will spare a few of them from the sword, the famine and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the LORD.”]

And yet on account of his beauty he became prideful and he articulated five “I 1will” statements against God.  And the moment that happened is the moment he was cast to the earth and Satan is so good at his trade that someway, somehow, he deceived a third of the angels into falling with him.  How many angels are there?  There’s a plethora, so many they can’t even be counted.  And somehow, he was able to deceive a third of them into rebelling with him against God.  That’s where the realm of Satan comes from, the realm of the demonic comes from, and they lost their positions in heaven.

And I think that John here, as he’s giving this vision, is somehow thinking back to that original fall, yet there’s a futuristic component to it.  Today Satan, even in his fallen state, retained access to heaven.  He doesn’t go into heaven to worship and to serve, as he once did as a high-ranking angel, he can go into heaven to communicate and to accuse.  That’s the whole basis for the Book of Job, isn’t it.  Job 1:6, Job 2:1. [“Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.”  Job 2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.”]

Satan went into heaven to accuse the high priest, Joshua, Zechariah 3:1, [Zechariah 3:1, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.”]  In fact, Jesus and Peter are having a conversation one day and Jesus says to Peter, Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.”   How would you like the Lord to tell you that one day in a casual conversation?   I probably would have said to the Lord, “Well, that’s more information than I need to know.”   I don’t want to know about any conversations taking place about me in the heavenlies.

We’re going to look for a moment at verse 10 which says, he does this day and night.  And what happens here is halfway through the tribulation period, with only 1,260 days to go on Daniel’s clock that privilege is taken away.  Yes, he originally fell but the privilege that he has to go into heaven, to communicate and accuse that privilege is gone.  And consequently, he begins to plummet to the earth knowing he’s got forty-two months left on the clock to eradicate Israel so that the kingdom will never come.

It’s a tremendous passage here on the spiritual conflict, angelic conflict that takes place all around us that we can’t necessarily see.  It mentions here Michael?  Who’s Michael?  Well, Jude 9 says Michael is an archangel.  [Jude 9, “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”]  And there was a warfare that went on between these two groups—Michael and his angels, two thirds, by the way aren’t you glad that two thirds are on our side?  Satan and his one third, this warfare went on and they lost their position in heaven.  We’re told here that it was the dragon and his angels that fell.  We know the dragon is Satan himself.  It mentions verse 7 war two times.  I mean, an actual war with victors and losers and casualties and you name it.

And so Satan found himself on the losing side two times; the original fall and then this privilege to go into heaven now taken away the moment we get to the midpoint of the tribulation period.  This is why the Lord is telling Israel to flee.  I mean once the desolation of the temple happens, right at the midpoint, expect spiritual warfare and anti-Semitism itself to kick into high gear because he’s got three and a half years left to shut this whole thing down.  And he’s making every effort he can to stop the birth of the kingdom, just like in verses 1-5 he made every effort he could to stop the birth of Jesus Christ.

Folks, spiritual warfare is a reality.  We may not see it, we may not even understand it but if you’re at all a student of God’s Word, you know that it exists and if you don’t believe me try to do something for God.  Try to obey God in any area.  Try to step out and do what you think God wants you to do and you’re going to start getting hit from all sides.  In fact, you’re going to get hit from people that you thought were even your friends.  You’re going to get hit from people sometimes that are your own family members because that’s the reality of spiritual conflict.  That’s what we signed up for; it shouldn’t shock us, it shouldn’t surprise us.  Isn’t that why we’re told, Ephesians 6, to put on the whole armor of God. Why is the armor of God there if we’re not in a conflict?

One of the things that has always stuck out to me in these verses is verse 9, when it describes Satan deceives the whole world.  “Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, 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.”]  Think about that.  I think we have completely underestimated the deceptive ability of Satan, the ability to trick, the ability to fool, the ability to lie.  Isn’t he called in John 8:44 “the” definite article, “father of lies.”          [John 8:44, “”You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”]

I mean, you’re dealing with an entity that was able to deceive the angels themselves, at least a third of them, to stand in the presence of God Himself seeing His glory and he’s able to fool them.    Did you know Satan was able to fool and deceive Adam and Eve, Genesis 3, while they were in their un-sinful condition, sin hadn’t even entered the picture yet.  I mean, if he’s able to fool and deceive the angels that stand in the presence of God’s glory and he’s able to deceive our forbearers, Adam and Eve, before sin entered the picture, what could he do with you?  What could he do with me?  And once you begin to understand this, you begin to understand why the armor of God, Ephesians 6, becomes so vital.

Notice, if you will, verse 10, it’s a description of what Satan is trying to stop.  Verse 10, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom,” you should take “kingdom” in your Bible and underline it or circle it, or both!  The Greek word basileia, because that’s what he’s trying to stop from coming.  Why is he trying to stop it now?  Because it just got announced as a legal transfer with trumpet seven.   “Then 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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”  [Revelation 12:10]

Look at the descriptions here of the kingdom: “power,” “authority of Christ” and then notice what it says here, “salvation,” is that personal salvation?  I think that could be part of it but it’s salvation of the whole earth, the liberation of planet earth.  Did you know Romans 8 tells us that this world is in a state of travail?  It’s in a state of groaning.  It’s in bondage.  It’s been that way ever since Genesis 3 and now the chains are about to come off.  Do you think Satan is just going to sit there and let that happen without a fight?  I mean, that would deny everything we under­­-stand about Satanology and demonology.  He was working overtime to stop the proclamation that we have in Revelation 11:15, the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our LORD and of His Christ.”  He’s trying to prevent what’s happening on the right-hand side of the screen after the second advent, the thousand year kingdom.  We want to prevent that from coming.  Well how can you think that way?  Because your mind’s darkened, you’re blinded by power, just like he tried to stop the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And before this privilege is taken away and he permanently loses access to heaven it tells us what he was doing up there; he was accusing the brethren day and night. That’s a role of a prosecuting attorney right there, and I just say to myself I hope I’ve got a good defense attorney. Fortunately I do, Jesus Christ who is called our what?  Advocate, a legal term.

We continue on and we move to verse 11.  How can the inhabitants of the earth in this time period stand up against this?  Well, you’re given the answer there in verse 11, “And they,” now this is not the church, the church is already in heaven, this is the earth dwellers, “they overcame him because of” number one,” the blood of the Lamb.  And because of, number two, the word of their testimony.  And they did not, number 3, love their lives even when faced with death.  How did these people overcome?  Blood, testimony and putting God first to the point of martyrdom.

How do you in your life given the given the wiles of Satan have any hope of overcoming?  It’s the same formula, blood, testimony, putting God first.  First of all the blood, Philippians 3:9 says this: because of the shed blood of Christ, “and may be found” Paul says, “in Him, not having a righteousness of my own” did you hear that?   “not having a righteous of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”  The only way to overcome Satan is you’ve got to have a righteousness that’s higher than your own.  If you’re relying upon good works to make yourself right with God that’s not going to get you… that and a nickel will probably get you a cup of coffee.   Because what is your self-righteousness worth at the end of the day; what is my self-righteousness worth at the end of the day?  It’s hardly worth anything.

I’ve got to have what the Protestant Reformers called alien righteousness, and alien means it’s from another place. It’s from another source.  It’s procured by the blood of Christ.  And it’s transferred to us at the point of faith.  I think that’s what the breast-plate of righteousness is largely referring to.  Every morning you get up and you say you know what, God looks at me as if I’m just as righteous as His Son.  And you say to yourself well, my goodness, I don’t deserve that!  And you’re right, that’s the whole point.  It’s alien righteousness, it’s transferred righteousness, it’s a gift that God gives.  It’s very clear here, verse 9 of Philippians, it’ access by faith.

You say well what about our daily life?  Well, here’s the deal, you try to live according to your position, the best you can, under God’s power but trying to live for God didn’t give you the alien righteousness to begin with.  You wake up every day and you say I’m clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God looks at me through the blood of His Son as if am, people say “just as if I’d never sinned.”  No, as if you were as perfect as Jesus.  You put that on every day, you appropriate that by faith moment by moment, here come the fiery darts of the wicked one throughout the day, condemned, condemned, condemned.  You’ve got the breastplate of righteousness on, you can stand up.

How else do they overcome?  Not just through blood but through the word of their testimony.  [Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”]  What is a testimony?  I love testimonies, I wasn’t here to hear it, I did listen to it after the fact online, I loved listening to Judy Cunningham, our women’s speaker last week I think it was because she was revealing what God had done through her and for her.  And you listen to that and you say wow, that’s the work of God.  And she’s not the only one that has a testimony, I have a testimony, you have a testimony.  How helpful it is to hear those testimonies because it’s undeniable what God has brought forth in us.  I mean, I don’t stand up against any wave of confusion or discouragement or doubt.

And then you’ll notice what these people did here on the earth during this time.  “…they did not love their life even to the point of death.”  They weren’t interested in their own plans and their own desires and their own ambitions, they were interested in living for Jesus Christ, “not my will be done but Thy will be done.”  Isn’t interesting that when the biblical writers write books they don’t sit there and tout their credentials, I graduated from this school, and I’ve done this for the Lord and look at my resume.  You know how they describe themselves?  As bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Greek word for bondservant is doulos, a slave, someone who exists not to execute his own will but the will of his master.  We live like that, we keep putting the Lord first, we keep appropriating His blood moment by moment, you stick to the word of your testimony as a reminder of what God has done for you.  What can the wiles of the devil do to you?  They’re rendered ineffective, they’re rendered inoperative.

And as we go down to verse 12 notice what it says as Satan’s cast out of heaven, verse 12, “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”’ Heaven, when this happens midway through the tribulation period you should rejoice because the devil won’t even be in your presence there in any sense.  Yes, he was kicked out in ages gone by but even the ability that he has to go into the presence of God as early Job tells us can happen, not to worship and serve but to communicate and accuse.  That privilege is gone, Satan is out of heaven!

Heaven can rejoice, but woe to the earth because of where’s he going?  He’s going to the one domain he has left.  He’s only got one domain left, that explains his desperation.  I mean, you’re getting into desperation territory here.  He’s only got so many things left in his bag of tricks and he plummets to the earth and the earth is to grieve, the earth is to mourn, woe unto the earth, because the devil has come down to you with great wrath.  Oh my goodness, the confusion on that phrase.  I can’t tell you how many people I interact with that tell me the great tribulation period has nothing to do with the wrath of God till the final, I don’t know, twenty-five percent or something, because after all it doesn’t say the wrath of God here, it says Satan’s wrath.

Is your view of God so small that  you don’t think He can use His enemies to execute His wrath?  I mean, did God not use godless people all the way through the Old Testament?  Was not Nebuchadnezzar an instrument of divine wrath?  Now Nebuchadnezzar, believe me, he had some anger management issues, no doubt about it.  Daniel 4 is very clear on that.  But he was always under the sovereign control of God, even when Nebuchadnezzar was exercising his will against God’s people Nebuchadnezzar himself was an instrument of discipline.  There’s just a lot of people out there that are very afraid of this free will idea.  Gosh, you can’t get too much into free will, you’re going to limit God’s sovereignty.  You talk too much about free will and you’re going to take away the authority of God.  Nonsense!  God is capable of using the free moral will of His enemies to execute His own plan.  That’s how big God is.

And just because you have the wrath of Satan here doesn’t mean it’s not the wrath of God because who’s the one in Revelation 6 opening the seven sealed scroll trigging these judgments on the earth.  The Lamb, Jesus Christ.  Satan can think he’s doing his own thing but he ultimately and even as he exercises free will is a puppet on a string.  So the devil has come down to knowing he has but a short time, his wrath is coming.  Why does it say short time?  Well you have to define short time by verse 6, “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” and by verse 14, “a time, times and half a time.”  He’s got three and a half years or forty-two months left to gobble up this woman so that the kingdom won’t come, so he can stay in control of the globe.  That’s what’s happening here.

And it’s very fascinating to me that in verse 12 it says, “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing” see that, verse 12, “knowing that he has only a short time.”  How would he know?  He knows because he’s a student of the Bible.  In fact, Satan, I’m convinced, would win all the Awana awards, he would win the Bible bee because he knows the Scripture cold.  He knows the Scripture far better than most pastors, preachers, theologians today.   The error in his thinking is thinking he can stop them from happening.  But you can’t stop something from happening unless you know what it says.  In fact, in Luke 4 you have a Scripture quoting contest between Jesus and Satan.  Jesus quotes the Scripture in the three temptations and Satan gets into the act, Luke 4:9-10, “And he” the devil “led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;  [10] for it is written,” this is Satan talking to Jesus, “for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’”  lest your foot strike a stone.”

What is that?  That’s Psalm 91:11-12.  [Psalm 91, “For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.  [10] No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.  [11] For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. [12] They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.”]

You mean Satan reads the Psalms?  He’s the father of lies, he’ll quote the psalms, but he’ll just twist them a little bit to make it sound as if the psalm is saying something it really isn’t saying.  That’s why you get the response of Christ, “You shalt not put the Lord your God to the test.”  [Matthew 4:7, “Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”]

You know, you’ve got them coming to your house, I’ve got them coming to my house, guys on the bicycles, well dressed, polite.  Let me tell you something, if you don’t know your stuff they will turn you into a theological pretzel in about two to three minutes.  They know what you’re going to say in response before you can say it.  Do you know why?  Because when you go to Kingdom Hall, Jehovah’s Witnesses, you know what they do in their gatherings?  They study.

You know what the evangelical church today does in its gatherings?   I come to get the liver quiver of the day, the warm fuzzy, a place to see and be seen.  They have a completely, COMPLETELY different mindset, they come as students to learn how to refute what they think you’re going to say.  That’s how well they know their stuff.  And unless you know exactly what you’re doing and  you have some experience in it I would just… I don’t think you have to turn the sprinklers on or anything, [laughter] politeness always goes a distance but I wouldn’t even get into a conversation with them unless you know exactly what you’re talking about because the cults know the Scriptures, Satan knows the Scripture, the problem with Satan though is he thinks he can stop the Scripture out of his arrogance and pride which is power based, not logic based.

And so what happens is this whole conflict is going to take place in two cycles.  Satan attacks, God protects, verses 13-14.  Satan attacks, God protects, verses 15-16.  And finally, we will get down to verse 17 where it gives the general attitude of Satan towards this woman or the Jewish people because that are used there in verse 17 are stunning and it opens the door of understand­ing to us concerning where antisemitism comes from.  And we’ll take a look at that subject next week.

You know, you could be here today never ever having heard something like this but somehow instinctively you’re aware there’s a conflict, and we’re here to affirm that belief, there is a conflict and folks, there isn’t any middle ground here.  Jesus was very clear, if you’re not for Me, you’re against Me.  If a person has never decided in terms of trusting Christ they just made a decision already.  Indecision is a decision!  And so consequently we never want to close our services without allowing the people the opportunity to get on the right side of the ledger, to get on the right side of the angelic conflict, to get on the winning side.   And how does that happen?   You become attached to the one who’s the victor; you become positionally identified with Him.

Well how do you do that?  It’s through what’s called the gospel which means good news.  It’s good news because Jesus did the work; Jesus, through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension did everything that is humanly possible, or divinely possible for that matter, to bridge the gap between fallen humanity and a holy God.  The works already been done.  In fact, what was His final words on the cross.  “It is finished!”  So, what are we to do?  We can’t add to that, we have to receive it as a gift.  The reality of the situation is there’s only one way to receive a gift from God and you’ll see it in Romans 4:5 “But to the one who does not work but believes,” you have to believe.

What does that mean? It means to trust; it means to rely upon, it means to depend upon.  At some point the Spirit of God convicts us of our need to trust Christ and we respond the best we know how in the quietness of our own hearts by trusting or believing or relying upon or depending upon the gospel.  It’s not something you walk an aisle to receive.  It’s not something you give money to receive.  It’s not something you join a church to receive.  It’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where the Lord convicts you of your need to do this.  And the best you know how in the quietness of your own mind or heart you respond and believe the gospel, trusting in Christ and Christ alone for your eternity and the safe keeping of your soul.  We’re dealing here with a twelve-step program; it’s one step program.  And receiving Christ is something you can do right now, even people listening online can do it right now.  If it’s something that you need more information on I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

Father, we remain grateful for the things that You have decided to disclose to us concerning the angelic conflict.  Make us, we ask, good stewards of these things this week as we walk by faith.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said…. Amen!