Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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Revelation 12-13

October 3rd, 2010 by Vic

“Satan Organizes a False Trinity”

October 3, 2010

The book of Revelation was written to Christians who were suffering persecution.  The message of Revelation is a message of comfort and assurance.  Jesus is seated with the Father on the throne.  He loves and cares for His own.  Today’s Scripture helps us understand the spiritual cosmic conflict that is happening between the church and the world.

Chapters 12-22 tell the same story as chapters 1-11 but with different details.  Christians need to remember that persecutions come because satan has been overthrown.  He uses evil spiritual forces to attack us.  Some of the suffering that we endure is not because of anything that we have done, but because some cosmic battles have made satan angry and desperate.

12:1 The Messiah came into history through a faithful people of God.  The woman symbolizes both the faithful Jewish remnant and the church.  The sun is the light of Christ in the NT.  The moon is the reflected light of Christ in the OT on which the church stands.  The stars are identified with Joseph’s dream in Genesis or the 12 tribes or 12 apostles.  Some say this woman is the nation of Israel during the tribulation.  Some identify her with Mary, or Eve, or the Gospel or the 144,000.  I think the context requires us to consider her as another symbolic picture representing the coming of Christ through the faithful people of God.

12:2  Labor pains suggest suffering.  This radiant woman is pregnant with the Messiah.  Catholics have produced a lot of literature arguing that the woman represents Mary.  But the woman is persecuted here not the Son of Mary.  So the suffering here is not about the child’s suffering, but the people of God suffering throughout the whole church age.

12:3‑4  The red dragon has 7 heads, 10 horns and 7 crowns.  This is imagery used in the OT for evil kingdoms who persecute God’s people.  It is similar to the beasts in Daniel’s vision (Dan 7).  The description points to power on the earth.  Evil kingdoms persecute God’s people.  Evil is strong and hard to kill.

Ancient mythology has a lot of dragon stories.  Allusions to dragons are in the OT too.  In Psalm 74:14 Egypt is called a dragon.  God defeats the sea dragon (Pharaoh) in Exodus.  In Isaiah 27:1 Assyria and Babylon are called dragons.  The 7 crowns are satan’s false claims of sovereignty.

He had influence in heaven.  Just before the Messiah was born he wiped out a third of the stars using Antiochus Epiphanes (2 Macc 9:10).  Sweeping away 1/3 of the stars is taken from Daniel 8:10.

12:5‑6  The evil plans of satan were thwarted.  God protected Jesus from Herod’s plot.  God protected Jesus during His ministry, which was about 1260 days.  There is nothing mentioned about the life of Christ here.  Only the birth and the ascension are mentioned with Christ seated on the throne.  The focus is on God’s protection, not on Jesus death and resurrection.

God has prepared a place for the church in the desert.  To the Jewish people, the wilderness was a place of divine provision, testing, protection, and fellowship.  God has a place of spiritual refuge for the church until they will be snatched up to God.  Jesus has gone to prepare a “place” for us in the Father’s house.  The word ‘place’ is in 2:5 where Ephesus is warned that it is about to lose its place, which means they will no longer be secure.  They will no longer be protected.

Deliverance may not be the absence of suffering but it is resurrection from the dead.

The desert is both a place of trial and protection because God is with us.

The 3 ½ years is the time of tribulation predicted by Daniel.  If this is the time we are living in which started at Christ’s ascension and continues until His return it simplifies the story.  We saw this period in 11:2-3.  The churches ministry is parallel to Jesus’ ministry on earth.

12:7‑9  Satan looses the war in heaven.  Satan had left heaven, but apparently never lost the ability to go to heaven and make accusations against God’s children (as the story of Job).  When the end of time comes, not only does God clean up the earth and the sky, but He also cleans out the heavens.  It seems to me that satan is removed from heaven when Christ receives the scroll with 7 seals.  Satan had claimed ownership of the world, but his claim was proved false by the perfect Son of Adam.  So satan no longer has access into God’s presence and can no longer accuse God’s children.  Jesus is now our advocate with the Father.  Satan’s accusations are false.

When there is conflict between the saints and the world, there is conflict in the heavenlies.  Christ’s victory in the resurrection and the beginning of His rule means Michael and his angels defeated the devil and his hosts.  His kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.  So when you resist temptations the angels rejoice.

These verses depict a heavenly version of what happened on earth at the time of Christ’s resurrection.

Devil and satan mean slanderer and deceiver.  He slanders the character of God and deceives the children of God.  Now he is defeated and heaven sings.  What Jesus saw ahead in a vision (Lk 10:18) is fulfilled at this point in history.  Satan has fallen like lightening and he is mad.

12:10‑12  This hymn interprets 12:7-9.  This is the song of the overcomers.  We all overcome by the Lamb’s blood that has forgiven us.  So our obedience can defeat satan on earth.  He lost his authority in heaven and lost it on earth.  He lost the war to Michael and he loses the war against faithful believers.  Satan loses the war in our hearts when we obey and follow in the steps of Jesus.

There is rejoicing in heaven, but hell on earth.  Those of this world are in trouble because satan is mad.  This scene of worship reminds us that everything is taking place in the context of worship.  Worship defeats Satan.  Abundant living begins in worship not on a Caribbean cruise or in front of the TV.

12:13‑14  The dragon continues to fight, but God provides transportation, protection, and nourishment for His children.  God uses nature to help us.  And the dragon gets madder.  He wants to persecute anyone who keeps the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.

The woman is given 2 wings.  These symbolize divine deliverance and help.  God provides a rapid transit system.  This 2nd exodus may be what Isaiah was seeing in 40:29-31.  God guards, guides, and keeps his children through His word and His presence.

12:15 The devil’s persecution of the church is represented by the picture of the serpent casting water from his mouth in order to sweep away the woman with a flood.  Floods can represent armies, divine judgment, persecution, idolaters, and deceit.  In the Dead Sea Scrolls floodwaters are symbolic of persecution and deception.  The church will suffer floods of deception.  The floodwaters of deceit, deception and false teaching flow from satan’s mouth.  Just as the serpent deceived the first woman with words, so he attempts to deceive this woman with a flood of words.

12:16 The earth swallowing the flood is an allusion to the exodus.  The Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptians.  These deep waters may be rivers of lies and deceit.  These are everything that is opposite the river of the water of life that we can have in Christ Jesus.

12:17  The dragon is mad because his efforts to destroy the church have been thwarted.  This verse is a partial fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 3:15-16 that the individual and corporate seed of the woman will fatally bruise the head of the serpent.  Wherever persecution, deception, and compromise are resisted, the devil is being fatally bruised on the head.  The flood of lies and deceit is swallowed up in victory.

In chapter 13 we are introduced to 2 beasts who complete the satanic trinity.  The first beast mimics Christ.  The second mimics the Holy Spirit.  Satan imitated God Himself.  He is the deceiver who makes evil look good and good look evil.  So how can you distinguish between a false prophet and a true prophet, a false spirit and a true Spirit, or a false god and the True God?

That is why we have been frequently taken back to the throne room of God.  When things in the world get a little confusing, it is good to start singing the songs of heaven again.  Coming into God’s presence will correct any distortion you may have in your perspective.  Those who worship God will be able to distinguish between the true and false.  The worship of God in heaven develops discernment.  “You will have no other gods before Me” says the Lord God Almighty.

13:1‑2  Satan was described in 12 as a dragon.  Here he is standing by the sea apparently calling for help to deceive the children of God.  This first beast (the false Christ) resembles the description of Satan.  The sea may represent the mass of humanity, a world of evil.  The 10 horns represented kings in Daniel’s vision.  The names are false claims to deity.  7 heads and 10 horns suggest complete (false) power with a worldwide effect.

This beast represents all worldly government that is directed against the church.  Without exception the imagery of the sea monster in used throughout the OT to represent evil kingdoms who persecute God’s people.  Its body is swift like a leopard, large and strong like a bear, and hungry like a lion.  These 3 animals were on the banners of the 3 empires that preceded Rome.

In John’s day the beast from the sea would have been identified as Rome.  The emperors claimed deity.  The epitome of blasphemy is to attribute deity to someone who is not God.

13:3‑4  John sees the beast with a wound on one of the heads.  It was miraculously healed (like the economy of Japan).  As a false christ he was suggesting that he was like Christ who was pierced and healed.  There is no hint here of a resurrection.  The whole world was amazed at the miracle and followed the beast.

The beast’s career is a parody of Christ’s.  The beast is completely destroyed in 17:8.

The world worshipped the dragon because he was kind and benevolent and gave his authority to the beast.  The world worshipped the beast because he had power.  But the Christians resist the powers of evil and the demonic forces are defeated and destroyed through their testimony of Jesus and their worship of God.  The beast is defeated in each life that fears God and does good.

13:5  God gave him 42 months to get his foot in his mouth.  His mouth will reveal his nature.  He has been flooding the church with words of deception.

He was given authority to make war (7) on the saints for 42 months (5).  That is parallel with the persecution against the 2 witnesses in chapter 11.

13:6  We blaspheme God when we fail to recognize Him as Lord of all.  From the beginning satan has slandered God.  “Has God really said that?”

13:7  John sees Daniel’s prophecy concerning Israel as fulfilled in the world’s persecution of the church in the latter days, which for him began with Christ’s resurrection (11:7).

13:8  Psalm 69:28 speaks of a book associated with life.  The phrase “book of life” appears 5 other times in Revelation.  It is a metaphor for saints whose salvation has been made secure in God’s presence which is the eternal city.  The Lamb is the source of life associated with the book.  Those who reject the Lamb have no security.  They are deceived and can’t see spiritual reality.

Although many will know that the beast is a phony, all who dwell on the earth will worship him except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  These children of God will see who the beast is and persevere.  The saints will see God’s hand in their lives.

13:9-10  You are exhorted to discern true from false worship.  Don’t become lethargic, apathetic, compromising, or give worship to false gods as the majority are doing.  Continue to be faithful.

The more we understand God’s plan and satan’s deceit, the more stubborn we will be in our stand and the more faithful we will be in suffering.  Give thanks to God and remember that we do not see the whole picture.  When we get to heaven we will laugh a long time at our limited understanding.

13:11‑12  The second beast is like a false prophet or false priesthood or false teacher.  He is satan’s counterfeit Holy Spirit.  He promotes this new religion.  He appears as a lamb, but speaks like the dragon.  He is not particularly powerful.  He is less fearsome than the first beast.  God’s children will know him by his words.  He does not seek to promote himself, but the first beast.

13:13   He can perform many miracles and many will be fooled.  His activities are like the acts of Moses.  He poses as a spokesman for truth.  Don’t be deceived.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  You will never recognize a lie until you know the Truth.  The beast will fool unbelievers, the weak and immature.  Jesus warns of false messiahs in Matt 24:24.  Those who worship God and regularly spend time in the throne room of His presence will not be deceived.

Deception can be seen inside and outside the church.  False prophets go out of their way to verify their credentials and validate their authority, which they receive in the presence of satan.  True prophets receive their inspiration and commissions as they dwell in the presence of the Lord.

Maybe the first beast will be a world government leader and this beast will be the world’s religious leader.  Corrupt government and corrupt religious leaders have always worked well together.

13:15  This religious leader will make an image of the first beast and cause all to worship it.  He will be able to give breath to the image so that it is able to speak.  We know only God can give life, so this will be an illusion or animation or cloning.  It is a false claim to do what only God can do.  The image was able to speak.  Maybe he creates a social structure that is against God.  In my opinion same sex marriages are social structures that satan has created and made to look normal.  Satan has organized some churches to look normal.

The 3 friends of Daniel refused to worship the new social structure that the king created and God resurrected them.

God has spoken to us by His Son.  He does not have to give life and speak through stones, trees, buildings, beasts, visions, or dreams.  We have His written word.

13:16‑18  Just as the Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit, this false prophet will seal those who worship satan and the 1st beast.  You will not be able to hide your allegiance.  It shows in your way of life in the routines.

What is the mark of Satan or the beast?  It is practicing deceit, lying, and selfishness.  It confirms the worship of the beast.

The number 666 is the number of man repeated three times.  Man was created on the 6th day.  Man is commanded to work 6 days.  Six is one short of the perfect number of seven.  Six is always imperfect.  Man is only complete on the 7th day.  Jesus was in the tomb on the 6th day of the week and the devil appeared to be victorious.  God’s plan was complete on the 7th day.

If you feel the Antichrist will be fulfilled in a man, you need to remember that Satan does not know the future.  He does not know when the Second Coming of Christ will be so he has had to have a man prepared in every generation that he could raise up to be the Antichrist.

666 means Satan is a fraud.  Numbers are used figuratively in Revelation to symbolize some spiritual reality and never a literal calculation.  John is not writing to mathematicians.  John is not requiring believers to have a brilliant intellect but discern evil and avoid compromise.  The 6th seal, 6th trumpet, and 6th bowl depict judgment of the beast’s followers.  The 7th in each series depicts the coming kingdom of God.  Each series is incomplete without the 7th.  Without the 7th day of rest, Adam and Eve would have been incomplete.  We need to walk with God to be complete.

We will not be able to get a mark on our forehead or hand because God’s mark will already be there.  When the Antichrist is revealed we will no longer be able to buy and sell.  But the victory is ours.  Satan’s days are short.

I read the end of the story and know that Christians win (Rev 19:20).  It would be wise to walk with God.  Keep your relationship with Him up to date.

Don’t be deceived (Gal 6:7).  A man reaps what he sows.

Chose to obey God and live.  Jeremiah 42:5-6 vs. 43:2-4.

Worship God and be complete.

Don’t settle for a 6 day kind of life.

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