Monday, November 14, 2016

Revelation 12:13-18

Revelation 12:13-18
And when the dragon saw that he was thrown into the earth, he pursued the woman who bore the male child and the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman in order that in order that she should fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is preserved from a face of the snake for a time, times and a half of a time.  And out of his mouth the snake threw water behind the woman as a river in order that he should make her as though swept away by a river.  And the earth came to the aid for the woman and the earth opened its mouth and drank the river that the dragon threw out of its mouth.  And the dragon was angry upon the woman and he departed to make war with the ones remaining of her seed – the ones who keep the commandments of God and who have the testimony of Jesus.  And he was set upon the sand of the sea.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Once more, we can see John pulling from the history of His people to paint a symbolic image in order to teach us about ourselves.  Remember the Exodus story?  There the Hebrew people had to flee from the world and water prevented their escape.  God parted the Red Sea, allowing them to escape.  On the other end of the Exodus, the people had to cross the Jordan River in order to enter the Promised Land.  On both accounts, God was able to use the creation around the people to bring them into deliverance and further His agenda.  Furthermore, in Exodus 19:4 we hear God remind the Hebrew people that He rescued them by carrying them “on eagles’ wings.”  In this same manner, John speaks about the woman.  She is pursued by the dragon, angry that he lost and was cast out of heaven.  He tries to destroy her in water, but God provides by giving her wings and having the earth open so that the water drains into the earth and cannot harm the woman.  We can see a very important lesson here.  The natural world is under the control of God.  He can use the world around us to deliver us from harm.  He can use the natural world around us to protect us and provide for us.

Where do you see the provision of God in the world around us?  How does God provide and protect you specifically?

Second Thought:

There is a subtle teaching here that I don’t want to get lost.  This chapter of Revelation is primarily about explaining why the world despises the people of God.  More to the point, it is about why Satan despises humanity and desires to interfere with God’s relationship with us.  The subtle point in this chapter is that Satan has learned that he cannot best God.  Therefore, he will do what he can.  If he cannot beat God, he will persecute the followers of God.  Satan will go after the weakest link.  The world will do the same.  Do remember Jesus’ response to Saul when he was persecuting the followers of Jesus?  Jesus says, “Saul, Saul.  Why are you persecuting me?”  Those at war with God wage war against the followers of God.  The world cannot truly defeat God.  They can ignore Him, they can disbelieve, and they can deny Him.  But they cannot defeat Him.  Therefore, they will wage war with those whom they can defeat: God’s followers.  Why do God’s followers find persecution when they proclaim the truth?  We find persecution because it does no good to wage war against God Himself.

How does this chapter in Revelation help to explain why this world is often a difficult place in which we live?  When you realize that Satan is at war with you simply because you choose to follow God, how does that make you feel?

Third Thought:

One final note about the war with Satan.  Satan takes this war seriously.  He is ferocious in battle.  That’s why Peter describes Satan as a lion in his letter.  But we must not lose sight of why Satan is ferocious.  Satan is ferocious because he knows that his time is limited.  Satan is ferocious because the great battle cannot be one.  He knows that he has limited time to do as much damage as he possibly can.  This is why he is so ferocious.  This is where we can have hope.  We maybe in war now, but the battle is already won.

Is this a hopeful message to you?  How does this lesson help us remember that this book is apocalyptic in nature, meaning that it was designed to bring hope to those in persecution?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 13:1-5
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