#29 The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon
As we come to this lesson today we are going to see things that are just fascinating. This chapter will take us back to the fall of the devil, the birth of Christ, the flight to Egypt, His ascension, the end times and much more! Also many theologians say that at this point in the book of Revelation we go back to the beginning of the tribulation period. And so there is much for us to take in today.
Our text is found in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation and we begin with verse 1 where we read…Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Who is this woman? She is clothed with the sun, the moon is under her feet and on her head is a garland of eleven stars. All of this represents something…but what?
The woman represents the Church of Jesus Christ made up of both Old and New Testament believers. She is clothed with the sun representing Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The moon, which merely reflects the light of the sun and carries no power of its own, is seen to be under her feet. This is symbolic of the churches dominion over the world. The twelve stars are representative of Israel. Is it national Israel or is it the faithful remnant; those who have not bowed the knee to Baal or the antichrist or themselves.
I am inclined to believe the latter as it is through the faithful, chosen people of God, those whom He has picked out for Himself that the Messiah would come. And this is what we see in the next verse. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.3 The Catholics say this is Mary, the queen of heaven who is worthy to be worshiped as co-mediator with Christ; or as she is called by this particular religion, the Mediatrix.
All I can say in answer to that is, did Christ ever exalt His mom? Did He ever say, “I want you guys to bow down and worship Mary as the holy mother of God?” She was blessed above all women. This is a fact. But she was a mere human. She was not, as the Catholic Church teaches, virgin born herself. She was not sinless. She did not maintain a ‘perpetual virginity’ but had other children after Jesus was born. And she was not ‘assumed to heaven’ to be crowned queen and to receive prayers and worship.
She does not have a throne beside Jesus’ throne and she exercises no authority in heaven. Jesus said “All Authority is given unto Me, not Me and my mom.
In fact, this last item, the doctrine of “the Assumption of Mary” is quite an assumption itself. The word assumption literally means, a guess, a theory: an idea. In truth the Catholics began postulating their theories about Mary around the year 431AD and they have just snowballed from there. But the true Church of Jesus Christ is called the Bride of Christ. Through God’s faithful remnant Christ came to this earth. He had chosen Mary to be the vessel through which He would enter this world from eternity past.
And He chose her because He decided to choose her. There was not anything inherently good about her. In truth, she was a daughter of Eve and therefore a partaker of the sin of Adam and therefore, in her flesh no good thing dwelt. Therefore it was merely God’s sovereign choice! And lest you get too puffed up or try to place anyone on a pedestal, remember this fact; God used a donkey to accomplish His will. It is not the vessel but the creator of the vessel that deserves all glory and praise and worship.
As we continue in our text notice what is said…“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. This is none other than Satan Himself. He is an awesome creature to be sure. But remember that he is a created being. Therefore how much more awesome is the One who created him!
In verse 4 we are taken back to his rebellion in heaven and we see that His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Here is a reference to the demons. The stars are his angels, those who participated in his rebellion and were cast out of heaven. Now I find this next section just fascinating. We read “And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. What happened at the time Jesus was around two years old?
Magi came with gifts and they traveled through Jerusalem thinking surely the king will be born in the capitol city, probably in the palace. And so they came to king Herod, this was Herod the great, the Idumean puppet king of the Romans. He was a master builder which is seen in the fact that the Temple that he constructed for the nation of Israel was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. He was also a madman. He was a raving lunatic with the heart of a murderer. Do you remember what Herod told the wise men after he got the information from the Priests? He said, “Go and search diligently for the young child. And when you have found him bring me word again so that I may go and worship him also.”
Of course Herod had no intention of worshiping anyone but himself and anyone whom he saw as a threat was murdered. He had no qualms about killing his own son so why would he have any qualms about killing someone else’s! In fact when he saw that he had been given the slip by the Magi, he called his soldiers and sent them off to Bethlehem to murder all the children up to two years old. That way he’d get em all and the usurper would be out of the way.
This is all on the human level. Now look at it from the spiritual side. Who would be controlling Herod and using him to kill the Messiah? Satan of course! Here is the imagery of the dragon waiting for the child to come so he could kill him. But nothing could stop the birth of the Messiah! In verse 5 we see that She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. After His sinless life, atoning death and resurrection we read…And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Where, according to the scriptures is Jesus Christ. He is seated at the right hand of God almighty and there He makes intercession for us as our Mediator. In verse 6 we read “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.7 Now I must relate a Chuck Smithism here.
Chuck Smith believes that the nation of Israel will go into hiding in the desert, specifically to the rock fortress of Petra which he calls an impregnable fortress. Now I ask you, if it was so impregnable, why don’t the people who built it still live there?
Turn to Obadiah and we will look at verses 1-4. 1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. 2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. 3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. Now think of the lofty hearts of men who say, “There is no God. We are the masters of our own destiny and we will make this world the way we want it to be.” But they don’t remember Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Rome, Greece, the Medes and the Persians, and other kingdoms that have risen up to glory, gotten full of themselves and paid the price for their arrogance.
And we here in America mustn’t get too puffed up. We have been a blessed nation from the outset. God has had mercy and lavished grace upon us, more than we could ever hold. But there are wicked forces at work in our land today whose sole purpose in life is to eradicate God from this land. Who knows but that God has decreed that this nation will fall. I’m not saying when. I’m only saying that when a nation turns its back on God that nation will not stand long. God is the only reason that we are a nation. It is by His doing that America exists and if He should lift His sustaining hand, that’s it.
Just listen to this passage from Nahum the Prophet who prophesied the destruction of Nineveh. Remember that God had decreed a national repentance for this pagan nation and had sent Jonah to preach the word. But some 150 years later Nineveh had returned to its former wickedness and this time no mercy would be shown.
God speaking through his prophet declared destruction on that great city which was, in human terms, impregnable. But while a combined army of Babylonians and the Umman-manda was attacking the city, there was a sudden rise in the waters of the Tigris river which collapsed part of the great walls of the city and it was over. In fact for years people doubted that Nineveh had even existed so great was its destruction. Then some archeologists stumbled upon a mound by the Tigris river and when they had finished digging they had found the remains of the dead city.
Notice what God said against the NInevites in the book of Nahum. We read in chapter 1 and verse 1 “He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily. 2 For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches. 3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. 4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.
5 He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared. 6 The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved. 7 And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.
Then in chapter 3 we continue “Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; 2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots. 3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: 4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. 5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. 6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock. 7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?
And finally skipping down to verse 18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. 19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? Those who exalt themselves will be abased, that is humiliated.
All this leads us to the rest of verse 7 in our text where we read…And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. This is a reference to the rebellion once again. When Satan and the angels whom he had deceived rebelled they were defeated. This is a no-brainer! You cannot fight God! This is an indisputable fact. No matter who or what you have on your side it is not enough! The Creator is always greater than His creation.
Another way of stating this is, “God is God and you are not!” Only a fool would raise his hand against the Lord in rebellion. And this is the case in which we find mankind in general. They are in open rebellion against the Lord God. They believe that if they can get enough people together they can throw off His chains. Theirs is the strategy of Nathan Bedford Forrest of Civil war fame. When asked what was his secret for success, he answered, “To get thar fustest, with the mostest men!”
Sinful man has devised the same strategy. Others just think that if they deny His existence, God will go away. But they are sadly mistaken. God cannot be ‘thunk’ out of existence. He is the reason that there is any existence of any kind in the first place. Bill Cosby’s dad used to say to him, “you know I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”
Now God is infinitely greater than Bill Cosby’s dad and when He decides that it is time to go, no power in heaven or on earth can stay His hand or say to Him, “What doest thou!”
Though the devil and His angels are monumentally strong they are but grasshoppers; vanity, less than the small dust on the scales before the Creator of the Universe! God is not called Almighty for nothing! I can’t imagine that much of a battle went on but I don’t know. It says that Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and they fought back but it says of the dragon and his angels THEY DID NOT PREVAIL!
And the certain outcome of the battle is seen in verse 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. The powers of darkness were defeated and light and truth prevailed. God is victorious, not some time in the distant future but now. Our God is God indeed! And no matter what sinful man tries to do it will be in vain. There is only one Throne and that Throne belongs to our God!
I close with the words of Charles Spurgeon who challenges us to live in the light as He is in the Light for only then may we have true fellowship with God and with one another. He says: “Light might well be good since it sprang from that Holy Command “Let there be light” from Him who is goodness personified. We who enjoy the illuminating light of God should be more grateful for it than we are, and see more of God in it and by it. Light physical is said by Solomon to be sweet, but gospel light is infinitely more precious, for it reveals eternal things, and ministers to our immortal natures. When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light, and opens our eyes to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we behold sin in all of its morbid ugliness, and ourselves in our real position as enemies of God. But we are also granted to see the Most Holy God as He reveals Himself, the plan of mercy as he declares it, and the world to come as the Word describes it.
Spiritual light has many beams and prismatic colors, but whether they be knowledge, joy, holiness, or life, all are divinely good. If the light received be thus good, what must the essential light be, and how glorious must be the place where He reveals himself. Our prayer should be “O Lord, since light is so good, give us more of it, and more of thyself, the true light.” Notice this truth; no sooner is there a good thing in the world, than a division is necessary. Light and darkness have no communion; God has divided them, let us not try to mix them. Sons of light must not have fellowship with deeds, doctrines, or deceits of darkness. The children of the day must be sober, honest, and bold in their Lord’s work, leaving the works of darkness to those who shall dwell in it for ever.
Our Churches should by discipline divide the light from the darkness, and we should by our distinct separation from the world do the same. In judgment, in action, in hearing, in teaching, in association, we must discern between the precious and the vile, and maintain the great distinction which the Lord made upon the world’s first day.
“O Lord Jesus, be thou our light throughout the whole of this day, for truly Thy light is the light of men!”