The Weekend Word
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
- The victory has been won but the battle rages on. Why? Because Satan is an idiot – he thinks he can still win – so he still fights. He still fights but he is deceived in this regard.
- Funny, and many times we play this role – his head is smashed / crushed but he still thinks he is smarter than God – he will outwit God.
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
- The restating of the same cycle – the spiral cycle of the dragon (the devil) chasing after the woman (the church) to do great harm.
- John resumes the telling of the conflicts facing the church here on earth. The details are here (v 13-17) and then they ratchet up as they are told again with more detail in 13:1-18.
- Why all of this again? It is to help the church see very clearly who our enemy is. This is not always clear as Satan parades around like an angel of light – Paul speaks of this to the Corinthians (2 Cor 11:14). He appears to be religious and when we live in Rev 13 it is not so easy to recognize the dragon and his 2 beasties.
- Very subtle, very deceiving – which is the nature of the devil. So John keeps returning to this problem, this threat. The worship of the red dragon is attractive – yet fatal. He promises life but delivers death.
14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
- There is a place where the church can flee – just as God provided cover in the wilderness for OT Israel. Here he does the same for NT Israel. God nourished OT Israel with heavenly food – manna,
- Where is this place? Where is it that God now does the same for the church? Where is the Christian nourished with the food of his word and his holy sacraments? The divine worship service.
- This is in contrast to the dragon and his buddies who have nowhere to flee. We see this as the devil is shown roaming around, prowling around the earth, seeking who he may devour. He has no place.
- The 2 wings of the great eagle = when Israel reflected on her deliverance from Egypt – the language that was used was that of God bringing her out on eagles’ wings to a place of safety – see Exodus 19:4.
15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.
- We see that the church is still threatened but is safe – this is important.
- Here is the threat – Satan floods the church, drowns the church in a sea of lies and deceit. This is the only way the devil works – in lies and deceit.
- His demonic way is to mimic the way in which God destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. See how well the language fits (to sweep her away with a flood).
- Even using the time of Noah and the Flood, the church was given a sign – a place of refuge – the Ark, a refuge – “Safe in Jesus”.
- The Goal? To send this flood to thwart the woman; destroy the church.
- To summarize – the quality of life, the reality of life in this present age – the church age – is by definition going to be filled with difficulty, struggle etc.
- Why would that be attractive as we attempt to get others to become a part to this pursued church?
- How would you reply to those, under the banner of Christianity who would teach that becoming a Christian is the path to coming out of the wilderness?
- Revelation seems to state that it is the path into the wilderness.
16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
- Such great irony here. According to some, the earth is Satan’s domain – but instead the earth works to provide deliverance to the church. See Psalms 24 & 50
- See Exodus 15:12 – “You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.”
17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
- This could be called the tale of the frustrated dragon. He can do nothing else but make war on the church.
- Note who he goes after – the one who serves and obeys God and not the dragon and his beasties – the Christian, the Church. They are those who walk in the truth of God’s word – which drives out the darkness of the satanic lies and deceit.
- The same writer said in 1 John 2:6 “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” Which matches Rev 14:4 “…It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes…”
- Why is the dragon so infuriated? Every time someone is baptized it makes an enemy for the devil. That person no longer belongs to the devil but to Jesus Christ. God declares at baptism – MINE!
- So where does the dragon go? To the edge of the sea – his natural domain – to get reinforcements to fight the church. He is the CEO and he waits there for his two headhunters to emerge – which will lead us into Chapter 13.
One last thing, where do we see Jesus in all of this? Rev 14:1 “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb…” – Jesus in victory at his 2nd coming.