Monday, March 21, 2016

Revelation 12:1-5

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in in him. Psalm 2:7-12

After seeing the end of all nations, and the exaltation of Christ’s throne over all things, John continues describing his vision by travelling back in time and giving the over-arching picture of what has taken place and what will take place on earth. Like any great story it is important to understand the back-story and history before you can fully understand what is happening. John’s vision is just the same. In his vision, he goes all the way back to before the creation of mankind and tells the story of the desperate war that Satan has waged against God throughout the ages. In the story, Satan is pictured as a great dragon that drew a third of the heavenly bodies with him when he was cast to earth.
The imagery used in these verses describes the actions of Satan as he lay in wait to undermine the promised Savior from God. In these verses Israel is described as a woman clothed with the sun, moon, and twelve stars. This seems to be very similar to the language used by Joseph in Genesis 37 in his prophetic dream of his family (his father, mother, and his brothers who were eventually the twelve tribes of Israel). Now, the dragon prowls waiting to devour and destroy the promised child that was to be born out of Israel.
In verse 5, when the child is born, John uses some very specific language to describe who this child is. First, he is a man child. This doesn’t seem like much, but this detail eliminates perhaps more than half of the descendants of Abraham. The second detail is that he comes as one who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. This detail comes from the prophetic language of Psalm 2. Perhaps it would narrow the scope to those who were in the monarchial lineage of David. However, with the final detail there is no room for confusion when John clarifies by saying that he “was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” There is only one who is seated on the right hand of the Father, Jesus.
The great dragon labored vehemently in his desperation to destroy Jesus. In the ministry years of Jesus, we saw this taking place most boldly when Jesus overcame the overt temptations of Satan. The dragon had tried to undermine the work of this promised Savior, but it was to no avail. Jesus is stronger than Satan. There is no overcoming Jesus, one is only overcome by Him.

Reflect: Read Luke 10:18. How does this verse fit with today’s text?