Things to Come, Lesson 27, The Seven Personages of Revelation, Chapter 12, Part II
Today we continue in our series called "Things to Come".
We have studied:
The Kingdom of God,
The Rapture of the Church,
The Marriage and Marriage Supper of the Lamb,
The Person and Spirit of the Antichrist,
The Day of the Lord,
And now we are in the study of the Seven Personages of Revelation.
It is a study of the Cast of Characters of this epic book, a book which describes events of which the world has never before known.
2And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the electís sake those days shall be shortened.
In Chapters 12 and 13 of this book written by the Apostle John on the isle of Patmos we are introduced to seven personages, seven characters.
In these chapters:
We meet a woman being with child clothed with the sun, the moon and the stars
We meet a great red dragon
We are told of a man child
A remnant of the seed of the woman
We are told of the Beast of the Sea
And the Beast out of the Earth.
Last week we studied the woman clothed with the sun and concluded that she was Israel, about to deliver a man child who is our Lord Jesus Christ.
She is in great travail but we ended our lesson considering this was not the only travail of birth she was to face for scripture tells of another birth with its connected travail.
This travail will take place in what is described as the wilderness where she shall be fed for 1260 days.
Now whenever we see 1260 days we are brought to the period known as the Great Tribulation.
For the tribulation is a time of great labor, the labor common to women in child birth, and God uses this simile to describe the birth of a nation.
We read of this in Isaiah 66:7-10, Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
So here we see the birth of a man child before she travailed, before the pain came but when the pain did come she brought forth a nation.
God is saying that the nation born in a day requires the travail and pain which leads to the birth in order to come forth.
Tribulation, therefore, is necessary for the birth of a nation.
9Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
So this travailing and pain for Israel which will bring forth a nation, is yet future, during the last half of Danielís seventieth week, the time of great tribulation, which God compares to human birth.
But as in human birth the pain and suffering are forgotten with the arrival of new life.
Jesus alluded to this principle in: John 16:21, A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
What an admonition to us who look only at the birth pangs of the tribulation, the horror, the suffering, when God desires for us to look at what comes forth from that Great Tribulation for a nation will be born in a day.
As Haggai took back his wife Gomer, so also will Jehovah take back Israel, His wife.
His promises are sure! His covenants are sure!
Now the second personage given in chapter 12 is described in verses 3 and 4.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Revelation 20:1,2, gives us verification that this personage is Satan for these two verses also describe a dragon but they identify the dragon as Satan.
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
So God gives us a picture of Satan as a horrifying dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns.
The Beast out of the sea which we will study later is an offspring of Satan for Satanís description with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns is duplicated in the description of the beast.
Revelation 13:1, And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
So it is like father, like son for the beast is the epitome of Satan!
God gives us these symbols in order for us to understand the nature of this dragon, this devil, this Satan.
The book of Revelation is filled with signs and symbols that describe the main characters and events.
The symbolic use of numbers is consistent throughout the Bible so we can understand what they mean here.
Seven is the number of supernatural completion and the head is the home of the mind.
Seven heads means that the dragon (Satan) has complete supernatural wisdom toward wickedness.
God is perfectly righteous, Satan is perfectly wicked.
Ten stands for totality and horns are a symbol of authority.
Having 10 horns means he has total authority on Earth as is verified by 1 John 5:19, which says: the whole world lieth in wickedness.
This can be said, the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one.
These attributes allow him to indwell the Antichrist and lead the unbelieving world to think that they can defeat God in battle and take control of His Kingdom here.
The seven crowns tell us that through the Antichrist Satan will have complete rule over the Earth for a time.
Revelation 17:17says God will cause the Kings of the Earth to agree to this because it suits His purpose.
Revelation 17:17, For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
The dragon is red which signifies him as one who loves blood, the blood brought about by his murderous way.
Jesus in condemning the Pharisees, said in John 8:44, He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
God said without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins and Satan is saying mockingly to God, You want blood, Iíll give you blood!
It is interesting to remember that God allowed Satan to bring about a flow of blood from His Son but God turned that blood into redemption blood.
With God all things are possible and every attack of Satan will be not only thwarted but made into great blessing.
So Satan, pictured as a red dragon, with his tail:
drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Again we have another use of a third part, to join the other third parts of Revelation, a third part of the trees, the sea, the creatures, the ships, the rivers, the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Here we see the dragonís tail will pull down one-third of the stars in Heaven.
What a picture of the power of the dragon for his tail swings through Heaven, wrapping around heavenly principalities, "and draweth along a third part of the stars, and casteth them down to earth."
The stars referred to here are angels.
The being or angel of Chapter 9 who came down to unlock the bottomless pit was referred to as a star.
Revelation 9:1, And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
So we see here a reference to a star but this star is personalized by the word "him" for to him was given the key.
The angels cast to the earth are truly the stars of heaven.
Job recorded the words of God in Job 38:7 as God asked the question, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
And God told us when he made the world in the beginning "the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy"
These were the angelic hosts called stars because of their beauty and glory.
They are the stars of Heaven because they pertain to Heaven, and are the most majestic ornaments of the celestial world.
God in referring to one of those stars, a star called Lucifer, who became Satan, said in Ezekiel 28:12 Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
Thou sealest up the sum means you are the highest in wisdom and beauty that I will allow.
When God created intelligent life forms, He evidently had in mind an upper limit as to how much wisdom and beauty He would bestow on any particular one of his creatures.
It is obvious as we look around that we have ratings as to what is beautiful and what is less beautiful.
As humans we may think that we are Godís upper limit as to wisdom and beauty but our verse in Ezekiel tells us that God bestowed upon Satan the full limit, the sum, the consummation of wisdom and beauty.
Thou sealest (which means close) up the sum (measurement), full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
In other words, Satan is the most intelligent and most beautiful creature that God chose to make!
He was given beauty, as all beauty is to do, that God would be glorified but Satan took that beauty and turned it to bring glory to himself.
According to Ezekiel 28:13, God chose to cloth Satan in the most precious stones, stones full of glitter and glory, sardius, topaz, the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold.
So Satan is the cherub who was anointed by God to the incredibly high honor of serving as a personal guardian of God's presence and Godís holiness.
But he desired to be the Star of Stars as Isaiah 4:12-14 tells us:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (which means the morning star), son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
So Luciferís intent was to: exalt my throne above the stars of God:
There came a time when Lucifer, "the shining one," the morning star became so jealous of God that he decided he would be like the most High.
He desired glory to himself, discarding Godís absolute that He would not share his glory with another.
Satan has determined to overthrow every command of God, every truth of God, every plan of God for he is the LIE.
And like all created beings he found need of numbers so he apparently corrupted one third of the angels of heaven who joined him in his rebellion.
Jude 6 tells us of the angels:which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Peter refers to these angels who were part of this rebellion in:
II Peter 2:4,ÖÖ God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And in our passage in Revelation 12 we learn the extent of Satanís corruption of the stars of heaven as being one third of the angel population which the Bible says in uncountable.
Imagine if the stars we see in the heavens on a black night represented the stars around the throne of God then it is easy to see that the population of one third of the angels given over to Satan is enormous.
They were shining lights in Godís great Heaven of beauty but now as Jude tells us they are under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
For the red dragonís: tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth:
For the earth is Satanís realm.
Three times in the Gospel of John Jesus declared that the devil is "the prince of this world" (John 12:31 14:30 16:11)
Paul in II Corinthians 4:4 declared the devil to be "the god of this world"
A person would have to be blind, especially today, to not see that this world lies in a darkness created and established by this red dragon.
The world system in which we live is a system that is 180 degrees apart from Godís system which Jesus Christ will put into place in His kingdom.
Godís system is anathema to sin but Satanís system celebrates sin.
And all things considered it appears by looking around that Satan is winning for it seems the whole world has sold out to Satan.
But by faith we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
God awaits the harvest of evil and allows it to fully ripen and in His own good time all things will come together according to His Holy Word.