Great Wonder in Heaven

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 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. And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”  Revelation 12:1-6 (KJV)

Jesus is the embodiment of God’s glory, born by Israel through Mary; the virgin at the time of His conception and birth; for the deliverance of sin, and to bring Israel through great tribulation to fulfill the promises of God, made to Abraham, David, Jesus, and all who believe, with much tribulation.

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 12:1-2 (KJV).

John sees a “Great wonder in heaven”. This is the first of seven persons…

“1) The woman, representing Israel, 2) the dragon, representing Satan, 3) the man-child, referring to Christ, 4) Michael, representing the angels, 5) Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman, 6) the beast out of the sea, the world dictator, and 7) the beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world”. JOHN WALVOORD.

Beginning with chapter 12 through chapter 14 we have a parenthetical section which fills in some gaps during the trumpet and vial judgments.

The first of the seven characters is a “Great wonder”. Who is this woman? Is she the Church? Israel? Mary? When looking at her from scriptural understanding she is Israel (Romans 9:5). The nation, historically, gave birth to Jesus by Mary.

This woman being “Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” can be identified with Genesis 37:9. The “sun” is Jaco, the “moon” Jacob’s wife, and the “eleven stars” Jacob’s eleven sons and Joseph making the twelfth.

Verse 2 seems to imply Israel’s trials and tribulations rather than Mary’s.

The second character in this scene is the “Red dragon”. He is evidently revealed to us as God sees him. Bloodthirsty and wicked. His “seven heads and ten horns, and crowns…” seem to identify him with earthly kingdoms – especially Rome. He is clearly representing the revived Roman empire and Satanic power.

Jonathan Edwards commenting on Hebrews 1:6-8 wrote, writing of Jesus’s birth…

“At that time when the Son of God appeared a poor little infant in a stable and manger then God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ and then the angels had a great trial of their obedience greater than ever they had before.”

John Gerstner commenting on Edwards writes…

“…According to Edwards the fall of the angels occurred when announcement was made that they were to be ministering servants to men’s salvation.”  From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS vol. 1, pg. 256

So we might assume that before the foundation of the world, before time, before history ever began, when Lucifer found out he was going to be a “Ministering servant” to mankind, he rebelled and took one-third of the angels with him. Some were confined to chains and some are loose.

Satan, the devil, hated that he was going to have to worship a baby human being, so instead of yielding allegiance to his Creator, he determined to do things his way. He set out to destroy this baby. He tried to tempt Him away from His destiny. Then, he tried to defeat Him in death. Lucifer, the devil has certainly tried to “Devour her child”. The child is the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. He is Jesus, my Savior, and Lord.

Verse 5 certainly makes clear who the man-child is. He is “To rule all nations” (Psalm 2:8). He will rule them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15).

If we look at this verse simply as read it would seem, that the child is born and is immediately “Caught up unto God and to His throne”, however, we must understand the way biblical prophecy works. In many Old Testament prophecies, there are gaps. Take for instance Luke 4:18-19 which is a quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2. Note, however, that Jesus only quoted through “…the acceptable year of the LORD”. The fulfillment of the rest is yet to come. The same is true of verse 5 of Revelation 12. “She brought forth a man-child who was to rule…”, but in the gap He was crucified, for the sins of men, was buried, rose again, then forty days later “was caught up unto God…”. The day is yet to come for Him to rule on earth.

The gap between the resurrection of Christ “Pentecost” and the “Rapture of the Church” is the Church age. The gap between the “Rapture” and the “Abomination of desolation” is a period of false peace. The time between the “abomination” and the rule of Christ on earth is the “Great tribulation”, or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). “The time of Jacob’s trouble” is the final 3.5 years of “the tribulation” and that is when Israel will be divinely protected by God, according to verse 6. Evidently for the whole 1260 days of sorrow. This will work in them to bring out a remnant who trust Jesus as Messiah.

Will you trust in Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for your eternal redemption?  Hear His voice, call on His name, and believe and be saved.  The greatest wonder of Heaven, and on earth is the Lord Jesus Himself.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Revelation 12:7-12 (KJV)

When we read the book of Job in the Old Testament it appears that Satan has access to appear before God (Job1:6).

It seems that in the middle of the 7 years that Satan is cast out of Heaven, no longer having access to God. Because of this, he is allowed to wreak havoc on the earth – “cast out into the earth”. The last 3.5 years are catastrophic. In Colossians, we read…

“And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist…” Colossians 1:17

It is an encouraging thing for the Christian to know that God, through His Son Jesus, holds all things, all the elements under His control during the opening of the seals, the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials of wrath; Satan (the serpent) is deceiving minds and destroying mankind as never before.

“There was war in heaven”, John says. Michael [the fourth personality in this parenthetical scene], is representative of the great angelic host. These angels, ever faithful to God, stand firm to get the devil from before the throne of God.

In Scripture there are four references to the curtailing of Satan’s activities:

  1. Somewhere around the dawn of creation satan was cast out of his exalted position as an angel of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15);
  2. Mid-way through the Great Tribulation Satan will be cast out from any access to God as accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10);
  3. At the beginning of the millennium he will be shut up in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3);
  4. At the end of the millennium, he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

We will see, that since Satan will be cast out from even appearing before God that he will indulge in an all-out attack on the seed of the woman – anti-semitic attacks against all of Israel. He has always hated God’s people, whether it be Israel or the Church. Being no more able to accuse he attacks in all his limited wrath. God protects Israel.  We can see a great attack against Israel today.  Our President of the United States of America has declared Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.  His declaration was that the U. S. of A. will have our Embassy there going along with God’s declaration that Jerusalem is the City of David.

The “Loud voice” is one of rejoicing. It is not said whose voice it is.

It could be God’s. It could be the twenty-four elders. It could be the angels. It might be all the voices of heaven blended together as one.

It will be a glorious day in heaven when Satan will be cast out from being “The accuser of the brethren”.

HOW IS THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON?

  1. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross;
  2. By the testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God;
  3. By loving Jesus with our lives [“loved not their lives unto the death”] (Mark 8:34-35; 10:31).

At this time there will be rejoicing in heaven, but great “woe” to those “Inhabiters of the earth”. Those refusing God’s grace through Jesus Christ will suffer both the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God. Satan will go all out. He will even try to destroy those who are his to lead them into eternal torment with himself. He knows his time is short. Satan is already defeated.  His head has been crushed.  All he can do is steal, kill, and destroy and wreak havoc in the world.

O will you turn your soul, heart, mind, and strength over to the Lamb of God who died to deliver you from Satan and from sin’s bondage?  Call on Him. He will hear you and save you.

“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man Child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:13-17 (KJV)

I have not mentioned it for some time, but one of my favorite Scripture verses is Isaiah 40:31…

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I have come to the conclusion that if the Old Testament promises are for the Christian today, then, we need to be accepting of the negative promises as well.  If God says it; then, it is true.  It will come to pass.

The woman represents Israel (the remnant seed of the woman, and the fifth personality in this scene) and is persecuted by Satan. This is because of great hatred for the Hebrew people.

As mentioned in verse 6, though a little clearer here; she is protected by God. The Scripture gives references as to “bearing on eagle’s wings” (Exodus 19:4). This implies swiftness. The place God has prepared for them is an earthly place not known to us. Some believe it to be a place called “Petra”, but no one can be certain. God supplies them their daily needs just as when He led them out of Egypt. There are striking similarities in both deliverances.

Verse 15 mentions a “water as a flood”. It is not certain whether this is a literal flood of water. It is just as probable to be just all out persecution. The flood does represent wrath in the same sense that the “serpent” represents Satan. In that “the earth helped the woman” we can see this as, though Satan intended it for Israel, instead it affected the “earth” or the “Inhabiters of the earth”. Remember these “Inhabiters of the earth” (Revelation 12:12) are the unredeemed who have on their own, by their own choices have chosen to reject God, His Son, His love, and His grace; and hold on to the material world.  Loving the world rather than God.

It is clear from this verse that Satan’s attacks are against the godly remnant. This remnant is the Hebrews who have looked upon Jesus and believed Him to be the Messiah. Satan hates and is greatly enraged against anyone “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

It is not said, but it seems that just as in the Egyptian deliverance, so too, in this one there will be some who will not believe despite God’s providential care.  They have an “evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12) and refuse to have Jesus as Messiah.

The persecution, up to this point has been “anti-semitic” against all Hebrews. Now it is solely against those who “Have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12).

He made deliverance for us on the wings of eagles through the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Make haste to come to Him.

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LAST DAYS: The Sign of the Son of Man

“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:19-31 (KJV)

For clarification and better understanding we need to see “The elect” mentioned in the
Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) as being the Hebrew people, and not the Church of Jesus Christ.

The days of the Abomination will be sad and troubled days for the Jewish people. The one to whom they had turned for peace and safety, is now proclaiming himself as their god. Women with babies fleeing for their lives and the lives of the babes. This will be a time when all Jews will be told to bow and worship or perish. These babies will be used as means of coersion to persuade the mothers to worship the Beast. Using them, threatening death to the babe, if they do not worship. This would be a terrible plight for any mother. It will be another time of “Rachel weeping for her children”, only this time it will not be because of the birth of the Lamb of God; but the pretentious act of the Beast of hell.

Jesus says here, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day”. A Winter flight (that means fleeing, not flying) would be hazardous, cold, and difficult. The Sabbath would catch them in their rituals, worship, sacrifices and dedications, thus shortening their response to flee time. Would it be safe to say that this day will not take place in the Winter or on the Sabbath day? I ask this because Jesus gives instruction to pray that their flight not be in either of these times. Usually the things for which Jesus instructs us to pray; we receive.

This time will be the last three and one half years of the tribulation, and Jesus calls this “great tribulation”. The first 3.5 years seems to go well for the Jewish people, and some of the people of the earth. The Gospel of the kingdom is being preached by 144,000 Jewish preachers traveling the world over, and the gospel reaches the whole world. It seems that every ear will hear of the coming, the nearness of the glorious appearing of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. The thing is these 144,000 witnesses and their converts will be subject to death when they are captured, and be put to death. These will be hated by the “earth dwellers” – those whose hearts and ties are bound toward the things of this world, and who hate God and His truth.

It is clear from our text that though evil will be seemingly having its way, that God is still superintending, and will only let things go so far as fulfills His will (v. 22). “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved…” The people of the earth will be so deceived they will believe they finally are free, having their way without God and there may be a time of seeming prosperity among the “earth dwellers”, but it will also be short lived. When I refer to the “People of earth” or “earth dwellers” be reminded that these are those who love the world, themselves, and are only out to get all they can, “And can all they can get”.

Thomas Ice has written on the “Earth dwellers” in Midnight Call magazine;

“When we survey the eleven uses of ‘earth dwellers’ in Revelation, we see an interesting composite that develops. Not only are they to be tested in order to show their true metal (3:10), they are clearly identified as those who are persecuting and killing believers during the Tribulation (6:10). Many of the judgments of the Tribulation are targeted for the earth dwellers (8:13).” Thomas Ice, MIDNIGHT CALL Magazine, August, 2008, p.15, titled “The Earth Dwellers of Revelation”.

It is great to know that God is never out of control. “but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”; God knows how much chastening the people of Israel needs, how much will be necessary to complete the work He began in them.

As they have fled Jerusalem to the place God prepares for them, and they are protected by God, there will come false prophets, and false christs to them saying, that they know christ is in the desert, or that they themselves are christs.

There is great deception in the world today (2015) with many who do not see, choose not to see or hear what God has to say.  Many putting priority on what they call science, rather than God and/or His Word and His Son; righteousness, holiness, and justice and peace in God.

O, flee to the cross of Jesus Christ today.