A War in Heaven and an Angry Devil Bent on Revenge.
The Devil Knows Who to Fear!
Map of Empires
Just a Small Spot on Planet Earth
The major empires of history have two things in common. First, a piece of property at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea, the promised heritage for the descendants of Abraham and secondly, the Beast and his lord, Satan.
- Egypt - dominated the world scene from before Joseph's exile and the 400 years of enslavement of Israel until their defeat by Assyria in 664 BC.
- Assyria - after the defeat of Egypt, was a short-lived empire marked by civil wars and internal unrest. It would fall to an earlier "conquest" at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC; the Babylonians.
- Babylon - Lion of Daniel 7:4 - From Nebuchadnezzar in 604 BC to Belshazzar on a drunken night in 539 BC - the hand writing upon the wall and an empire came to an abrupt end.
- Median/Persian - Bear of Daniel 7:5 - A united kingdom that would subdue most of the eastern empires until their total defeat in 331 BC at the hands of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian armies.
- Greek - Four headed Leopard of Daniel 7:6 - Upon Alexander's death in 323 BC, his empire would be divided between his four generals. Antigonus - Asia (Turkey); Selecus - Babylon (the capital of Median/Persian empire); Ptolemy - Eqypt and Cassander - Macedonia. All of the Greek empires would fall to Rome by 148 BC.
- Rome - Dreadful and Terrible with Iron Teeth (Part I) of Daniel 7:7-8 - The first edition of the Roman empire would last until 641 AD when it would just "fade" away leaving its holdings under the rule of the Catholic church in the west and the Byzantine church in the east.
- Rome - Part II - Daniel 2:31-33 & Revelation 17:10 The empire of the Beast at a time yet unknown.
An age old conflict nearing the end!
The Vision of a War Yet to Come.
Two wonders (Gr. semeion4592 - supernatural miracle, sign, token) appeared IN heaven. Whatever John witnessed, he instantly understood that this was supernatural and not a literal event but a scope of history before his eyes. He had NO problem understanding what he was seeing or what it all meant. This very pregnant pause between chapters 11 and 13 is to inform the reader that Israel will NOT be involved in last three and half years but miraculously hidden. No Israel means, no 144,000, no prophets past, present or future and not a Jew to be found. This period is to be a supernatural war between Satan with his cadre versus God and His holy angels.
The Protagonist and the Antagonist:
- …a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. The soon to be nation of Israel as per Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:5-11. Israel's history is a story of struggles that defy the logic of their being a nation to this day. Empires have come and gone but Israel continues on and on and on. What a perfect picture in verses 2 and 5 of a nation that cannot make heads or tails out of their predicament, yet their Messiah and ever faithful God elects them to remain His people forever; much to the chagrin of the dragon.
- The dragon, Satan the true king of the empires of the earth. Seven heads, seven kingdoms; ten horns with four upon one head (Greek), 10 earthly kings empowered by the Devil; seven crowns (Gr. diadems - the crown of a king). Matthew 4:8-9; the kingdoms of this world belong to him. After many attempts to destroy the promised people, he turns to destroy the Messiah but is foiled in Bethlehem, at every point in our Lord's earthly ministry and ultimately at the Cross when He arose victorious over death and ascended on high. For nearly 2,000 years, the Devil has devised myriads of plans to eliminate Israel but has been thwarted at every attempt. One final attempt is coming but that is doomed to fail also.
How the Devil Can Appear to You and I
A Very Dangerous Adversary
The seven headed dragon represents the Devil's character, not his appearance; not many would ever be beguiled by the appearance of a dragon. (Ever notice how many movies lately deal with dragons?) We are easily lured away from the Truth by beauty, wealth and power; the three main weapons of seduction in Satan's arsenal. There are several things of which we are to be made aware:
- His color; red (purrhos4450 - fiery red as a flame) Ezekiel 28:14 "...thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." This is in direct contrast to the Beast of chapter 17 which is scarlet (kokkinos2847 - blood red) - Satan and the Beast are two separate beings of evil.
- Seven heads with ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads. The Beast does not wear a crown; the Devil, vanity personified, will not give any portion of his preeminence to any other creature, ever! This does not mean that Satan does not allow his number one minion great latitude in his use of authorized power. Ephesians 6:12 warns us "...against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world...." - we do not battle the Devil alone. His vanity keeps him in heaven's halls as he lets his underlings do the dirty work. John 13:27 is the only passage that I can think of where Satan possesses anyone and in that case it was Judas Iscariot: he was not going to blow this opportunity to see to our Lord's death. I also believe that he is not the one to indwell the Antichrist for again, he would never lower himself to such a position; he will leave it to another.
- A tail that drew a third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to earth. It seems like everyone automatically assumes that this means he drew a third of the angels to follow him. I do not believe this to be the case. These are not angels as I do not believe he even drew a tenth. My reasoning:
- Drew (suro4951 - to drag) - used only two other times: Acts 14:19 - dragged Paul out of Lystra after they supposedly stoned him to death and Acts 17:5-6 a mob dragged Jason out of his house for preaching the Gospel. This is NOT a friendly or seductive drawing of someone but very much against their will.
- Cast (ballo906 - cast with intensity or violence) - it is used 21 times in Revelation alone and none of them are of friendly persuasion.
- Per Hebrews 2:9, Jesus, was made lower than the angels for the suffering of death.
- Hebrews 12:22 an innumerable number of angels are in heaven: even a third would have to be considered uncountable.
- Per 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, God cast the sinning angels into everlasting darkness, reserved for the day of judgment. Look who are now on the scene; angry, full of hatred and revenge.
Who Then Are the Host of Heaven?
"Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host of heaven and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them."
The stars of heaven are the faithful, the redeemed; all whose names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life since the foundation of the world including the Martyrs of the 70th Week. Whether the third being addressed in Revelation 12 concerns only the redeemed of the 70th Week or of the all ages, from Seth to the last of the elect, is not clear. One thing is clear: the deaths which are directly attributable to the Devil and his henchmen is a number we cannot fathom.
- If it is from the 70th Week alone; one third of believers of all time will be saved in a super short period of time. This actually make sense. From the time the Law was given to Israel, their record of success was rather scant up until the ministry of Jesus. The Church; the nothings, the weaklings and the simpletons of this world have done a fair job of bringing the Gospel to the world. Romans 11 gives us an insight into the power of the 144,000's Gospel message as they are the natural branches of the olive tree (Israel) grafted back in to their lifeblood source. We know that around 2 billion are going to die during the last half of the Week; how many are believers - a great multitude!
- It would also make sense if it was referring to the whole of earth's history as Satan has spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to destroy any vestiges of the nation of Israel and the Church but to no avail for we keep coming. His crimes are well beyond forgiveness for he did not do it out of ignorance but out of hatred for God; one he knows all too well.