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The. .Bible > A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Chapter 12) The Woman in the Wilderness

A Commentary on the BOOK of REVELATION

Or, A Disclosure From Jesus Christ
About What Must Shortly Come To Pass

by Tom Stewart

Chapter 12

His Name is called the Word of God.


Chapter 12:
The Woman in the Wilderness

A "great wonder in heaven" (12:1) appears. The Greek word semeion, which is translated as wonder, sign, or miracle, is used to describe a "woman clothed with the sun". Six other times in the Revelation semeion is used to describe signs or wonders:

(1) a "great red dragon" (12:3), i.e., Satan,

(2) the "great wonders" (13:13) performed by the False Prophet, making "fire come down from heaven" (13:13),

(3) deceptive "miracles" (13:14) performed by the False Prophet "in the sight of the Beast" (13:14),

(4) a "sign in Heaven" (15:1) of the seven angels with the Vials of the Wrath of God,

(5) the "spirits of devils, working miracles" (16:14) drawing the kings of the Earth to Armageddon, and

(6) the False Prophet that "wrought miracles" (19:20) and the Antichrist being cast into the Lake of Fire.

Joseph, the "Dreamer" (Genesis 37:19), reported a dream that described his father (Jacob), mother (Rachel), and eleven brothers (the patriarchs of the future nation of Israel) as the sun, moon, and stars, just as the Revelation describes the Woman as "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (12:1). "And he [Joseph] dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me" (Genesis 37:9). Thus, the Woman Clothed With the Sun may be identified as the Nation of Israel. "17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed in him?" (Genesis 18:17-18).

The "Mystery of Godliness" (1Timothy 3:16) has ordained that Israel, the "woman clothed with the sun" (12:1), would be the means by which the Almighty would bless the world. "Now if the fall of them [Israel] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" (Romans 11:12). Yes, Israel rejected their True Messiah; and accordingly, the Gentile world was then offered the same Salvation that Israel rejected. "I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall Salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [Israel] to jealousy" (11:11). And, the Woman, "being with Child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered" (12:2), describes the Nation of Israel in general, and Mary in particular. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law" (Galatians 4:4). The same type of deliverance will be granted to Israel at the Second Advent of the LORD Jesus Christ, when Israel will turn to Jesus the Messiah in one day. "Who 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" (Isaiah 66:8). Even though Israel's final repentance and turning in faith to Jesus the Messiah will most definitely occur at the Second Coming of Christ, we must not forget to pray for it. "Thus saith the LORD GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock" (Ezekiel 36:37).

The tapestry of this 12th chapter of the Revelation first introduces the Woman that produces the Messiah (12:1-2). Then, the old "adversary the devil" (1Peter 5:8) is put forth as "another wonder in heaven" (12:3). Later, in this same chapter, the "Great Dragon" (12:9) is specifically identified as Satan. "Red" (12:3) is the color of the blood spilled by the Great Dragon, often through the very human governments that God originally ordained to not bear the "sword in vain" (Romans 13:4). The "seven heads" (12:3) of the Dragon signify seven governments, kingdoms, or empires, from which the "ten horns" (12:3) or ten different rulers reign, i.e., "ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise" (Daniel 7:24). That the Wicked One would offer to the LORD Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world" (Matthew 4:8) during His Wilderness Temptations, indicates Satan's willingness to buy the subservience of his intended victims by offering them the attraction and power of earthly crowns. But, "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36).

Though human government has been specifically ordained of God, i.e.,
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the Image of God made He man" (Genesis 9:6), and Christians are called upon to uphold the right functioning of human government through personal obedience, i.e., "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers" (Romans 13:1), and through intercession, i.e., "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty" (1Timothy 2:1-2), human government, when turned from its original intent, often finds itself pitted against the Saints. But, even the curse of evil rulers, controlled by the Great Red Dragon (12:3), should not cause the Godly undue alarm. "9 Because thou hast made the LORD, Which is my Refuge, even the Most High, thy Habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" (Psalm 91:9-10).

At this point in the chapter's narrative, looking back upon the history of the "dragon" (12:4), we consider that time in antiquity that Lucifer's "tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven, and did cast them to the Earth" (12:4).

First, Lucifer was the Original Sinner, who was a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44), and the ringleader of the rebellion in the Heavenlies, i.e., "his tail drew" (12:4).

Second, inspiration records that a
"third part of the stars of Heaven" (12:4)-- the angels being the "stars [that] sang" (Job 38:7) at the Creation of the Earth-- rebelled against the Almighty.

Third, Lucifer was the cause of himself and his cohorts being ejected from Heaven, so much so that the Apostle John records that the Murderer
"did cast them to the Earth" (12:4). To the surprise of himself and his legions, the "devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41) not only failed to wrest control of Heaven away from the Almighty, but they were forever banished from their "First Estate" (Jude 6). "4 For if 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; 9 [Then] the LORD knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2Peter 2:4, 9).

It must have greatly consternated Satan that he did not kill the LORD Jesus when He was but a Baby, i.e., "and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as It was born" (12:4). "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the LORD appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the Young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the Young Child to destroy Him" (Matthew 2:13). God's people are likewise immortal to the Serpent until the time that the Almighty chooses our exit. "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). Herod's subsequent killing of the children of Bethlehem-- "two years old and under" (Matthew 2:16)-- only served to fulfil the prophecy of Jeremiah. "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not" (Jeremiah 31:15).

With a sweep of His fingers over the pages of history, the Holy Spirit recalls how Israel "brought forth a Man Child" (12:5), Whose purpose was and is, prophetically, "to rule all nations with a Rod of Iron" (12:5). "7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for Thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a Rod of Iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psalm 2:7-9). Of interest, the King Messiah, Who we know to be the "Carpenter, the Son of Mary" (Mark 6:3), was anticipated by the ancient Jewish commentators to be one of the "four carpenters" to deliver Israel from her enemies-- as noted in John Gill's "Exposition of the Old and New Testament", commenting on Mark 6:3. "20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And He spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these [i.e., 'four carpenters'] are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it" (Zechariah 1:20-21).

It is a fact of sacred history that Jesus Christ
"was caught up unto God, and to His Throne" (12:5). "9 And when He [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:9-11). Blessed thought! The certainty of the ascension of the LORD Jesus Christ into Heaven, assures us that He will return. "And if I go and prepare a Place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3). Additionally, the ordinance of the LORD's Supper was intended by the LORD Jesus to remind us of the certainty of His return. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the LORD's death till He come" (1Corinthians 11:26).

The previous verse describes the ascension of the LORD Jesus Christ, while a period over 1,900 years elapses until this sixth verse. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2Peter 3:8). Now, the skeptics have been troubled by the thought that the LORD Jesus Christ, Who said, "I come quickly" (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20), has yet to return. "What think ye of Christ?" (Matthew 22:42). Can we engage in the day-to-day affairs of work and living, while actively looking for the return of our LORD? We must. "For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the LORD Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). It is imperative that we understand that our profession of faith in the LORD Jesus Christ as our Saviour and LORD, means that we have changed our hearts and minds from a worldly culture of self-seeking to that of seeking "first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33), and counting "all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8). Therefore, our confidence that we are laboring for a soon returning Saviour, must outweigh any worldly consideration of earthly gain that calls us away from our "patient waiting for Christ" (2Thessalonians 3:5). Yes, He is coming quickly. And, as C. H. Spurgeon wrote in his "Faith's Checkbook", "When the LORD hastens, His speed is glorious." "Even so, come, LORD Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

This verse records that Israel, the
"woman", "fled into the wilderness" (12:6). But, when? Following the Abomination of Desolation at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, Israel flees from the betrayal of the Antichrist, with whom she had confirmed a treaty or covenant at the Beginning of Daniel's Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:27). "15 When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains" (Matthew 24:15-16). How long will be the sojourn of Israel in the wilderness? Israel will remain hidden in the wilderness "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (12:6) from the time of the Abomination of Desolation until the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. Then, the Apostle Paul's prayer will be answered. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved" (Romans 10:1 cf. Isaiah 66:8).

Where can Israel flee from the Antichrist? The Gospel of Matthew indicates that Israel will
"flee into the mountains" (24:16). Many have speculated that the ancient city of Petra, the Greek name of the Edomite city of Selah (2Kings 14:7) located towards the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, will be the refuge for these future Tribulation refugees. Petra is an essentially deserted city built into the sandstone cliffs along the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses). 19th-century English Biblical scholar John William Burgon labelled the cliff city of Petra, a "rose-red city--'half as old as Time'." Once a prominent city along the trade routes, its magnificent buildings are carved into the face of the cliffs, and may be reached through passages so narrow that two horsemen may scarcely ride abreast. Josephus seems to indicate Bozrah to be the city of Petra. "Who is this that cometh from Edom [i.e., Jesus the Messiah at His Second Coming], with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save" (Isaiah 63:1).

It is strange to think that there ever could be "war in Heaven" (12:7), but we are prophetically previewed of a future conflict in which "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon", reciprocating the combat of Satan, who "fought [along with] his angels" (12:7). When Lucifer first "drew the third part" (12:4) of God's angels into the Original Rebellion, he and his cohorts were "cast down to hell" (2Peter 2:4), i.e., they became persona non grata (unwelcome), no longer having the credentials or privileges of the "sons of God" (Job 1:6). However, the Wisdom of God has allowed Satan the opportunity to temporarily continue coming "before the LORD" (1:6) to accuse the Brethren. "Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?" (Job 1:9). But, why would the LORD allow Satan to tempt man, for any length of time? "Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory" (Revelation 4:11). To glorify His choice of giving man moral agency, He has allowed the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, the testing of Job, and the Son of Man to be "tempted of the devil" (Matthew 4:1) in the wilderness.

Since mankind is still in a probationary period-- being still able to
"refuse the evil, and choose the good" (Isaiah 7:16)-- man's First Sin was not only punished, i.e., "cursed is the ground" (Genesis 3:17) on account of his disobedience, but he was also mercifully allowed to be reformed through his sufferings, i.e., "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (3:17). Thus, the temptations that the Almighty carefully allows Satan to hurl at the Saints, are actually opportunities to perfect our faith. "2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:2-4).

When will this heavenly warfare take place between Michael the Archangel and Satan?
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book" (Daniel 12:1). The warfare will occur immediately before the Middle of the Tribulation Week. It will be followed by the 3 1/2 year period known as the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob's Trouble. "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7). "For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).

And, Satan "prevailed not" (12:8). Hallelujah! Let us fervently pray for the defeat of Satan, that he can no longer trouble our Brethren, especially of the Tribulation Week. "Deliver us from evil [or, the Evil One]" (Matthew 6:13). Though we cannot yet say that Satan can no more be found "in Heaven" (12:8), we do pray for ourselves and our Brethren, that our faith would fail not. "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). May God give us and our Tribulation Brethren the grace to stand. "But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6). Dear LORD, "deliver the Godly out of temptations" (2Peter 2:9). "O God: command deliverances" (Psalm 44:4) for all Thy people. "Lift up Thyself, Thou Judge of the Earth" (94:2) by Thy deliverance of the Faithful, and "destroy the works of the devil" (1John 3:8). Amen.

The "great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil" (12:9). Casting out Satan from Heaven will be a great boon to the Godly, because as the chief antagonist of the Saints, he will no longer have access to God to accuse the Brethren. "And the LORD said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat" (Luke 22:31). What sin this Malignant Adversary, "which deceiveth the whole world" (12:9), must have caused! But, imagine what blessed relief will be given to the Tribulation Saints, when he and "his angels [will be] cast out" (12:9) of Heaven! "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). Perhaps, this blessed relief will graciously redound to the preservation of many a Tribulation Saint during the Great Tribulation. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1Peter 1:13).

Because the "accuser of our brethren [will be] cast down" (12:10) at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, we have it on good authority, i.e., a "loud voice saying in Heaven" (12:10), that "now is come" (12:10):

(1) "Salvation" (12:10), i.e., when Satanic resistance is diminished, even greater numbers may be ushered into the Kingdom of God-- "And the LORD added to the Church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47),

(2) "strength" (12:10), i.e., Divine help will become more available to the Godly-- "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10),

(3) the "Kingdom of our God" (12:10), i.e., a powerful sense of the presence of the Spirit of God will be felt, and especially His power-- "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Zechariah 4:6), and

(4) the "power of His Christ" (12:10), i.e., this represents the omnipotence of the KING of Kings making Himself felt and known during the troublous Second Half of the Tribulation Week-- "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him" (Revelation 1:7).

Every Christian is to be a living "epistle... known and read of all men" (2Corinthians 3:2), thus fulfilling the Great Commission of being "witnesses unto [Christ]... unto the uttermost part of the Earth" (Acts 1:8). Likewise, all Believers who resist the Devil "stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9) overcome him "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" (12:11). It is the totality of the Body of Believers, who bring down Satan, through the LORD Jesus Christ-- the "Head of the Church" (Ephesians 5:23). The Saints witness to the efficacy and superiority of the LORD Jesus Christ over all, but especially over Satan. "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He [Christ Jesus] that is in you, than he [Satan] that is in the world" (1John 4:4). Realizing that our lives are of secondary importance to the greater purpose of magnifying Jesus Christ, death by martyrdom may serve the cause of Christ more than by our continued living, i.e., "they loved not their lives unto the death" (12:11). Only by such selfless conduct did the Church grow, and will it again thrive. "32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the LORD Jesus: and great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:32-33).

As much as there will be rejoicing in Heaven, there will be woe for the "inhabiters of the Earth and of the sea" (12:12). Satan, as a cruel and uncaring parent, i.e., "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8:44), ultimately leads his children into the Lake of Fire. "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire" (Revelation 20:15). Meanwhile, he expends the lives of his deceived offspring in a manifestation of his "great wrath" (12:12) and vicious hate. As a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44), Satan gladly disposes of his abused progeny, "as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Peter 5:8), knowing "that he hath but a short time" (12:12). In contrast, the Father will fortify His Children with a special "grace to help" (Hebrews 4:16), i.e., "Salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ" (12:10).

As the Apostle Paul had an especial desire for Israel, "that they might be saved" (Romans 10:1); even more so, does Jehovah desire their metamorphosis. "He that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8). So, when the Dragon is "cast unto the Earth" (12:13) at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, he vents his rage upon Israel in a desperate attempt to maul the LORD. "He [Satan] persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man Child" (12:13). As usual, the Wicked One plays into the masterful hands of God. Through his persecution of Israel, Satan aids the Almighty in driving Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel to the extreme of admitting that the Crucified Jesus is truly the Messiah of Israel-- as well as, being the "Saviour of the World" (John 4:42)-- by the time of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. "Surely the wrath of man [and certainly, the wrath of Satan] shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Psalm 76:10). Satan, at this time, will come closer to being seen as weak and finite as any mere creature. "All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" (Isaiah 14:10).

The Woman, who is Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel, is "given two wings of a great eagle" to be supernaturally preserved "from the face of the serpent [Satan]" (12:14) until the End of the Tribulation Week, when she is finally and gloriously saved. "9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountains: and Mine elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands" (Isaiah 65:9, 22). Though the Unsaved Elect do not have the luxury of claiming themselves to be the future inheritors of Heaven, i.e., "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34), we, their intercessors in prayer, may make such claim for them by faith. "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).

Earlier in this chapter, it is said that the
"Woman fled into the wilderness" for a period of a "thousand two hundred and threescore days" (12:6) to be fed of God. Verse 14 refers to this time in which the Woman is nourished as a "time, and times, and half a time" (12:14). "25 And he [the Antichrist] shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the Saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time... 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto Heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished" (Daniel 7:25; 12:7).

"time" (in the singular) is the equivalent of one, "times" (in the plural) is the equivalent of two, and "half a time" denotes one-half, then one plus two plus one-half equals three and one-half. Since the Jewish calendar is calculated upon a year of twelve months of thirty days (a lunar cycle), i.e., 360 days, then 3 1/2 years is the equivalent of 1,260 days (3 1/2 x 360). The Scriptures, using the ancient Hebrew calendar, described the increase of the waters-- additional flood water beyond the initial "forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:12) of rain-- of the Genesis Flood, as encompassing a period of an "hundred and fifty days" (7:24), beginning on the "second month [Iyar, according to the sacred calendar], the seventeenth day of the month" (7:11), and prevailing or increasing upon the Earth until the "seventh month [Tishri], on the seventeenth day of the month" (8:4). Therefore, 150 days covered a five month period, which would make a month the equivalent of thirty days.

The "serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman" (12:15) demonstrates that the Adversary:

(1) Desires to thwart God's plan of redeeming Israel, i.e., "They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance" (Psalm 83:4), and

(2) Would have killed all of us long before we ever repented and believed the Gospel, but for the preservation of God, i.e., "And except those days [i.e., the Second Half of the Tribulation Week-- the Great Tribulation] should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22).

And, of what significance is the "water as a flood" (12:15) that the Serpent sends against the Woman? Certainly, metaphorically, Satan will attempt to sweep away Israel "as a flood" (12:15), i.e., "1 If it had not been the LORD Who was on our side, now may Israel say; 2 If it had not been the LORD Who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul" (Psalm 124:1-4). But, only time will tell whether or not the Antichrist will employ some kind of actual flood to destroy Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel. "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (Daniel 9:26).

Though the ancient pagans looked upon our planet as an Earth Mother, and it has become the Mother Earth of the equally pagan New Age movement, the Revelation tells us that the "Earth opened her mouth" (12:16), i.e., referring to the Earth in the feminine. The Greek word ga, which means Earth, is a noun in the feminine gender. However, the Saints are simply pleased that the Almighty should choose to depict the Earth as nurturing and aiding the Godly, while fighting and resisting the ungodly. "24 [Moses] Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram... 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the Earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them" (Numbers 16:24, 30-31).

Remembering that the Devil, at this time in the Tribulation, has been denied access to God to accuse the Still-Living-Tribulation Brethren (12:10), he will now address more of his attention to persecuting the Elect-But-Still-Lost Earth dwellers, and especially Israel, i.e., the
"flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth" (12:16), will be against the Woman. Not to belittle the ferocity or formidability of the Roaring Lion, against whom Michael the Archangel "durst not bring against him a railing accusation" (Jude 9), but the Devil will appear more and more toothless-- in comparison to the increasingly powerful manifestations of the LORD Jesus Christ's Trumpet (8:7-11:19) and Vial Judgments (16:1-21)-- as the Tribulation draws to a conclusion. The Saints of this present day may and should experience victory over the Adversary, by simply standing our ground in faith. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Though, presently, our victory requires the afflictions that accompany our warfare against the Devil, we have been promised that we "shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16). "8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (1Peter 5:8-9).

The "dragon was wroth with the woman" (12:17), but his attempts to destroy the Woman will be foiled. The Roaring Lion will again look about "seeking whom he may devour" (1Peter 5:8), and will decide "to make war with the remnant of her seed" (12:17), specifically, the Jewish Tribulation Believers, who "keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (12:17). "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My Name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zechariah 13:9). These Jewish Tribulation Believers, who are called the "remnant of her seed" (12:17), are:

(1) the 144,000 of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (7:4), who are Sealed Believers in Christ (Revelation 7:4 cf. 2Corinthians 1:22), which we believe will be divinely protected from the Antichrist,

(2) Jewish Tribulation Believers-- not of the 144,000-- who will be martyred by the Antichrist, i.e., "they loved not their lives unto the death" (12:11), and

(3) Jewish Tribulation Believers-- again, not of the 144,000-- that are also delivered from the Antichrist, i.e., "33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:33-34).



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