We talked a while on the book of Daniel.
The visions therein focus on the end time.
This is the time when the Antichrist will manifest himself and the “great tribulation” isn’t just a word that indicates a certain period, but actually will prove to be a great tribulation.
We have already, briefly, talked about some verses of Revelation which cover the same things.
To better understand where Daniel is talking about, we must now look more closely at a few chapters of Revelation.
Revelation 12:1-18 (please read in your own bible, or in a separate window, click on the button -->)
The first six verses are talking about the woman who bore the child.
Who is that woman?
In vs. 1 John sees a big sign, or a symbol, in heaven, but from verse 6 and 13 it appears that the symbol is on the earth.
Who ever this woman might be, ‘She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.’
Of whom in the Bible is said that he will rule all nations with a rod of iron?
Psalm 2:7-9 talks in this context about the Messiah.
7 "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.
8 Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will rule them with an iron scepter; "
"26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-
27 'He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery' -
just as I have received authority from my Father."
Jesus says that the believers will reign with Him and that they, like him, will rule with a iron rod.
"15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter."
"He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty."
Again it is, compared with 12:5, clearly, that “the male child” is Jesus, who will reign as King of kings.
The woman can’t be Mary, because the woman is persecuted by the dragon, after he is cast out of heaven. And this will, as we will see, only happen in the last days.
Verses 1-6 describes in a few words several events, sometimes thousands of years apart.
Revelation 12:1-6 (please read in your own bible)
John sees “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head”.
This is an image seen earlier in the Bible.
"9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?""
Eleven stars bowed to Joseph. Joseph which was himself the twelfth star.
The twelve stars symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Joseph’s dream his father is the sun, and the moon his mother.
The woman in Revelation 12 is clothed with the Sun. This is an image of God the Father, who Israel clothed with his glory. Israel is God’s chosen people.
The moon reflects the light of the Sun. In my opinion this mean that God’s law was given to them. Not only the ten commandments, but the whole Bible, because by this Word, God reveals himself to men. This is the reflection of His glory.
The woman “was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. . . She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne”.
As we saw earlier, that son is Jesus.
He is the long awaited Messiah. But after his death en resurrection He was caught up suddenly unto God and his throne.
At this point, the word of the revelation -or the word of prophecy-, goes right through to the end time. We have already seen this many times.
The period of the church is skipped in the prophecies about Israel.
This prophecy goes here again straight to the time of the end, i.e. the time that Israel plays a role again in God’s plans. Verse 6 is an outline of what is more detailed in verses 13 through 18.
This is the time of the great tribulation.
Before we go on with these texts, we have to deal with the texts 7 through 12.
THE DRAGON OVERCOME
Revelation 12:7-12 (please read in your own bible, or in a separate window, click on the button-->)
There will be a war in heaven. Michael, according to Daniel 10:13 is one of the chief princes in heaven, is at war with the dragon.
The dragon loses. The dragon, who appears to be the devil, will be hurled on the earth.
verse 13 says:
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.''Verse 14
'"The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach."
This story is in verse 6 too. And as we mentioned earlier, this all takes place within one period of 3½ year. (time, times and half one time).
Verse 12 says:
'woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.'
The devil knows that he has 3½ years, so he wants to pursue the woman. But as he finds that this fails, because God helps the woman to flee and is further taking care of her, the devil is very angry at the woman (Israel) and then we read in verse 17:
‘and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring. . . ‘
So all these things will happen when the devil is cast out of heaven.
John sees all this on the Godly Video and then he heard a loud voice in heaven.
About what that voice says we will talk hereafter.
The time the Devil and his "son" is given
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down."
Here we see a number of issues that we first need to examine to get a better understanding of Revelation 12.
- Now have come.
When is that?
- Now have come the salvation . . . .
What is the salvation?
- Now have come . . . the power . . .
What power is that?
- The accuser of our brothers . . .
Why the accuser?
- The accuser of our brothers . . .
Of whom are these brothers brothers?
- Our brothers . . .
Who are these brothers?
NOW HAVE COME. . . .
This ‘Now’ gives a clear timing.
‘Now’ have come . . .
When is that?
The previous verse (9) says that the devil is hurled upon the earth.
When verse 10 begins with: ‘Now have come. . . . ‘, then it follows that the ‘Now’ is the moment when the devil have been hurled on the earth.
From that moment appears ‘the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.’
Does the loud voice in heaven mean that this is the exact moment of the beginning of the kingdom of our God and His Christ?
No, because the loud voice says in verse 12b also: ‘But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short”.
How much time? That’s not direct in the text. But indirectly it is there.
"13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.
15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.
16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth."
So the dragon saw that he was hurled to the earth, he wanted to pursue the woman that had given birth to the male child.
But the woman could escape and was at a place (verse 6 shows that it is the desert, think also of the exodus from Egypt) taken care of by God.
The time that God protects His people for the purgation of the devil is according verse 14
14: "a time, times and half a time" and that is, as we saw earlier (vs 6) "1,260 days."
When God protects His people 3½ years for the persecution of the devil, it was not to surrender them after that time to the persecution of the devil.
When that protection for the devil takes 3½ year, it means that after the 3½ year the devil has no power anymore.
It is, by the way, not the devil himself who persecuted God’s people those 3½ year, for he gives his power and his throne and great authority to the beast that rises from the sea.
"1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority."
This beast is the resurrected fourth empire (we'll get back to that later).
But he who is the real ruler, is the second beast from Revelation 13
"11 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.
12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed."
. . . "He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf".
To better understand this we take the United States of America as an example.
These States all have their own governor (king), yet they are connected to each other. They have a kind of marriage covenant with each other.
These United States have great power, but the one who really has the power is actually the president.
This president exercises all the power in front of the eyes of the governors.
Now there will come a time, according to the Bible, that the fourth Empire will revive, ten kings (rulers) will, by a covenant with each other, connect. From these united states a new king will arise. He will take all authority.
This king, in 2 Thessalonians he is called the son of perdition, will be slain by the Lord Jesus, when He comes.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and 8
"3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for | that day will not come | until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
. . . 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming."
When Jesus comes back He will deal with the nations that attack Israel. Then begins the millennial kingdom. Satan will be bound and the time of persecution, or the great tribulation is over. Then the time comes, whose voice bears witness in heaven: ”Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ”.
As this all lines up, we see . . .
- that the devil will be cast out of heaven.
- that the time, which he sees it is short, will be 3½ years.
- that these 3½ years are the period of the great tribulation.
- that these 3½ years end due to the coming of Jesus.
- that the kingship over this world then will be implemented by God and His Christ.
Now have come the salvation and the power . . .
"10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down."
We have seen before what is meant by “Now . . “.
Let’s go see what appears after these 3½ years of tribulation.
First it says that salvation have come.
What is salvation?
Deliverance from sin and its consequences. What are the consequences of sin?
Be lost! Or as it used in 1 Corinthians: perish.
1 Corinthians 1:18
"18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. "
‘Be lost’ contrasts ‘be saved.’
Man, by his sin, has been lost for participation in God’s plans. But there is still a possibility to be saved to participate in God’s plans
"if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
“Be saved” it says. That is something that will become reality in the future.
This is evident from the text we are working on: Revelation 12:10.
That is, as we saw earlier, when the kingdom comes to our God and His Christ.
From Romans 10 we see, there are other texts that confirm this, that deliverance is for all whom acknowledge Jesus Christ, in this life, as Lord.
Most Jews don’t do that.
On them a partial hardening has come. But there comes a time when the hardening is no longer over them.
It will be when the fullness of the Gentiles enters.
"25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. "
". . . And so all Israel will be saved,"
All Israel, so all twelve tribes, will be converted to Jesus and will therefore be used again in the great plan of God.
"11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!"
Because of the fall of Israel, the salvation came to the Gentiles.
The fall of Israel means riches for the world. And their failure proved to be riches for the Gentiles.
And then Paul says: “. . . how much greater riches will their fullness bring!”
If their failure appears to be riches for the Gentiles, how much riches will bring this people when they no longer fall short? That is, when they no longer reject Jesus, but accept Him.
"4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.
5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days."
In the future days (as our Dutch translation says) the Israelites will come to the Lord and his salvation.". . . AND THE POWER. . ."
Not only salvation and the kingdom appears when the devil will be cast out of heaven, but also the power.
Both the salvation, and the kingdom of God comes, but also the power.
What power is this? Read the next verse.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you . . . "
It is the power of the Holy Spirit.
To whom will that power appear in Revelation 12:10?
Is meant here that God's Holy Spirit will be active only when the devil is cast out of heaven? Or is here referred to that God's Spirit will be poured upon "all flesh"?
Based on the announcement: “Now have come...” (Revelation 12:10), that is after the devil has been cast out of heaven, can the here mentioned “power” not be the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from Acts 2 (See NOTE), but must it be the outpouring of the Spirit on “all flesh” of Israel, when they repent at Jesus’ coming as the Messiah.
Then the kingdom of God will be revealed and the power of His Christ.
THE ACCUSER OF OUR BROTHERS...
Salvation and power and the kingdom of God will only appear after the devil has been cast out of heaven and waged war against the saints for 3½ years.
This is shown in Revelation 12:10, where after the triumphant cry about the appearance of salvation and the power and the kingdom, is written: "For the accuser of our brothers, has been hurled down. "
Verse 11 says: "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."
This is an image we encounter in the courtroom.
The suspect will appear with his lawyer and the accuser for court.
The accused may defend himself. He is allowed to witness.
If the court finds that the defendant has made a good testimony, then he is free and the case won by the defendant.
Now is written that the brothers have overcome the plaintiff (who is the Devil) “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”.
The accuser had no valid grounds to God to continue the charges when the accused appealed to the blood of the Lamb and their testimonies were heard.
The accuser had lost and the accused were the victors in Christ.
Does this victory mean, that they are immune for the devil?
Not as human beings, because of them is said that they did not love their lives until death.
They conquered the devil, but were slain by him.
How can this be?
Their victory has to do with the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
The accuser could not win his case, because there was no base for the charge anymore. The defendants accepted that they had to pay the debt, which was met by an Other.
And their testimony was that they didn’t accepted the mark of the beast on their hand or their foreheads.
The judge has also accepted that payment and terminates the charge.
The accused is the victor in Christ and the accuser the loser.
The accuser now displays his true nature, he is not seeking justice, but on the death of the accused. The accuser is the murderer from the beginning, he is the dragon, which has waged war against those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus (vs. 17).
His indictment, with the claim that the accused will be excluded from eternal life, he lost. But, he is a bad loser and then goes to war against the saints.
Daniel 7 shows this.
The horn (the antichrist - the son of the devil) fights against the saints and overcomes them, they die a martyr’s death.
"As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom."
Those saints who were overcome receive kingship.
". . . they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
This is a wonderful prospect for those living in the great tribulation who lose their lives. They receive a new, imperishable, eternal life with Jesus Christ and the kingship with Jesus Christ.
FROM WHOM ARE THE BRETHREN BRETHREN?
They are brothers of the one who says this all with a loud voice in heaven.
These brothers are people because of them is testified:
"They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death."
Yet there is a voice in the heaven, who speaks to them as: our brothers.
Whoever says that in heaven, must be a brother of the accused.
Reasoning by, the voice in heaven must be the voice of a man. And that man in heaven is speaking also on behalf of at least an other man that is in heaven, because he’s talking about: our brothers.
We know with certainty that two people are in heaven: Enoch and Elijah. But at the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount, Jesus spoke not only with Elijah, but also with Moses. It is likely that Moses is in heaven too.
From one of them must be that loud voice that John heard in heaven.
OUR BROTHERS. . .
Who are these brothers?
We have just seen that they are brethren of Moses and Elijah.
Moses and Elijah were Israelites. It is therefore logical to assume that “our brothers” are Israelites.
You can assume that these are “human brothers”. Brothers of the human race.
Verse 11 clearly emerges that these “brothers” know the Lord Jesus and accepted His redemptive work on the cross.
They are thus in any case Christians either from the Jews, or from the other tribes of Israel, either from the Gentiles.
These “brothers” are the same group of people as in Revelation 12.
"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
This group persecuted are also mentioned in Revelation 7.
Revelation 7:9-17 (please read Revelation 7:9-17 here)
On the basis of Revelation 12 it is not clear about who exactly they are.
This large crowd are certainly believers in Jesus Christ, but as said before: whether they are from the Jews, or from other tribes of Israel, or out of the Gentiles, is not entirely clear.
One thing is very clear:
"They overcame him (the devil)
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;"
In part 4 we go on with the second part of Revelation 12. Verses 13-18.
(In another Bible study I talked about that when I compared Acts 2 Joel 2. Still in short: The outpouring of God's Spirit, which Acts 2 speaks about and which today is still poured out, is a foreshadowing of the outpouring that will take place when Israel will repent at Jesus' coming. See Joel 2.)
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" 13Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes-who are they, and where did they come from?" 14I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."