Revelation Week 9 – The Woman, The Dragon, and The Son of Man

Back to where we ended – two views on chapter 11

  1. The end of Chapter 11 is the end of the story – God’s victory is complete, the rest of the book is a more detailed account of how that happens and what happens on earth as that victory comes to fruition
  2. Chapter 11 is the end of a section of the story and there’s still more to go. Ex. – some people believe that what we see at the end of 11 is the rapture and from here on God’s people are not on earth for the rest
    • Brief note on the rapture – its not in Revelation
      • Comes from Paul, not John
      • Revelation never says that the people of God will get to avoid the suffering, it says they’ll be protected from it but the implication is that because of that persecution will get worse

Anyway – what most people are in agreement of is that Chapter 12 is an interlude that reveals the way that God has won – this isn’t a future event, this scene has already happened

Revelation 12: 1-6

  • Begins with a woman. Clothed with the sun, the moon is at her feet
    • Sun and moon = light and dark, good vs evil, the woman is a force of good and she is currently resisting or defeating evil
    • She has a crown with 12 stars – that’s our clue as to who she is
      • Twelve tribes of Israel, Twelve disciples, this woman is the people of Israel and then the church, the community of God,who because they belong to God should be above darkness
  • She is pregnant, she’s about to give birth – she’s at her most vulnerable which is a bad thing because she’s being pursued by a dragon (7 horns and 7 heads)
  • Dragons aren’t good – quirk of the study of world cultures, everyone has dragons and none of them are good
    • Egyptian mythology – Set, the god of chaos who murdered his brother Osiris in a bid to rule the world, was depicted as a red dragon
      • Also, every night the sun god Rei drove the sun through the underworld where he battled a dragon – one day the dragon will win and the world will end
    • Norse Mythology – the end of the world begins when a dragon is set free and kills the gods
    • Aztec – the end of the world is marked by the return of the sky-dragon Quetzocoatyl
    • Dragons are bad – Dragons pursuing pregnant women are very bad
      • Greek myth – Zeus impregnates a woman (may or may not be a goddess) named Leto. Hera finds out, sends her dragon to pursue Leto so that she can’t give birth on land or sea. Poseidon helps out, creates a floating island where she gives birth to twins – Apollo and Artemis, and then Apollo tracks the dragon down and kills it
        • So John’s readers know a story already about a son of God who defeats a dragon that pursued its mother, what he’s doing is telling them, here’s the real story
  • Because the dragon is pursuing her to devour her son (we’ll get to why in a second). Who is her son? We’re going to see that its Jesus, the son pursued by the dragon who comes from the people of God
  • She gives birth and the child is snatched – snatched is violent, so happened? The dragon was successful, the dragon killed the child (crucifixion) but it didn’t work out the way he planned because the child goes up to God and the throne
  • The woman is left, she goes into the wilderness. What happens in the wilderness? Testing. The people of God have been in the wilderness being tested since the child was snatched and will remain for 3.5 years

Meanwhile…verse 7-9

  • There is a battle going on in heaven between Michael and the Dragon who is revealed as Satan/Lucifer
    • What is the fight about? Their roles as prosecutor and advocate of the people of God
      • Ha Satan – the accuser, think about when we see the Satan in Job
      • “The Testament of Adam and Eve” – Michael is the first to see Adam and Eve when they’re created and goes back and tells the rest of the heavenly host about them, how amazing these creatures in God’s image are, how the angels should bow down to them. Satan is not impressed, maintains that the angels are God’s best creation, and sets out to prove that humanity is a disappointment because free will means we’ll always fail God. Satan tempts Adam and Eve, they fall, that tradition continues, the wages of sin is death, so Satan prosecutes and executes all of humanity – everyone dies. Sacrifices delay it but it still happens
    • So Satan begins to get cocky. Because God keeps trusting in humanity and we keep failing. Satan rarely (if ever) fails at tempting people and God rarely (if ever) succeeds in convincing people to remain faithful. And Satan also begins to be seduced by the same things he tempts people with – power, violence, greed, etc.
    • Then God does something that changes the equation, he sends his son. And Satan believes that this is going to be his ultimate triumph. When he corrupts the son of God no one will be able to deny that he’s right.
      • So he tries to tempt Jesus and it doesn’t work. And he starts to get concerned. And he gets impatient. And he decides to enact the punishment without the crime. And he snatches up the child. He uses all the things that he’s manipulated, the might of Rome, the ride of the Jewish officials, the fickleness of the crowd, and he kills an innocent man. And at that moment he’s thrown from heaven. Because he’s violated God’s justice. So he can’t bring another case.

Verse 10-17

  • Because he’s been thrown out, when we go before God there’s no one to make the case against us
  • So he comes after the people of God but he can’t harm them, not really, and he knows his time is short so he lashes out. And the lashing is fierce to behold, but it’s the lashing of a snake with its head cut off making those last few twitches, because to those who are faithful, the death of the Lamb has cost him his power over them.

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