The Holy War
Revelation 12-14 offers a fourth cycle of visions that falls between that of the seven trumpets (chaps. 8-11) and that of the seven bowls (chaps. 15-16). These other cycles each begin with the first advent of Christ and end with his second coming. Likewise, this cycle begins in Revelation 12 with the birth and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and ends in chapter 14 with judgment day.
We are at the center of the book of Revelation. The end of chapter 11 marks the halfway point – not only numerically, but also in terms of the message of this book. Revelation 1-11 gives us a surface picture of the church persecuted by the world. Its trials and tribulations are depicted by the seven seals and seven trumpets. But chapters 12-22 tell us what is going on behind the scenes of this conflict, nothing less than war in heaven.
Revelation 12 helps us understand our lives and times in terms of the larger picture of a cosmic battle between God and the devil, between good and evil. The Christian in this life is always at war, for he belongs to the militant church on earth. He is engaged in holy war not only against the world’s temptations and his own old nature, but he is also involved in a necessary, serious, spiritual, and holy war against Satan. This is a fierce battle. Thank God that Satan is only a fallen angel and does not have the power of God. On the other hand, however, he is a fallen angel, and therefore is much more powerful than we are and more powerful than the church is in her own strength. The believing church can only get the victory over Satan by faith in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Chapter 13 continues the theme of chapter 12 by describing the dragon’s allies in his war on the church. Throughout the history of the Old Testament, the devil attempted to destroy God’s people and prevent the coming of Jesus Christ. Each time, his attacks failed. So, having been utterly thwarted and defeated by the birth of Christ, the devil has turned his attention to the church in the New Testament age. With the fury of frustration, Satan is waging war against the saints of God. In this context, John sees two beasts rise, one from the sea (13:1) and the other from the earth (13:11). The two beasts are both allies of Satan in his war on the church. As his agents, they are invested with his power, throne, and authority. These two beasts, closely resembling their lord and prince, fight alongside Satan against the saints. Who are these beasts?
You will not want to miss this Lord’s Day as we work our way through chapters 12 and 13, albeit, in a cursory manner. This Sunday we will answer questions concerning the identity of the dragon, the woman, the beasts, and last, but not least, the number 666. Six hundred and sixty-six! Few things have fueled more speculation than the biblical witness to the Antichrist, and especially the testimony given by John in Revelation 13, to a beast identified by the cryptogram 666.
I look forward to joining you in worship this Lord’s Day as we continue our study in Revelation chapters 12 and 13. Bring along some of your friends and family. Remember to pray for our services. May the Spirit of the Lord do a great work among us.
Grace upon Grace,
Remember to bring your items to help restock Good Shepherd’s food pantry:
- Canned Chicken, tuna, spam or luncheon meat
- saltine crackers
- canned fruit
- cereal (any kind)
- chunky brand soups with meat
- peanut butter and jelly
- mac-n-cheese dinner (requires only water)