(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
Just prior to the verses in Revelation we discuss today we see the representation of Israel as a woman with child. We see the representation of Satan as the red dragon who takes (or took) 1/3 of the angels with him when he fell and he waited for the woman to give over her child so that he could destroy him. We then see the child, Christ, taken up to Heaven to sit alongside the throne of God and the woman, Israel, in “a place prepared by God” for 1,262 days. We see the angels that remain in Heaven waging war with the angels that have fallen and as today’s verses begin Satan and his fallen angels have been exiled to this world. Verse 10 of chapter 12 tells us that the power of salvation and the kingdom of God have come in Christ and He has overcome the one who accuses believers day and night before God. We are told that believers have overcome the evil one because of the blood of the lamb and verse 11 speaks of the ones who die because of their testimony of Christ. The dragon at this time, exiled to this world, begins to persecute the woman, Israel, because he is getting desperate, and the woman flees into hiding for “time and times and half a time.” Satan attempts to destroy her once again and fails so he turns his wrath on those who “keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Christ.”
Whew! Quite a synopsis! What is so amazing is the information that God packs into these seven small verses; so strap yourself in for this bumpy ride!! We almost see a complete history of the world up to this point: the rebellion of Satan and the fall of the angels, the advent of Christ and his ascension to the throne of God to defeat Satan, the salvation of believers, and even the redemption of the nation of Israel. We also see two references back to the prophecies of Daniel 9 and the seventy weeks prophecy. But before I go any further I must establish some basics.
The word used in the Bible for “weeks” in the Old Testament, shabua, means a period of seven. This can be seven weeks, seven years, seven days, it merely delineates a period of time. 69 of these periods of time have arguably been completed: 7 periods (49 years) before the rebuilding of the temple in the book of Nehemiah and 62 periods (434 years) between then and the destruction of the temple in AD 70. The remaining 1 period is what Daniel 27 and Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 12:14 refers to. The most common translation for this period of time is that one week is seven years. From this we determine that there is one week, seven years, remaining in Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy and that seven years is what is believed by many to be the period of the tribulation. According to Daniel this seven years begins with the rebuilding of the temple in Israel and a peace between Israel and their enemies. Half-way through this seven years, 3 ½ years, 1,262 days by the ancient Jewish calendar, time, times, and half a time according to Revelation 12:14, Satan will begin to wage war (represented by the water unleashed from the serpent’s mouth) on Israel in a last-ditch effort to destroy her. Her remnant is saved and goes into hiding for the last three and one-half years of the tribulation while Satan wages war on those who have come to believe and profess Christ during the tribulation.
It sounds unreal. It sounds like the plot of a fantastic science fiction movie. It sounds so removed from our lives today how can it apply to us?
I believe that this Scripture serves as a “legend”. If you are going to read a map, you must use a “legend” to understand the symbology of the map. You need to know that one inch on the map equals “x” number of miles on the ground. In Revelation, we are provided that legend with which to view, or translate the Scriptures, and this portion of Scripture serves to give us the guide to part of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy. Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy serves to give us a tremendous guideline to Jewish history, period. By providing the book of Revelation, God has provided us with a “legend” with which to view the events within Scripture. He has also placed upon us some indication or necessity for haste in accomplishing His goals. By providing the book of Revelation we are also given another story of God’s ultimate plan of redemption for His people, Israel, as well as those who may not come to believe before the tribulation begins. By providing this legend God is connecting the Old Testament with the New Testament in a way that is unbelievably accurate.
Some may not agree with my interpretation of Revelation and Daniel. Just like the “legend” on a map you must believe the “legend” to be true and accurate for it to be of any help. My interpretation is built from the interpretations of many before me and a firm belief that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and the numbers provided prove to be supernaturally accurate. But whether you agree with me or not you have to ask yourself whether you believe the Bible? You have to be able to see God’s ultimate plan through Scripture and trust that it is truth. God does not want people to be left in disbelief and face eternal torture and damnation. God does not want evil to claim any more lives than it already has. God has always provided, and will provide until the end, a way to salvation. And that way is Christ. Many will die professing Christ. Many will die who are lost. The nation of Israel will eventually realize and call upon Christ as their savior. The blood of the lamb is the only way anyone could ever have any hope, from Moses and the blood on the door posts in ancient Egypt, through Christ and his crucifixion, and until the very end when the nation of Israel calls upon Christ for their salvation. God has provided a way, ONE WAY, and it is our responsibility to share that way with others.
I know that many reading this are facing pain or trouble of some kind and are wondering what this obscure verse means to them. I know that this pain and trouble can be overwhelming and may, at times, seem hopeless. If we put our faith in this world to help us, if we put our trust in ourselves to survive the challenges we face, are we not just putting our faith in that red dragon from these verses? Troubles seem insurmountable and only Christ can claim victory over insurmountable odds. Are you willing to lay everything at the foot of the cross and ask God for help? If you have not already are you willing to put your faith in Christ? If you already are a believer in Christ are you letting Him steer your life? My prayer today is that we are all honest with ourselves when we answer these questions.