Brit Hadashah Reflections 33
Hebraic understanding Hebrews and Revelation
Revelation 12 1 - 17
This is a part of Scripture which is avoided by many people because of its seeming complexity. It is the only book in our Bible attributed to Yeshua Ha’mashiach Himself. Written by the Apostle John late in his life during a visionary encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. At times John is prompted, even directed, by the Lord to write what he is witnessing. One can only guess at the amazing spectacle of being so directed. What he describes is sometimes very difficult to imagine. There are quite unusual events and situations, such as have never before been encountered by mankind, to be considered, evaluated, and reckoned with. But it all comes with a promise!
After the seventh trumpet was sounded, and victory was being celebrated in heaven, there was another demonstration of God’s power on earth with sounds of thunder, great hail, lightenings, and an earthquake. And in heaven, a great sign appeared. It was an unusual sign. A pregnant woman, “clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. And the woman cried out in labour as she was about to give birth.”
This is one of those places in Revelation where our human understanding gets a shock! We quite naturally read the text sequentially, expecting that this is will be an event in the chronology of the future, which is what we have just been ‘reflecting’ upon. But scholars appear united in the view that this is almost certainly a ‘flash back’ to the time when Yeshua was born, and continues in a few short sentences until His triumphant return to the throne room of heaven when He was able unlock the ‘seals’ of the scroll. So it is a parallel account of the past, the present, and the future. It is an illustration of the timelines of God in comparison to our own limitations. In effect, it is a kind of ‘scene setter’, putting the context to the whole story of God’s plan for mankind.
As the story unfolds, we are given an account of the battle which took place for supremacy. “The great dragon of our text, that serpent of old, the Devil and Satan (lots of descriptive text for him), who deceives the whole world, was cast out of heaven with his angels.” This is the battle that took place in the heavenlies when it was decided that Yeshua would come to earth to rule ‘with a rod of iron’. (sound familiar?) Now we might conclude here that the time we are now living in, and all the time for centuries past, has been an interruption to God’s original plan. An interruption caused by that battle in the heavenlies which caused Satan to be thrown out of heaven. And, at the risk of being overly simplistic, in order to get that plan ‘back on track’ it was necessary for another battle to take place here on earth. Death and Hell, the domain of Satan, had to be conquered. The victory in that battle was accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua and His triumphant return to the throne room of heaven. And it was upon that triumphant return that He was the only one able to unlock the scroll that we might know how Satan’s role will come to an end. And that, in a proverbial ‘nutshell’ is what this Revelation vision, given to John, is really all about.
But, as we read this account of things still to take place, we see that Satan is not giving up that easily. He is putting up a strenuous fight to survive. The revelation of the events to take place to bring about his complete defeat, things which must occur to restrain him completely, are going to be utterly devastating for the earth. But then, and only then, will Yeshua return to this earth to rule for a thousand years ‘with a rod of iron’, as was the original plan. We also know that those who will rule with Him are those who continue to resist Satan to the end, those who refuse to bow down to him in worship, those who will be, and have been, martyred for their faith, together with 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes.
We can readily recognize the events of our present day as this chapter of Scripture continues. Although there is concentration on the last three and one half years, (in our text “a time and times and half a time” quoting from the prophecy of Daniel) which we identify as the great tribulation period, there is also reference to the whole of mankind, and particularly to those who through the ages have come to put their trust in Yeshua. They are the ones who have borne, and who still bear, the brunt of Satan’s attacks. And if anyone cares to think about it, we cannot escape the fact that the people group who, through the ages, have known the greatest indescribable and most continuous persecution are those who are called by God’s name, the Jews. These are people who outwardly, overtly, obviously, wear their allegiance to YHWH Elohim as a badge of honour.
Many commentators have bravely attempted to explain the imagery and detail of the descriptive language of these visions given to John. I do not claim such insight, but as I ‘reflect’ on the words I read, I trust God to provide me with the sense of what His message is for us today. I trust God to show you the message He has for you, and to bless you, as He promised He would, as you read the words of the text.