A Bit of Sacred History, Part 1
This is the beginning of a three-chapter story that encompasses all of salvation history.
Chapter 12 introduces several characters:
- A woman about to give birth: Based on God’s plan throughout the Old Testament, this woman represents Israel.
- A red dragon: One of the great, horrible descriptions of Satan and his power.
- A male child: None other than Jesus.
- The angel Michael: He and his angels defeat Satan and his angels, and throw them out of heaven.
- Other children of the woman: These are people who have walked by faith throughout history.
Parts of the Story Rarely Pointed Out
- Verse 5: The word used for caught or snatched up is the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 4 (and elsewhere) that most people refer to as “the rapture.” This word has nothing to do with secrecy, but everything to do with violent rescue. Our God is the original Seal Team Six!
- Verse 7: Notice that Jesus is not waging war with Satan. Jesus, who is fully and completely God, is not competing with Satan for supremacy. We’ll see this again in Chapters 19 and 20.
- Verse 11: How do we, as children of God, overcome? We overcome by the blood of Jesus and by our testimony of his complete salvation. We overcome because Jesus overcame.
- Verse 17: Typically, this is explained as those who keep the Ten Commandments. This is incorrect. Why? Because this letter, unlike all other apocalyptic literature in the Bible is written within the context of the Gospel and the New Covenant. John is always consistent. When he speaks of law in his gospel, in his letters and here, he is talking about Jesus’ commands to believe in him and love as we have been loved. Using Old Covenant motifs takes away assurance and hope, because no one can keep that law. Keeping this passage in its New Covenant context guarantees your and my victory, not because we’re so capable but because Jesus is our surety. He keeps his commands for us and through us by the indwelling Spirit.
Revelation for You
What does this chapter suggest to you regarding God’s plan of salvation?
Have you allowed Jesus to make that plan real in your life? Would you like to do so now?
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