ON EAGLE’S WINGS
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s glory, born by Israel through Mary; the virgin at the time of His conception and birth; for the deliverance of sin, and to bring Israel through great tribulation to fulfill the promises of God, made to Abraham, David, Jesus, and all who believe, with much tribulation.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 12:1-2 (KJV).
John sees a “Great wonder in heaven”. This is the first of seven personages; “1) The woman, representing Israel, 2) the dragon, representing Satan, 3) the man-child, referring to Christ, 4) Michael, representing the angels, 5) Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman, 6) the beast out of the sea, the world dictator, and 7) the beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world”. JOHN WALVOORD.
Beginning with chapter 12 through chapter 14 we have a parenthetical section which fills in some gaps during the trumpet and vial judgments.
The first of the seven characters is a “Great wonder”. Who is this woman? Is she the Church? Israel? Mary? When looking at her from scriptural understanding she is Israel (Romans 9:5). The nation, historically, gave birth to Jesus by Mary.
This woman being “Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” can be identified with Genesis 37:9. The “sun” is Jaco, the “moon” Jacob’s wife, and the “eleven stars” Jacob’s eleven sons and Joseph making the twelfth.
Verse 2 seems to imply Israel’s trials and tribulations rather than Mary’s
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. vv. 3-4 (KJV).
The second character in this scene is the “Red dragon”. He is evidently seen as God sees him. Blood thirsty and wicked. His “seven heads and ten horns, and crowns…” seem to identify him with earthly kingdoms – especially Rome. He is clearly representing the revived Roman empire and satanic power.
Jonathan Edwards commenting on Hebrews 1:6-8 wrote, writing of Jesus’s birth, “At that time when the Son of God appeared a poor little infant in a stable and manger then God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ and then the angels had a great trial of their obedience greater than ever they had before.” John Gerstner commenting on Edwards writes, “…According to Edwards the fall of the angels occurred when announcement was made that they were to be ministering servants to men’s salvation”. From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS vol. 1, pg. 256.
So we might assume that before the foundation of the world, before time, before history ever began, when Lucifer found out he was going to be a “Ministering servant” to mankind, he rebelled and took one third of the angels with him. Some were confined to chains and some are loose.
Satan, the devil, hated that he was going to have to worship a baby human being, so instead of yielding allegiance to his Creator he determined to do things his way. He set out to destroy this baby. He tried to tempt Him away from His destiny. Then, he tried to defeat Him in death. Lucifer, the devil has certainly tried to “Devour her child”. The child is the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. He is Jesus my Savior and Lord.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. vv. 5-6 (KJV).
Verse 5 certainly makes clear who the man-child is. He is “To rule all nations” (Psalm 2:8). He will rule them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15).
If we look at this verse simply as read it would seem, that the child is born and is immediately “Caught up unto God and to His throne”, however, we must understand the way biblical prophecy works. In many Old Testament prophecies there are gaps. Take for instance Luke 4:18-19 which is a quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2. Note, however, that Jesus only quoted through “…the acceptable year of the LORD”. The fulfillment of the rest is yet to come. The same is true of verse 5 of Revelation 12. “She brought forth a man-child who was to rule…”, but in the gap He was crucified, for the sins of men, was buried, rose again, then forty days later “was caught up unto God…”. The day is yet to come for Him to rule on earth.
The gap between “Pentecost’ and the ‘rapture of the Church” is the Church age. The gap between the “Rapture” and the “Abomination of desolation” is a period of false peace. The time between the “abomination” and the rule of Christ on earth is the “Great tribulation”, or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). “The time of Jacob’s trouble” is the final 3.5 years of “the tribulation” and that is when Israel will be divinely protected by God, according to verse 6. Evidently for the whole 1260 days of sorrow. This will work in them to bring out a remnant who trust Jesus as Messiah.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. vv. 7-9 (KJV).
When we read the book of Job in the Old Testament it appears that Satan has access to appear before God (Job1:6).
It seems that in the middle of the 7 years that Satan is cast out of Heaven, no longer having access to God. Because of this he is allowed to wreak havoc on the earth – “cast out into the earth”. The last 3.5 years are catastrophic. While God is controlling the elements during the opening of the seals, the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials of wrath; Satan (the serpent) is deceiving minds and destroying mankind as never before.
“There was war in heaven”, John says. Michael [the fourth personality in this parenthetical scene], is representative of the great angelic host. These angels, ever faithful to God stand firm to get the devil from before the throne of God.
In Scripture there are four references to the curtailing of Satan’s activities:
1. Somewhere around the dawn of creation satan was cast out of his exalted position as an angel of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15);
2. Mid-way through the Great Tribulation satan will be cast ouot from any access to God as accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10);
3. At the beginning of the millennium he will be shut up in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3);
4. At the end of the millennium he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
We will see, that since satan will be cast out from even appearing before God that he will indulge in an all out attack on the seed of the woman – anti-semitic attacks against all of Israel. He has always hated God’s people, whether it be Israel or the Church. Being no more able to accuse he attacks in all his limited wrath. God protects Israel.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. vv. 10-12 (KJV).
The “Loud voice” is one of rejoicing. It is not said whose voice it is.
It could be God’s. It could be the twenty four elders. It could be the angels. It might be all the voices of heaven blended together as one.
It will be a glorious day in heaven when satan will be cast out from being “The accuser of the brethren”.
HOW IS THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE WON?
1. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross;
2. By the testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God;
3. By loving Jesus with our lives [“loved not their lives unto the death”] (Mark 8:34-35; 10:31).
At this time there will be rejoicing in heaven, but great “woe” to those “Inhabiters of the earth”. Those refusing God’s grace through Jesus Christ will suffer both the wrath of satan and the wrath of God. Satan will go all out. He will even try to destroy those who are his to lead them into eternal torment with himself. He knows his time is short.
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. vv. 13-16 (KJV).
The woman representing Israel (the remnant seed of the woman, and the fifth personality in this scene) is persecuted by satan. This is because of great hatred for the Hebrew people.
As mentioned in verse 6, though a little clearer hear, she is protected by God. The Scriptures have references as to “bearing on eagle’s wings” (Exodus 19:4). This implies swiftness. The place God has prepared for them is an earthly place not known to us. Some believe it to be a place called “Petra”, but no one can be certain. God supplies them their daily needs just as when He led them out of Egypt. There is striking similaritiies in both deliverances.
Verse 15 mentions a “water of flood”. It is not certain whether this is a literal flood of water. It would probably be just all out persecution. The flood does represent wrath in the same sense that the “serpent” represents satan. In that “the earth helped the woman” we can see this as , though satan intended it for Israel, instead it affected the “earth” or the “Inhabiters of the earth”.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. v. 17 (KJV).
It is clear by this verse that satan’s attacks are against the godly remnant. He hates and is greatly enraged against any one “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.
It is not said, but it seems that just as in the Egyptian deliverance, so too, in this one there will be some who will not believe despite God’s providential care; they have an “evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12), and refuse to have Jesus as Messiah.
The persecution, up to this point has been “anti-semitic” against all Hebrews. Now it is solely against those who “Have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12). He made deliverance for us ON EAGLE’S WINGS of the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Make haste to come to Him.