First of all we must realize that Satan is no match for God. It is not as if two equal powers were fighting and the outcome is uncertain. Satan is a creature created by God and even used by God for His ultimate purposes – the glory of His Name. Yet many people (including some believers) do not believe that Satan exists and that after his rebellion (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezk. 28:12-15), his sole purpose is to kill, steal and destroy all of God's people and to drag them into hell with himself and his demons (Matt. 25:41). Thus his primary MO is to convince people that he does not exist and to lie to them and subtly deceive them to do his will. In this chapter we see a broad panoramic view of Satan from his first rebellion in heaven to his being cast down to the earth in the end time period of the Tribulation. He has focused most of his attention on trying to kill God's seed through whom Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer would come, Christ's human lineage, the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. This chapter and the book of Revelation reveals Satan's war with Israel from start to finish as he works through the Antichrist (the beast from the sea) and the false prophet (the beast from the earth): the unholy trinity. ["We know this, that if there's any nation on the face of the earth that Satan would want to destroy, it would be Israel. If he could destroy Israel, he could wipe out God's entire plan. He could make God a liar Who couldn't fulfill His promise. Satan is still trying to stop God from fulfilling His promise of an earthly kingdom for Israel and still trying to destroy the Jews so they can't get there to receive it." John MacArthur]
"A great and wondrous sign (a symbol of a spiritual reality) appeared in heaven: a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth." (See Gen. 37:9-11 Joseph's life is a wonderful picture of Israel.) ["What did they cry for? The Messiah. Israel has agonized and suffered for centuries, waiting and longing for the child that would eventually come and destroy Satan and sin and death and bring the promised kingdom. I think it's unarguably true that no nation in the history of the world has suffered as severely and as long as Israel. If for no other reason, no nation has existed as long as Israel. They have suffered not only because of God's chastening for their sin, but also because of Satan's furious efforts to destroy Israel so the kingdom couldn't come." John MacArthur]
"Then another sign (a symbol for Satan -a spirit-being; see v.9) appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads (earthly kingdoms) and ten horns (power of ten kings) and seven crowns on his heads." ["The dragon is Satan, but since the description parallels that of the revived Roman Empire in 13:1, it may be Satan energizing that world power." MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary]
"His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky (fallen angels -demons) and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born." This is a direct reference to Herod's evil attempt to kill Jesus as a baby but it also represents every murderous attempt to kill those in the lineage of Jesus or to destroy the Jewish nation beginning with Cain killing Abel, Pharaoh trying to kill Moses, Saul's attempt to kill David, Athaliah's attempt to kill Joash, Haman's attempt to kill all the Jews as well as all the other evil rulers who have tried and still do try to destroy Israel. Satan even convinced the unsaved Jewish leaders to kill Jesus but God raised Him from the dead. And God promises to raise the entire Jewish nation from the dead. (Rom. 11:15) ["Israel cannot be assimilated into the nations, nor can she be exterminated by the nations. She is a burning bush in the wilderness. She burns but she's never consumed." John Phillips]
"She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." (See vv.13-17 re: God's provision and protection of Israel at this time.) Here we see Christ's ascension, His rule in the Millennial Kingdom and God's supernatural protection of Israel in the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. Of course this is out of chronological order. Christ ascends to the throne of God as God/Man and is given all authority in heaven and earth (which Satan stole from man) and then we go back to what's going on in the Tribulation which is in between these two events and finally to His rule on earth in the Millennial Kingdom. We must remember that for those who are left behind at the Rapture and are seeing the fury of Satan because his time is short, these words will be so comforting and encouraging to know that God will protect them and provide for them in this awful time and that He and all who believe in Him will win in the end. Neither Satan nor any one can stop the purposes of God!
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." This seems to occur either at the beginning of the seven years of tribulation or at the midpoint. In either case it shows Satan and his demons being cast out of heaven onto the earth for this time of intense warfare. Satan up to this point has access to God in heaven (see Job 1) and accuses God's people day and night (see Rev. 12:10b) to no avail for we have an Advocate (attorney) Jesus Christ and His blood as proof of our forgiveness. But this is the time when Satan intensifies his wrath through the Antichrist and false prophet. During the Tribulation God allows Satan to kill two-thirds of the Jews (Zech. 13:8) and millions of Gentiles, some of whom are saved martyrs but many are those who refuse to repent. Although it is true that God still saves many in the Tribulation period, it will be a high price to pay for most – martyrdom. "But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."
"I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)
QUESTIONS FROM STEVE GRIFFITH'S COMMENTARY
What is Satan's main tool to defeat us and our main weapon to defeat him?
How did the Tribulation saints overcome Satan and how does this apply to us?
From v.5, who is the "male child" (1) who will rule the nations with a rod of iron and (2) who was caught up to God and His throne?
From which nation did the male child come? Therefore, who is the "woman" who gave birth to this child (vv.4-5)?
Who is the "great red dragon" who "swept away a third of the stars (angels) from heaven and threw them to the earth" (v.4)?
Who do you think the dragon's seven heads and ten horns represent (v.3)? Read Rev. 17:7-14.
Read Matt. 2:1-14. How did Satan attempt to thwart God's plan of redemption for mankind at Christ's birth?
Who is the "woman" who flees into the wilderness? According to Matt. 24:15-22, where is at least part of this wilderness located and during what part of the Tribulation will the woman flee?
According to Rev. 12:9, who is the dragon, the serpent of old, the devil?
In v.10, what is Satan described as doing before God day and night? And how does this remind you of what Satan did to Job?
According to v.13, whom does Satan go after during the second half of the Tribulation in an effort to thwart God's purposes before the Second Coming of Christ? In vv.14-16, how does God overrule and thwart Satan's efforts?
When he finds himself unable to destroy believing Israel in her wilderness sanctuary, whom does Satan then turn to go after (v.17)?
Until He Comes, Len and Kristen
http://www.kenboa.org/text_resources/teaching_letters/lens_monthly_teaching_letter (See for archives of monthly teaching letters.)
We are grateful for your prayers and financial support for this Faith Mission /501c3/non-profit.