Sunday, October 29, 2023

Target: The Church

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Target: The church"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

From Genesis 3:15 - "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

These were God's words spoken to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, after he had deceived Eve about the forbidden fruit.  God had, in just the prior verse cursed the serpent for what he had done, and had now promised a battle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of Eve.

From this point on, the Bible follows the bloodline of Eve, down through many generations, chosen generations, to Abram, later called Abraham.  The chosen bloodline flows right to the Tribe of Judah, and eventually to Mary, the Virgin who would conceive Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God: Son of God, and Son of Man.  And it is His bloodline that was targeted by the serpent throughout the Old Testament.

The woman in Revelation 12 represents Israel, and that holy bloodline.  God chose Abram and his descendants to bring Messiah into the world.  But the bloodline was the focus of multiple Satanic attacks through the ages to end it.  That old serpent, Satan, knows that God's anointed will be his end.

Now in Revelation (the omega of the Bible's Books) we find "the woman" and her seed opening the chapter, a fulfillment of God's prophecy in Genesis 3:15 (the alpha book of the bible).  The several other characters made mention of in Revelation 12 all play their parts, but the second of them is "Satan," who is rearing his ugly head again against the blood lineage chosen by God to bring redemption to all mankind.  Jesus isn't called the Alpha and Omega for naught!

Humanity is entranced by any theme of Good vs. Evil.  Satan could not bring God's Chosen Bloodline to a halt, but his new target has been acquired: Followers of the Messiah - Jesus.

Peter, in Acts 2:14, stood up with the eleven and said, "Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken unto my words:" The rest of Peter's words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were recorded and continued through the end of chapter 2. 

Bobservations Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 12:1-10 (part 1) - "Target: The Church!"


In chapter 12, Revelation takes a bit of a detour from the step-by-step narrative of the end times. The events described occur throughout the history of mankind, past, present, and future. In the course of the visions given to John, seven main figures are described. Five of those appear in this chapter. The next two chapters will continue to fill in the details. Chapter 15 adds another vision of heaven, and chapter 16 will return to a more chronological depiction of the last days.

This world that God created is very much the theater in which the story of redemption is played out. From the beginning, Satan and his demonic hosts have done everything imaginable to stop God's redemptive plan for mankind. From Adam and Eve to the final battle in Revelation, Satan will not give up. However, Israel brought forth a Son, the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. Satan was unable to stop Him. Satan's efforts to destroy the chosen bloodline of our Lord failed.  His efforts to persecute and stop the spread of the gospel through the Church will continue until the rapture. Even after the Church is raptured, the gospel will go forth and multitudes will be saved. His plans to destroy the Jewish people and God's plan to redeem Israel will continue until Christ's return.

As we begin chapter 12, this marvelous text introduces us to the war of the ages. Since the fall of Lucifer, the son of the morning, the highest of the angelic host, since the day he became Satan the devil, the archenemy of God, there has been a constant war going on throughout the universe. This is a war waged between Satan and his demons and God and His angels. Many of these battles, of course, have found their way to the theater of the earth. In fact, this great warfare is all about the earth. The earth becomes the featured center for the battles that make up this war, and that means men and women are also engaged on one side or the other.

When Satan fell, he dragged a third of the angels into the warfare with him. And when Satan went into the garden of Eden and deceived Adam and Eve, he dragged the human race into the war as well. This war, the long war against God, has been going on, then, since Satan’s fall and will finally culminate in the end of time when Jesus Christ once and for all and forever defeats Satan and all the demons and casts them into the pit.

Scripture references: Genesis 3; Genesis 37; Job; Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28; Matthew 2; Revelation 12.


Throughout the scriptures there are many names given to Satan.

Satan:  The name means "adversary" or "enemy," especially in the Gospels, and in the book of Job.  The term devil comes from a Greek verb meaning "to slander" or "to falsely accuse." The Bible identifies Satan as a murderer, a liar, a roaring lion seeking to devour, the god of this evil age, the tempter, the dragon, the serpent, and the "accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12:10).  His accusations against believers in Christ are unsuccessful because CHRIST IS OUR ADVOCATE (1 John 2:1).  The Lord provides His saints with sufficient armor to combat and thwart the adversary (Ephesians 6).  Ultimately, Satan's power over Christians is already broken and the war is won through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which forever conquered the power of sin and death. 

The Antichrist:  This man is not Satan, but Satan is the force behind him.  Scripture tells us that a false prophet and evil being will set himself up against Christ and the people of God in the last days before the second coming of Christ.  The term, Antichrist, refers to one who stands in opposition to all that Jesus Christ represents (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).  The apostle John wrote that several antichrists existed already in his day - false teachers who denied the deity and the incarnation of Christ - but that the supreme Antichrist of history would appear at some future time, during the tribulation period.   Paul called him the "man of sin" and the "lawless one" in 2 Thessalonians 2.  This man, not Satan, will exalt himself, declaring himself to be God and demanding the worship of the world.  

In verse 12:1 of Revelation, John writes, "And there appeared a great wonder..."  This word "wonder" is interpreted, "sign."

Wonder/Sign (vs 1): A symbol pointing to something else; this is the first of seven signs in the last have of Revelation (see verse 3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20).  This sign is so comprehensive that it embraces the entire plan of redemption, beginning with the promise God made with Adam in the Garden of Eden.  

A Woman (vs 1)
:  This is not an actual woman, but a symbolic representation of Israel, pictured in the Old Testament.  

Clothed with the Sun, Moon Under Her Feet...Twelve Stars (vs 1): This is the same symbology that Joseph used when prophesying that one day he would rule.  
The idea of the stars, moon, and sun representing the family of Israel is repeated in Revelation 12:1. That passage speaks of Jesus coming from the nation of Israel. Being clothed with the sun speaks of the glory, dignity and exalted status of Israel, the people of promise who will be saved and given a kingdom.  The Twelve Stars represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

Cried, Travailing in Birth (vs 2): Israel, often pictured as a mother giving birth (see Isaiah 26:17-18; 54:1; 66:7-12), has agonized and suffered for centuries, longing for the Messiah to come and destroy Satan, sin, and death, and usher in the kingdom.

Great Red Dragon (vs 3):  The woman's mortal enemy is Satan, who appears as a dragon thirteen times in Revelation (see Revelation 9; 20:2).  Red speaks of bloodshed.  The sign of the great dragon is explained in Revelation 12:9. He is "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan," who has tried to destroy the woman and her spiritual seed ever since the beginning. 

Seven Heads - Ten Horns - Seven Crowns (vs 3): This figurative language depicts Satan's domination of seven past worldly kingdoms and ten future kingdoms.  See 13:1; 17:9-10.  Satan has ruled and will rule the world until the seventh trumpet blows (11:15).  He has inflicted relentless pain on Israel, desiring to kill the woman before she could bring forth the child (Jesus) that would destroy him.

A Third of the Stars of Heaven (vs 4): In Satan's original rebellion, he persuaded a third of God's "innumerable company of angels" (Hebrews 12:22) to follow him.  They were "cast out into the earth" (Revelation 12:9) as a result, becoming demons. (See also: Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:17; Luke 10:18).  We are also told that some went to the lowest hell (2 Peter 2:4).  Some were bound in the Euphrates (Revelation 9:14).  There are multitudes of demons freely roaming the world and serving "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), and these demonic hosts will be more active and dangerous than ever in these final days. 

To Devour Her Child (vs 4): Ever since the promise of Genesis 3:15, Satan has been attempting to prevent the promised Seed from being born, beginning with his attack on Cain and Abel (1 John 3:12), and even attempting to corrupt the entire human race in the days of Noah (Genesis 6:4-13).  Unable to prevent the virgin birth of Christ, Satan tried to kill the child in a massacre of male children in Bethlehem, commanded by Herod the Great.  Satan went even so far as to try to corrupt Christ in the wilderness temptation.  He tried many times to have Him slain before He could go to the cross.  

A Male Child (vs 5):  This can only be Jesus Christ in His incarnation and of Jewish descent.  Despite Satan's efforts to destroy Israel and the messianic bloodline, Jesus' birth took place as prophesied by the prophets.

Rod of Iron (vs 5):  Note Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 19:15. This identifies the Lord Jesus Christ as the "man child," and therefore as the promised seed. This clearly describes Jesus' coronation as King over the nations of the world (see 11:15; 19:15). 

Caught Up (vs 5):  The primary reference here is the resurrection and ascension of Christ (Acts 1:9; Hebrews 1:1-3).  It's interesting to note the phrase "caught up" is also used in connection with the rapture of believers (1 Thessalonians 4:17). 

Woman Fled to the Wilderness (vs 6):  God will protect Israel from Satan by hiding her in the wilderness, the desert and mountain regions east and southeast of the Dead Sea.  This is the region occupied in ancient times by the peoples of Ammon, Moab, and Edom, and it is to this area that Israel will flee to escape the armies of the beast. Many believe this to be the City of Petra.  

A Thousand Two Hundred and Threescore Days (vs 6):  God will care for Israel in the wilderness during the final 1,260 days (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation.    (See Jeremiah 30:7).  At the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27); Matthew 24:15), and devastates Jerusalem (11:2).  It is at this time; many Jews flee for their lives (Matthew 24:16-22).  

War in Heaven (vs 7): The tumultuous events on earth during the Tribulation find their counterpart in heaven.  A state of war has existed since the fall of Satan.  At this time of Jacobs trouble, the archangel Michael will "stand up" for them (Daniel 12:1), and this will result in a great war in heaven.  This may be at the time went the saints are raptured, passing through the realm of Satan.  There Satan and his demons will be defeated and cast permanently down to the earth (12:9).   Initially, at the time of their original rebellion, Satan still had access to heaven, where he accuses believers' day and night.  When they are defeated in this war, that access will be denied, and they will be forever barred from heaven.

Deceives the Whole World (vs 9):  As he has throughout human history, Satan will deceive people during the Tribulation (see Revelation 13:14; 20:3).   Satan, the great deceiver, has deceived the whole world with the great lie that God is not really the Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all things.  That men and angels can reject His Word, rebel against His rule and ultimately aspire to be "gods" themselves. The lie of evolution.  The lie of Atheism.  The lie of Pantheism.  The lies of the devil!

Accuser of our Brethren (vs 10):  Her is a glimpse of the continual slandering campaign of the devil.  Devil in the Greek is diabolos, meaning "slanderer" or "false accuser".  (See Job 1:7, 11), Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1-2), and Peter (Luke 22:31), as well as his ongoing campaign against every believer (1 Peter 5:8).   Satan will no longer accuse believers before the throne of God because he will no longer have access to heaven.

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