Read: Revelation 8-12
Reflect: May I be honest with you? I’ve never been a big fan of the Book of the Revelation. I was a fan when I was young and impressionable, but as I became older, I found myself spending less of my time reading and studying those ancient tales of death and destruction (keep that just between you and I). I know it is full of exciting things that will happen in the future, both good and bad; I know that Jerry Jenkins wrote a ton of books about the subject; I know that there have been thousands of Prophecy Conferences which have kept the flock interested in the subject. But maybe God had a different reason when He had John pen those words on the Isle of Patmos other than exciting our senses. God was opening up a picture of Israel and her greatest nemesis: Satan. He wanted us to know that the same God who gave us Jesus is the same God who will ultimately defeat “The Red Dragon”. This is truly a story that can encourage us because ultimately, God in Heaven conquers all.
“A great and wonderous sign appeared in the heaven: a woman 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. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads” (12:1-3)
The woman in this passage represents Israel, and the child that would be born, was Jesus. And of course, the red dragon is Satan, or you may know him as Lucifer, or the Devil, or Beelzebub. This is a fulfillment of the prophecies of Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, and Micah 5:2. However, the most significant importance of these prophecies is that they demonstrate an abundance of love flowing from God. The Bible says that “God so loved the world that he sent his only son……”. His love for the world includes the people who followed Moses until things weren’t working out for them and they decided they wanted to return to Egypt. God’s love included the people of Noah’s day who mocked and derided his prophet who offered them a place of refuge and safety from the rising waters. God’s heart has always included those who have rejected and martyred His people. God’s love even reaches us in America.
We have an abundance of opportunities in this country. We have churches on every corner (sometimes more than one!), we have more copies of the Bible than most of the world, and on top of that we live in a country that allows freedom of religion (at least for now). Yet, even with this glut of riches, we are no more “the people of God” than the people of Moses or the people of Noah. We are people who desperately need to know the Dragon Slayer, Jesus Christ.
Apply: It is certainly a good thing to read and study the Book of the Revelation. We see a glimpse of what the future holds for the people who reject God and the ultimate future of that diabolical deceiver, Satan. But there is something even more significant, to be able to understand the sovereignty of God. The Bible starts out with creation, how the world began, where did sin come from and how important is man to his Creator. It begins with Genesis and ends with Revelation. Maybe Revelation isn’t a book you want to read to your children at bedtime when you want them to have peaceful dreams, but it is a book that you will want to read when your world is out of control and you need to know that Someone has it all worked out, from beginning to end. In this book, the Hero wins: Jesus Christ.
Bill is a retired pastor who continues teaching, discipling, and working with children through the church and by substitute teaching. He loves to serve his Lord.