War on the Earth

After his expulsion from heaven, Satan wages war against the seed of the Woman, those who hold the testimony of Jesus

Dragon floodwaters - Photo by Ryan Moulton on Unsplash
Having failed to destroy the messianic “
son,” and now, thoroughly enraged, the “Dragon” vents his rage by pursuing the “woman” into the “wilderness,” not by waging war against the "inhabitants of the earth.” But he is thwarted in this effort, so instead, he turns his rage on her offspring – the men and women who “have the testimony of Jesus” - [Dragon floodwaters - Photo by Ryan Moulton on Unsplash].

Everything that transpires in the rest of chapter 12 is the result of the son’s elevation to the “throne.” While some of the pictured events may occur in the future, all of them stem from his past victory over the “Dragon,” the “accuser of the brethren.”

Thus, the war on the earth begins almost immediately after the exaltation of the “son.” Satan’s plan to “devour” the Messiah backfires spectacularly, and he suffers a catastrophic defeat and loses his prosecutorial case against the “brethren.”

But the “Ancient Serpent” is not yet completely defeated. Though his powers are now curtailed, However, he can still bite the “heel” of the woman’s “seed.”
  • (Revelation 12:13-17) – “And when the Dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he pursued the woman who had brought forth the male. And there were given to the Woman the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished a time, times half a time from the face of the Serpent. And the Serpent cast out of his mouth water like a river after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. And the earth helped the Woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river that the Dragon cast out of his mouth. And the Dragon was angered against the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her Seed, with them who were keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.”

IN THE WILDERNESS


The “nourishing” of the “woman” echoes the story of Yahweh feeding Israel with “manna” in the wilderness. He sustains her through the persecuting efforts of the “Dragon.”

The “two wings of the eagle” allude to the incident in the book of Exodus when God declared to Israel, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I BARE YOU ON EAGLES' WINGS” - (Exodus 16:15-35, 19:3-4).

The reference to the “serpent” provides a link to the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden when she was “deceived” by the Devil.

The image of the “serpent casting water like a river out of his mouth” does not refer to literal floodwaters, but to the flood of deception Satan pours out against the “woman” - (Genesis 3:13).

WOMAN’S SEED


God intervenes to thwart the Devil’s assault. Enraged, even more, he turns his fury against the “rest of the woman’s seed, TO MAKE WAR WITH THEM.” This last clause echoes the description found in Daniel of the attack on the saints by the “little horn” – “HE MADE WAR WITH THE SAINTS and prevailed over them” - (Daniel 7:21).

The Greek term rendered “keep” translates the verb téreô. The phrase does not refer to keeping the commandments of the Mosaic Law, but to those who “keep” the words of Jesus. And above all, they do this by keeping “his testimony.”

This is a link to the promises made to the overcoming saints of the “seven churches.” Thus, they are included in the “remnant of her seed” - (Revelation 1:3, 2:26, 3:3-8, 22:7-9).

Night Storm - Photo by Samuel Jerónimo on Unsplash
[Photo by Samuel Jerónimo on Unsplash]


Likewise, the “TESTIMONY OF JESUS” connects the narrative to previous statements about overcoming believers, beginning with John on the isle of Patmos who suffers persecution because of the “TESTIMONY OF JESUS.” It also connects this group to the martyrs who were seen “underneath the altar” when the fifth seal was broken - (Revelation 1:2, 1:9, 6:9, 11:7, 12:11):
  • And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, AND FOR THE TESTIMONY WHICH THEY HELD” - (Revelation 6:9).

TESTIMONY


In the preceding passages, “testimony” or martyria is connected to being persecuted for Jesus, beginning with John when he found himself on Patmos. And always, persecution is on account of the “testimony” of Jesus.

Both descriptions are applied to the “saints” in the fourteenth chapter of the book, the same group that will be attacked by the “beast from the sea” in the next chapter, namely, the “saints” (Revelation 13:7, 14:12).

The “remnant of her seed.” In this context, the only offspring of the “woman” is the messianic “son.” When Satan is expelled from heaven, the voice declares that the “accuser of the brethren” has been cast down, and the “brethren” are those men who have “overcome” the “Dragon” by the “word of their testimony.”

Thus, the “remnant of her seed” is identical to the “brethren” of Jesus, those who faithfully follow the “Lamb” wherever he goes.

The last verse of chapter 12 transitions the narrative to the next vision, the rise of the beasts from the sea and earth.

Standing on the seashore, the “Dragon” now summons his “seed” to wage war against the “seed of the woman,” the “brethren” who have “overcome” Satan by following the “slain Lamb” wherever he goes while bearing faithful “testimony” along the way.



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