This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at www.dtbm.org
TUESDAY: God’s Amazing Plan
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
God shares His plan by opening all the end-time events to us through His servants like the apostle John. Consider these seven openings in heaven:
1. God opens a door to worship: … I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice … was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (Revelation 4:1).
2. God opens the seals of His wrath: … When the Lamb opened one of the seals … I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see” (Revelation 6:1).
3. God opens the pit of doom: And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose … like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke … (Revelation 9:2).
4. God opens His temple in heaven: Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (Revelation 11:19).
5. God opens the tabernacle of His testimony: After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened (Revelation 15:5).
6. God opens the gates of heaven: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war (Revelation 19:11).
7. God opens the books of judgment: And I saw the dead … standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works … which were written in the books (Revelation 20:12).
Revelation 12 also contains two signs—the sign of the woman and the dragon. In this highly symbolic section, God continues to show the unfolding of His plan as the world surrounds His nation, Israel.
The First Sign—“a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” In addition to Revelation 12:1, four other times Revelation mentions women who represent special things. In Revelation 2:20, Jezebel is a picture of Paganism in the church. In Revelation 12:6 the woman is Israel. The scarlet woman described in Revelation 17:1-6 is the apostate church. And in Revelation 19:7, the Lamb’s wife is the true church. Now let’s look at some ways Bible teachers have identified this woman in Revelation 12:1-2.
The woman’s clothing corresponds to Joseph’s dream.
Genesis 37:9-11 reports that Joseph told his brothers and father about a dream in which “the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to [him].” His father “rebuked him” and his brothers “envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” Joseph is describing Israel—the twelve tribes—the twelve sons in the family of Jacob, or Israel. The clear correspondence here to that truth made Joseph’s brothers angry.
The woman cries in labor. This speaks of the nation of Israel as they groan. Ever since they were in Egypt, they have complained: Why is everyone against us? When God sent forth His Son to be born in Israel, it was a time of oppression at the hand of Rome. All of Creation groans awaiting redemption, and all women groan in childbirth.
The woman’s exalted child can only be Jesus. He is the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15); He is of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10); He is the Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17-19); He is God with us (Isaiah 7:14); and He is the Son of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1).
The woman is cared for by God in the Tribulation hours. Only Israel is promised such care. It can’t be the virgin Mary because she is gone. It is not the church because she is never supposed to hide for three and one-half years in the wilderness. It can’t be Eve in the Garden of Eden because Eve is gone too. There is only one group of people who are going to be on earth with Satan chasing them during the Tribulation—a people clothed with the sun, moon, and stars—and that is Israel. What is amazing is that they are the only group of people for whom God has prepared a place in the wilderness to hide!
The Second Sign—“a great, fiery red dragon.” Revelation 12:3 reveals that Another sign appeared in heaven: … a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. This is an easy sign because Satan has been well identified throughout the Scriptures as the serpent, that old dragon, the devil. Satan is the author of the Fall (Genesis 3:14a), the prince of this world (John 12:31; see also 14:30 and 16:11), a murderer and a liar (John 8:44), and an adversary (1 Peter 5:8).
Now that we have identified the “fiery red dragon” as Satan, we must address the “seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.” The seven heads are later stated to be seven past kingdoms (Revelation 17:10) and the ten horns to be ten kings of the end times (17:12). This beast is quite similar to the one Daniel saw with one head and ten horns (Daniel 7:7, 20, 24).
As we close today’s devotional, I exhort you to remain alert to Satan’s mission: he aims “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” you, so stay vigilant! Remember: that old serpent is a defeated foe, and if you resist him through the power of God’s Word and His might, Satan will flee from you!
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