- Sermon Notes
Defeating the Enemy
Revelation 12 reveals the nature of spiritual warfare that is behind many of the events happening in the world today and in the last days. There is spiritual warfare all around us; if you ask Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior, then you’re in the battle, because you are a target. That’s what we’re going to see in the verses we’re studying today.
We have been given a look into heaven. John described the throne of God and the One sitting on it held a scroll that was sealed with seven seals. John saw Jesus who was worthy to open the scroll and to break the seven seals; each seal revealing awesome events of the Tribulation seven-year period.
The seventh seal revealed seven angels with seven trumpets, the sounding of each trumpet revealed cataclysmic events as the wrath of God is poured out on a world that rejected God with hard hearts.
At this point in the book of the Revelation, the sixth trumpet has sounded, but before the seventh trumpet many things are revealed. John is shown that in the last days, Satan will have a significant role in unfolding of world events. He is shown in chapter 12 as the serpent of old, the devil, or Satan. He is mighty in power and desires to destroy, knowing that his time is short.
But Revelation 12 is also about spiritual victory. Our enemy is a defeated foe. We are called to be overcomers; we do not have to be defeated and in fact we are given everything we need for spiritual victory.
I. There was War in Heaven
- Two signs appeared in heaven. The first was Israel, who we see in verse 5 as the one who gives birth to the Messiah, Christ Jesus.
- The second sign was a great red dragon who is the serpent of old, or in other words, Satan. These two signs appear here because they both are crucial in understanding last days events.
- But interestingly, they also give us understanding of the nature of spiritual warfare in world history.
A. Satan has been thrown down
- The history as well as the future of Satan is in view here. Satan was originally known as Lucifer, the greatest and most powerful angel.
- His was the sin of wanting to be like God.
Isaiah 14:12-14, How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
- A scripture in Ezekiel describes Lucifer as the power behind the king if Tyre. It’s important to see that Satan is the power behind wicked world leadership.
Ezekiel 28:12-15, Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of Man, take up a lamentation over the King of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the Garden of God; every precious stone was your covering… On the day you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.”
- After Lucifer sinned he created a rebellion in heaven and a third of the angels joined with him in an angelic war and they were thrown to the earth where they deceive the nations.
Illus – By the way, you might be interested to know that the Mormons have a very different believe about Satan. They teach that Lucifer was brother to Jesus, both being sons born through God having sexual relations with his many wives in heaven. Both brothers, Jesus and Lucifer, presented a plan; Lucifer’s plan was that no one would have free will. God rejected that plan, so he rebelled and a third of the angels rebelled with him.
B. He has seven heads and ten horns
- Verse 3 - Satan is seen having seven heads and ten horns.
- These represent Satan as the power behind world leaders and nations.
- The Antichrist is described the same way in Revelation 13:1-2.
- In Revelation 17:9-14 the seven heads are seven mountains which are seven kingdoms. Five have fallen (Assyria, Babylon, Mede, Persia, and Greece) one is (Rome), and one is to come led by the Antichrist.
- The ten horns represent a revived Roman Empire of ten kingdoms. The European Union of 27 nations today makes up much of the ancient Roman Empire, but there are other clues to follow.
- The Antichrist will arise from a ten nation alliance, but will destroy three and then rise to lead them all.
Note – Rome is a city of seven hills, but interestingly, so is Moscow. There are also other cities that have seven hills such as Jerusalem, Seattle, and Lynchburg, Virginia. Only
C. He longs to destroy Israel
- Verse 5 - The first sign John saw was Israel who gives birth to the Messiah, who will rule all nations with a rod of iron.
- Verses 4,13 - Through Satan’s influence in the world, Israel has been terribly persecuted and many have desired to completely destroy Israel.
- When Jesus was born, Herod the Great tried to destroy him.
- There was also Egypt, then Persia under the influence of Hamaan in the days of Esther. There was Hitler and the Holocaust.
- Today, many Arab nations and the whole of fundamentalist Islam have stated that their intent is to push Israel into the sea.
- In the last days, the Antichrist will negotiate to allow Israel to rebuild the temple, but will betray the covenant and retake the temple to set himself up to be worshiped there. That will cause Israel to respond by force.
Illus – Like drivers in NYC that offend and then are angry that you are offended.
- At times Israel’s existence was holding by a thread, but God has always made a way where there seemed to be no way.
Illus – David McCullough wrote the book 1776 where he describes our nation as holding by a thread as it fought against the British. But that was nothing in comparison to what Israel has suffered to become and then endure as a nation.
Interestingly, Golda Meir stated that President of the United States, Richard Nixon, embattled by Watergate, nevertheless saved Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War by sending the largest airlift of war supplies the world had ever seen and threatening the Soviet Union with nuclear war if they entered into the fighting.
- Why does Satan desire to destroy
Israel? From her comes the one who will rule the nations.
Isaiah 9:6-7, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
II. Beware of the Schemes of the Enemy
- Jesus said the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.
- It’s critical that we understand our adversary and the schemes he would use to destroy. A wise adage of war is… “know your enemy.”
A. He deceives the nations
- Satan’s deception could be placed in two main categories, one being religious and the other not.
- The deception in religion is seen in what we could call “the lie.” This is as old as Satan Himself, ‘We can be gods,’ or we are gods now.
Illus – Many caught the wave of cultural change in the 60’s when the Beetles starting bringing Hinduism into modern culture. The Hindu belief is that we are gods, but are not aware of it.
- Many false religions are based on the ‘lie’ that we can be gods. Hinduism and Mormonism being the most common.
- The other deception is the opposite, ‘you don’t need God.’ You must become the center of your own life; your pleasure is more important than anything else.
1 John 5:10-12, the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
- The saints also overcome by the word of their testimony. What is your testimony? One of the most powerful things you can do is to tell people what God has done for you.
- John also wrote that they did not love their life even to death, in other words, they had died to themselves.
- That was what made them alive to God.
- Jesus said that we should take up our cross and follow Him. He also said that it is in dying that we live.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were
not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is
called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then I
heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come,
for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the
blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12 For this reason,
rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing
that he has only a short time." 13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the