Defeating the Enemy
November 18-19, 2017
Revelation 12 is really an insight into the nature of the fact that there is spiritual warfare that will be behind many of the things that are happening in the latter-day events. But it's helpful to understand also, because there is a spiritual warfare that is behind what is happening in the world today. Are we not seeing the world changing before our eyes? What we have to understand, is that there is spiritual warfare behind the things that are happening. In fact, it’s important to recognize that there is spiritual warfare individually and personally.
If you’ve ever asked Jesus Christ into your heart as Lord and Savior, you are in spiritual battle because you are a target. What we’re going to see today is of course that you can have also spiritual victory. John has given us the vision, a look into heaven. He tells us that, there is the sea of glass, like crystal. Love the scene there that he describes and in the center is a throne and He who sat on it of course was the Almighty. Around the throne were the four living creatures, amazing in his description, 24 elders sat on 24 thrones.
He said that, He who sat on the throne, the Almighty, had in His hand a scroll that was sealed with seven seals and heard a loud voice that said, “Who is worthy to look into the book and to break the seven seals?” But no one was found worthy, and so John actually has an emotional response. He is like weeping at this and one of the 24 elders says to him, “Stop weeping, for the lion from the tribe of Judah has overcome, so as to look into the book and to break the seven seals.” He says, “I looked and I saw a lamb as though slain.”
When he took the book from He who sat on the throne, the four living creatures and the 24 elders, they fell down before the lamb and they sing a new song, and they worshiped. He began to break each of the seven seals and as he did so each of those breaking of seals set forth and released an aspect of the tribulation period as God's wrath poured out. When he got and broke the seventh seal, he released seven Angels, that has seven trumpets and each Angel as he sounds his trumpet releases and sets forth further aspect of the latter-day events of the tribulation period of God's wrath poured out on the hard hearted world.
Now, that's where we are in this study. He has already sounded the sixth trumpet but before the seventh one, there's an interlude. All of these things that were really not happening in that period, that interlude period. He is giving us in chapter 12, the nature of spiritual warfare, very significant. He is showing us the serpent of old, who is the devil or Satan, mighty in power, desiring to destroy because his time is short, but it's also about victory, for our enemy is a defeated foe. We are called to be over-comers. We don't have to be defeated. We’ve given everything that we need for spiritual victory.
Let's read this chapter 12, verse 1. A great sign appeared in heaven and there was a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars. Who is this woman? She was with child and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Who was the child? He said, “I saw another sign appeared in heaven. Behold the great red dragon that had seven heads and 10 horns and on his heads were seven diadems and his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven." Now, these are not literal stars but rather this is a description of angelic forces.
You'll see that described later, and he threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour the child. Who is this woman and who is this child? She gave birth to a son. It was a male child. It is He who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. That's an insight. This is none other than the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who then came forth from the woman who is Israel. Jesus was Jewish.
And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that she might be nourished for 1260 days. That is three and a half years, according to the Jewish calendar. And there was war in heaven. Michael -- who is established as the great powerful Angel, Michael and his angels waging war with the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels waged war and they were not strong enough and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven 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 and I heard a loud voice in a 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.” Take note of that title, the accuser of our brethren and has been thrown down. Who accuses them before our God, day and night, 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 to death.
For this reason, Rejoice, o heavens and you who dwell in them but woe to the earth and to the sea because the devil has come down to you having such great wrath knowing that he has only a short time. Verse 13 is key now. When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. That is a key to what has happened and has been happening in world history even up to the present day. Let’s go over these verses, noting first of all that there was war in Heaven. He’s talking about spiritual warfare in the Heavenlies and he gives us these signs.
I. There was War in Heaven
He says, “First, there is a sign of this woman that is Israel, who is the one who gives birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.” The second sign is this great red dragon who is the serpent of old, Satan in other words and these set up the events of the latter days. Spiritual warfare is seen in the latter days and in world history. Noting for example, he says, “Satan has been thrown down.” The history of Satan is in view, as well as the future of Satan is in view. Now, many of you know of course that Satan was originally known as Lucifer and when you think of the name Lucifer, of course, in our minds we connotate [sic] evil and just the vilest nature of the word Lucifer, as we should.
A. Satan has been thrown down
Originally, it was a beautiful name and was considered a beautiful angelic being, grandiose [sic], powerful but he had the sin of wanting to be like God and thus that is what can be called the great lie. The lie is the desire to be like God or to be God. You go back to Isaiah 14 and you really get this background description of in fact Lucifer or Satan. How you have fallen from heaven. Oh, star of the morning. Oh, son of the dawn. You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations but you said in your heart. You said, "I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God.”
There you see that is the description of the angelic, "And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the North and I will ascend above the heights of the clouds and I will make myself like the Most High God.” There's a picture of that sin that was the original aspect of the problem of spiritual warfare.
Then you see, like for example, in Ezekiel 28, you see the influence of Satan upon world leaders. You see what's happening in the world today, there is an influence of satanic nature. We have to see going back even to Ezekiel 28 you can see it where he says, “The word of the Lord came to me” to Ezekiel, and he says, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre.” This is the King who was on the coast just north of Israel.
He said, “Now, you say to him this. ‘Thus says the Lord God, you had the seal of perfection.’” Notice, how he combines it to a description of Satan. You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty. you were in Eden, in the garden of God, and every precious stone was your covering and 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. That is an amazing thing. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created that is until unrighteousness was found in you.
Here's giving us the nature of the influence of Satan on even the kingdoms of the world today. It tells us that Lucifer sin, rebelled in heaven, a third of the angels joined him and this angelic war then came forth and he was thrown to the earth to deceive the nations. By the way, just as a side note, good for us to be aware of how others see the background or history of Satan or Lucifer. Again, just for information, the Mormon Church teaches that Jesus and Lucifer are actually brothers. Born from God from the sexual relationship that God has with His many wives in heaven and that each of them were to present a plan.
Lucifer's plan was that man would not have any free will, but this plan was rejected by God. Again, this is Mormon doctrine, this plan was rejected by God and being rejected he rebelled in his anger and thus, a third of the angels were cast out along with him. Anyway, that is just an important piece of information. Going back to
B. He has seven heads and ten horns
Revelation chapter 12, he describes them then as having seven hands and 10 horns. Describing here again as the power behind world leaders and nations but specifically now the Antichrist. Because this description is the exact same description used to describe the Antichrist in Revelation 13.
Also, in Revelation 17, it's described as the seven heads as 7 kings. Five that were, Assyria, Babylon, Medes, Persia, Greece. One that is, and currently that was Rome, and one that will be which is the kingdom led by the Antichrist. It tells us these 10 heads means, He will come from a 10-nation alliance out of the former Roman Empire of Aria. He will create this alliance and he's giving us a description here of what Jesus said are the signs of the times. Be aware. When you see these things that the time is drawing near, He will arise out of a 10-nation alliance but will destroy three so that there will be seven heads or seven crowns on this.
The seven heads and 10 horns describe the nature of this. Thus, people have looked, therefore, for a city that has seven hills to try to discern from which city does He arise. Interestingly, there are numerous cities with seven hills. Rome being, of course, one of the classic examples of that. When you're in Rome, much is made of the fact that it's a city built on seven hills. There are other cities built on seven hills. Jerusalem being another and much is made of Jerusalem and their seven hills. Moscow is also built on seven hills. So that we don't make too much of it, so is Seattle.
C. He longs to destroy Israel
There you go. It tells us that his desire is to destroy Israel. His intent, he longs to destroy Israel. Verse five, the first sign that John saw was Israel giving birth to the Messiah and the serpent of all tells us this description. That he's standing before the woman, verse four, who's about to give birth that when she gave birth he might devour the child. Now, do you remember in the Christmas story which is just around the corner. Part of the story is when the wise men come from the east, they come to hear the great and they ask him, "Where is He who is born King of the Jews?"
Now, when he hears this, he's greatly alarmed and he then asked the religious leaders, "From whence comes the Messiah?" and they report back to him. Actually, interestingly they look it up. They don't know it. They look it up and they come back to him and they say, "The King will be born from Bethlehem." Thus, as we know, he gave the order for all the male babies two years and younger to be murdered. Thus, you see an example of the very thing. The devouring or desire to devour the child. But as we know the story, the angel, of course, alerted Joseph and he was told to escape to Egypt until, of course, Herod the Great died and then out of Egypt they called my son and then he was raised in Nazareth.
His desire is to destroy because notice verse 13. When the dragon saw that he was thrown down, he says, "He persecuted the woman." He persecuted Israel who gave birth to the child. That persecution of Israel you can see throughout world history. It explains an aspect of world history. You go back all the way from Egypt and the oppression over the people of Israel is 400 years. The desire to try to destroy them later. You roll further in the future of Persia and the influence of Haman to destroy every Jew on the earth. Of course, God intervening for that.
There's other examples but you have to, then, move forward to a closer time of today and Hitler. Was it not Hitler's intent to destroy the Jewish people wherever they might be and if he has succeeded in taking the world, which he was very near to do, the Jewish people would've been the ones who have suffered the most if that had been so. Then you have to even roll to today's modern time and the Arab nations, many of the Arab nations and the entirety of fundamentalist Islam, has the distinct and clear desire to throw Israel into the sea, to destroy Israel.
It's interesting because Israeli leaders, Hebrew, Jewish leaders today would say, "The answer to the conflict in the Middle East is, in fact, to have a two-state solution." Israel says, "Allow the Palestinians to have their own state," is in fact the right solution. But here's the problem. It's a non-starter because part of the condition is a -- Okay, Israel will recognize the Palestinian state but then the Palestinian state has to in turn recognize Israel which they say, "No way. It's a non-starter. We will not recognize Israel because our instated and intended purpose is to destroy them."
Thus, there is no solution to the Middle East conflict. There is no solution. That is until the Antichrist arises and he will bring a solution but it will only be temporary. He's longing to destroy. Because that's where you go to the future end times and the Antichrist will bring peace to them at least. He will make an alliance, or rather, a covenant of peace between Israel and the nations of the world. Many foresee that part of that negotiated covenant of peace will be the allowance of rebuilding the temple.
In fact, when we were in Israel and Jerusalem, we went to the temple institute. This is an organization that is preparing the necessary implements and tools that will be used in the newly rebuilt temple and they're all in display. Except, of course, the Ark of Covenant, et cetera, is not. The Showbread, the Menorah, the Altar, all of these things are being readied now for the anticipation of the rebuilding of the third temple. Of course, we understand then from Scripture that three and a half years after this covenant of peace that the Antichrist betrays Israel and even the Antichrist takes back the temple and sets himself up in the holy of holies to be worshiped and honored there as a god.
As you can just imagine Israel responds by force which was the point. To antagonize them into a conflict and thus, all hell breaks loose against Israel. What was the intent of that? To destroy the woman who gave birth to He who will rule the world with a rod of iron because Jesus, when He returns to the earth, setting forth on the Mount of Olives will enter into Jerusalem and will rule the world from Jerusalem and the nations will come unto Him. This is important because you see the intent of the enemy but you also see the provision of God, right?
There are times in the history of Israel where it seems like they were just surviving by a thread. You know in May 14th, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion, the newly elected president of Israel, declared them to be a nation, a state. Immediately upon that declaration, six Arab nations, with well-established armies and air forces, attacked. Yet this tiny sliver of the people, on a tiny sliver of land, defeated six established Arab nations. Then you could go through each war after that. In 1967, a war which took back Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and then you go however to the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
They almost lost, by all appearances they were going to be destroyed, all appeared to be lost. Golda Meir, then contacted Henry Kissinger thus the president of the United States and said, "Our backs are against the wall and we will be forced to use nuclear weapons, we have no choice." To which President Richard Nixon embattled in his own Watergate scandal responded by saying, "Send them everything we've got," and thus began the largest airlift of armament and war supplies the world has ever seen, cargo planes are landing every 20 seconds and they have never seen such a supply.
At one point the secretary of state was reading a list of requested items, the president interrupted him, "Double it, send it immediately." One time there was a squabble over which of the technological planes should be sent to which President Nixon responded, "Send them everything that flies and send it now." Later Golda Meir said, "If it wasn't for President Richard Nixon," which is an interesting factoid, "If it wasn't for President Richard Nixon, we would not have survived as a people." Later Richard Nixon said, "I was embattled in Watergate, I had nothing to lose, send it all to them." Interesting little factoid of history.
Why does Satan desire to destroy Israel? Why is that his intent? Because it is He that comes from Israel that will rule the world. Satan knows the prophecies of scripture and believes them, this is important to recognize He believes the prophecies of scripture more than many people do." In fact in Isaiah Chapter nine it tells us this, "A child will be born, 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 and 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.
II. Beware of the Schemes of the Enemy
From then on and forevermore and the zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this." I love that last word, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts, don't you love the thought of that? The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this. He's giving us Revelation 12 to see this backdrop of history and the future but He also tells us this so that we would be aware of the schemes of the enemy. There's the personal part of it, "Beware of the schemes of the enemy," Jesus said, "The enemy comes to steal and to kill and to destroy," that's His intent, "But I have come that you would have life and have it to the full," that's His intent.
A. He deceives the nations
We see the nature of that conflict between them but when it comes to spiritual warfare there's an old adage in war, know your enemy and know his strategy. Know, first of all know first of all, that it is he who deceives the nations it tells us and that his deception could be placed in several categories. One key thing is what could be referred to as the lie, the influence upon religions to pursue their lie. Many were caught up in the wave of cultural change of the '60s, the '60s found monumental cultural shifts in our culture and the Beatles which were a big part of this were bringing the influence from eastern religion into the main culture of American society there in the '60s.
Now, you might wonder how I know these things, I read about them in history books. The Beatles and their influence of Hinduism cannot be understated and the idea of Hinduism is that everyone is a god they just don't know it yet and their desire of course is to open up your awareness to the fact of your godness. Is actually well embedded into the doctrines of Mormonism, the great lie that one can be a god, that is the deception. Of course the other deception, there's another deception that's quite the opposite, "You don't need God, You are the center, you are the center of your own life, your pleasure and your desires they are the center of what you must pursue."
First John Chapter five just sets it all in order, first John Chapter five, "The one who does not believe God, has made Him to be a liar." John's not holding anything back here. What powerful words, the one who does not believe God has made Him to be 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 that life is in His Son. He who has the Son has a life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." It is as clear and as straightforward as that.
B. He is the accuser of the brethren
"God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in him well not perish but have everlasting life." Then He tells us the nature of the spiritual warfare. When He says that, Here's is the accuser of the Brethren. Verse 10, the accuser of the Brethren, Satan doesn't even have to lie to be the accuser of the brethren, because there's enough sin in everybody's life that all He has to do is bring it up to be the accuser of the brethren. Many people have been defeated by the constant bringing up of their past, but here's the thing, the problem is that, your failures of the past are only part of your story.
This is important to recognize, that's only part of the story, the victorious part of your story is that the blood of the Lamb, the forgiveness of the Lord has such given you victory that your sin is now paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ, you have an answer. When the accuser of the brethren wants to remind you of your past failures you have an answer, you have a powerful answer and that is the blood of the Lamb of God has paid in full. Thus Romans chapter eight is so powerful, "Who will bring a charge against God's Elect? God is the one to justify. If God justified you who's going to condemn you.
Christ Jesus is the one who died, yes He was raised, who is at the right hand of God and who intercedes for you, who will separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation? Distress? Persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Perilous? No, it goes on, nothing will separate you from the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.