The Woman, Child, Dragon, . . . Page 3 of 6 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God.” Verse 6 is closely related to verse 14. The woman (Israel) fleeing into the wilderness signifies a place devoid of natural resources . . . a place of complete isolation. In this case, the woman hides for three and a half years. She hides in a place that has been prepared by God in order for her to be cared for. God has a wilderness, a place of safety and security for His people in the time of their calamity. In this verse, the woman fleeing into the wilderness is a picture of her escaping to a place of protection. “The wilderness” represents a place of spiritual refuge and protection from Satan, probably not meant to be literal because this chapter is mostly symbolic.
“That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” The Word tells us that Israel will again be fed as they were fed in the days when God rained manna from Heaven and sent quail for meat. If God did it then, couldn’t He do it again?
The period of “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (1260 days, three-and-a-half years) is the period of the great tribulation. The Tribulation—the time of Jacob’s trouble—lasts for seven years, however, the last three-and-a-half years (the great tribulation) is much worse than the first three-and-a-half years. That is the time when Satan will do his worst, but God will not allow him to succeed. He will not even have the satisfaction of hindering for a moment God’s plans, all of which proceed on schedule. Even the exact number of the day’s involved in the tribulation has been written in the Word of God for centuries.
Satan always attacks God’s people, but God keeps them spiritually secure. Some will experience physical harm, but all will be protected from spiritual harm. God will not let Satan take the souls of his true followers. History shows that every nation has been frustrated in attempts to wipe out the Jew. Even in the Great Tribulation, when Satan puts forth his supreme effort to destroy the Jew, he is powerless to accomplish his evil desire. To the very end God frustrates the efforts of the dragon. Satan has power, but he cannot oppose the plan of God.
7 And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
“And there was war in Heaven.”
That is about the very last place one would expect to find war. “War in Heaven!” It’s no wonder that at the end of the Apocalypse God makes both a new Heaven and a new earth, for Satan has defiled both realms. Sin is much older than mankind. It did not originate on earth; it originated in Heaven and began, not in a human breast, but in the soul of Lucifer. So this war is fought in Heaven. The idea expressed here seems to be that the dragon hated the Messiah so much that he pursued him even to Heaven, where he was met by “Michael” with his heavenly legions and finally cast out. Notice that the battle here was not between God and Satan or between Christ and Satan but between “Michael” and Satan. This evil prince never threatened God; it was Michael who defeated him; God does not do business with the devil.
This entire 12th chapter is one of conflict. Here we see the events that are to take place during the last half of the tribulation, the last three-and-one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. This period actually begins with the blowing of the seventh trumpet in 11:15-19 and concludes at the end of chapter 19. It brings Israel to the forefront in God’s plans.
Between verses 5 and 6, however, there is a prophetic gap. All of the present Age of Grace is omitted. Now there are reasons for this. The war spoken of here is a series of conflicts with the dragon persecuting the woman, who is Israel. The events in verse seven do not begin until after the Church has been raptured. In fact, it is possible that the Rapture brings about this conflict.
Satan will attempt to hinder the Rapture. Satan is the hinderer of all that God would accomplish through His own people (Daniel 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:18). At the moment when Satan interferes with the Rapture, Michael and his angels, who are ministers to the saints (Hebrews 1:7, 14), rushed to the rescue—and the battle
Who IS Michael? He is leading the army of angels who are battling Satan and his angels (not demons). Michael is mentioned five times in the Scriptures: Daniel 10:13-21; Daniel 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7. He seems to be the highest of all angels. Jude calls him the archangel. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 9.
It seems that Michael is the leading angel having to do with the Jewish people . . . he is probably the guardian angel over God’s elect: (Daniel 12:1). That refers to Israel. Michael shall stand up to see that Israel does not perish in the Great Tribulation—the time of Jacob’s trouble—“In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel. Yet in the end they will be saved!” (Jeremiah 30:7). Michael is the militant angel who fights on the side of God’s elect—Israel. For instance, it was Michael who fought Satan for the body of Moses (Jude 1:9).
It is a Bible fact that the atmospheric Heaven just above us is the kingdom of Satan. The devil does not have access to the third Heaven where God’s house is. Paul was caught up into the third Heaven, and was forbidden to tell what he heard and saw there (2 Corinthians 12:1-3). There is the echo of the ancient story of a primeval war in Heaven. Satan was an angel who conceived “the impossible thought” of placing his throne higher than that of God and was cast out of heaven.
Satan knows what God’s house is like. Before he became Satan, he was Lucifer, the “anointed cherub that covereth” (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). But sin was born in the heart of Lucifer. He was cast out of Heaven and the angels he led astray are now in chains awaiting the judgment. There is a strong line of thought in the Old Testament in which Satan is still an angel under God’s command and with access to His presence. In Job we find Satan numbered amongst the sons of God and possessing access into His presence (Job 1:6-9; 2:1-6); and in Zechariah we also find Satan in the presence of God (Zechariah 3:1, 2).
In Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6 Paul tells us that we believers set together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Positionally we are dead and our lives are hid with Christ in God—“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Positionally we are members of His body now, and He sits at the right of God; so we sit with Jesus in Heavenly places, in the third Heaven.
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven.
The war is decisively won by Michael and his angels and it appears to have been won without weapons. So complete is the victory that, after the war is over, Michael and his hosts supervise the mopping up exercises. Every inch of the aerial and stellar Heavens is searched thoroughly to make certain that none of Satan’s demons remain (Revelation 12:9). The Heavens as well as the earth must be cleared of all evil, demons, and sin—and of the curse (Romans 8:22). All creation suffers because of sin. All creation is out of joint, off balance, and must be set straight. The method by which the earth and the regions above the earth will be purified is stated in Colossians 1:20—“And through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (also see Hebrews 9:22). The blood of Jesus Christ is the answer. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission. Without the blood of Jesus there is no redemption. How complete—how far-reaching—how powerful—how pure and simple is the blood of the Lamb! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
God’s clear teaching is that Christ is victorious—Satan has already been defeated because of Christ’s death on the cross (12:10-12). Even though God permits the devil to do his work in this world, God is still in control. And Jesus has complete power over Satan; he defeated Satan when he died and rose again. One day Satan will be bound forever, never again to do his evil work (20:10).
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
The purpose here is not the kind of reporting a war correspondent does. It is to tell the Christians why “earth” is under such devastating attack. Since there was no longer any place for them in Heaven, the “dragon” and his “angels” were thrown out and landed on earth.