The Woman and the Dragon (Rev. 12:1–5)
Revelation 12:1–5 describes the intention of the enemy. Satan intended to destroy Christ here on earth; but when he failed in that attempt, he directed his efforts to the church.
The woman in the vision represents the entire family of God. It refers to the nation and people of Israel as depicted in both the Old and the New Testaments. The woman also represents Christians, later referred to as the children of the woman.
One lesson we can learn from this vision is that God preserves His people, even as Satan is roaming about, ready to devour every child of God. It is also important to learn that Satan is not fighting this battle alone. Represented as the dragon in the vision, John writes that the dragon’s tail “swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (verse 4, NASB).
Satan has his agents here on earth, with whom he seeks to deceive the children of God and lead them to his bandwagon. However, through His plan of redemption, God will lead His children to the Promised Land. This is possible through the acceptance of Christ as a personal Savior. The enemy tried to destroy Christ at His birth, during His ministry, and at Calvary—but his efforts failed at each turn. Only through faith in Christ and obedience to God’s statutes can we, too, defeat Satan.
The War on Earth (Rev. 12:13, 14)
This part of the vision describes the persecution of God’s people on earth. Satan is enraged about the church and the followers of Christ. He is doing everything in his power to destroy them. In addition, the enemy is aware that if he can destroy the church, he can suppress God’s program and achieve his selfish objectives.
However, even as Satan tries to destroy God’s people, causing pain and affliction among them, God’s miraculous hand will be upon the church to provide safety and protection. The Bible explains that the woman was given wings of an eagle to flee to the wilderness and to escape the tribulation mounted by Satan.
The vision provides a lesson for all Christians today in that even as we face challenges in various circumstances as a church, God is always there with us every step of the way to ultimately lead us through to safety. The metaphor of wings is used previously in the Bible, when the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh (Exod. 19:4; Deut. 32:11). In this vision, it implies God’s protection over His church and His children. The comparison of an eagle, which can fly above the clouds, and a serpent, which crawls on the ground, is an indication of God’s superiority over Satan. God has always provided wings of an eagle to his loved children in the face of raging adversities.
Targeting the Remnant (Rev. 12:17)
The war with the remnant is an extension of Satan’s wrath. He launched attacks on Christ Himself, who eventually defeated him on the cross. From Christ, Satan directed his wrath to the infant church of Christ, trying to destroy Christianity at its inception. This led to the persecution and scattering of the disciples and apostles.
Paul refers to Christians as the “seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:16, 29). Therefore, the war against the remnant, the persecution mounted by Satan, and the violence are things that every Christian on earth should expect. Even so, we need to understand the distinction between a true Christian and a false one. John writes that Satan is enraged with those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). These are the true members of the Christian body, not just those who profess it in word.
The Enemy’s Final Strategy (2 Thess. 2:8–12)
Knowing that his judgment is almost here, Satan now unleashes all his power. He implements all sorts of lying wonders and uses every deception of unrighteousness to lure people to eternal death. However, we should note that even the end-time strategy of Satan will not succeed against God’s people.
From the beginning of time, God had a plan to deliver His people from the enemy. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before the enemy is consumed in the brightness of the Lord’s coming. Satan is at war with us. A true follower of Christ living in this time must suffer. However, the rewards for our suffering will be eternal. In spiritual warfare with the enemy, we can excel only if we keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Christ.
1. Which evidences today point to the raging battle between Satan and Christians? How can we win the battles?
2. What are some of the resources that we can use to help us keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Christ?