This chapter seems to start a new section in the Book of Revelation. Since Chapter 4, we’ve gotten two “cycles” that tell about the End – the opening of the seven seals and the blasting of the seven trumpets.
During these chapters, we’ve gotten a few of glimpses of the church. We’ve seen the martyred saints crying out justice. We’ve seen the sealing of the “144,000” of Israel and the gathering of peoples around the throne of God. And we’ve seen the two “witnesses” preaching, dying, and rising again.
The church is chosen by God, empowered by God, protected by God, and preserved for eternity by God.
In Chapter 12, we see why the church needs protecting. Satan shows up. He’s in the form of a seven-headed dragon. He is wearing a crown, as if he were a king. He’s “that ancient serpent” – and we think of Eve chatting with a sake beneath the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent is the “deceiver of the world.”
Satan has a legion of angels. Satan opposes God. And Satan loses in the end. In this chapter alone, Satan’s schemes are thwarted four times – when the child escapes to God, when the woman flees to the wilderness, when Michael and heaven’s angels win the war in heaven, and when the woman is carried on eagle’s wings to safety.
Satan’s task at that point? “To make war against the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
I’m pretty sure the woman represents the people of God – maybe Israel itself. I’m happy just thinking about them as the people of faith. And to those people, Jesus Christ was “born” – the Son of God, a member of the nation of Israel, of the people of faith. He died and rose again and ascended “to God and to his throne.”
We know Satan wanted to destroy Jesus. And now we know Satan wants to destroy the church – more offspring of the “woman” in Revelation 12. Peter said Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan failed to devour the ultimate prize – the Son of God. Satan was defeated in the heavenly war. Now wants to wreck the church, the people of God, the offspring of faith.
We ought to be clear-eyed as we walk with Christ. We have an adversary, and he is desperate.