Let’s dive deeper and deeper into these apocalyptic visions, tugging at the intricate threads of faith to explore the tension between light and darkness, belief and doubt, good and evil. We will try to decipher the cryptic messages, seeking not just to understand, but to shield ourselves with spiritual fortitude in an ever-shifting world.  Ladies and gentlemen, today we begin our journey into the first part of Revelation’s heavenly battles!

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 17:2; Revelation 17:9-12; Revelation 19:7-8; Genesis 37:9; Genesis 3:15; Luke 17:7; Matthew 2:6; Acts 20:28; Psalms 2:7-9; Hebrews 11:17; Revelation 2:27; Matthew 2:13-14; Isaiah 16:1; Jude 1:9; Matthew 17:18; Mark 1:25; Mark 9:25; Luke 4:8; Luke 4:35; Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:14-16; Job 9:33; Job 1:12; 1 Kings 22:21; Zechariah 3:1; Luke 10:18; 1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:14; Exodus 19:4; Matthew 24:15-22; Isaiah 59:19; Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:9-17

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Transcript

Jason: Welcome to another episode of the My Minister Mission podcast. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura,

Jason: Here to guide you on this expedition together, we will traverse the sacred verses that paint a vivid tapestry of heavenly strife and spiritual significance.

Laura: in these hallowed halls of biblical prophecy, we embark on an odyssey to unveil the mysteries nestled within these next chapters. Brace yourselves as we unveil scripture. The woman, the child, the dragon, the beasts, and the lamb, all amidst the chaotic whispers of foretelling.

Jason: Let's dive deeper and deeper into these apocalyptic visions, tugging at the intricate threads of faith to explore tension between light and darkness, belief in doubt, good and evil. We will try to decipher the cryptic messages seeking not just to understand, but to shield ourselves with spiritual fortitude in an ever shifting world.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we begin our journey into the first part of Revelation's heavenly battles.

Hey, Laura,

Laura: Hey Jason,

Jason: why did Samson try to avoid arguing with Delilah?

Laura: something tells me I should know the answer to that, but I don't know.

Jason: He didn't want to split hairs!

I had to throw that in there somewhere. So there are a couple of topics I want to touch on before we dive into this episode of Unveiling Revelation. First, A moment of celebration as this is My Ministry Mission's 50th episode.

Laura: Woohoo!

Jason: Right? I honestly wasn't sure how far I would go with this podcast when it started, but here we are four months away from two years and 50 episodes deep, and I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon, either way too much stuff to share and to learn.

Second order of business is this. These revelation episodes have two challenges for me and Laura. First, they require a tremendous amount of research and second, they end up containing a great deal of content. I mean, if you only knew how much we don't include, you might be surprised because of that. We're going to change things up a bit.

Now I commit in this podcast, I commit to producing an episode at least every other week. So to address change, number one, every other episode will be a revelation episode, at least until we're done, which means every four weeks, Laura and I will be recording Unveiling Revelation.

To address challenge number two. When we do record an Unveiling Revelation episode, it will probably be broken into two parts and released within a week of each other. So what does that mean for you? It means that today you're going to get part one of unveiling revelation, heavenly battles, and next week will be part two. We will be recording this, or we have recorded this in one sitting, and then I break it out into two parts.

And every time we have one of these really long episodes, this is basically how we're going to handle it. It means in two weeks from this episode, you'll get a non Revelation one from me. So, hopefully that all makes sense,

Laura: Makes sense to me.

And now that we have the housekeeping topic out of the way, on to Revelation. As we start in chapter 12, things start to get a bit complicated. Scripture sometimes has an already and not yet tone to it. For example, we are already saved from the penalty of sin, but we are currently in the process of being saved from the power of sin, and we will be saved or delivered from the presence of sin in the future.

Satan has already been defeated by Christ's atonement, but he is currently being defeated in a present battle as described by Ephesians 6. So, what's the point to all this rambling? As we dive into Revelation 12, consider that this final battle has past, present, and future implications all at the same time.

Jason: Makes sense. So let's begin with Revelation 12:1-2, and you can kind of see what we mean here. "A great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet. And a crown of 12 stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth."

So this woman is the first of seven key figures described in this part of revelation. And the other key figures, which we'll talk about as we go, include the red dragon, the child, the Archangel Michael, two beasts, and the Lamb and the 144, 000 on Mount Zion.

So unlike previous chapters we've covered, this seems to be more figurative as a means to communicate something to John and to us. Women often represent religious systems in Revelation. Jezebel in Revelation 2:20 was associated with a religious system promoting false teachings. The great harlot in Revelation 17:2 will tell us of a false religion and The Bride we'll cover in Revelation 19:7-8 will be associated with the church.

Laura: Now, it's pretty common in the Roman Catholic Church to associate this woman with Mary, pictured as the Queen of Heaven. Roman Catholic art will often represent Mary standing on a crescent moon with 12 stars around her head. However, Christianity as a whole generally sees this woman as a representation of Israel, according to Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:9, which reads, "Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. Listen, he said, I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me."

Jason: So basically in that dream, the son represented Jacob, Joseph's father, the moon represented Rachel, Joseph's mother, and the 11 stars were the sons of Israel or Joseph's brothers. Which all bow down to Joseph, but in this vision in chapter 12 of Revelation, there are 12 stars, which tell us that Joseph is now among the other tribes of Israel. And that means someday a restored Israel will bow down to Jesus, who is far greater than Joseph.

Now, the woman crying out in pain as she's about to give birth refers to the labored pains of Israel at the time of Jesus's birth under the Roman occupation and oppression. And we'll learn more about this child in a little bit.

Laura: And before we get to the child, and are we watching the Mandalorian here? We first need to talk about this dragon. Revelation 12:3-4 reads, "Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his head. His tail swept away one third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born." Now that sounds like an epic fantasy movie, doesn't it?

Jason: Yes.

Laura: Well, in this case, these events actually happened, but not exactly as it's described here. Of course, depending on the interpretation of events, this could be a reference to the future instead of to the past. or just another part of the mosaic we've mentioned before. Let's take it piece by piece, shall we? The large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads, is generally believed to be the devil, or Satan, who was once called Lucifer, and that's corroborated in verse 9. And I can kind of see where the red devil with a pitchfork design came from, but I digress.

Anyway, the meaning of the seven heads with seven crowns and ten horns are highly debated. If we fast forward a bit to Revelation 17:9- 12, "This calls for a mind with understanding. The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come. But his reign will be brief. The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like the other seven, and he too is headed for destruction. The ten horns of the beast are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast." And I do kind of have to toss in here that that does sound like the monologue from Lord of the Rings.

Jason: Oh yeah, a little bit. We're missing some rings. Anyways. In these verses though, the woman is not the same woman that gave birth to the child back here in chapter 12. This woman is referred to as Babylon the Great, mother of all prostitutes and obscenities in the world. That's a great title. We're not going to go into this too far because we will get there in later episodes, but this woman is up to no good.

And it's not surprising that she's in league with Satan. Now we talked about Rome being the city on seven hills and highly idolatrous. But who are these seven or rather eight kings represented by the seven horns? This is one of the more difficult passages to kind of unscramble. In this book of Revelation, several commentaries suggest that these seven are specifically the seven Roman emperors from 27 BC to AD 81 with Domitian being the eighth from AD 81 to AD 96.

Now, if this theory is true, that would put the writing of this portion of Revelation, assuming this section is a flashback, during the reign of Vespasian, AD 69 through 79. As the sixth emperor, Titus would be the seventh and would reign for two years, so brief reign. But I'm not so sure I agree with the theory that Domitian is the eighth king, considering that we know Satan is called the prince of this world and is also headed for destruction.

But we'll circle back to this at a later episode. The ten horns are 10 kings who have not yet come to power and will be granted authority to reign with the beast, which ties back to the prophecy in Daniel 7. Now, these 10 kings will be given 10 kingdoms to rule, but will ultimately answer to the beast, both Satan and the Antichrist.

Laura: Okay, back to Revelation 12. The first part of verse 4 talks about the dragon's tail sweeping away one third of the stars and flinging them to earth. Like with all the imagery, there are at least two possible interpretations. First, the one third of the stars could be a tie in to the first four trumpets. Specifically the fourth one. It is more widely accepted, however, that these stars are the angels that Lucifer took with him when he was cast out of heaven.

The second half of verse 12 talks about the dragon standing in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour the baby as soon as it was born. Most people tend to think that this simply references when King Herod ordered all boy babies under two to be killed around the time of Jesus birth. However, I believe that this is one of several meanings. If we go back to the Garden of Eden, just after Adam and Eve sinned, God gives a curse / warning to the serpent. In Genesis 3:15, he says, "And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will bruise his heel." And since then, there are several instances throughout scripture where Satan tried to eliminate anyone he thought could be this seed. Cain killed Abel, the favored brother. Ishmael teased Isaac mercilessly until Abraham sent him and his mother away. Esau wanted to kill Jacob for stealing his birthright and blessing. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. And it is kind of funny that he wasn't even the ancestor of Jesus. The Egyptians killed the Hebrew boy babies to keep the population down. Haman ordered the Jews killed in the Book of Esther. King Herod ordered the destruction of all the boy babies to eliminate this newborn king he had heard about. And on and on it goes. And even in somewhat modern times, Hitler exterminated six million Jews. Not to stop the Messiah from coming, but to further persecute God's people.

Jason: But now, as promised, we moved on to discuss the child.

Laura: I swear I'm getting Baby Yoda vibes, or I just want to sing Do You Hear What I Hear, or perhaps both. But in Revelation 12:5, "The woman gives birth to her baby. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne."

Jason: Now, we established with the last couple of verses that this baby is most likely Jesus. Now, there are some who argue that this child represents the origin of the Christian state or Christianity being triumphant over heathenism under Constantine. Now, this belief is widely discredited, primarily on the use of "iron rod" in this verse, which we'll get into in a second.

But taking a step back, the word that is translated into rule in this verse is poimainō, which is actually better translated "to tend a shepherd" according to Strong's definition. Now we see this word used in Luke 17:7, translated as "feeding cattle" or "looking after the sheep," depending on which translation you read. We also see this in Matthew 2:6, when he says "there will be a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel." It's also used in Acts 20:28, when Paul instructs the leaders of Ephesians, Christians, To "be shepherds of the church of God." My point here is that this term rule all nations leans more towards Christ being a protector and a guide, but it does require us to be obedient.

Laura: As for that iron rod, this represents the Word of God as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So ruling all nations with an iron rod represents judging the world according to God's Word, which by extension means the Gospel of Jesus. This iron rod is also a strong indicator that this child represents Jesus.

Why is that? I thought you'd never ask. If we go to Psalm 2:7-9, it reads, "I will proclaim the Lord's decree. He said to me, you are my son, today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will dash them to pieces like "pottery."

Jason: So I like that verse. But if we look at the King James version of Psalms 2:7, it reads, "I will declare the decree the Lord has said unto me, thou art my son this day I have begotten thee." Now this word "begotten" is kind of neat. It's defined as "to bear", "bring forth", and it is a past participle of "beget", which denotes a physical relation of a parent to a child.

Now, there are people out there who use this term as a means to discredit the deity of Christ. I mean, if Jesus is a created being, he couldn't be equal to God, right? Well, this requires us to take a little bit of a closer look to the word translated from Greek into only begotten from verses like John 3 16, which is the word "monogenēs."

Now, this word can be defined two ways in this context. The first is "pertaining to being the only one of its kind with a specific relationship," as with Hebrews 11:17 and Isaac as Abraham's only begotten son, as in the only son he had by Sarah and the only son of the covenant. The other definition is "pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class or unique in kind," which is the meaning implied in John 3:16 as well as other verses.

Now, John is using this word to demonstrate that Jesus is uniquely God's son. So when we look at Psalms 2:9 and connect it to rod of iron, which is also referred to in Revelation 2:27, this tells us that this child does in fact represent Jesus Christ. Now Psalms 2:7-9 is also a prophecy that God, the father will give his son, Jesus, the nation for his inheritance, as well as the end of the earth for his possession. And of course, Jesus will break them with a rod of iron. I might have gone off on a rabbit trail there.

Laura: And that being said, the next verse, Revelation 12:6 reads, "The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." So this woman is now being persecuted by the dragon, and I think we've established the dragon is Satan. So now God has prepared a place for her where she can be protected for 1,260 days, which makes me think maybe this woman is Israel, because how could Mary possibly flee into the wilderness this way? Although it could also represent Mary and Joseph fleeing from Herod into Egypt in Matthew chapter 2:13-14.

There's an interesting near but far away feeling between Revelation 12:5 and Revelation 12:6. Because 12:5 describes the ascension of Jesus and 12:6 describes events in the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy, which I mentioned in a previous episode. And there are hundreds of years between these two events that include our current period, and there is such a break in Daniel 9:24-27. Most scholars agree that the place God has prepared for the Jews is Petra in modern day Jordan. But it's also called Sela, the capital of Edom, in Isaiah 16:1.

Jason: But then we see this number again, 1,260 days, 3.5 years, or dare I say it, 42 months, wherever the Jews end up, it will provide all they need for 3.5 years or the second half of the tribulation.

Laura: Now that we've established the child represents Jesus, we move on to a conflict brewing in heaven. We are at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation, and God's army is about to start their beatdown on Satan. This war will begin in heaven, but as you'll see in Revelation 12:7-8, Satan is losing. "Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven."

Jason: Now I'm going to jump into a controversial area here. There are some groups that insist on suggesting Michael is actually Jesus here. And there's a variety of reasons why they hold this view, but this is not a view that is held by the majority of Christians and Jude 1:9, it reads, "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses. Did not himself dare condemned him for slander, but said the Lord rebuke you."

This tells us that Michael is not Jesus because Jesus rebukes Satan and demons under his own authority I mean you can see Matthew 17:18 Mark 1:25, Mark 9:25, Luke 4:8 and Luke 4:35 just to name a few

But that out of the way, this is a major fight scene between the faithful angels of God and the fallen angels of Satan under Satan's rule. Understand that this is a battle between equals, and I say that because Satan is not God's counterpart. Because God has no counterpart. If anything, Satan is on equal ground with Michael here, hence the reason I say this is a battle between equals.

So why was this war fought in heaven? Well, Laura touched on this already, but after Satan's original fall and that whole mishap in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:15, God promised he would put enmity between Satan and man. And eventually an offspring would come that would crush Satan's head. Well, Satan didn't like that, and his focus has been to destroy the human race, specifically the nation of Israel, because he knew the Messiah would come and save mankind.

Laura: It seems that Satan has realized that he can't actually thwart God's redemptive plan, Christ has crushed Satan's head through his death and resurrection and tying back to the verse in Genesis, the bruising of the heel was because he did rise again. And now Christ sits on the very throne that Satan wanted for himself. So now Satan is going to try and claim God's throne by force.

Now, before this happened, Satan does seem to have some access to heaven, which we see in Job 1:6-12. And we'll touch on again in Revelation 12:10 here in a moment. But for now, round one goes to the faithful angels of God in Revelation 12:9, "The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth and his angels with him."

Jason: So this one verse uses a number of variations of the title for our spiritual enemy. Dragon, ancient serpent, devil, Satan. According to Wolverine, the devil comes from the Greek diabolos, specifically the, the verb diaballo, which means "defaming" or "slander." Now, our enemy works to lead us astray. But also makes accusations and slanders us. Well, he's hurled to earth. Now the Bible describes four separate falls of Satan and Revelation 12:9 describes the second of these falls. Now the first fall comes from Ezekiel 28:14-16. When Satan falls from glorified to profane, "You were anointed as guardian cherub. For, so I ordained you. You were on the holy mound of God. You walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until wickedness was found in you through your widespread trade. You were filled with violence and you sinned. I drove you in disgrace from the mound of God, and I expelled you guardian cherub from among the fiery stones."

Laura: This first fall is the one I believe is being referenced in Revelation 12:4 when it talks about one third of the stars being thrown to the earth. Now at this point, Satan still has access to God's throne as the accuser of the brethren. This is how he's able to talk to God directly and tell God that he can get Job to turn against him. Job 9:33 says, "If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together."

When Jesus died and was resurrected, his blood cleansed that place, and Satan can no longer accuse us before God himself. Jesus is the mediator Job wished he had. Jesus paid the price, so Satan can't point out our sins to God and expect God to exact the punishment. He can, however, and does quite frequently, accuse and remind us of our sins, failures, shortcomings, and so on. And lies to us about who we are. And we need to remind him that Jesus has already paid the price.

Jason: If we learn nothing else from Job, it's how much we should appreciate our savior. And the second fall, which, as I mentioned, is here in Revelation 12:9, describes his fall from having access to heaven, which occurred after Jesus died and was resurrected. And it's also mentioned in Job 1:12, 1 Kings 22:21, and Zechariah 3:1.

The third will come when the devil is cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, and we'll touch on that in Revelation chapter 20. And then the fourth and final fall, also in Revelation 20, will be from the pit to the lake of fire. Spoiler alert! God wins.

Laura: Now, usually I don't like spoilers, but this one I'll take. In Luke 10:18, Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven," which could represent either the first full or the second.

Jason: Well, look at that. Another rabbit hole. Is that number two for us or are we on three? I can't remember

Laura: I think that's two for this episode.

Jason: Fair enough. Anyhow, we also see that Satan's angels, or rather demonic spirits, are hurled to earth with him. And as Laura already mentioned, these angels might be what Revelation 12:4 met with. "Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth." Which means two thirds of the angels still remain faithful to God. So, you know, home team, advantage.

Laura: Home team advantage. But now we move on to witness a joyful declaration in heaven with Revelation 12:10-12, "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, Now have come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you. He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."

Jason: So it doesn't really say who this loud voice is, but my commentary suggests this is a representative of the redeemed humanity, and not an angel, God, or Jesus. Because it says, "For the accusers of our brothers and sisters," I think it's important to note that until Satan is cast out from having access to heaven, We have, and desperately need, an intercessor and an advocate as described in 1 John 2:1 and Hebrews 7:25. Now, Satan can't be cast out of a place he doesn't have access to, so this does support the idea that he had at least some access to heaven before.

Laura: Of course, Christ is also key to the saints victory over Satan. He overcomes Satan's accusations. They mean nothing, because Christ has already paid for our sins. Honestly, some people might even be worse than Satan's accusations, but still, we are all made righteous by the work of Jesus at the cross, according to Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:4, and Hebrews 9:14.

Jason: So now Satan is on earth and he's pretty angry. We'll see him going after the woman in Revelation 12:13, "When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child,

Laura: So we've already covered that the woman represents Israel, but some teach that she is also a symbol of all God's people, including both the faithful Israel and the church. And this does circle back to the church being on earth during the tribulation period. And if this is accurate, and the woman represents all of God's people, then who are the rest of her offspring mentioned in Revelation 12:17? Don't worry. We'll get to that in a minute.

Jason: But why does Satan want to persecute the Jewish people so badly? Well, from the time of Abraham, Israel held a vital role in God's redemptive plan. So I don't know, I guess Satan, if Satan can destroy the Jewish people, maybe he thinks he can still thwart God's plan. I kind of feel like he's grasping at straws here.

But God comes to the rescue in Revelation 12:14, "The woman was given two wings of a great eagle so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. Where she would be taken care of for a time, times and a half a time, out of the serpent's reach."

Laura: Eagle wings were a symbol used Describing deliverance in Exodus 19:4, "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to myself."

However, it's also possible that two wings of a great eagle could also describe a large military transport plane used for an evacuation. Just saying. The, for a time, times, and half a time is also reminiscent of the three and one half year period.

Jason: But it seems the devil is still in pursuit, Revelation 12:15, "Then from his mouth, the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with a torrent." Again, we are talking about the halfway point of the 70th week of Daniel. And Jesus spoke about fleeing this fury in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:15-22.

But again, God comes to the rescue in Revelation 12:16, "But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of its mouth."

Laura: And this should remind us of what is written in Isaiah 59:19, "For he will come like a pent up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along."

Jason: Having the woman swept away under God's protection sent Satan to go seek his revenge elsewhere in Revelation 12:17, and I promised we'd touch on this earlier. "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring. Those who kept God's commands and hold fast to their testimony about Jesus."

Laura: So here we have a clear distinction between the woman, Israel, and the rest of her offspring. which could indicate the Gentiles who come to faith during the Great Tribulation. Both of these groups are targets for Satan's wrath and the Antichrist's persecution in the final days. These may be the martyrs shown in Revelation 6:9-11 and 7:9-17. But regardless, as we come to the end of chapter 12, Satan, the dragon, is on earth and has a bone to pick with God's people.

Jason: And this is where we're going to end it with to be continued. Come back next week and check out part two of the heavenly battles, where we will guide you through the two beasts and then God's victory and the defeat of the beasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with your friends on social media, like Facebook and Twitter or X, whatever it's called now. Talk to others about it, share it with your congregation. Just get the word out. Help us out here.

Be sure to join us next week for the continuation of Heavenly Battles. Until then, remember to read your Bible, be kind to each other, and may the Lord bless you and keep you. God bless everyone.

Laura: Bye.