People who have a problem with the existence of evil are people who believe a particular philosophical model of the sovereignty of God. They believe that for God to be God He must control everything that takes place. So when something evil happens they assume He has a higher, all-encompassing plan that is secretly in control of every event. But in order to believe this we must be unwilling to accept the testimony of the Bible or the evidence all around us that there is a genuine and pervasive spiritual battle taking place. The early Christians understood they were called to bring the kingdom of God into a world under siege from the kingdom of Satan. When bad things happened they were not surprised, nor did they blame God or grow angry at Him. They knew that their own Lord had suffered at the hands of these same evil forces, so how could they expect not to suffer as well (Jn 15:20-21; He 12:1-11; Jas 1:2-4, 12; 1Pe 4:1, 2, 12-19; 5:8-10). They too had been called into this battle and God had armed them and was there to help them. There are few places in the Bible where the spiritual battle with Satan is more exposed than in Revelation chapter 12. As we read through this chapter will learn some important principles about the universe in which we live, and why God calls us to be soldiers in His army.
Seals: release the antichrist
Trumpets: warn the world to repent
Bowls (ch 16): punish the rebels
Seventh trumpet: the time of warning is over (for Gentiles); we are at the midpoint of the final 7 years
Chapter 12 shows us the spiritual forces behind the events on earth
The Bible does not teach that God is morally responsible for everything that occurs. It says He has given humans and angels the freedom to choose to obey or disobey Him for a limited season of time. Because of this we are in a massive spiritual battle which God will ultimately win.
vs 1, 2: Israel has one more spiritual child to bear before the end: Christ; Church; 144,000 (a complete number of Jewish believers in Christ) (Rev 14:1-5)
v 3: Satan will take complete control of the antichrist and his kingdom (Rev 13:1, 2)
v 4: Satan has control of one-third of the angels. These have rebelled against God and become demons.
v 4: Satan will try to destroy the last-days Jewish church as soon as it arises (144,000)
v 5: But the Jewish believers in Christ will not deny Him but will remain faithful through death (or rapture) (Rev 14:1-5; 7:2-8)
v 6: National Israel will flee to the wilderness like they did from Egypt (or the Christians did in AD 70) for the final 3 ½ years of Great Tribulation. God will provide for them there.
vs 7, 8: Satan and his angels will be forcibly removed from heaven at the halfway point of the final seven years.
v 9: Satan will personally arrive on planet earth along with all the demons.
v 10: The accusations of the devil against believers will stop.
v 11: The Jewish church will escape the dragon (v 5) because they trust in Christs blood and refuse to deny Him when faced with threats of death if they do not renounce their faith.
v 12: The third woe is Satans personal arrival on earth. He is angry because the time remaining for him to do evil is coming to an end.
v 13: Having arrived on earth Satans first target for persecution is Israel because they produced the Jewish church (144,000).
v 14: But Israel will be protected just as it had been from Pharaoh. They will be sheltered for 3 ½ years.
vs. 15, 16: Through the antichrist Satan will try to attack the Jews who are hidden in the wilderness, but God will save them by some natural phenomenon (maybe a great earthquake will open a crevice in the earth).
v 17: Having failed to destroy the Jews who are protected in the wilderness, the antichrist will turn his anger on Gentile believers in Christ. How He will do this is seen in chapter 13.
God has given both humans and angels the freedom to choose to obey or disobey Him. This is the only reasonable explanation for the existence of sin and evil in a universe in which everything and everyone was created by a holy God.
The devil and his kingdom of demons have been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but His victory has not yet been fully applied to the world. A spiritual battle still rages behind the events we see on earth. Its not a battle between equals but yet the battle is real.
Though the final destruction of Satan is certain he is still active in opposing the will of God and he will continue to do so until the return of Christ. He still: blinds the minds of unbelievers (2Co 4:4); imposes injury and illness; tempts to sin; inspires false teaching; encourages idolatry; performs counterfeit miracles; provokes persecution; opposes the church (discouragement, slander, inciting divisions)
Were not in a scripted play where every outcome is already decided. Were in a real battle with real casualties, so all believers are called to be soldiers and bravely join the fight. Here are some of our weapons: blood of the Lamb (Rev 12:11); fearless testimony (Rev 12:11); prayer (Eph 6:18); healing (Ac 5:12, 16); deliverance; good works (Mt 5:16); worship; preaching and teaching; obeying; Christs commands; unity
D. Model Soldiers (2 Samuel 23:8-21)
David recognized the bravest of his soldiers. Men who did not love their life even unto death (Rev 12:11). These were soldiers who pursued the enemy and refused to quit fighting until the battle was won. The Son of David still looks for men and women wholl fight His battle, with His weapons, with this kind of bravery.
1) Do you see signs of a spiritual battle in your own life? What is the evidence you see? Name one of Gods weapons (see section C, last point) that you need to employ in this battle?
2) Reread Revelation 12:11, then in your own words explain how those believers overcame Satan.
3) Name three ways Satan attacks Gods people: v 9 ________________; v 10______________; vs 11, 13_____________