Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Dragon Persecutes the Woman



   Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.    
   But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 
   So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 
  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 
   And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.12:13-17 

The persecution Continues


   As we already learned, Satan lost the war in heaven and was exiled to earth and it's surrounding atmosphere.  Is it because of his desire for retribution that he decided to pick on Israel and The Church?

   the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place.  Eagle wings represent speed.   The woman, Israel, has the ability to fly (flee) from Roman persecution.  The Jews dispersed to Asia and Western Europe.  Satan's main interest is in the prophetic world of the Bible; basically the home of the Israelites.  There he will make his last major stand. 

   Christ, while speaking about this time, in Matthew 24, limited his warnings to Judea.  Therefore, it seems that the Jews can escape to the comparatively safe wilderness of other countries, to be out of the area of Satan's distinct attention. The KJV Bible study suggests that the Jews will be protected by Christians in those foreign countries to which they are dispersed.  

  where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  In Bible talk, a time means 1 year, and, times, means 2 years.  Therefore 1 year plus 2 years plus half a year equals 3 and a half years.  Many Bible scholars agree that these 3.5 years refer to the last half of the Great Tribulation.  In this setting, these 3.5 years refer to the woman's comparative safety away from the countries of the near east. 
  

   So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.  Foster,*** states that the woman of chapter 12 is The Church and not the nation of Israel, from there he goes on to say that this flood, which Satan spews out of his mouth, is a flood of licentious entertainment and ungodly education.  According to him, this flood will start so slowly and quietly that even The Church will be lulled into accepting it as a normal part of Christianity.  Indeed, isn't this true about entertainment on television?  Some of us still remember when The Church struggled with the question, may Christians watch TV?  

   It seems the church chose the wrong answer.  Hardly a half-hour sitcom can go by without the words “Oh, my God”.  We are already so used to that blasphemy that we hardly notice it anymore.  The phrase, “Holy Mother of God” has also become common on “sitcoms”, and normal Christians laugh at these blasphemers! 

   Actors in movies seem to have no compunction about using our Savior’s name as profanity!   At which point, if ever, is the Christian Church going to take a stand against the flood of abuse sent by Satan? 


   Foster's point is well taken, but since I believe that the woman represents Israel and not The Church, I cannot agree with his application.  I submit that the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood means that the earth helped the woman, the Jewish people, and swallowed up the flood of destruction with the help of those countries which have democratic policies and multinational acceptance so that the Jews are relatively safe.   



Satan is Still Upset


   And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, and the woman (Israel) was comparatively safe when, in his fury, Satan turns his attention to The Church at large, the remnant of the woman's seed. 12:15.  This separation between the woman (Israel) and her seed (the Church) seems very Biblical, based on chapter 12.  

  At no time (in this chapter) is the woman, associated with the blood of the Lamb, 12:11, or with the testimony of Jesus Christ. 12:17.  Just as Israel, as a nation, does not accept Christ as their Messiah.  However, both, the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of Jesus Christ are used in association with the rest of her offspring, The Church.

 As already stated, Mr. Smith** and Mr. Foster*** say that the woman represents The Church.  One reason to reject this theory is that in 12:17 John makes a distinct difference between the woman and her offspring; the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring.  Therefore, if The Church is the offspring of the woman, The Church cannot also be the woman.  

   In spite of that incongruity, Mr. Smith does draw the following interesting conclusion.  The reformation in the dark ages is that force that swallowed up the flood that Satan sent to destroy the Church.  This he argues because, according to him, the Roman Catholic Church is the embodiment of the red dragon.

   The dragon is enraged because he has failed twice already.  
  1. The first time was when he sought to usurp the throne of God when he attempted to be like the Most High. 12:9.  
  2. The second time was when He tried to destroy Christ in life and by death. 
   That is why, as a final onslaught, he is striving to undo everything that God accomplished for The Church, through the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

   This brings us to the end of the introduction to The Apocalypse.  In the next post, we go back to Chapter 2, where we start with the letters to the seven churches.

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** A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.
 ***  Shadow of the Antichrist by Ivan Foster, Free Presbyterian