Category Archives: REVELATION 12

The apostle John is given details as to God’s dealings with the believing remnant of Israel during the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week.

REVELATION 12

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Subject of the chapter 
We have noticed when considering chapters 10 and 11, that God has plans for the nation of Israel in the future.  He remembers His covenants with them, and will also send His witnesses to them, preparing them for the great shock of the ending of the sacrifices in the Temple.  This relates to the first half of the seven-year period that is left to run of Daniel’s 490 year period.  In this chapter we have details of what happens when the middle of the seven-year period has come, and the favours shown to Israel by the Antichrist are suddenly withdrawn.  God has a provision for this event too.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 12, VERSES 1 TO 9:

12:1  And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
12:2  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
12:4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
12:5  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-6 Wonders in heaven.
(b) Verses 7-9 War in heaven.
(c) Verses 10-12 Worship in heaven.
(d) Verses 13-17 Wrath of the Devil on earth.

(a)    Verses 1-6        Wonders in heaven.

12:1  And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven- the wonder takes the form of a sign, for the details are full of significance.  The fact that the wonder appeared in heaven shows that we are to be given heaven’s view of things, whatever the situation on earth may appear to be. 
A woman clothed with the sun- we learn in verse 5 that this woman has a son who is destined to rule all nations, who was caught up to the throne of God.  This narrows the choice as to who this woman is considerably, for it is either the nation of Israel, or Mary; there are no other viable candidates.  The fact that this woman flees into the wilderness for three and half years surely rules out Mary.
So this figure of Israel is clothed with the sun.  Clothing in Scripture indicates character, so this woman takes character from the sun.  Now one of the metaphors for the Messiah that is used in the Old Testament is that of the sun.  Consider the following passages:
“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.  And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.  Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow.  2 Samuel 23 3-5. 
David is speaking of the Messiah, and likens Him to the sun rising, bringing with it a new day.  Although there were none suited to be described like this in David’s house at the time, he was confident that God would bring it to pass in His own good time.
“But unto you that fear My name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings”, Malachi 4 4. 
The previous verse had spoken of the day of the Lord being like an oven to burn up the wicked.  As far as Israel was concerned, however, their Messiah would come to heal the wounds of the nation’s past history, and in particular, their rejection of Him when He came to them the first time.
The reason the Messiah can be like a sun to Israel is because He is equal with God, of whom it is said, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield”,  Psalm 84:11.  When the Lord Jesus was transfigured on the mount, and a preview was given of the coming glorious kingdom, Matthew, the one who emphasises Messiah’s Kingship, says, “His face did shine as the sun”, Matthew 17:2.  (Mark and Luke concentrate on His clothing).  The sun in all its glory is a fit symbol of Messiah, who is all-glorious.
In Psalm 90:7 Moses appealed to God to “let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”, and this is what will happen.  For the Lord Jesus, who will be recognised at last by the nation as their Lord and God, will beautify the nation with His own glory.
And the moon under her feet- Israel’s feasts were regulated by the moon.  As soon as the new moon appeared, the monthly cycle began.  When the apostle Paul was warning the believers at Colosse about the dangers of listening to those who wanted to take them back to the law, he wrote, “Let no man judge you therefore in meat or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ”, Colossians 2:16,17.  So the new moon was one of the things that summed up the law.  Here, the woman has the moon under her feet, telling us she has come to realise that she must not allow the law to dominate her, but enter into the grace there is in Christ. The psalmist said that “the Lord will give grace and glory”, Psalm 84:11, and the sun shining represents the glory, the moon subdued reminds us of grace.  Interestingly, Psalm 84 is a psalm for the sons of Korah, who were Levites, involved in the temple service.  The psalmist speaks of many things connected with the temple, such as “Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts”; “the courts of the Lord”; “Thine altars”; “Thy house”; “appeareth before God”; “a day in Thy courts”; “a doorkeeper in the house of My God”.  The psalm could well be the expression of the hearts of the Levites when they are confined to the wilderness during the second half of the Tribulation Period, as verse 6 will tell us, and they are unable to function in God’s Temple because of the wickedness of the Antichrist.
By standing on the moon she eclipses it, without totally blacking it out.  So, during the reign of Christ on the earth the sacrifices will be resumed, but only in a commemorative sense, and they will become a constant reminder of the final sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, so they will be eclipsed but not cancelled.
And upon her head a crown of twelve stars- this must surely represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and in particular those from each of the twelve tribes who had been sealed to serve God.  Of them Daniel says, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”, Daniel 12:3.  We have already noticed in connection with 11:3 that there will be a company known as the Maskilim, “those who are wise so as to teach”, and the word wise used in Daniel 12:3 is the basis of that word.  Interestingly, the word translated “brightness” is from a root meaning “to gleam”, and figuratively, “to enlighten”.  So those who shone light into the minds of men, shall shine for ever like the brightness of the sky.  On the Day of the Covenant, when Moses and others went up into Sinai, we read, “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness”.  So the body of heaven in its unpolluted clearness is as blue as sapphire. 
So those who are evangelists during the end time, and who turn many to righteousness, shall shine like the stars, for they gave direction and guidance as the stars do to the mariner on a dark night.  Those who teach these converts shall continue to shine, and will have a place near the throne of God.  These will be a great credit to the nation after all the failure and defection over the centuries, and it is fitting that they should take the form of a crown.
Satan’s travesty of all this is the flag of the European Union, which has twelve stars on a blue background.  This is commonly thought to represent twelve nation-states in union. However, the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles, and the circle in the middle of them is for the face of Mary.  Such is the Devil’s counterfeit sign, which has nothing to do with the wonder we are shown in Revelation 12.

12:2  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And she being with child cried- although the sign of the woman was in heaven, telling us God’s view of things, the action in the chapter in which the woman is directly involved, takes place on earth.  So if the woman is Israel, in what sense is she with child?  To understand this we must go back many centuries to when Jacob and his family were making their way back to the land of Canaan.  We read this, “And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.  And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.  And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.  And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.  And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.  And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar”, Genesis 35:16-21.
So just outside of Bethlehem Ephratah, near to the tower of Edar, (which means “flock”), Rachel dies in giving birth to a son.  She names him Benoni, which means “son of my sorrow”, but afterwards his father called him Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand”.  Now when Jeremiah was foretelling the return of both divisions of the nation of Israel to the land of Israel when Christ comes, he contrasted their time of joy with a time of sorrow.  He said this, “Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.  Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.  And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border”, Jeremiah 31:15-17.  So the sorrow that the nation will experience just prior to their return to the land to be under the rule of their Messiah is likened to the weeping of Rahel, (that is, Rachel), when she gave birth to the “son of her sorrow”, and then died.  And all this just outside of Bethlehem.
But there is a further use of this incident involving Rachel, and it is by Matthew.  He is recording the actions of Herod when Christ was born, and wrote, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not'”, Matthew 2:16-18.  This explains why Jeremiah said the weeping of Rachel was heard in Ramah, for he is using Rachel’s experience as a figure for the sorrow of the nation, and Herod would slay the children in the surrounding district also, and hence the mothers there would share in the weeping of Rachel. 
But why should Matthew relate the suffering of the mothers of Bethlehem to the suffering of Rachel?  It is because of Jeremiah’s use of the incident, and he wishes to show the solidarity of the Messiah with the feelings of the nation in the future when they pass through their national travail.  When the Lord Jesus was speaking of those future times, He spoke of “the beginning of sorrows”, Matthew 24:8, and the word for sorrow is “birth-pang”.
He also wishes to show that the “son of sorrow” is now the son of the father’s right hand, just as Rachel called her son Benoni, and the father called him Benjamin.  So the child born in Bethlehem, near to the tower of Edar, (the tower of the flock, where the shepherds would keep watch over their flock by night, just as happened at the birth of Christ), and whose birth was accompanied by weeping for sorrow because of the cruelty of a past antichrist, Herod, has experienced already what the nation of Israel will go through in the future.  No doubt His mother told Him of these things as He grew up, (for she kept all these sayings in her heart, Luke 2:51), and in that way it could be said of Him, as was said of God when His people were oppressed in Egypt, “in all their affliction He was afflicted”, Isaiah 63:9.  He is now the Son of His Father’s right hand, having been caught up to the throne of God, and has taken those feelings for His oppressed earthly people to heaven with Him. 
It is significant that Matthew also uses a statement made by Hosea about Israel being brought out of the affliction of Egypt.  He is alluding to the return of Mary and Joseph with the child Jesus to the land of Canaan after they had fled to Egypt for refuge from Herod.  But he is doing so as if they were still in Egypt when it became true, thus associating the Lord Jesus even more closely with the affliction in Egypt.  Says God through Hosea, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt”, Hosea 11:1.  Matthew writes, “When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called My son'”, Matthew 2:15.  Israel was God’s national firstborn son, Exodus 4:22; Christ is God’s eternal Firstborn Son, Colossians 1:15,18.  He will feel for their national bondage in a day to come, and their bitter sorrow. 
Travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered- the matters we have thought of prepare us for the idea that, just as Rachel’s childbirth-pangs were a figure of the sufferings of the nation in the Tribulation period, for Jeremiah links the two, so also the experience of the mothers in Israel at the time of the birth of Christ were likewise a figure of those sufferings, for Matthew links the incident with Jeremiah’s prophecy.  So the woman in travail is the nation of Israel in tribulation. 
 
12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

And there appeared another wonder in heaven- before we are told of the outcome of the travailing of the woman, we are introduced to heaven’s view of her great adversary.
And behold a great red dragon- John wants us to grasp the situation with regard to this dragon, and so says “behold”, which is more than simply noting the facts, but grasping the import of the facts that this wonder or sign presents to us. 
What could be more frightening to a woman about to give birth, than a dragon standing ready to devour her child?  We are told the identity of this dragon in verse 9, where it is defined as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world”.  So we are now referred back to another woman’s experience, and the bringing in of childbirth pains.  Satan came to the woman in the guise of a serpent, (hence the title Old or Ancient Serpent), and deceived her.  Because she fell, God said to her, “I will greatly multiplied thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”, Genesis 3:16. 
He is great because of the great power he wields over men.  He is red, the colour of blood, because of the suffering and death he has inflicted on the human race down through the centuries, for the Lord Jesus called him “a murderer from the beginning”, John 8:44.  And he is a dragon, a fierce creature, full of cunning and venom.
Having seven heads- in the next chapter we find that the First Beast has seven heads, showing that the power of the dragon has been transferred to him, which is what verse 2 says, “the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and his great authority”.  But these heads are further explained in 17:9 to be seven mountains.  Now in Scripture a mountain is the symbol of a kingdom.  So when He wanted to give His disciples a preview of His glorious coming kingdom, (“the kingdom of God come with power”, Mark 9:1), the Lord took them up into a high mountain apart.  And Peter later describes that mountain as “the holy mount”.  So the kingdom of Christ will be a holy kingdom, a high and lofty kingdom, and a kingdom apart, different in character to all the other kingdoms of men.
So which are the kingdoms that are represented by the heads of the dragon?  They must have some relevance to the woman, Israel, for God only takes account of the Gentile nations when they have some affect upon His people.  The empires that have been an influence on Israel are the following:  Assyria, who took the ten tribes in to captivity; Babylonia, who took the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into captivity; Medo-Persia, who restored the remnant in the land under Zerubabel; Grecia, who ruled over Palestine after the Old Testament history closes, and Rome, who by the time the New Testament began, ruled over Palestine.  Now we are told in 17:10 that not only are the heads mountains, they are also kings, for those kings so dominate the empire that they personify it.  Of those seven kings, five are fallen, one is, (that is, in John’s day, meaning the Roman empire), and one is not yet come.  The king yet to come is that of Antichrist.  But this only makes six heads or empires, where is the other?
A clue to his identity may be found in 17:11 where Antichrist is said to be the eighth, but is of the seven.  This must mean that he is a world-emperor who has already lived, but who will live again.  Then we remember that Antichrist has a number, 666, and that number is the number of his name, 13:17.  Now ancient letters of the alphabet had a numerical value, so the value of the name of the Antichrist will be the same as the number of the person we are searching for. 
In ancient idolatry, everything centred around a trilogy of father, mother, and child.  Moreover, the father was said to be the reincarnation of the father, so to have seen the child was to have seen the father.  That father, at the beginning of idolatry at Babel, was Nimrod.  But he was deified as Saturn, which was written Stur.  Now the numerical value of those four letters is 666.  This gives to us a positive identification of the head that was not, and yet will be in the future. 
We read of Nimrod that “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad,and Calneh, in the land of Shinar”, Genesis 10:10.  It might well be asked where his kingdom ends, if it begins at Babel?  The answer is that it will end there too.
Now Erech, the second city listed in Genesis 10:10, became known as Uruk, and was the seat of the second Sumerian Dynasty after the flood.  Sumer is South Babylonia.  Accad was the seat of the Dynasty founded by Sargon I.  Calneh does not seem to have been the centre of a dynasty, but it was the centre of the worship of the god Anu.  In fact, the word Calneh is said to mean “the fort of the god Anu”.
So these cities, all with connections to Nimrod, (we should notice that Scripture does not say Nimrod built Babylon), became the centres of power until the Assyrians became world powers, and ruled from Nineveh.  But even the word Nineveh is derived from the Ninus, which is another name for Nimrod.  The ruins of Nineveh are still called Nimroud today. 
It is interesting to notice that in Genesis 10:11, after we have been told about Nimrod, we read of Asshur going out from that land, (that is, out of the land of Shinar), and building Nineveh.  The chapter has not mentioned Asshur before, for he is a son of Shem, not of Ham as Nimrod was, and the family of Shem is not mentioned until verses 21-31.  It is as if Moses is alluding to the continuity of rule there would be, as the Ham/Nimrod dynasty gives way to the Shem/Asshur dynasty.  The fact that Asshur left the land where Nimrod was dominant is a foretaste of the transition from one to the other.  When Belshazzar was slain, Darius the Mede took the kingdom, and now it is Japheth that dominates the scene, (for Madai was a son of Japheth, verse 2), as he still does, in the form of the Western World rulers.
The Sumerians, (Sumer is Shinar), developed a system where the state and religion were combined together, (hence at Babel there was a city, the political element, and a tower, the religious element).  Other cultures which followed this system were Acchad, Babylon, Nineveh and Persia, which were the basis of the empires of Greece and Rome, whose laws still influence us today.  So there is a continuity from the very beginning of empires until today.
It is also a fact that Nimrod featured widely in the literature of those parts, so that he is mentioned in the annals of Nineveh, Babylon, Assyria, the Hittite empire.  Even in Palestine tablets have been found recording his fame.  It is said that even today in Iraq and Iran his name is mentioned with awe, such was his influence as a “man of renown”.
So the whole of the period from just after the flood until the Assyrian empire was dominated by the influence of Nimrod, and Calneh strengthened that influence through a system of idolatry that was centred on him.  There were no nations before the flood, for it was only after men had different languages after God scattered them from Babel, that they united together on the basis of the language they used.  So Nimrod is the first king with a kingdom.  And he will be the last king with a kingdom before Christ’s everlasting rule begins.
And ten horns- if the head is the centre of intelligence, the faculty that enables rule to be planned, the horn is the symbol of the exercise of that rule.  It pushes itself forward out from the head, ready to seek to dominate any power that will oppose it.  So the dragon has ten horns, but we are not told from where those horns protrude.  We are not told, for instance, that six heads have a horn each, and the seventh head has the remaining four.  What we are told is that the beast, who has transferred to him the power and authority of the dragon, has the seven heads and ten horns, and the heads and the horns both represent kings, see Revelation 17:9-13.  But whereas the seven heads represent kings as founders of a dynasty, and are therefore successive, the ten horns represent kings that co-exist, for we read they “receive power as kings one hour with the beast”, verse 12.  It is more likely, then, that the horns of the dragon are on one of his heads, being the symbols of power that has not yet been exercised fully, but which has been exercised partially already by Nimrod. 
And seven crowns upon his heads- this confirms the foregoing, for crowns are worn from the time the rule begins, when the king is crowned, and all seven heads have exercised rule already, the kingdom of Antichrist being the repetition of the rule of Nimrod.  When the beast is described, the crowns are upon his horns, not his heads, and the exercise of power will be by ten kings who rule together, subservient to the Antichrist.

12:4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth- this is the same event as in verse 9, where we read, “And the great dragon was cast out…into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”.  From one viewpoint, the angels were drawn by the dragon, attracted to him by his deceptions and apostasy, and cast to the earth.  When speaking of false prophets, Isaiah refers to the ancient and honourable, as being the head, but “the prophet that speaketh lies, he is the tail.  For the leaders of the people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed”, Isaiah 9:15,16.  So it is here, except that it is angels that are led astray by Satan, and not men.  It is true that many angels fell with Satan at his original rebellion, but they were not cast to the earth then, as they will be in the future.
But the other side to this is that he and his angels were cast to the earth after having been defeated by Michael and his angels.  So they were cast to the earth by the dragon, because he was drawing them and he was cast out; this is the secondary cause of the casting out.  The primary cause is that they were defeated by Michael, and hence forfeited any right to enter the courts of heaven. 
And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born- for long centuries Satan had been attempting to prevent the birth of the seed of the woman, knowing that He would bruise his head, Genesis 3:15.  He did this by trying to obliterate the line of the Messiah.  He failed, however, so he then sought to destroy Him after He was born.  He failed in this, too, for the plan of Herod was thwarted, and Joseph and Mary, being warned of God, took the child Jesus into Egypt, out of harm’s way.  The manner in which this is presented in the vision emphasises that, because the woman is seen to about to be delivered of a child, but the child was born two thousand years before!  Just as Jeremiah saw in the lamentation of Rachel a preview of the trials and afflictions the nation of Israel will go through in the Tribulation, and just as Matthew saw that same trouble illustrated by the sorrows of the mothers in Bethlehem, so here, the birth of the man-child, with its accompanying crying and travail, is likewise a preview of that time. 

12:5  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.

And she brought forth a man child- but how can John see in vision a child being born, when it happened two thousand years before?  The answer is found in Isaiah’s prophecy, when he says, “For before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child”, Isaiah 66:7, the woman in question being Zion, a symbol of Israel.  Such is the remarkable nature of the dealings of God, that He reverses the natural order, and ordains that the child should be born before the pains of childbirth come. 
The word for child used here is the word for son, giving the strange expression “male son” as if to emphasise both the manhood and the Sonship of this child.  When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to become a mother, he first of all told her she would have a son, and then that the holy thing born of her would be called the Son of God, Luke 1:31,35.  So He has a double sonship, for He is truly a son of Mary, but just as truly the Son of God.  He is Son in a double way, just as the woman in the vision brought forth a male son.
Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron- this is a clear reference to the words of Psalm 2:9 where, speaking of the reign of the Messiah, God says “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron”, the “them” referring to His enemies.  This is an implied rebuke to Satan, who will seek to give rule over the nations to his man, who will represent the iron-kingdom of Daniel 2:40.
And her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne- just as Rachel’s son, whom she called “Benoni”, which means “son of my sorrow”, was later called “Benjamin”, by his father, which name means “son of my right hand”, so Christ, the one born surrounded by sorrow, has been caught up to the very right hand of God on His throne.  This is another reminder that Satan’s devices will fail, for God has said, “Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool, Hebrews 1:13.  He is seated on His Father’s throne in heaven, until He is given His own throne on earth, Revelation 3:21; and before this throne His enemies will bow.

12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God- just as Revelation 9 tells us what will happen regarding believers in Israel in the first half of the seven year time of tribulation, so this chapter tells us about the second half.  God has made provision for those who believe in Israel, so that they are shielded from the attacks of the Antichrist.  It is noticeable that during the three and a half years that the Lord was leading His apostles about in Israel, all the attacks were on Him, and He shielded them from all the malice of the enemy.  So it will be in the future on a larger scale.
The Lord Jesus has warned the remnant beforehand, with the words, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes”, Matthew 24:15-18. There are those who believe that the remnant of Israel will flee to Petra, just as many of the Jews did when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.  But this will be too obvious a place to try to hide, for it is well-known now, being a tourist attraction.  Others fled to Masada, but that made them vulnerable, and they perished.  These are going to hide in the wilderness.  The words of Isaiah may help us here.  He represents Israel as saying, “Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord.  We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.  Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.  Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”, Isaiah 26:17-21.
Several things are noticeable here.  First, the nation confesses that it has been like a woman travailing in pain, and ready to give birth to a child, but no child is born.  And this will be true of Israel in the future, for she will have to admit that, having rejected Christ at His first coming, she is ineffective in bringing in the Messiah to reign.  But God has already anticipated this failure, and has seen to it that there were those in Israel when Christ came the first time who were ready to welcome Him.  They are represented by the woman of Revelation 12.  God made preparation for the future centuries before, knowing that they would be in unbelief at the critical moment.
Second, God invites His believing people to enter into “their chambers”, so as to hide from the indignation that God will pour out upon the unbelieving world in the Great Tribulation.  That the personal pronoun is used is a sign that God has prepared these chambers especially for them.  That they are not the chambers of rooms is evident, for the Lord has already warned them in His Olivet Discourse to not go back into their house in the day they flee.  It is not generally known, but there are vast caverns under the desert sands, and no doubt it into these that the remnant will flee initially. 
We should remember that at the time of the Flood the fountains of the great deep were broken up, so that the water that God had stored beneath the oceans could be released, and overwhelm the earth.  Subsequent changes brought about by pressures exerted during this process, and also by the flowing back of the water as the flood came to an end, caused the mountains to be raised up, and the sea-bed to sink.  It is very possible that there are remnants of the “storehouses” that God prepared.
Third, that the Lord is coming out of His place, and will personally intervene in the earth to the rescue of His people when He comes in glory to reign. 
That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days- this number of days comes to three and a half years, the time the Great Tribulation will last.  We are not told who it is who will feed this great company of people.  Is it angels or men?  We know that when the Lord sits on His throne of judgement at the start of His kingdom, He will refer to those who fed His brethren, Matthew 25:34-40.  Those who do this will enter into His kingdom, for they will show by their bravery, risking everything to feed these outcasts, that they were believers.  They will be like Obadiah, Ahab’s Governor, who “feared the Lord greatly”, and who hid the prophets of God in a cave, and fed them with bread and water, 1 Kings 18:3,4.  Or maybe God will see to it that the ravens bring bread and flesh morning and evening, just as they did for Elijah, 1 Kings 17:5,6.
We noticed that the time that the Temple was trodden underfoot was reckoned in months, for the feasts were regulated by the moon and the month.  The two witnesses prophesied every day, and now these are fed every day.  They will no doubt pray the prayer the Lord Jesus taught them, “Give us this day our daily bread”, Matthew 6:11, and their prayer will be answered.

(b)    Verses 7-9    War in heaven.

12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels- no doubt battle is joined because the Devil has instigated his final and most serious attack on God, by motivating the Antichrist to set up an image of himself in the temple of God.  This is the ultimate insult, being the claim to be Christ, not Antichrist.  This God cannot allow, and marshals His forces to finally settle the question.
We should not think of this in terms of physical warfare.  This is conflict between good and evil, and between truth and error.  The battle is fought by reasonings and argument.  The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thought that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  And having in a readiness to revenge every disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.  We often hear the expression “High Court battle”, when lawyers contest a case, using their best arguments so that those they represent “win” the argument.  So it is here, except that the Court is the Heavenly Court of Justice.  So by the mighty power of logical argument, Michael and his army of lawyers will contest the reasonings of Satan that, from the very beginning, he has used to deceive men.  At last his lies and propaganda will be exposed, and those plans to exalt himself above God will be condemned.  Every thought will be tested as to whether it represents obedience to Christ; if it does not, it will be cast down.  At last, after sixty centuries of rebellion, Satan’s disobedience will be avenged. 
When Moses died, Michael the archangel was not able to prevail against the Devil, but had to resort to saying, “The Lord rebuke thee”, Jude 9.  When the evil angels supporting the kingdoms of Greece and Persia were in conflict with Michael, the angel that defends the interests of Israel, he had to call for help from Gabriel, for he could not deal with them himself, Daniel 10:20-11:1.  We learn from this that in Old Testament times the angels of God had difficulty dealing with evil angels.  But now it is different, for Michael and his angels defeat Satan and his hosts, and in Revelation 20:1 we learn that only a single “ordinary” angel is needed to chain and banish Satan himself.  Wherein lays the difference?  At Calvary Christ gave the death-blow to the forces of evil, and defeated him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil, Hebrews 2:14.
The reason Michael is waging this war is that he represents the nation of Israel.  We read in Daniel 12:1, “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people”.  The children of Daniel’s people are the children of Israel.  So Michael stands before God to represent the nation of Israel and its interests.  This would lead us to believe that each nation has an angel allotted to it, and the superiority of Israel in the purpose of God is shown in that an archangel stands for it, and is opposed in his work by no less than Satan himself.

12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And prevailed not- we read in 5:5 that the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed, and this because of His triumph at Calvary, where He defeated the forces of evil in principle.  He said just before He went to the cross, “Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”, John 12:31.  Note the change of tense.  “Now is…now shall”.  The world has been judged in principle and practice by the death of Christ, for it has reached the climax of its evil by crucifying the Son of God.  But the casting out of the prince of this world has not yet happened in practice, although it has been secured in principle.  One stage of it is told us in this chapter, as he is expelled from heaven to the earth.  He has lost his case in the heavenly courts, the blood of the Lamb providing the full and convincing argument to any of his charges against Israel, despite their faults and failures.
Neither was their place found any more in heaven- we know from the Old Testament that Satan had access to God’s presence.  We read, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them”, Job 1:6.  “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord”, Job 2:1. 
We learn more through the words of Micaiah the prophet, “And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left.  And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?  And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.  And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.  And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?  And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.  And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.  Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee”, 1 Kings 22:19-23.  Note the word “prevail” in connection with the lying spirit, as he persuades king Ahab through his lying prophets.  So Satan, (for that is surely who is meant by “lying spirit”, for “he is a liar, and the father of it”, John 8:44), is allowed to deceive Ahab, but only to further God’s purpose.  We see again that Satan was allowed access to heaven, to mingle amongst the host of heaven that surround the throne of God.  Now that place is no longer granted to him, nor to his evil angel followers.  They have followed him in his evil ways, so they must follow him in his expulsion.

12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And the great dragon was cast out- no doubt he did not appear as great dragon in heaven, for he can transform himself into an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.  He is here exposed for who he is, the great opposer of the will of God.  The Lord Jesus referred to this event when He said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”, Luke 10:18.  He was responding to the words of the Seventy He had sent forth to preach, who said, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name”.  Lest they become proud, and think that they were somehow worthy of this great power conferred on them, the Lord states that He had beheld the fall of Satan.  He is using what is called the prophetic past, a technique used often by the Old Testament prophets, who foretold future things as if they had already happened.  So here, the actual event happens in Revelation 12, but the Lord foreknew it, and so certain is it that He can speak of it as if past.
That old serpent- this is a reference to what happened at the beginning, when Satan used the serpent to beguile Eve into sin.  He is now designated with the name of Serpent, full of subtilty and guile.  There is a connection between this word “old” and the Greek word “arche”, which means first or foremost, as in archangel, first angel.  There may be a hint of Satan’s former glory here, as if he were an archangel before he fell.  What a decline there is here, from being one of God’s high angels, to being a serpent, slithering upon the ground. 
Called the Devil- the idea behind this title is of a false accuser, one who has no sense of justice and fairness as he accuses God’s people.
And Satan- this title, on the other hand, tells us simply that he accuses, for sometimes he has a legitimate complaint about the people of God, and he loses no time in making his accusation before God.  How thankful we are for the advocacy of the Lord Jesus, as He meets every charge, whether justified or not, by reference to the blood of propitiation shed at Calvary.  This precious blood answers every accusation the Devil can make, for it has met every claim the throne of God had against our sin.  This does not mean that we may become complacent, and not guard against sinning.  In fact, it should increase our desire to not grieve the one who suffered such pain at Calvary that we might be cleared of our guilt.
Which deceiveth the whole world- not only does he accuse believers in heaven, but deceives unbelievers on earth.  They walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”, Ephesians 2:2. 
He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him- this is really an expansion of two expressions.  First, “there was found no place for them”, verse 8, and “his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven”, verse 4.  Having failed to prevail, Satan and his agents have lost any right to enter the courts of heaven to accuse, and have been cast out into the earth.  And because his angels were deceived by him, and were loyal to him, his fall is their fall too.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 12, VERSES 10 TO 17:

12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12:12  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
12:13  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
12:14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
12:15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
12:16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(c)    Verses 10-12    Worship in heaven.

12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven- possibly this is the voice of the “Clerk of the Court” in heaven, announcing publicly that there have been those who have been permanently expelled from the Courtroom.  Against this is the fact that this one speaks of the believers as his brethren, which a heavenly angelic being is not likely to do.
Now is come salvation- that is, the people of God have been finally and completely rid of the accusations of this evil being.  The earth itself will soon be saved from his evil influence when he is bound for a thousand years.
And strength- the superior power of God, as manifested in the victory of Michael and his angels, is evident.  He has won by force of argument.
And the kingdom of our God- the prayers of God’s people, “Thy kingdom come”, are about to be answered.  Of course God’s kingdom is eternal, for the psalmist said, “The Lord is King for ever and ever”, Psalm 10:16, but He will manifest His Kingship when Christ reigns on the earth, and this is celebrated here in anticipation. 
And the power of His Christ- the Lord Jesus has been revealed in chapter five as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and as such has not only the right to rule, (for “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah…until Shiloh come”, Genesis 49:10), but has the authority to do so.  When God introduces Him into the world again He will say, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee”, Hebrews 1:5,6; and He will be given the throne of His father David, and rule from Jerusalem gloriously.  At last there will be one who can control the earth for God.  His kingdom is mediatorial, for at the end of it He shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, His task accomplished, 1 Corinthians 15:24.
For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night- as mentioned earlier, this would suggest that the one speaking can rightly call those who are accused of Satan, his brethren.  That accusation was day and night, meaning constantly, for there is no day or night in heaven.  How grateful believers should be for the just-as-constant ministry of the Lord Jesus, who “ever liveth to make intercession” for us, Hebrews 7:25.  As Paul puts it, “Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”, Romans 8:34.

12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb- they were conscious of the fact that they had Christ as their intercessor in heaven, who pleaded the value of His shed blood.  The one who died and rose again, also pleads their cause.
And by the word of their testimony- they counteracted the lies of the great deceiver by their testimony to the truth of God.  This defeats the enemy, for truth always triumphs over false-hood.
And they loved not their lives unto the death- it is said of the Lord Jesus that He was “obedient unto death”, and the preposition means that He was obedient as far as going into death.  Here the preposition is different, and emphasises the period of time until death.  During all that time, traumatic as it was, they were prepared to give up their lives for the sake of the truth they believed.  They were determined not to submit to the beast, or accept his mark.  To so refuse was to be killed, and they were prepared for this.  Death has the definite article here, meaning a specific sort of death, namely the death that comes to those who will not give up their beliefs in the face of persecution.  It is a martyr-death, the noblest sort of death, apart from the sort of death Christ died.

12:12  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them- this is very like the exhortation of the psalmist when he said, “Praise ye the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights.  Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts.  Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all stars of light.  Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens”, Psalm 148:1-4.  There is anticipation that creation is about to be delivered from its bondage, and set free to be to God’s praise as it should.
Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  If there is joy in heaven, there is woe on earth, for the climax of this world’s history is about to come, with judgements and wrath.  It will not be possible to sail to far away places to escape the judgements about to fall, so even those at sea will be vulnerable.
For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath- having been cast out of heaven, the Devil will be found actually on the earth.  What terror will strike the hearts of men when they realise that they might be confronted by him at any moment!  His anger will be especially directed at those who believe, hence God will take special measures to protect them, as we shall see.
Because he knoweth that he hath but a short time- the Devil is aware of the Scriptures that show that the Tribulation period will be for seven years, and at this point there are just half of that time to elapse.  That which he has been working towards for six thousand years must be accomplished in that time, or it will not be accomplished at all.  His wrath at having been thwarted in his attempts to accuse the brethren intensifies because of this.  He fears his grand plan of world domination is about to be destroyed.

(d)    Verses 13-17    Wrath of the Devil.

12:13  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth- he realises the implications of being banished from access to heaven.  This limits his ability to operate, and he must find other ways to bring about his scheme.
He persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child- what we are told in verses 7-12 concerns that which actually takes place between verses 5 and 6, so John now takes up the thread of what was being said in verse 5.  The woman has brought forth her child, he has been caught up to heaven, and now what was told us in verse 6 is going to be repeated.  The intervening verses were needed to tell  us the reason why the woman had to flee.
Because of this risk of persecution, the Lord had warned His earthly people to flee when the image was set up in the temple at Jerusalem, Matthew 24:15,16.  This marks the start of the remaining 1260 days, for the image is set up in the midst of the week, (meaning seven years), Daniel 9:27. 

12:14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness- when God brought His people out of Egypt He said, “ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself”, Exodus 19:4.  Then again, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord did lead him”, Deuteronomy 32:11,12.  So whether it is being brought into the wilderness, or being led in the wilderness, God did it with the care of an eagle, who persuades her chicks onto her wings, and then takes flight, and thus gets them used to flying by themselves.  Here it seems that the woman herself is given, figuratively, the wings of a great eagle, so with strong and swift flight she may flee out of danger.  The experience of “flying” on eagles’ wings in the wilderness of Sinai, now develops into “flying” herself out of danger.  Needless to say, the flying is metaphorical, not literal, and does not involve air travel; that would be much too dangerous in this situation.  She must flee to the mountains of Judea, and no doubt God will ensure that they know where to go from there, Matthew 24:16.
Into her place- we have already noticed, in connection with verse 6, that Isaiah speaks of Israel going into “her chambers”, and here we have “her place”.  It seems that there is a place prepared by God for the fleeing remnant, and she will be safe there even from the Devil.  Underneath the deserts of the world there are vast caverns, and intricate caves and tunnels, and possibly it is here that the prepared place will be found.  No doubt the Maskilim, the wise ones, will be able to tell where it is. 
It is also worth remembering that at the beginning God put waters under the sea-bed, and these waters broke forth at the start of the Flood.  We read, “To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever”, Psalm 136:6.  The apostle Peter described the pre-flood earth as “the world that then was”, and that it “perished”.  So such great changes came about that it was a different sort of world, for the old world had perished in the flood. He describes that world as “standing out of the water and in the water”.  Not only did the old world stand out of the water, but it stood in the water, in the sense that the pillars of the earth, (those columns of rock that were formed when the sea-bed sagged in places, and met the floor of the chambers beneath them), were standing in the water stored in those chambers. 
See also Psalm 24:1,2, where we read, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.  For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it on the floods”.  So the earth is founded on the seas.  This is not how we think of the seas, for surely it is they that are founded on the earth?  The answer is found in the word “floods”.  It is the word that is used of the Flood of Noah’s time.  So the psalmist is telling us that the water of Noah’s Flood came in large part from beneath the earth, as the fountains of the great deep erupted with terrible force to overflow and overwhelm the whole earth. 
Now when the Flood came great changes were brought about, and it is very likely that some of the chambers in which the floodwaters were stored, (for Psalm 33:7 says of God that “He layeth up the deep in storehouses”), are now empty.  It could well be that God has reserved one of these for His fleeing people.  These chambers are most likely about ten miles below the surface, (as demanded by the physics of the triggering of the Flood), so they provide a safe haven.  Safer that the caves under the desert which are near the surface.  But is also possible that the tunnels that are being made underneath the desert, complete, in some cases, with transport systems, could be the means of supply for the people as the anonymous “they” of verse 6 nourish the remnant in hiding. 
Where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent- we have thought of this in relation to verse 6.  Notice that it is the dragon that comes down to earth, with the emphasis on power and force, whereas it is the serpent from whom the woman is hid.  It is the same personage of course, but it seems that all the craft and insight of the serpent is unable to discover where the woman is hidden, even though there are those brave enough to feed her.

12:15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood- just as Pharoah pursued Israel with his cavalry, so the Devil will seek to overtake the fleeing multitudes.  We see from this that the woman’s flight like an eagle is metaphorical.  If she is heading for the caverns in the desert, then what better way to arrest her than to flood the caverns with water.  Satan has great power, even as a fallen creature, and is well able to cause a torrential storm just by speaking the word.  After all, he was allowed to cause lightning to burn up Job’s flocks, and to bring a wind to blow down his eldest son’s house, Job 1:16,19. 

12:16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth- notice that the water is said to come out of the mouth of the serpent, verse 15, but in this verse it is said to come out of the mouth of the dragon.  As serpent he is crafty, as dragon he is cruel.
God overrules, and before the water can swallow her up, it itself is swallowed up by the earth opening up, no doubt by a timely and well-placed earthquake.  The dry desert will quickly absorb the water before it can harm His people.

12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

And the dragon was wroth with the woman- the Devil’s wrath against Israel is undiminished, for she was the one who produced the man child who will be his conqueror.
And went to make war with the remnant of her seed- realising he cannot reach the woman, he turns his attention to those from the nation who will believe in the Messiah through the continued efforts of the Maskilim, as they turn many in Israel to righteousness, Daniel 12:3.  Despite the pressure to worship the image of the beast, they will refuse, and will lose their lives because of it, 13:15.
Which keep the commandments of God- the first two commandments of the law forbad the having, making, or bowing down to, idols.  They will keep these commandments and not break them by giving in to pressure to worship the image of the Beast.  He will be claiming to be God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, so to worship him will be to renounce the worship of God.
And have the testimony of Jesus Christ- not only will they be faithful to the covenant that God gave to the nation at its founding, they will be believers in Christ, and hold in their hearts the testimony that God has given about Him.  That testimony is found in 1 John 5:6-10, where John explains how it is that there are those whose faith overcomes the world.  He informs us that the testimony that has been borne to them is compelling, being by Divine persons themselves.  John has already told us in his epistle that the antichrist will deny the Father and the Son, 1 John 2:22, now he is writing about those who will reject that way of thinking, and willingly acknowledge both Father and Son.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN CHAPTER 5, VERSES 5 TO 13:

5:5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
5:6  This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
5:8  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of his Son.
5:10  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.
5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:6,8    Three-fold testimony on earth
First testimony   
The water of Christ’s baptism.
Second testimony   
The blood of Christ’s cross.
Third testimony   
The Spirit that anointed Christ at His baptism, and who came upon believers after the cross.

It is important to bear in mind that the words “record”, “testimony”, and “witness” all signify the same thing in these verses.

5:6  This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ- that is, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, verse 5, and He came by water and by blood.  John is ensuring we realise just exactly of whom he is writing.  
At the beginning of the epistle John told us that he is writing about things that he saw and heard “from the beginning”, meaning the beginning of the public manifestation of Christ to the world at His baptism.  So when he mentions water we immediately think of His baptism.  It was by means of His baptism that He was brought to the notice of Israel, and in that sense He “came by water”.  And in particular, it was the voice of the Father, declaring that Jesus of Nazareth was His Son, that introduced Him into the world of men. 
But He also came by blood.  John himself had stood at the foot of the cross, and could testify as to the death of the Lord Jesus.  The shedding of blood is the giving up of life.  The life of the flesh is in the blood, God assures us, Leviticus 17:11, so when the Lord Jesus “poured out His soul unto death”, then His blood was shed.  That John saw the soldier pierce His side and “forthwith came there out blood and water”, John 19:34, is simply the sign that the giving up of the life had taken place, for Christ was already dead when this happened.  It rendered the crucified body of the Lord Jesus unique and instantly recognisable, for there were three men crucified that day; it is vital that the Lord be distinguishable from the other two.  This is why John is so insistent that what he was testifying was true.  The death of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, is the basic message of the gospel that was preached from Pentecost onwards.  So He comes “by blood” in testimony to men.
And it is the Spirit that beareth witness- the blood and the water, whilst deeply significant, cannot bear witness themselves, for that must be done by persons.  So the Holy Spirit applies the meaning and implication of the water and the blood as He empowers evangelists and teachers.
Because the Spirit is truth- the truth borne witness to is so important that the Holy Spirit takes responsibility for it, for He is truth.  That is, there is no element of untruth with Him.  He is totally infallible.  This cannot be said of believers themselves as they testify.  This is why it is important to point men to the Word of God, the place where the Spirit has left on record His testimony regarding Christ.

Verse 7    Three testimony-bearers in heaven
First testimony-bearer
The Father.
Second testimony-bearer
The Word
Third testimony-bearer
The Holy Ghost

5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

For there are three that bear record in heaven- this verse has some unusual wording, and perhaps because of this, (and also because it supports the doctrine of the Trinity, which the devil and his agents hate), was excluded from some manuscripts.  The godly and learned men who were responsible for the Authorised Version were clearly satisfied that the verse should be present. 
The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost- it is objected that there is no need to witness to anyone in heaven.  But John need not be referring to the sort of witness needed so that the truth may be received and believed by men; that is the character of the witness on earth.  For the mention of the Lord Jesus as the Word reminds us that the one who is the Word in eternity, in John 1:1, is the same word who was made flesh, in time, as John 1:14 states.  So it is the Word in manhood that is back in heaven, and bears testimony by His presence there that the Father owns Him as His Son.  If the word from heaven at His baptism was not true, then He would not have been welcomed back into heaven as He has been.  “God was manifest in flesh…received up in glory”, 1 Timothy 3:16. 
And these three are one- the Father and the Word and the Spirit testify to the fact of their complete unity by the presence back in heaven of Jesus of Nazareth as the Word, God manifest in flesh.  One of the objections raised against this whole verse is that when the great debates were taking place in the first centuries of this era about the Deity of Christ, this verse does not seem to have been used much, if at all.  But perhaps that is because those who defended the Deity of Christ in those far-off days did not see the verse as directly teaching His Deity, and therefore concentrated on verses that do.  They perhaps believed that “And these three are one” is not so much an assertion of the oneness in essence of the persons of the Godhead, as the assertion of their oneness in testimony.  As if John is saying, “These three are one in their Divine assertion of their own unity, which is in no way disturbed by including the Word, (who is man as well as God), within it”.

Further truth about the Spirit bearing witness:

5:8  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth- John now returns to the subject of men believing a testimony, which must be done on earth.  As Peter said, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”, Acts 4:12.
The Spirit, and the water, and the blood- the Spirit is now put first, for He it is who is responsible for testimony during this age.  The gospel is preached “by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven”, 1 Peter 1:12, so no matter have far removed in time from Pentecost the preaching is, it still has Pentecostal power and relevance.  The gospel may be preached as if Christ died and rose again just a few weeks ago.  The passage of time does not alter historical facts.
The Spirit of God takes the initiative in testimony, and we must follow His lead.  He bears testimony to the truth set out at the baptism of Christ, namely His Sonship.  He bears testimony to what He did by the shedding of His blood.  So it is that the gospel consists of the presentation of truth regarding the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, God’s Son.  He is central to the message; the testimony of the Spirit is to Him.  Of course sinners must be informed of God’s thoughts about them, but Christ must be kept central.
And these three agree in one- obviously the Spirit and the water and the blood are not one, as the Father, the Word and the Spirit are.  The point is that the Spirit , water, and blood are at one in their testimony; they agree in that unified testimony.

Verses 9-12        Three features of the testimony

First feature, verse 9   
It is the testimony not of men but God.

5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.

If we receive the witness of men- we are prepared to accept the testimony of honest and sane men to a certain degree.  We always have reservations about the witness of sinners, for the psalmist wrote, “all men are liars”, so they have that tendency.  That said, the testimony of men we trust is believed, in the general sense.
The witness of God is greater- the testimony of men, even believing men, might be to some degree unreliable, but we still accept what they say.  We do not have any reservations, however, about accepting the record that God gives in His word.
For this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son- not only do we believe God’s testimony is greater because He is God, but His testimony is greater because of the subject of it.  He bears witness to the Lord Jesus that He is His Son.  He did this at His baptism in the words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.  He did it by raising Him from the dead, so that the apostle Paul can write, that He was “declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead”, Romans 1:4.

Second feature, verse 10
It is within the believer, because the Spirit is within.

5:10  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself- John now tells us the consequences of the witness of the Spirit, whether for the believer or the unbeliever.  First for the believer.  The Spirit testifies as to the Deity of Christ, and this testimony is believed.  As a result, the believer has the testimony within his heart now, and can pass it on to others.  But he has more.  He has the Holy Spirit within His heart also, for the moment a person believes, the Spirit takes up permanent residence within. 
He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar- when we believe men we always have reservations, and need to verify what they say to some degree.  But if God is God at all, He cannot lie.  Those who do not accept His testimony, therefore, because we are only prepared to knowingly accept truthful testimony, have said in effect that God’s testimony is not truthful, and therefore He is a liar.  Of course we cannot actually make God a liar, but men can make Him out to be a liar by rejecting His witness.

Third feature, verse 11-12
It is about God’s Son, and life in Him.

5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

And this is the record- in previous verses the record, or witness, (same word), was a general one, whether the Father’s voice from heaven at Christ’s baptism, or the combined testimony of the Persons of the Godhead as to the Deity of the Word, in that He has been welcomed back to heaven in manhood.  Then in verse 6 there is the witness of the Spirit to the world in the gospel, as He sets out the truths implied by the coming of Christ through water and through blood. 
Here the record is given in assurance to the believer, for it comes to one who has been given eternal life, so is not a word for the unbeliever.  This refers back to John’s statement in verse 10, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself”, and is an extension of it.
That God hath given to us eternal life- the consequence of believing God’s record in the gospel is that we are given eternal life.  Now that has happened, God’s testimony to our hearts is, first, that we do indeed have that eternal life.  This goes back to the theme in 2:25 that John is developing.  He wrote there, “And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life”.  God now assures us that since we have received the promise by faith, eternal life is indeed ours.  This is all based upon the words of the Lord Jesus in John 5:4 when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”.  So God bears testimony to the fact that what His Son said would come to pass when a person believes, has indeed come to pass.
And this life is in His Son- there is no other person to whom we may go to obtain the gift of eternal life.  Again referring to the Lord’s words in John 5, He said in verse 26, “For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself”. The life needed to quicken those dead in trespasses and sins, and to quicken their mortal bodies at the resurrection, is sourced in God the Father.  But the “as…so” of this verse signifies the same as it does in verse 21, namely just as, even as.  So not only does the Son have life in Himself just as the Father does, (as John 1:4 indicates, “in Him was life”), but in addition it is given to Him to have this life in Himself for others.  He is the vessel full of the water of life, and men are invited to go to Him and drink, John 7:37; Revelation 22:17.

5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

He that hath the Son hath life- ever the evangelist, John states plainly what he had emphasised in his gospel, that the Son of God is able and willing to give life eternal as a gift to those who believe Him.  John will write in verse 20 about Jesus Christ, and say, “This is the true God, and eternal life”.  So He is the full expression of what the life of God really is, and when we have the life, we have Him.  No doubt this is made good to us by the Spirit, for Christ said to His own, “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you”, John 14:17, a reference to the Holy Spirit.  Then in the next verse he says, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you”.  Again, in His prayer to His Father He said, “I in them, and Thou in Me”, John 17:23.
And he that hath not the Son of God hath not life- John is fond of putting things round the other way so that we are in no doubt as to his meaning, and to ensure we realise there are no exceptions to what he says.  No doubt the false teachers of John’s day claimed to have life apart from Christ as Son of God.  John firmly rejects such an idea.  There is no other route to eternal life than the Son of God.

5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God- verses 11 and 12 are really a summary of John’s gospel, and John now tells that he has written his epistle to those who believe that gospel.  They have believed on the name of the Son of God.  That is, they have received the truth about the Son of God, and the implications involved in Him having that name, and have believed.  When John tells us about the new birth he writes, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”, John 1:12.  This is why the Lord Jesus is given so many titles in John 1, for they all express His name.  He is the Word, the Light, the only-begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ, the Christ, the prophet, the Lord, Lamb of God,  Baptizer, Jesus of Nazareth, King of Israel, Son of man.  To believe on His name is to receive the many-sided truth about Him suggested by these titles.
That ye may know that ye have eternal life- John is very concerned that believers should be confident about possessing eternal life, so that is why he wrote his epistle.  So he wrote his gospel so we might know how to get it; his epistle that we might know we have it.  He had written that “this life is in His Son”, verse 11, and does not want us to think that the life is only there.  It is in the believer too.
And that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God- why does he write to those who believe on the name of the Son so that they might believe on the name of the Son of God?  Have they not already done so?  John is encouraging them to continue in their belief in the Son of God, and to remember what His character is.  this is why he says “believe on the name”, for the name tells of character.  They are to believe in Him because of the character He has, as well as the relationship He holds with God.

So those who believe in Israel will have the same testimony borne to them, as men have brought to them today, and despite the pressure to do otherwise, they will ccept the testimony that is brought to them, and they will have that testimony in their hearts.  It is by this that they will overcome the wiles and attacks of the enemy of God and their souls.