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Revelation 12:1-6

[1] A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;
[2] and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
[3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.
[4] And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
[5] And she gave birth to a son, a male childwho is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
[6] Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Revelation Chapter 12 contains many symbolical stories.

Let’s me summarize them briefly first.

The main characters are a woman and a dragon.

When the woman was about to give birth to her son, the dragon tried to devour her child, but failed.

Her son was caught up to God. And the dragon was thrown down to the earth after the dragon was defeated in a war against Archangel Michael.

After the dragon was thrown down to the earth, he tried to kill the woman and she fled from the dragon into the wilderness.

The dragon poured water out of his mouth to kill her, but the earth drank up the water and helped the woman.

Then, the dragon was enraged and went off to make war with the rest of her children.

This is the brief summary of the Chapter 12 of Revelation.

Some of you may say this chapter is like a scene from a sci-fi movie.

However, the story of this chapter is not something of the imagination, but is true and will be a reality.

It is the story recounting the history of Israel from her past till now, and into the future.

Then, who is this woman and who is the child she gave birth to? What does the dragon symbolize?

If you’ve heard ‘the Message of the Cross,’ then, chances are that you may already know the answer.

The woman, spiritually, symbolizes Israel.

The dragon is also called ‘the serpent’ or ‘the serpent of old’. It refers to the enemy devil and Satan.

Genesis 3:15 has a scene in which God curses the serpent which deceived Eve.

It reads, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”

This verse contains a very important spiritual message.

Here, the woman refers to Israel, her seed to Jesus the Savior, and the serpent, to the enemy devil and Satan.

Jesus, the seed of the woman, Israel, bruised the serpent on the head, and the serpent bruised Jesus on the heel.

This is the providence of the salvation of the Cross.

The enemy devil and Satan incited the evil people to crucify Jesus on the cross.

This is what was meant by saying that the serpent shall bruise the woman’s seed on the heel.

Then, it says that He shall bruise the serpent on the head.

If you want to catch a snake, you must grab its head, not its body or tail.

You must hold of the snake by holding its head.

When it says the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent on the head, it means Jesus will break the authority of the enemy devil and Satan.

In other words, Jesus who died but resurrected would break their authority over death

Like this, the crucifixion and the providence of salvation were prophesied in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

If you know this spiritual secret and read tonight’s scripture, you can interpret most of it.

To that extent you have the spiritual knowledge, you can interpret the Bible by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Now, let’s delve into the details of tonight’s scripture.

The verses1 & 2 say, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.”

It says that “a sign appeared in heaven.” It means that everything that Apostle John saw is under the management of God.

In the Old Testaments, ‘a sign’ refers to an amazing work of God.

On the other hand, ‘a sign’ refers to a work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.

Now, ‘a sign’ in tonight’s scripture is the work that God Himself manifests.

It is ‘a sign’ which is in the providence of God who cares for the people of Israel who are still bound to the faith of the Old Testament.

The choosing of the people of Israel, the history of Israel under His guidance, and all the incidents that will take place through Israel during the 7 Year Great Tribulation are all ‘signs’ in the providence of God.

Therefore, tonight’s scripture can be viewed from both perspectives; the past and the future.

In other words, both the works that have been done through Israel and the works that will be done through Israel are contained in tonight’s scripture.

‘A woman clothed with the sun’ is mentioned.

I already told you that the woman refers to Israel. This verse says that Israel is clothed with the sun.

It means that Israel receives the glory as a chosen people of God.

However, since the time that Israel was chosen by God, has Israel received only glory like the sun?

Of course, being a chosen people of God is such a great glory.

But, you can see that Israel has received significant harm just because Israel was the chosen people.

Therefore, when it says, ‘the woman clothed with the sun,’ it literally means she receives great glory, but at the same time, it spiritually means that she suffers from many afflictions and hardships.

Why is that?

Let me give you an illustration.

Suppose there is a boss who is running a very successful business.

But this boss doesn’t have a successor.

He is in dilemma who will inherit his successful business?

One day, he finds an employee who becomes his favorite.

But the boss cannot announce him as his successor right away.

The employee must be qualified to become a successor.

He must also be recognized and acknowledged as a successor by others.

Therefore, from the moment this employee is designated as a successor, he must undergo very strict training.

And he must be equipped with qualities to become a proper and appropriate successor.

The people of Israel are the same.

Since they were the chosen people of God, they have been through all the more rigorous refinements and hardships.

That’s because they are the people who have to reveal the glory of God, and they were chosen to accomplish the providence of God.

That’s why you can see that they had to undergo countless afflictions and hardships throughout their history.

In addition, the people of Israel will also suffer greatly during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

When it says, ‘the woman clothed with the sun,’ it also contains this meaning as well.

Dear brothers and sisters.

The people of Israel are the chosen people of God, and the Messiah was born of them.

The Savior, who is the light of salvation that is shining in the whole world, came from the line of Israel.

What a great glory it is!

In addition, the Bible is the history of the people of Israel, and it is also the textbook for our Christian life.

Since they were chosen to play such an important role, they had to go through many afflictions and hardships.

There have been trials they had no other choice but to undergo because they were the chosen people.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; all of them underwent many trials.

Even after the nation of Israel was established, they had to undergo trials.

And they have become the example of human cultivation.

For example, when the king and the people of Israel worshipped an idol, there surely came plagues and disasters on them as its result.

They were invaded by other countries, rebellions arose, or there were famines in the land.

However, when they repented and turned back, God showed His mercy on them.

This cycle has been repeated through out the history of Israel.

In order to accomplish the will of God contained in human cultivation, the people of Israel were used as instruments.

They had to undergo the processes of trials countless times.

Because they are the chosen people of God, and they had no choice but to become the example of human cultivation. They had to undergo such processes.

For this, it says the woman is ‘clothed with the sun.’

Now, the same principle applies to those who believe in the Lord.

You don’t just receive blessing and live in peace unconditionally just because you believe in God.

Only when you are properly qualified as a child of God, can you receive the blessings of God’s child.

For example, you must cast off evil to the extent that your faith grows while believing in the Lord.

However, if you don’t cast off sins but compromise with the world while confessing that you believe, Satan will bring accusations against you.

God cannot help you in this case.

You will be handed over to Satan according to the (spiritual) Law of Justice.

That’s why you have to suffer from afflictions and hardships that the enemy devil and Satan bring on you.

Since you became a child of God, you suffer from afflictions according to that justice.

Suffering from these afflictions, however, proves that you are walking the road as a child of God.

Hebrews 12:8 says, “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”

If there is no affliction or hardship even though you commit sin or walk the way of death, you cannot realize it and turn back from it.

Since God considers you His child, you suffer from afflictions or hardships when you live in the darkness.

God intervenes for you, and permits discipline, afflictions, or hardships so that you can realize and turn back from the sin.

Chances are that some people in the world don’t suffer from any afflictions even though they live in great sin.

But their result is surely eternal death.

On the other hand, if they are the children of God, there must be a proof that God intervenes for them.

Sometimes, they suffer from afflictions and hardships. When they repent and turn back, the grace is restored.

Therefore, since you must undergo these processes as your faith grows, don’t say it’s difficult to undergo them.

After passing through these processes and reaching a certain level, you will no longer suffer from them.

The time comes when afflictions and hardships and trials are over.

Just think of Abraham; after his passing the final test, he only received blessings without any more trials.

The purpose of refinement is to make you God’s true child who casts off even the evil in the heart to resemble God.

Therefore, once you come into spirit and become a true child of God, since you don’t commit sin any longer, there is no reason for you to suffer from any afflictions or hardships.

In addition, you don’t need to receive refinements to get rid of sins.

Of course, there may be refinements to make you a greater vessel. They are, however, not tough and hard sufferings.

Therefore, please obey and practice the word, and come into spirit quickly.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will not suffer from afflictions or hardships, but that you will receive only blessings.

Dear brothers and sisters.

“The woman clothed with the sun” also implies the afflictions that Israel will suffer from during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

Even though the Messiah was born in the people of Israel, they themselves didn’t accept Jesus as their Savior.

Eventually they will not be able to participate in the second advent of the Lord, but will fall into the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

They will have to suffer from many persecutions and tribulations.

“The woman, Israel, clothed with the sun” is the expression of all these things.

Next, it says, “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

“Under her feet” refers to the earth that the woman stands on, which is the land the people of Israel live on.

The sun shines during a day. However, the moon receives the light from the sun, and reflects the light.

The light of the moon is weak when compared with the sun.

Therefore, the moon refers to the darkness of this world.

When it says, “the moon under her feet,” it means two things.

First, it means that Israel shone the light of salvation to the whole world in the providence of God.

Just as the moon shines with the light that the moon receives from the sun, the light of salvation was shone to the world through Israel.

The Savior was born in Israel, and the providence of salvation was preached to the whole world through Israel.

Secondly, it means that, during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, there is only the dim light like the moonlight in the darkness unlike the bright light of the sun.

There remains a glimmer of hope in God’s grace by which they can be barely saved.

Likewise, the spiritually dark and miserable situation is compared to the dim light of the moon.

Now, when it says, “on her head a crown of twelve stars,” it means that Israel prospered from its 12 tribes.

Verse 2 says, “she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.”

Just as in verse 1, this verse has two meanings as well.

First, all the afflictions that Israel suffered up until the Savior came are described as the ‘pain of labor’.

Before Jesus came to this earth, Israel was under (spiritual) darkness for hundreds of years.

Israel was under the oppression of Gentiles, and the revelation of God discontinued.

It was a painful period.

Secondly, all the afflictions that Israel will suffer during the 7 Year Great Tribulation are described as ‘the pain of labor’

Israel shunned the Savior who was born in their people, and forsook the will of God.

As the price to pay for it, they can receive salvation only when they suffer from great pain during the 7 Year Great Tribulation just like the pain of childbirth.

They refer to all the persecutions that they have to suffer from through the antichrist, and that they have to suffer from in order to reach salvation.

Another sign appears in the verses 3 & 4.

It says, “a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”

As I explained earlier, the dragon refers to the enemy devil and Satan which betray and stand against God.

And ‘a great red dragon’ refers to Lucifer, the head of the evil spirits.

The color ‘red’ refers to sin and evil.

Isaiah 1:18 says, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”

Sins are compared to the color red in this verse as well.

Now, the dragon has “seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.”

When the verse says that it has heads of seven, which is a perfect number, it means Lucifer is the leader in charge of evil.

Ten horns refer to kings; they are the kings that are under the control of Lucifer at the end time.

When these are connected to the 7 Year Great Tribulation, the great red dragon refers to the antichrist.

I explained that the force of the antichrist would unite the nations of Europe.

And there are 7 nations which will lead others in terms of politics, economy, and military.

The seven heads refer to these seven nations.

In addition, the ten horns refer to other 10 nations which will support the 7 nations.

When it says, “on his heads were seven diadems,” it means they have authority.

The forces of the antichrist enjoy the authority of the darkness during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

They enjoy the absolute power of the darkness that controls this world.

For this, it says that there are seven diadems on their heads.

Now, the verse 4 says, “his (the dragon’s) tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

This verse also contains many meanings.

It, first, contains the rebellion that took place in the very beginning.

Lucifer planned to rebel against God, and enticed one third of angels.

With Lucifer as the central figure, the angels that belonged to Lucifer rebelled together with him, and changed into the force of darkness.

The verse indicates this incident by saying “his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Secondly, it refers to the wars which will break out during the 7 Year Great Tribulation under the control of the enemy devil and Satan.

The stars refer to all the scientific civilizations that have been developed throughout the history of mankind.

There have been technologies that are beneficial to mankind. However, there are others that may lead the mankind to destruction.

During the 7 Year Great Tribulation, the enemy devil and Satan use these modern conveniences which will lead to destruction.

And they drive the world to wars and calamities.

This situation is described in the verse saying, “his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

Thirdly, it means that countless people will suffer during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

God made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as many as stars.

Here, the stars refer to people.

Therefore, when it says, “his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth,” it means one third of the people will directly serve the antichrist.

And at the same time, it also means that countless people will be persecuted and killed by those people.

Now, the latter half of the verse 4 says, “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”

It refers to the situation when the enemy devil and Satan persecuted Jesus and attempted to kill Him.

As I said earlier, God already prophesied about the Savior in Genesis.

It is written that the seed of a woman will destroy the authority of the enemy devil and Satan.

And the enemy devil and Satan also knew that.

And thus, whenever the people of God were found in the history of Israel, the enemy devil and Satan tried all means to kill them.

That’s because they thought their authority would last forever if they killed the seed of a woman.

That’s why many prophets were persecuted and killed at the hands of evil people.

Even when Jesus was born, the enemy devil and Satan motivated Herod the king to kill Jesus.

The baby Jesus was able to flee to Egypt by the work of God.

However, the enemy devil and Satan watched for a chance to kill the seed of the woman, and finally they crucified Jesus on the cross.

But it was as if they had signed their death warrants.

Since they killed Jesus, the way of salvation was completed.

And the way was opened to escape from the death’s authority of the enemy devil and Satan and to reach salvation.

And thus, the dragon’s plan of killing the seed of the woman turned out to be a failure.

Now, the second meaning of the latter half of the verse 4 is related with the end of the 7 Year Great Tribulation.

It means that the antichrist tries to kill the people of Israel who accept the Lord.

To prevent anyone in Israel from believing in the Lord, the antichrist appeases people, tortures people, and persecutes people.

The verse 4 describes this situation by saying, “when she gave birth, he might devour her child.”

However, the scene that the plan of the dragon failed is found in the verses 5 & 6.

The verses indicate that there is a place prepared for Israel by God.

Now, where is this place?

How does Israel avoid the persecution of the antichrist and reach salvation?

We will look into this in the next lecture.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Christ.

Both in the past and today, the enemy devil and Satan still move the forces of the world to persecute and kill the people of God.

Jesus also suffered from such persecutions and afflictions, and eventually He was crucified on the cross.

Jesus was not killed because He has no power.

He gave up His all to accomplish God’s providence.

By giving up His own life, He opened the door of salvation for mankind in the justice.

The same applies to these days.

In accomplishing the providence of God, it’s not always true that things are going well when they are done quickly.

When they appear to be persecuted and delayed, it is the process of fulfilling the justice.

Only when the level of goodness and the measure of faith are reached, then God is revealed in great glory.

Even though Jesus died, he broke the authority over death and He came back to life in the glory of the resurrection.

You have experienced that even though we seemed dead, we later came out in the greater glory of the resurrection, haven’t you?

May you always experience such glory and blessing of resurrection in your life, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!

Amen

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