The Fourth Sunday in Easter

Revelation 12:1-17

God’s Protection of His Church

Chapter twelve of Revelation is one of the most beautiful in the entire book, for in it we see God’s great concern for His Church and anticipate her ultimate triumph.  God loves His Church, for it was for her that He sent His Son, who died and rose again to purchase her redemption.  Because of our Lord’s work on the cross, the Church is lovely, beautiful, cleansed of any defilement; she is a chaste and worthy Bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:7-8).

In this chapter, the woman represents the Church, the people of God, for the way she is dressed indicates that we are not dealing with a single individual.  The dragon is obviously the devil, as is clear from verse nine.  The woman gives birth to a baby whom the dragon waits to devour, but he is caught up to heaven before the dragon can do so.  The baby is the Christ-child since he is described as “the one who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27 & 19:15).  That the heavenly vision skips our Lord’s earthly ministry and whisks him away to heaven is not important; we are to think of his victory over the dragon in that the devil is cast out of heaven, reminiscent of our Lord’s words in Luke 10:18.  It was our Lord’s passion and resurrection that defeated the dragon and cast him out.

The woman now seeks refuge in the wilderness, which is the earth.  Since the dragon could not slay the baby, he now pours out his wrath upon the Church.  But her Lord protects her, delivering her on eagles’ wings (Exodus 19:4).  This does not mean that the devil is not able to inflict harm upon the Church as Revelation itself bears out (v. 17).  There have been and will be martyrs.  We know that our Adversary goes about “like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  He is angry, because he knows his defeat is sure and his time short.

But the overall message of the chapter is one of victory and rejoicing.  Our ancient foe has been conquered by the blood of the Lamb.  As he has been cast out of heaven, he is no longer able to accuse us before God night and day as was his habit.  Like the adulteress, we have no accusers (John 8:10-11).  And as the Apostle Paul said, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).  We have been set free, delivered, purchased, redeemed.  And it is our God’s sovereign will to see us home.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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