By Gerald Flurry • January 22
Revelation chapter 12 is very unusual. It’s a prophecy about the relation between God’s Church and Satan! The light of truth coming from God’s Church is a great wonder (verse 1), but there’s another wonder: the “great red dragon” (verse 3), or Satan. God’s Church and Satan are the exact opposite, yet they share an intimate relationship. Every Christian should have a lot of interest in this!
Revelation 12 reveals Satan in a way you have never seen him before. He has frightening power—enough to deceive the whole world (verse 9). He’s even the god of this world! (2 Corinthians 4:4). Did you realize that God isn’t in charge of the world, except for the fact that He allows Satan to rule? Who ever talks about this?
“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” (Revelation 12:1). God’s Church is clothed with the sun, a type of Jesus Christ. The moon would be dark and ugly without the light from the sun, but it reflects that light instead. The 12 stars picture the 12 tribes of Israel. Sun, moon, stars—so much light!
Revelation is considered a doomsday book, yet here is a dazzlingly positive description of God’s Church! Revelation is a book of light. We need God’s help and direction to understand it.
God’s Church is shining royalty. Christ said He would build His Church to withstand the “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18). This little Church always survives! Where is it today? You can find it because it is full of glorious light.
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered” (Revelation 12:2). We must struggle to receive God’s light so we can help Christ give it to the whole world. It can be painful at times, like a woman in labor. We must endure trials and tests to be born into the very Family of God! But it’s worth the struggle. God’s very elect, His loyal people, will become co-saviors with Christ!
“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” (verse 3). Satan is the reason for all the darkness in the world. He has plunged all mankind into black, black, black darkness. He’s always trying to destroy the living Church of God! This has always been his number one passion.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth …” (verse 4). Here, “stars” are a symbol of the angels. Before he became Satan, Lucifer was given charge on Earth over one third of all the angels. He grew bitter and jealous toward God and deceived every one of them! God created him as one of three archangels, the highest rank of angel, yet all that power and authority wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to rule over God Himself! (Isaiah 14:13-14). The other two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, have remained loyal and continue to defend God’s Church from Satan.
“[A]nd the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4). God warned Joseph and Mary to flee with the baby Jesus into Egypt so the king in Jerusalem wouldn’t have Him killed (Matthew 2:13-15).
“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” (Revelation 12:5). The space between verses 4 and 5 covers Christ’s birth, Satan’s attack on Him through a carnal king, Christ’s ministry, death, resurrection, ascension to heaven to be reunited with God the Father, and all the way up to the time we’re living in right now just before His Second Coming!
“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” (verse 6). This verse transports us back to the first century. Christ founded the one true Church of God in a.d. 31. It took only about 22 years before the Church started turning away from God to worldly doctrines. Satan strikes quickly! He has done much more massive destruction to the Church in this end time.
Back then, the Church had to flee to the mountains for safety from imprisonment and death. They were basically invisible on the world stage for 1,260 years—the verse says 1,260 days, but we must apply the “day for a year” principle. (Request my free book The True History of God’s True Church for proof.) Imagine how powerful Satan must be to force God’s Church underground for 1,260 years!
This is not God’s world. His Church had to flee to a place of safety so leaders of the world couldn’t destroy it. This world is characterized not by light, but by darkness and death. God wants us to wake up and see this!
Where are we today in Bible prophecy? “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (verse 7). Satan declared war against God! We can prove to you that this war took place about 35 years ago.
“And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven” (verse 8). This happened in modern times! Satan and the demons have no place in the heavens anymore!
“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” (verse 9). God forcibly expelled Satan and the demons from heaven, confining them to the Earth. Now do you understand why all the turmoil, hatred, division and violence in the world?
Satan declared war on God one other time—possibly millions of years ago. He lost that war too (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). God created Lucifer to be perfect, but Lucifer let lawlessness enter his mind (Ezekiel 28:15). If he and the angels under him had succeeded at finishing the creation of Earth and establishing God’s government there, they would have qualified to rule the universe! Their failure is the reason why God created human beings. We’re here on Earth for the purpose of one day succeeding where the angels failed. God is re-creating Himself in us, in spite of our rebellion!
“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” (Revelation 12:10). This is dual—aimed at spiritual Israel, the Church, but also applicable to physical Israel, primarily America and Britain. Satan is the accuser! He divides and stirs up hatred.
There is always cause and effect. What is happening to God’s Church? Ninety-five percent of God’s own people have rebelled. Satan wrecked the Worldwide Church of God within a few years of Herbert W. Armstrong dying in 1986. Half of the rebels will repent and return to the light eventually.
Mr. Armstrong warned about the danger of taking one false step, refusing to repent of it, and then plunging more and more into error. Rejecting one truth and not repenting immediately will lead to rejecting all of God’s truth. The Holy Bible is our light. God gives the gift of His Holy Spirit to help us overcome Satan, this evil world and our human nature.
“But do you think you are immune from the wiles and subtle deceptions of Satan?” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Are you stronger than Satan? Don’t so unwisely underestimate Satan! Satan is the strongest being or personage God ever created, except the other two archangels Michael and Gabriel” (“Satan Deceive and Use Me? Never!” Pastor General’s Report, Dec. 5, 1980).
“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” (verse 12). Satan knows his time is almost up, so he’s angry. Christ is about to return and overthrow him as ruler of Earth. This means Satan has nothing to lose. He destroys with fierce wrath.
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). Satan destroyed God’s Church in this end time—except for a loyal remnant. He is still free to destroy all he wants to on Earth. But he’s about to be chained and cast into outer darkness for 1,000 years, then again forever!
“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” (verse 14). The only way to escape Satan’s wrath is by fleeing to a place of safety. God protects His loyal people! He will consume Satan’s army by causing the earth to swallow it (verses 15-16)—a wonderful miracle and blessing.Read More