Revelation 12-13

Summary of our Study:
Revelation 1-3 - Johnʼs vision of Jesus, the letters to the churches - “Revelation” - What is revealed about Jesus and His relationship to us? Revelation 4-5 - The vision of the throne room, the Lamb and the scroll - “Redemption” - What has God redeemed in my life? Revelation 6-7 - The six seals, the two multitudes - “Perseverance” - What do you hope for? Revelation 8-9 - The six trumpets - “Idolatry” - What do you worship? Revelation 10-11 - The angel with the little scroll, the two witnesses - “Witness” - What is your witness?

Revelation 11:15-19 - A brief vision of the end, just as at the end of the seven seals Revelation 12 The Woman with Child (vs. 1-2) - Echoes the story of Apolloʼs birth from Leto - Also has elements of Josephʼs dream in Gen. 37:9-10 (sun, moon, stars) - Is best understood as the People of God as per Gal. 4:26, “the Jerusalem above is free, she is our mother” The Red Dragon (vs. 3-4) - Ten horns reference the reign of Satan (see Daniel 7:7) - Stars refer to angels in Revelation (see Rev. 1:20) - Is also called “Leviathan” in vs. 9, a reference to a mythological beast taken from pagan culture and used in the O.T. to establish Godʼs rule and power over pagan gods (see Isa.51:9, Job.26:13, Ps.89:10) - Satan literally means “accuser” (see Zech. 3:1-3, Job 1:6-11) The Child (vs. 5-6) - “Rule... with a rod of iron” from Messianic prophecy in Psalms 2:9 - Christʼs birth and ascension represent the whole of His ministry here The Battle (vs. 7-12) - Occurs after Christʼs ascension and before the womanʼs flight into the wilderness - Satanʼs accusations have lost their power - Because of the blood of the lamb (vs. 11) - And the word of their testimony (vs. 11) - Satan knows that he has lost, so rages against the world

Revelation 12-13

The Wilderness (vs. 13-17) - Woman is carried by wings of eagle, reminiscent of Deut. 32:11-12 “Like an eagle... He spread his wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions, The Lord alone guided them...” - 3 1/2, 1260, 42, the apocalyptic number representing a period of trouble for the saints - In O.T., the earth has swallowed up the enemies of God several times (see Num. 16:30, 26:10; Deut. 11:6) - “Make war” is used in Daniel 7:3 (and throughout Revelation) to refer to the persecution of the saints Historical Context Nero: - Nero was the first Caesar to proclaim himself a deity before he died (usually a task of the Senate) - On coins he minted was inscribed “Savior of the World” - By the time he died, heʼd grown out of favor with the Senate and the Army - Committed suicide by stabbing his neck with a dagger - His body was cremated, so there was no proof of his death - “Nero Recidivus” myths of Neroʼs return and revenge as leader of the Parthians were common; three documented impostors showed up within years of his death Domitian: - Eventually declares himself “Dominus et deus”: Lord and God - Encouraged Emperor worship - In Asia Minor, there was an attempt to cull favor by intense Emperor worship, huge statue was erected in Ephesus for Domitian - Some trade guilds required members to participate in emperor worship in order to buy or sell Revelation 13 The Beast from the Sea (vs. 1-8) - Resembles Satan in its power, as represented by the horns, heads, and diadems (crowns) - Readers in Asia Minor would have seen Rome come from the sea - Leopard, bear, and lion are parts of a vision given to Daniel in Dan. 7:4-6, widely understood to represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece - Readers would have seen “Nero Recidivus” in the slain head - “Who is like the beast?” is parody of “Who is like you, oh Lord?” from Exodus 15:11, was also response of people to Rome - 42 months, time of trouble for saints - This beast represents Satanʼs earthly representation in the political sphere Admonition to the Saints (vs. 9-10)

Revelation 12-13

- At the end of the Beastʼs description John uses admonition from 7 messages: “he who has an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17) meaning that the message is clearly applying to them then - Calls for “perseverance and faith of the saints”, not resistance to captivity or sword - Resist, not by force, but by witness and martyrdom The Beast from the Earth (vs. 11-17) - Imitates the lamb (see Rev. 5:6) but speaks like the dragon - The second beastʼs signs would have been familiar to the readers as those signs that were performed through statues in temples, i.e. causing them to speak, breathe fire - The mark is a parody of the seal given to Christians in Rev. 7:4, 9:4 - This second beast represents Satanʼs power in the economic and religious realms on earth - Christians were experiencing economic and religious persecution in Asia Minor, hence the beast comes “from the earth” as opposed to “from the sea” The Number of the Beast (v. 18) - Gematria was a system used for computing the numerical value of words - Romans, Jews, Greeks didnʼt have numeral system, instead letters were numbers - Ex. VII = 7, CIX = 109 - Best guests are “Neron Kaiser” (Ceasar Nero) and “lateinos” (the Latin Empire) which both = 666 Summary • The woman is the embodiment of the people of God • Christ has defeated Satan, but Satan has been allowed to rage for a little while longer • The people of God are protected for salvation (see 1 Peter 1:3-9) but are recipients of Satanʼs wrath in persecution • The instruments of that wrath (represented by the two beasts) are through political, religious, and economic persecution • We are to resist being swayed by the power of the world, and remain steadfast that whatʼs worth living for is eternal Read the list of promises from the Bible.1 Consider Johnʼs admonition to persevere through death in light of the promise of eternal life after death. Consider the promises we have listed as eternal life now. Reflect on how much you live out (or would live out) the promise of eternal life now, or later. Which of these promises do you struggle with? Why? Which donʼt you struggle with? Why? Place yourself in the position of someone facing suffering or death for your faith. Would understanding and believing the promises of eternal life now make a difference on whether you believe in eternal life after death?
1

You can find the complete list here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/17198252/Promises-of-Eternal-Life-Now

Revelation 12-13

Think about an area of your life that feels like defeat. What is the eternal perspective on that area? How could God turn that defeat into victory? Read Hebrews 11:1-2, 32-40  “1-2The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.... I could go on and on, but I've run out of time. There are so many more— Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets....Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn't deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
32-38

 39-40Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” The essential element of faith is relationship. Do you know the One who made the promise? Then will you choose to trust Him?

Revelation 12-13

Addendum: Pagan Myths as Inspiration “Apollo was the son of Zeus and Titaness Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. When Leto was pregnant with the twins, Hera cast a curse on her that she could not bear her children on any piece of land that the sun shone down on . To enforce this curse, Hera sent out Python, an enormous snake to chase Leto who was heavy with her children inside of her, but unable to give birth due to Hera's curse. Zeus then went to Poseidon for help. Poseidon raised a small island called Delos from the deepest part of the ocean that was not yet touched by the sun, where Leto finally gave birth to Artemis and Apollo.... When Apollo reached manhood, Leto told him the story of the Python and Hera's curse. After hearing this, Apollo jumped into his chariot drawn by two golden lions, and sped off to Delphi, the site of the oracle of Mother Earth where Python stayed.”2   - Leviathan was a pagan myth of a dragon in the water from surrounding cultures. “In every case where these references are used it is to affirm the triumph of Yahweh over his foes, the establishment of his rule on earth and his superiority over the pagan gods.” (Isa.51:9, Job.26:13, Ps.89:10)3

2 3

http://felc.gdufs.edu.cn/jth/myth/Greek%20Online/5The%20Birth%20of%20Apollo.htm http://www.xenos.org/classes/papers/paganot.htm

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