Chapter 12

The Conflict of the Ages -4

But even within the throws of their exuberant celebration, the angels display infinite pity for the inhabitants of the earth. They know Satan is enraged because his time is short, and that the inhabitants of the earth will become the objects of his great and diabolical wrath. This is the third and final prophetic “woe” announced earlier upon the inhabitants of the earth (Rev.8:13).

v.13-15 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

God’s intervention alone prevents Israel’s annihilation. As Satan, through the person of the Antichrist, attacks Israel and besieges Jerusalem in order to destroy the Nation, God will give Israel “two wings of a great eagle” and deliver a remnant of the Nation—the same idiom used in the Old Testament to describe God’s liberation of Israel from Egypt (Ex.19:4). He will prevent the serpent’s “flood” (probably alluding to a military force) from overtaking them, and then in turn will destroy the military force (see also—Ex.14:13-14). And God will nourish this remnant of Israel in the wilderness (from the presence of the serpent) for the entire second half of the Tribulation (see notes—v.6). During which time He will speak comfort and show mercy and as a result will forge unto Himself a holy and godly people. Listen to the prophet,

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her…Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ “ (Hosea 2:14,23).

v.17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The “rest of her offspring” speaks of those believers that come to know Christ as Savior during the Tribulation. The dragon’s war against them speaks of the murderous persecution that causes many of them to be martyred (Rev. 6:9-11; 20:4).

Okay, now let’s consider what might be the root cause behind Satan’s rage with Israel and the rest of her offspring, and his frantic rush to destroy them.

If we take it to be retaliation against Israel for having given birth to Christ, we would have to conclude that Satan’s aim is merely to hurt God by hurting the people of God. But I don’t think so. It’s my opinion that the rage isn’t vengeance, but Satan’s attempt to prevent the Second Coming of Christ. And it’s not merely his hatred of the Nation, but the threat it poses to his survival by its very existence, that enrages him.

Just days before His crucifixion, while lamenting over Jerusalem, Jesus seemingly revealed a condition upon which His Second Coming is determined. Listen to what He said:

“See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Luke 13:34,35)

Is it possible that Jesus was disclosing a truth that Satan understood and seeks to prevent, perhaps explaining why Satan so desperately desires to annihilate Israel and their converts? That the Second Coming of Christ will occur, but only after a repentant Nation of Israel is birth and made ready to receive Jesus as their Messiah, and yet not until it does.

It seems so.

In any case, dear ones, the greatest persecution of Jews and Gentile believers this world has ever known is scheduled to occur inside the second half of the tribulation. And it all stems because of this unseen spiritual conflict between God and the devil.

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