The Dragon Pursues the Woman

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DRAGON’S PURSUIT OF THE WOMANWhen the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 12:13-17)

Pursuit and Escape – Aware that his time is short, and with no more access to Heaven, Satan will vent his remaining wrath earthward. As a result, God will
prepare a special place where the Jewish remnant will be protected and cared for. The remnant’s escape from Satan is described in terms of a flying eagle. This is a repeated image in the Old Testament referring to Israel. God delivered Israel from Egypt “on eagles’ wings” (Exodus 19:4), and cared for the people in the wilderness as an eagle would her young (Deuteronomy 32:11–12). Their return from Babylonian Captivity was like “mounting up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).(1)

Some have pointed to this as being symbolic (the Eagle being an icon of the United States) of the special relationship that the United States has had with Israel since it was reestablished in 1948. They believe that in some way the United States will be instrumental as God’s agent of protection for Israel during the Tribulation, as it has been in part since 1948. Apart for the eagle symbolism there is no evidence to support this contention. Of course, there could not be any direct evidence since the United States did not exist at that time. But God causes nations to rise (and fall), in order to carry out His express purposes.

Water Like a River – The phrase “water like a river” is not explained, but there is a parallel found in Psalm 124, “if the LORD had not been on our side – let Israel say – if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.”

The “torrent” in Revelation may be a metaphor for an increased outpouring of anti-Semitic propaganda and hatred. Or it may symbolize armies that invade Israel and seek to defeat the remnant. If that is the meaning, then the earth opening-up could well be a literal earthquake that God sends to destroy the invaders.

Satan has always hated the Jews because they are God’s chosen people and the vehicle through which salvation came into the world. Satan would like to destroy the nation of Israel, as its long history of suffering and persecution (and miraculous preservation) attests. This desire will become more acute as the time draws near for the Messiah to return to earth to establish the promised kingdom in which the Jewish remnant will form the nucleus (Zechariah 12:9–14:21; Revelation 1:7).(2)

Taken Care of for a Time – Note that the remnant will be sheltered for the last half of the Tribulation. We do not know where this sheltered place will be, nor do we need to know. But the lesson for all of us is clear. God cares for those He loves and has chosen to accomplish His purposes on earth. While some will lose their lives (Revelation 12:11), others will be spared (see Acts 12 for an example of this principle).(3)

When Satan is unable to reach the woman, he goes off “to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”(4) God will allow him success for a time (Revelation 13:7). But ultimately, the old serpent will be defeated.(5) The offspring may be the Church (if not previously Raptured) or those led to Christ during the Tribulation period through the witness of the 144,000.

Another Holocaust – Satan’s special hatred for the Jewish people has been the power behind anti-Semitism from the days of Pharaoh and Haman (see the Book of Esther) to Hitler, Stalin, ISIS and most of the countries in the Middle East. In the middle of the Tribulation, as hard as it is to imagine, there will be a renewed wave of anti-Semitism such as the world has never seen. But God will protect His people during those three-and-a-half years.(6)

The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. has an enormous banner hanging near the entrance which states “NEVER AGAIN.” These are the words used to commemorate the six million Jews who died in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, Hitler’s “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.”(7) According to Raul Hilberg, a great historian of the Holocaust, the phrase “Never Again” first appeared on handmade signs put up by inmates at Buchenwald in April 1945, shortly after the camp had been liberated by U.S. forces.(8) It continues to be the rallying cry to this day.

On January 27, 2015, the world marked the seventieth anniversary (an auspicious number when you think about it) of the liberation of Auschwitz, and world leaders once again assembled to vow never again. However, Jesus prophesied that another Jewish Holocaust is coming. He said it would take place in the West Bank or what has been referred to as the occupied territories. In His prophecy, Jesus spoke of it by its biblical name, Judea.

There were no Jews living in the West Bank (Judea) prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. Today there are 365,000 Jews living there. Jesus warned them that they would have to flee for their lives when they saw an event called the Abomination of Desolation. He said if they were on the housetop they should not even go down into their house when they heard that the Abomination of Desolation had occurred. They should immediately hit the ground running. Why this warning? Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” But this time, as we shall see, it will involve more than Jews. The dragon will give the coming “beast,” the anti-Christ “his power and his throne and great authority(9) and he will also “make war against the saints.”

Up Next – We begin the next chapter on the “unholy trinity.”

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References

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (p. 1081). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 602–603). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  7. http://www.endtime.com/blog/another-jewish-holocaust
  8. http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/39172/why-is-the-phrase-never-again-associated-with-the-holocaust
  9. http://www.endtime.com/blog/another-jewish-holocaust

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