Reading the Word
Revelation 12:13–17 (ESV)
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
Understanding and Applying the Word
After Satan is cast out of heaven, he goes after the woman who had given birth to the child (i.e Israel; cf. Revelation 12:1-6). The woman is protected by God who delivers her to a place in the wilderness for “time, times, and half a time” (three and one half years). When Satan cannot attack the woman because of God’s protection, he turns to focus his anger on her offspring, which includes all believers. The passage describes these offspring as “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” We call those people Christians today.
In this passage, we see the two targets of Satan’s attacks: ethnic Israel and Christians. It was through Israel that God’s redeemer, Jesus Christ, came into the world. And Christians, and Christianity, have taken the message of God’s redemption to the world. It is natural to see why Satan would fix his attacks on these two targets.
Let us not be surprised by the adversity we face in this life, but may we remain faithful as we trust in the one who delivers his people.
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