Wonder, Worship, War: When the War of the Dragon Becomes the War of the Beast

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically today’s passage is found in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of this New Testament book. “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: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 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. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 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. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed here there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Revelation 12:1-6).

 

            “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was there place found any more in heaven. 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. 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. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 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” (Revelation 12:7-12).

 

            “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause he to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:13-17).

 

            “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten hors, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:1-10).

 

            “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from. Heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:11-18).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the apostle John shifting within the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In all reality it’s not really the apostle John that is shifting the focus but rather the focus of the vision being entirely and altogether altered. The twelfth and thirteenth chapter are some of the most well known passages found within the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ as the twelfth chapter describes the great war in heaven—a war which would begin in heaven and would eventually culminate in a war that would take place within and upon the earth. If there is one thing we should recognize and understand when reading the words found within this passage of Scripture it’s how there would initially be a war which would be present in heaven which would eventually transition to a war that would break out upon the earth. The dragon and his angels would wage a war against Michael and his angels in heaven and yet would find themselves being unable to prevail against them. As a direct result of their being defeated and overcome by Michael and his angels the dragon together with his angels were not only cast out of heaven but were also cast to the earth. What we must needs recognize before we even come to this great war which would take place in heaven is the initial vision that begins the twelfth chapter. It is in the first six verses of this passage of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with a great wonder appearing in heaven—one which I can’t help but wonder if the apostle John was at all aware of and understood the meaning of.

 

            As you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of the twelfth chapter you will find the apostle John witnessing a great wonder in heaven. This great wonder which would be present in heaven would be a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head was a crown of twelve stars. What’s more is this woman being great with child and travailing in birth was pained to be delivered. What we must needs recognize concerning this great wonder in heaven is that directly linked and connected to this wonder was another wonder in heaven—one that would dramatically impact and affect the woman and the child she would give birth to. If you continue reading in this chapter beginning with the third verse you will find there appeared another wonder in heaven which was a great red dragon which had seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads. The tail of this great red dragon drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth and stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered. The dragon would stand before this woman with one single objective—namely to devour her child as soon as it was born. The apostle John goes on to write and describe how this woman brought forth a man child who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. With this being said it’s necessary we understand that within this vision the apostle John saw he watched as the child which was born unto this woman was caught up unto God and to his throne. After delivering the child the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by when reading the words found in this passage it’s the woman pregnant with child and the great red dragon which desired to devour the infant as soon as it was born. As you begin reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that the story and narrative doesn’t begin with a war in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels but rather with the dragon and the woman. The conflict which is present within this passage of Scripture is entirely and altogether astonishing when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the progression of the dragon which begins and has always begun with the child. It’s worth noting that as you read this passage of Scripture you will find the first target of the dragon’s fury is the woman and the child which would be delivered of her. When the dragon realized that he could not destroy and devour the child that is when we read of the great war which took place in heaven between the dragon and his angels and Michael and his angels. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when the dragon could not prevail against Michael and his angels and when there was no longer any place for them found in heaven the dragon would be cast to the earth from heaven incredibly wroth and filled with rage. The conflict which would begin with seeking to devour the child would continue with the dragon seeking to overtake Michael and his angels in heaven—this only to find that he was unable to prevail against Michael and the angels.

 

            The more you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the conflict escalating even further. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture for what would begin with the dragon seeking to devour the child which was to be born of the woman and what would continue with the dragon making war in heaven against Michael and his angels would continue with the dragon persecuting the woman which was still present upon the earth. What you will find as you continue reading the words of this passage is the dragon persecuting the woman who had brought forth the man child only to discover the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness into her place where she would be nourished for a time, and times and a half a time from the face of the serpent. The serpent, however—still seeking to destroy and devour the woman—would cast out of this mouth water as a flood after the woman. The earth, however, would open her mouth and swallow up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. It would be this final action and even that would fill the dragon with rage, wrath and fury with and against the woman and shift his war from heaven against Michael and his angels to the earth and making war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

            As I sit here today reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that within this passage we find the the brethren and saints of God overcoming the accuser and his accusations by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony and loving not their lives unto death. Within this passage we find the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony being associated with the brethren while in the final verse of this passage we find mention of the testimony of Jesus Christ and keeping the commandments of God. Thus within this passage we are brought face to face with the wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the personal testimony of the saints and brethren and the witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus. Not only this but within this passage we find the saints and brethren overcoming the accuser, loving not their lives unto the death and keeping the commandments of God. As much as we read of the great wrath, rage and fury of the dragon within this passage of Scripture we must also recognize how incredibly awesome and powerful the presence of the saints is within the earth. Despite the dragon being cast to the earth with great wrath, despite the dragon seeking to persecute the woman, despite the dragon accusing the saints and brethren and despite the dragon seeking to make war with the remnant of the seed of the woman the saints of God still overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony having not loved their lives unto the death. What’s more is the saints and brethren—even in the midst of the rage and wrath of the dragon—continued to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

            In all reality that which we find in this passage of Scripture is indeed a precursor and foundation for what is present in the thirteenth chapter. In the twelfth chapter of this passage of Scripture we find the dragon seeking to devour the male child which was to be born of the woman, we find the dragon making war in heaven against Michael and his angels, we find the dragon persecuting the woman who gave birth to the male child, and we find the dragon making war with the remnant of the seed of the woman. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that when you come to the thirteenth chapter of this passage of Scripture you will find the dragon giving his seat, his authority and his power unto the beast which emerged from the sea. This beast would eventually and ultimately carry on and pick up the conflict and the war of the great red dragon which first appeared in heaven and then appeared upon the earth. That which we find in these two chapters of Scripture bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the great red dragon not only seeking to make war in heaven but also make war in the earth—and not only making war against the angels in heaven but also the saints which were present in the earth. What’s more is that within the thirteenth chapter we find the beast taking up and continuing this war and conflict of the great red dragon which first appeared in heaven and was then manifested within and upon the earth.

 

            As I read the words which are found in these two chapters of Scripture I can’t help but think about and consider the dragon and how for centuries and millennia he has not only sought to accuse the saints of God but has also sought to completely and utterly destroy and devastate them. There is something incredibly powerful about that which we find in the Old Testament—and not only in the Old Testament but also that which we find in the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus and the apostle Peter—concerning the activity of Satan. From standing beside Joshua the high priest and accusing him before the throne of God, to standing before David seeking to provoke and tempt him to rebel against God and number Israel, to accusing Job in the presence of the sons of God before the throne of God, to tempting Jesus in the wilderness, to seeking to sift the apostle Peter as wheat you can’t help but find the activity of the serpent and dragon all throughout Scripture. What’s more is that you must needs recognize and understand that all of this really began with his pride and arrogance in heaven when iniquity was found in him and he was cast out of heaven together with a third of all the angels in heaven. It would be after being cast out of heaven the serpent would beguile Eve in the midst of the garden of Eden and tempt her to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Oh I am absolutely convinced that if we want to truly understand the rage and wrath of the dragon as set forth in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus we must begin with his downfall and exile in heaven and how it would ultimately lead to the dragon being cast to the earth and then seeking to unleash havoc against mankind.

 

            It is with this being said I invite you to first consider the words which are found in the fourteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah as well as the words which are found in the twenty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel. It is in these passages where we find prophetic declarations and words concerning the king of Babylon and the king of Tyre which were ultimately shadows and pictures of the unseen force and power behind them. Having saic this I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in these two passages of Scripture beginning with that which is found in the prophetic book of Isaiah:

 

            “And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at trest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become week as we are? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee” (Isaiah 14:3-11).

 

            “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the see of evildoers shall never be renowned” (Isaiah 14:12-20).

 

            And here in the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the following words which were also a shadow and reference to the pride, the arrogance and the pomp of the serpent who from times past was Lucifer in heaven:

 

            “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrest and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed therub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more” (Ezekiel 28:11-19).

 

            The words which we find here in these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the pride, the arrogance and the subsequent downfall of the serpent who was in times past known as Lucifer in heaven. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for after Lucifer was cast forth from heaven to the earth he would immediately seek to tarnish and taint the earth and the creation of the living God. The serpent would attempt to do this—first by beguiling and tempting Eve in the garden and then ultimately corrupting the seed of the woman in the earth. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis:

 

            “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtitly, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ…For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3, 13-15).

 

            And here in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find the following words which describe the temptation of Eve in the midst of the garden of Eden:

 

            “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and mad themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:1-10).

 

            It is with this passage of Scripture we discover the serpent who is also known as Satan beguiling Eve that he might corrupt, tarnish and mar the image of the living God in mankind in the midst of the earth. The serpent would indeed be successful in beguiling Eve and tempting her to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and even after he was cursed to the ground and a prophetic word spoken over him he would corrupt the seed of the woman as was record in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis. Having said this we must needs recognize there were other times within the Old Testament when the serpent would raise himself up against specific individuals within the days of the Old Covenant. The serpent would raise himself up against David, against Job and against Joshua the high priest—each in his own unique and cunning way. Having said this I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament books of Second Chronicles, Job and Zechariah:

 

            “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then doth my lord require this thing? Why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the kings’ word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab” (2 Chronicles 21:1-6).

 

            “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:6-12).

 

            “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedest me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:1-10).

 

            “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; Even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, Then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by” (Zechariah 3:1-7).

 

            If you read these passages of Scripture you will discover how Satan beguiled Eve in the garden of Eden, how Satan stood up before Israel to tempt David to sin against the LORD, how Satan accused Job before the throne of God in the presence of the sons of God and how Satan stood before the throne of God to accuse and resist Joshua the high priest. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand that which is found in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding how Satan continued to operate in the New Testament. Upon turning and directing your attention to the New Testament gospel narratives you will find how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, how Satan sought to sift Peter as wheat, how Satan entered into the heart of Judas to betray the Lord Jesus and even how both James the brother of Jude and the apostle Peter wrote and spoke about resisting Satan or the devil knowing that he must flee from us. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider first and foremost the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesian saints as well as the words which James and the apostle Peter wrote before we read of the activity of Satan within the lives of the apostle Peter as well as Jesus Christ Himself. Consider if will the following words which are found in the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints, and the epistles written by James and the apostle Peter:

 

            “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all pray and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

            “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:6-7).

 

            “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:6-9).

 

            Within these passages we read of the wiles of the devil as well as the need to resist him standing steadfast in the faith knowing that when we resist him he must flee from us. The words which we find here are absolutely and incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about them for they help to prepare us for the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness as well as Satan desiring to have Simon that he might sift him as wheat. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we want to truly understand the words which are found in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize the activity of Satan and everything that eventually leads up to what we find in these chapters. Having said this I invite you to consider the following passages which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke concerning the temptation of the Lord Jesus as well as Satan desiring to have Simon that he might sift him as wheat:

 

            “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him,  If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me,l all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee upl, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13).

 

            Consider also the narrative of Jesus revealing unto Simon how Satan asked to have him that he might sift him as wheat and how the Lord Jesus prayed for him that his faith might not fail. It is in this passage of Scripture where we actually read of Satan desiring to have someone—and not just have someone but desire to have them that he might sift them as wheat:

 

            “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 21:31-32).

 

            With all of this in mind I find it absolutely necessary to return to the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words which we find here within these passages of Scripture call and draw our attention—not only to the wrath and war of the dragon but also the continuation of that war and wrath from and by the beast which emerged from the sea. It’s absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and come face to face with the reality of the dragon—the same adversary who we know to have rebelled against the living and eternal God and against His throne now seeking to further perpetuate his crimes and rebellions against the throne of the living God. This same dragon who entered into the garden as a serpent and beguiled Eve would be present again in the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ with the exception that he would not be a serpent but would actually be a dragon. This is something incredibly unique and worth thinking about when reading this particular passage for when we consider the words and language that is found in these passages of Scripture we find the great read dragon beginning his resistance and opposition in this vision against the male child which was to be born of the woman. The first and opening section of this passage of Scripture present us with a woman who was clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. In addition to the vision of this woman we also find and read of there being another wonder in heaven which would be a great red dragon. This great red dragon would appear with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads with his tail drawing the third part of the stars of heaven and casting them to the earth.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for what we find within it is a strong and powerful picture of the great red dragon beginning this path of destruction and devastation with seeking to devour the male child which was to be born of this woman. The great red dragon would stand before the woman who was pained to be delivered of her child seeking to devour the child as soon as it was born. What would happen, however, would be the male child being caught up to God and to his throne. Not only this but the woman would flee into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. This is something we have great need to recognize and pay attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the dragon and his path of devastation and destruction. What’s more is that this path of devastation and destruction would begin with the dragon seeking to devour the male child as soon as it was born. It’s actually quite interesting and unique to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the dragon would seek to devour this male child—this despite the fact that Scripture does not reveal the underlying reason the dragon would in fact seek to do so.

 

            The more you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more you will find the rage and wrath of the dragon for when the dragon realized he could not devour the male child as soon as he was born war would break forth in heaven. The apostle John would witness and behold this great red dragon together with his angels fighting and warring against Michael and his angels in the midst of heaven. What makes these words so incredibly unique and powerful when you think about and consider them is when you find that although the dragon and his angels fought against Michael and his angels in heaven they could and did not prevail against them. What’s more is that the apostle John recorded how there was no place found any more for them in heaven and how the great dragon was cast out—that old serpent called the Devil and Satan which deceived the whole world. This great red dragon was cast out into the earth together with his angels. The casting out of the dragon is actually incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to consider it for what we find here is the dragon having access to heaven to a certain degree and measure. It would be this access that would not only enable the dragon to wage war against Michael and his angels but also to accuse the saints and brethren night and day before the throne of the living God. What we find in this passage of Scripture is the great red dragon waging war against Michael and his angels as well as accusing the saints and brethren which were upon the earth.

 

            In the second section of the twelfth chapter we find the great red dragon—this dragon which was called the Devil and Satan—could not devour the male child and as a direct result of this we find him not only waging war in heaven but we also find the dragon accusing the saints and brethren night and day before the throne of God in heaven. The underlying reality that is found within this passage of Scripture is the activity of the dragon in heaven—both in waging war against Michael and his angels and accusing the saints of God which were present in the earth. That which is incredibly unique and awesome about this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that when the dragon and his angels were cast forth from heaven upon the earth it was more than a sign that they could not prevail in heaven but also that he could no longer accuse the saints and brethren before the throne of God which was in heaven. In the tenth verse of this passage of Scripture we find the apostle John hearing with 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. And they overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the seal for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:10-12).

 

            FROM WAR TO WRATH! The words and language we find in verses seven through twelve of this passage of Scripture must be carefully understood for they bring us face to face with the war of the dragon and his angels in heaven as they sought to prevail against Michael and his angels. Scripture is careful to reveal and point out that not only could the dragon and his angels not prevail against Michael and his angels but there was also found to be no more place for them in heaven. It would be as a direct result of this the dragon together with his angels would be cast forth from heaven and would be cast down to the earth. It would be this casting forth from heaven to the earth that would not only signify wrath upon the earth but it would also mark an end to the dragon being able to stand before the throne of God and accuse the saints of God night and day. That which we find in the narratives of Job and Joshua the high priest would entirely and altogether help us understand that which we read in this passage of Scripture for just as the dragon would be the accuser of the brethren who stood to accuse them night and day before the throne of God in heaven so also would that be the same accuser and adversary which would accuse Joshua the high priest and Job before the throne of God which is set in the heavens. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the great red dragon would no longer have a place in heaven—not only no longer having a place in heaven to make war against Michael and his angels but also no longer any place in heaven to stand before the throne of God and accuse the saints and brethren.

 

            In the twelfth verse of the twelfth chapter we find the beginning of the wrath of the dragon upon the earth—wrath not only because he no longer had access to heaven but also wrath because he knew that his time was short. The final verses of the twelfth chapter bring us face to face with the great red dragon beholding how he was cast unto and upon the earth and persecuting the woman which brought forth the man child. Much to the dismay and horror of the dragon, however, the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly unto the wilderness into her place where would be nourished for a time, and times and a half a time from the face of the serpent. Still bent on seeking to destroy this woman the serpent who was also the dragon would cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman only to discover that the earth would open her mouth and swallow up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. That which adds even more weight and significance to what we find here is how in the twelfth verse of this chapter we find the dragon having great wrath after being cast down from heaven upon the earth. Now here we find the dragon being wroth with the woman realizing he would be unable to destroy and overpower her within and upon the earth. It would be as a direct result of the dragon’s being wroth with the woman that would cause him to go forth into the earth and make war with the remnant of her seed which were those who kept the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the war and wrath of the dragon in the seventeenth chapter of the twelfth chapter for it helps us to understand how the dragon would indeed execute that wrath upon the saints of God which were present in the midst of the earth. It is as you come to the thirteenth chapter of this prophetic book you will find the emergence of the beast from the midst of the sea who had seven heads, ten horns and ten crowns upon his head with a name of blasphemy. This beast which the apostle John saw coming forth from the sea was like unto a leopard and his feet were as the feet of a bear with his mouth as the mouth of a lion. What we find next is the dragon giving unto the beast his power, and his seat and his great authority. That which the apostle John would see next was one of the heads being as it were wounded to death and the deadly wound being healed and the whole world wondering after the beast. The apostle John would continue watching as the whole world worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast as well as worshipping the beast believing in their hearts there was none who could make war with him.

 

            WONDER, WORSHIP, WAR! As you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the dragon and the beast for there would now be this tandem and duo of destruction and devastation upon the earth. The apostle John would go on to continue observing as there was given unto the dragon a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. The beast opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and those which dwelt in heaven. What’s more is that as you continue reading the words which are found in this passage you will find that it was given unto the beast to make war with the saints and to overcome them. Unto the beast would be given power over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations and that all those which dwelt upon the earth should worship him whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb which was slain before the foundation of the world. In all reality it is truly astonishing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and discern the wonder and worship of the inhabitants of the earth before the beast which came up out of the midst of the sea and the war of the beast against the saints. It would be in the final verse of the twelfth chapter we read of the dragon going forth into the earth to make war with and against the remnant of the seed of the woman which kept the commandments of God and had the testimony of Jesus Christ and now we find this beast making war with the saints of God and being given power to overcome them.

 

I am absolutely convinced that if we are to truly understand that which is found within this passage we need to turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel—and not only the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel but also the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Thessalonian saints. The words which we find within these two books bring us face to face with the activity and nature of this beast which would emerge from the midst of the sea. It would be this beast which would emerge from the earth which would not only be worshipped by the inhabitants of the earth but would also make war with and against the saints of God which were upon the earth. This is something which we are able to see more clearly when we read the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel and the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Thessalonian saints. The prophet Daniel would see great visions concerning the rise and fall of empires as well as visions of that which would come in the latter times and during the end of days. The apostle Paul would receive visions of the end times—and not only the end times but also the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the emergence of the antichrist. It would be in the second chapter of the second epistle written unto the Thessalonian saints we find the apostle Paul writing tremendous details concerning the coming of the antichrist and his actions which would be manifested within and upon the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the days which lie ahead for the inhabitants of the earth—days which that great voice would proclaim in heaven as they pronounced great woe for the inhabitants of the earth for the dragon had come down to the earth filled with great wrath and rage ready to execute and make war with the saints of God who kept the commandments of God and had the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Having said this I find it necessary to call and draw your attention to the word which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel as well as the words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Thessalonian saints. Consider if you will the following words which are found in Scripture beginning with the seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel:

 

            “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and thy brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things” (Daniel 7:9-16).

 

            “These great beasts which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Then he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in. pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take way his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:17-28).

 

            “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it—not only do we find the war of the beast against the saints of the most High God but we also find the worship of the beast by the inhabitants of the earth. All those whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb would worship and bow down before the beast which emerged from the sea—much like all those save Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego would bow down and worship the golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. In all reality that which we find in the prophetic book of Daniel is incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it for within this book—not only do we find the spirit of antichrist setting up an image and demanding worship of all kindreds, tribes and tongues within the earth but we also find the spirit of the antichrist seeking to destroy prayer before and unto the living God by issuing decrees that none should pray to anyone save the king which sat upon the throne. In the thirteenth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ we not only find the worship of the inhabitants of the earth directed toward both the beast and the dragon but we also find the beast executing the wrath of the dragon against the saints of God within and upon the earth. What’s more is that when we witness the emergence of the false prophet we find him creating an image of the beast which he demanded all inhabitants of the earth worshipping without equivocation and without reservation. Thus at the very heart of all we read in this passage of Scripture centers upon worship and how the dragon desires above all else to be worshipped—not necessarily as God but rather instead of and in place of the living God.

 

It is truly awesome and astonishing to read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they call and bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful reality of the war of the dragon which not only made war in heaven but would also make war within and upon the earth. This great red dragon would seek to make war with and against the remnant of the seed of the woman who kept the commandments of the living God and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is when the beast emerged from the midst of the sea he would carry up this mantle of warfare so to speak as he would also make war with and against the saints of the living God. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible and tremendous truth surrounding the wrath of the dragon, the worship of the dragon and the warfare of the dragon. If you want to truly understand the words and language found in this passage of Scripture you must needs recognize and understand it in terms of these three realities. In order to understand the activity of the dragon within and upon the earth you must needs understand that at the very heart and center of the war he makes against the saints of God is not only the great wrath within his heart and soul but also his desire to be worshipped instead of and in place of the living God. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is not only whether or not we are going to be those who keep the commandments of the living God and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ but whether or not we will be those who are willing to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Moreover we must needs recognize whether or not we can and will be those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb. Oh that we would be those who consciously and deliberately make the decision to be like those three Hebrews in the land of the Chaldeans who deliberately and intentionally chose not to worship the image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up in the plain of Dura in the land of Shinar. Oh that we would be those who are completely and entirely devoted and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and unto the eternal and living God and His Spirit which is present within the earth.

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