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Revelation 12:3-6 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 2 mins 39 secs

The Second Exodus; Rev. 12:3-6

This is the chapter, probably, in all of Scripture that gives us the window into the war between Satan and Israel. That war began in Genesis chapter twelve when God first called Abram and told him to go to a land that He was going to give him. With that announcement and want God revealed to Abram at that point it became clear that that seed of promise that God had begun in Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent, and that seed began to move forward down through history. When we come to Revelation chapter twelve that is the backdrop for understanding this: that there is the promise that God gave which focuses on the role that Israel has in God's plan, and in that role it became obvious that Satan knew that he had to do something to attack Israel in order to block God's plan. In the Old Testament the focus was to prevent the birth of the child, to somehow wipe out that seed that would come through the house of David. So there were various attacks in the Old Testament against the southern kingdom of Judah in order to destroy the line of David. Then after the cross, once Satan was defeated at the cross, Satan's last ditch effort is to somehow destroy the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so that God is unable to fulfill the promise that He made in the Abrahamic covenant. Satan reasons that if he can wipe out the Jews then God cannot fulfill His plan and therefore Satan wins. This why the Jews have, as it were, a target on their backs for Satan, and this is the source of their persecution down through the ages.

So we can just imagine that through time Satan is going to develop various philosophies and religions that are going to have as their focal point the destruction of Israel. This is the very center if Islamic theology. We are of the firm conviction that in all false religions and all false gods as clearly stated in various passages of the Old Testament, the worship of idols is the worship of demons and that Satan and the demons lie behind all false religions. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world, of this age. Satan energizes these false religions ultimately to target Israel. That is why we have this tremendous battle going on today over the temple mount. Ultimately the real issue is the temple mount and who controls it. Of course, Satan is going to get it—Revelation 11, the measuring of the temple of God is a sign that at the first part of the Tribulation there is still a measure of protection on the temple mount. But once the Antichrist sets himself to be worshipped in that mid-point of the Tribulation—the abomination of desolation—then Jerusalem is completely under the dominion of the Antichrist and of the Gentile powers. So we are always going to see Satan moving in history to accomplish that. That is why there are always these rumblings in the Middle East, the fighting that goes on, and the war on terrorism is just an aspect of that. We must have the Bible as our frame of reference to be able to discern what is going on, and to even understand what is going on in Islam and in Islamic theology and how that fits within a broader scope, and how ultimately that goes back to this battle between Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob. We need to put on our biblical glasses so that we can evaluate the pushes and pulls, the tugs of war, that are going on in the Middle East, in light of that.

One of the ways that we see Satan constantly working is in the promotion of these ideas of anti-Semitism. An example of this is found in the King James Bible. The first part of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 begins with a rehearsal of the failure of the Jews in the wilderness after the Exodus. It refers to their passing through the sea, the baptism into Moses by means of the cloud and by means of the sea. The cloud was the representation of God's presence. Leading Israel during the daytime there was a pillar of cloud and at night it was a pillar of fire, representing the presence of God, and in the sea as they went through the Red Sea they were leaving the shackles of slavery behind. It is a picture for us, a type, of what happens when the believer is baptized into Christ; He is identified with His death (Romans 6:3). And that is a break with the old life of slavery in Egypt and their new life in freedom. That is the significance of that identification and it is focusing on the fact that now they are going to be free from physical slavery and this is a type—the Greek word tupos [tupoj] indicates an impression made on something, so if it is the impression of a hard seal on soft wax there is one image on the hard seal and another on the wax. On one it would be the type which is the shadow image or reflection, that which would be on the stamp itself, and then the image it produces would be the antitype. But the Bible doesn't really use that word tupos in the way that later theology developed it as a technical term of specific things in the history of Israel, in their worship, that specifically pictures something related to the person or the work of Christ. So that a type becomes, theologically speaking, much more than simply a pattern or foreshadowing, or something of that nature. A type means that in terms of being a literal, actual event is not so important as that God has sovereignly designed something to be the way it is so that it will teach something about Christ and will teach a lesson. The conclusion from that would be that it really doesn't have any volition in being the way it is, God designed it that way. So a lamb or a sheep is the way it is, and was created that way from the very beginning, because God knew that lamb to be a picture of what His Son would do on the cross. So a type is different from just an example.

The baptism into Moses and in the cloud and in the sea is a type of the believer's baptism into Christ, so that we have new life. God designed history that way to bring the Jews out through the Red Sea so that would be the picture of this break with the past, moving from slavery to freedom.

Then verse 3 speaks of the "same spiritual food," which is manna, and this is related in Exodus 16:13; John 6:35 with Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life. So manna is a type, it is the way it is to teach something about the person of Jesus Christ. Verse 4, the Rock was Christ. The Scriptures identify these things so we don't guess at them. Some take typology too far.

Verse 6, "Now these things were our examples. The word "examples" could be translated as "type." In the old KJV it was translated "ensamples," and old English word meaning the same thing as example. Question: How do we decide, when the Bible uses the word tupos, if that is what we mean by type? In most places it is not, it is not a technical word, it is more the idea of an example. But in the group of 54 translators that were set aside by James 1st of England, men who were incredibly gifted in their knowledge of the languages of Greek, Latin and Hebrew, there was a tremendous debate between them as to whether to translate this word as "type" or as an example. What was the issue? The issue was that if Israel is a type for us then they didn't have any volition in being disobedient because God made them that way to be a type. So that justifies anti-Semitism. A number of these translators were anti-Semitic in their orientation and they wanted it to be a type because that would give them a rationale and justification for the idea that Israel was created disobedient in order to be a type for us. But if they are an example then that would mean that they were just exercising their own volition to be disobedient, and so they are just an example and it would not justify anti-Semitism. So anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head down through the centuries among Christians and in the church, and in various theological systems, mostly within amillennialism or post-millennialism, which have been used to rationalize it under the idea that they were the Christ-killers, the ones who rejected their Messiah, and that now God was punishing them and has permanently removed them from any position of blessing. It is important to understand all of that because that is the backdrop for what Paul says in Romans 9-11.    

Today we have a problem because anti-Semitism has been disguised as anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is basically a position that Israel doesn't have the right to defend herself against her enemies in the same way that everybody else does. That shows a clear double standard against Israel. Zionism is just basically the position that the Jews have a right to a homeland. And through legal processes beginning in the early part of the 20th century up through their declaration of independence on May 14th 1948, they achieved a nation status and independence legally through the authorization of various documents. Constantly the Arabs have refused to acknowledge that they exist and will not even validate them as Israel. This attitude isn't just limited to Gentiles, there are many Jews who are anti-Zionist, especially some of the more orthodox and religious Jews. They don't believe that the Jews have a right to go back to the land until the Messiah actually returns and takes them there. They would view the presence in the land as being illegitimate.

Revelation chapter twelve really lays the foundation for the future of ant-Semitism. Revelation 12:1 NASB "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars"—corporate Israel as a nation, those who have descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those who are the recipients of the Abrahamic covenant promises. [2] "and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth." That depicts the fact that historically Israel was going to bring forth the seed that would be the Redeemer of the nation and it is a picture of her suffering historically as Satan has assaulted and attacked Israel from the time that it was known that she would be the instrument for the Savior, up until the birth of the Savior and beyond. [3] "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems." This is where things get a little confusing. But we have to come to the Scripture with the assumption that God isn't confused and God did not reveal these things to us to obfuscate or cloud the truth but to reveal the truth, to enlighten us. It just means that we have to think a little bit.

Revelation 12:3 NASB "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems." We see the dragon appear and there are three elements mentioned in this verse—the heads, the horns and the diadems. We will compare that with some other verses that have the same thing, and in each one of these verses a different element is added. How interesting! But we can't figure out what they refer to unless we put it all together. In Revelation 13:1 when we are introduced to the Antichrist, the first beast—he comes out of the sea, which is generally understood to be Gentile nations—he has seven heads, ten horns, and on his horns are ten crowns, and on his heads were blasphemous names. Now we have new information. Previously the seven heads had the seven crowns and there were ten horns. In 13:1 we see there are seven heads but the crowns are now on the ten horns. The heads have crowns; the horns also have crowns. The presence of the crowns is to indicate that these represents kings or kingdoms or dynasties. So both the seven heads represent seven kingdoms and the ten horns must represent ten kings or ten kingdoms.

To understand this we have to go to the Old Testament—Daniel. We can't understand Revelation until we have worked our way through Daniel because almost all the symbols that come out in Revelation are first identified in Daniel. Daniel chapter seven has an interesting structure. God is being meticulous in making sure we understand this because this isn't the kind of prophecy we get in some sort of astrology column in the newspaper that is just so general that it could mean anything to anybody. It is very specific and it is all going to tie together perfectly with no contradictions, showing how accurate and precise God is. In the first part of the chapter Daniel has this dream while he is asleep at night and he sees four creatures who come out of the great sea. In Revelation 13:1 the first beast comes out of the sea. So these four beasts come out of the sea and they are pictured as beasts because in this chapter the kingdoms of man and all of the glory that we think they have they are bestial, ravenous. This is not a positive image, it is a horrible image. The fourth beast that comes along, mentioned in verse seven, is seen rising up out of the sea. NASB ""After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns." We remember that the lower legs of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in chapter two were iron, and then later iron and clay. So the iron teeth is a picture of an empire that seeks its own glory and power for its own sake and it doesn't matter who gets crushed in the process. It was different from all the other beasts that were before it and it had ten horns.

We have to look at that is being described here and it is the same thing that is depicted over in Revelation 13, it is the same context in terms of human history, and so we can make the connection that the ten horns here have something to do with the ten horns that are mentioned there. Daniel 7:8 NASB "While I was contemplating the horns…" He is thinking about this. And then there is another horn and this would be the eleventh horn, a little one. This is often referred to by Bible teachers as Daniel's little horn, and the little horn is the Antichrist. The ten horns, as we will see, represent these ten kings or kingdoms that form the confederacy of the Antichrist's kingdom in the end time. They are depicted in the statue in Daniel two by the ten toes. "…behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great {boasts.}"

We don't have to guess what this means because the angel is going to interpret this for Daniel. Daniel 7:23 NASB "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the {other} kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it'." We have the history of the four kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece and then Rome. This devouring of the whole earth is not necessarily in the first manifestation of this kingdom but in its final manifestation. The ten horns are ten kings, and that did not happen historically under the first manifestation of the Roman empire. Daniel 7:24 NASB "As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them [the eleventh], and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings." There are two stages to this kingdom. There is a first stage when it doesn't have this division of the ten and then there is a subsequent stage when it is divided into ten. What we are going to see in history is the organization of these ten nations in this confederacy and then following that this other king—the eleventh, that will arise after them—and he will be different from the first ten. Probably in a military manner he will defeat three of these kingdoms to consolidate them into an empire. The seven horns that are left over here are the same as the seven heads.

Daniel 7:25 NASB "He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." He is going to be anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-Christian, and he is going to ultimately set himself up to be god, and he will persecute "the saints of the Highest One," the Tribulation believers, and especially the Jewish Tribulation believers. "… a time, times, and half a time" is three and a half years. [26] "But the court will sit {for judgment,} and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever." What we see in this chapter is a continuity between these kingdoms. There are things that develop in the Babylonian kingdom that even when Babylon falls and the Personas take it over they have absorbed certain attitudes, technologies and other things into the Media-Persian empire, and so that continues. Then when the Persians are defeated by the Greeks there are things that the Persians had developed from what they had taken over from Babylonia that continue. There is this stream of continuity based on human arrogance and hostility to God. Then when Rome conquered the area of Greece these things continue to have their roots going back to Babylon. There is this continuity that runs all the way through historically. There is a view of these kingdoms that runs down through time; it is chronological in its progression.

We also see in Daniel that in the end time there are ten kings that form the basis of that ten-nation confederacy, three of whom will be destroyed by the Antichrist and then are consolidated into his empire. He then uses that to go after believers in the Tribulation.  In Revelation chapter 12 we have seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads are seven kings. Question: Are those seven kings those that are left over after the Antichrist wipes out the three. They are not! In 13:1 we have seven heads and ten horns, and the horns have crowns. So the conclusion here is that both the seven heads represent kingdoms and the ten horns represent ten kingdoms. So there are two different sets of kingdoms.

In Revelation chapter seventeen we are going to see another view of this end-time kingdom. Revelation 17:3 NASB "And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns." At the end of chapter twelve we know that the wilderness it outside the boundaries of Israel, out in the desert. Now we run into the seven heads and ten horns again and this time it is on this red beast. The beast immediately connects us to the first beast and the second beast which is the Antichrist and the false prophet. The woman sitting on the scarlet beast is just a picture again of the future cosmic system. The red beast is a reminder of the red dragon that is Satan. We have two different groupings here, a seven grouping called heads and then another grouping of horns. Revelation 17:10-13 gives us the interpretation.    

Revelation 17:10 NASB "and they [the seven heads] are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while." All of a sudden we now learn about the heads, that they are progressive or chronological. The five that have fallen are five kingdoms that have fallen. What is the essence that defines these five kingdoms? These are the kingdoms that are pictured historically in the Old Testament as being hostile to Israel and that Satan used Satan used against Israel in the Old Testament. What are they? It is not early Babylon in terms of the tower of Babel. The first kingdom that is hostile to Israel is Egypt. The next that was hostile to Israel was the Assyrian empire, then the Babylonians, the Persians and the Greeks. Those are the five. And "one is." John is writing during the initial stage of the Roman empire and that is the one that is. The other has not come yet and that is the future revival of the Roman empire. So the seven heads represent the continuity through history of the kingdom of man in its hostility to Israel.

Revelation 17:11 NASB "The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is {one} of the seven, and he goes to destruction." That sounds like the ten horns and then an eleventh one pops up that is going to take out three of them. This is not part of the seven but another that comes up—the Antichrist. There is something unique and distinct about him, he is often the seven but he is the eighth, "and is going to destruction." This is the same word that is used to describe Judas Iscariot as the son of perdition. In the Greek it is the word apollumi, [a)pollumi] the word for those who do not trust in Christ and will "perish"; those who will perish in the lake of fire.

Revelation 17:12 NASB "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom…" So the ten horns can't be the seven kings because five of the seven kings have already come. The ten horns of verse 12 are all future. "… but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour [the Tribulation period]." So this takes us to the future kingdom. The seven heads takes us through the chronology of anti-Semitic kingdoms and the ten are the end-time manifestation of the revived Roman empire that is based on that ten-nation confederacy.

Notice you will hear—Walid Shoebat is one of them, and there are others—Muslim background believers that are becoming a little more vocal in their view that the Antichrist's kingdom is Arab, Muslim. They come out of a Muslim background and when they read prophecy and look at all the nations that are there—Persia, Turkey, Lybia, etc., and their conclusion is that the Antichrist has got to come out of a Muslim background. There are those who argue for an Assyrian Antichrist. This isn't just a silly notion. When we look at the Roman empire we see that the eastern half is all under Muslim domination today. We think in terms of the European side but there is a huge section of the Roman empire that was North Africa and the Middle East. So they make a very good argument.

But the issue here is that the beast is the eighth and he is out of the seven. Daniel 9:26 "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince [Antichrist] who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary [temple]." That is 70 AD, the Romans. So the prince who is to come has to be European. So it doesn't fit within the technical exegesis of these passages to try to argue that Islam is the final form of the Antichrist's kingdom or the beast at the end time.

The seven heads are said to be in Revelation 17 to be seven mountains, and these are seven kings. Five have fallen—Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Greece, Persia. One is—Rome; one is to come--revived Roman empire. The ten horns are different. They are future, the ten future kings of the revived Roman empire. Daniel says that the little horn is the eighth that comes out of the ten, not one of the seven in terms of conquest, but he subdues three. So he is really the eleventh.

Revelation 12:6 NASB "Then the woman [Israel] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." Why is she going to flee into the wilderness? The three and a half years relate to the second half of the Tribulation period. It can't relate to the first half because then Israel is in a time of peace based on the covenant that the Antichrist signs to begin the last week of Daniel's seventy weeks. Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 NASB "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), [16] then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains." Is an unsaved Jew going to flee to the mountains? No. But remember when the two witnesses were taken to heaven in chapter eleven and there was this great earthquake and seven thousand died. That is when they gave glory to the God of heaven; that is when the remnant gets saved. They believe Jesus is their Messiah. This is when they get justified. There is a difference between when individual Jews get justified and when the nation gets saved. There were individual Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah the first time but the corporate nation rejected Him. So they went out under divine discipline because of the decisions the leaders made. What we are going to see at the end times is that for the Messiah to come the nation has to reverse its rejection to acceptance and call upon the name of the Lord to come and save them.

Matthew 24 points out that there are going to be a huge number who have to flee to the mountains for protection. Matt 24:17-22 NASB "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." Where do they go? They head to a place the Scripture calls Bozrah, down in the area where Petra is. The term Bozrah is usually translated as a proper name on the Bible but it is a Hebrew word that means "sheepfold." It is a place to protect the sheep from the marauders.

Isaiah 34:6 identifies this area as the place where something spectacular is going to happen. NASB "The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah And a great slaughter in the land of Edom." This is located to the south-east of Israel. Isaiah 63:1 NASB "Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? 'It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save'." This can only refer to the Messiah. [2] "Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? [3] I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them [the nations] in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment. [4] For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. [5] I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. [6] I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

God is going to protect Israel down in that barren wilderness that is around Petra and Bozrah.