Sunday, 7 March 2021
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. Revelation 12:13
The previous verse revealed that the earth’s inhabitants would face woe. The devil, being filled with great wrath, knows his time is short. With that context in mind, John next says, “Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth.” As seen previously, the dating of when this event occurred is debated.
The heavenly scene John is witnessing is showing truths that have occurred or will occur, but when each occurs can be hard to pin down. Whether the dragon was cast down in a heavenly battle at the beginning, whether it was at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, or whether it occurred at some unstated point in history, it did occur. The most likely timing of the event was at the beginning. During Christ’s ministry, he was already dwelling on the earth. This is because Jesus says as much in John 12:31 –
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”
The implication is that he was already cast out of heaven. He then deceived the man and became the ruler of the earth. At the time of Christ’s cross, he was then cast out of his authority to rule on the earth.
In being cast down, the dragon is working his evil within the confines of time, and time is ever moving forward. In this futile state, he will continue his attempt at thwarting the plan of God. He did this to Israel before the coming of Christ, to Christ in the temptations recorded in the gospels, and in his continued attempts to thwart God’s plans since then. John next records who his continued target is, saying, “he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.”
As has been seen, it is common for scholars to claim this is the church. The idea is, “Israel is no longer God’s people, Jesus has prevailed and is in heaven, and so this must be speaking of the church.” That is incorrect. Christ came from Israel, not the church. The biblical fact is that though Israel has been under punishment for rejecting Christ, they are still God’s people, and the Lord has made promises to them that stand. The devil, persecuting Israel, is an attempt to – once again – thwart the plans of God.
Life application: The terrible time of tribulation for Israel was prophesied by Jeremiah and will be a time like no other in their history –
“Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7
This “time of Jacob’s trouble” will be an immense test for Israel. Yet Jeremiah assured us in speaking the word of the Lord, assures us that “he shall be saved out of it.” No matter how tough the times are, God has and always will preserve His people Israel. This is because He is the great covenant-keeping Creator.
As this is so, and especially considering the fact that Israel completely rejected Him when He came in the flesh, how much more sure should we be that He will keep His promises to us. Israel is a template for individual salvation. Just as the Lord has faithfully kept His word to them, despite their rejection of Him, He will faithfully keep His covenant with us when we fail Him. This is because He is the faithful covenant-keeping Lord. He is JESUS!
How absolutely precious it is to know that You are ever faithful to Your people, O God. When You speak, it is in absolute truth. And when You raise Your hand in a vow, nothing in all of creation can nullify Your word. Thank You for Your steadfast faithfulness to the people of Your flock. Amen.