Thursday, 11 March 2021
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17
Verse 12:16 showed the protection of Israel when “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.’ Thus, it is revealing that the force that is coming against Israel will be thwarted. With that in mind, John next says, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman.”
In the failed attempt to overwhelm and destroy Israel, this great satanically inspired coalition of nations (see comments on Revelation 12:3) led by the antichrist will be furious. But without the power to accomplish this, it will direct its fury elsewhere. How this comes about will continue in the chapters ahead, but for now, John continues with, “and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring.”
The fury of this body will be directed toward those who have understood the importance of Israel in the end times scenario, supporting its right to exist. Thus, they are called “her offspring.” The male Child is Jesus. Therefore, it can logically be stated that the woman’s offspring here are those who are akin to Jesus through faith. As it says in Hebrews 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
John then goes on to confirm this, saying that they are those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The words, “the commandments of God,” are not referring to the Law of Moses. That is set aside through the work of Christ. This is evidenced in verses such as 1 Corinthians 7:19 –
“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.”
Circumcision is a precept mandated in the Law of Moses, and yet Paul says that in Christ circumcision is not a consideration. Therefore, he cannot be referring to the Law of Moses when he says, “keeping the commandments of God.” Rather, this is referring to faith in Christ. As this is so, then it is evident that John is now using parallelism in this verse in Revelation by equating keeping the commandments with having “the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
The antichrist will seek to destroy any believers because of their faith in Christ. That faith will lead to their support for the cause of Israel in the end times.
The sentiment of this verse is seen in Daniel 11. Towards the end of that chapter comes a passage that has clearly been understood to be referring to the antichrist of the end times. There, Daniel says –
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” Daniel 11:40-44
Though what is recorded in these verses from Daniel are written in a single paragraph, they will span quite a bit of time. These are certainly the events being relayed by John now. In the coming pages of Revelation, the details will be filled in, but they correspond to what then begins Daniel 12 –
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:1-3
Life application: The message of the two witnesses of chapter 11 will have gone out to the post-rapture world and a great multitude will believe. They will accept Jesus Christ and will not bend the knee to the global system that has been developed.
In the chapters ahead, the penalty for rejecting this global system will be seen. There will be war against the saints because they will not accept being part of this system. The commandments of God are centered on faith in Jesus. It is this faith that cannot be tolerated by the world of wickedness that seeks to rule apart from God. This was the case before the Flood of Noah, and it has been repeated throughout the ages. But for those who hold fast to their faith, there will be great rewards.
The beautiful part of Scripture is that there is no time that God’s mercy is not seen, even after the rapture, many will come to faith in Christ and be saved. This is because of the love of God which is found in the giving of His Son. Such is the love of God as is found in JESUS.
Lord God, You have called us to faith and promised us rewards for that faith. In this world, it can mean trials, troubles, and difficulties, but it is worth it! The promise of life to come far outweighs the short-term gains of this temporary walk. Help us to keep our priorities straight and to focus on You every moment we walk upon this world. Amen.