A Study of Revelation: Revelation 12-14 (The Great Conflict)

Revelation 12-14 (The Great Conflict)

12:1-6 – The woman = the church
Twelve stars = symbol of whole church typified in OT, fulfilled in NT
Pains = persecutions of the church; despite persecution, more children of God were being born
Great, fiery red dragon = Satan (red represents bloodshed he brought)
Seven heads = complete power of the ruling Roman emperor
Ten horns = ten kingdoms over which the emperor rules

12:7-12 – Michael represents the church’s protectors
Satan’s deception started in Eden (Genesis 3); Jesus called him “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44)

12:13-17 – Rebellions, uprisings, local wars distracted Roman authorities from the persecutions for a brief time

13:1-10 – Sea beast = Rome
Seven hills of Rome = universal symbol of the imperial city
Ten horns = tributary kings that served the Roman Empire

13:11-18 – Land beast = Jewish persecutors
Two horns = indicates power, but less than the sea beast possessed
Mark of the beast was not a physical mark
The right hand or forehead signified a binding oath of loyalty
Just as the mark of Christians is following God, the mark of the beast is following the devil-guided emperor
666 = Nero (Nron Ksr in Hebrew) – Observe: N=50, R=200, O=6, K=100, S=60, R=200, adding up to 666

14:1-5 – New song is not worship by earthly beings, but the victorious in Lord’s presence

14:6-11 – The importance of evangelism
Fear God and give Him glory (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
Argument against the identification of Babylon as Rome (Blake):
1) The beast hates and seeks to destroy the harlot (Rev. 17:16)
2) Rome was never faithful to God, but the harlot was (cf. Isaiah 1:1-21; Ezekiel 16)
3) Peter says he was in Babylon in 1 Peter, but there is no historical evidence he was ever in Rome
4) Revelation is not directly concerned with Rome; it enters the picture as the instrument of God’s wrath

14:12-13 – Immediate context is those who died in martyrdom
1st century Christians needed this encouragement, facing great tribulation; today we have the advantage of the complete, written Word, with all its promises at our fingertips

14:14-20 – Justice for the faithful and unfaithful
Harvest of grain = rich reward for faithful
Vintage of grapes = retribution against church’s enemies
Josephus: “The whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood.”

Review
1. Who is the woman of Revelation 12?

2. What is represented by the sea beast? What is represented by the land beast?

3. Who is most likely identified by the number of the beast?

4. What does Babylon represent?

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