Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
The Heat of The Battle

Revelation 12-14

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. With this section the tone and movement of Revelation changes. Our attention is focuses upon spiritual Beings and events in the "heavenly places" which overshadow the churches, seals, and trumpets revealed thus far. In this section John begins to understand that the terrible conflict which his brethren are facing on earth is rooted in events in the spiritual realm. One word serves to relate the events of this section -- CONFLICT!

II. This conflict is often stated in Scripture,

1. Genesis 3:15 - conflict is between Christ and Satan.

2. Those who follow the Saviour must be prepared for conflict!(2 Cointhians 4:8-11; 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-19; 2 Timothy 2:3, 4, 10-12a).

3. John's readers could understand this conflict. They werehaving a hard time seeing how victory could go to Christ since they saw the battle going so bad.

4. John's message is - Do not think your present trials are of little signifi cance, they are all part of the great struggle which is being waged between evil and good!

5. Comfort can be gained by looking at the overall battle scene. Note the following points which are brought into focus as this battle is fought.


I. The CAUSE of the conflict (12:1-4).

A. John sees a great sign - a woman dressed in radiant glory about to give birth. Standing before the woman is a hideous monster waiting to destroy the woman's child.

1. This woman has been interpreted in a number of ways, we choose to see her as a symbol for the people of God in the Old Testament, through whom the Saviour came.

2. The dragon is obviously Satan. 

3. John's message - Satan has always tried to destroy Christ. All through the OT we see conflict between the woman's seed and the dragon (Gnesis 3:15).

B. This explains why Christians are suffering conflict today. Satan is opposed to Christ and is trying to destroy Him. 

1. Satan's early attempts to destroy Christ failed and at His ascension Christ rose to sit on the throne (Matthew 2:13; v. 5).

2. But the dragon refused to admit defeat and directed his attacks at the rest of the woman's seed (Christian v. 17). Thus conflict rages.

3. The reason why we suffer - Satan is still fighting against God. The Devil is still trying to destroy Christ. Since Christ has ascended into heaven where Satan cannot touch Him, Satan has turned against believers - if he can destroy them he can strike Christ!

II. The CAMPAIGNS of the conflict (12:1-17).

A. John is told that this great war is composed of 4 dramatic battles.

1. The First (12:1-6). From the time of His birth to His ascension Christ was in combat with Satan. The devil appeared to be victorious when Christ was crucified, but God's power raised Him and exalted Him. Satan lost the battle!

2. The Second (12:7-12). Failing to destroy Christ on earth Satan tried to invade heaven. Michael and the angelic army met Satan and defeated him. Steadfast devotion to God enabled the victory to be won (v. 11). Satan lost again! 

3. The Third (12:13-16). Satan tried to attack Israel but her place with God is secure and no force can harm here. Satan loses the third battle!

4. The Fourth (12:17). The dragon turned his attention to the church - the "offspring" of God's faithful. Those who remain faithful to Christ will be subjected to Satan's wrath. This battle is now in progress but the outcome is clear -- Satan will once again lose! (v.10-12)

B. This fourth battle is described in chapters 13-14 so that brethren should gain encouragement to continue their fighting. 

1. Brethren must not give up because the final battle of the war is most crucial to them.

2. Believers must understand that they have victory but only IF they hold fast to their commitment (v. 11). Satan has only a "short time" (v. 12).

III. The TWO FORCES of this conflict are described (13:1-14:14).

A. Satan enlists the help of the following allies.

1. The Beast from the sea (13:1-10). John sees a horrible beast. Daniel 7 speaks of 4 beasts which are here combined into 1. In Daniel the beasts were worldly empires. Satan uses ungodly rulers to persecute and oppress believers. In the day of John this beast was Rome.

2. The Beast from the earth (13:11-18). This beast symbolizes false religion. It is a deceiver of masses (cf. 16:13; 19:20). It appears like a lamb but inwardly it is the dragon (Mt 7:15; 24:24). These false teachers will strengthen the power of Satan by allowing evil govern ments to persecute believers.

3. Babylon, the great harlot (14:8). This enemy is briefly mentioned here to show the complete army of Satan's allies. The city was a symbol of worldly seduction and captivity of believers.

4. Those who wear the mark of the beast (13:16). This refers to all who follow Satan in thought, speech, writing, and action; unbelievers who persist in evil practices. 

5. This is the evil horde which is summoned to the final battle with the forces of righteousness.

B. The power of Lamb of God is the only force necessary to vanquish Satan's army (14:1-14).

1. Christ stands with those who have followed His will and have overcome (cf. 17:14).

2. Although Satan tried to make them unfaithful, not a single one of the 144,000 is missing!

3. Believers need to look at this picture.

a. They had been assured that the power of the devil is limited (3 1/2 yrs), but that fell short of giving them full hope.

b. Thus a bright and glorious picture of hope was given. They are permitted a view from God's perspective of how things will turn out.

4. Even though He appears outnumbered, victory will be given to Christ! Christ will win the fourth and final battle!

IV. The END of the conflict (14:8-20; 13:16).

A. Even before the 2 forces meet in final combat the end is announced (v. 8-11). The end will see the Lamb of God treading over the evil allies.

B. Notice the encouraging factors revealed here.

1. V. 9-10, 13 - There is a final rest for the saint but unending torment for sinners.

2. V. 18 - The prayers offered at the alter (5:8; 8:3) will be the force behind the judgement!

3. V. 15 - The judgement will take place when God knows it is time! (10:6; 6:11).

4. V. 16 - The judgement will be on ALL (v. 20). 

5. Christ will triumph because Satan and his allies are failures to begin with - "666" (13:18). Repeated the number means perpetual failures or imperfections. 


I. Properly understood this section will cause great joy in the hearts of believers who are faced with struggles on earth. 

1. The forces of Satan may appear invincible; life may paint a scene that appears hopelessly dark; but the forces of righteousness will ultimately triumph!

2. John told his brethren to look at the battle from heaven's viewpoint. He gave his readers a view of the conflict from the beginning to its trium phant conclusion. From the beginning God's people have face Satanic opposition but they are destined to triumph over every foe.

3. Satan's efforts are frightening and powerful. But he knows he is defeated and only has a short time. Let us take courage! We will suffer but we will eventually sit and reign with Christ. 

II. As we face the heat of the battle what must we do to be prepared?

1. Stand WITH Christ being among the 144,000 (14:1).

2. Live so that our work will comfort us in heaven (14:13).

3. Remember - the Reaper is coming to harvest the world (14:14).

4. Be among those who live so as to overcome Satan (12:11).

5. Respond and obey God (14:7).

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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