God's Plan for God's Glory
Revelation 12:1-6 • Sermon • Submitted
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Revelation 12:5-6 ESV
5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Today, my beloved friends, is a very precious day for we who are truly apart of the flock of God. Today is the day in which we recognize the advent of Jesus, the Christ.
And what makes Jesus so special is His title, the Christ.
Now, I will admit that I was one, who throughout my childhood and even for the first few years of my Christian walk, thought that the name Christ was simply the last name of Jesus.
Like I said, I used to think that, and they even say that something like over half of those who are professing Christians have thought that at some point, and perhaps even still do think that, so don’t feel bad if that’s what you thought.
But Christ is actually not a name, rather, it is a title. So, the title that we use of Jesus Christ signifies and means the deeper, more profound title of Jesus the Christ. Because the Christ signifies Who Jesus is.
Now, the term Christ comes from the Greek word, Christos, which means anointed one.
We read of this “Christ” or, “Anointed One” in the first part of Daniel, chapter 9, verse 25, where it says:
Daniel 9:25a ESV
25a Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks.
So, we see here in the prophecy of Daniel that the Christ would be the Anointed One, and not only would He be anointed, but we see here too that He would reign as King and be the Deliverer of His people.
Thus, the coming of Jesus, the advent of Jesus didn’t just mean the advent of a special Jewish boy in the little village of Bethlehem, but it meant the triumphant entry of the Anointed One, the Deliverer of God’s people… the Christ!
And we see a brief description of the Christ entering the world at the very beginning of our reading this morning, at the very beginning of verse 5, where we read:
Revelation 12:5a ESV
5 She gave birth to a male child,
Now, when we look at this verse, we probably want to naturally jump to the conclusion that the “she” spoken of in this verse is in reference to Mary of Nazareth, or, who some like to call the Virgin Mary. After all, it was indeed Mary who gave birth to Jesus, the One Who truly is the Christ.
But as we have been working through this narrative, we have pointed out numerous times that the woman spoken of here in the 12thchapter of Revelation represents the chosen people of God. Those whom God has taken out of the world to be His very own possession.
So, saying that the woman, who represents the people of God, past, present, and future, gave birth to the Christ thus signifies that the Christ is the One Who now represents the people of God as their Federal Head.
(Explain the difference between Adam as federal head over fallen humanity, and Christ as Head over redeemed humanity).
But as I said, the Christ is the Anointed One, and what that word “anointed” means is to be set apart and empowered by God Himself. And what the Christ has been anointed to, what He has been set apart for, what He has been empowered by God to do is to be King and Deliverer.
We see this in the next part of verse 5, where we read concerning the Christ, that He is:
Revelation 12:5b ESV
5b one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,
Now, in our message from last Sunday we talked about the fact that God, in His most high and holy wisdom has given Satan the authority to rule the world in its present form. So, the nations of the earth are under the authority of Satan.
But here, we read that the Christ Who came into the world is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And this isn’t the first time that the Christ is described as ruling all of the nations with a rod of iron.
Over in Psalm 2, verses 8 and 9, we read where God says to the Christ:
Psalm 2:8-9 ESV
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
You see, while God has given Satan the authority to rule the world in its present form, God sovereignly and unconditionally chose a man out of the mass of fallen humanity whose name was Abram but would later be changed to Abraham. And God chose to make a people for Himself from Abraham’s seed.
Now, for over 2,000 years after God chose Abraham, it was God’s will to reveal Himself exclusively to the descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel.
So, while God allowed Satan to hold authority over the nations of the earth, God willed to make Himself known through a peculiar people, a people chosen and brought out of the world by Him, a people we know as Israel.
But in the fullness of time, the Christ came, and when the Christ came, God then extended His salvation to the nations. No longer was salvation for the Jew alone, but it was now given to the Gentile as well.
Jesus had broken into the devil’s kingdom, the nations, and He began to draw the elect Gentiles out of spiritual darkness and into the spiritual light.
As the second psalm says, He was breaking the devil’s kingdom with a rod of iron. Or as Jesus says in the synoptic Gospels, the devil is like a strong man, but Jesus came into the devil’s home, bound him, and is now plundering his house, drawing Gentiles into His kingdom.
And after Jesus began to plunder the devil’s house, He left this world and continues His reign from on high. We read of this in the very last part of verse 5, where it reads:
Revelation 12:5c ESV
5c but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
When one looks at how the earthly ministry of Jesus ended, His ministry may be deemed by some to be a failure.
His teachings were powerful, profound, authoritative, and most of all, true. The miracles and mighty wonders that He performed were amazing and left so many in awe. More and more people were following Him, hoping to be a part of the Christ’s entourage as they erroneously believed that He was about to set up an earthly kingdom.
But just as they thought He was about to set up this earthly kingdom, Jesus’ earthly ministry ended as He hung upon a cross and as those who claimed to follow Him were dispersed and either denied Him or went into hiding… thus, it truly seemed as though the Christ’s ministry had failed miserably.
But the crucifixion of Jesus and His burial in the rich man’s tomb was not the end of it for the Christ…
Three days after Jesus took His last breath and was placed in the tomb, He rose! Through His own power, He rose from the dead! And after rising from the dead, as our reading says here, He was caught up to God, ascending to Heaven, and from there He reigns and rules from the throne of God.
So, even away from the world, the Christ reigns!
But because the Christ is there, and because His people, His subjects are here, that places we as His people in a predicament. We read of this predicament in the first part of verse 6 of our reading, where it says:
Revelation 12:6a ESV
6a and the woman fled into the wilderness,
Now, as I said, God has given Satan authority over this world, and though he is currently bound, he still does hold authority and power in the world.
And because Satan still holds authority and power in this world, then the people of God live in a world that is under the authority of the enemy of God.
Thus, our reading says that “the woman” who, as we have said, represents the people of God, has fled into the wilderness, which represents the world for the people of God.
Now, what a wilderness is, is land that has not been settled and is largely uninhabitable. No one lives there, as it is unlivable.
And because the world is here described as the wilderness when it comes to the people of God, it then signifies that this world is not home for the people of God.
As was said, the devil holds authority in the world, but God has ransomed His elect people, and they are now citizens and subjects of Hiskingdom. Thus, His kingdom, in His direct presence is home for those of us who are among His chosen people.
But as our reading says, for now, we must wander in the wilderness of this world away from the direct presence of our God.
But even here God has prepared for us a place and gives us His provision here in the wilderness of the world, as we read in the last part of our reading:
Revelation 12:6b ESV
6b where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
In the book of Exodus, we read of how Israel wandered in the wilderness, but while in the wilderness, God graciously gave His people manna from Heaven, thus providing for them along the way. This provision given to them was their place prepared by God.
In the first book of Kings, during the time of Elijah, we read of how Israel was over three years without rain or dew, but in the seventeenth chapter of 1 Kings, we read of how God provided for Elijah through both ravens and a Gentile widow. This provision given to Elijah was his place that was prepared by God.
And in our reading, when it says that we as the people of God wander through the wilderness of the world, this world which is not our home, and when it says that God has prepared a place for us, it means that in this dark, dark world, God feeds us, provides for us, His people, through His Word.
What this means is that the elect people of God will indeed persevere until the end, because God Himself protects us, shields us, sees to it that when it is said and done, we, His bride, ultimately make it to Him.
And one of the ways that He ensures that we make it to Him is through the nourishment that He gives to us through His Word.
Thus, as heavenly pilgrims in a world that is ruled by the devil, whose will is carried out by fallen angels, or, demons, we have a place prepared for us, and that place is in the regular gathering of the people of God for the sake of corporate worship, in the corporate study of the Word of God, and in the private times of meditation upon His Word where it is only He and I. And this prepared place is reserved for and can be enjoyed solely by the saved people of God.
And this place that has been prepared has been prepared for 1,260 days.
Now, there has been great debate concerning what exactly this 1,260-day period is, but in my opinion, just like other numbers in the Bible, this number too is a symbolic number, which symbolizes in this case, the time period from when Jesus ascended to Heaven until the time in which He will return to formally ascend the throne and claim this world as His own once and for all.
So, this tells us that God is, through the Christ, actively reclaiming the world which was originally His. It tells us that we as the people of God will be preserved by God throughout this reclaiming. And it tells us that the advent of Jesus the Christ marked the start of the process of God’s reclaiming the world.
So, beloved, this day that we recognize as the Christ’s coming into the world that He is actively reclaiming is a day which tells us that our King has come, He has begun the process of plundering the devil’s house, drawing a people for Himself from all nations of the world, and that He is indeed coming again!
And thus, we as the people of God can and we should look to Heaven where the Christ is currently seated and we should say, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…”
Merry Christmas my beloved brethren.