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Satan’s Effort to Derail God’s Plan

May 20th, 2015

Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

Revelation 12:13-14

The final part of Revelation 12 deals with Satan’s efforts to derail the program of God to redeem humanity, and God’s protection of the key people involved in His plan.The plan of God centered in the Messiah, who came into the world through the divinely chosen genealogical path. Matthew 1:1-17 gives Christ’s genealogy from Abraham. Luke 3:23-38 provides it back to Adam. And though Joseph’s name is used, and Christ was not his biological child, He was his legal child by earthly adoption, by virtue of him being the legal husband of Mary.

In Genesis 3:15 the first prophecy of the Redeemer is given and he is described as the seed of the woman, anticipating the virgin birth of Christ, since the seed comes from the man, not the woman. By the Holy Spirit, Mary was miraculously given this Messianic Seed. God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).  Paul pointed out that the promise centuries later to Abraham also included a reference to a seed (singular), “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made, He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).

In the Genesis passages where God made His promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:7, 13:15; 24:7), most modern English translations will use “descendants” for the original Hebrew word which was singular, and which the King James Version correctly translated “seed.”

The New King James Version quoted above, and the New American Standard Bible, both use the word “persecuted” for the Greek word dioko, but a more accurate meaning of this word is “to pursue.” Persecution is certainly the goal of the pursuit, but persecution might also be understood that the dragon has captured his prey. It was used in Matthew 23:34, “persecute from city to city” (NKJV), but the idea is to pursue, to hound, to persecute by constantly exerting pressure and making the object of the pursuit be constantly on the run. The dragon never quite gets his hands on the nation of Israel nor on the worldwide church to destroy all believers at once, though he has often tried through the centuries.

The woman is “given two wings of a great eagle,” and this is a reference to the protection of God. Of the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt, God said, “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exodus 19:4). “Two wings” emphasizes the completeness and strength of God’s protection, as birds fly with two wings.

The dragon then spewed water out of his mouth to destroy the woman, but the earth absorbed the water and helped the woman. This seems to be a general statement to the efforts of Satan through whatever means he has had at his disposal over the millennia to destroy God’s plan to redeem the world through Christ. God, however, through many providential means rescued Israel. Often the plan of God seems very vulnerable, played out in history’s timeline in frailty and fragility, yet the providential power of Almighty God protected the plan.

Satan’s attacks have been both to annihilate and to corrupt the people in this Messianic genealogical line. Christ described Satan’s tactics when He said, “The thief comes but to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10a). If he was unable to steal hearts through temptation and corruption, then he sought to kill and destroy.

The dragon has gone on to wage war against “the rest of her offspring,” and this means the Church, those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). So our protection also today, as Israel’s did and does, hangs upon the faithfulness of God, and upon His providential protection. His promises become ever dear to our hearts as we look to Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

We are often unaware of the spiritual warfare around us and how angels and God have protected us from Satan’s attacks. We have a lightness about us, and we can have such an attitude because of God’s faithfulness. Yet Christ also urges us to become aware of this spiritual warfare, to take up the weapons He offers, and to engage in it seriously through the preaching and teaching of His Word. Without losing our joy, we are to engage in this spiritual warfare with His strength and wisdom. Life is serious business.

But in the end we will see that Satan despite his best efforts will fail in his scheme and Christ shall emerge victorious. God’s plan to redeem and save fallen humanity will succeed through the gospel of Christ, and this gospel message includes His glorious return. Christ was prophesied. Christ was virgin born. Christ lived a sinless life. Christ healed, cast out demons, and taught the truth. Christ died for our sins on the cross. Christ rose from the grave on Easter. Christ ascended to heaven. Christ will come again victoriously.

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