I am getting ready to teach during our 5th-6th grade Sunday School this Sunday and the topic of our lesson is found in Revelation 12.
This lesson reveals that we have a spiritual enemy, someone who has been active from the beginning and will continue to be active until the end. Let’s see what we can learn about him to determine what we need to do in order to have victory in this battle.
I. The enemy and his friends
The enemy is introduced to us in verse 3. He is a great dragon, with 7 heads and 7 crowns on those heads, as well as 10 horns. This symbolism is very important because it reveals to us who the enemy is and how he works. He is a spiritual enemy yet he works through people and world systems. The heads and crowns represent world powers. According to the book of Daniel, the seven heads represent the 7 world powers that have been used by the enemy throughout human history to persecute the people through whom our Victor would come. As we will see later, the Victor is Jesus Christ who was born a Hebrew. The seven world powers that have persecuted the Jews throughout human history are 1) Egyptian Empire 2)Assyrian Empire 3)Babylonian Empire 4) Medo-Persian Empire 5) Grecian Empire 6) Roman Empire 7) A revived Roman Empire (future). These seven Empires have been and will be used by the evil one, our spiritual enemy to attack Christ and the nation from which Christ came. The 7th one is a future kingdom that will act just as the previous 6 did.
This spiritual battle began long ago, before the creation of mankind. This evil one got others to follow him, one-third of the angels in heaven. They fought a war in heaven and lost. They were all cast down to the earth to persecute the Hebrews and to harm the Child who was to come from the Hebrew nation.
This spiritual enemy is none other than the devil, himself. The word devil means one who hurls false accusations. The devil by nature is a liar. He lies to us and about us. Just take a moment to think about how many lies about born again Christians are being propagated throughout the world today. We now know who started this process and keeps it going. This enemy is also known as Satan. The word Satan means one who opposes, an adversary. This spiritual enemy is against us because we are all created by God. Naturally he hates us because he hates God. If we are followers of Jesus Christ, the hatred is automatically doubled. He has been around since the beginning of creation. He is old and crafty, like a serpent. His goal is to deceive us, making us think that things are one way and hiding reality from us, whether we are believers or not.
Our spiritual enemy specifically focuses on us when we are believers. He accuses us of terrible things. The accusations are aimed at God. Even though he is opposed to all of humanity, only believers can have victory over him. Later on, during the Great Tribulation, he is going to be able to act freely upon the earth with his angels (demons). Right now, he is acting through world powers. When he is able to act openly upon the earth, for a short time, he will focus his wrath on the Jews. He will also seek to make war with the people who accepted Christ after the rapture. He hates God. He hates God’s creation (all humankind). He specifically hates the Jews because through them came the Messiah. He hates the Messiah and all of those who follow the Messiah. He is active now and will become even more active during the Great Tribulation. He can be overcome with the help of the Lord. Followers of Jesus Christ are able to overcome this spiritual enemy and have victory.
II. Our victory
Jesus Christ is our victory. The nation that the Messiah comes from is presented in verse 1 of this chapter. The nation is represented as a woman with a crown of 12 stars. In the Old Testament, in Genesis 15, God tells Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. In Genesis 37, Joseph has a dream the his mother and father are the sun and the moon and that he an his eleven brothers are stars. This woman in Revelation 12 is the Jewish nation. This woman (nation) gives birth to a baby boy, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This boy will one day rule the nations. Before He sets up His rule on the earth, He is caught up to God, so, in order to rule, He has to come back. While being persecuted by our spiritual enemy during the Great tribulation, the women (nation of Israel) will be protected by God for 3 and 1/2 years. The child to whom she gave birth, Jesus Christ, He is our salvation. He rescues us from the enemy. He has the power to do so and He does. One day, after the Great Tribulation, He is going to bring His kingdom back to the earth. We see that this woman has other children other than the people of the nation of Israel. Her other children are the followers of Jesus Christ, no matter what nation they were born to on this earth. They are adopted into the kingdom of heaven. The key to victory is to know and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If you choose to do that now, you automatically have victory over the evil one. You will be caught up in the rapture and will not have to face the tribulation period. If you wait to accept Christ, then you are still being deceived by the evil one and run the risk of facing the Great Tribulation. Today is the day of salvation. Do not wait. Enter into the New Covenant with Jesus Christ and receive the ability to overcome our spiritual enemy. That is step one. What do I do once I have entered into the New Covenant?
III. Our responsibility
The first thing that you will do is being to demonstrate the victory that Christ has given you over the enemy. You will begin to say NO to sin and temptation. The change that takes place in your lifestyle will be a living, visible testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He is able to do in a person’s life. The next thing that you will do is testify of who Jesus Christ is. You lifestyle will be a testimony and your words will be a testimony of who Jesus Christ is and what He is able to do. A testimony is something that another shares based on his or her personal experience. I you begin to experience victory over the enemy, you want to share that with others, and you do share with others. Knowing Christ and walking with Him becomes your number 1 priority in life, even more of a priority than your own life. You begin to organize your daily life around knowing Christ, walking with Him, and making Him known to others. Doing this will bring persecution from our spiritual enemy but, when that happens, you will continue to keep the commandments of God and holding on to what you know about Christ. You are able to live this way because you know that one day, He is going to return to this earth and setup His kingdom and your rewards will be enjoyed at that time.
How are you doing, my dear friend, with your battle against the enemy of all mankind? Did you realize that that this enemy hates you, even if you do not believe in God? He is trying to deceive you and wants to keep you deceived. Have you experienced victory in Jesus Christ? Is Christ the number 1 priority in your life? Do you spend your days seeking to know Him, seeking to walk with Him, and seeking to make Him known to others? May the Lord help us live a daily life of victory over the evil one!