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The Blood of the Lamb
- Revelation 12, Part 3

The blood of the Lamb and how the remnant overcomes by it is stressed in the last portion of Revelation 12. The previous page looked at the fall of Satan. Successfully enduring his great wrath will only happen for those who are entirely dependent on the Saviour who shed His blood for them.

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev 12:11)

How are we to be overcomers? The verse says:

  1. by the blood of the Lamb
  2. by the word of our testimony

What are we to be overcomers of?

  1. Spiritual wickedness
  2. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6:12)
  3. our own tendencies to sin
  4. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer 17:9)
  5. self-seeking
  6. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:35)

Paul tells us more of whom we are trying to overcome:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 8:37-39)

Is "conquerors" equivalent to "overcomers"?

Nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God" (Rom 8:39). If nothing can separate us, then we are continually connected. Could this have something to do with the Hebrew word "tamid" which means "continual" as used in Daniel chapter 8?

"Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Rev 12:12)

Most interpreters put this verse at the cross. There can be multiple applications of scripture and I do not in any way want to minimize the cross. Salvation is from our God because of what Jesus did at the cross but there are strong indications of an additional, end-time meaning.

The word "woe" here may connect to the woes of the trumpets. Remember the 5th trumpet was also called the first woe and, as we found in our study of chapter 9, it relates to the coming of Satan to earth in his last effort to deceive.

What is it about the devil coming down to earth (presumably from heaven) that is to be a cause for rejoicing among those in the heavens?

  1. Satan is gone from heaven
  2. it is closer to the end of the great controversy and the end of sin

The inhabitants of the earth and sea will experience woe from this because of the persecution connected with it. And the devil will have great wrath "because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" And we could ask what is a short time? Is 2000 years a short time? Really, any time is short relative to eternity but 2000 years (the time since the cross) is not short compared to 6000 years (since creation). However, three and a half years or seven years is quite a short time.

"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." (Rev 12:13)

It seems that the dragon has persecuted the woman from the very beginning. God's followers, symbolized by the woman, throughout earth's history, have had to endure whatever the dragon could do against her - and many, in past ages, have overcome by the blood of the Lamb. This started even with Eve. Through Satan's influence, her first son became a murderer and her second son was killed.

We saw on the previous page that Satan was cast down in stages. He has probably intensified His attacks and improved his effectiveness in them at each stage. Verse 12 suggests an end-time scenario when Satan's wrath will be the greatest as his desperation increases.

The man child that the woman brought forth, of course, could apply to Jesus. But note that the word "child" is supplied. "The man" could also be referring to a group of people that will appear before the end of this world's history. This is suggested here:

"Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH." (Zech 3:8)

The man child was mentioned in Rev 12:5. The discussion on that verse showed that God's followers could also be involved.

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Rev 12:14)

Did the Woman Flee into the Wilderness Twice?

We already have talked about the woman being in the wilderness in verse 6. Let's compare the wording of verses 6 and 14:

Verse 6
Verse 14
fled fly
into the wilderness into the wilderness
place prepared of God into her place
they should feed her there where she is nourished
1260 days a time and times and half a time

It certainly looks like these 2 verses are talking about the same event. However, we can identify at least three differences.

1. The mention of wings is added in verse 14. Wings can indicate speed and, if verse 6 is referring to a historical (Middle Ages) persecution and verse 14 is referring to an end-time persecution, there would certainly be a difference in terms of the duration of the wilderness experience.

2. Verse 14 says the woman is nourished during this time "from the face of the serpent" which may be a way of indicating his visible presence. This would fit an end-of-time scenario when Satan manifests himself:

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:14)

3. The Greek word translated as "time" or "times" in verse 14 is "kairos." It is most often translated as "time" or "season" and never, in any of its 87 uses, is it translated as "year." Read through those verses inserting year(s) in place of time(s) and it will rarely make sense. It is often used in an agricultural setting (as in the four seasons) as we would use it. Here is a verse that makes a distinction between "kairos" (times) and years:

"Ye observe days, and months ("men," Strong's #3376), and times ("kairos," Strong's #2540), and years." (Gal 4:10)

They obviously would not mean the same thing in that verse. So there is the possibility that the meaning, in the end-time setting of verse 14, is 3 ½ seasons which would be less than one year.

There is another theory about these times and how there might yet be an adjustment in God's calendar.

There is also a similarity between all the mentions of this time period which supports the idea that it represents a time of persecution. Also, if you haven't read it, it might be useful here to look at the page describing the significance of a wilderness experience.

"And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood." (Rev 12:15)

In the following verse, it sounds like God Himself will provide protection from this flood:

"So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." (Isa 59:19)

Of course, we are blessed by many promises of divine protection during the time of trouble. God does, at times, use natural means to protect His people:

"He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." (Isa 33:16)
"And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth." (Rev 12:16)

In this case, somehow, "the earth" is involved. In the historical application of this verse, the earth is considered to be North America as opposed to Europe. Many people suffering persecution in Europe during the Dark Ages fled to North America. The question is what could "the earth" mean in an end-time setting?

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Rev 12:17)

The dragon (Satan, verse 9) is wroth (angry) with the remnant and makes war with them. The remnant is the last part of something. In this case, it is the last part of the seed of the woman.

A remnant can also refer to what is left over after a sorting process. Gideon's army in Judges 7 is a good example of this:

The people that started with Gideon
Those who were fearful and afraid
The number that remained
The number that bowed to drink
The final size (remnant) of Gideon's army

Those that were fearful and afraid and those who did not keep their eyes on the enemy were separated and sent home. Those that remained, the remnant, meet the criteria, they passed the test and went on to a great victory.

Characteristics of the Remnant

In addition to overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, the remnant is described as having these characteristics:

  1. they "keep the commandments of God"
  2. they "have the testimony of Jesus Christ"

They "keep the commandments of God" so they certainly must keep the Ten Commandments. Most of even the Christian world, while they profess to keep keep the Ten Commandments, disregard the fourth commandment and teach Sunday observance which the Bible never commands.

They "have the testimony of Jesus Christ" which is defined later in Revelation:

"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev 19:10)
"Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." (Rev 22:9)

Comparing the two verses above, we have:

"... I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus ..." (Rev 19:10)

"... I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren the prophets ..." (Rev 22:9)

Can we not, from this, equate the prophets with those that have the testimony of Jesus? Then the remnant of Rev 12:17, described as having the testimony of Jesus Christ, must have the prophetic gift. This must be distinct from just owning books containing prophecies or the Bible itself that has so many prophecies as even many ungodly people own those.

There is yet another way to understand the testimony of Jesus:

"And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." (John 8:29)

Enoch also had that testimony and the result was that he was translated to heaven (like Jesus being "caught up unto God, and to his throne" Rev 12:5) without seeing death:

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Heb 11:5)

This suggests the idea that the 144,000 who are described as being "... without fault before the throne of God." (Rev 14:5) could be translated to heaven as Enoch was - without seeing death. We know that some people will be alive at the Second Coming (1 Thess 4:17) so this is quite reasonable.

The remnant will, at last, gain the victory over the dragon. They will form God's end-time army, they will keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Depending completely upon God, they will form such an effective force that even "... the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the church)." (Matt 16:18)

The end of the great controversy described in Revelation chapter 12 will be victory for God's people, victory by the blood of the Lamb.  

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