Lesson 8

The Child, the Church, and the Dragon: Revelation 12

(Revelation 12)
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Introduction: The title of our lesson this weeks sounds like the title of a science fiction book. The story is fantastic, but it is not fiction. Instead, it is a parable of the history of salvation. Let's jump into Revelation 12 and see what we can learn.

  1. The Woman

    1. Read Revelation 12:1. We have this "great and wondrous" "billboard" in the sky according to Revelation. Have you ever seen a billboard by the road and wondered what it meant? (This is an advertising technique these days. We see ads that say, "Want to have an M-life?" and we wonder what an "M-life" is that we should want it. It gets our attention.)

      1. Now that Revelation 12:1 has your attention, what do you understand this great heavenly billboard to mean? (Let's break it down.)

        1. What do you think could be meant by the sun clothing the woman? (Light generally refers to God and His righteousness. See, for example, John 1:7)

        2. How about the moon? What do you think it represents? (The moon reflects the sun. I have the picture in my mind of someone standing on a mirror with a strong light shining down from above. This woman is just surrounded by light. Our lesson (Sunday) has the interesting suggestion that the heavens are used to determine seasons. Thus, the Moon may also suggest a new era on earth.)

        1. We also have stars on our billboard. What could the stars represent? ( Philippians 2:15 tells us that we should shine like stars.)

          1. Why twelve stars? (God's people were divided into twelve tribes. Jesus had twelve disciples. Twelve is an important number in the Bible. See Revelation 21:12-14.)

      1. So far we haven't talked about the main figure in this sign. What does the woman represent? (The woman can collectively represent God's people - His church. See 2 Corinthians 11:2. This woman is bathed with light and has at her feet and on her head things (the moon and stars) that reflect light. Since we are to reflect the light of God, this sounds like us - members of God's church.)

    1. Read Revelation 12:2&5. Who is this son that was born to the woman? (Verse 5 leaves no doubt that this is Jesus.)

      1. How do you explain that the Church gave birth to Jesus? Does that make any sense? Didn't Mary give birth to Jesus? (If we say that the woman represents God's people at that time - Israel - then Jesus was literally born of an Israelite woman (Mary) and born of the nation of Israel.)

  1. The Dragon

    1. Read Revelation 12:3-4. We have another heavenly billboard - this one a lot scarier. What is on this billboard? (A dragon of unusual size with a lot of heads and horns.)

      1. This dragon is red. I used to own a red Mustang and my wife now owns a red Corvette. Does this mean this dragon is sporty? (Verse 4 suggests the dragon is a killer. Therefore, "red" may symbolize blood and refer to its willingness to kill.)

      2. Why do you think the dragon has seven heads? (Seven is the perfect or complete number in the Bible. That may mean this dragon is perfectly evil.)

      3. What plan does the dragon have for the child? (It wants to kill Jesus, the child.)

      4. Who do you nominate as the individual represented by the dragon? (It seems to be Satan. Revelation 12:9 confirms this identification.)

      5. One last feature of this dragon. Its tail sweeps a third of the stars from the sky. We just spoke about the stars representing people. Is that what they represent here?

        1. If not, why do you have two different definitions of "stars?" (Let's look at a couple of texts. Daniel 8:10 and Isaiah 14:12-13.)

          1. Who has been cast down in Isaiah? (Satan)

          2. Notice that in Isaiah we find Satan referred to as a "morning star." Does that help you determine what is meant by "stars?" (I think "stars" refers to God's followers. The "stars" in Revelation 12:4 are stars that live in the "sky." Logically, these refer to God's followers in heaven - angels. The "stars" in Revelation 12:1 are connected with God's church - so they are God's followers here on earth.)

          3. Does that make you a "star?"

        2. What is the significance of Satan sweeping a third of the "stars" from heaven? (Read Revelation 12:7-9. These next verses make clear that a terrible thing happened in heaven. Satan was able to take with him one-third of the angels of heaven.)

          1. All right, star. What danger does this suggest to you? (If Satan can deceive those "stars" who lived in heaven with God, we need to be alert and prepared by studying our Bible.)

  2. The Child

    1. We have already identified the child as Jesus. Let's look at Revelation 12:4-5 again and focus on the discussion of this child.

      1. What significance do you find in Jesus being born of this woman? (This "links" Jesus to us. As we discussed above, the symbol of the woman can cover both God's people collectively as well as Mary, the mother of Jesus. The "good news" for us is that Jesus has forever linked Himself to us.)

      2. How did Satan try to kill Jesus when He was born? (Matthew 2 recounts how the Magi told King Herod about the prophecy concerning Jesus and the star that pointed them to the place of His birth. Herod decided one king was enough, and that would be him, so tried to kill Jesus by ordering that all baby boys, two years and younger, were to be killed. This gives you a clear insight into the character of Satan.)

      3. How do you explain the reference in verse 5 to Jesus being "snatched" up to God and His throne? ( Acts 1:9 is part of the account of Jesus ascending to heaven.)

    2. We have figured out the pieces. Let's put this picture together. What does all of this mean? (It means there was this huge battle between God and Satan. God beat Satan in the battle over heaven. God then sent His Son who then beat Satan in the battle over earth. Just in case we did not understand the parable in these heavenly "billboards," God sets it out for us in Revelation 12:7-11.)

  3. The Consequences

    1. Read Revelation 12:12. Why does the text say "Woe" to us earthlings? I thought Jesus beat Satan in the battle for the earth?

      1. If Jesus did beat Satan, what do we have to worry about? (Jesus did beat Satan. However, Satan is not being a gentleman about it and going quietly. Instead, he is rather upset about losing and is taking it out on us.)

      2. Did you notice that Satan is a "clock-watcher?" What is the good news for us in that? (Satan understands there is limited time for him. The text says "his time is short." That means there is just a limited amount of time before God finally wraps everything up and takes us to heaven with Him. That is good news for us living with a surly dragon neighbor.)

    2. Read Revelation 12:17 How do we know if we are in the "line of fire?" (Satan is at war with those who obey God's commandments and who believe and testify that Jesus is Lord.)

      1. Is it good or bad to have the dragon coming after us? (The good news is this means we are on God's side. The side that has defeated Satan and has given him only a limited time to continue.)

    3. Friend, the dragon has been defeated. His is still dangerous, but he cannot win. In this battle, whose side will you chose to be on? Do you want to be a winner or a loser? If you want to be a winner, believe Jesus is Lord and obey God's commandments.

  4. Next Week: The Dragon Versus the Remnant - Part 1

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