Bible 2016: 21 December Daily Bible Reading
Context and Comment:
We are shown an image of a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She is pregnant and experiencing labor pains. The woman is symbolic of God’s people and their role in bringing about the Messiah.
There is a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. On the seven heads were seven diadems. The horns are symbolic of power and the crowns are a representation of authority. The seven heads and ten horns picture a terrifying image of great power, authority, knowledge, and strength. The word “diadems” (a transliteration of the Greek diadema) is different than the crown (stephanos) of the woman in verse 1. The crown symbolizes permanent victory, while the diadem represents authority and power. The dragon is that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan.
Verse 5 confirms our interpretation of these symbols using language reserved for the Messiah. The child is the “one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” This is a reference to the messianic prophecy in Psalm 2:7 – 9
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 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.”
We will see Christ later in the book of Revelation ruling with a rod of iron.
Revelation 19:15, From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
The dragon (Satan) is attempting to devour the child (Christ). However, the Christ is born and caught up to God and to his throne. Satan attempts to kill the Christ, but Christ is raised from the dead and ascends to the Father. The woman (the remnant) flees for protection in a place prepared by God. The spiritual nation, the true people of God, are preserved for 1260 days. We learned in Revelation 11 that 1260 days is the same as 42 months, which is the same as a time, times, and half a time. This is referring to a limited period of distress, persecution, and tribulation. The people of God are under attack by Satan, but they are spiritually secure.
A battle is described occurring in heaven. Michael and his angels are fighting the dragon and his angels. The dragon was defeated and thrown down to the earth along with his angels. A battle occurred and Satan lost. This refers to the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation:
John 12:27 – 33, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
The heavenly counterpart to Christ’s victory on the cross and at his resurrection are described in Revelation 12:7-9. Christ has dealt a blow to Satan with his death and resurrection. Satan has been defeated. Satan’s plans have been thwarted. All that Satan has left to do is battle the people of God on the earth. The battle against Christ, the heavenly battle, was lost.
The effect of Christ’s victory on the cross over Satan and sin is declared in verse 10. Salvation has come. Power has come. The kingdom has come. The authority of Christ has come:
- Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 8:33 – 34, Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
The effect of this defeat is further illustrated in Revelation 20:1-3.
1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, Yahweh’s word came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 2 “Yahweh was very displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore tell them: Yahweh of Armies says: ‘Return to me,’ says Yahweh of Armies, ‘and I will return to you,’ says Yahweh of Armies. 4 Don’t you be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying: Yahweh of Armies says, ‘Return now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings;’ but they did not hear, nor listen to me, says Yahweh. 5 Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, didn’t they overtake your fathers?
“Then they repented and said, ‘Just as Yahweh of Armies determined to do to us, according to our ways, and according to our practices, so he has dealt with us.’” 7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, Yahweh’s word came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, 8 “I had a vision in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in a ravine; and behind him there were red, brown, and white horses. 9 Then I asked, ‘My lord, what are these?’”
The angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.”
10 The man who stood among the myrtle trees answered, “They are the ones Yahweh has sent to go back and forth through the earth.”
11 They reported to Yahweh’s angel who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked back and forth through the earth, and behold, all the earth is at rest and in peace.”
12 Then Yahweh’s angel replied, “O Yahweh of Armies, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you have had indignation these seventy years?”
13 Yahweh answered the angel who talked with me with kind and comforting words. 14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies says: “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, but they added to the calamity.” 16 Therefore Yahweh says: “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy. My house shall be built in it,” says Yahweh of Armies, “and a line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.”’
17 “Proclaim further, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies says: “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and Yahweh will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.”’”
18 I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, four horns. 19 I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these?”
He answered me, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
20 Yahweh showed me four craftsmen. 21 Then I asked, “What are these coming to do?”
He said, “These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man lifted up his head; but these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”
12 A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was with child. She cried out in pain, laboring to give birth. 3 Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns. 4 His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days.
7 There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. 8 They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ has come; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 They overcame him because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death. 12 Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time.”
13 When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. 16 The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. 17 The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep God’s commandments and hold Jesus’ testimony.
13 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names.
140 Deliver me, Yahweh, from the evil man.
Preserve me from the violent man;
2 those who devise mischief in their hearts.
They continually gather themselves together for war.
3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent.
Viper’s poison is under their lips.
4 Yahweh, keep me from the hands of the wicked.
Preserve me from the violent men who have determined to trip my feet.
5 The proud have hidden a snare for me,
they have spread the cords of a net by the path.
They have set traps for me.
6 I said to Yahweh, “You are my God.”
Listen to the cry of my petitions, Yahweh.
7 Yahweh, the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Yahweh, don’t grant the desires of the wicked.
Don’t let their evil plans succeed, or they will become proud.
9 As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
10 Let burning coals fall on them.
Let them be thrown into the fire,
into miry pits, from where they never rise.
11 An evil speaker won’t be established in the earth.
Evil will hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
12 I know that Yahweh will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to your name.
The upright will dwell in your presence.
17 “The eye that mocks at his father,
and scorns obedience to his mother:
the ravens of the valley shall pick it out,
the young eagles shall eat it.