Revelation – Week 11: The Great Conflict

The Great Conflict: Chapters 12, 13 and 14

Literary context

The drama we have seen develop thus far followed this outline:

  1. Introduction of John the author, and Jesus – one of the primary voices (Chapter 1);
  2. The message from Jesus to the seven churches (Chapters 2 and 3);
  3. The heavenly stage is set and the characters introduced (Chapter 4);
  4. The lamb opens the scroll and the seven seals are revealed – a summary of what is to follow (Chapters 5 and 6);
  5. The seven trumpets of judgment – both the righteous and the unrighteous (Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11)

The next rather long section develops the conflict that has been building up a little further.

Chapter 12 starts off with a women giving birth to a son, seemingly in heaven – the son being easily identified with Jesus Christ. Soon after this a dragon is introduced attacking the baby and both the mother and the baby flees. The archangel Michael leads the angelic host in a heavenly war against the dragon and his fallen angels and they are defeated. The dragon is now on earth and is again attacking the mother and the baby, but this was again unsuccessful.

Chapter 13 introduces another beast that rises out of the sea. The beast is wounded, but recovers miraculously. Every one of the world worships this beast and he wages war against the faithful. Yet another beast is introduced – this time coming out of the earth. He is similar to the first beast, except that this beast seems to be of lower rank than the first. He requires every person to have his mark – the number 666.

Chapter 14 seems to be a time when God warns those who have not yet accepted Christ as Saviour and encourages the faithful to remain faithful. After this, we see Jesus judging the good and the evil.

As with some of the other events described earlier, this section also transcends a chronological time. It does not fit into a chronological sequence, but rather develops the larger story line of the vision.

Analysis

12:1 – An event of great significance – a great sign, something that points beyond itself to a deeper meaning;

12:1 – a woman – this has been interpreted as Israel, Mary or the Church;

12:3 – large dragon, seven heads, horns and crowns (diadems). Third of the stars. War in heaven and dragon defeated and thrown down to earth;

12:10 – victory song, blood of the lamb, word of testimony, dragon has little time;

13:1-10 – beast out of the sea, spoke words of blasphemy. See Daniel 7:2-7 (verse 6);

13:11-18 – another beast from the earth, deceived the people who are from this world. Mark on the forehead or the right hand. See Daniel 7:17. Mark is 666 (or 616).

14:1-5 – the new group of 144,000

14:6-13 – impending judgment proclaimed;

14:14-20 – judgment executed.

Reflection

There are many possibilities for the main point of this long passage. However, there seems to be a recurring theme of what you think is what you do.

  1. Application

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