An Eternal Conflict
(Rev. 12, 21:2, Gal. 4:26, Rom. 8:33-39)
This passage in Revelation12 begins with the word “now”. My first thought was that John was saying that the scene he was reporting was happening at that moment. That is not the case. Yet it is important that we recognize what he writes is now in the past in human history, although the conflict continues. John sees a heavenly woman. While interpretations of her as Mary are understood, that does not satisfy as an explanation. The vision of this passage has a heavenly, continuing meaning.
This woman is the body of believers of all time, the great cloud of witnesses, a heavenly bride. Paul explained to the Galatians that the Jerusalem above, the heavenly city, is our mother, the one who bore us. This is, of course, spiritual birth. The vision John sees is of heavenly substance. And he sees the conflict. The enemy wants to destroy the child. In John’s day, the persecution was intense and deadly. In all this the Lord’s purpose is to reveal Himself as the Victor in and through us as we stand in His strength.
As the vision progresses, John sees the accuser of the brothers cast down to the earth. This is the realm of our conflict, right here. The enemy does not have access to the throne room any longer. How could he? Christ is there with all authority and all those who have gone before us surround the throne in worship with a multitude of angels. That vast gathering includes all those of faith before Christ appeared on the earth and all those of 2000 years since He ascended. And Paul understood that in Christ, we are seated there also. We have authority. Yet all authority is His and we need to be rightly aligned with the Lord as we exercise authority. If we are not aligned with Him, our attempts to exercise authority will come to nothing at all.
Some authority is common to us all. We have authority to refuse the accuser. Like they who John says have overcome him, we can overcome that one by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and that we do not love our lives, even if it costs us the ultimate. For us in the Western world, the last part is not an imminent threat. It does happen but is nothing like it was in John’s day or in parts of the world today. The conflict often appears to be one of ideas and of words. They are important. Thoughts and beliefs cannot be ignored. But the real battle is for hearts. For the battle is for the soul of a person to be conquered by the love of God which is pure and undefiled. The Lord works through believers to quicken the spirit of another, that is to make them aware of Christ so that they are drawn to Him. It is up to each one to respond to that drawing.
It is also up to each one to take his stand in the conflict. Do we side with the accuser? We may have, like Peter, hindered the Lord’s purpose. I am thinking of his response to Jesus’ mention of His impending death at the cross. Peter did not understand the nature of the conflict. Only later did the Spirit reveal the nature of what Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection. Death itself was defeated. We are all in training. And, hopefully, we are learning to see clearly and rely on the weapons the Spirit provides.. The enemy has been cast down to the earth. If we do not see our place in the heavens with Christ, the angel’s word of woe to those who dwell on the earth would be our experience. But we, as disciples of Christ, are the offspring of the woman. She is that bride of Christ later described as the city descending from heaven.
The more we comprehend the truth of such a passage, we know our identity with God and can walk with Him, being effective for Him and the kingdom. Perhaps “effective” is not the best way to describe it. It is better to describe the result as being children for the Lord, more people born of the Spirit. It is like a woman giving birth. May we enter into the battle for life as it really is. Lord prepare us, teach us, and lead us. Cause us to be fruitful, for Your Name’s sake. It is all for you. May we hear your invitation to share in your joy, and may we say yes.