We continue our study from last week on the woman of Revelation 12 and who are the remnant of her seed. God’s richest blessings in your search for truth as for hidden treasure.
“Indeed, realizing that he had brought an end to his ever again in heaven accusing the brethren, and knowing that his stay even on earth was to be very short,
SATAN DROPPED DOWN WITH GREAT WRATH.
After the dragon was cast down, John heard a loud voice saying in heaven:
“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 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. 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. 12:10-12.
“Satan’s accusations against those who seek the Lord are not prompted by displeasure at their sins. He exults in their defective characters; for he knows that only through their transgression of God’s law can be obtain power over them.” — Prophets and Kings, pp. 585, 586.
Satan, we see, encourages the sinner to unconsciously commit transgression, and thus to secure his condemnation, not necessarily on earth, but in heaven. Before the righteous Judge, Satan accuses the transgressor of “being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin.” But when the Spirit of God prompts reproof, It reveals sin and rebukes the sinner through His church.
God’s people should ever be on the alert for the voice of the Spirit of Christ, as well as be on guard to discern the spirit of Satan. When the two clash, the one strives for obedience to God’s Word, while the other excuses the sin and sympathizes with the sinner. In this latter subtle way Satan often gains ground and wins the sinner to his ranks, for the sinner naturally loves his sin. The faithful, though, overcome him “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” They love “not their lives unto the death.” Rev. 12:11.
“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.
Since a wilderness is just the opposite of a vineyard, the statement “that she might fly into the wilderness” emphatically implies that she must have left the vineyard. And that is precisely what she did: Shortly after the resurrection, the church (the woman) left the holy land (the vineyard) and went to the land of the Gentiles (the wilderness).
Besides these historical facts, we have also the Biblical meaning of vineyard: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.” Isa. 5:7.
Unquestionably, therefore, the wilderness, where the woman was nourished for the time being, is the land of the Gentiles. And the woman’s having to flee from the face of the serpent in her homeland, shows that the dragon had made the holy land his headquarters. Not satisfied with this, though, he even followed her into the wilderness.
“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 hope of destroying the woman, the serpent at first persecuted her. Failing, though, to reach his goal, he suddenly reversed his tactics. He ceased the persecution and began instead to befriend her. But at what cost to the woman! Cunningly he cast water as a flood after her, seeming to put forth a mighty effort to refresh her, when in actuality it was a mighty effort thereby to destroy her.
The figurative words of Inspiration explain that the compulsory Christianizing of the Gentiles and the pouring of them into the church during the fourth century of the Christian era, was not in reality a friendly act. Rather it was like a devastating torrent to drown the saving power of Christianity. In other words, Inspiration predicted the period in which the dragon clothed Pagan politicians in a garb of Christianity and then led them to compel the non-Christian pagans to join the church, that they might thus paganize her rather than she Christianize them.
In confirmation, we quote a partial description from Mr. Gibbon’s work: “By the edicts of toleration, he [Constantine] removed the temporal disadvantages which had hitherto retarded the progress of Christianity; and its active and numerous ministers received a free permission, a liberal encouragement, to recommend the salutary truths of revelation by every argument which could affect the reason or piety of mankind. The exact balance of the two religions [Christian and Pagan] continued but a moment…. The cities which signalized a forward zeal by the voluntary destruction of their temples [the Pagans'] were distinguished by municipal privileges, and rewarded with popular donatives… The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, besides a proportionable number of women and children, and that a white garment with twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the emperor to every convert.” This was “a law of Constantine, which gave freedom to all the slaves who should embrace Christianity.” — Gibbon’s Rome, Vol. 2, pp. 273, 274.
“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.
The “earth,” God’s mighty weapon, is finally to help the woman. It is to swallow up the “flood”; that is, the same Divine means which, according to the parable, takes away the tares and burns them, likewise takes away all who have joined the church but who are still pagan at heart. And what happens then? — The Scriptures supply the answer:
“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 term “remnant” discloses that her seed is divided into two parts: The one is taken, the other is left. Nehemiah, for example, explains: “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach.” Neh. 1:3. A “remnant” always represents one part of the whole, either large or small.
And notice that the dragon wars, not against a remnant of the “flood,” but against the remnant of her seed. Christ being the woman’s only child, her seed are therefore the Christians, those who are born into the church through the Spirit of Christ. Accordingly, the act of taking the first fruits to Mount Sion (Rev. 14:1) brings about a condition which makes a remnant of those who are still left among the Gentiles. In this instance, therefore, they, the second fruits, are the remnant.
Let it be remembered that it is after the earth swallows the flood that the dragon is to be wroth with the woman, and “to make war with the remnant of her seed [not with her personally], which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12:16 17. Clearly, then, there is no escaping the conclusion that the doing away with Satan’s flood is doubtless the purifying of the church, the destroying of those who have joined the church through the aid of the serpent. This purifying is the very thing that enables the church as a body to keep the commandments of God and also to have the testimony of Jesus Christ, the living Spirit of Prophecy (Rev. 19:10), in her midst. This is her only hope, her only strength, her only deliverance. In this light, Inspiration now puts new life into the words –
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Isa. 52:1.
The church’s purification, therefore, will not bring the millennial time of peace. Indeed not but it will bring the end of the wicked in the church, and with it Satan’s greatest wrath against the remnant, against those who, while still among the Gentiles, dare thereafter to take their stand on the Lord’s side. They shall, nevertheless, be delivered if they, as it were risk their lives — if they take their stand on the Lord’s side and thereby put their names in the “book.” Dan. 12:1.
The dragon cannot war with the woman, the church that is made up of the first fruits, because at that time she is with the Lamb on Mt. Sion (Rev. 14:1), out of the dragon’s reach.” — Tract No. 15, pp. 83-90.
For further study of Revelation 12, read Tract No. 12, The World, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 1946 edition, pp. 45-48. (Though the subject matter of The Revelation has only partially been treated of herein, the limited space in this tract does not permit me to go further).”