Revelation 12:15

The anticipated defeat - a defeat already effected in the Divine counsels - excites the wrath of the dragon, who reads assuredly his own condemnation and subjugation in that "blood of the Lamb" which the hands of his own "cruel and wicked" ones shed. The time of his power is limited; it is "a short time." Satan will rage his hour, and persecute the woman. Thus we are brought back to the earlier part of the vision, and we behold -

I. THE SATANIC PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. John is speaking out of the depths to the Church in all ages, during which the same virulent spirit shall vent itself. How often has the little flock had to look upon these words, when the ravenous wolf has scattered and devoured and torn! It must needs be that persecutions come. The heavenly spirit meets with so great an opposition in the earthly, that there can be no concord. The great promise made to the demand, "What shall we have therefore?" closes with the dread announcement - "with persecutions." It is ever so; but not only so.

II. THE DIVINE. PROTECTION OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH. The Lord provides for his own: "Not a hair of your head shall perish." The safety of the Church is represented by her dwelling and nourishment in the wilderness. The persecuted Church flies unto her place. God has prepared for her a place of safety. She flies with wings he too has given. Ah! he "bears on eagles' wings" as of old. He has provided a place - rather a condition, or state - on earth, for his own. It is one of endurance. It could not be one of luxurious self-indulgence, which the city life would represent. "They loved not their lives." It is a condition of suffering, of denial, and privation. They take up the cross. The words are so interwoven with our common speech, that the figure is become familiar to us all. But God "nourishes" his people in their wilderness life. He feeds them with manna - bread from heaven. He leaves not, neither does he forsake them. The old words come to our thoughts: "They shall dwell safely in the wilderness;" "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her;" "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" It is the place of discipline and training and hardship, of testing and putting to the proof. But it is the place of blessing. Through it he leadeth his people like a flock. He goeth before them, and is their Rearward - their Defence and Salvation. He will safely and gently lead them even to the land of promise. The wilderness days shall end. There is a limit. It is but for "a time, and times, and half a time." - R.G.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens.

1. Here is a defeat implied. There is nothing permanent in error, there is no stability in wrong. As light extends, and virtue grows, all schemes of wrong, political, social, and religious, crack to pieces and tumble to ruin.

2. Here is a defeat righteously exultable. It is the joy of the prisoner quitting his cell, of the patient returning to health.

II. GREAT AS HIS DEFEATS MAY BE, THEY DO NOT QUENCH HIS ANIMOSITY. "Having great wrath," etc. Like the ravenous beast of the desert, his failure to fasten his tusks in one victim whets his appetite for another. Evil is insatiable.


1. Wherever the spirit of Christ is, the spirit of tenderness, humanity, self-sacrificing love, this he hates and seeks to destroy.

2. Who shall say what he pours forth from his mouth? False accusations, pernicious errors, social persecutions, etc.


1. The Church is in the wilderness. The way of Christly men on this earth has always been —




2. Though in the wilderness, it has enormous privileges.

(1)It is endowed with heaven-soaring power.

(2)It has the whole earth to serve it.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. By this exhortation of others that are in heaven to rejoice likewise, we see, that the saints of God think it not enough for themselves to rejoice at the prosperity of Christ and His Church; but they exhort, and would have all others to join herein with them, that as God is all in all, so He may of all and by all be praised and glorified.

2. We see the contrary disposition of the godly and wicked; that which is matter of joy to the one is of sorrow to the other, and on the contrary; which was seen at Christ's birth or first coming, and shall beat His record.

3. By the denouncing of a woe to the inhabiters of the earth, we see when it shall be well with the godly then it shall be woe to the wicked.

4. Whereas it is said that the devil was come down to them in great wrath, we see —

(1)Who is the author of all unjust wrath and malice.

(2)As they who serve God get His loving favour, but they who are Satan's slaves get nothing but his wrath as their recompense in the end; being first their tempter, next their accuser, and at last their tormentor.

5. It is said that he comes in great wrath, because his time is short; which, as it is a comfort to the godly, so it should be a lesson of wisdom: as he is busy in doing ill, so should they be in doing good, because their time is short here, yea, and most uncertain.

(William Guild, D. D.)

Woe to the inhabiters of the earth
1. Note how dark is the outlook of the Church of Jesus with respect to this present world! We wonder betimes at the smallness of its success, and the hard struggle it ever has for its existence. But why should we wonder? Think of the might of the devil and his angels, of their malignity against it, and how deeply the whole world is in their possession. All that we can do is to work on, like Paul, if that by any means we may "save some."

2. Note the true source of dislike and hatred to the Church. There be many who think more of anything on earth than of the Church. They may consider it well enough to have its services when they die, but whilst they live they only neglect and despise it, and are only offended and enraged when its claims are passed. They forget that this is the very spirit of the devil. And every one who dislikes, hates, or persecutes the Church and people of God, has in him the devil's spirit, acts the devil's will, and is one of the devil's children.

3. Note what a lesson of rebuke and duty addresses itself to Christians from the devil's example. He never rests from his murderous endeavours. He stops for no losses, succumbs to no adversities, desists for no hindrances, turns back from no encounters, and surrenders not even to the Almighty's judgments, so long as he has liberty to act or time in which to operate. Look at the untiring energy of hell for destruction, and learn wisdom for eternal life.

4. Finally, note the pressing need there is to keep ourselves awake and in readiness for the coming of our Lord.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath
The text tells us that the shortness of Satan's opportunity excites his wrath, and we may gather a general rule from this one statement, namely, that in proportion as the devil's time is shortened his energy is increased, and we may take it as an assured fact that when he rages to the uttermost his opportunities are nearly over. He hath great wrath, knowing that his time is short. I hope there will be something of instruction in this, and somewhat of comfort for all those who are on the right side. Now, what is true on a great scale is true in the smaller one. Missionaries in any country will generally find that the last onslaught of heathenism is the most ferocious. We will find, whenever the truth comes into contact with falsehood, that when error is driven to its last entrenchments it fights for life, tooth and nail, with all its might; its wrath is great because its time is short. The same truth, will apply to every individual man. When God begins His great work in a sinner's heart, to lead him to Christ, it is no bad sign if the man feels more hatred to God than ever, more dislike to good things than before: nor need we despair if he is driven into greater sin. The ferocity of the temptation indicates the vigour with which Satan contends for any one of his black sheep. He will not lose his subjects if he can help it, and so he puts forth all his strength to keep them under his power. The general fact is further illustrated in the cases of many believers. There are times when in the believer's heart the battle rages horribly, when he hardly knows whether he is a child of God at all, and is ready to give up all hope. He cannot pray or praise, for he is so distracted; he cannot read the Scriptures without horrible thoughts. It seems as if he must utterly perish, for no space is given him in which to refresh his heart, the attacks are so continual and violent. Such dreadful excitements are often followed by years of peace, quiet usefulness, holiness, and communion with God. Satan knows that God is about to set a limit to his vexations of the good man, and so he rages extremely because his opportunity is short.

I. HOW DOES SATAN KNOW WHEN HIS TIME IS SHORT IN A SOUL? He watches over all souls that are under his power with incessant maliciousness. He goeth about the camp like a sentinel, spying out every man who is likely to be a deserter from his army.

1. He perceives that his time is short, and I suppose he perceives it first by discovering that he is not quite so welcome as he used to be. The man loved sin, and found pleasure in it, but now sin is not so sweet as it was, its flavour is dull and insipid. The charms of vice are fading, and its pleasures are growing empty, vain, and void, and this is a token of a great change. The adversary perceives that he must soon stretch his dragon wings when he sees that the heart is growing weary of him and is breaking away from his fascinations.

2. He grows more sure of his speedy ejectment when he does not get the accommodation he used to have. The man was once eager for sin, he went in the pursuit of vice, hunted after it, and put himself in the way of temptation, and then Satan reigned securely; but now he begins to forsake the haunts where sin walks openly, and he abandons the cups of excitement which inflame the soul.

3. One thing more always makes Satan know that his time is short, and that is when the Holy Spirit's power is evidently at work within the mind. Light has come in, and the sinner sees and knows what he was ignorant of before: Satan hates the light as much as he loves the darkness, and like an owl in the daylight he feels that he is out of place. Joyful tidings for a heart long molested by this fierce fiend! Away, thou enemy, thy destructions shall soon come to a perpetual end!

II. Inasmuch as the shortness of his tenure excites the rage of Satan, we must next observe HOW HE DISPLAYS HIS GREAT WRATH. His fury rages differently in different persons. On some he displays his great wrath by stirring up outward persecution. The man is not a Christian yet, he is not actually converted yet, but Satan is so afraid that he will be saved that he sets all his dogs upon him directly. The devil will lose nothing through being behind. He begins as soon as ever grace begins. Now, if the grace of God be not in the awakened man, and his reformation is only a spasm of remorse, it is very likely that he will be driven back from all attendance upon the means of grace by the ribald remarks of the ungodly, but if the Lord Jesus Christ has really been knocking at his door, and the Spirit of God has begun to work, this opposition will not answer its purpose. Much worse, however, is the devil's other method of showing his wrath, namely, by vomiting floods out of his mouth to drown, if possible, our new-born hope. When the hopeful hearer as yet has not really found peace and rest, it will sometimes happen that Satan will try him with doubts and blasphemies, and temptations such as he never knew before. The tempted one has been amazed and has said to himself, "How is this? Can my desire after Christ be the work of God? I get worse and worse. I never felt so wicked as this till I began to seek a Saviour." Yet this is no strange thing, fiery though the trial be. At such time, also, Satan will often arouse all the worst passions of our nature, and drive them into unwonted riot. The awakened sinner will be astonished as he finds himself beset with temptations more base and foul than he has ever felt before. He will resist and strive against the assault, but it may be so violent as to stagger him. He can scarcely believe that the flesh is so utterly corrupt. The man who is anxiously seeking to go to heaven seems at such a time as if he were dragged down by seven strong demons to the eternal deeps of perdition. He feels as if he had never known sin before, nor been so completely beneath its power. The Satanic troopers sleep as a quiet garrison while the man is under the spell of sin, but when once the heart is likely to be captured by Immanuel's love the infernal soldiery put on their worst manner, and trample down all the thoughts and desires of the soul. Satan may also attack the seeker in another form, with fierce accusations and judgments. He does not accuse some men, for he is quite sure of them, and they are his very good friends; but when a man is likely to be lost to him, he alters his tone and threatens and condemns.

III. HOW ARE WE TO MEET ALL THIS? How must Satan be dealt with while he is showing his great wrath because his power is short?

1. I should say, first, if he is putting himself in this rage, let us get him out all the more quickly. If he would remain quiet even then we ought to be anxious to be rid of his foul company, but if he shows this great rage let us out with him straight away.

2. And the next thing is, inasmuch as we cannot get him out by our own unaided efforts, let us cry to the strong for strength, who can drive out this prince of the power of the air. There is life in a look at Jesus Christ, and as soon as that life comes away goes this prince of darkness as to his domination and reigning power.

3. One more comfort for you, and it is this — the more he rages the more must your poor, troubled heart be encouraged to believe that he will soon be gone. I venture to say that nothing will make him go sooner than your full belief that he has to go.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

John, Michael
Behind, Carried, Cast, Cause, Flood, Forth, Hope, Mouth, Overtake, Poured, River, Seemed, Serpent, Snake, Spewed, Stream, Sweep, Swept, Torrent
1. A woman clothed with the sun travails.
4. The great red dragon stands before her, ready to devour her child;
6. when she is delivered she flees into the desert.
7. Michael and his angels fight with the dragon, and prevail.
13. The dragon, being cast down into the earth, persecutes the woman.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 12:15-16

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Prevailing Prayer.
Text.--The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.--James v. 16. THE last lecture referred principally to the confession of sin. To-night my remarks will be chiefly confined to the subject of intercession, or prayer. There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God. The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. When I speak of moving God, I do not mean that God's mind is changed by prayer, or that his
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Third
refers to Exodus. The promise is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it" (ii. 17). It is in this third Epistle, which refers to the wilderness period and Balaam's counsel, that we have a special reference to the manna, the wilderness sustenance, of which Exodus contains the record. "Bread from Heaven" and "Angels' food" (Ps. lxxviii. 24,25) are set over against the lusts of the
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Glory of Jesus and Mary.
Before entering upon the contemplation of the excellent glory which surrounds the blessed in heaven, we must endeavor to form a correct idea of God's grace, which enabled them to perform the great and noble actions we are now to consider. They were all, except Jesus and Mary, conceived in sin, and, therefore, subject to the same temptations that daily assail us. They never could have triumphed and reached the supernatural glory which now surrounds them, had they been left to their own natural strength,
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

The Work of Christ.
The great work which the Lord Jesus Christ, God's well beloved Son, came to do was to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. This finished work of the cross is the basis of His present work and His future work. What mind can estimate the value and preciousness of that work in which the Holy One offered Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God! He procured redemption by His death on the cross. In His present work and much more in the future work, He works out this great redemption
A. C. Gaebelein—The Work Of Christ

A Discourse of the House and Forest of Lebanon
OF THE HOUSE OF THE FOREST OF LEBANON. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. That part of Palestine in which the celebrated mountains of Lebanon are situated, is the border country adjoining Syria, having Sidon for its seaport, and Land, nearly adjoining the city of Damascus, on the north. This metropolitan city of Syria, and capital of the kingdom of Damascus, was strongly fortified; and during the border conflicts it served as a cover to the Assyrian army. Bunyan, with great reason, supposes that, to keep
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Voluntary Suffering
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. T hat which often passes amongst men for resolution, and the proof of a noble, courageous spirit, is, in reality, the effect of a weak and little mind. At least, it is chiefly owing to the presence of certain circumstances, which have a greater influence upon the conduct, than any inherent principle. Thus may persons who appear to set death and danger at defiance in the hour
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Fourth vision "In Heaven"
H^4, chap. xii. 1-12. A Great Sign. We now come, not only to the great central subject of the whole Book, but to the central pair of the seven Visions, and to the actual literary centre of the Book. All this shows us that we are on the threshold of an important part of Scripture which relates to the actual Revelation or Unveiling of the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole section (chaps. xii.--) is not only Episodal in subject and Parenthetical in form, but is a good example of historical,
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Apostles To-Day?
"Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are ye not my work in the Lord?"--1 Cor. ix. 1. We may not take leave of the apostolate without a last look at the circle of its members. It is a closed circle; and every effort to reopen it tends to efface a characteristic of the New Covenant. And yet the effort is being made again and again. We see it in Rome's apostolic succession; in the Ethical view gradually effacing the boundary-line between the apostles and believers;
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Protevangelium.
As the mission of Christ was rendered necessary by the fall of man, so the first dark intimation of Him was given immediately after the fall. It is found in the sentence of punishment which was passed upon the tempter. Gen. iii. 14, 15. A correct understanding of it, however, can be obtained only after we have ascertained who the tempter was. It is, in the first place, unquestionable that a real serpent was engaged in the temptation; so that the opinion of those who maintain that the serpent is only
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

A Discourse of Mercifulness
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 These verses, like the stairs of Solomon's temple, cause our ascent to the holy of holies. We are now mounting up a step higher. Blessed are the merciful . . '. There was never more need to preach of mercifulness than in these unmerciful times wherein we live. It is reported in the life of Chrysostom that he preached much on this subject of mercifulness, and for his much pressing Christians to mercy, he was called of many, the alms-preacher,
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The rule of obedience being the moral law, comprehended in the Ten Commandments, the next question is: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments? The sum of the Ten Commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.' Deut 6: 5. The duty called for is love, yea, the strength of love, with all
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness.
^A Matt. IV. 1-11; ^B Mark I. 12, 13; ^C Luke IV. 1-13. ^c 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, ^b 12 And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth ^c and ^a 1 Then [Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
'If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' - Col 1:23. Intending next Lord's day to enter upon the work of catechising, it will not be amiss to give you a preliminary discourse, to show you how needful it is for Christians to be well instructed in the grounds of religion. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith. II. The best way for Christians to be settled is to be well grounded. I. It is the duty of Christians
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Its Meaning
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

An Appendix to the Beatitudes
His commandments are not grievous 1 John 5:3 You have seen what Christ calls for poverty of spirit, pureness of heart, meekness, mercifulness, cheerfulness in suffering persecution, etc. Now that none may hesitate or be troubled at these commands of Christ, I thought good (as a closure to the former discourse) to take off the surmises and prejudices in men's spirits by this sweet, mollifying Scripture, His commandments are not grievous.' The censuring world objects against religion that it is difficult
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

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