Saturday, 07 October 2017 08:31

84. The water source matters: Living Water or flood of lies? * Revelation 12:12-17 - PART 1 of 2

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12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the male child.

14 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.

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

17 And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

PART 1

 

Before we dive in, detailing every word of every verse, we need to understand the key elements in this section: the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, and water as flood coming out of the mouth of the serpent. Revelation 12:12 says that after losing his rulership to Christ over the planet, the Devil headed towards the “inhabitants of the earth and of the sea” having great wrath. The earth and the sea represent the totality of the planet, but note that the “inhabitants” were the target of Satan’s wrath. But who are these inhabitants? Are the people from the earth different from the people of the sea? Revelation 12:12 is not the first verse in the book to mention the beings of the earth and of the sea.

We saw a specific reference to them when we studied the trumpets. So let’s look at what the Bible tells us about who these people are, who inhabit the earth and the sea:

- 1st Trumpet (Revelation 8:7 - see study #52): “and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” Note that the strike fell on the earth but the damage happened to part of the trees and grass. As we saw in great detail in study #52, the trees and the grass were a symbol for the people of God who ended up rejecting His message.

- 2nd Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9 - see study #53): “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” Here, the strike falls on the sea and part of the marine life ended up dying. This event also had an effect on the economy, symbolized by the destruction of a portion of the ships. We discussed these verses extensively in study #53, and we learned that this event refers to the fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire actively opposed and persecuted God’s people during the early Church days.

Revelation 12:12 says that the Devil was coming with great wrath towards the people of the earth and of the sea. In other words, he was coming towards those who rejected the Truth and those who opposed God. Clearly, Satan is interested in keeping those people where they are, in the dark, away from God. The people of the earth and of the sea had already been deceived. Satan’s wrath had already fallen over them. These people had abandoned God’s pure teachings. And so, the dragon's actions described in Revelation 12:13 make more sense now that we have this background information in mind. He turned his attention to the woman who had given birth. The woman was still faithful, on God’s side. The dragon was not happy with the woman's loyalty to the Lord. In study #80, we saw how the woman, after giving birth, became a symbol for the Christian Church. Therefore, Satan needed to find a way to attack the Church, to deceive her, just as he once deceived Eve.

Now let’s see what the Bible tells us about the other element in our study text for today: water. Revelation 12:15 says: “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.” Satan used ‘water' to attack the woman. Just as ‘woman’ is a symbol for the Church, ‘water’ is also a symbol for the actual weapon the serpent used to attack the Church.

- 3rd Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11 - study #54): “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” Here we see the same water element of Revelation 12:15-16. In the third trumpet, the waters became contaminated. As we learned in study #54, water is a symbol for the spiritual message. Jesus is the source of the Living Water but Satan’s goals are to poison the stream of Truth. Jesus said: “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38). He also said in Revelation 21:6: “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Spiritual nourishment comes from the spiritual Living Water, which keeps alive those who accept the source of that water: Jesus. Springs of water represent the teachings that can enrich the spiritual growth of a person. It is the knowledge that comes from the truth. On the other hand, Spiritual poisoning is a very dangerous condition. The dragon’s lies were intentionally directed at the church, in order to flood her with teachings that were polluted. Combining lies with truth creates a deadly mixture. The poisoning of the waters resulted in the spiritual darkness seen in the fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12 - study #55).

Note that the word ‘water’, when in the singular form, is frequently used to represent the fountain of the water of life, Jesus’ message (John 4:14; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, 17). Revelation 17:15 mentions ‘waters’, in the plural form, as a symbol of “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues”. We can see the difference in the meaning of ’spring (or source) of water’ and ‘waters'. Revelation 12:15 leaves no doubt about the source of the water used to attack the woman. The weapon that Satan used, and still uses actions the Church, are his persuasive lies, which are opposite to the Living Water that Jesus offers. The water that comes out of the mouth of the dragon is a falsified water, which leads to eternal condemnation. Christ offers Living Water straight from the spring. Satan offers a river of death.

*** Overview ***: The attacks on the Church are real. The old serpent is looking to deceive the whole world, just as he did with Eve. But we do not need to be afraid. God has given us all that we need to know to protect us from the enemy's lies. Jesus is our true representative, and He is the Living Water. It’s up to us to accept His gift of Truth. Even though Satan is fighting against the Church, the people who have rejected the Truth or who oppose God are not out of the range of the dragon’s poisoned waters. The entire planet is suffering from his lies (Revelation 12:9). In Revelation 13, we are introduced to two politico-religious powers represented by a beast that comes from the sea and one that comes from the earth. They are both agents of the dragon and are involved in satanic activities intended to deceive the people. Revelation 12:13 is clear about the dragon’s intention, he aims to deceive the entire world. Since his fall, he is focused on persecuting the Christian church. As we will see in part 2 of this study, God had a plan to protect His people. But just like the ancient Israel, the Church is free to choose from whom she is willing to receive help and who she is willing to follow. From which water source are we going to drink? From Jesus or from the serpent's mouth?

   
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