Ten ways in which Revelation 12 encourages persecuted Christians

  1. The description of God’s people is a glorious one. The woman is in the sky like a constellation, robed with the sun, moon and the stars. Beleaguered Christians would certainly be encouraged by the fact that in God’s eyes they are part of something so glorious.
  2. The devil attacks the baby Jesus not out of power but out of dread: the devil has ten crowns (Rev. 12.3), but the one who really wields the authority is Jesus (Rev. 12.5). So like Herod – feeling threatened by a rival king – the dragon tries to nip the Messiah in the bud, and fails miserably. In fact, this chapter relates five different failed attacks of the dragon: he attacks Jesus (Rev. 12.1-6), the forces of heaven (Rev. 12.7-12), the martyrs (Rev. 12.10-11), the woman (Rev. 12.13-16) and the children of the woman (this attack gets developed in the chapters that follow).
  3. In this chapter we also see God protecting his people in various ways (Rev. 12.5, 12.6, 12.14, 12.16). Even the earth comes to the rescue. God’s protection would be a great comfort to Christians under fire in the first century.
  4. Rev. 12.6 and 12.14 (mirror verses, by the way) say that God has a place prepared where he takes care of his people. God’s provision and care is also a comforting doctrine.
  5. Rev. 12.7-10 and 12.12 put the persecuted Christians’ battle against Satan in perspective: they are battling an enemy that has already been defeated. The angelic forces are specifically said to be stronger than Satan’s forces (Rev. 12.8).
  6. The world that persecutes John’s readers has been deceived by the devil. They may think themselves more rational and enlightened than John’s readers, but they are people who have been hoodwinked.
  7. The testimony of believers is more powerful than the accusations of the devil (compare Rev. 12.10 and 12.11). When it’s the dragon’s word against ours, we win.
  8. Martyrdom isn’t a defeat, but a victory by death, just as the Lamb won by being slain (Rev. 12.11). Those who die for Christ have won because they refused to renounce their faith even to the end.
  9. The devil’s time is limited. He is not the one calling the shots. His actions are limited and restricted by God (Rev. 12.12). Comforting to know when you and your fellow believers are getting the stuffing knocked out of you by persecutors.
  10. The devil persecutes Christians not from a position of power but because he is frustrated and bitter – his evil intentions are always thwarted by God, so he takes it out on them (Rev. 12.13, 12.17).

Source: author’s personal sermon preparation

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