“And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there 1260 days. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 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. 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.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death” Rev 12: 4-6, 14-16
In Revelation 12, John sees a picture of the persecuted Church. It’s both a flashback and a present picture. Herod tried killing baby Jesus at his birth, and later the Sadducees and Pharisees killed him on the Cross. Finally, Jesus rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven. As John said it, the male child was caught up to the throne of God. From there he is going to return to the earth one day.
Today, it’s the Church that is birthing Jesus in society. The dragon is satan, the woman is the Church. We are the ones preaching salvation and saving souls. We are the ones travailing against the forces of evil in society. We are the ones talking about sin and righteousness and Judgement. We are the only ones talking about Heaven and hell. We are the ones opposing office politics and the corruption in society. Take out the Church and the society does not have a true representation of God. We are the witnesses of God and Christ. In other words, silence the Church, and the devil can have a field day. So, the devil and his people will persecute you, it is a given.
But here is a Word from the Holy Spirit for this season. You have a place of escape prepared by God. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19b). I want to encourage you today, God has prepared a place for you, a place of safety and a place of nourishment. You will be fed, your bills will be paid. All the fiery missiles of satan will not be able to vanquish you and your family. Even if you have been weakened by the fight and injured, Jesus will nurse you back to health. It’s the place of Bible reading and prayer. It’s also the place of Christian fellowship and friends. It’s also the place of ministry. Don’t stop ministering. Whatever you are called to do, continue in that. Please read the chapter for the full meaning.
We are entering very dark times, when the rise of evil seems unabated and godlessness and mammon is on the throne. Commerce decides it all – whether to fell a 1000 trees or to destroy a lake or to divert a river. Churches are full of mixture and lukewarm, and the remnant of true Christians is very very small. Pulpits are irrelevant, boring and repetitive with some 3 topics. As it was at First Advent, so it is at the Second advent. Beloved, the remnant today is really small, only a handful Christians reading their full Bibles and waiting for the Lord. But He will come.
Rev Samuel J Stone, an Anglican minister in London, wrote The Church’s One Foundation in 1866 in response to certain heretics questioning parts of the Bible and the falsities in the Church. The Hymn captures the tenets of our faith and our expectation that God will revive the Church, in answer to the prayers of the saints.
The Stanza shown here is not there in most hymnals, but captures the essence of it all.
Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.
Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping;
Their cry goes up: “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.
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