"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:"
Since Chapter 12 begins with the word 'and,' it is necessary to connect chapter 11:19 with this verse: "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail…and there appeared…"
Try to picture the Island of Patmos where John received this revelation from the Holy Spirit: Back then, this island had no artificial lights nearby. After the sun went down and the night darkness surrounded him, John's eyes would have naturally searched for some kind of light. This would have prompted him to look up at the sky to see the formation of the stars. Studying the stars and star gazing was basic knowledge and part of life for most people during this time. Their lives were dependent upon what they saw in the sky. For casual gazers, stars would provide directions and knowledge of seasons. Those that studied the stars would see the story of life being played out in the heavens. It would not have been unusual for John to seek the stars for revelation from God.
Today, many of us live so close to areas where there is artificial lighting at night, that the splendor of seeing the beauty of the night sky is blinded. However, when we consider John's position, we can see how natural it would have been for him to use star terminology in his writings. It is in this chapter we find the great red dragon that is also talked about in Job 26:13 and Isaiah 27:1. In Job 9:9 we find reference to Arcturus, Orion, Pleiades and the constellations that tell the story of man and the coming Messiah. The Mazzaloth (Zodiac) is found In Job 38:32 where God challenges Job with the message of the stars. Most people will view the stars as a nice wonder of God's creation, but before God's word had been written, the stars were a way God communicated with man.
The writing I am called to do at this time does not allow me to get into a discussion of astronomy, but I suggest that many of us would learn some "great wonders" of the ways of God by reading children's books about the stars and constellations instead of relying on theologians to give us their "end-time" interpretations. Remember, the stars are a natural manifestation of spiritual understanding. God is Spirit, and it is in the spirit realm that we come to understand His way, His truth, and His life.
Verse One: "There appeared a great wonder in heaven."
Remember, this occurred after the temple of God was opened in heaven. Where is heaven? It is within us, not off in the sky somewhere. A supernatural occurrence is taking place in our spirits. Our natural/ logical understanding is a type and shadow of what is going on in the spiritual realm. It is not the end to the means of our understanding, but a small picture of greater things. We read in Matt. 4:16-17, "The people which sat in darkness (ignorance) saw great light (understanding of God's way); and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death (limitations of time) light (eternal) is sprung up. From that time (moment; twinkling of an eye) Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent (turn from your natural understanding of the ways of God): for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (now)." Since heaven has been opened up in us, something occurs with the way we understand Scripture which God calls a "great wonder." Remember, no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). Because we are in Christ, we now possess the mind of Christ to understand and comprehend the ways of our Heavenly Father. However, it takes a severing of our carnal/logical method of reasoning to understand the ways of God. We must also come to the realization that our death is not a coming event, but one that occurred with Jesus at Calvary (Gal. 2:20). The life we can now be living while in the flesh should be His life with His heart's desire and passion to unite the body of Christ in His love, not allowing the idea that Christianity is about self.
"A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." The woman can signify an individual, but for the purpose of unity, we must seek a higher understanding. Many have believed that this woman represents natural Israel, but if we study history, Israel was never in the heavens. This woman represents the church; the body of Christ; the bride of Christ; the "freewoman" of Paul's allegory (Gal. 4:21-31).Who is she clothed with? She is clothed with the sun who is symbolic of the CHRIST; the son of righteousness, the Light of the world (Mal. 4:2; John 8:12).
The moon represents the law or the powers of darkness. It is also symbolic of a woman, but not of the church that is known as the bride of Christ. This religious system may call themselves Christians, but are governed by a spirit that is ruled by reason, logic, doctrine, and denomination. This may also be known as the Babylonian church (confusion) which is so prevalent in Christian circles today, represented by the many different denominations and doctrines.
This "woman" or "bride of Christ" comes to the conclusion that says, "Christianity is not about me, but about unifying the body of Christ through the mind of Jesus Christ." She has put the "moon" under her feet (Romans 16:20). Christianity is not about "self" getting into heaven, but awakening to the awareness that heaven is here and now in the midst of the world. An overcomer has the responsibility to intercede for others who are still in bondage of a religious system. They cannot go off and do their own thing because they don't want to be part of a religious system of doctrine and denomination. Those that have detached themselves from the body completely have simply formed another denomination and have created their own religion. An overcomer has the responsibility to "be in the world, but not of the world" being an intercessor for others as Jesus Christ did for each of us while we were in ignorance and darkness.
The crown with the twelve stars upon her head represents the government of God. It is a victor's wreath signifying a way of thinking and is symbolic of the mind of Christ ruling and reigning. Ask yourself, what is in your head? Do you think and respond the way Jesus would if he was in that same situation? We tend to forget that HE IS in that situation because we are in it, and because he is with us now and not sitting on a cloud somewhere. Jesus has already completed what was started from the beginning and has given all to the glory of the Father. Paul told the Colossians in 4:12 that, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always laboring (interceding) fervently for you in prayers, that ye may (come to the understanding) stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." God does not play a game of "chance" with us. Today we are complete and righteous in Him.
(Just for your information: whenever you read "may or might" in Scripture, understand that this is King James's language and not representative of God's mind. He does not do anything with "may or might." His ways are perfect, complete, whole, and finished before time even existed. His ways are not dependent upon our "may or might." He chose us before the foundation of the world, and loves us despite the limitations we place upon ourselves and others).
David shares a song that we would do well to keep in our heart: "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8 NKJV).
What is it that concerns you? The Lord will reveal His perfection no matter what this concern is, allowing His mercy to endure forever, according to His good pleasure. So what is on the mind of this woman who wears a crown upon her head that has 12 stars? She has the mind of CHRIST; the mind of her husband, Jesus Christ, whom she knows intimately with an understanding of His unconditional love. She knows in her heart that "as He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17). When diverse situations occur she hears her husband say, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God ALL things are possible" (Mark 10:27).
Verse 2: "And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."
This woman has been intimate with her husband and has His seed growing within her and she is ready to birth a son. Whenever a child is being born there is a lot of struggle for both the child and the mother. When God is dealing with us to come out of the Babylonian system there will be personal feelings that have to be cut off. At the birth of a child, there are two lives trying to survive, the mother's and the child's.
Verse 3: "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads."
Let us remember where John saw all of this taking place; he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. All of these symbolisms are spiritual things, not literal. He is on the Island Patmos known as "the place of my killing or death," and the only light he would be able to see in the darkest hour would come from the sky. As he looks up to the stars there is a spiritual message. This "great red dragon" is also known by those that study the movements of the stars as "Draco" the dragon. Again, the stars are giving a message of spiritual understanding, not literal interpretation.
If we move ahead to verse 9 of this chapter, this red dragon is also referred to as: the old serpent, the dragon, the devil, and Satan. All of these names are about one thing; the thought process of humanity as separated from the mind of Christ.
The seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads are not describing a literal monster, but are symbolic of the perfection, rulership, and complete authority of this creature. Who would this be? It is the first Adam.
The seven heads are symbolic of the fullness of the perfection of humanity. The ten horns refer to the law. All of this is spiritual bondage surrounded by death, incarceration, imprisonment, and captivity locked in human reason and logic. Adam was given complete rulership of everything through the ability to speak words. His source of creativity came from God (the Tree of Life) but he chose to challenge that source by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This separated himself from his Father's wisdom until the time of Jesus.
The 12 stars signify the finished work of the government of God which we are to manifest by coming through the 12 temple gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21). Pearls are formed by the transformation of sand inside an oyster. As the oyster tries to get the sand out, the pearl is formed and the animal dies. The number 12 takes us back to Genesis with the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel where the corporate body was first presented in scripture. Each son represents a portion of the different stages of growth and maturity we must go through spiritually as we come into our inheritance as a son of God. Remember, "the earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who LIVE in it" (Psalm 24:1 NIV). This is a promise for sons of God today, who we are not waiting until they get on the other side to receive their full inheritance.
means "behold a son." This is the "new birth gate." We must be born again by coming to realize we are new creatures in Christ.
means "hearing." This is the "hear the word of God gate." Faith comes by hearing the word speak to us personally.
means "union." We receive gifts from the Holy Spirit to bring us to the union gate. This gate brings us into full union and communion with all that God is.
means "praise." This is the "true worship" gate. This gate is a praise and releasing of our life to worship God in Spirit and Truth.
means "habitation." This gate is the "dwelling place." This is the place that we know we are in Christ and that Christ is in us.
means "reward." This is the gate of "faithfulness." When we dwell with Christ we receive the reward of His peace, nature, identity. So often, this is where traditional interpretations of scripture end our Christian growth and maturity. This gate is not intended to be a place we enter after leaving our natural body. It is a stage of life we are meant to go through as new creations growing while we are on this earth as part of the maturing process. However, it is not the end of our maturation process, it is only half of the fullness that we are to receive.
means "judge." This is the "judgment" gate. When we are in Christ we have the ability to judge righteously by seeing through the eyes of His righteous judgment of mankind.
means "trouper." This is the "good fortune" gate. Our life in Christ is to be prosperous, not for ourselves, but so that we are able to bless others. We cannot give away what we don't have, so God will challenge us first to prove the condition of our hearts. What have we done with what He has already blessed us with?
means "happy." This is the gate of "contentment." We come through this gate as we go beyond finding happiness and peace in things that they can see. We are now happy in the midst of trials. We have found His peace that surpasses all understanding. It is the joy of the Lord that gives us strength to overcome the challenges and hardships we are in.
means "restlessness." This is the gate of "resting in the Lord." This gate must be entered after the other gates. If we go through this gate before any of the others, we will find ourselves wrestling with God instead of resting in His peace when trials come along.
means "abundant life." This is the gate of "overflowing LIFE." The life of Christ is manifesting through us as we come through this gate. Our lives are now all about showing others their heavenly Father. We now have a heart cry that says, "Father forgive them for they no not what they do." Our one desire is to bring unity to the body of Christ through unconditional love and intercessory prayer. This gate is the way to the throne or mercy seat of God.
means "son of my right hand." This is the "son company" gate. When we come to this gate, we know the reality and full manifestation of being a son of God with all the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Our heart cry is "as He is, so am I in this world. I can do nothing except what my Father reveals to me." Paul tells us in Hebrews 6:1-3, "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so" (NIV).
The Father draws those He has called though this gate. It is not a gate we can seek after, thinking it will make us more holy, but it is a place where we come to realize that we have the same heart as Jesus when he cried out to the Father, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:21-23).
Verse 4: "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."
The tail belongs to the one called the "red dragon." In Isaiah 9:15 we read, "the prophets who teach lies are the tail" (NIV). This "dragon" is the thought process of carnal man. His use of logic and reasoning in understanding the word of God is built upon separation, judgment, and condemnation to the body of Christ. The mind of Jesus Christ is supposed to be controlling the tail; but instead, it still has the mind of the old Adam which speaks thoughts such as: "I am just a sinner saved by grace; I will never be good enough until I get to heaven; I am not worthy to be in the presence of God; O wretched man that I am." These thoughts will keep Christians in bondage so they will be unable to function in their true identities and unable to do the Father's business they were commissioned to do.
The tail, or false Christian mindset, drew a third part of the stars of heaven. The stars are the overcomers of the seed of Abraham. Remember the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:5, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be" (NIV). The stars are symbolic of people. Abraham's seed was made of "dust, sand, and stars." These represented the three realms of the temple of God: outer court, middle court, and inner court or the Holy of Holies.
The star company are overcomers that strive to obtain the fullness of their inheritance while in their natural body for the purpose of uniting the body of Christ as one body. They understand that the position of sonship is a place of humble servant hood, not a place to use the power and authority they have to be seen as "holier than others." However, history has shown us that in less than a hundred years after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians began incorporating Greek mythology and Jewish legalism into the teachings of Jesus. He said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (NIV).
"And did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." The word 'before' literally means 'in the face of.' What are your eyes, your mind, and your heart looking at? Our thought processes will still deal with the 'dragon' that challenges our thoughts even though we are the overcoming church (the woman). Even Jesus (the son of God) was confronted with trials and tribulations while ministering on the earth; especially in dealing with the religious leaders and their interpretation of the scriptures. The good news is that we are already victorious in Christ Jesus! Through Him, we truly can do all things to the praise and glory of God (Phil. 4:13)!
How often are we confronted with criticism once we receive a revelation from God that goes outside the box of current Christian teachings and are told "we have our doctrine wrong." In Paul's day those who went outside the box of traditional teachings were called "heretics." Remember, the label "Christian" was not a label Paul or the apostles placed upon themselves, but was a title given to them by those that did NOT believe. It wasn't until later that the name was used in a positive way to describe followers of Christ as one who had the identity and character of Jesus Christ.
What we call traditional Christian teachings today would not have caused an uproar among the gentiles and would not have brought Paul to martyrdom. The way Christianity at large portrays God today would have been accepted as similar in manner to the gods of the Greeks. The unique difference that caused the people to turn from their Greek mythology was that Paul revealed the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to the people. He didn't just talk about God identity as something that would occur someday when they would die. These people already believed they would be children of the god they worshipped when they left the natural realm. Part of their worship included picking out statues of what they wanted their bodies to look like and having a "bust" of themselves placed on this statue so that their families would have a visual of what they would look like as a "child" of the god they had been worshipping.
Paul preached that resurrection power in Christ Jesus is for NOW, not someday in the future. This is the message that challenged even the gentile people to the point of wanting to persecute him. It is still the message most churches that call themselves Christian refuse to allow as truth because in doing so it would remove the control they have over the institution and the people. It is the same threat that existed between the Jewish leaders and Jesus. "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil. 3:10-11 NIV).
Verse 5: "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."
The words "man child" that are used to describe what has just come forth from a pregnancy comes from the word "huios" or a full-grown son. It is not the word "nepios" that would be used for an infant. The comprehension of this statement is enough to realize that we are not able to understand John's vision with literal comprehension. It would be impossible in the natural for a woman to give birth to a full-grown adult.
The word "huios"(mature son) was used to clarify the message of the Holy Spirit revealed by John and is also the same word being revealed through Paul when he wrote in Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." This man-child is the "word" in us; the DNA of Christ formed in Genesis 1:1-3 from the very beginning.
The WORD in us will rule all nations or anything that opposes God. The rod of iron is not a literal 'iron club' ready to strike when confronted with opposition, but symbolizes the uncompromising mind of Christ that mature sons of God manifest with their thoughts, character, and emotions. As mature sons, we will not be using scripture to justify what God says through carnal thoughts or reasoning. Once the Holy Spirit has revealed our true identity in Christ, we will battle to cast down the imaginations once stirred by the old religious system of Christianity. These concepts and imagination will try to use reason and justification to take away the revelation given by the Holy Spirit.
God protects His seed and will bring the mature son to the throne or mercy seat of the Holy of Holies. God's word cannot be processed in a nursery school by those that have not been given the revelation. Only God can give the understanding and guidance of what is required in the Holy of Holies to mature sons of God. However, this is not a position of isolation where we separate ourselves from the body of Christ! It is a mindset of being a king and priest (maturity and intercession), that is full of mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love to those that don't deserve it.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." People that have not matured in Christ are like little children that need to be protected with the love of God by those that are walking in sonship. When we are living a life with the mind of Christ ruling us, we have the responsibility to be a king and priest to those that come across our path, utilizing the same wisdom and rulership that Jesus Christ revealed in our life for others. We are not to judge by sight, but by the Spirit of God.
Verse 6: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days."
As we have discussed previously, the woman is the corporate body of Christ, the true church. Notice that God has prepared a place for the church. This is not a building we have labeled with a particular denomination. It is a corporate body of believers all around the world that are connected by the Spirit of God and His love. God has the corporate body of believers right where they are supposed to be which is why those that are called into sonship must be careful not to be judgmental against the body of Christ. God is in control of everything! He is teaching us to listen to His voice to bring edification and love to the church from a higher level of understanding called: intercession with unconditional love and forgiveness.Just as the natural lifecycle of mankind requires us to go through different stages of growth to obtain maturity, we are also required to go through this same process spiritually. We start off as children of God and mature into sons of God.
What we know as the church today, with its many different denominations, encourages growth and development but has been doing so at the level of teaching children. Maturity in Christ does not have to do with how long we have been a Christian, but by our faith in God that has been developed though trials and tribulations which gradually removes the 'self focus' in each of us to becoming unified as one body in Christ. God uses the 'religious system' for training; but for maturing, He will send us each into the wilderness just as Jesus was sent in Matthew 4.
"They should feed her a thousand two hundred and three score days."
The "they" in the wilderness are the sons of God, or the mature ones in Christ. These are people that will minister and intercede for us as we go through the trials of maturing. Their prayers are not a 'hit or miss,' but are sent with the absolute knowing of the mind of Christ, just as Jesus knew how to pray while on the earth. Matthew 4:11 tells us that "angels" came to minister to Jesus after the "devil" tempted him. These "angels" are messengers of God; or the cloud of witnesses that we have around us today.
The "thousand two hundred and three score days" is equivalent to three and a half years. This is symbolic of "ministry," not literally three and a half years. This is the amount of time that Jesus ministered on the earth. As I said earlier, there is a process of growth and development that each person is required to go through to become a son of God. Jesus' ministry involved the lives of twelve men and several women that were already children of God but were held in the captivity of religious bondage. Jesus ministered to them so that they would grow up in Christ for the purpose of doing the Father's business as He did. After Jesus ascended, the disciples were equipped to preach the good news of resurrection life found through Jesus Christ. No other 'god' being worshipped at that time could heal the sick and raise the dead. This is why the message of the Gospel was so powerful and threatening to those who were in control of the pagan temples.
Verse 7: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,"
The war in heaven is the war inside of us. The name "Michael" means "one who is like God." This is the Christ identity we each have. The 'dragon' is our carnal reasoning that tries to bring logic into the realm of spiritual understanding. The word 'against' is the word 'midst.' This war is between our ears, not somewhere outside of us or in another country. God uses external things to stir our internal spirit to clean out our natural understanding thus allowing His peace to surpass all logic and reasoning. Anything hidden in our heart must come out so that only God's presence will exist within us. He will not share His temple with anything: no fear, no frustrations, no condemnations, no anxieties, no limitations. The only thing that must be left within us is His peace, and with that, we will be given the fruits of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22) so we can feed and encourage others.
While I recently visited the Island of Patmos in Greece, I was able to spend some time exploring the monastery's museum. There I saw a particular piece that looked like an ancient chandelier. I found it to be intriguing and was fortunate to have one of the monks explain the symbolism which surrounded it. The chandelier was made of silver covered in gold. It dated back to the early 2nd or 3rdcentury, and hung in the middle court of an Eastern Orthodox Church. At this time in history, the church was designed from the format of the Jewish temple (having outer, middle, and inner courts). Church hierarchies were established with priests likened to the Old Testament, but the people now had acceptance into the middle courts if they had been baptized. This monk explained to me that baptism to believers during this time in history was more than just symbolic to the public that they had received Jesus Christ as their personal savior. They believed they had literally experienced death and were now new creations in Christ; they knew that death would not be able to have an affect on them (body, soul, and spirit) from this point on, as long as they kept the faith as described in Paul's letters. However, they would experience temptation which is where the chandelier comes into the picture.
The chandelier was huge with many places for candles to be placed. I would estimate it would hold at least 50 candles! It hung in the middle court. Each candleholder was created with beautiful designs of leaves and buds likened to flowers, but underneath each holder was the face of a dragon. The monk told me that dragons did not literally exist, but they were symbolic of man's creative power through imagination. The candleholder situated over the top of each dragon was symbolic of Christians being the light of the world as Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
First, let's picture this chandelier hanging in a room full of people and being full of candles that were lit. The room was the sanctuary of the church so that when the Christians would come to worship they would look up at the chandelier and be reminded that 'the dragon' or imagination had no power because they were now new creatures in Christ. Next, place yourself in a position higher than the chandelier, such as a second or third floor balcony, looking down upon it. In this position, since the room would be filled with light the people would not be seen. These people would be standing and singing praises to God (there was no room to sit down). Since they were baptized, they consider themselves as children of God literally, not just spiritually. You would not be able to distinguish any particular person below because the only thing noticeable would be the reflection of the light. This light would be extra powerful in this room because of the unique architect.
Throughout the room there are gold icons and gold furnishings on the walls and furniture that would be reflecting the light from many different angles. Even the people in the room would have difficulty seeing the individuals around them because of the intensity of the light coming from the chandelier when all of the candles were completely lit.
Now this is the intriguing part about the chandelier when all of the candles were not lit. The people would not see light when they looked up, but the head of many dragons. They would not be any light coming from the reflective power of the gold that was surrounding them etched throughout the room, but would be sensitive to a dark, isolated environment that was cold and eerie.
If all of the candles in the chandelier were lit except one, there would be a sense of God's presence, but because the people could still see a faint image of the dragon's head from the unlit candle, they would not have the peace that surpasses all their body, soul, and spirit. It took ALL of the candles to be burning to have the room filled with the glory and presence of God, not only by what the candles created above, but by the reflection of the light that came from the gold in the furnishing in order for the people to experience total peace.
This chandelier was used during a time where communication was limited and most people did not read or write. They relied on visual understanding, which is why so many icons were created, not to be worshiped, but to tell the story of Jesus Christ. The people needed the visual presence of worship created in this room to release the peace in their hearts of knowing of their connection as brothers and sisters of a living Savior who conquered death, hell, and the grave. The illustration of the chandelier revealed to them that everyone's candle must be lit in order for the dragon's image to be removed. It took ALL of the candles on the chandelier to be lit in order to remove the ability to see the dragons.
The chandelier reminded them who they were in Christ, and it also reminded them of their ability to overcome death, hell, and the grave as Jesus did through the Holy Spirit. I also learned from the monk that this is the message that Paul, the Apostles, and John all preached and taught in the New Testament. Salvation has already been given to all at Calvary; however, to obtain the power of resurrection life it takes allowing the faith of Jesus Christ (given to each of us) to be released on a personal level. Not one Apostle experienced a natural death. History tells us they were all martyred except for John who did not die. It is believed by faith that he was transformed into the spiritual realm just as Moses, Enoch, and Elijah. Even many of the disciples of the Apostles had to be martyred because of the faith they too had in overcoming death. It wasn't until the third and fourth generations that the apostles' and their disciples' teachings began to be watered down and used to control and manipulate Christians with fear which we now know is in the realm of imagination.
To this day, those on the Island of Patmos consider there is a divine presence that death has been done away with because of the Apostle John never experiencing a physical death. Many of those that were born on the island have never left and have no desire to explore the other parts of the world. Many believe that they are as close to God as a person can obtain while on the earth which they would not be able to experience any where else. When I asked a native who was about 40 years old if he had any desire to even see the other islands or to go to the main land of Greece, he just said, "Why would I want to leave the presence of God here? I have everything I need here."
Verse 8: "And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven."
This is good news…knowing that God has already declared that there is no place for the enemy (dragon of our mind) in the spirit realm of His dwelling place. However, it takes coming into maturity as a son of God to be blessed with this understanding. Jesus said in John 8:37, "I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word" (NIV). Just because a person has received Jesus as their personal savior does not mean they have received the full understanding of their inheritance as a son of God. Many Christians do not have room in their hearts for the WORD. Those that God has called into sonship understand that God does not share His temple with any other mindset. Only the mind of Christ can rule and reign with Jesus Christ in the house of God.
Verse 9: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
This is a verse that has been preached many ways over time by many preachers, usually from a perspective of creating a huge monstrous creature that looks like nothing ever seen on this earth, yet has been given so much power through the creative imagination of mankind that it thinks it can manipulate some of God's angels to follow it. Wrong, wrong, wrong! This dragon is not a literal creature, but the power of mankind's thinking process and his ability to create what he thinks.
The tongue is the accomplice in manifesting the power of the mind. I challenge you to search out the word "tongue" in the Bible concordance to see what Scriptures say about it. Here are just a few:"They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth" (Psalms 73:9)."A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4)."Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Proverbs 18:21)."Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait" (Jeremiah 9:8)."Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:5-8).
We are the sons of God manifested in an earthen creation by God. Deception came into our thinking process when the first Adam questioned his identity. Mankind has been searching for his identity over thousands of years and has finally come to the point of accepting the identity of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Man now knows through the Word that, "God is love. Whoever lives (body, soul, and spirit identity) in love (unconditional) lives in God, and God in him (no duality in the mind and heart. Only the mind of Christ). In this way, love is made complete (total, finished, full inheritance) among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment (when our mind challenges us with "if you are a son of God") because in this world we are like him. There is no fear (anxiousness, confusion, duality of being a sinner) in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (not a son, but a child in training)" (1 John 4:16-18 NIV). When we know who we are in Christ we don't have to justify or prove our new identity to anyone. They will know we are Christ-ones by the love that flows through our hearts because they will hear the mind of Christ coming out of our mouths.
Verse 10: "And I 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."
This verse is full of the wisdom of who we are in Christ, but if we read it with our carnal understanding we will miss the blessing that it holds. Let's read it from another translation:"And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night" ASV.
This voice being heard in heaven is coming from within each one of us. Notice the word "now" is applied when the voice of God is heard. He doesn't say someday you will receive salvation, power, and the kingdom of God, but when you hear His voice. With the hearing we receive the authority of "his Christ." This is an interesting way of declaring the authority of God has been released. The word "his" signifies that the power and authority is not coming from someplace in the sky, but from within us to be released. We are kings, lords, and sons of God now. Once we hear the voice of our Father declaring that we are His beloved son in whom He is well pleased (because we are part of the body of Christ in whom Jesus Christ is the head) we instantly have the power and authority of the kingdom of God to cast down the accuser that has been in our head tormenting us day and night with thoughts of accusations, judgment, condemnation, and separation from the grace and mercy of God.
Jesus said to the people in John 12:32-36, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto myself. But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die. The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Jesus therefore said unto them, yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while ye have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light. These things spake Jesus, and he departed and hid himself from them" (ASV).
Jesus shared with the people that the accuser would be finished and no longer able to cause separation between God and mankind on the earth. The biggest lie that we have today in our Christian doctrine is that there is a place called eternal hell, and that God could be separated forever from mankind because of their unbelief. If this were true, then Jesus Christ did not finish the job of salvation, and He will never be able to have a perfect bride/body (Rev. 19:7). Salvation would not be a free gift based on God's unconditional love that endures forever, but a condition of law.
Today, there is nothing more for Jesus to do. It is up to us as the body of Christ to grow up and mature into sonship by realizing that when Jesus died on the cross, we died also, and that when He arose from the grave, so did we. Today, as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we have already been resurrected with Him and we have been given the power and authority of the kingdom of God to fulfill the law of love so that Christ will abide forever through the sons of God who have put all things under His feet (Hebrews 2:8).
Verse 11: "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."
Who was overcome? It is the accuser that is in our heads who has been named "Satan, the devil, the dragon, the antichrist, the evil one, etc." How was the accuser overcome? In Romans 5:8-9 Paul tells us, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being NOW justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." The choice that all men are confronted with is not whether they are sinners (speaking of identity), but while they are in their natural body whether they want to live the life of God with all power and authority to do the Father's business. The other option is whether to live in doubt and insecurity that is tested by how "good" they are as a Christian.
Paul tells us that there is NOTHING that can separate us from our Father's love (Romans 8:39). God's love is not something that He has to make a choice about sharing, but it is the fullness of who He already is. We cannot separate ourselves from our Father no matter how much we may stumble in our thoughts and actions that do not line up with His character or nature. The trials of our hearts and minds are all part of the process that He created for us in order to grow up in Christ (James 1:2), so that His grace and mercy would be sufficient in all things.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul shares his personal difficulty with the voice in his head as he perseveres to be an overcomer for Christ; "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (NIV).
"And by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
The "word" IS the testimony of Christ that is IN US able to overcome the accuser in our head. This is the same experience Jesus was confronted with after the Father acknowledged that Jesus was His son. He was sent to the wilderness to cleanse any thoughts or ideas the accuser would challenge him with before he began doing the Father's business.
These are overcomers that do not expect to receive the fullness of their identity someday when they die a natural death and go off someplace called heaven to be with the Lord. They have already put aside their natural understanding of where the kingdom of God is; giving no power to their soul that a literal death of the flesh is necessary to be with God. They are not going to someday be with the resurrected Jesus Christ, but consider themselves today as part of His resurrected body with His DNA, His power and authority, to overcome death, hell, and the grave. Not by anything that their natural mind can do, but because the life that is now being lived within them in the flesh is the life of Christ. Paul shared with the Galatians, "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I HAVE (it is already finished) been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live (NOW) in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:17-20 NIV).
Verse 12: "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."
The word "therefore" means "through this thing," and the word "rejoice" means "have a good frame of mind." James 1:2 says to, "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." We should be reflecting the peace of God knowing that the accuser of the brethren has been cast down and there is no place for him in heaven, or within YOU!
"Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and sea." "Woe" means "pain, grief, and suffering." The devil can't touch those that know who they are in Christ as a son of God. However, those that are Christians waiting for their inheritance when they die "someday" are open invitations for the devil to cause chaos and havoc in their minds. Earth inhabiters would say, "I'm a sinner saved by grace, and need to crucify my flesh." They have an "outer court" or literal mentality of interpreting Scripture.
The inhabiters of the sea are those that have entered into the middle court, or Holy Place. They have an understanding of the things of God through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, but they allow their carnal understanding (devil mentality) to enter this area also. They are the ones that are "casting off demons" or blaming the devil for the things that occur. They are bringing "strange fire" into a Holy Place, or the mind of Christ in them.
When we come to the understanding of WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST there is no room for a devil. We realize that the real enemy of Christ is our own imagination and that we are dealing with the Battle of Armageddon in our head. The acknowledgment that I AM A SON OF GOD declares that the battle is finished and the devil (ego) must leave the body of Christ. Believe me, he doesn't go willingly, but will continue to challenge every cell of our body, soul, and spirit (likened to a cancer) until we know that we have been washed with the blood of the lamb, and know that we are the bride who has made herself ready…"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God IS WITH MEN, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Rev. 21: 2-3).
Over two-thousand years ago, all of mankind was sealed in the tomb with Jesus. Three days later the stone was rolled away and Jesus came out as THE RESURRECTED LIFE. Today, we are all free. There is no death in the tomb, but the majority of people would rather stay shackled to the bondages of their imagination than leaving the tomb behind to emerge as a new creature in Christ.
Verse 13: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child."
The word "saw" means "knew or knowing." Notice the persecution is to the woman, not the man child. The reason is: when we accept who we are in Christ, our spirit identity cannot be touched or harmed. The challenge comes in the soulish realm in us also known as the woman. We are no longer 'living souls' as the first Adam was, but 'life-giving spirits' as the second Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:45).
Verse 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"
"Given two wings of a great eagle" is likened to our soul (the woman or individual person) being given divine protection for the purpose of God being fulfilled while in our natural body. Each one of us are here on this earth for a reason. God has a purpose for the organized church system (the corporate body of Christ) and He has given her (women) divine protection from the face, or identity of the serpent, which is the mind of humanity.
The Christian church has gone through many generations of turmoil as the innocence and ignorance of believers left themselves bound and controlled by those who manipulated the Scriptures. Yet, in every generation God has equipped a company of believers to carry the seed of His divine truth of unconditional love, peace, and mercy into the next generation. The Holy Spirit gave John graphic physical imagery to help us understand spiritual wisdom.
Jesus Christ is the head of the body, but he is not independent to Himself. The head is dependent upon the body to respond to the impulses of the mind of Christ which are sent by the Holy Spirit. The return of Jesus demands a body that the LIFE of Christ flowing through it from the head down to every cell, where the Scripture is fulfilled that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 14:11, Phil. 2:10).
This fulfillment is not a someday when we get to heaven, but a seed fact that Jesus Christ instilled into every person when He declared "it is finished" (John 19:30). He bowed His head and gave up the Holy Spirit to be released to the body so that when He was seen again by the disciples after the resurrection He was no longer ministering to men, but brothers and sisters in Christ."Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (John 20:21-23). With these words, Jesus declared that "ye are gods" of your Heavenly Father whom you know as God.
Remember the story of Jesus healing the man with palsy in Mark 2:5-12? "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? WHO CAN FORGIVE SINS BUT GOD ALONE? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that YE MAY KNOW THAT THE SON OF MAN HAS POWER ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SIN, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."
The ability for us today to forgive one another unconditionally was not part of the culture during the time of Jesus. Only those of the Levite tribe had any ability to extend forgiveness to the people. The fact that we can forgive unconditionally is the inheritance given to us by God through Jesus Christ (since it is now our nature in Him to forgive).
As children of God we each have a ministry established by our Heavenly Father to unite the body of Christ together in His identity, character, and nature. We are protected by the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus demonstrated while on the earth, that the face of the serpent, or the logic and reasoning of humanity, will not be able to hinder the divine calling on our life.
Verse 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 of the flood."
What is coming at the woman (our soul) are worldly words such as, "Who do you think you are? How dare you compare yourself to the Son of God! How dare you think you can be part of God!" Remember, the enemy knows God, but he also knows your insecurities. Let's go back to Genesis to refresh our memories of the conversation that the WOMAN had with the serpent (accuser): "Now the serpent (mind of man) was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman (his soul), Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman (soul, logic, reasoning) said unto the serpent (accuser in the mind of Adam), We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden (Yes, but God did not tell Adam he couldn't eat of the tree of Life which was also in the midst), God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it (God did not say the word "touch." This was added by Adam's logic and reasoning of the senses), lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1-5).
This last statement was a partial 'truth' given by the accuser through logic and reasoning of the senses that Adam introduced with the word "touch." The man and the woman were already children of the most High God, they were gods of LIFE and LOVE; however, by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they became gods of reason and logic. They knew right and wrong (which placed their senses in control of LIFE) but they didn't know their oneness with the Life-giver Himself.
Unfortunately, we still find the accuser of the brethren (the serpent) trying to subtly use the scriptures (the water) to control and manipulate the body of Christ through legalism, doctrines, and traditions. The church has been bombarded with bondages that have caused separation and division in the body of Christ. In order to break free from these bondages of control, the church must realize who she is as the body of God (Jesus Christ). Since we know the finished work of Jesus Christ, we know that "as He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17), and that it is God's divine will that He is all and in all (1 Corinthians 15: 28).
Verse 16: "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."
The words "her mouth" is referring to the first two realms of the temple of God (outer and middle courts, also known as the dust and sand companies). So, even though 'the church' is operating in a carnal way apart from faith, God will still use this system to protect the woman; or those who carry the seed of the revelation of sonship. This is one of the many reasons why we cannot separate ourselves from the rest of the body of Christ. Another reason is so that we can show by example the now reality of the kingdom of God. Those that consider themselves Christians and believe that heaven is a "someday" destination will be challenged to grow up into the maturity of knowing heaven on earth in Christ Jesus. Their first response will be to justify that they are right in their interpretation of Scripture regarding the someday realities of heaven versus the kingdom as already here. They will try to separate themselves, but the fact that they declare themselves Christians will go against their ability to exclude you. For them to stay in the presence of an "overcomer," they will be tormented in their heart and mind until the unconditional love of God overcomes their natural reasoning.
Verse 17: "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."
The word "wroth" is "enraged." The "dragon" or "carnal mind" will be frustrated because it is not able to reason with the person that is declaring their identity as a son of God. Since there is nothing the carnal mind can do to harm this identity, the carnal mind will try to go after the seed by questioning "if you are the son of God, then prove it! Why don't you heal yourself, or remove yourself from being crucified and tormented?" A son of God knows that their life is hid in Christ. They have been crucified in HIM, and the life they now live is not about "what's in it for themselves," but for the unity of one body in Christ to be manifested on this earth. The earth belongs to God and the fullness of it. While most of the church is yearning to someday escape to a far away place they call heaven, all of creation has been groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Paul presents this to us in Romans 8:19-23 where we read, "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body" (NKJV).
Having an understanding of the commandments of God requires more than just knowing the ten commandments or the rules established by the Levitical Priesthood. At the same time, Jesus did not come to remove these commandments, but He did fulfill them by the releasing God's unconditional love, forgiveness, and mercy in the earth. Without this foundation of God's identity and character in us, we cannot BE sons of God, but will wonder as children to and fro.
Jesus gives us an example of child-like Christianity versus mature sonship behavior in Matthew 15:4-9, "For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Sonship is not about doing something, but about BEING in Christ which takes the faith of God to believe."If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).