The Great Controversy
Lesson 28

Revelation 12 is one of the most comprehensive chapters in all of Scripture. In this chapter we are given a panoramic view of the great controversy between Satan and the government of God. Though this controversy has been waged upon the stage of earth ever since Satan’s expulsion from heaven, his enmity has been the most bitter and determined against the newly formed Christian church. It is this phase of the great controversy that is dealt with at greatest length in this chapter.

1. Where did rebellion against God’s rule begin?

Revelation 12:7
Revelation 12:7

2. Who is symbolized by the dragon?

Revelation 12:9
Revelation 12:9

3. Having lost his bid for supremacy in heaven, where was Satan cast?

Revelation 12:9
Revelation 12:9

Note: Having lost his bid for rulership of the universe (see Isaiah 14:13–14), Satan was cast out. The contest for supremacy then shifted to the earth. Here it is clearly shown that the trials and persecution of God’s people through the ages is but the continuation of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, begun in heaven.

4. By what means does he seek to gain control of the earth?

Revelation 12:9
Revelation 12:9

5. When contending with opposition to the truth, with whom are we really in conflict?

Ephesians 6:12
Ephesians 6:12

Note: Regardless of who the nominal rulers of the earthly governments may have been, it is Satan who instigates the persecution of God’s people, as a part of the continuing war with God. In this verse Paul makes it very clear that it is Satan who was the real ruler of darkness in the Roman Empire. It was through the Roman Empire that he worked directly to destroy Christ as soon as He was born. See Matthew 2. This same principle is shown in Isaiah and Ezekiel. In both instances, it is obviously Satan who is being spoken to, though he is addressed by the title of an earthly ruler.

6. Who became involved in the rebellion begun by Satan?

Revelation 12:4, 7
Revelation 12:4, 7

Note: We read in 2 Peter 2:4, of the angels that sinned, and Jude refers to them also. See Jude 6. John pictures a third of the angelic host as joining forces with the rebellion.

7. What did the woman bring forth?

Revelation 12:5
Revelation 12:5

Note: In a limited sense, we understand Mary as being symbolized by the woman, but in its truest sense, this prophecy has an even deeper meaning.

8. To what did Paul liken the church of Christ?

2 Corinthians 11:2
2 Corinthians 11:2

Note: In the Old Testament, God, speaking through the prophets, also likened ancient Israel, the church of the Old Testament, to His bride. In Isaiah 54, Ezekiel 16, and Hosea, God’s people are likened to a woman and He to a husband. From these texts we may conclude that the woman brought to view in Revelation 12 is in fact the church.

9. To what did Paul liken his work for the churches under his care?

Galatians 4:19
Galatians 4:19

Note: The burden of Paul’s labors was that the purity and holiness of Christ’s character might be formed within each of the believers. The term “new birth,” or being “born again” are terms that have been applied to the beginning of the new Christian experience, ever since Christ’s interview with Nicodemus. Here Paul refers to his own labors for the churches under his care, as the labor of giving birth.

10. What does Paul state the mystery of the gospel to be?

Colossians 1:25–27
Colossians 1:25–27

Note: The woman does not represent every member of the Christian church, nor for that matter does she represent every church that professes to be Christian. The faithful and obedient ones of all ages—few as their numbers may be—constitute the true church of Christ and are here represented by the woman. Unless the spiritual image of Christ is formed within us, we have no hope of glory, no real assurance.

11. With what was the woman clothed?

Revelation 12:1
Revelation 12:1

12. Who is the Sun of righteousness?

Malachi 4:2
Malachi 4:2

Note: Those who accept Him, Jesus clothes with His righteousness, here represented by the sun. See Isaiah 61:10.

13. With what is the church to be clothed?

Revelation 19:8
Revelation 19:8

Note: To be clothed with the Sun of righteousness is to have the pure spotless character which all Christ’s followers are to possess. In the fullest sense the woman represents those Christians who are clothed with the Sun, the Sun of Righteousness; and who develop, or bring forth the character of Jesus. See Ephesians 5:27.

14. Upon what was the woman standing?

Revelation 12:1
Revelation 12:1

Note: Just as the moon has no glory of its own, but shines with the borrowed light of the sun, so the symbols and ceremonies of the early church were reflections of the true light that was to come (see Hebrews 10:1–4), and are thus represented by the moon. We see that the church is pictured as standing upon the moon, not in disdain of the Old Testament prophets, but grounded upon them. See Ephesians 2:20. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.” Psalm 89:34, 37

15. Who was the Child that was to rule all nations?

Revelation 19:11–16
Revelation 19:11–16

Note: With Adam and Eve’s disgraceful shift of allegiance, Satan became the representative of this earth (see Job 1:6, 9–11), until the death of Christ. See Revelation 12:10.

16. What did the dragon seek to do to the man Child?

Revelation 12:4
Revelation 12:4

Note: Though defeated in his bid for supremacy in heaven, Satan had been successful in gaining the allegiance of Adam and Eve and through them the world.

Until the time of Christ, every son of Adam had fallen under his control. In the promised Messiah, however, Satan recognized a threat to his claim of control. From the manger to Calvary, Satan sought in every way possible to destroy the Saviour.

17. What is it that inspires the devil with such wrath?

Revelation 12:12
Revelation 12:12

Note: The death of Christ made certain the destruction of Satan. Just before His death, looking forward to this final triumph, Christ said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31. When with His dying breath Christ cried, “It is finished,” Satan’s death knell was sounded; he knew that his time was limited and his cause lost.

18. Having failed in destroying the Child, where did the dragon turn his attention?

Revelation 12:13
Revelation 12:13

Note: Satan, twice defeated by Christ; first in the courts of heaven and then for his bid for control of this earth, made the church of Christ the object of all his malignant and bitter hatred of Christ.

The people of God have always been the object of Satan’s wrath, as he sought to destroy the royal blood line, through which the promised Messiah was to be born. Never, however, had the church experienced such persecution as that which began soon after the death of Christ and continued on with greater or less fury during the centuries that were to follow.

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