The Victorious Baby – 21

Revelation 12:1-17

Who is bummed that Christmas is over? I know it’s only been a few weeks since Christmas, but it feels so far away. If you know me at all, you know that I love Christmas. One of my farewell sayings to people throughout the year is, “Merry Christmas!” And anytime anyone says it’s not Christmas, I reply, “Every day is Christmas in my heart.” We usually think of Christmas just at Christmas time. We don’t usually study the beginning of the gospels except for in the month of December, but Christmas matters every day of the year. It matters for our salvation, and it matters for what happens at the end of time. We don’t have the cross of redemption without the cradle of the incarnation. We don’t have salvation if Jesus never came. But he did, and he came to wage war. That’s what we see here in Revelation 12. I love what my favorite pastor/theologian, Eugene Peterson, said about this chapter, “This is not the nativity story we grew up with, but it is the nativity story all the same.”[1]

This chapter we’re starting to study tonight gives us an epic overview of the grand redemptive story of the Bible and of history. It tells of salvation from the past, in the present, and into the future. Tonight, we’re going to look at the first part. Right off the bat we see a woman about to give birth, a baby boy to be born, and a powerful dragon. That makes for an exciting adventure story, huh?! Imagine if that is what we read at our Christmas eve services and sang carols about!

Revelation 12:1-2

God fulfills his promises. There is so much history in these verses that can be easy to overlook. The description of the woman in verse 1 comes directly from the dream Joseph had in Genesis 37:9-11. In his dream the sun represents his father Jacob, the moon Rachel, and the twelve stars are the twelve tribes of Israel.[2] The woman likely represents a righteous remnant of Israel, the people of God. We can see this a little more in verse 2, where the woman is crying out in birth pains, about to give birth. The Old Testament often refers to the nation of Israel as a mother giving birth.[3] Think of it this way, the nation of Israel suffered and agonized for centuries waiting for the Messiah to come, and how did he finally come? He was born. A baby boy. God fulfills his promises. And he always comes through, no matter what your situation seems like at the time. But a mother and baby about to be born are not all we see in these verses. There’s something more going on.

Revelation 12:3-4

Remember, we are reading a history of the past right here. The dragon is Satan. It tells us that in verse nine. How it describes him in verse 3 is like the fourth beast in Daniel 7, and it’s meant to show how powerful he is. Satan is more powerful than we know, and he is more active than we often think. Verse 4 reminds us of when and how Satan fell. There was a primordial war in heaven, and Satan rebelled against God. A third of the angels chose to follow him in his rebellion against God.[4] We can see this in Isaiah 14:12-15.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
    O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
    you who laid the nations low!
13 You said in your heart,
    ‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
    I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
    in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 But you are brought down to Sheol,
    to the far reaches of the pit.

This war was waged in heaven before God ever created man. I don’t know if you’ve ever deeply thought about this, but Adam and Eve were not the first who were fallen. There was already a fallen serpent, Satan, in that perfect Eden. And that serpent hates God and the things of God and he will do whatever it takes to bring as many people down with him. Just like he deceived Adam and Eve and led them to sin, he does the same with us. But remember, God fulfills his promises. And we can know God fulfils his promises, even when it seems like he’s not at the moment, because he has fulfilled his greatest promise. God promised this to that ancient serpent after he brought sin into the world.

Genesis 3:15 – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

How does offspring come into the world? As a baby. Who is a baby born of? A woman. Here we are reading in Revelation 12 the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, a baby being born to defeat the serpent. God really does keep his promises!

Revelation 12:5-6

Who is this baby that was born? The baby is Jesus. If you were Satan, and God said that a baby boy would defeat you, what would you do? You would try to defeat baby boys, right?! Especially ones that had to do with the promises of God to defeat Satan. That’s one reason Satan attacks the families. That’s part of the reason why abortion has been a tool of his for centuries. Satan loves to kill babies and to deceive people into thinking that it is ok and good to kill babies.[5]

Hear some of the promises of God about male offspring that Satan has tried to destroy. [6]

Right after that first promise that the offspring of woman would stomp the serpent’s head, Satan moved Cain to kill Abel, the direct offspring of Adam and Eve (1 John 3:12). God heard the groanings of his people enslaved in Egypt, and Satan moved Pharaoh to kill Hebrew baby boys before Moses could deliver them (Ex 1-2). God promised that the Messiah would come through the line of David (2 Sam 7), and Satan moved Saul to kill David (1 Sam 18:10-11). God promised that the Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10), and Satan moved wicked Athaliah to destroy all the royal heirs of the house of Judah (2 Chron 22:10). God chose Israel as his people, promised to be with them, and that the Messiah would come through them and for them, and Satan moved Haman to plot genocide against the Jews (Esther). God planned to fulfil all these promises by taking on flesh himself, Jesus being born of Mary (Matt 1:20-23), and Satan moved Herod to kill baby boys in order to kill Jesus (Matt 2:13-18).

Satan’s goal is to destroy God’s plans. It’s been that way all throughout history. It’s the same way now, with our world and with you. His mission is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He has been a murderer from the beginning and is the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan deceives many people. And many people follow him. They will mock you for your belief in Jesus and seeking to follow his Word and ways, thinking you are brainwashed for believing in such nonsense. The whole time they are believing the father of lies. They are deceived. And the thing about deception is, you don’t know you are deceived often until it’s too late.

People don’t write checks much anymore, and a lot of places don’t accept them anymore. If someone seeks to buy something expensive and writes a check that they know can’t be cashed, how does the clerk know they can purchase the item? They don’t for sure until the check is cashed to see if it bounces or not. But by then it’s too late. They’ve been deceived. The one who is doing the deceiving is the only winner. He takes from everyone else, while everyone else thinks they are benefitting. It’s the same way with how Satan deceives this world, and often even you.

We see Satan’s end in Revelation 20, but, sadly, we see who he takes with him and how he does it.

Revelation 20:10 – and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Satan deceives many people to follow him all the way to Hell. It’s not only Satan that is thrown in there, but it is all those who follow him. By the way, if you don’t follow Jesus, you are following Satan all the way to your demise. There are many people who deny that Hell is real. That is another lie where Satan has people deceived. This passage in Revelation is overlooked through Satan’s deception and lies, and Jesus spoke on Hell more than anybody, because Jesus tells the truth.[7]

Doesn’t it sometimes seem like Satan is winning? That he is in control? That SO MANY people are following him? Just remember this: Satan is fighting a losing battle. Danny Akin said, “But in all of this, [Satan] failed! Verse 5 tells us, “But she gave birth to a Son—a male who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter.”[8] This is another promise of God we have from Psalm 2:7-9. God is victorious!

David Platt said,

“The birth of Christ on that day in Bethlehem inaugurated the death of this ancient serpent, just as it had been promised back in Genesis 3. The birth of Christ declared the death of the ancient serpent; the death of Christ defanged the adversary.”[9]

God is our only protection and provision. The verse (John 10:10) where Jesus says Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, I want you to hear the rest of what he says. “I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly.” Just as God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness after he freed them from slavery in Egypt, he provides for this woman after she gives birth to the baby that will crush the serpent. Remember, this woman symbolizes God’s people. That is what God does for you. He provides for you and nourishes you, even amidst warfare.

As we end, I want you to hear application of this passage from two commentators. First, Danny Akin says of verse 6,

“Here the wilderness symbolizes a place and promise of protection and provision, just as God cared for Israel following the exodus. God has specifically prepared a place for the woman, a place where He will feed her for 1,260 days, or 3 ½ years. The place will be one of spiritual refuge. She may be persecuted and suffer, but she will also be provided for and sustained. Everything the righteous remnant needs to honor her God and experience the victory provided by the male child, the babe of Bethlehem, she will have. God has preserved and taken care of His people in the past. He continues to meet our needs in the present. He will not fail us in the future. We have His word. You can trust Him.”[10]

In thinking about what this means for us, as we live in a world ravaged by Satan, a Satan that knows he is done for but is wreaking as much havoc and bringing as many people along with him as he can, hear these words of Jim Hamilton.

“Just as Israel was provided for by God throughout their time in the wilderness, with manna from Heaven and water from the rock, so the church will be nourished for 1,260 days. Where is your home? Do you think you’re home now? Or do you think of yourself as a pilgrim passing through, sojourning on the way to the land of promise? Have you been redeemed, bought out of slavery and delivered in an exodus greater than that of Israel from Egypt? Do you want to know how to participate in that, how to make that true for you? It’s simple: begin to trust Jesus right now and never stop. You will either trust him, or you will go to war against him with Satan and so face certain defeat. However much it may look like the dragon has all the advantages, he loses every time.”[11]

Trust Jesus right now and never stop.

I find it fitting to end with a Christmas song. We won’t sing it, but I want to read it, and I want you to think about the words…what it means for you and what it means in the context of what you’ve heard tonight from God’s Word. This was written by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley in 1744. It’s called “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.”

1. Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.

[1] Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination (San Francisco: HarperOne, 1991), 121.

[2] Daniel L. Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary (Nashville: B&H, 2016), 210.

[3] Isa 26:17-18; 54:1; 66:7-12; Hos 13:13; Mic 4:10; 5:2-3; Matt 24:8

[4] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 461.

[5] Russel l D. Moore, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 59-84.

[6] Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 211. “Since God’s declaration in Genesis 3:15, Satan has sought to prevent this male child from coming. He moved Cain to kill Abel (1 John 3:12). He moved Pharaoh to kill Hebrew baby boys (Ex 1-2). He moved Saul to kill David (1 Sam 18:10-11). He moved wicked Athaliah to destroy all the royal heirs of the house of Judah (2 Chron 22:10). He moved Haman to plot genocide against the Jews (Esther). He moved Herod to kill Jesus (Matt 2).”

[7] Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 24:51; 25:30, 46; Luke 13:28

[8] Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 211.


[10] Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 212.

[11] James M. Hamilton, Jr., Revelation, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 250.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.