Revelation chapter 12 tells a fascinating story of Israel’s history and of the warfare arrayed against her. The reason for her persecution is that she will bring forth a Son that will rule the world and destroy Satan’s kingdom. After she brings forth her son, who is caught up into heaven, she is driven into the wilderness where “she has a place prepared by God”. This is the Diaspora that Israel suffered. But, even in this trouble God provides ways to protect her-
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle . . . . So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. – Revelation 12:14-16
God uses nations and even the earth to be her protection. We also see revealed here the rise of Christianity –
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. – Revelation 12:17
Christians are the “the woman’s offspring” and we as Christians have an unbreakable tie to the nation of Israel and all God intends to do with her.
As we consider what the world will look like at the 2nd coming of Jesus, we need to remember what Peter wrote –
. . . but as He who called you is holy. you must also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’, and if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear. – 1 Peter 1:15-17
That being said, we also need to say that no one knows exactly when the Lord will come back but, we are given signs to look for. One of these signs is the return of Israel. Jesus taught,
Now learn this parable from the fig tree. When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things, know it is near – at the doors. – Matthew 24:32.
Israel is often referred to as a fig tree. God said, “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.” – Hosea 9:10. I believe Jesus was referring to the nation of Israel being re-established.
Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948, against all odds. Many Bible scholars were teaching that the Church had supplanted Israel in God’s promises and that Israel would never again exist. They are still teaching that false doctrine today, which is known as Replacement Theology. However, God has proven them wrong. God said He would use Israel as an “ensign to the nations”.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. – Isaiah 11:12.
The re-gathering of Israel is a sign to the nations. They went into captivity as two peoples – Judah and Ephraim, but they will return as one nation – Israel. After they return they will “fly upon the shoulders of the philistines …“ (Isa. 11:14), which speaks of the series of wars they have had since 1948. Each time the Arab nations attacked them, Israel won more land, coming closer to the borders promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is interesting that the modern word for ‘philistine’ is Palestine.
Jeremiah even describes how they will return – without faith. Zionism is by in large an agnostic movement – without faith.
Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband. I will choose one of you from every town and two from every clan and bring you to Zion. – Jeremiah 3:14.
There are signs of revival in Israel. They have re-established the Sanhedrin. They are training Priests to minister in the Temple and are producing their ceremonial robes and ministry utensils. Israel now has over 60 Messianic congregations throughout the land. They are preparing to re-build the Temple. The fig leaves are getting tender, and the devil knows it! God will use him and the nations that follow him to purify both Israel and the Church.
The fact of Israel is like God waving a flag to get the attention of the nations (Gentiles), and the message is – You don’t have long, get right with God and ‘kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little!’ – Psalm 2:12.
Here ends chapter 10.
Prophesies often have several applications and such is the prophesy of Revelation 12. Israel is back in the land, the fig tree is blooming. But, humans often tend to think in natural terms; Israel is reclaiming the desert, it now has forests, is a world provider of fruits, is a leader in technology inventions, has a large army, is a leader in medical advances, etc. While God does bless in natural terms, He is more interested in spiritual terms and there is a movement of the Spirit going on in Israel now. Leading Rabbis are recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. In 2006 Rabbi Kaduri, the oldest Rabbi in Israel at 108 years old, left a note naming the Messiah which was to be opened one year after his death. The following video gives the story –
Since his death Orthodox Rabbis in Israel have been trying to disprove the note but they cannot and it has led to a major turning of Orthodox Jews to the Lord.
There are also other signs of spiritual awakening in Israel. The Jewish Sanhedrin has been reestablished and they are training priests for the coming Temple. They have also held the first sacrificial offering on the rebuilt altar at Hanukah. Their goal is to replace the god-hating UN with a God recognizing UN.
Many believe that for Israel to fully return three things have to happen: 1) a return to the land (has happened in 1948), 2) a return of Jerusalem (partially happened in 1967 and fully happened in 2017 as Donald Trump moved US Embassy to Jerusalem and declared Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel), 3) the Third Temple rebuilt. (The planning for this is proceeding even as I write).
I mentioned the prophesies can have several applications, God’s word is always true, and Revelation 12 is no exception. The ‘woman being in the pain of birth as she prepares to bring forth a Son’ also represents Israel struggling to accept Jesus as Messiah which will complete the Church as Paul wrote –
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” – Eph. 2:14-18
Israel yet has to face one more dispersal as Revelation 12 also predicts. As the forces of Antichrist attack her, she will again “flee into a wilderness” that God has prepared for her on the wings of a great Eagle where she will be for 3½ years. Then the Lord will come and deliver her and lead her out of the sheep folds of Bozrah. (I have written about this in a former article named Yet to Come).
There are many more signs of Israel’s return but, these should be enough to convince you that the fig tree’s “branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near”, as Jesus said. The Lord’s coming is indeed near, even right at the door. The End Days are upon us and can conclude quickly so, take seriously this warning and prepare. Get right with Jesus. God asked Jeremiah –
“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” – Jer. 12:5 (KJV)
In other words, get prepared now or you will not be able to stand when the real trouble comes!