Lesson 15 - The Great Controversy - 1
Lesson 15 - (downloadable pdf file)
Revelation 12 is one of the most comprehensive chapters in all of Scripture. In this chapter the curtain is swept aside, and the whole panorama of the great controversy between Satan and the government of God is brought to view. Beginning with the inception of sin in heaven and the resulting rebellion, the reader is carried down to the final climax of the conflict between good and evil in the last remnant of time.
1. Where did sin and rebellion against God’s government begin? Revelation 12:7
2. Who is symbolized by the dragon? Revelation 12:9
NOTE: Here it is clearly shown that the trials and persecutions of God’s people through the ages is but the continuation of the great controversy begun in heaven between Christ and Satan. Regardless of who the nominal rulers of the earthly governments my might be, it is Satan who instigates the persecution of God’s people as a part of his continuing war against God. See Ephesians 6:12. This same principle is also shown in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.
3. Who became involved in the rebellion begun by Satan? Revelation 12:4, 7
NOTE: We read in 2 Peter 2:4 of the angels that sinned, and Jude verse 6 refers to them also. John pictures a third of the angelic hosts joining forces with the rebellion.
4. No longer having a place in heaven, where did Satan go? Revelation 12:9
NOTE: Having lost his challenge for the rulership of the universe (see Isaiah 14:13, 14), Satan was cast out. The contest for supremacy then shifted to this earth.
5. To what did Paul liken the church of Christ? 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. See Isaiah 54; Ezekiel 16. Christ has only one body, His church. The faithful ones of all ages - few as their numbers may be - are the true church of Christ and are represented by the woman.
6. With what was the woman clothed? Revelation 12:1
NOTE: Jesus is the “Sun” of righteousness. See Malachi 4:2. Those who accept Him, He clothes with His righteousness, here represented by the sun. See Isaiah 61:10.
7. Upon what was the woman standing? Revelation 12:1
NOTE: The moon is symbolic of the Old Testament era. 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. 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.” Psalms 89:34, 37.
8. Who was the man child, mentioned in Revelation 12:5, that was to rule all nations? 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, 7), until the death of Christ. See Revelation 12: 9-12.
9. What did the dragon seek to do to the man child? 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 in Bethlehem to Calvary, Satan sought in every way possible to destroy the Savior.
10. What inspires the devil with such wrath? 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.” See 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!
11. Where did Satan next turn his attention? Revelation 12:13
NOTE: Satan, twice defeated by Christ (first in the courts of heaven and then in his bid for control of this earth), made the church of Christ the object of all his malignant and bitter hatred of Christ.
Though the people of God always have 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 had the church experienced the persecution that began soon after the death of Christ and continued on with greater or less fury during the centuries that were to follow.