Revelation 12 Discussion Guide
Genesis 3:15 is a key Old Testament text that gives the backdrop to Revelation. You may be familiar with Genesis 3:15 and the term protoevangelium. This means the first good news. When Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation of the serpent and were first placed under the curse of sin, God in the midst of their cursing also proclaimed their ultimate redemption.
“I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”
The serpent and his offspring are the kingdom and works of Satan. The kingdom of Satan proves to be a counterfeit (later sermons will explore that), but that does not mean that Satan’s kingdom does not have real destructive consequences for the world today.
The offspring of the woman is the only one to have no earthly father: Jesus Christ. Though Satan may seem to be in a position to destroy Jesus and render mankind hopelessly lost, the best he can do is to bruise his heel. Just when Satan seems destined to win, Jesus’ victory destroys Satan and his work.
Revelation 12 is best understood as yet another telling of the glorious cosmic story of the redemption of God’s people. David Platt puts the Good News of Revelation 12 beautifully:
“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.”1
Psalm 2 is the other OT text that provides context for Revelation 12. The kings of the earth are an evil world system that rages in opposition to the righteous system of the reign of God. The messianic Davidic Son of Yahweh will be sent to subdue the kings of the earth with a rod of iron.
Despite Satan’s guaranteed and looming defeat, James Hamilton likens his reign on the earth to the violent destruction of a rabid animal. The animal’s death is sealed, but he walks about temporarily to cause death and carnage. We learn many things about the nature and character of Satan from Revelation 12.
- He has no standing with God (v. 8).
- He is the deceiver of the whole world (v.9).
- He is the accuser of the saints of God (v.10).
- He hates the divine miracle of birth. He hates babies.
Satan’s inability to conquer the Messiah causes him to rage against all the God declares as “Mine.” Genocide and racism against entire groups of people and persecution of the church give testimony to the tremendous power that Satan has to accomplish the destruction of men on the earth. Many theologians have noted the particular Satanic influence that has resulted at various times in history in people embracing the evil of infanticide. I don’t believe it is a stretch today to ascribe the same demonic influence to the movement has resulted in millions upon millions of babies aborted in the womb every year throughout the world. I believe we can only make sense of white supremacy and every other form of racial hatred by seeing it as the work of Satan to destroy what God has made and called “good.”
- He will not give up without a fight (v.17).
- God demonstrates his sovereignty over the earth when he causes the earth itself to thwart the destructive plans of the devil (vv. 13-17).
- Where do you see Genesis 3:15 and Psalm 2 in the text of Revelation 12? Do you think it is legitimate to view Revelation 12 as a retelling of those texts?
- How is the influence of Satan present in the evils of abortion, infanticide, racism, and genocide?
- How can we speak the Gospel of Jesus to fight against those evil world systems?
- How do you see the truths about Satan in Revelation 12 present in your daily life?
- Why is Jesus such a threat to Satan?
- Why does Satan turn to attacking the people of God?
- How have you seen God save his people from the attacks of Satan?
- David Platt, “Fighting from (Not for) Victory,” Sermon preached at the Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, AL, September 23, 2012.