Revelation 12:1-17 by Robert Dean
Why does Satan never quit attacking God’s plans for the human race? Listen to this message to learn that Satan’s arrogance has deceived him into thinking he has the power to prevent God’s promises from being fulfilled. Hear about one of his attacks shortly after Jesus’ birth involving Herod and his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. Find out how God defeats this attack and how Satan later influenced the religious leaders of Israel to reject Jesus as the Messiah. Understand today that God is still in control of all events happening in the world.

The Divine Council: The Satanic Attack on the Seed of the Woman
Revelation 12:1–17
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #13
December 20, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Opening Prayer

“Father, we’re thankful for the fact that we live in a nation that still recognizes the freedom to gather and worship, but we know that there are those in different layers of government who oppose this. Many in this country are now turned to be so hostile to Christianity that we do indeed see a reality that could unfold, that could be in opposition to the meeting of the church, and that there are more signs that we can see of people who wish to restrict the first amendment, to restrict our freedom to worship, our freedom to proclaim the truth. We’ve already seen for at least the last 30 or 40 years very subtle attempts through government and through corporations to hinder and restrict our application of Your Word in the workplace and in the public arena.

“Father, we pray that we might be able to see through these deceptions, that we may be able to see and identify ways in which we are opposed in this world, and that we may not shrink back from doing the right thing. That we may stand firm no matter what the cost. It may cost us jobs. It may cost us retirement. It may cost us our health. But this is not something new to the body of Christ. This is something that has been characteristic of the church through the ages.

“The only thing that really sustains us, the only thing that will strengthen us, the only thing that will give us the spiritual courage to stand up for the truth is to have Your Word deeply embedded in our souls, so profoundly assimilated that we can do little else other than think in terms of the divine viewpoint expressed in Your Word.

“And if dark times come, Father, we pray and we know and we have confidence that You will sustain us and strengthen us by Your Word. For as our Lord prayed, ‘Sanctify them in truth, thy word is truth.’

“Father, we pray that as we study Your Word of truth this morning that we will gain another and greater appreciation for our Lord Jesus Christ, for You, for Your plans and Your purposes, and the way in which You orchestrate the affairs of human history, without violating creaturely free will, but still working things together to bring about Your glory in human history manifesting Your grace and Your goodness to all through the church, and we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”

Slide 2

This morning is the thirteenth in our series on the angelic rebellion, and as I was working through this and working through different aspects of what I still wish to cover in this series, it occurred to me this morning, after studying this and studying that, and crafting this and crafting that, that in light of what we had studied on Tuesday night and Thursday night in terms of Satan’s first major assault, you could classify his temptation of Eve as an assault, but I limit it to what happens in Genesis 6 as the first major assault on the human race.

There is this assault on the human race in order to stop the promise of Genesis 3:15. When God spoke to the serpent, He prophesies what will take place, what will come about. He tells the serpent, who is Satan, exactly what’s going to happen.

This is so fascinating because Satan knows so much about what will happen, but we have to remember that Satan is not omniscient, he is not omnipotent, and he is not omnipresent. And so even though he knows certain things, he doesn’t really know when or how these things are going to come about. And in the arrogance that was characteristic of those five “I wills” we studied in Isaiah 14:12–14, he thinks that he can be like God.

One of the first things we have learned about arrogance and pride is that they are self-deceiving, they cloud our judgment, and they cause us to think in terms of a completely fake and completely fraudulent view of life, and we think about ourselves in ways that we ought not think of ourselves, and we think of our capacities and our abilities in ways that we ought not. This is exactly what we see in Satan. There are a lot of parallels between Satan and the ways in which he is self-deceived by his own arrogance and the ways in which we are self-deceived by our own arrogance.

So, this morning I thought that we would look on this next attack. This is the attack on the Seed of the woman. This is what part of the vision that John the apostle sees in Revelation 12. So, turn with me in your Bibles to Revelation 12. Revelation 12 is the beginning of several vignettes related to the future, and it’s important as we get into this that we remember what the context is. We have come in this revelation to the midpoint of the Tribulation.

Several things happened during the midpoint of the Tribulation. The Antichrist will suffer a fatal wound, and he will miraculously recover. It will be a counterfeit resurrection from the dead, counterfeited by Satan. He is the master counterfeiter. That’s part of his role as the “father of lies” as the one who can turn himself, according to 2 Corinthians 11, into an angel of light, and he is the great deceiver. So, there is a deception there.

The next thing that happens after that is the Antichrist wants to destroy the witness to God’s Word, so he begins with the two witnesses who have come in the power of Moses and Elijah. They are not a resurrected Moses and Elijah. They are in Heaven now, but these two witnesses come with that type of ministry, and these are the things that take place that are covered in the previous chapters.

There is evidence in Revelation 12 where we see the overview of Satan’s activity against Israel, and that is the focal point of this chapter.

In Revelation 13 we see the future leaders of this kingdom against God. That’s the rise of the first beast, who is the Antichrist, and the second beast, who is the false prophet. Then the scene shifts again to see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb, standing with His 144,000, those who were sealed at the beginning of the Daniel’s 70th week at the beginning of the Tribulation, and they are martyred then after the midpoint of the Tribulation, and they are with Him, and we see that picture.

These are different vignettes to kind of look at different scenes that have taken place and to bring us up-to-date.

Slide 3

This is what we see in Revelation 12:1–2, “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain, to give birth.”

This is an interesting verse because it just sort of springs upon us in the flow of events here. We have just come from the scenes in Revelation 11, which talk about the two witnesses and their death and their resurrection, and the last thing that is seen is the seventh trumpet, which is blown by the seventh angel announcing the destruction of the kingdoms of this world, and that what is coming is the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. This is Revelation 11:15.

That ends the previous chapter, so now it’s a complete scene shift, and it’s going to take us from something that happened in the past and bring us up to the point where the future kingdom will come.

This sign appears in Heaven, and it is the appearance of a woman who is clothed with the sun, the moon is at her feet, and she has on a crown of 12 stars. Now who is this woman? There are some who think that this woman is the church, there are others who have other speculations, but we have to remember that Scripture interprets Scripture, and so we can’t just jump to some conclusion based on a subjective view of the symbolism in the passage.

If we are biblically literate, we remember that there seems to be something in the Old Testament where we find these same symbols, the sun and the moon and the 12 stars, and by going back to that we discover who this woman is. So we go back to Genesis 37.

Slide 4

Now the context in Genesis 37 is the context of Jacob and his sons, and the next to youngest son is Joseph. Joseph is his favorite. He has given special gifts to Joseph, and God has also gifted Joseph. But Joseph is young, and there’s a bit of arrogance in Joseph. God reveals His plan to him through a dream. There are a couple of dreams, but in this particular dream we have these symbols that we find in Revelation 12.

In Genesis 37:9 we read, “Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers—see there’s a sense here where Joseph knows that this is all about him and his brothers, and they look down on him, so he’s got an element in this where he’s tweaking them a little bit. He says—‘Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ ”

You see we have the same symbols here that we have in Revelation 12: the sun, the moon, and the 11 stars. Where’s the 12th star? Well, that would be Joseph because the 12 stars stand for the 12 tribes of Israel.

Genesis 37:10, “And he relates it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What’s this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?’ ”

So he gives the dream and the symbols, but it’s his father Jacob who tells us what those symbols stand for. The sun stands for Jacob, the moon for Joseph’s mother Rachel, and the stars represent the tribes of Israel.

Then when we look at this sign of this woman in Revelation 12:1–2, the woman then is Israel. That’s going to be significant for the rest of the chapter because we see that the woman is going to be persecuted. That’s the anti-Semitic persecution of Israel during the Tribulation period.

Israel and the Jews have been persecuted throughout the Church Age through Christian anti-Semitism and Islamic anti-Semitism, but this is focusing on what is going to take place in the Tribulation.

In this verse what we’re seeing is where John is looking back to an event that occurred in the past in order to bring the reader up to what is going to happen during the Tribulation.

He sees this woman, this is Israel, and the woman is pregnant with child, and the child is of course the Messiah, and she cries out in labor and in pain to give birth.

Slide 5

Then in Revelation 12:3 we read, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his head were seven diadems.”

Now who is this? Well, we know that the dragon is identified as Satan. He is the serpent of old, and he is going to be cast out of Heaven later in this particular chapter. When we get down to Revelation 12:9, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. So, the great red dragon is Satan.

Slide 6

In order to understand the imagery of the 10 horns and the seven diadems, we have to go back to Daniel 8 where Daniel sees a vision of the kingdoms of man, starting with Babylon and going forward to the last kingdom, which is the Revived Roman Empire, and it is depicted as this horrible beast that actually has characteristics of the previous empires.

It begins with 10 nations and the rise of a little horn that depicts the Antichrist. He will have to force three of the horns to join the others to come up with the 10. So, you have these 10 horns representing 10 nations. But there are only seven diadems because the three that resisted are conquered by the Antichrist, so they lose that element of their autonomy. So, the picture here now is of that which will be in the future.

We are told in Revelation 12:4 at the beginning that he (the dragon) is going to be cast out of Heaven, and we’re told here, “His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.

Now I want you to notice something. We’ve had stars used as symbols in two different ways in this section. Remember there were the 12 stars in the diadem that is worn by the woman, and we go back and we let Scripture interpret Scripture, and we discover that those stars represent the tribe of David. Whenever you see the word “star,” you just can’t say it’s literal or it’s symbolic, and it always represents the same thing. It is symbolic here and it represents here the angels. That’s why it is modified by the phrase “of Heaven.” They are the stars of Heaven.

That takes us back to what we have studied in the past, that all of the angels are described as the “stars of Heaven,” “the stars of God,” “the morning stars.” This is what is said in Job 38:4–7, that at the time God laid the foundation of the earth, the morning stars shouted for joy.

This is a phrase that tells us that a third of the stars of Heaven, that is a third of the angels, follow Satan and his rebellion. So, one third of all of the angels have succumbed to the deception of Satan.

We will get into this more on Tuesday night, but this is one of the most significant things to think about in relation to Satan. He is said by Jesus to be the father of lies. He is said by Paul to be the one who is the great counterfeiter who masquerades as an angel of light. He is going to deceive the world, we see in this passage, in the future Tribulation period.

But all of this starts with his own self-deception. He deceived himself into thinking that he could be like God. It starts with his arrogance, as we studied in Ezekiel 28:11–17, that sin was found in him. It starts with a mental attitude sin. One of the most destructive of all sins is arrogance because it’s the root of all other sins, where we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.

Here is Satan who is in the presence of God. We have studied that he is the “anointed cherub who covered.” He is, as it were, with his six wings he is the canopy over the throne of God. He served as the high priest for all of the angels bringing their praise and their worship to God, and he desired to have that for himself. So, it begins with this thinking within his soul that he wants to be like God. He wants to be worshiped by the angels.

He doesn’t want to replace God, he wants to be like God, but he misses important facets of this. This is what arrogance does. It blinds us to certain things, and it blinded him to the fact that he could never be omnipotent. He can’t create things out of nothing.

We see that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. God created man, created his soul out of nothing. God created other things out of nothing. Some things he formed and shaped from what he had already created, but God is unique and distinct in that He brings into existence things when there was no existence present at all.

Satan will never be able to do that, but he deceives himself into thinking he can be like God, and he probably can’t even create a molecule much less a living creature. So he is deceived in many ways and he’s managed to deceive others into thinking that.

We see this picture of him drawing a third of the stars of Heaven to the earth. This does not happen historically at the time of the birth of Christ. This is a summary situation here. They are not thrown out of Heaven until Revelation 12:7–8.

Slide 7

In Revelation 12:4b we read, “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth.” So, we see that this assault is going to take place at the time of the birth of the Savior. He stands before her, “so that when she gave birth he might devour the child.”

Now this was written by the Apostle John as a result of the vision that he sees in approximately AD 90 to 95. At the time he wrote this, it’s historical. He knows the situation that had occurred at the time of Jesus’ birth, but this is what he’s reminding them of.

Slide 8

Then he talks about the birth in Revelation 12:5, “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

In the first part of this verse, he relates that she gave birth to a Son. It’s a male child. As a male child, He can rule. He is called a son, which if we had time we would go back and see how this plays itself out throughout the Old Testament, but especially in Psalm 2, where He is also described as the Anointed One, the Messiah.

The next clause also comes from the latter part of the second Psalm, that He will rule. That is His purpose. He came into the earth as a man and His first purpose was to pay the penalty for sin and then the second purpose was to establish His kingdom upon the earth, and that kingdom is described as “a rule of iron” in Psalm 2.

Slide 9

To remind you of the context of Psalm 2, it begins with God laughing at the kings of men, the kings of the earth, because they have gathered together against Him. They too are deceived by Satan into thinking that they can defeat God and that they can overthrow His rule and overthrow His kingdom.

When we come to the end of the psalm, we find the same language that we have in Revelation 12, where it is predicted that when the Messiah comes and defeats these kings, these opposing forces, this is described by the phrase in Psalm 2:9, “You shall break them with a rod of iron.”

The “them” refers to the kingdoms on the earth, the kings of the earth—the civilization and those who are part of that 10-nation confederacy and the tools of the Antichrist.

He comes, and this will happen at the Second Coming, “You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.

Psalm 2:10 then says, “Now therefore—so this was the application to the readers before this—therefore, O king, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.”

Revelation 12 tells us that this is a satanic attack on the coming of the Messiah.

Slide 10

Let’s turn to Matthew 2. Matthew 2 describes what happens in this attack, how it worked itself out historically at the time that Jesus was born. It shifts our focus from the birth of the child, which is described in Matthew 1 toward the end, and now it is after Jesus was born.

Slide 7

Remember when we go back to Revelation 12:4, “the dragon is standing before the woman who’s about to give birth—that indicates he’s prepared for an attack—so that when she gave birth he might devour the child.” It’s talking about what will happen after the birth.

Slide 10

We pick up the context in Matthew 2:1, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.”

We have to understand a little background here. First, we all know, we sing it and have sung in most of our lives, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” that Jesus is born, according to prophecy, in the City of David, which is called Bethlehem, “the house of bread.” That has significance because it’s telling us that this is the place of life.

Lechem is the Hebrew word for bread, and bread is that which sustains life. There’s a hint there that there’s something significant about this location, and its ultimate realization is in the birth of the Savior there.

It’s in the days of Herod the king. Herod was a fascinating, complex individual. He is just consumed with his self-importance, he is consumed with arrogance, but he is also quite paranoid. He lived in fear of the loss of his throne.

One of the reasons he lived in fear of the loss of his throne was that he almost lost it once after he first took power. It happened because after Rome had appointed him to be the king over Judea, there was an attack on the Roman Empire from the east by the Parthian Empire. The Parthians were vicious, and they were bound and determined to push Rome out of—what we call today—the Middle East. They almost succeeded, except the Romans were able to come in and defeat them. But when they first attacked in the area of Judea, then Herod had to flee for his life.

Those of you who have been to Israel with me know that there is a fortress up on what looks like a butte down by the Dead Sea called Masada. It stands for “fortress.” That’s what the name means. Herod had built it as a place to escape in case there was a revolt against him. That did not occur, but with this Parthian invasion, he sent his family there, so that they would be protected.

Then he took off and went to Cairo, Egypt as fast as he could in order to get to Cleopatra. There he would find someone to give him aid and give him a ship, so that he could make his way to Rome, and then warned the Romans of what the Parthians were doing. So, they sent him back with an army.

But he came very close to losing his kingdom to the Parthians, and so all of his life he was fearful, paranoid that this would happen again, and he would lose his kingdom. So that’s important background to all of this.

It’s in the time of Herod the king. These “Magi—that’s the term translated wise men—Magi from the East came to Jerusalem.

The term Magi is important because it derives from the name of a tribe of Medes. Remember, you’ve heard about the Medes and the Persians. The Medes were one ethnic group that lived in the mountains to what we would call today the area of the Kurds in the northern part of Iraq, the northwestern part of Iran, and the far eastern part of Turkey.

That area that today is referred to as Kurdistan was the area from which the Medes came, and one of the tribes of the Medes was called the Magi. They specialized in mathematics and in astronomy, and they were considered to be among the most educated in their culture.

In the time of the Babylonian Empire, they also were a group within the administration of the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, and they were the ones that Nebuchadnezzar would consult. When he had these dreams, he thought that the Magi, the wise men that he had, often referred to also as Chaldeans, would be able to interpret this dream, and, of course, none of them could.

The only one who could was Daniel. As a result of Daniel interpreting the first two dreams that Nebuchadnezzar had, Daniel was elevated to be the “rab mag.” That means the chief of the Magi. M-A-G is related to the root for Magi.

I believe that Daniel told them about the prophecies related to the Messiah. Daniel was so overt in his practice of his beliefs and his understanding of Scripture that he would have made this known to them. I think that through the centuries this information was passed down from generation to generation, and there were those among these Magi who were paying attention and who were believers, and they were looking for the sign of the star in heaven based on that prophecy in Numbers from Balaam, that his star would appear.

So, these Magi recognized the signs. They saw a star and they followed that star. They knew that the time was now. They knew about Daniel’s prophecy of the chronology in Daniel 9:24–29. They knew those prophecies. So, they had seen this star and they’re looking for the Messiah.

Now all of that is going to help you understand Matthew 2:2. They came to Herod the king of the Jews, and they ask him, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews? When Herod hears that, his heart flipped. He is immediately panicking and fearful.

There’s one other thing about the Magi that I didn’t mention—that they were the kingmakers. By the time you get to this period in the Parthian Empire, the Magi were the counselors to the king in the inner counsel, and they were the ones who would appoint the successor when a king died, and so they are the Parthian kingmakers.

So he’s got this knock on his door, and at the door are these Parthian kingmakers, and they’re looking for the king of the Jews, and it’s not him. They’re Parthians. That scares him to death because of what happened before. He’s fearful of losing his kingdom, and they’re looking for someone else who’s the king,

They go on to say in Matthew 2:2, “For we have seen His star in the East—what that means is when they were in the East, when they were back in Parthia, they saw His star. They didn’t see the star in the East because that would’ve taken them toward China and not towards Israel. So, they saw his star while they were in the East—and have come to worship Him.”

Slide 11

Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled—that puts it mildly. He is having a paranoid panic—and all of Jerusalem with him.” So, the word gets out, and everybody is all upset about this and concerned.

Matthew 2:4, and so he gathers together all the chief priests and scribes of the people to ask of them what does the Scripture say about where the Christ is to be born.

Slide 12

Matthew 2:5, so the scribes and chief priests consult, and they say to him “in Bethlehem of Judea.

Then in Matthew 2:6 they quote the prophet. They quote from Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah. For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.”

They understood this as a messianic prophecy predicting the coming of this promised Davidic King coming from the City of David.

Slide 13

If we look at Micah 5:2, it begins, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah.”

Now Ephrath was in the line of David. He was one of his ancestors. He’s the founder of Bethlehem, so Bethlehem Ephrathah is like saying Houston, Texas, because there are other Bethlehems in Israel. So, this nails it down. This is Bethlehem founded by Ephrath. It is not much of a town. It is small.

“… though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old—this is a statement that talks about the fact that He is eternal. He has been alive for all of eternity—from everlasting.”

This tells us that He is divine, but the fact that He is going to be born in Bethlehem also speaks to His humanity. Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6 suggest that He is going to be both God and man.

Slide 14

When Herod hears this, he then is going to inform the Magi. But he’s not going to do it in public. He’s not going to let everybody know this. He just calls them in secretly, and then he begins to ask them when did this star appear. He wants to get a timeframe as to when this birth would have occurred because he has another idea in mind.

He sent them to Bethlehem and said in Matthew 2:8, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me that I may come and worship Him also.”

Now if we think in terms of our beginning in Revelation 12, we understand that Satan is really working in and through Herod. He is the one who is running the show, as it were, behind the scenes because Satan has put an idea into his mind that he needs to destroy all competitors and he needs to kill this child before any more time goes by.

Slide 15

Matthew 2:12, “Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod.”

After they go and see the child in Bethlehem and they worship Him, that night as they’re sleeping, God gives them a dream and warns them not to go back by way of Jerusalem, not to go see Herod, but to go another way, and to do it secretly.

This is exactly what they did. They secretly left and went back to Parthia. The result is that Herod begins to recognize that they are gone, and at the same time an angel warns Joseph, and Joseph and Mary and the infant Jesus leave and they go to Egypt, so that they are safe.

Slide 16

Then in Matthew 2:16 the narrative returns to Herod, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under.”

He wants to make sure that He’s destroyed. This is what Revelation 12 is talking about, that after the child is born, Satan sought to devour Him, and it is a failure.

This tells us the back story that Satan was very much involved in attacking Jesus at this early point.

Slide 17

We’re told by Matthew 2:17–18, “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great morning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more now.’ ”

One of the things we should note here is this verse in Jeremiah 31:15 is not a prophecy. It was describing a literal, historical event. Yet it is treated by Matthew as a prophecy. It is a type, it is a picture. It was a historical event that was also used as a picture of something that would happen in the future at the time of Christ.

When we read these statements, “then this was fulfilled,” it doesn’t always mean fulfilled in the sense that we have with the Micah 5:2 passage. When Matthew says, “that was fulfilled,” it was a prophecy in the original context, and it is fulfilled literally. But this was not a prophecy in the literal context. It was a description of a historical event that related to the captivity of the Jews after the conquest of Babylon.

As Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Jews and destroyed Jerusalem, he then marched his captives off to Babylon. So the captives did not die, whereas the infants in Bethlehem did die. But the result was similar in that the mothers of Judea were weeping because they were never going to see their children again. Their sons and their daughters were being marched off to Babylon in captivity.

In the original context, it’s describing that lament (Matthew 2:18), “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

So Rachel in the original context is describing the mothers of Judea and their weeping over the loss of their children who were being taken into captivity, but it is a picture of the same kind of thing that is happening at the time of Jesus’ birth. It is that the mothers now in Bethlehem are weeping because their children have been slaughtered, because their children have been killed.

Side 18

All of this is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. In Genesis 3:15, when God is addressing the serpent, He tells him, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed—that is, those who are your descendants. Those who are like you—and her Seed—referring to the Messiah.”

The word “seed” is interesting. It is one of those collective nouns like our English word “deer.” A deer can be singular, or deer can be plural. You can see many deer, so you have to look at the context to determine whether it’s talking about one deer or many deer. It’s the same way with seed, is it talking about one person or many?

We know it is talking about one because the pronoun used in the next clause is a third person singular. “He.” It’s not “they.” If seed were to have a plural sense here, such as referring to all of Israel, it would be “they shall bruise his head.” But, no, it is a singular pronoun, “He shall bruise your head.” There will be a fatal wound of the serpent. W

And you shall bruise His heel.” When a viper strikes the heel, the poison gets in the system just as much. Even though for many years I’ve taught, and others have taught, that this is a nonfatal wound, what happened on the Cross? It was fatal. Jesus died. But God gave Him the victory over death and He rose from the dead three days later.

Genesis 3:15 is the background for this, because what Satan knows is the descendant of the woman and the seed is traced. He can’t predict the future, but he knows the Scripture, and he can trace the line of the Seed just as well as anybody else. He knows that if this Child in Bethlehem is the fulfillment, then this Child needs to be killed before he can defeat him. That’s the backdrop. Satan wants to prevent Jesus from accomplishing His mission.

Slide 19

Another way in which Satan attacked Christ during the time of the incarnation is through the religious leaders, and we see this in a number of passages.

In Matthew 3:7 when John the Baptist is baptizing down on the River Jordan, and the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he calls them a brood of vipers. Literally in the Greek, that obfuscates what he is saying. He calls them the seed of serpents.

Slide 18

That has to be understood in light of Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.

The brood of vipers, the seed of serpents, refer to those who are the spiritual heirs and followers of Satan. They have been deceived by him.

Slide 19

In Matthew 12:34 Jesus also calls them the seed of Satan, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?

Then in Matthew 23:33, in that long chapter we studied a few years ago, where Christ announces seven maybe eight woes, depending on the textual issue there, against the Pharisees. The whole chapter is a statement of condemnation for their rejection of Him as the Messiah.

Slide 20

This is exemplified in John 8:44, when Jesus and the Pharisees are having their confrontation. They seek to destroy Him, and He tells them, “You are of your father the devil—you are the seed of the serpent—and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Slide 21

Because Satan is self-deceived, he deceives others. He is a liar. All through the Scripture we see this portrait of Satan as the counterfeiter and as the liar—that he does not stand in the truth. What develops from this is this incredible contrast that runs through Scripture between Satan and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true Son of God.

Slide 22

Jesus makes claims in John 8:45–46. He says to the Pharisees just after he has identified Satan as the Father of lies, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth—and I do, first class condition—why do you not believe Me?

All through the Gospel of John, John emphasizes Jesus as the truth.

Slide 23

In John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of—what?—grace and truth.”

Then in John 1:17 he says. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

(Slide 24 skipped)

Slide 25

In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”

Jesus makes this audacious claim that He is the truth. He is the opposite of Satan, who is the father of lies. He is the truth, and He is the only way that anyone can come to the Father.

But not only is He the only way to the Father, and we come to the Father by believing in Christ, but to grow spiritually, in John 17:17 Jesus is praying to the Father and says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

This is an interesting statement. The Gospel of John is filled with these kind of double entendres, and here Jesus is praying, He’s talking about Scripture. He says, “Sanctify them by means of Your truth, but then He says, “Your word is truth.”

Well, who is He? He is the Word. He is the Logos. We are sanctified by Christ, but we’re sanctified by the message, by the Word, by the Word of God. And that’s why it’s so important to study the Word, to know the Word, because it doesn’t say you’re sanctified by music; it doesn’t say you’re sanctified by getting with small groups and sharing your thoughts about Scripture. You’re sanctified by understanding what the Scripture says and applying it in your life.

It is the Word of God that has the power. It is not all of the different opinions of man or the philosophies of man. It is the Word of God. And it’s the study of the Word of God. That is the basis for our spiritual life and our spiritual growth.

When we come to Christmas, one among many things that we should reflect upon is how God is resolving this angelic rebellion. He does it through His Son, who enters into human history and is immediately attacked by Satan because Satan knows that it is this Seed that will destroy him.

Closing Prayer

“Father, we thank You for the opportunity to look at these things this morning and to see how the birth of our Savior fits within this panorama of this cosmic conflict, this rebellion against Your authority. And that Jesus indeed is truth in contrast to the lie and the deception of the evil one. Not only that, He is the picture of humility, for we are told in Philippians 2 that He humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of the Cross, a direct contrast to Satan who is arrogant and is disobedient and who seeks his own glory. But by submitting Himself to You and Your plan and going to the Cross, Jesus brings glory to You and thereby glorifies Himself as He functions as a servant to us and a servant to You.

“Father, we pray that anyone who is listening to this message today would come to understand that Jesus is not just another person. He’s not just a religious leader. He was someone who made a phenomenal claim that He was the only way to You, He is the truth, the embodiment, the incarnation of eternal truth in a human being, and that the only way to know truth is to know Him. As He said to the Pharisees also in John 8, ‘You will know the truth—that is, the Word of God—and it will set You free’ from spiritual slavery, from political slavery, from slavery of any kind, for as Paul says in Galatians, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

“Father, the way to have that freedom, we know, is by faith in Christ. So, we pray that You will make this clear to any listener, the importance of believing in Christ alone. Belief all by itself; in Christ all by Himself. Nothing added; nothing taken away. It is by faith alone in Christ alone that we have eternal salvation that can never be taken away from us. All that is needed is for you to say in your mind, ‘I believe that. That’s true.’ That admission that Christ is the One, the only One who can save you, that He died for your sins is all that is necessary. No need to walk an aisle, no need to raise your hand, no need to pray a sinner’s prayer, because God knows that the instant you hear the gospel and you say, ‘That’s true! I believe that,’ He knows that you have trusted in Christ alone, and at that instant you have everlasting life.

“Father, we thank You for our Savior. We thank You for our new life in Him. And we thank You for Your Word that gives us hope, that gives us faith, that gives us guidance and direction in life, that we may know why we are here and what Your purpose is for us in the church during this Church Age. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”