Chapter 11 ended with the blowing of the 7th trumpet, and heaven celebrating in anticipation of the consummation of the age; when God will judge the nations, reward his saints, destroy the destroyers of the earth, and establish His eternal kingdom and reign.
Before telling us about these events in history, in chapters 12 and 13, John shows us the struggle that the believers will be facing from the time of Christ’s ascension to heaven, till His second coming. He also takes us behind the scenes to show us the source of those trials, which is none other than Satan himself–the serpent of old, God’s chief enemy.
The chapter has three scenes: 1) The woman giving birth to the male child, who is then caught up to heaven; 2) The defeat and casting down of Satan from heaven; and 3) The persecution of the woman and her offspring by Satan.
There are many encouragements for believers in this chapter. In the first place, by His death on the cross and resurrection, Christ has crushed Satan’s head; Satan no longer has the ability to bring a charge against us to condemn us before God, because Christ has fully paid the penalty for our sins, even as Paul said in Rom 8:33, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died…” Secondly, we are no longer enslaved by the fear of death (Heb 2:14ff), because Christ has conquered death, and so shall we. Nor do we fear what is on the other side of the grave, because we know what awaits us. We have a heavenly Father who is ready to welcome us home, and a Savior who has gone to prepare a glorious place for us and longs for us to be with Him. Thirdly, by way of encouragement, this passage shows us God’s tender care for us in our time of affliction; He will not forsake us, but will gently care for us, even as an eagle cares for its young. May the Lord use His word this Sunday to encourage His saints.