A Study of the

Book of Revelation

by Elder Vernon Johnson


Rev 12:10, 11 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." 

Now seems to be a key word in this text.  When did salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ come?  It came with the coming and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He came into the low ground of sin and sorrow to redeem his people from their sins and to set up a kingdom that would last forever.  He said the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  It is not some future kingdom that the futurists hold to, but it is a spiritual kingdom, as he said, "The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."  He said, "the law and the prophets were unto John, since that time the kingdom of heaven is preached, and every man presseth into it."  So with that great warfare that was fought and won by Jesus, salvation from sin is come for the elect under the covenant of redemption.  We can now worship and serve him in this "second heaven."  We are living and reigning with him now.  We won't have to wait until some future date to reign with him.  We have been made kings and priests unto God and as such we reign with him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords.  We have been given strength according to his glorious working whereby he has subdued all things unto himself. 

Our strength for worship and service comes thru the miracle of the new birth, and through the finished work of Christ, and through the teaching of his word, and through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We have this in this glorious kingdom that Christ established while here on earth.  Christ told the disciples, "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore, etc."  The word, power, is referring to the authority.  Our authority for service and worship comes from our Lord.  To deviate in worship or in service from the authority that God has given would be rebellion against God.  

"For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night."  Again, who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?  It is Christ that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?  Nothing will ever be able to change this blessed assurance of our salvation from the condemnation of sin.  Salvation from the condemnation of sin is an accomplished fact.  Satan can never change this.  He is cast down, he can never ever again accuse us before God. 

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."  The first overcoming is an eternal overcoming as the blood of the Lamb has according to Heb. 10:14 "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."  There is nothing left to do to perfect forever them that are sanctified.  It is accomplished.  There is, however, a salvation here in time for God's elect.  This salvation is set forth in 2 Tim. 2:10 "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."  Jesus Christ has already obtained the eternal glory for the elect.  It was by God's free grace and the shed blood of the Lamb.  However, there is another salvation for which the elect may also obtain.  It is described elsewhere in the scriptures as salvation from an untoward generation, salvation from ignorance, salvation from the bondage of law service, salvation from a condemning heart, salvation from false worship, and salvation from a death to fellowship.  Some of the elect receive this salvation or deliverance here in time through the word of God.  These "love not their lives unto the death."  This doesn't mean that they all become martyrs.  It does mean, however, what the Lord said in Matt. 10:39 "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."  There is a natural life that we can live after the flesh, and there is a life that we can live after the spirit.  He that saveth his natural life shall lose that life he could have lived after the spirit.  Similarly, he that findeth his life after the spirit, shall lose his life after the flesh.  This is not a matter of gaining eternal life or losing eternal life through our efforts here in time.  This is a matter of the value and quality of how we live our life.  To live after the flesh will bring corruption and destruction upon us.  To live after the spirit will bring joy, peace, and righteousness, with deliverance from many timely sorrows and afflictions.  This takes place as we live out our lives here in time.

Rev 12:12, 13  "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." 

The following verses prove that the words, heaven or heavenly, do not always mean glory world: 

          1.  Matt. 3:2 "And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

          2.  Matt. 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

          3.  Matt. 5:12 "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

          4.  Matt. 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

          5.  Matt. 5:20 "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

          6.  Matt. 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:"

          7.  Matt. 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

          8.  Matt. 16:19 "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

          9.  Eph. 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

          10.  Eph. 2:6 "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

          11.  Eph. 3:10 "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,"

          12.  Heb. 3:1 "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;"

          13.  Heb. 6:4 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,"

          14.  Heb. 12:22 "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels," 

The vast majority of times that the scriptures use the term "kingdom of heaven" they have reference to the kingdom of heaven here on earth. 

Each local church of Jesus Christ is a little heaven on earth: Deu. 11:21 "That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth."  The land that the Lord has given unto us today is the "church," and each local church is to the believing child of God as a taste of heaven on earth.  As he is raised up in spirit he is dwelling in the kingdom of heaven.  There is great cause to rejoice knowing that the accuser is cast down and that no longer he can lay any charge to the elect of God.   

Woe is pronounced to the inhibitors of the earth and the sea.  When we don't have our habitation in the heavens (kingdom of heaven) then we are living after the flesh (earth) and are a part of the sea of humanity that does so.  To walk after the flesh puts us in a state of woe.  The word, "woe," appears 40 times in the New Testament and means "grief."  When we walk after the flesh we walk after the corruption of this world and this leads us into a state of woe or grief.  We only need to look around and see the grief of the fleshly walk that has come upon multitudes in the sea of humanity.  Adulteries and fornication have led to countless millions suffering from grievous diseases.  Fleshly selfishness has led to a majority of marriages ending in divorce and a horrible disruption of families.  Every selfish fleshly work leads to some woeful consequence.  The apostles said, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."  We do this by living according to God's laws and pressing into God's kingdom here on earth. 

The devil cannot keep even one of God's elect from reaching the glory world, but he can sure deal us a lot of misery while we live here in this life.  Jonah spoke of himself being in the belly of hell, because he rebelled against the commandment of God.  The serpent is the enticer who entices us into sin.  David lost the joy of his salvation when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband put to death in war.  We see the effects of sin in the lives of all the Old Testament patriarchs.  The devil has but a short time to deal misery to God's people.  For most of us that is about three score years and ten.   

The dragon persecutes the covenant of redemption and especially those who hold to that covenant.  One of the strongest persecutions against those who believe in the covenant of redemption comes from religious circles.  You can talk to most religious people today about the subject of God's election and predestination and they will scoff at it or ridicule it and those who believe in it.  There have been many times in the history of mankind since the time of Christ that organized religion has attempted to destroy the belief in the covenant of redemption and to destroy those who held to such a belief.  Organized religion has often controlled secular governments and has frequently made laws against those who hold to a belief in the covenant of redemption, and persecuted them even unto death.  Both the false organized religions and secular governments are ultimately under the control of the dragon (their head).  He leads in the persecution against the woman (covenant of redemption). 

Rev 12:14  "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

As we have already established the number two is associated with the subject of witness.  Wings are associated with flight.  To fly is to rise above the earth into the heavenly realm.  Whatever the two wings represent we know the purpose is that the woman (covenant of redemption and them that are embraced therein) may rise up above the earth and soar in a heavenly realm.  The great eagle is used in the scriptures to represent the subject of kingdoms: 

          1.  Ezek. 17:3 "And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:"

          2.  Ezek. 17:7 "There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation."

          3.  Ezek. 17:12 "Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;"

          4.  Ezek. 17:17 "Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:

The last two references show that the first two references of great eagles are referring to the kingdoms of Babylon and Egypt.  Thus the great eagle is used in the scriptures to represent great kingdoms.  The great eagle by which the woman flew to her place is none other than the kingdom of God.  The two wings of the kingdom of God are the word of God and the Holy Spirit.  The Lord said that they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  Thus to worship the Lord we need both the word of God and the Holy Spirit.  The gospel ministry are said to preach in demonstration of power and of Spirit.  The Lord's gospel ministers preach the truth and they do so in Spirit.  These two wings lift them up and those that hear them into heavenly realms.  Thru the preaching of the gospel they rise up above the plain of this world and are made to drink water of the wells of salvation and to be fed from God's holy word.  

Therefore God's covenant people are blessed with a means to rise up by the wings (scriptures and Holy Spirit) of the great eagle (kingdom of God) and to fly unto her place (church) where she is nourished (by the preaching of the gospel) throughout this gospel age (time and times and a dividing of times). 

Rev 12:15, 16   "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth." 

A glimpse of this picture is shown to us in the garden of Eden when the serpent cast out of his mouth a flood of false doctrine in order to deceive the woman in the garden.  He told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."  This false doctrine came from the mouth of the serpent.  He set forth the principle that man by an act of man can attain to Godhood. 

This same doctrine and the many various forms of this are still in the world today and being taught to God's people in the "earthly" assemblies (those who teach for doctrine the commandments of men).  This doctrine was used to carry away the woman in the garden.  It was used by Cain in an attempt to get favor with God.  The Israelites had used this doctrine in their efforts to get right with God and Paul prayed for their deliverance from it in Rom. 10:1 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."  They had swallowed the flood of false doctrine that man through keeping the law could establish his own righteousness and thus get right with God.  This is in direct opposition to the fact that Christ is the end (completion) of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.  The false requires the act of the creature whereas the true is by grace through the atoning blood of Christ.  There are multiple variations in the worldly teaching today as to what man must do in order to get right with God.  But every one of them requires man to do something in order to get right with God.  Man in the very pride of his fleshly nature (earth) wants to think he can do something in order to get right with God.  The truth is that he cannot do anything to get right with God, but Jesus Christ through the covenant of redemption has made his elect right with God and no man can lay anything to the charge of God's elect.  

The earth and the earthly assemblies swallow up the flood of false doctrines and false practices that flow forth from the serpents mouth and his self-made ministers:  2 Cor. 11:14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."  The scriptures also teach of these earthly assemblies: 2 Tim. 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."  The Lord warned of those in Mark 7:7 "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."  The earth is full of assemblies who hold to the doctrines and commandments of men that originated with the serpent in the garden of Eden.  The earth has swallowed up this flood and this is really a help to the Lord's true church as she feeds from the manna of God's word and worships him in Spirit and in truth to His name's honor and glory.  

Rev 12:17  "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

The covenant of redemption is completely contrary to Satan's goals and all he promotes.  What can the dragon do to the covenant of redemption?  He cannot alter God's eternal purpose and stop what God has purposed from coming to pass.  Christ's death on the cross to justify his people has already come to pass.  The new birth is a work that cannot be stopped.  The resurrection is sure.  The dragon's goal is to wipe from the mind all belief in the covenant of redemption that all the elect may worship the beast and his image and ultimately worship the dragon.  In order to accomplish his purpose the dragon attempts to change people's perception of what the word of God really is.  All the attempts to introduce new so-called bibles are attempts to change the doctrine of God to the doctrine of Satan.  It is an attempt to eradicate the possibility that people might believe in God's covenant of redemption.  In so doing he would replace Christ with a false Christ in the minds and hearts of God's people and have them worship the false Christ, which really holds and promotes Satan's doctrine.  He allures through the pride of the flesh the idea that man is instrumental in procuring his own salvation from sin.   

The second part of the dragon's attack is to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  If he could disrupt and destroy the Lord's church, then he would be well on his way of accomplishing his goal of universal worship from God's elect.  The Lord's church is made up of disciples who believe in the grace of God and believe that their salvation from sin was accomplished by the grace of God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  They also believe that God is sovereign in bringing about the new spiritual birth and that by the grace of God.  They also believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Subsequently, they believe in God's covenant of redemption that he made with himself before the foundation of the world.  In the following chapters we will see aspects of the war that the dragon makes against this remnant of the woman's seed. 

The statement that he went to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ is evidence that not all the seed of the woman keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  The idea of a remnant is taught throughout the scriptures.  When God chose Israel to make a covenant with and be his people under the law dispensation, it is stated, "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people." 

Out of the 12 tribes of Israel, the Lord chose the tribe of Levi to serve the tabernacle.  When he chose the priesthood, he chose the family of Aaron to be the priests.  Notice that the Lord chooses a remnant.  First it was the remnant of all mankind when he chose Israel, then it was a remnant of the 12 tribes when he chose Levi, then it was a remnant of the tribe of Levi when he chose the family of Aaron.  The following verses of scripture point to a remnant serving the Lord in this New Testament age: 

          1.  Jere. 23:3 "And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." 

          2.  Joel 2:32 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call." 

          3.  Mic. 4:7 "And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever." 

          4.  Rom. 9:27 "Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha."