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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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."