I will say it is very confusing when we read all of the predictions, commentaries and speculations about the Revelation as they are fictionalized, analyzed and magnified. Many of the movies, writings and speeches about the Revelation attempt to place us in the state of fear and trembling, a place I will not be going. However, I do want to make a little foray into a educated guess about what is happening now and what is written in the Revelation. Here goes ...
Last weeks message talked about Revelation 12 in which the woman and the dragon are at odds. The dragon is clearly Satan but the woman is a subject of much speculation. I believe the woman in this passage is the reflection of the life and journey of God's people from covenant times till she ultimately reaches her destination. In Revelation 12 we find the woman in the wilderness pursued and hated by the dragon. If I am right (and Bob Mulholland, the writer of my commentary agrees) the images of evil in Revelation are manifested in the reality of pervasive evil in the world that opposes, seeks to destroy, pursues to kill and impedes God's work and God's people. Joel Rosenburg speculates that this great evil is manifested in many of the events of the middle east, especially those related to the destruction of Israel. I agree this is part of the story, but Satan has many more tools in his bag of tricks. In his attempt to destroy the woman (God's covenant people who include the Jews, the Church and all who call Jesus Lord [literally the New Jerusalem on earth]), Satan employs terrorists like Islamic militant factions, evil rulers like many kings/princes/presidents in the middle east, weak leaders in America, corporate greed, individuals who are so depressed/misguided that they take up guns and bombs against innocent people, suppression of freedoms here and abroad, sinful desires in the hearts of individuals, addiction and addictive substances (that Satan tries to 'sell' as being harmless), societal distancing from Godly values and (here is one I can't stress enough) people who profess to follow Christ but will not appropriate Christ into their lives. That list is not inclusive but you get the idea. Satan desires to wage war on a grand scale and on an individual scale ... he pursues persistently, one person, one idea and one day at a time.
In Revelation 12 the woman, to allow escape from the dragon, is given wings so she can fly to the wilderness place. She goes there to do life under the protection of God while she awaits God's next move. As John writes these words from exile in Patmos, I'll bet they struck home to his heart. He is in the wilderness. He can't do much except follow God daily and belong to God while he obediently follows his calling of writing this magnificent book. He knows that evil rages and pursues the agents of good all over the world he knows. His brothers and sisters are being martyred for their faith, and he probably receives these bad reports while asking, "How long, Lord, will you tarry?"
This is where our faith comes in. "How long?" My answer, if I'm right, is, the exact, perfect right amount of time in the fullness of God's plan. Remember ... BIG EVIL ... BIGGER GOD. Bob Mulholland, before his death, said ... "Our task is not to be in the world serving God [many of us would place ourselves there] ... Our task/calling is to be in God, serving the world." I love that ... I hope you do too! Randy