Israel in the Book of Revelation
The struggle for the land of promise is merely the tip of a large iceberg. It is symptomatic of a far greater struggle between God and His enemy, Satan. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic, meaning it describes future events dealing with the end of the world as we know it. Many people consider it too difficult to understand. But that isn’t the case. And though it discloses terrifying events, it also reveals how God will triumph over Satan and bring Israel to safety and everlasting peace.
The apostle John wrote, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1). This scroll is of vital importance. A massive search was made to find someone “worthy” who possessed the credentials and authority to take the scroll from God’s hand and “loose its seals” (v. 2).
The search ended with the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” (v. 5). He and He alone “prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals” (v. 5). When John looked, “in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain” (v. 6). The Lion and Lamb are one and the same. The Redeemer is Jesus, the Lion and Lamb of Judah.
The elders fell down before the Lamb and sang, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (v. 9; cf. Isa. 53).
The scroll may represent the title deed to planet Earth. Bible commentator David M. Levy said the scroll represents even more: It “reveals the judgments of God to be poured out on the earth, Christ’s Second Coming to rightfully inherit and implement the title deed of redemption to planet Earth, and His righteous rule in the Millennial Kingdom.”1
Only the Messiah of Israel has the right to take the scroll and bring all of human history to a close. He is the Redeemer, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
Israel is represented as a woman about to deliver a child: “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth” (12:1–2).
John F. Walvoord, late president of Dallas Theological Seminary, explained, “The woman symbolized Israel, as indicated by Genesis 37:9–11, where the sun and the moon referred to Jacob and Rachel, Joseph’s parents. The stars in the woman’s crown clearly related to the 12 sons of Jacob and identified the woman as Israel fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant.”2
Revelation 12:1–2 summarizes the history of the Jewish people. They travailed “and cried out in labor…to give birth” to the most wonderful gift the world could ever receive: the Messiah, who came to redeem humanity from Satan’s (the dragon’s) clutches and provide eternal life to all who believe in Him.
Jewish history has been filled with persecution and suffering, yet Israel’s national destiny is to fulfill the promise God swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “in you [through the Messiah] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).
Revelation 12 continues:
Another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns….And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron [cf. Ps. 2:9; Isa. 11:1–5]. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne (Rev. 12:3–5).
This conflict is rooted in Satan’s prideful boast, “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14). Satan’s rebellion against God initiated open warfare between the Almighty and “the great dragon…that serpent of old [the one who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden], called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
Satan is Israel’s greatest enemy. He has been so from the nation’s inception. First he tried to prevent the Redeemer from coming. Now He is trying to prevent Him from coming again. (See What on Earth Is God Doing? by Renald E. Showers.)
Satan’s desire is to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. That is why anti-Semitism is popular, why Supersessionism (Replacement Theology) is growing in mainline denominations, and why the world condemns the Jewish state’s existence despite all the irrefutable evidence that Israel is not only legitimate but one of the most humane societies in the world today.
God’s promises to Israel are central to biblical prophecy; they are the fulcrum upon which prophecy rests.
The Arab-Israeli conflict concerns far more than land; it is rooted in the very existence of the Jewish people. Though current events make Israel’s position appear precarious, God made promises to Abraham and his physical descendants through Isaac and Jacob that He will keep.
In the end, Satan is a created being. God is the omniscient, omnipotent Creator who keeps Israel and neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). He promises Israel a glorious future and declares, “I work, and who will reverse it?” (Isa. 43:13).
- David M. Levy, Revelation (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel, 1999), 78.
- John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), 2:957.