Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
If you’re a first-time listener or haven’t caught our program for a while, we’re currently discussing Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ. Chapter 19 is titled, “Israel, the Messiah, and the Church.” And, Dave, you open with Revelation:12:1-6 and 13-17, so let me read those passages: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
And then [Revelation] 12:13-17: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
Now, Dave, you say this is a brief recapitulation of history, but what’s going on here, and who is this woman that the verses refer to?
Dave: Well, it’s very clear that the child, the male child, is Christ. He is going to rule the nations; that’s no one else. Therefore, the woman isn’t Mary, it could only be Israel. Well, of course the “red dragon” is Satan—it says so later in the chapter. It speaks of “that old serpent,” the devil, the dragon, “that old serpent the devil who deceives the whole world.” So it’s very clear who the red dragon is, and he has hated Israel from the very beginning. And as soon as Satan, the serpent, that old serpent in the Garden—we meet him there for the first time—as soon as he heard God make a promise to a woman (that’s Genesis:3:15) that, well, she would bring forth a son. He is called the “seed of the woman,” so man has nothing to do with this; this is obviously a virgin birth. And that Satan would bruise His heel, but He would bruise Satan’s head—that’s Genesis:3:15. In other words, He’s going to deliver the death blow to Satan. How is He going to do that? Well, Satan didn’t know. In fact, I don’t think to the very end Satan knew, because Satan is confused. He is brilliant, but when it comes to God’s plan of redemption, he’s confused.
Tom: Well, he’s self-deluded, there’s no doubt about that.
Dave: Right, self-deluded egomaniac. Because on the one hand, he inspires Peter at one point, Matthew 16, to say, “No, wait, You’re not going to be crucified.”
Tom: Which Peter said to Jesus.
Dave: Right. “Far be it from You, Lord.”
Jesus said, “I am going to go to Jerusalem; they are going to kill Me.”
“Oh, no, You are thinking negatively, Lord. Be positive about this now.”
And Jesus says, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” so you know who is inspiring him. So Satan, on the one hand, is trying to keep Christ from being crucified, but then Satan enters into Judas to betray Jesus to death. So he doesn’t know which way to go.
If you went to 1 Corinthians 2, Paul says, “I came to you not with excellency of speech or like the world speaks, declaring unto you the gospel, but I determine to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” And then he says, “This is something that none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
In other words, “Satan, you got him to be crucified and you inspired these people to do this because of your hatred, thinking you could kill Christ; and actually what you did, you wrote your own death sentence, because it was on the cross that He paid the penalty for our sins.” Okay?
So then it also includes anti-Semitism, because as soon as Satan, the serpent, heard that a virgin-born man was going to destroy him, destroy his works, he is watching for that. And you can trace this all through the Bible. He had to wipe out the Jews. If he could wipe out the Jews before the Messiah was born, he’s won his battle with God! There’s no Messiah, there’s no salvation, and this One who was going to give him the death blow has been prevented even from being born. So you can trace that through the Bible. Athaliah, the mother of the king who, when he died, she destroyed, killed all the seed royal, it says, except for Josiah was hidden. That was the only way that the seed of David was preserved. Or you could think of…
Tom: Well, Haman in the Book of Esther.
Dave: Right, Haman was going to wipe out all the Jews. Herod, Matthew 2, was going to kill that Messiah. So you can trace it through the Bible. You can trace it through history, the hatred against the Jews. Well, as a matter of fact, the Messiah came and He defeated Satan on the cross, paid the penalty for our sins, making it possible for God to forgive us.
Well then, is the battle over? No, the battle is not over, and that’s more what this chapter is about, Revelation 12, because there are hundreds and hundreds of promises in the Bible that God will preserve the Jews. He tells them, “I’m going to punish you. I’m going to cast you out of the land. I will scatter you to every nation on the face of this earth.” The Jews are under God’s judgment today, but God says, “I’m not going to let you be wiped out. I will preserve you.”
If you went to Jeremiah:30:10, God says, “Though I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven you, I will not make a full end of you. I will punish you in measure; I will not leave you unpunished.” Okay?
So that’s what’s going on. Satan must destroy the Jews because there are hundreds of promises in the Bible that God would preserve His people, bring them back into their land in the last days, and that’s what the Second Coming is all about. Christ returns in the midst of Armageddon to rescue Israel and to rule over Israel and the world from the throne of His father David. Now, if there are no Jews, obviously no Israel, there’s no Second Coming! I don’t know how many Christians really understand that. This is not the Rapture we’re talking about—we’re in heaven, but Satan has this world. So that’s basically what this is about: the hatred of Satan against the Messiah, against Israel, and so forth.
Tom: Well, Dave, you talk about confusion—you know, as I mentioned, growing up Roman Catholic and looking at some of the verses here, “A woman clothed with the sun, upon her head a crown of twelve stars…”
Dave: Standing on the moon.
Tom: Yeah, as a young Catholic I would say, you know, many years of my life I wore a “miraculous medal.” And not only were there statues of Mary in the Catholic church I attended, but in many, many others. And we’ve been to Rome—we’ve seen many, many Catholic churches, and I did as a Roman Catholic—and there was always a statue of Mary with a crown of stars over her head, and she’s standing on a globe and her foot is on a serpent. Now, where did that come from? That really came from an apparition. And, Dave, you know this as well as I do, but here’s what I’d like to do: I’m going to give you the information from the society, the Association of the Miraculous Medal. So this is from a Catholic organization, and this is what they have to say. I’m quoting:
“Mary is standing upon a globe, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her foot. She stands upon the globe as the queen of heaven and earth. Her feet crushed the serpent to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Genesis:3:15). The year of 1830 on the Miraculous Medal is the year the blessed mother gave the design of the Miraculous Medal to Saint Catherine Laboure. The reference to Mary conceived without sin supports the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary, as they say, not to be confused with the virgin birth of Christ and referring to Mary’s sinlessness, full of grace and blessed among women, and that was proclaimed 24 years later in 1854.”
So that’s where they got the idea, first and foremost, that Mary was sinless. It came from an apparition—really a demonic apparition—trying to promote the idea that this apparition was Mary, and on the medal was inscribed, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.” And of course then it was established as a dogma, a dogmatic de fide teaching of the church.
Dave: Yeah. Well, what it does is it downgrades Jesus—He is not the one who destroys the serpent, who bruises the serpent’s head, but it’s Mary. So they’ve changed the Bible.
Now you know, Tom, they’ve changed it back, but I have all kinds of old Catholic Bibles—we have some here in the office—it always said, instead of the seed of the woman (Genesis:3:15), the Catholic Bible said, “The woman, she shall bruise the serpent’s head.” Okay?
Now, when you talk about the “immaculate conception,” being conceived without sin, why do they believe that? Well, the Bible says, “All have sinned.” Mary herself, in the Magnificat, she rejoices, “I rejoice in God my Savior.” If you’re without sin, you don’t need a savior. Okay? But it doesn’t work, Tom, as you know as well or better than I do, it’s nonsense! Why must she be without sin? “In order to give birth to Christ who is without sin.” Really? Well then, for Mary to be born without sin, her parents would have to be born without sin for her to be conceived without sin, their parents and so forth all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and that is just so contrary to the Bible. It isn’t true! It’s a dogma that they came up with, and it doesn’t fit—it doesn’t work!
Tom: And, Dave, it has to be very selective. When you go back to Revelation:12:2, for example, it says, “And she, being with child, travailing in birth.” Wasn’t that one of the results of the fall, of the sin? So how could she be sinless and then travail in child birth? It doesn’t make sense.
Dave: Exactly. You can’t play fast and loose with the Bible. It’s not going to let you do that. You can try, but your condemnation is written right there in the pages of Scripture. Yeah, this is not about Mary triumphing, it’s about Christ triumphing. So how does this triumph come to us? And we read of it later on in that chapter, Revelation 12. It talks about overcomers, and I don’t remember the exact verse, but it would be around verse 15 or something like that. I don’t remember. It says, “They overcame him.” How did they overcome the serpent? Through the blood of the Lamb, through the word of their testimony, and “they loved not their lives unto death.” They’re willing to die. We’re crucified with Christ. You want to kill us? Okay, you just send us to heaven a little sooner than we might otherwise have gotten there. So the martyrs—and there is a great company of martyrs during the Great Tribulation—“They overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation:12:11). That’s something Satan doesn’t understand.
I wish I could think of the exact quotation…I forget who it was—was it Spurgeon? It may have been Spurgeon who said, “Satan does not understand. All he can offer people is something for their self-indulgence.” There’s no love, no real love with Satan. He doesn’t love anybody; he hates everyone, and he’s trying to entice them. And that Christ would have people who would die for Him? Who would die for Satan? That’s beyond his comprehension, but this is the victory that we have.
Tom: But isn’t it amazing, Dave, that he wants everyone’s worship! I mean, that’s clear from the Scriptures. And the entire world will worship him for what they can get out of it, so it has nothing to do with true love.
Dave: No, he says, “I will be like the Most High.” That’s in Isaiah 14. Well, that’s ridiculous! That’s an impossible ambition. How many “most highs” can you have? Well, you can only have one, so you can’t be “like the Most High,” then you’ve got two Most Highs, and you’ve just contradicted everything. You’ve contradicted your own words: “Oh, I want to be like the Most High.” Well, you can’t be, because then He wouldn’t be the Most High, and neither would you!
Tom: Dave, going over these passages…now, I know you said in our program last week—you finished this segment by saying, “I rest my case.” I just have to open the case a little bit, okay? You see here in [Revelation 12], it says, “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.”
Now here’s my question: The case that you made last week, if I understand it, you said that the Jews finally come to Christ (Zechariah:12:10) when they see Him whom they have pierced. But what about these Jews, at the midpoint in the Tribulation, who are really preserved of God? Are these true believers, or how does that fit?
Dave: Well, Tom, I will confess I’m not dogmatic about this. It is very clear that there will be an Israel in Israel at Jerusalem at the time of Armageddon, because the Bible clearly tells us (Zechariah 12), “I’m going to bring all nations against Jerusalem, against Israel.” You get that in Ezekiel 38, and I think we read it not too long ago. Verse 11 talks about a people who have come from all the nations, and now the Antichrist with his armies is attacking them, all right? And yet there are people who say—and I think you’ve…yeah, you’ve been to Petra—there are a lot of people, Christian leaders, who say, “Well, the Jews are going to flee to Petra, and there they will be preserved.” Well, Petra was a great fortification. I mean, a narrow, deep […] going in there, and you could standoff an army. But we have airplanes today and atomic bombs, and one atomic bomb would take care of Petra.
So, Tom, are all the Jews going to flee up and hide out, and just the unbelieving ones will be left in Israel to be attacked at Armageddon? I don’t know. If so, it’s not going to contradict Zechariah:12:10: “They will look upon me whom they have pierced.” That’s when they will believe—all Israel will be saved. Now, if there are some who come to faith in Christ and they hide in Petra—I don’t know, but that’s not what the Bible is mostly about. The Bible is mostly about the attack on Israel, on Jerusalem. The Bible is mostly about…two-thirds—Zechariah 13—two-thirds of the Jews will be killed. Only one-third will come through, and they will be rescued by Christ at Armageddon. Now, I don't think He’s going to Petra to rescue anybody.
So, Tom, I’m not dogmatic about this. You see, there are friends of mine, dear friends that I respect very highly, prophecy experts, and boy, they can give you all the details! I mean, I’ve even seen maps with arrows and so forth: here’s the battle of Armageddon, and it starts up here in Bosnia, and then here and there and they’ve got…Tom, Jesus with one word wipes these people out. He will destroy them with the words of His mouth, the Scripture says. He’s not chasing them from one place to another, and then there’s a battle here and a battle there…I’m sorry!
Now, there are verses that are rather difficult, but I have a simple mind and I take a simple view. There’s an overall picture, and all of these details don’t fit that overall picture. Now, exactly what they mean—I think they have an allegorical meaning, because the dragon is not literally doing…he’s not literally a dragon, he’s not literally sending out water out of his mouth, he’s not literally doing the things; and this woman is not clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and twelve stars. That’s a picture of something. But I think these details of this battle and so forth are a picture of something, but they are not explaining what is actually going to happen because Christ doesn’t have to do anything except speak the Word. And it very clearly says in 2 Thessalonians 2, “Then will that wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” He’s just going to speak the Word.
Tom, I can’t give you all the details, but there may be some who will hide out in Petra who will flee, and they’re already believers, but the vast majority of the Jews are not going to do that. They will continue in unbelief until Armageddon; then when they see Christ returning, then they will recognize at last, “Wait a minute! This is Yahweh! This is our God, but He’s a Man—not only a Man, He’s resurrected. He’s been pierced to the death….”
“They will look on Me whom they have pierced.”
Yahweh is speaking, and then it says, “They will mourn because of Him….” Me? Him? Who is this? Sounds like two people, but it sounds like they are one and the same, and this is what Jesus said: “I and my Father are one.”
And this is what Isaiah:9:6 says: “A child is born, a Son is given.” Well, is that two people? Well, sounds more like it when you get to, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father.” So you’ve got a babe born in Bethlehem who is also the Father: “He and I are one.” It goes beyond our comprehension, but this brings us to the Trinity. And we’re about out of time here, Tom, so we can’t go into that! The woman clothed with the sun, with a crown of stars and the moon under her feet, is Israel, although the Catholic Church says this is Mary. Now, there are a number of reasons why we know: Although Mary gave birth to the Messiah (and that’s the One who will be born of this woman is certainly the Messiah), Mary was never persecuted, and she certainly does not have this position. But Israel has been persecuted, and we will go into that in more depth. The serpent hates Israel, has tried to destroy Israel down through history, and that’s what this is about.