The Lamb of God ( 4)


The Blood of the Lamb


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Another phrase connected to the Lamb, in Revelation, is  'the blood of the Lamb'; the actual phrase only  occurs  twice, but there are other references to the blood of Jesus in Revelation, and we shall in this fourth study look at them.  In the previous study we  considered the famous passage in Hebrews that linked up with the Lamb on Mount  Sion; there is also mention of  the blood of Christ in Heb. 12,  and so as a  link back to  the Revelation there is one more aspect of Mount Sion  we shall consider: namely the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.


 Sprinkling       Redeeming     Cleansing       Overcoming      Summary


For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:); 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,   To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Heb. 12:22-24


4.1 Sprinkling blood

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, [a] sin [offering] lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?  And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;  When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.  And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.  And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Gen.4:3-15

We need to ask ourselves: why is the blood of Jesus speaking better things than that of Abel? Let us consider the incident of Cain and Abel more closely. Cain's offering was found to be unacceptable to God, whereas Abel's was received  but why? Looking at Abel's  offering we see that it also included the firstlings of the flock and fat; now  we note from the Levitical law  that God required blood as an atonement for the soul ( Lev.17:10-16), we are told in Hebrews that blood was the only way to God ( Heb.9:18-22) and without blood there is no remission of sin at all.  So Abel's sacrifice was acceptable because he came by the way of blood, whereas Cain did not.

Because of this, and his refusal to accept God's way, Cain was filled with  hatred for his brother, and   consequently killed  Abel.  Then  we have this statement from God: the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.  That is when the  blood was  poured out onto the ground the life, in this case Abel's, that was in the blood spoke  to God.  But what did it speak?

Many think that Abel's blood was crying for revenge, but  this explanation is not satisfactory.  God did not slay Cain: God  requires all those who murder to be put to death (Gen. 9:4-6). In point of fact  Cain knew that he should have been put to death, as the passage indicates, but God  put a mark on him to forbid that possibility. Secondly, from John's  first epistle, we are told that we should love and not be like be like Cain since he was a murderer, and that Abel was unlike his brother, for his deeds were righteous,  I Jn.3:11-15 This seems to imply that Abel did not have a murdering heart seeking vengeance.

It would, therefore, appear that Abel's blood spoke, not of revenge, but of  pleading remission for his brother against the due sentence. True, Cain had the ground specially cursed and he became a fugitive in the earth, but he wasn't put to death to pay for his crime against Abel, and God forbad others from slaying him.

How then does the blood of Jesus speak better things than that of Abel? Firstly we need to understand that  the blood of Jesus is better than that of Abel because the Lord is not just a man, but the sinless God-man, His blood speaks of  the life of God Himself  shed. So when Jesus was slain at Calvary, the Father heard His own Son's life being  poured out. So then firstly: His blood speaks of  a better life.

Secondly  the  blood of Jesus speaks better things than that of Abel because it  pleads remission, not for one man, as Abel's did, but for the whole human race.  Abel was a fallen man, a righteous one and full of faith yes, but he wasn't God!  Only  one person in the flesh could  have died for the whole world, and His name is Jesus!  So Jesus' blood speaks of a better range of remission.

Thirdly, Abel's plea  could not give Cain a new life,  it could only  ask for remission of the death sentence; Cain still had  to face a specially cursed earth and a life of wandering. Whereas all those who  receive Jesus' forgiveness, and have His blood applied to their hearts, have  had the eternal death sentence removed from them, a  new life and a better  direction is given to them.  They do no live under  a curse any more, and they do not wander about as fugitives, strangers on the earth yes -  but that's something different. So Jesus' blood speaks of   better benefits for people

Thus we see that the blood of Jesus does speak better things than that of Abel, but now we return to the book of Revelation.

4.2 Redeeming blood


And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast font-weight: bold;  redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Rev. 5:9

In the  first study   we considered something of the redemption in Christ. We noted that redemption was to do with ownership:  Israel was a slave in Egypt under the power of Pharaoh and  they were redeemed. The Passover was God's way and brought a separation between the Egyptians and His own people. They were bought back from slavery.  We considered that when the  Levites were set aside for the priestly functions the first born of Israel were redeemed by redemption money (silver). Likewise in the NC we have  a redemption, a separation, a buying back: however in the NC we are not  purchased  with any carnal elements, but with the precious blood of Jesus. Since we considered this in some detail earlier in this series we shall not pursue this point again, but rather  look at  one aspect  this passage opens up to us, namely  the scope of redemption.

The verses before us mention that  Christ has redeemed people from every  kindred,  tongue, people and nation. Now these words are not put in the text for effect, it is not rhetoric, but rather they open to us  a wonderful aspect of truth. Namely that God's  redemption reaches all levels of human society.
Youngs Literal translation renders 'kindred'  as  tribe.  A tribe is basically a family who have common ancestry. Such as the tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes could all trace  their forebears back to  the  twelve patriarchs, and then to Abraham. It could be argued that the tribe is the smallest of divisions of human society. Thus we see that the gospel reaches even to the smallest unit of  of civilisation

Every tongue,
or every language. If  kindred is  the smallest part of society where there is commonality, then every tongue has to be the opposite. At Babel God confused the languages of the earth in order to disperse man to the uttermost part of the  world. Maximum diversity was made and men and women separated. But the gospel reaches out to all language groups. God did not allow man to unite unto themselves  at Babel, instead He scattered them, but now in the gospel age He is drawing men and women together from  all the  different language groups unto Himself.


And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.  And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Gen. 11:5-9

 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.

Gen.49:10

 
Every people, these being  of   the  same race and language.  Whereas every nation signifies all those who come under a single sovereignty, a group of people identified by a common trait. Usually this word in scripture is used for the Gentile nations.

So we see that this four fold description starts  with the narrowest part of  any society and ends up with the  widest. Or if we  put it in terms of  the great commission.  

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:8


We can see a 1-1 correspondence here:  every kindred (Jerusalem), every tongue  (Judea), every people (Samaria) and every nation (the uttermost parts of the earth). The commission shows us the Lord's plan in the evangelism of the world; every part of the globe is  to be reached. Revelation shows us that this gospel will touch every level of  human society. Of course this doesn't mean that  everybody will be saved, but there will be people from all levels of  humanity that  will be in  the  redeemed company.

One obvious conclusion is that no group or company of people can claim God's redemption exclusively for itself. This was one of the mistakes of the Jews. Yet how many groups of  those who profess Christ do the same? The gospel is exclusive only in the sense  that it is the ONLY way of salvation, but it also inclusive in that  everybody is invited into this salvation of God.

4.3 Cleansing  blood

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.  And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His Temple

Rev. 7:9-15

 
We now touch on a scripture that has been interpreted in many different ways by those holding various eschatological view points. It is not the intention of this study to enter into any of those debates. We shall simply take from the passage the message that is relevant to our theme.

From the context of the passage we note that  those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb are those who  are clothed in white robes, and they are the ones who are part of the great multitude that no one could number from all nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues. This is, of course, the fourfold description from Ch.5 that we looked at in the previous section. So we are dealing here with the redeemed company from the earth, those who belong to Christ. The description  is that they came out of great tribulation and have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.

Much has  been made of the phrase '[=the] great tribulation', but what we must remember is that Jesus promised tribulation to all of the  Saints.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Jn.16:33

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

I Thess.3:4


I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Rev.2:10


Because we are not of this world, we can only expect to be treated as Jesus was treated. And as we trace the history of the Saints throughout the ages we can see that His church has suffered much tribulation.  We can not list all the groups throughout history, nor even the millions  today, that have  suffered or continue to suffer for the gospel's sake.  God knows each one. The point is that   all who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution Acts. 14:22; II Tim.3:12.  Tribulation [=affliction], in one way or another, is part and parcel of living for Christ. The passage shows then, that those who are arrayed in white robes are the redeemed from all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples of the earth having come out of tribulation.

Cleansed not covered
We see that the redeemed company of Christ have washed their robes in His blood, and are seen as white. They have been cleansed from their sin, not by their trials and afflictions but by the precious blood of Jesus. And this leads to a vital truth about the blood of the Lamb. To understand this we must first briefly consider the place of blood in the Old Covenant.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement [=covering] for the soul.

Lev.17:11

The word for atonement in the OT means 'to cover' and the animal blood of the OT sacrifices was to cover sin, it never took sin away, for it could not. The NT is emphatically clear that the many animals sacrificed under the old economy were only shadows of what was to be fulfilled in Christ, all the blood  shed  under the Old Covenant could not remove one single stain of sin.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Heb.10:1-4

On the day of Atonement (covering) the blood of the goat was taken and sprinkled on the mercy seat. There it was a covering for the sins of the nation. Then the following year the same ritual was played out, and the year after  and so on until Christ came. The blood covered the sin, and spoke to God that the sacrifice had been made. Yes they were forgiven, but their sins had not been taken away, thy had only been  covered, or simply put - atoned for.

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement [=covering] for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

Lev.16:15-16

How different it all is in Christ!  Nowhere in the NT are  Christians' sins referred to as being covered by the blood of Christ. Love covers a multitude of sins as we see in I Pet. 4:8 (quoting Prov.10:12), but only the blood of Jesus actually cleanses, that is, removes our sins. The  picture in Revelation is that of His people being made white by His precious blood, Christ's blood removing every stain of sin. The Lamb's  blood does a thorough job in all of His people! It does not matter how wicked and unclean a person has been, Jesus' blood can make the foulest clean, (I Cor.6:9-11). The question dear reader is: has the blood of Jesus be applied to you? Do you know anything of the cleansing blood of the Lamb?

continual cleansing

 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [=keeps on cleansing] us from all sin..... If we confess [=acknowledge] our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I Jn.1:7-9


How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge [ =to make clean/cleanse] your conscience from dead works to serve [=worship] the living God?

Heb.9:14

These two passages are very illuminating. Heb.9:14 tells us  that our conscious is purged by the blood of Jesus. When God forgives He remembers no more Heb.8:12, but what about the human side? Here we are plainly told that is  not  just the sins that are  cleansed, but our very conscience is also purged. We no longer have to live  being haunted with memories of  the past sins in our minds, for Christ's blood cleanses us. His blood cleanses us thoroughly and purges us from it all.

Many people say that they can never forgive themselves; but if God has forgiven us, and we are purged by His blood then why can we not forgive ourselves? Are  we  greater than God and  Christ's blood?  Many people go for 'inner healing' of past memories. Why? Christ's blood does all that! If only God's people would live in the fullness of His provision, then  there'd be  be no need for any of the strange teachings and goings on that are so prevalent in some circles. Such practices are open declarations that they do not believe in the effectual cleansing of Christ's blood, preferring instead  methods which are, at best, but poor substitutes, attempting to do something that only the blood of the Lamb can do.

The process is two way: Christ's blood speaks to God for our forgiveness, and is applied to our hearts for cleansing. There is no reason for us to hold on to any memory of sin; it's gone from our hearts and from God's memory!

The passage of I Jn.1:7 tells us even more. Firstly, He cleanses us for all [=EVERY] sin. It is not just the sins we are conscious of, but also of the  unconscious  ones. All the deep regions of our lives are thoroughly and throughly purged and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Not a stain remains in a person who has had the blood applied. No wonder the saints are depicted as having been arrayed in white garments. It is a picture of the inward state, this is in complete contrast to the Lord's depiction of the Pharisees. Mtt.23:27-28

 Secondly,  the cleansing is a continual process for the believer! In the Greek the word for 'cleanseth us' is in, what is known as, the present continuous tense, that is it is an action that continues in the present. The blood of Jesus doesn't just cleanse us once when we came to repentance and true faith in Him, but it is an on going act. He KEEPS us clean!

However, there is a condition that is put into this verse! Namely that it is as we walk in the light as He is that the blood cleanses. As long as we walk in the light, keeping  in fellowship with Jesus our head, then just as parts of the human body have the blood flowing  through them as they remain attached to the  body, then the  blood of Jesus  continues to cleanse us. Once we stop  walking  in the  light then the promise  no longer applies. But if we do sin and break fellowship with our head John also has  the answer. On confession/acknowledgement  of our sin  we once more have cleansing, and are restored to fellowship to our head.


Loosing blood

Another aspect of the cleansing blood is found in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation:

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed [= loosed/freed] us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests [ = a kingdom of priests] unto God and His Father to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever Amen

Rev.1:5-6

Here we are told that we are washed in His blood and have become a kingdom of priests. This language is identical to that what God said to Israel after the Exodus.

In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Ex.19:1-6


After their redemption from Egypt, and their baptism into Moses ( I Cor.10:1-2) Israel came to Sinai and there God gave to the nation His laws and established what we now call the Old Covenant. And there at Sinai God said that the  nation was to be a kingdom of priests to God. No longer enslaved to another nation they were free to serve and worship the living God. That they did not become a kingdom of priests is self evident, for later God chose  one tribe, and more specifically one family,  to fulfil the role of priesthood in the nation Ex.28:1-3.

In the New Covenant we have the fact that all the children of God are priests unto God. We have been washed, or loosed  as some translations have it, from our sin. On salvation we are freed from our sin, from the old slave master to whom we once belonged, so that now  we can serve our God. As we reread  Rev.7:15 we note: Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His Temple. So here is a picture in Revelation of the Saints arrayed in white garments serving God in the Temple. The Temple being  the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, for we are built into a holy temple. But the question is: as a kingdom of priests what do we offer up? After all there are no more sacrifices for sin to be made.

 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Eph.2:21-22

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

I Pet.2:4-10

Peter tells us what we are to offer as a holy  priesthood: spiritual sacrifices. He takes the promise made to Israel at Sinai and applies it to the Church, to those who have been born again (I Pet.1:23). So what are these spiritual sacrifices? A full  analysis would be outside the scope of these studies so we will just list what the NT  scripture have on the subject, and leave it to the reader  to consider it more for him or her self.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Rom.12:1

Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Phil. 2:17

 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.

Phil.4:18

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Heb.13:15-16


The above gives us an indication of the sacrifices we offer as a kingdom of priests in God's temple. The point to make in connection with our study, however, is that being washed in the Lamb's blood we have been loosed from our sins so that  we can serve Him.

4.5 Overcoming blood



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 [=fiery 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 [ =as a shepherd] 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 there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil [=false accuser], and Satan [=adversary], which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Rev.12:1-17

Like other parts of the Revelation there are many different interpretations of this chapter. It is not the intention of this study to try and fit the details of this section into any prophetic scheme, but rather to glean from it that which is relevant to our theme. However we do need to identify the characters in this twelfth chapter. 
The dragon

The first character to identify is no problem, since the passage itself reveals who he is and what he does. Here we are told that he is also known as the old serpent, the Devil and Satan. We see that this great enemy of souls, drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and after warring in heaven he was cast to the earth with his angels. There he deceives the world and accuses the brethren before God, day and night.

Whether or not his casting out from heaven to refers  to the  original  fall of Lucifer (Is. 14:12-15; Ezk.28:13-19; Lk.10:18), who became the devil, or  to the Cross where Satan and his hosts were totally once and for all vanquished (Jn.12:31) we are not informed. But for our purposes this need not concern us now.
The man child
The man child is seen as under attack from the dragon and was caught up unto God and to His throne and was to rule with a rod of iron.  The phrase 'rod of iron'  appears three times in Revelation (the first one in Revelation being a promise by Jesus to  the  overcomers in Thyatira as the Father has  given to Him), and once in the Psalms. Couple all this with the early church's quotation  of Ps. 2 and we are left in no doubt that this man child is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Ps.2:9

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Rev.2:27


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.

Rev.12:5


And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Rev.19:15

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

Acts 4:24-30


The second interesting thing is that the clause 'rule with a rod of iron' in all cases literally means 'rule as a shepherd with a rod of iron'; this thought we will take up in our study on 'The shepherd Lamb'.
 
The brethren
We have the brethren mentioned and the remnant of the woman's seed (Rev. 12:17) So who are they? At the end of verse 17 we note this explanation: the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So who are they? The opening verses of the book itself tells us.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw................... I John, who also am your brother, and companion in [the] tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev.1:1-2; 9
 
A careful consideration leads us to conclude that the brethren and the remnant of the woman's seed are those who are John's brothers in Christ; in other words all those born again! That is every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The woman
Identification of the woman is  controversial, there are many differing ideas. Because it has no direct bearing on what we are to consider we shall only leave the reader with a few scriptures for meditation.  Heb.2:11-18 note the use of the word brethren; Gal.4:26-31; Ps. 87.
The accuser of the brethren

As previously noted the devil is called the accuser of the brethren, and that before God too! The word used here for accusing means to witness against. It could be in all sorts of ways. But behind it is the intention to dishonour the Lord who bought them by destroying the believers' testimony.

This is very reminiscent of the story of Job. Satan came before God to say that Job only loved and worshipped God because of his material prosperity, and if that were stripped from him, Job would curse God. So God gave Satan permission to touch Job, but not to take his life. Job 1-2. His 'miserable' comforters came and tried to explain why Job was suffering by blaming him for some sin or other, yet Job remained true to God, albeit he needing to repent of  self righteousness at the end. See Job outline. 

Another place where we are told explicitly of Satan's accusations was with the high priest Joshua Zech.3

 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist [= oppose] him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also

Zech.3:1-7

Here we have a wonderful scene that helps us understand a little. Joshua was seen to be in filthy garments,  reminding us of Isaiah's statement: but we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags. Isa.64:6. Even the High priest  is seen to be unclean with no righteousness that stands in God's sight. After rebuking Satan God commanded that Joshua should be clothed with new garments so that his iniquity would pass from him. Such is the mercy and grace of God!

This is a wonderful picture of what God has done for us, we were clothed with filthy rags and He came and washed us in His blood, and gave us new, white garments as we saw earlier. But what about the devil's accusations? After all we are sinners and are guilty before God, but there is one important fact to take account of: the blood of the Lamb!

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Rom.5:9


Because of the work at Calvary we are justified by His blood. But what does this mean? Justification by faith etc. is looked at in one of the Galatian studies, but to briefly sum up. Before God's court we are found guilty ( i.e. condemned), but Jesus' death paid the penalty for our sins, and so we are declared not guilty ( i.e. justified). His blood was shed and spoke to God that His very Son's life had been poured out and the due penalty had been paid, and so those who put their faith in Him are justified freely by His precious blood. Thus the accusations of the devil are to no avail, for if God has justified us who can pin any charge to us?

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Rom.8:31-39

An  other aspect of the devil's accusations is that of  trying to reproach, that is discredit, a believers' testimony to  the  world. Although strictly outside the scope of this study we will just mention what Peter has to say.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

I Pet.4:12-16

The other overcoming factor was the word of their testimony. In Revelation believers are said to have the testimony of Jesus Christ, ( Rev.1:2,9; 12:17)  i.e. His life in them and so we have:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

I Jn.4:4

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Cor.15:57
 
In ourselves we do not, nor indeed can not, overcome for we have no merit or power in this realm. Any victory that we enjoy is due entirely to what Jesus did at Calvary. As born again believers we are baptised into Him and therefore enter into His finished work. Thus we have the victory in Him alone.

4.6 Summary


We  have seen then that the blood of the Lamb:
 
  1. Speaks better things than that of Abel in that it speaks of a better life, better application of remission and better benefits
  2. Redeems people from EVERY  section of humanity.
  3. Cleanses us from EVERY sin, purges our conscious, and KEEPS us constantly clean as we walk in the light.
  4. Looses us from sin  in order for us to become a kingdom of priests.
  5. Makes us overcomers 

It goes without saying that in a short study as this that we can not possibly cover every aspect of the blood of Christ, indeed that would requires a series on its own. Also we have not covered all the details of the scriptures quoted, but hopefully have given the reader a desire to search these things out more.




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