Introduction: Throughout Biblical history, we find that God works with
a specific group of people to advance His kingdom. Is this still true?
Will it be true in the days before the close of earth’s history? Since
these are the people who speak for God, wouldn’t it seem reasonable
that the gift of prophecy would be a special gift to this remnant
group? Let’s dive into the Bible and see what it teaches on this

  1. The Woman and the Dragon

    1. Read Revelation 12:1-2 and Revelation 12:5. The only certain
      thing in these verses is that this woman gives birth to
      Jesus. From that fact, who do you think the woman
      represents? Is this Mary, the woman who actually gave birth
      to Jesus? Is this Israel, the nation which gave birth to
      Jesus? Is this a reference to the Christian church, which
      seems to be the majority view?

      1. What are the arguments against this woman being Mary?
        ( Revelation 12:1 hardly seems to be a description of a

      2. What are the arguments against this being the
        Christian church? (Jesus gave birth to the Christian
        church, not the other way around.)

      3. What are the arguments against this woman being
        Israel? Could the twelve stars be the twelve tribes?
        (The argument that Israel killed Jesus is as strong as
        the argument that it gave birth to Jesus. Given this
        entire history, it seems odd that this woman would
        represent all of Israel.)

      4. What if the woman represented some distillation of all
        three: specifically the humans who were faithful to
        God? Would Mary be one of them? Would some of Israel
        qualify? Would some in the early church qualify? (This
        introduces the “remnant” concept very early on. Mary,
        the mother of Jesus, was one person with whom God had
        a special relationship. She represents the faithful
        among humans. The twelve stars then can be understood
        to be the apostles – some from Israel in the early
        church who were faithful. Being clothed with “the
        sun” is a reference to the relationship Jesus has with
        His faithful. The woman standing on the moon (which
        reflects the light of the sun)is an indication the
        faithful reflect Jesus in their lives.)

    2. Read Revelation 12:3-4 and Revelation 12:7-9. Who is the
      big red dragon? (The Bible specifically tells us it is

      1. What does it mean that “the tail” of the dragon swept
        a third of the stars from the sky? (Satan won the
        allegiance of one-third of the angels in heaven.
        They, like Satan, were cast to earth after they lost
        their battle against God. They lost the battle for

  2. The Dragon’s Hunt

    1. Read Revelation 12:4-6. What was Satan’s plan for Jesus?
      Did he accomplish his plan? (Satan wanted to kill Jesus. He
      accomplished this plan.)

      1. As you think about Jesus’ life, was killing all that
        Satan had in mind? (No. Satan wanted to trick Jesus
        into giving Satan His allegiance. Satan wanted to
        inflict pain, mental distress and humiliation.)

    2. Read Revelation 12:13-15. We find two time references:
      1,260 days and “a time, times, and half a time.” What does
      “a time” mean? (Many commentators have said that “a time”
      means a year. This would be 3.5 years or 42 months or 1,260
      days. Thus, the two time references are the same!)

      1. What happens during this time? (It seems to be a
        period of safety for the remnant.)

    3. Read Daniel 7:23-25. We see the same time reference in
      Daniel and we see a beast that seems similar to our
      Revelation dragon. The problem is that we see persecution
      of the saints, not a safe place for them. Can you reconcile
      these two ideas: persecution and sanctuary? (Commentaries
      such as Barnes’ Notes, Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke explain
      this as symbolic of a period of time (1,260 years) when
      Christians were persecuted by pagan Rome or “Christian” Rome
      and they fled to remote places (“the wilderness”) for

      1. If these commentators are right, what does this tell
        us about the “remnant” idea? (The division among
        humans is not between pagans and Christians, rather it
        is between Christians who take their allegiance to God
        seriously and everyone else. Just as Satan gained
        followers among the angels of heaven, so he can gain
        followers among those who either claim to be or at one
        time were true Christians.)

  3. Characteristics of the Remnant

    1. At this point you may be scratching your head and asking
      yourself, “How can I be sure I’m a “remnant” person? Let’s
      explore the remnant! Read Revelation 12:10-11. Here we see
      a clash between the true Christian and Satan. How do the
      Christians win in this conflict? (They relied on the death
      and resurrection of Jesus and they told others about it.)

    2. Read Revelation 12:16-17. Who made the dragon mad? (If we
      are right about the woman, it would be a faithful remnant.)

      1. Who, logically, would be the “offspring” of the
        remnant? (Those born later who were also true

        1. Why is Satan mad at the offspring? (For the same
          reasons he was mad at Jesus – they are the
          opposition. They stand in the way of his evil
          plans for the earth.)

      2. Look at Revelation 12:17 again, because it gives us a
        very clear description of the remnant. What two
        characteristics do we see? (They obey God’s
        commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)

  4. Obeying God’s Commandments

    1. If we are saved by grace, why is “obeying God’s
      commandments” the first description of the true and faithful

      1. Why not say ( Matthew 22:37-40) “Those who love?”

      2. Why, from a “prophetic gift” point of view, are the
        Ten Commandments so important? (Recall that they are
        the “gold standard” for God’s communication to humans.
        They are the only communication we have which was
        written by the hand of God. Everything else
        communicated by a prophet is hearsay.)

    2. I finished reading a currently popular book entitled “The
      Blue Parakeet.” The thesis of the author is that we should
      understand the Bible as a story (series of stories) told by
      the prophets about our relationship with God. What do you
      think about that approach to the Bible? (The amount of
      “wiggle room” in this approach to understanding the Bible
      makes me a little nervous. I would tighten this up by saying
      the Bible is a series of stories to help us understand what
      God meant in His gold standard – the Ten Commandments.)

    3. From the Satan’s point of view, why would he attack those
      who kept the Ten Commandments? (If you are not following
      God’s will for your life, how are you an enemy of Satan?
      There is no need to fight those who are not on the field of
      battle against you.)

  5. Testimony of Jesus

    1. Look again at Revelation 12:17. Put yourself in John the
      Revelator’s place. How important is the message about Jesus?
      (The whole point of his ministry was to persuade people that
      Jesus was the Messiah – Jesus is God.)

    2. What is Jesus’ relationship to the Ten Commandments? (If
      need be, read Romans chapters 4 through 8. Without Jesus,
      the Ten Commandments only signify our death sentence.
      Through Jesus we satisfy the requirements of the Ten
      Commandments. Romans 5:9-19. Obeying the Ten Commandments
      does nothing without the rest of the story – Jesus.)

    3. Let’s read a series of texts to better understand how
      Revelation uses this term “testimony of Jesus.” Read
      Revelation 1:1-2, Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:9, Revelation
      14:12, Revelation 17:6, Revelation 19:10, Revelation 20:4,
      Revelation 22:16, Revelation 22:20-21. How do you
      understand the meaning of the term “testimony of Jesus”
      after reading these verses? (These are people who are
      communicating Jesus’ message to the world.)

      1. Did you notice Revelation 19:10 says “the testimony of
        Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” What do you
        understand that to mean? (In this series of lessons we
        learned that a prophet conveyed God’s message. The
        remnant’s testimony about Jesus is a message from

    4. Read Joel 2:28-29. What does Joel prophecy about the remnant
      in the last days? (They are filled with the Holy Spirit.
      Their message about Jesus is driven by a close connection
      with the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Friend, would you like to be part of the remnant? Are you
      filled with the Holy Spirit, saved by the grace of Jesus,
      witnessing to what Jesus has done, and determined to live a
      life in obedience to God’s law? How is your church? Is it
      Spirit filled? If your answer is not a clear, “Yes!” then
      will you pray right now for the Holy Spirit to come into
      your life and your church in power?

  6. Next week: The Inspiration of the Prophets.