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3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2024/03)

Revelation 12:1-17 (ESV)
121 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Day 1: Loving God
Reflect:
In verse 15, the “great red dragon” tries to “sweep [the woman] away with a flood” by “pour[ing] water like a river out of his mouth.” Just like the “sharp two-edged sword” that proceeds from Jesus’s “mouth in Revelation 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21, and just like how the two witnesses of Chapter 11 “pours [fire] from their mouth and consumes their foes,” the flood that pours out of the dragon’s mouth symbolize words. But instead of being the Word of truth that proceeds from Jesus’s mouth, instead of being the words of testimony that proceeds from the witnesses’ mouths, lies and accusations spew forth like ceaseless vomit from the dragon’s mouth (cf. Ps. 144:7-8, 11). That’s why the dragon is called the ancient serpent,” “the deceiver of the whole world,” in verse 9. Just as the serpent slandered God, impugned His character and casted Him as begrudging and stingy, and deceived Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, the dragon continues to deceive God’s people (2 Thess. 2:9-10). He is, as Jesus says in John 8:44, “a liar and the father of lies.”
The dragon is also called “the devil and Satan in verse 9, and he is described in verse 10 as “the accuser of our brothers … who accuses them day and night before our God.” These titles, “devil” and “Satan,” identify the dragon with the chief spiritual antagonist throughout the Bible. “Devil,” in Greek, and “Satan” in Hebrew, both mean slanderer, or accuser. In the Book of Job, Satan accuses Job before God, contending that the only reason Job fears and obeys God is because God has pampered him with many blessings. Deprive him of these things, and Job will surely abandon his allegiance (Job 1:6-12), he argues. Satan also makes an appearance in Zechariah 3:1-2, where he accuse[s]” “Joshua the high priest” of his uncleanness before God.
However, because Jesus paid the legal penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in our place, Satan the Accuser no longer has any legal claim on us. He cannot accuse us of sin that has already been atoned for. This is what Colossians 2:13-15 has in mind speaks of how “God made [us] alive together with [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” There is no longer any record of sin to which the prosecuting attorney can point to in order to get the judge to condemn us! This is why “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)! Jesus said in John 12:31 that with His death, resurrection, and ascension that “the ruler of this world [will] be cast out.” That is precisely what has happened with Satan losing his place in haven (vv. 7-9). Satan no longer has that kind of privileged access to the heavenly courtroom. He is like a lawyer who has been disbarred. He has lost his lawyer license, and he has been permanently debarred from the courtroom for his deceptive practices. Now, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:33-34)!
Recommended Song: “O Lord My Rock and My Redeemer” by Sovereign Grace Music (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
Pray:
  • Confess the ways in which you have believed the lies and accusations of the dragon.
  • Thank God for the cancellation of your debt of sin, which has made you immune to the enemy’s charges and condemnation.
  • Ask God to grow you in your awareness of the spiritual war that is waging around you, and help you to put on the “whole armor of God” and take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” by “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18).

Day 2: Loving One Another
Reflect:
This picture of the “woman” reveals how God sees us and just how precious we are to God. There’s a family resemblance between this woman and Jesus, whom John saw in a vision in Chapter 1 Verse 16, there Jesus “held seven stars … and his face was like the sun shining in full strength,” and here the “woman” is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” That’s because this woman is related to Jesus. She is the one who will be introduced in Revelation 21, in all her dazzling splendor, as “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And isn’t it wonderful that this is the way Jesus sees the Church? Imagine a woman who is clothed with the sun”? A bride in a white wedding gown is beautiful, but this is so much more than that, this woman is wrapped with brilliant glory that shines like the sun! What a breathtaking sight this would be, the moon [is] under her feet,” and “on her head a crown of twelve stars.” I imagine that these stars are far bigger and brighter than the most costly, precious diamonds known to man. This woman is beautiful and she is pure, unhindered brilliance all around!
Sometimes, I think, we as Christians, think of ourselves and the Church of Christ as this lowly, shabby whore, with raggedy, soiled clothes. And we ask ourselves, “Why would Jesus ever want to be our Husband?” Well, that’s true, but it’s only a half-truth! hat’s what we all once were! Because we had sinned against God, we were tainted and soiled with sin, we were idolatrous, refusing to worship God and instead worshipping and living for ourselves or other things, we were like an unfaith bride that had gone whoring after strangers, and yet Jesus, the Son of God came to redeem His Bride for Himself, and He accomplished this by the blood of the Lamb,” as it says in verse 11. Because “Christ loved the church [He] gave himself for her,” it says in Ephesians 5:25-27, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Don’t ever forget the splendid glory of the church of Christ that has been justified and sanctified by the blood of Christ! That’s who we are and that’s how God sees us in Christ!
Recommended Song: “Church’s One Foundation” by Norton Hall Band (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
Pray:
  • Confess any “jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts,” which are “demonic” and cause “disorder and every vile practice” within the church community (Jas. 3:15).
  • Pray that God would enable us, as a church, to “bless those who persecute us … Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another…” (Rom. 12:14-16).
  • Pray that our church would be characterized by members freely confessing sins and repenting and freely extending forgiveness and reconciling.
  • Pray that God would help us to see the church the way Jesus sees the church, and to grow us in our love for the church.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Reflect:
Verse 11 says, “they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” We have already talked about “the blood of the lamb” by which the dragon is overthrown, what is “the word of [our] testimony”? Verse 17 gives us more details, we are to be “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” That’s how we slay the dragon! by keeping the word of God and holding onto and testifying to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The dragon might kill us, but our physical death is merely the gateway to our eternal life and victory. If “[we love] not [our] lives even unto death,” if we are “faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10), and do not forsake the testimony of Jesus, we, too, will be resurrected unto eternity, like the Lamb of God who died and was resurrected.
Recommended Song: “Overcome” by Jeremy Camp (Find it on our church’s Spotify playlist, “Trinity Hymnal,” at http://bit.do/trinityhymnal)
Pray:
  • Pray that our church would bear testimony to Jesus with boldness and endurance.
  • Pray that the unbelievers in our midst would repent and believe in Jesus, and get baptized.
  • Pray that God would send out more laborers into the harvest field, both here and abroad, especially, this month, for Japan—a nation we are praying for throughout March.
  • Pray by name for your unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors.

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