Revelation 12 is known for its “great signs.” The Greek word “mega semeion” is used, and it refers to more than a mere wonder.
The main discussion about Revelation 12 is the identity of the woman, the dragon, and the man-child. John told us these are signs God used to communicate something to us. We do not expect a literal woman and dragon on earth.
The timeline of Revelation 12 stretches from Genesis to Revelation. At the heart of it is a promise that God made.
Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Revelation 12 goes from the promise God made to the first coming and crucifixion of Jesus and on to His second coming in the book of Revelation.
Jesus’ first coming and overcoming death was to bruise Satan’s head. Satan knew since Genesis what was coming, and it was in his interest to prevent Jesus’ birth. Through the ages, he tried to annihilate the Jews. His last stand was to convince Herod to kill every little boy. See Matthew 2:16. But it came to pass: Jesus was born and crucified.
Jesus’ second coming will put an end to Satan and his cronies, and it is in his interest to prevent Jesus from coming again. There is a prerequisite to His coming: God promised that Israel would be in the promised land, and they would ask the Messiah to return.
Hosea 5:15: “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” Again, it is in Satan’s interest to keep Jesus from coming.
Revelation 12:1: “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.”
The principle of using the Bible to interpret the Bible for us is crucial in understanding the book of Revelation.
There is another place in the Bible where we find celestial images representing a family; it appeared in Joseph’s dream.
Genesis 37:9-11 “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.“
In Joseph’s dream, the sun represented his father, Jacob. The moon represents his mother, Rachel. And the eleven stars were the eleven brothers of Joseph. Altogether, twelve sons represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
Could this sign of a woman be someone else?
Could she be Mary, the mother of Jesus? No. Mary was a Jewish girl who gave birth to Jesus at His first coming. John described an event that took place during the Tribulation. See Revelation 12:6. It will happen in the future.
Could she represent the Church since it is pictured as the bride of Christ in Scripture? No. Paul wrote about keeping the Church as a chaste virgin for Jesus’ second coming.
2 Corinthians 11:2: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Most Bible scholars support the woman’s identity in Revelation 12 as Israel. Here are the main reasons:
Revelation 12:2: “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”
John saw this woman in pain as she was about to give birth. In Genesis, God called out Israel to bring forth the Messiah who would bless all nations. For this reason, Satan worked to thwart God’s plan, and Israel suffered the consequences and the pain.
Revelation 12:3: “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.”
Another “sign” appeared in the sky, a great fiery red dragon. It was Satan, a vile character who wielded fierce power. He was the mastermind behind a coalition of nations, the revived Roman Empire.
The seven crowns speak of his presumptiveness because he claimed himself a king against the true King. The seven heads and ten horns represent the original ten kingdoms, minus three subdued.
In a dream, Nebuchadnezzar envisioned a statue on earth representing the various kingdoms through the ages. The last of these empires was the revived Roman Empire. See Daniel 2.
Revelation 12:4: “And his tail drew the third parts 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.”
When Satan revolted against God, a third of the angels followed him. See Revelation 12:9. It describes the angelic host in league with Satan.
The Bible often refers to angels as stars. See Job 38:7 and Revelation 9:1 and 7.
Revelation 12:5: “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.”
The male child was Jesus. The promised seed, the Messiah to rule, came. He was “caught up unto God” on the day of the Ascension.
He has yet to rule on earth with an iron rod according to the promises. See Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 19:15. The Tribulation period will bring the changes necessary for the Messiah to rule.
After verse 5, we jump from Jesus’ first to His second coming.
Revelation 12:6: “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.”
John used the 1260 days to connect the readers with the Tribulation. The seven years he was divided into two halves of 3.5 years, or two times 1260 days.
Jesus told his disciples about this moment, half-time at the end times. Satan’s last try to annihilate Israel, but God himself will protect them.
Matthew 24:16-17 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.”
No one knows for sure, but many bible scholars believe this place of protection will be Petra, south of the Dead Sea.
Revelation 12:7: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels,
8. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”
This battle is a battle between equals, angelic beings. Michael and his loyal angels fought and overcame Satan and his squad of rebellious angels. And they kicked these sore losers out of Heaven forever.
Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
“Old/ancient” refers to the same serpent that deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden. He is persistent. The scoundrel has no more place in heaven and is now ready to inhabit the Antichrist on earth.
Satan’s fall is spectacular.
Revelation 12:10: “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.”
The loud voice in Heaven spoke of “our brethren”, representing redeemed humanity.
The tiresome history of Satan’s accusations against humanity has come to an end. Jesus Christ has always interceded for us, but now the great accuser is no more in heaven.
Revelation 12:11: “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.”
To overcome by the blood emphasizes Jesus Christ on the cross, our substitute. Through His blood, we overcome and reign.
Revelation 21:12: “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.”
Heaven rejoices, but Satan knows his time is running out. He fights like a cornered animal on earth.
Revelation 12:13: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”
Satan touched the ground on earth and started running after Israel — his worst enemy, the nation that brought forth the Messiah.
Revelation 12:14: “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.”
The wings of an eagle are not the first time for Israel; God has protected them before in the same way.
Exodus 19:4: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
John connects the reader here with Daniel’s prophecy of “time, times, and a half.” See Daniel 9. It speaks of the end times, specifically the 3.5 years, marking the halfway point of the 70th week of Daniel.
Jesus also spoke about it, using distinct Jewish terms like “housetop, Sabbath, etc.” See Matthew 24:15-22.
Revelation 12:15: “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.”
Satan is angry, and he is pouring out his fury against Israel. The concept of “a flood” likely represents armies.
Revelation 12:16: “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.”
God protected Israel from the fury of Satan, according to prophecy.
Isaiah 59:19: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
Revelation 12:17: “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.”
Satan fiercely persecuted those who would not submit to Him. It includes mainly Israel. But it also has the Gentiles who came to faith in Christ during the Tribulation.
SOURCES FROM THE WEB:
Missler, Chuck at koinonahouse.org
Korman, Baruch at loveisrael.org
Barnett, John at dtbm.org
Ice, Thomas at pre-trib.org
Breaker, Robert at thecloudchurch.org
De Young, Jimmy at sermonaudio.com
Johnson, Ken. Ancient Church Fathers.
Missler, Chuck. Daniel’s 70 Week’s: Profiles in Prophecy.
Hitchcock, Mark. 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation.
I’m Louise Krüger, an introvert who enjoys getting lost in deep things, and my go-to place for this is the Word of God. Am I a theologian? By no means, but I love to study and unearth truths with the help of the Holy Spirit and scholars who know more than me. And then to serve them in bite-size pieces for those who cannot study for hours. Faith in God is not blind; it is evidence-based. Dear online friend, I would love to inspire, encourage, and walk with you on this journey.