Revelation Chapter 12
War on Earth
Rev 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:
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Rev 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.
Rev 12:4 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.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
· Rev 12:1-6 synopsis
· A parenthetical and explanatory portion of scripture, preceding the bowl judgments.
· Discusses, the persecution of God's people which has already appeared - Rev 3:10, Rev 6:9-11, Rev 7:14, Rev 11:7-10.
· Discusses the 7 great personages of the tribulation:
· The woman who represents the nation of Israel - Rev 12:1-27.
· The great red dragon, a picture of Satan - Rev 12:3-4.
· The male child, the Lord Jesus - Rev 12:5.
· Michael who represents the holy angels - Rev 12:7
· The remnant of the woman, regenerate Israel - Rev 12:17.
· The beast out of the sea, the world dictator - Rev 13:1-10.
· The beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religions leader of the world - Rev 12:11-17.
· This chapter is descriptive of warfare, primarily involving angelic forces.
· While Satan uses human means to accomplish his purposes, behind the scenes is always Satan and his demons.
· The ultimate cause and answer to the problems of anti-Semitism:
· Divine judgment - Deu 28:15-68, and Lev 26:14.
Conflict between Satan and the seed of the woman - Gen 3:15.
· This section could be called the book of signs:
· No signs from chapters 1-11.
· Three signs in heaven - Rev 12:1 - the only good sign, Rev 12:3, Rev 15:1
· Four signs on earth - Rev 13:13, Rev 13:14, Rev 16:14, Rev 19:20.
· The First Sign in Heaven (Rev 11:1-2)
· Woman clothed in the sun - the nation of Israel - Gen 37:9-10 (sun and moon represent Jacob and Rachel).
· Twelve stars in her head - linkage to the twelve tribes of Israel, or 12 sons of Jacob.
· With child who will rule with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5) - Jesus Christ, who was born of the nation of Israel. Mat 1:1-25, Psa 2:8-9, Rev 2:27, Rev 19:15.
· The woman's queenly appearance identifies her with her promenence in God's plan, and the millennial kingdom. It also identifies her with the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant - Psa 89:34-37.
The woman's travail, waiting to give birth speaks of sufferings of the nation and troublesome times at the first advent of Christ, as well as the deportations Mat 1:11, Mat 1:17, but the hatred of Satan as well.
The woman is Israel.
· The Second Sign in Heaven (Rev 11:3-6)
· The red dragon is clearly none other than Satan himself - Rev 12:9, Rev 20:2.
· Having 7 heads and ten horns, Dan 7:7, Dan 7:24, Rev 17:12, and seven crowns, relates him to the revived Roman Empire, the system of the beast - Rev 13:1.
· His tail swept away a third of the stars, and cast them down to earth - Three possible meanings:
· Luminous bodies from heaven cast to earth as a judgment or act of anger by the dragon.
· Metaphorical heads of state gathered together under the dragon's power to create his world rule, not likely since the stars are cast to earth, not found there.
· Fallen angels who revolted with Satan at his fall. Isa 14:12-17, Eze 28:12-14.
· Star is a word used to describe angelic beings and specifically Satan - Job 38:7, Isa 14:12, Luk 10:18, Rev 9:1. In view of the context, this could likely be a reference to the fall of Satan and his fallen followers.
· And the dragon stood before the woman, for to devour her child - Here we see in vs 4a, a reference to Satan's fall, and 4b, 100s of years forward to the first advent of Christ. Examples of "devour her child":
· Gen 6:1-5 - Attempt to infiltrate the human race and destroy the promise of Gen 3:15 by corrupting mans true humanity.
· Gen 11:1-9 - Tower of babel
· Repeated attempts to defeat God's purposes with Israel through pharaoh, Amalek, Balak, Balaam, and so on.
· Mat 2:13 - Attempt to destroy the baby Jesus through Herod.
· And she gave birth to a son - This is a history from the birth of Christ, to His Ascension, and final rulership, surety of the victory of Jesus.
· And she fled into the wilderness - a reference to the trails of Israel in the second half of the tribulation.
These verses illuminate the struggle of Satan. Since Satan was unable to kill Jesus, his focus has been on the church, but with the church gone, he turns his fury back to Israel. Rev 12:13-17 will present the details of this persecution, while Rev 12:7-12 give us the cause.
War in Heaven
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
Rev 12:12 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.
· Rev 12:7-12 synopsis
· The scene shifts to heaven.
· The First Opponent
· Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. Dan 12:1.
· Micheal, means "Who is like God?" which demands the negative answer, "No One!". This stands opposite Satan's boast - Isa 14:14.
· He is called the "great prince", and has high position of a chief prince. Dan 10:13, Dan 12:1, Jud 1:9.
· He has a special position as guardian of Isreal, especially during the tribulation.
· Until this time, Michael has never laid a hand on Satan. At this time, however, he lay hold of him and cast him out of heaven.
· The Second Opponent
· The great dragon, Satan, and his angels.
· Here the dragon is identified in Rev 12:9-10 as Satan.
· "Great Dragon" stresses his cruel and vicious character.
"Serpent of old"clearly identifies him with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Gen 3:1-4.
· Activities of Satan
· Which deceives the whole world, the Greek implies continuous activity, in leading astry, causing to wander, mislead, delude.
· Throughout our history, and into the middle of the tribulation, the atmosphere of our earth has been the special domain of Satan's operations. Job 1:7, Eph 2:2.
· Satan also has access to God's presence to accuse believers. Job 1:6, Job 2:2, Rev 12:7.
· He is here, cast out into earth. The accusing activity of Satan is brought to a close, and the time of his judgment is drawing near. Rev 12:12.
There is a voice of praise, announcing the millennial kingdom, and deliverance from the reign of Satan and the tribulation.
· Rev 12:11 - And they overcame:
· By the blood of the lamb - the basis for victory - John 16:8, Col 2:15, Heb 2:14, 1 John 5:4-6.
· By the word of their testimony - the proclamation of the Word, believed, and applied by faith. 1 John 2:15-17.
The loved not their lives unto the death - the attitude that overcomes Satan. A perspective of eternity - 1 Pet 1:17-25 to 1 Pet 2:1-12, an attitude of eternal hope and our inheritance untouched by death - 1 Pet 1:3-5, Mat 6:19-21, 2 Cor 4:16-18, 2 Cor 5:10.
· Rev 12:12 - In the middle of the tribulation, all hell will literally break loose, and this verse gives the reason.
· Therefore - on account of this, refers to the victory of the saints, along with the casting down of Satan.
· Woe to the inhabiters of earth and sea. Satan turns his focus to earth and it's inhabitants with great anger.
War on Earth: Phase 2
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
Rev 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.
· Rev 12:13-17 synopsis
· The scene moves back to earth, Satan now has a very short time until he is cast into the abyss - Rev 20:1-3.
· He Persecuted the Woman - Rev 12:13-16.
· The expulsion of Satan from heaven is the motivating force behind many of his activities in the tribulation. Some of the following are likely:
· The King of the North will move against Israel (Eze 38:1-11, Dan 9:27, (possibly Russia or countries in the southern area of what used to be the Soviet Union)
· God destroys the King of the North while still on the mountains of Israel before they ever get to Jerusalem. Eze 38:16-23.
· Eze 39:1-8 could refer to a second invasion at the end of the tribulation after the King of the North is somewhat recovered.
· This could create a political power vacumn, and the Antichrist could make his move at this time, moving to Palestine, break his treaty with Israel, commit the obominiation of desolation, and begin to persecute the woman. Dan 9:27, Dan 11:36-41, Mat 24:15-22.
· All this is the beginning of the "great" tribulation.
· Rev 12:14 - Two Wings of a great eagle - Exo 19:4, and Deu 32:11-12. Mat 24:16 refers to the same flight.
· Hal Lindsey has postulated that this could be an airlift out of Israel to some natural fortress. Since the Eagle is the national symbol of the US, this could be indicating that the airlift could be made available from the US 6th fleet in the Mediterranean.
· However it occurs, there will be some kind of supernatural care and deliverance.
· It is a sobering truth, however, that 2/3rd of the nation of Israel in the land will perish - Zec 13:7-9. Evidently, many will ignore the warning of Mat 24:16 and refuse to flee, and will die.
· Rev 12:15 - Water poured out. This is most likely a figurative flood. The geography and multiple directions to flee make it unlikely that this would be literal.
· Rev 12:16 - And the earth helped the woman, again, the natural terrain in the area would provide many places of refuge, providing a figurative picture of the earth swallowing the flood.
· He Persecuted the Remnant of Her Seed - Rev 12:17.
· Some believe that this remnant is the Jews in other parts of the world outside Israel, however, a more likely explanation is between the nation as a whole and the godly and believing remnant. Those who believe in the Lord Jesus, who during the tribulation will turn to Christ.
· Satan, in his frustration in his inability to wipe out the "woman", turns to those who have turned to believers.
· The Rise of the System of the Beast - Rev 13:1.
· This is also a result of Satan being cast down to the earth and out of heaven.
References and Credits
· Revelation 11 Study - Stan Feldsine
· The basis for this study came from:
· Credit to: J. Hampton Keathley III
· Reference Authors: John F. Walvoord, Hal Lindsey, Alan Johnson