REVELATION Chapter 12  


 

REVELATION 12

The vision John sees at verses 1-5 is a history lesson dealing with what transpired BEFORE the time of the vision. It is a history lesson in order to clearly identify the players in this end-times scenario.
During the time of oppression by the beast there will be -
    1. The woman: Israel (the Hebrew or Jewish race), back in the land, worshipping according to her traditional standards (but out of relationship with God).
It is acceptable to use “Israel” to designate the Jewish race since this is how it is used by Paul.
        A. She comes under the attack of Satan because as the object of God’s ancient promises to Abraham, if Satan can prevent the fulfillment of the promises, he proves God as inadequate.
        B. Furthermore, God still has a plan for Israel (the Jewish race) toward the end of the 70th week and in the physical 1000 year kingdom. (1) after the Day of the Lord return of Jesus and the rapture of the church, 144,000 Israelites (Jews) will be converted and become “bond-servants” of God to finish bringing the message of salvation to the world after the church is removed.

    2. The dragon: “the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan.” Verse 9

    3. The Christians: Those who have trusted in Jesus; the church. The woman and the “rest of her offspring” are two different players entirely. They are not BOTH the church.

I see the woman as Israel (a group of Jewish people that is faithful to the Jewish heritage and therefore in total rejection of beast worship). These are not “believers” because they have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah yet - and if they were believers, then they would be the “church” and not Israel.
However, the church (believers in Jesus) is mentioned separately from the woman at Rev. 12:17. Likewise, those at verses 10-11 should also be viewed as separate from the woman.
Furthermore, the woman is clearly identified with symbols that point to Israel - from the sun, moon and stars of verse 1, to the fact that Israel is the source of the Messiah in verses 2-5.

Rev. 12:1, And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

The most logical correlation to this symbolism is found back at Gen. 37:9-10. In Joseph’s dream, the “people” of Israel are depicted by the symbols in the dream. The sun refers to his father, Jacob; the moon, to his mother Rachel; and the 12 stars to the 12 sons of Jacob who come to constitute the nation of Israel.
The reason we can take this symbolism at verse one as referring to the people of Israel is because of the following data that is provided.
The intent of these visions is to communicate. It is not to give us some mystical puzzle that requires a bunch of guesswork. We must apply the literal method of interpretation, and that method points most literally, back to the dream of Joseph.
It is true that some of the symbols in the visions simply cannot be identified. A good example in this chapter is at verses 14-16. There is escape, pursuit, and protection. And that is pretty much the best we can do with it without a bunch of guesswork and speculation that cannot be proven correlated with any Scripture.

Rev. 12:2, and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

1. With child: The symbol refers to the fact that Israel; the physical Jewish race is the source of the Messiah.
    A. Israel inherited the “seed of the woman” promise as
       per Genesis 12:3c and 22:18. So Eve is not the
       woman, but the Jewish race is the woman.
    B. Salvation is of the Jews:
    C. The Messianic promise was given to Israel (Abe,
       Isaac and Jacob) and all throughout her history she
       has been “pregnant” waiting for the arrival of that
       Messiah.
    D. Isaiah 9:6, “for a child will be born to us, a son
       will be given.”

    E. Jesus was born of a woman and born under the law.
       Gal. 4:4
        1. “woman” emphasizes the PHYSICAL “seed of the
            woman” of Genesis 3:15.

        2. “under the law” transfers the focus from Eve to
            the unique race that God created through Abe,
            Isaac and Jacob; the Israelites.

        3. from the “physical” entity of Israel.
           He was not born from a “spiritual” entity.
           Rom. 9:1-5
           a. Israel according to the FLESH: physical race
              of people - Verses 3-4
           b. V. 5, From whom is the Christ according to
              the FLESH.

2. Being in labor and in pain: This refers to the fact that, throughout history there as been a constant satanic attack on Israel, in order to prevent the fulfillment of God’s plan to bring the Messiah into the world.

Verse 3, And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads {were} seven diadems.

The dragon is clearly identified at verse 9,
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan. . .”

The significance of the seven heads and ten horns is to identify the activity of Satan with the history of Babylonian evil from the ancient Kingdom of Babylon to its final form as a world power in the end times.
The details of this will be found in chapter 13.

Rev. 12:4a, And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth.

This symbol is perhaps the most difficult to correlate. First impulse is to correlate back to the 12 stars of verse one and find some relation to “four” of the 12 tribes of Israel. However this produces nothing. Furthermore, this “third of the stars of heaven” were thrown down to the earth which seems to have them originate, at least, in a heavenly setting. This then lends itself to suggesting that Satan influenced 1/3 of the angels of God to follow him in his rebellion against God and become “his angels” (Rev. 12:9; Mat. 25:41).
Angels are designated as “stars” in other places. (Is. 14:12; Job 38:7)

Rev. 12:4b, And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

The attack from Satan on the woman is that which has occurred PRIOR to the birth of Jesus.- “so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child.”
    1. He has done this all throughout her history from the attack at 1 Chron. 21:1, right up to Messiah’s birth when he got Herod to slaughter so many of the babies in the area.
    2. The persecution of Israel continues AFTER the first advent because Satan is still trying to prevent God from fulfilling ANY part of His plan - but he always fails and always will.

Rev. 12:5a, And she gave birth to a son, a male {child} , who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron;

This records the historical reality of the birth of Messiah, “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” This of course, can ONLY refer to Jesus Christ as prophesied in several places.

Ps.2:9, You shall shepherd them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.
Rev. 2:27, AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received {authority} from My Father;
Rev. 19:15, And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

This association of the child with “ruler-ship” is also found at Isaiah 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”

Once this identification of "The Son" is made, it is simple, indeed necessary, to identify the woman as Israel.
And the symbols of verse 1 become clear in light of Gen. 37:9-10.
Instead of arbitrarily assigning some meaning to sun, moon
and stars, it is safer to let the bible make the identification. Gen. 37:9-10,

Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” And he related {it} to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him,
“What is this dream that you have had?
Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?”

Jacob had no problem understanding what Joe was talking about. The woman is Israel; not the bride; not the church; not Eve.

This identification of the child as Jesus, further allows us to identify the child going up to the throne of God as referring to the ascension and session of Jesus to the right hand of the throne of God.

Rev. 12:5b, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

“After he had made a purification of the sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb. 1:3) for the Father “raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come,” (Eph. 1:20-21).

“We have such a High Priest who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” (Heb. 8:1).

A clear fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy found at Psalm 110:1,
“Yahweh said to my Lord, sit down at My right hand until I make Your enemies your footstool.”

Furthermore, we are able to identify the "historical" events symbolized in verses 1-5 as taking place prior to the ascension of Jesus and see in those verses the general attack on Israel throughout her history. Then it is quite simple to understand that it is Israel who will come under the great attack from Satan when he is kicked down to the earth.

Rev. 12:6, And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

This finds no past historical fulfillment for the nation of Israel but in fact refers specifically to that end times period known as the great tribulation. From the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week until Messiah rescues the nation of Israel during the battle of Armageddon, a specific group of Israeli “nationalists” and “fundamentalists” will flee Judah and find shelter in the mountainous wilderness of Moab and Ammon. Here, they are given “divine” protection and are “nourished” (V. 14, passive voice) obviously BY someone, but whether it be “directly” by God or by an intermediary source is not clarified.
It could be angels and it could be the people of the area.
Although it seems that the people of Moab and Ammon are antagonistic to the Jews who are there as is suggested at
Zephaniah 2:8-10.

Now the vision flashes back to a time just before the midpoint of the 70th week.
Verse 7, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war.”

Based on verse 14, this war occurs just prior to the midpoint of the “week.” After Satan is cast down and begins his persecution of Israel (the woman), she has protection for 3 1/2 years (time, times and half a time) which corresponds with the 1260 days mentioned at verse 6.

It is described at Daniel 12:1.


Rev. 12:8   and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.

This does not refer to his “initial” rejection from heaven after he rebelled against God, for after that he was still allowed regular access into the presence of God (Job 1:6; 2:1). This refers to a “physical” expulsion which allows no further access into the presence of God.

Rev. 12:9   And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

This occurs then shortly before the midpoint of the week and becomes the basis for the empowering of the man of lawlessness (the beast).

Prior to this, the "mystery of lawlessness" which is "already at work" in the world (2 Thes. 2:7), had been restrained from such intensity of oppressive action against Israel, by Michael, the guardian angel of Israel. But once this battle takes place and Satan is kicked down to the earth, Michael stands aside and now allows him to carry out his own agenda as a final "last ditch" attempt to defeat the plan and character of God. Daniel 1:1.
1. "Now at that time . . ."
 That time refers to the general time of the end mentioned at Dan. 11:35, which is the 70th week of Daniel. It does not refer to the specific event mentioned in the previous verse but to the over-all general period of time introduced at v.
11:35 as the "end time."
 
2. "Michael, the great prince who stands (as guardian) over the sons of your people, will stand up (or ASIDE) . . ."

3. Details on the restrainer.

4. "And there will be a time of distress such as never
 occurred since there was a nation until that time. . ."

 

The empowering of the beast then triggers the persecution of Israel and the saints. And the man of lawlessness is given an allotted period of time corresponding with the same 3 1/2 years of the last half of the 70th week.

Notice that the scenario throughout has been narrated in the past tense. But here in the middle of verse 9, we have a present tense participle for “who deceives the whole world.” This indicates the worldwide influence that Satan has had throughout history as well as focusing on the even greater impact he will have during the last half of the “week.” 2Thes. 2:9-10.

Rev. 12:10a, “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,”

This does not mean that Jesus NOW begins to physically reign, but it means that, with the expulsion of Satan from heaven, events are set into motion which will irrevocably result in Satan’s demise, Christ’s victory and the establishment of His kingdom on the earth.
The time has come for these things to BEGIN to be fulfilled. This is the same idea that is seen at Revelation 11:17-18, which announces that several things are now “set in motion” for fulfillment. But they will not be fulfilled until later in the time line.
 

Rev. 12:10b, “for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.’”

The reference to Satan as “our” accuser and the “present” activity of “accuses them” indicates that Satan has ever waged an intensive opposition to those who have trusted in Christ through history.
This is what he did of Job, when God brought to his attention that Job was “a blameless and upright man, reverencing God and rejecting evil.” And the accusation came bitingly back, “put forth now your hand and touch all that he has, and he will certainly curse you to your face.”
(Job 1:8-11).
We have hint of a similar challenge from Satan directed toward the disciples at Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has requested permission to sift you-guys like wheat.”
Here, the present tense participle used for “who accuses them,” indicates that this is the present activity of Satan from John’s perspective in 96 AD. And this present activity of accusing is taking place “before our God” to indicate that at the time of writing, Satan still has access into heaven to attack God’s people.

Rev. 12:11, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.

This summarizes the success of the church against the attack of Satan not only prior to his expulsion, but afterwards as well, during the period of the great oppression waged by the man of lawlessness who is empowered by Satan.

The ones in view are “our brethren” and refers to fellow Christians. It views the success of overcoming in two stages.
First: the salvation stage.
“They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.”
This refers to trusting in Christ as savior. The blood of the lamb refers to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. The ONLY way that this “blood of Christ” avails for victory over Satan is through saving those who believe. “And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God,” (1 John 5:5).
This is the significance of “he who overcomes” in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
The same significance is also found at Rev. 21:7, “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be My son.”

Second: the experience stage.
This is accomplished after salvation by knowing and using God’s word in order to “resist him firm in THE FAITH” (1 Peter 5:9). Thus we have John’s address to the “strong” believer at 1 John 2:14, “I have written to you young men (stage of spiritual growth), because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
In this same vein, he writes at 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

Now we have instructions for those who are in heaven observing the visions of John. They are encouraged to “clap” at the progress of God’s plan as it is being portrayed in the visions.
Rev. 12:12a, “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them.

Not because the devil has been thrown down, for his presence in heaven really does not “affect” the inhabitants of heaven in the least. But it is because of the statement at verse 10a, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come,”

It is for this reason that they should rejoice. The people on the earth, on the other hand, are the ones who must now encounter the wrath of Satan as he empowers the man of lawlessness to oppress all who will not worship him. Unto the present time, the people of earth have certainly NOT encountered the wrath of Satan that somehow distinguishes his activity from any other time in history.

Rev.12:12b, “Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has {only} a short time.”

This does not refer to what happened at the time of Christ’s resurrection, for Satan has not demonstrated “great wrath” during the “2000” years since then. The “great wrath” of Satan will begin to be poured out on the race of man via the empowering of the man of lawlessness after Satan is kicked out of heaven at the midpoint of the week.
He knows the indictment of God. He knows what has been revealed to God’s people through His servants the prophets as it is recorded in the Bible.
He hears as well, the announcement of victory recorded at verse 10, and based on that, if God can indeed succeed, he knows he has a very short time. Thus, his GREAT WRATH which is what characterizes the great tribulation is expressed toward the believers of mankind, as those who represent the Messiah on the earth. It is in connection with this yet future expulsion from heaven that John sees in his vision as recorded at Revelation 13:1, “And HE (so with the better manuscripts) stood on the sand of the seashore,” from where we see arising from the sea, the first beast who is to be empowered by Satan in order to carry out his “great wrath.”

Rev. 12:13, And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male {child.}

This is the persecution of Israel that I mentioned before. It begins when he empowers the world ruler, who made the covenant of peace and religious toleration (M.E.P.T.A.), and influences him to break that covenant and to place himself in the sanctuary of God and to proclaim himself to be God. 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

Rev. 12:14, And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Rev. 12:15   And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.
Rev. 12:16   And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.

The symbolism of this deliverance and protection is a matter of pure speculation. The point is that a group of Israelites (Jews) are given protection in a wilderness area outside of Judah for the duration of the last half of the week as discussed above at verse 6.


Rev. 12:17   And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

In this passage, there are two distinct offsprings from the woman.
        A. The savior is the first one - He is the
         “physical” offspring of the nation which is Israel.
        B. The believers of the church are the “spiritual”
          offspring of the nation of Israel in that they are
          given life through Jesus, as already mentioned,
          “salvation is of the Jews.”
            1. At Isaiah 53:10, they are called His
               “offspring.”
            2. The same spiritual seed mentioned in Isaiah
               54:1 which is quoted by Paul at Gal. 4:21-31
               as finding fulfillment in the church.
            3. This “offspring” of the Messiah are then
               called the “many brethren” at Hebrews 2:10
            4. That is why the church is called the seed of
               Abraham at Gal. 3:28-29


 

 
 

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