The 12th chapter of Revelation is as follows:
1. Sun-Clothed Woman: National Israel – Revelation 12:1
2. The Travail of Israel – Revelation 12:2
3. The Great Red Dragon: Satan – Revelation 12:3
4. Satan’s War on the Man Child – Revelation 12:4
5. The Man Child, the 144,000 Jews, Sealed – Revelation 12:5
6. Israel Flees into the Wilderness of Edom and Moab – Revelation 12:6
7. War in Heaven: Satan Cast Out and the Man Child is Caught Up – Revelation 12:7-9
8. Announcement of the Third Woe – Revelation 12:10-12
9. Persecution and Plight of Israel for 3 ½ Years – Revelation 12:13-14
10. Destruction of Satan and Antichrist’s Armies Pursuing Israel – Revelation 12:15-16
11. Satan Makes War on the Jewish Remnant – Revelation 12:17
Sun-Clothed Woman: National Israel – Revelation 12:1
John saw a symbol in Heaven. However, what he saw foretold what would happen on earth. The woman is Israel as a nation, not Jews scattered all over the world but national Israel in her own land in the Middle East. Israel has been a nation since 1948. However, there will be many Jews who will not return to Israel until Jesus Christ comes back.
How do we know that the woman spoken of here is symbolic of Israel?
The Travail of Israel – Revelation 12:2
Israel is spoken of by the Prophets of old and by Christ as going through tremendous travail in the last days. In Matthew 24, in the great Olivet prophecy, Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem in the last days. Remember, the disciples asked him privately “…Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Mathew 24:3)
The word “world” could have been better translated “age.” The world will really never come to an end, but this age will come to an end. They were not asking about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 by Titus but about the coming of the Lord. “…the sign of thy coming,…” and “The end of the age.”
Isaiah said at the beginning, “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66:7-8) The words that Isaiah gave are fulfilled in Revelation 12. Jeremiah said, “And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jeremiah 30:4-7)
The Great Red Dragon: Satan – Revelation 12:3
The world “dragon” is used 13 times in Revelation as a symbol of satan. The great red dragon that John saw had seven heads with ten horns and seven crowns This is similar to the vision Daniel had. Daniel did not see one beast or great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns. He saw them separate because he saw the same empires represented by different beasts from his day on. The first one was a lion, the second one was like a bear, the third was like a leopard, and the fourth was the nondescript beast, and on that beast, he saw the ten horns that John mentioned in Revelation 12:3.
So, what are the differences in the visions? Daniel only saw the empires from his day on. Two existed before Daniel’s day. They were Egypt, represented by a crocodile, and Assyria represented by a bear. Those Daniel saw, plus the two just mentioned, amount to six. And Daniel saw the ten horns on the last beast he witnessed in Daniel 7:7.
The seven heads John saw represent the seven nations that persecuted Israel. The ten horns which Daniel saw on the fourth beast representing the Roman Empire, are spoken of separately in John’s vision. So, the ten horns will make up the seventh head that Daniel saw (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, Rome, and the ten-horned kingdom).
In John’s vision, the ten horns are not crowned, while those on the beast are. Satan’s power over the ten kingdoms will be given to the antichrist. The seven heads are crowned. They symbolize satan’s rule over the seven kingdoms preceding the antichrist’s kingdom. Notice, that the seven heads on the beast are not crowned meaning the antichrist had no part in the seven kingdoms preceding this, which will be the eighth kingdom.
Why is the great red dragon (satan) pictured as having seven heads and ten horns? It means the seven heads and ten horns (with the ten horns on one of the heads) in Daniel 7:7 represents seven mighty empires that persecuted Israel. Remember that these empires were important only as they related to and persecuted Israel. Israel was raised up by God for three purposes:
However, satan opposed Israel with great persecution and for obvious reasons. Satan controlled these empires working through them to hinder or destroy Israel. That is why they are mentioned in Revelation 12:3 as being “...a great red dragon,...” And in Revelation 13:1 as having the name of blasphemy written on these heads.
Satan’s War on The Man Child – Revelation 12:4
To interpret this verse, we must remember that the subject matter is the great red dragon, satan. It says this dragon’s tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven. So, what is he talking about here? This is symbolic of the third of God’s angels who rebelled with lucifer, showing how many will be with him in the future war in Heaven under the seventh trumpet. This rebellion took place many thousands of years ago. It was the original rebellion instigated by satan against God. At that time, a third part of the angels threw in their lot with lucifer. Some of these mighty fallen angels are now locked in the abyss according to Jude 6. Others are now working with satan helping him in his kingdom of darkness.
During the Great Tribulation period the dragon’s (satan’s) first purpose will be to destroy the man child as soon as it is born. He will fail because The Lord will take the man-child to Heaven.
The Man Child, The 144,000 Jews, Sealed – Revelation 12:5
Many people have erroneously proclaimed the man child as the Church or even as Christ born 2,000 years ago. The man-child is the 144,000 characterized in Revelation Chapter 7, twelve thousand from each of the 12 tribes of Israel totaling 144,000. So, we contend that Scripturally, the man child is the 144,000.
Israel Flees into the Wilderness of Edom and Moab – Revelation 12:6
We have just seen that the man child the woman brings forth is raptured up to Heaven, the 144,000 Jews. And now the woman, Israel, that brought forth the man child flees into the wilderness. What does this mean? In the middle of the Great Tribulation period, the antichrist will break his seven-year covenant with Israel and other nations and will declare war on Israel.
For the first time since 1948, Israel will be defeated in battle. The Arabs will save her, for the Bible says that Edom and Moab and Ammon will escape out of the antichrist’s hands, so the antichrist will not take over this area which is presently Jordan (Daniel 11:41). Isaiah predicted the flight of Israel into Moab and Edom and then mentioned Selah or Petra, the capital of Edom, and their headquarters during the Tribulation Period (Isaiah 16:1-5).
Ezekiel spoke of Israel being gathered back from the nations in the last days and of her going into the wilderness where God will plead with her as He did when she came out of Egypt (Ezekiel 20:33-44). Hosea spoke of the wilderness where Israel will flee from the antichrist. (Hosea 2:14-23).
This place prepared of God will be, as stated, Edom, Moab, and Ammon, the present day Jordan. John said the remnant of Israel that escapes to Petra will be fed for 1,260 days. Oddly enough, the Arabs will feed her, for Scripture says, “they” (being the Arabs of modern Jordan). The Jews that are ensconced in Jordan, prepared and protected by God, will then, for the most part, filter back into Jerusalem after the 1,260 days. They will take Jerusalem and will be involved in the battle of Armageddon according to Zechariah 14.
War in Heaven: Satan Cast Out and the Man Child is Caught Up – Revelation 12:7-9
The war in verse 7 is not the same conflict spoken of in verse 4. The conflict in verse 4 took place in the dateless past when satan rebelled against God. This will be the last struggle between satan and God over the possession of the heavenlies where satan reigns according to Ephesians 2:2; 6:12.
Satan still has access to God’s Heaven to accuse the brethren according to Job chapter 1. But, from the time of the conflict spoken of in Revelation 12:7, war in Heaven, satan will never again be allowed to enter Heaven or to accuse the brethren. Several things must be known about this war:
When satan fell in Revelation 12:4, a third of the angels fell with him. These evil angels will help satan in the war against Michael, the great archangel and the righteous angels. This event will not happen until the middle of the Great Tribulation period. The earth will know nothing about this horrendous conflict taking place in the heavenlies, but they will know the results of the conflict because satan will be cast down to earth and will give his power to the antichrist in the last half of the Great Tribulation period.
This is not the only time we read about angels fighting. Daniel spoke of Michael and Gabriel fighting against evil angels during his day and time. Probably many events concerning mighty nations on earth have been carried out in Heaven unbeknownst to earth. Nevertheless, they decide great events on earth. However, this conflict will be the last one fought in this manner.
In the 8th verse, we are told that the dragon, satan, and his evil angels will lose a war “And prevailed not;...” We should understand, satan, up to this particular time, the middle of the Great Tribulation period, has access to Heaven as Job outlined it in the first chapter of his book. He seems to appear there quite often.
As we write these words, satan is either in Heaven accusing the saints or will be there very shortly, but when this conflict happens, there will be no more place for satan in Heaven to accuse the brethren.
In the ninth verse, we are told the dragon is that old serpent called the devil and satan. We are also told that he “...deceiveth the whole world:...” Deception is satan’s chief business. Not only will he be cast to the earth, but his angels will also. Then, there will be a horror on earth such as the world has never seen. It is the last half of the Great Tribulation period and will fulfill what Jesus said in Matthew 24:21.
Announcement of the Third Woe – Revelation 12:10-12
The loud voice John hears in Heaven makes a fourfold announcement:
It would seem from the latter portion of the 10th verse that either satan or one of his fallen angels is before the throne of God accusing the brethren constantly. Writing this, tears filled my eyes because I realize that the accusations against us are based on some truth. All of us have failed God and so many many times. However, the accusations gain no ground against the child of God because we are covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
In the 11th verse, we are told how the child of God overcomes satan. First, we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. What is that word? Our testimony must be that our overcoming grace is strictly through the blood of Jesus Christ. Satan has striven all this time to get the child of God or the Church to depend on itself. Adam depended on fig leaves in Genesis 3:7 until God properly clothed him with animal skins (Genesis 3:21). God slaughtered the animals and taught Adam to offer them as a sacrifice in anticipation of the promised Redeemer (Genesis 4:1-7).
The church has often tried to add fig leaves to the precious blood of the Lamb. There is no salvation in the Church. There is no salvation in man. Salvation is only in the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The latter portion of the 11th verse says, “…and they loved not their lives unto the death.” This speaks of total and complete consecration to Jesus. This must be the consecration of every true child of God.
The 12th verse contains the third and final woe. Heaven is told to rejoice because satan is cast out. They will no longer have to hear his railing accusations.
The second part of the verse contains the terrible woe coming upon the inhabitants of the earth. This woe will consist of several things:
Persecution and Flight of Israel for 3 ½ Years – Revelation 12:13-14
Satan, when he is cast to earth, will turn his anger upon Israel as never before. He has been trying to destroy the Jews since Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. He has not succeeded. However, Israel will feel terrible with the wrath of his persecution. That is what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24:21.
Satan will be angry with Israel for obvious reasons, but his anger will be twofold because he will not succeed in destroying the man child that the woman, Israel, has brought forth.
The 14th verse describes Israel fleeing into the wilderness called Petra. The question must be asked, “Why couldn’t the antichrist with his great power destroy Israel after defeating them in battle, keeping them out of Petra?” Daniel explains in his book (Daniel 11:44). Normally the antichrist could mop up this remnant of Israel with ease, but other things will demand his attention. He will hear bad tidings from the east and the north. And this time, he will not destroy Israel, but he will fight what he thinks are greater battles in the north, the Soviet Union, and the east. At the end of the Great Tribulation and at the battle of Armageddon, he will try to destroy Israel. He will not succeed. Israel will be protected for 3 ½ years from the face of the serpent.
Destruction of Satan and Antichrist’s Armies Pursuing Israel – Revelation 12:15-16
The 15th verse describes the antichrist sending his army as a flood after the woman, Israel. However, not only will he hear tidings from the east and from the north, an earthquake will also help the woman. It seems from the 16th verse that this great earthquake will swallow up large segments of the antichrist’s army. This will also curtail his activities. With air power, he could easily destroy Petra, but two other events divert his attention in Daniel 11:44.
Satan Makes War on the Jewish Remnant – Revelation 12:17
Satan’s anger with Israel, the woman, will be hotter than ever, especially against those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. From the description in Revelation 12:17, it seems that after the 144,000 Jews are raptured, many Jews in Israel will accept the Lord as their personal Savior. These will have turned to God and believed on Jesus Christ after seeing the 144,000 Jewish Christians suddenly missing. It says they have the testimony of Jesus Christ, meaning “the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10)
How large this “remnant” is, the Bible does not say. It will probably not be many in comparison to the number of Jews then in Israel. However, it could very well include millions of Jews who do not live in Israel, and no doubt, there will be many who will turn to the Lord after the rapture of the 144,000. So, they will not only accept Jesus as their Savior, but from the Scriptural implication, “...the testimony of Jesus Christ”, they will also be baptized in The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. Satan, through the antichrist, will make war on this remnant with a ferocious hatred because they are Christians. No doubt, many will be killed by the antichrist and will represent some of the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:9.
The Sun Clothed Woman
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven;
-should have been translated a great sign in heaven
a woman clothed with the sun,
-speaks of National Israel with the “sun” being symbolic of her glory
and the moon under her feet,
-speaks of dominion, hence the mention of her feet
and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
-speaks of dominion regained and Israel restored
2 And she being with child cried,
-pertains to the 144,000 Jews who will be saved in the first half of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7)
travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
-This concerns spiritual pregnancy with the agonies of childbirth typifying in the physical what will take place in the spiritual (Isaiah 66:7-8)
The Great Red Dragon
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven;
-should have been translated another sign
and behold a great red dragon,
-denotes satan and his murderous purpose typified by the color of red
having seven heads
-refers to the empires that persecuted Israel even until John’s day. Those empires were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
and ten horns,
-represents ten nations that will be ruled by the antichrist in the last days and will greatly persecute Israel. Actually, the seventh head are those “ten horns.” Daniel tells us that these ten horns representing ten nations will be in the Old Roman Empire territory which refers to the Middle East and parts of Europe (Daniel 7:7).
and seven crowns upon his heads.
-represents the fact that satan controlled these particular kingdoms
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven,
-This goes all the way back to the original rebellion of lucifer against God. At that time, one third of the angels threw in their lot with satan. We know these “stars” represent angels because verse 9 tells us so.
and did cast them to the earth:
-is given to us more clearly in verses 7-9
and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered,
-does not pertain to the birth of Christ as many claim but rather the man child which is the 144,000 Jews who will give their hearts to Christ in chapter 7.
for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
-This pertains to the fact that the antichrist will hate these Jews who have come to Christ. This will take place in the first half of the Great Tribulation and may well be the primary reason the antichrist will turn on Israel at that time.
5 And she (Israel) brought forth a man child,
-As stated, this is the 144,000 Jews who will come to Christ during the first half of the Great Tribulation according to chapter 7. We are not told exactly how this will be done.
who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron:
-Israel, under Christ, will definitely fill this role in the coming millennial reign.
and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
-This refers to the rapture of the 144,000 which will take place at about the midpoint of the Great Tribulation.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness,
-The “woman” is National Israel. At the midpoint of the Great Tribulation, the antichrist will turn on Israel and defeat her with many thousands of Jews fleeing into the wilderness.
where she hath a place prepared of God,
-This place is actually ancient Petra located in Jordan according to Isaiah 16:1-5.
that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
-“They” mentioned her refers, oddly enough, to the Arabs of Jordan. The 1,260 days constitute almost all of the last half of the Great Tribulation. Incidentally, Petra is now empty of people awaiting the arrival of Israel.
7 And there was war in heaven:
-pertains to the mystery of God being finished in Chapter 10 verse 7
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
-This pertains to satan and all of the angels who followed him being cast out of Heaven which will take place at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation. Why the Lord has allowed satan and his minions to remain in Heaven all this time, we are not told. It is a “mystery,” but it will now be finished.
8 And prevailed not;
-Satan will then be defeated. Incidentally, it is not satan who instigates this war but rather the archangel Michael at the command of Almighty God.
neither was their place found any more in heaven.
-joins with the close of the book of Revelation where the evil one has no more place on earth as well, but rather, the place of torment forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
-He is referred to as “the great dragon” because of his propensity to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). He is the “old serpent” because in his first appearance in the Bible, he chose to work through a serpent, thereby, he is what the curse caused the serpent to be: wryly, subtle, and treacherous.
which deceiveth the whole world:
-Deception is his greatest weapon. He deceives, and is, himself, deceived.
he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
-pronounces the beginning of the end of this evil monster
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,
-presents the white robe wearers of Revelation 6:10-11
Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God,
-presents the triumph of Christ
and the power of his Christ:
-refers to the fact that Christ will rule this world and not satan
for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
-This implies that either satan or one of his fallen angels is before the throne of God accusing the brethren constantly (Job 1 and 2).
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
-The power to overcome and overwhelm the kingdom of satan is found exclusively in the blood of the Sacrifice of the Son of God and our faith in that finished work (Romans 6:3-5,11,14).
and by the word of their testimony;
-Their “testimony” must pertain to the fact that the object of our faith is The Cross and exclusively The Cross, which then gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives.
and they loved not their lives unto the death.
-This refers to the fact that the believer must not change his testimony regarding The Cross to something else, even if it means death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.
-Heaven rejoices because satan has no more access to those portals.
Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath,
-The “woe” mentioned here is the third and final woe and pertains to satan being cast out of Heaven down to this earth, and he will have great anger.
because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
-in order to carry out his plan. Failing that, he is doomed.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
-That’s when, as stated, the antichrist, will break his seven-year covenant with Israel, attacking and defeating her according to Daniel 9:27.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place,
-The Lord will help Israel at that time and do so greatly. As stated, this refers to Petra which is located in modern Jordan.
where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
-refers to 3 ½ years, the last half of the Great Tribulation. The antichrist will take his armies elsewhere thinking to take care of this remnant a little later (Daniel 11:44).
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman,
-refers to the army of the antichrist which has just defeated Israel and is now bent on completely destroying her
that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
-The man of sin fully intends to destroy Israel at this time, but The Lord will intervene to stop him as the next verse proclaims.
16 And the earth helped the woman,
-probably refers to The Lord sending an earthquake
and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
-This proclaims the action that helps the woman, Israel, and hurts the dragon. As stated, it will probably be an earthquake.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman,
-Israel has escaped out of the clutches of satan one more time.
and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,
-After the rapture of the 144,000 Jews, with their testimony still ringing out over Israel, no doubt many other Jews will accept Christ at this time and make up the “remnant.”
which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
-As stated, this refers to the fact that this remnant of Jews, ever how many there will be, will have accepted Christ, hence greatly angering satan.
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT
The Book of Revelation