Revelation 12:1-9

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Text: Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:1-9

THE CONFLICT IN HEAVEN AND EARTH

INTRODUCTION:

In chapters 12-14 the great actors of the tribulation are introduced in another parenthetical section ending at 14:20. Parenthetical sections do not advance the narrative.

There are seven characters.

1. the woman, representing Israel

2. the dragon, representing Satan

3. the man-child, referring to Christ

4. Michael, representing the angels

5. Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman

6. The beast out of the sea, the world dictator, the antichrist

7. The beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world

I. THE FIRST GREAT WONDER, THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN: ISRAEL - 12:1-2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:1-2 - (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: (2) And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

In verse 1 a great wonder appears in heaven. The wonder is a woman, clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet with a crown of twelve stars upon her head.

There appeared a great wonder in heaven is a great wonder appeared in heaven.

Wonder is the word often translated sign; and when this sign consists of something that is contrary to the usual course of nature, it is understood in the sense of miracle.

It is used in this same sense in John's gospel in John 20:30-31 ,

John 20:30-31 - (30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: (31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This wonder is described as being great and as having appeared . . . in heaven.

Appeared is used in the sense of was seen, and in heaven indicates the place where it was seen.

This great wonder, miracle, or sign which is seen in heaven is a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

That this woman is Israel appears evident from the context.

Clothed indicates that she has been previously clothed and is now in a state of having been clothed. When used of articles of clothing, clothed means wearing.

Her clothing is a bit unusual in that she is clothed with [i.e. wearing] the sun.

Furthermore, the moon is under her feet which means that the moon is below her feet or down at her feet.

In addition upon her head is a crown [or wreath] of twelve stars. One is reminded of Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:9-11 ,

Genesis 37:9-11 - (9) And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me [i.e. bowed down to me]. (10) And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? (11) And his brethren envied him [i.e. were jealous of him]; but his father observed the saying [i.e. kept the saying (in mind) or kept the matter (in mind)].

Jacob clearly understood Joseph's dream to refer to himself, to Rachel, his wife and Joseph's mother, and to Joseph's eleven brothers. At that time, Jacob, who would later be named Israel, and his family constituted the entire nation of Israel.

In the context of Genesis 37:9-10 Jacob is the sun, and Rachel is the moon. Joseph, the twelfth brother, would be the twelfth star. In Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:1 , the woman who appeared is referring to Israel as the nation which had its beginning in Jacob's family.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

Verse 2 pictures the woman mentioned in verse 1 as being in labor and ready to give birth.

She refers to the woman in verse 1 and represents the nation of Israel.

Being with child means being pregnant.

Cried is understood in the sense of was screaming or was shrieking. Its tense indicates that its action was ongoing and descriptive of what was happening.

Travailing in birth is while she was travailing in birth, because she was travailing in birth, and she was travailing in birth, or and she was suffering birth pangs.

Furthermore, the woman pained to be delivered.

Pained is while she was being pained, because she was being pained, or and she was being pained.

To be delivered is to give birth. In the context the woman's baby is the promised Messiah, and His birth is the incarnation.

II. THE GREAT RED DRAGON: SATAN - 12:3-4

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:3-4 - (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. (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.

In verse 3 a second wonder appears in heaven, that of a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. Seven crowns are seen on the seven heads.

There appeared another wonder in heaven is another wonder of the same sort appeared in heaven. It is identical with the similar statement in verse 1 except that the word great is used in verse 1 and the word another is used in verse 3.

Another is another of the same sort or another of the same kind.

Wonder is again the word often translated sign; and when this sign consists of something that is contrary to the usual course of nature, it is understood in the sense of miracle. The same word was used in verse 1.

Appeared is again used in the sense of was seen, and in heaven indicates the place where it was seen.

Behold is the word sometimes translated lo, and it is used to gain or heighten the reader's attention.

This great wonder, miracle, or sign which is seen in heaven is a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Great is a word which means large and likely refers to the dragon's size.

The word translated dragon is also sometimes translated serpent.

Red is a fiery red.

Having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads is also used to describe this dragon.

Apparently a crown or diadem, i.e. a crown of a ruler, sits on each of the seven heads.

In addition there are ten horns which are symbolic of power. In verse 9 this dragon is identified as Satan.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

In verse 4 the dragon, which was introduced in verse 3, drags one third of the stars of heaven and throws them to the earth. He also stands before the woman who is about to give birth in order that he might devour her child as soon as it is born.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.

His tail is the dragon's tail or the serpent's tail.

Drew is pulled, dragged, or dragged away.

What he drew or dragged away was the third part of the stars of heaven.

The third part is one third. Exactly what these stars of heaven are is not stated, but it is believed that they are the angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God and who fell with him when he sinned. In verse 9 Satan and his angels are cast into the earth. Inasmuch as Satan leads his angels into battle, he is responsible for their being cast out of heaven into the earth.

(He) [i.e. the dragon] didst cast is he threw.

Them is the third of the stars of heaven.

To the earth is into the earth or unto the earth.

And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered.

The dragon stood refers to Satan who is pictured as having already taken his position of standing before the woman, i.e. in the sight of the woman or in the presence of the woman.

Which was ready to be delivered is the one who was about to give birth.

For to devour her child as soon as it was born indicates the reason the dragon was standing before the woman.

For to devour is in order that he might devour, in order that he might consume, or in order that he might eat up.

Her child is the woman's child. Of course, this is the Lord Jesus Christ in His first coming as a virgin-born baby.

As soon as it was born is whenever she gives birth.

Examples of Satan's attempt to destroy the Messiah before Christ's birth include Cain's murder of Abel (Genesis 4:8 ), the corruption of the godly line of Seth (Genesis 6:1-7 ), the murder of the male babies in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-22 ), Saul's attempted murders of David (I Samuel 18:10-11 and others), Athaliah's attempt to destroy the royal seed (II Chronicles 22:10), and Haman's effort to slaughter the Jews (Esther 3-9 ).

In addition there were many attempts to corrupt the people of God so that God might destroy them.

Following Jesus' birth, Satan's efforts to kill Jesus continued. Herod attempted to kill the baby Jesus by murdering all babies two years old and younger (Matthew 2:16 ), attempts were made to kill Jesus during His life on earth (e.g. Luke 4:28-29 ), and Jesus was crucified.

Luke 4:28-29 - 29 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

In the temptations of Jesus, Satan also attempted to get Jesus to sin and thereby be disqualified as a sin-bearer. With the crucifixion Satan thought he had succeeded in killing Jesus. How wrong he was!

III. THE MAN-CHILD: CHRIST - 12:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:5-6 - (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. (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.

In verse 5 the woman gives birth to a baby boy Who will one day rule the world with a rod of iron. The woman's child is later caught up to God and to His throne.

She is the woman introduced in verse 1 (i.e. Israel) who has been getting ready to bear a child and in verse 5 finally does so.

Brought forth a man child is gave birth to a male son.

Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron speaks of the man child the woman bore. It is a clear indication that this woman's son is the promised Messiah, and it is reminiscent of what has been written in Psalms 2 , especially in verse 9,

Psalms 2 - (1) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD [i.e. against God the Father], and against his anointed [i.e. against His Christ or against His Messiah], saying, (3) Let us break their bands asunder [i.e. let us break their fetters, their bonds, or their chains in pieces], and cast away their cords [i.e. their ropes] from us. (4) He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision [i.e. the Lord scoffs at them]. (5) Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure [i.e. terrify them in his fury]. (6) Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (7) I will declare the decree: the LORD [i.e. God the Father] hath said unto me [i.e. unto Jesus], Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. (8) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (9) Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (10) Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Back to Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:5

Who refers to the male child.

Who was to rule is literally who is about to shepherd.

What He was about to rule (or shepherd) is all nations.

With a rod of iron indicates how He is going to rule all nations. It suggests that His rule will be rigid and unbreakable. As the context of Psalms 2 indicates, this rule of all nations with a rod of iron will take place in the millennium.

Her child refers to the woman's man child to whom she gave birth and whom the dragon sought to devour.

Was caught up is was snatched up.

Unto God, and to his throne indicates that the child was divinely protected from the dragon's efforts to kill him.

Unto God, and to his throne also indicates where the man child was caught up. It is to heaven, and it refers to Christ's ascension into heaven.

Acts 1:7-12 - 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

In verse 6 the woman flees into the wilderness where God has prepared a place for her and where He will feed her for 1,260 days.

The woman is the one who has given birth and represents Israel.

Fled is sought safety in flight.

Into the wilderness is into the desert.

Where she hath a place prepared of God describes the place to which the woman fled.

Where refers to the wilderness or desert, and she hath is she has.

A place prepared of God is a place made ready by God.

The tense of prepared indicates action which occurred in the past with the result continuing to the time John saw it in this vision. It thus indicates a state of being. Thus, prepared means in a state of having been prepared.

Of God is by God and indicates that God is the One Who prepared this place for the woman.

That they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days indicates the reason the woman fled into the wilderness.

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

They should feed her there is literally there they might feed her.

A thousand two hundred and threescore days is throughout one thousand two hundred sixty days. The time of the woman's being hidden in the wilderness is the exact length of the great tribulation and means that the time of her hiding is the great tribulation. The implication is that, were it not for the provision made for her to flee into the wilderness for the 1,260 days, she would not have escaped this period of time. It indicates that the nation of Israel will be divinely protected during the great tribulation. Although many Jews will be murdered, the nation itself will not be annihilated.

IV. SATAN CAST OUT OF HEAVEN BY MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL - 12:7-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:7-9 - (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. (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.

In verse 7 there is war in heaven. Michael and his angels fight against the dragon and his angels. The fact that according to verse 6, the woman is hidden throughout the 1,260 days of the great tribulation means that Satan and his angels are defeated and cast out of heaven at the midpoint of the tribulation.

There was war in heaven is war was in heaven.

War speaks of armed conflict and may indicate a single engagement as a battle or a series of engagements as a war.

In heaven indicates where this war occurs.

Michael and his angels fought against the dragon indicates the participants in the war.

Michael is the archangel who is the angel of Israel.

And his angels indicates that Michael is not alone in this conflict.

Fought is made war or warred.

Against the dragon indicates that Satan is the opponent of Michael and his angels.

The dragon is Satan as is made clear in verse 9.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

In verse 8 it is revealed that the dragon and his angels lose the battle and that they are no longer able to remain in heaven.

And prevailed not indicates that Satan and his angels are not victorious over Michael and his angels. Satan loses this war and does not win out.

Neither is nor, and their place is the place belonging to Satan and his angels.

Any more is yet or still.

In heaven indicates a place from which Satan and his angels are restricted.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

In verse 9 the dragon, also known as that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world, is cast out of heaven into the earth along with his angels.

The great dragon is the dragon, the great (one).

Was cast out is simply was cast or was thrown. The idea of out is drawn from the context. In the next clause it is stated that he was cast out into the earth, and this suggests that he was cast out of heaven.

That old serpent is literally the serpent, the old (one) or the snake, the old (one). The great dragon is that old serpent who appeared to Eve in the garden of Eden.

Lest anyone fail to make the connection, John gets even more specific with called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.

Called the Devil is the one called Slanderer or the one called (the) Slanderer. The Devil is known as the Slanderer.

An additional name the great dragon is called is Satan.

Which deceiveth the whole world is the one who deceives the whole inhabited world. The tense of deceiveth indicates continuing, ongoing action. He does this continuously, and his deception extends throughout the entire inhabited world or the complete inhabited world.

He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him reiterates what has just been stated regarding Satan and adds an additional fact.

He is the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan.

Was cast out is the same word used in the previous clause.

Into the earth implies that Satan was not only cast out of heaven as the abode of God but that he was also cast out of the atmospheric heavens as well. From this point on, Satan's activities are confined to the earth. He no longer is the prince of the power of the air.

Furthermore, his [i.e. Satan's] angels were cast out with him.

His refers to Satan, the great dragon.

Angels are fallen angels and refer to Satan's demonic hordes.

Were cast out is the same word used twice previously in this verse. This time it is plural; whereas, the first two times it was singular.

With him is with Satan. Satan and his demons are all cast out at the same time following their defeat by Michael and his angels.

In our next message, we will see an -

V. ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COMING DAY OF SATAN'S WRATH AND THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OF THE SAINTS - 12:10-12

VI. THE PERSECUTION OF ISRAEL IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION - 12:13-16

VII. THE PERSECUTION OF THE GODLY REMNANT OF ISRAEL - 12:17