Summary: Chapter 12 in our ongoing study of Revelation. These are printed as handouts for each person and there is a quiz at the end they take at home.
This chapter of Revelation is a “great” chapter, for we find many things being revealed to us. We find a “great wonder” in verse 1; “great dragon”, in verse 3; a “great wrath” in verse 12, and a “great eagle” in verse 14. But that is not all we find. We also find a great help because we will find a great spiritual insight that will help us know more about and understand our great enemy.
In VERSES 1-2, we read,
“A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. She had a crown of 12 stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony to give birth.”
Who is this woman? Many people believe it is the Virgin Mary. I cannot agree because I don’t think Mary would be having birth pains or giving birth in the heavenly realms. Other people believe it is the church, getting ready to give “birth” or “worldly life” to Jesus Christ. Again, I would have to disagree because the church would not be giving birth, or bringing life to Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who gave birth to the church, not the other way around. Personally, I think that this woman represents Israel. This becomes clearer the further we get into this chapter.
“Then, another sign appeared in the heaven; there was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.”
In the Bible, Satan is always referred to as a dragon. Since the beginning of time, the thought or mention of a dragon has produced absolute fear in man’s heart. That seems to embody the spirit of Satan – something to absolutely fear! This reference to Satan as a dragon is repeated throughout this book of Revelation.
“On that day the Lord, with His harsh, great, and strong sword will bring judgment on the Leviathan, the serpent. He will slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
In verse 3, the seven heads refer to the one world government, which is ruled by Rome. It has biblically been referred to as the “City of 7 Hills.” As the 7 heads, or Rome, refers to a specific location, the 10 horns refer to the 10 different areas, or divisions, that are put in place around the world that will serve Rome. The diadems, or crowns, refer to the heads of states in these 10 areas. They will serve Rome and the Antichrist.
“His tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth, he might devour her child.”
When this verse refers to “stars”, it is referring to the biblical reference of angels. Lucifer was the chief of all created beings when he was in heaven. When he launched his rebellion against God, he was cast out of heaven along with a third of all the angels. These angels were the ones who aligned themselves with Lucifer to come against God. They were all thrown out of heaven and hurled to the earth.
The word “hurled” implies a great force was used to catapult them away from God. It was not a “soft” pitch, but a very forceful throwing, such as one would see when done in great anger! The dragon, as said earlier, is a reference to Satan. This verse says the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth. Why would this be written this way by John?
In verse 2, I said I thought this woman represented Israel. Here is why I believe that: Throughout the bible, Satan’s chief objective is to annihilate and override Israel. Whether it was through Cain killing Able, or Hitler killing the Jews, or today’s Islamic nations denying Israel’s right to even exist, we see that Satan has always tried to keep Israel from belonging to God.
I believe the dragon (Satan) is so determined to devour the child the woman will give birth to so that the child cannot accomplish his purpose. Israel is the woman, who will give birth to Jesus Christ, the child. See, if Israel would be so persecuted, it would not be able to give rise (or birth) to Jesus, and if the child (Jesus) is done away with, he could not fulfill the prophecies of returning and ruling over Jerusalem?
So, all in all, Satan’s chief objective is to keep Jesus from being born so He will not be able to lead the Jews to God. That is why it says in verse 4 – “so that when she did give birth, he might devour her child.”