Summary: Explains chapter 12
“Revealing the Revelation”
January 27, 2010
1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
12Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."
13When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. 15Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Wow! When I read this chapter I feel like my visual senses have an overload! A woman clothed with the sun; moon at her feet and stars around her head; a fiery dragon; angels in heaven fighting! A child being born; angels, eagles and dragons! Oh, my! With the Lord’s help, let try to understand what God is saying to us today. I think He has a lesson for us today.
First of all, let’s look at the characters.
• The woman, representing Israel
• The dragon, representing Satan
• The man-child, referring to Jesus
• The angel Michael, head of the angelic host
• The offspring of the woman, representing Christians
• The beast out of the sea, representing the antichrist
• The beast out of the earth, representing the false prophet
“A woman clothed with the sun…” John plainly says this is a sign. Consequently we don’t expect this woman to appear literally on the earth. It isn’t a literal woman. Women often represent religious systems in Revelation. Jezebel is associated with a religious system of false teaching in Revelation 2:20. The Great Harlot is associated with false religion in Revelation 17:2. The Bride is associated with the church in Revelation 19:7-8.
The woman clothed with the sun in this passage has been associated with many different religious ideas. Roman Catholics claim this woman is Mary, pictured as the “Queen of Heaven.” It is common in Roman Catholic art to represent Mary as standing on a crescent moon with twelve stars around her head. Mary Baker Eddy said she was this woman. Adam Clark identified this woman as the true Church of Christ. I think, Scripturally, this woman clothed with the sun should be identified with Israel. Joseph had a dream, as recorded in Genesis 37:9-11. In that dream, the sun represents Jacob, the moon represents Joseph’s mother Rachel, and the eleven stars are the sons of Israel which bow down to Joseph. In this sign with twelve stars, Joseph is now “among” the other tribes of Israel.