My Bible entitles Revelation 12 “The Woman and the Dragon.”
If I am trying to discern what is being said, and I am, then my first thoughts jump out of the Revelation to Genesis three, because that is where this battle began. Just a heads up, we will get there.
Revelation 12:1-2 NASB 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; (2) and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
A great sign appeared in heaven.
Great is the Greek word mégas and means something in the sky that was particularly large. What are the possibilities?
Astronomical alignments of stars could be an answer and we just recently had one where the Sun aligned itself in Virgo to recreate what Revelation 12 describes. I borrowed the picture from someone attempting to promote a particular date of Jesus’ return. While I am sure that he is coming soon, this brother in Christ missed it. Another would have been the sign that the shepherds followed to find the baby Jesus, and then there was the alignment of stars that led the Magi to the child Jesus when he was about two years old.
So, as you can see, we, without too much trouble, can easily come up with at least three signs.
There is nothing to say that this alignment of stars did not also take place several thousand years ago for the benefit of Adam, and then others.
“a woman … and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.”
Was this Mary? No, but it is interesting. We are not given a time period for this escape to Egypt and I think this is one of the biggest issues, but there are others.
There is no doubt in my mind that this sign is speaking of Israel and the birth of the nation itself.
A portion of Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s commentary states ““Travailing in birth” is a figure associated with Israel: “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” (Isa_66:7-8). Israel will go through the Great Tribulation after Christ was born in Bethlehem—”before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child,” meaning Christ. Therefore, we identify the woman as the nation Israel. No one woman who has ever lived, including the virgin Mary fits into this. It is the nation Israel and certainly not the church of all ages”
Note how the reference above says, before she travailed she brought forth. You have to know that the process of birthing a nation came with pain and discomfort. Many, not being careful about their reading, have stated that the travail had everything to do with the birthing of the nation; and yet, the travail, which will be greater, is yet to come.
In Matthew 24:3b we see the disciples asking Jesus, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus had told them the temple would be destroyed. Considering the size of the stones that seemed impossible; so the question is in two parts. The second part, the part that is now so vitally important to the believers is, what will be the sign of your coming (as the warring Messiah,) and (when) will the end of the world come?
I find that even when I write, people will contend with me; they will try to dispute things like, the church will not be raptured before God’s wrath comes, while others do not believe that God will pour out His wrath at all. Because of these arrogant attitudes, I feel it is necessary to give evidence in the form of scripture. Scripture, however, is the thing that tends to make these appear longer and unreadable. So, in order to not lose you, I highlight portions of the longer passages so that you can go straight to the point. For those who appreciate context, you get it all. Perhaps it would help you to know that I have struggled with learning disabilities my entire life, and it is because of this that I write in the style that I do. I can track well with the style I use and it allows me to move quickly through the study while retaining information.
Revelation 12:3-4 MKJV And another sign was seen in the heavens. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads! (4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman being about to bear so that when she bears he might devour her child.
“And another sign was seen in the heavens. And behold a great red dragon,”
Is there a sign of a dragon among the stars? Yes.
From Wikipedia we get this, “Draco is a constellation in the far northern sky. Its name is Latin for dragon. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. The north pole of the ecliptic is in Draco.”
There is nothing about the constellation which makes you think about the color red, so the color is merely an eye-catching descriptive; and, if you think about it, it worked because the majority of movies and television portrayals of Satan as the dragon are red and fearsome. The reality, which the entire world will someday see, is that Satan was beautiful, and probably not made for warfare as a majority of the angels are.
My Dake’s bible states that Satan is referenced as the dragon 13 times. Every one of those occurs from Revelation 12 on. If you read my blogs on Revelation then you know that I have said that John wrote things that were meant to be understood. Why should the analogy of a dragon be any different?
If we work off the assumption that John’s readers would have been primarily Jewish and would have memorized the Law and the prophets what would they relate this to?
King David spoke of trampling the dragon. Psalms 91:13
Isaiah prophesied using most of the symbolism that we see in Revelation. Isa 27:1
The prophet Jeremiah referred to a dragon swallowing him up. Jer 51:34
Ezekiel the prophet spoke of a dragon that lies in the rivers. Eze 29:3
Rev 12:7-17, and Rev 13:2 give more detail about the dragon aspect.
“having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads!”
We have to jump ahead to Revelation 13:1 to gain some understanding.
Revelation 13:1 NLT Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.
This is the fourth beast that Daniel saw.
Daniel 7:7 NLT Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts and it had ten horns.
Out of these ten come the antichrist and the false prophet.
Daniel 7:8 NLT As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.
Daniel 7:11 NLT I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire.
Daniel 7:20 NLT I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than the others, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.
Daniel got his answer.
Then he (the angel that had been talking,) said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path (this is the iron portion of this statue.) Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them.
He (this other king that arises) will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time (everything about this description speaks of Islam.) “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.” (Daniel 7:23-27 NLT) Italics are my mine.
Alright, let’s stop right here.
When Daniel saw Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in the vision, only three empires or world powers were defined.
“World power” is a relative term because John’s Jewish audience only concerned themselves with the Middle-Eastern world, as this is the location of God’s promised land to Abraham. It seems impossible for us Gentile believers to think this way because our news gives us global information, but the reality is that everything points back to Israel.
Most attribute the fourth and final empire to a revived Roman empire. An obvious element is that the Roman empire is NOT listed. What we do know is that after the death of Alexander four generals struggled for rulership. The two remaining rulers were the Ptolemaic empire in the South (Egypt and the northern African nations.) And the Seleucid empire in the North; and, I believe we see that in the legs of iron. Note that the iron continues into the feet with the ten toes mixed with clay. These ten toes correspond with Revelation 12:3.
Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. (NLT)
The ten toes also correspond with,
Daniel 7:7 NLT Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.
A fascinating piece of information arises when you look up the word mixed. It is the Hebrew word ‛ărab and means a commingling.
Who or what is being commingled?
First off the Seleucid empire commingled with the nations they conquered, just like the Jews did. This is evidenced in the statement about Antiochus, which you will see below; this is the same Antiochus that set up an abomination in the temple. Secondly, the Roman troops were commingled, for they took conscript troops from every nation they conquered. According to Josephus and Tacitus, it was the Assyrian troops, marching under the Roman flag, that destroyed the temple in 70a.d..
English Standard Version Maps ©2001 Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. A commentary from the Crossway Bible, says, “By the second century b.c., the Seleucid Empire was losing its grip on much of its territory and the Roman Empire was rapidly expanding throughout the Mediterranean world. In an attempt to unite his empire and shore up his defenses against these pressures Antiochus IV Epiphanies imposed a strict policy of Hellenization over his domain, which now included the land of Israel.
“ his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth,”
Satan, the red dragon threw a third part of the stars down to the earth. Scripture tells us that the angels are all referred to as stars, if this was not the case, and a single star was thrown down and struck the earth, there would be no more earth. Isaiah 14 speaks specifically about Lucifer / Satan and how he was thrown from heaven.
Isaiah 14:12 NASB “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!
Pay attention to the phrase, O star of the morning.
When the Spirit of God speaks to Job about the foundations of the earth, someone or something is being referred to when he says,
Job 38:6-7 NASB “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, (7) When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Perhaps that does not convince you, how about this declaration.
Job 1:6-7 NASB Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (7) The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
You really have to think about the logic of this situation, especially if God is saying it, and he is. Satan was either a son, or he is simply too brash for words. And, you do not see God wasting any critical words on him, therefore, Satan must have been among them at some point.
The terminology “ his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth,” is not only evidence that many followed him, but is one the prime pieces of evidence as to the number of angels that followed in his deceit. When we get to Daniel chapter 8 it certainly seems that the conversation is circling around the antichrist or the false prophet, and yet, it tells a similar story to what we have just seen in Revelation 12:4.
Daniel 8:10 NASB It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.
“And the dragon stood before the woman being about to bear, so that when she bears he might devour her child.”
The dragon is Satan. Need proof?
Revelation 20:1-3 NASB Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (3) and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things, he must be released for a short time.
The woman is Israel, and we have already covered this. Since Israel became a nation every effort has been made to destroy that nation, and they have failed.
But what if was Mary?
Then what Herod did by killing all the male children in the region age two and under, as an act of murder motivated by the dragon, for the purpose of killing Jesus could be deemed as an attempt at devouring Mary’s child. Obviously, that failed. Satan tried once more and surely thought he had won when they put Jesus on that cross. His happy dance ended when Jesus rose from the grave, stripped the power of fear and death from Satan, and then ascended into heaven to be seated on the right hand of the Father.
To add to the confusion and the idea that this could be referring to Jesus, we have this,
Revelation 12:5 NASB And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
In Genesis we are told that there will be a hatred between your seed and her seed (Genesis 3:15,) and we see certainly see that coming from Satan.
“ who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron;”
Once again, the general rule is that all scripture in the New Testament comes out of the Old Testament, and this is no different as this comes out of the Psalms.
Psalms 2:7-9 NASB “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (8) ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. (9) ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”
Pay attention to the context. Jesus gains this authority because He was, once again, declared to be God’s Son, most seem to understand that this was because of His obedience to the cross. Because of that, the Father has given Him the nations for an inheritance; and, as you can see, He judges them with a rod of iron.
In the second chapter of the Revelation Jesus is talking to the church, almost as if He is pleading with them. He says this.
Revelation 2:26-27 NASB (26) ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; (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;
This is what Jesus did; He overcame and He kept the law perfectly. The Jewish leadership might not think so, but His Father did, and that is what is important.
Romans 5:19 NASB For as through the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
Hebrews 5:7 NIrV Jesus prayed while he lived on earth. He made his appeal with loud cries and tears. He prayed to the One who could save him from death. God heard him because he truly honored God.
Hebrews 5:8 ERV Jesus was the Son of God, but he still suffered, and through his sufferings he learned to obey whatever God says.
This theme then becomes a part of the message in Revelation 12.
“And her child was taken up to God and to his throne.”
Acts 1:9 NASB And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Not so many years later, as an act of reminding themselves, they made this confession of what they knew and believed.
1 Timothy 3:16 NASB By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
As though we had it all figured out, the subject shifts back to Israel.
Revelation 12:6 NASB Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Once again we are looking at the woman as Israel. Mary did not flee into the wilderness, if so, when did that happen. We know that Joseph, at the direction of an angel fled to Egypt.
Even if we could point to Egypt, we have nothing to associate Mary with the time frame, one thousand two hundred and sixty days., which has everything to do with the second half of the time of wrath, and a future event.
Most point to Petra, in Lebanon, as the wilderness. How that red rock canyon, so well known, could hide the survivors of Israel is beyond me.
Are you hidden in Christ?
It’s simple really, for when you accept Christ as your salvation you become hidden in Him, and you are a part of His body, the body of Christ.
Christ is coming very soon to retrieve those who belong to Him. This speaks of the church and the rapture. After the rapture of the church those who have rejected Christ are not necessarily lost, but now have to endure the hell on earth that is part of God’s wrath. I recommend you avoid that as you will have to prove your allegiance with your life.