Keys to Revelation – Chapter 12
AUTHOR: Capoccia, Tony
PUBLISHED ON: May 12, 2003
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                        Keys to Revelation – Chapter 12

Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New
York International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible

          BIBLE TEXT                                  COMMENTARY

REV 12:1  A great and wondrous            [heaven] – This is the sky rather
sign appeared in heaven: a woman          than the abode of God and the Angels.
clothed with the sun, with the moon      Evidence of this is the fact that in
under her feet and a crown of            12:4 stars are flung from heaven to
twelve stars on her head.                the earth.

                                          [woman] – This is not Mary the
                                          earthly mother of Jesus but rather
                                          a woman used as a symbol to represent
                                          the nation Israel.  In the OT the
                                          image of a woman is a classical
                                          symbol for Zion, Jerusalem, and

                                          [clothed with the sun] – Display of
                                          the glory and brilliance of her Lord
                                          that she wears as a garment of
                                          righteousness.  Would have appeared
                                          with the dazzling brightness of light
                                          for a garment, meaning that her
                                          clothes would have been glowing with
                                          the intensity of sunlight.

                                          [moon under her feet] – Could speak
                                          of the permanence of Israel, see
                                          PSA 72:5; 89:37.  In Song of Solomon
                                          the moon is added to bring more
                                          beauty to the scene (SON 6:10).

                                          [twelve stars] – May be an allusion
                                          to the twelve tribes of Israel.

REV 12:2  She was pregnant and            [pregnant…about to give birth] –
cried out in pain as she was about        The whole scene is to picture the
to give birth.                            birth of the Messiah and the hidden
                                          events that had taken place.

REV 12:3  Then another sign              [enormous red dragon] – The dragon is
appeared in heaven: an enormous red      identified in REV 12:9 as Satan.  The
dragon with seven heads and ten          description here makes it clear that
horns and seven crowns on his            it is not meant to be a real seven-
heads.                                    headed creature with ten horns, but
                                          rather to serve as a symbol used to
                                          more clearly communicate what God
                                          would have us understand about the
                                          role of the devil and his forces in
                                          relationship to Israel.

                                          [red] – The color red may indicate
                                          the murderous characteristics of
                                          Satan and his demons.

                                          [seven heads, ten horns, seven
                                          crowns] – These features are very
                                          similar to the descriptions found in
                                          REV 13:1 and DAN 7:7-8, 24.  It is a
                                          clear reference to the Antichrist and
                                          the revived Roman Empire. 

                                          The seven heads and ten horns refer
                                          to the original ten kingdoms of which
                                          three were subdued by the little horn
                                          of Daniel 7:8, who is to be
                                          identified with the world ruler of
                                          the great tribulation (the
                                          Antichrist) who reigns over the
                                          revived Roman Empire (United Europe?)

REV 12:4  His tail swept a third of      [tail swept] – This passage gives
the stars out of the sky and flung        insight of the great deceiving power
them to the earth. The dragon stood      of Satan in that he is shown to cause
in front of the woman who was about      one-third of the angels to “fall”
to give birth, so that he might          from Heaven and become demons serving
devour her child the moment it was        the father of lies.
                                          [devour her child] – The child of the
                                          nation Israel was Jesus, the Messiah,
                                          and Satan’s one aim was to devour or
                                          destroy the child.  He tried through
                                          Herod to destroy the Baby Jesus, also
                                          by deception in attempts to tempt the
                                          Christ in the desert, and of course
                                          Satan’s greatest effort to destroy
                                          the child must certainly be the

REV 12:5  She gave birth to a son,        [rule…iron scepter] – As a shepherd
a male child, who will rule all the      defends his flock against the wild
nations with an iron scepter. And        beasts of prey, so will Christ at His
her child was snatched up to God          return strike the nations which
and to his throne.                        oppress and persecute His people (see
                                          also REV 2:27 and 19:15).

                                          [snatched up to God] – Satan’s evil 
                                          plans were foiled by the successful
                                          completion of Christ’s ministry,
                                          which culminated in His death,
                                          resurrection, and ascension (see
                                          Philippians 2:5-11).

REV 12:6  The woman fled into the        [woman fled into the desert] – The
desert to a place prepared for her        woman is the nation Israel which at
by God, where she might be taken          this point in the Tribulation Period
care of for 1,260 days.                  sought refuge in the desert area. It
                                          can be assumed that only those of
                                          Israel who have become Christians are
                                          included, for Satan has no reason to
                                          attack those already deceived.

                                          [1,260 days] – Equals three and one
                                          half years.  Appears that for the
                                          first half of the Tribulation Israel
                                          lives in relative safety, but when
                                          the last half begins, Israel must
                                          literally “run for her life.”

REV 12:7  And there was war in            [war in heaven] – A real battle takes
heaven.  Michael and his angels          place in the heavens, with Michael
fought against the dragon, and the        the Archangel and the Holy Angels
dragon and his angels fought back.        fighting Satan and the Demons.  The
                                          actual battle did not take place in
                                          the bliss of the Third Heaven, but
                                          in the heavenly realms (EPH 6:12). 
                                          The battle was in our atmosphere (1st
                                          Heaven) and possibly in outer space
                                          (2nd Heaven).  God’s timetable is
                                          exact and Michael attacks Satan to
                                          remove Satan and the demons from any
                                          near access to God.

REV 12:8  But he was not strong          Satan is powerful, but not greater
enough, and they lost their place        than Michael nor the power that is
in heaven.                                within us (1JO 4:4). 

                                          [lost their place in heaven] – It
                                          is obvious that Satan and the demons
                                          fell into sin prior to the creation
                                          of mankind, however, the evil one
                                          still had a limited access to God as
                                          evident in the events surrounding
                                          Job’s life (JOB 1:6-8).  God allowed
                                          this partial access to serve His
                                          overall purpose. 

REV 12:9  The great dragon was            [hurled down] – It is the beginning
hurled down–that ancient serpent        of the end for the evil one and the
called the devil, or Satan, who          demons.  Jesus saw this day coming
leads the whole world astray. He          when in Luke 10:18 He said, “I saw
was hurled to the earth, and his          Satan fall like lightning from
angels with him.                          heaven!”  Satan’s main habitat from
                                          this point on is the planet earth.

                                          [leads whole world astray] – We must
                                          remember that this world is under the
                                          direct influence of the wicked one
                                          and his demons.  The unbeliever is
                                          blind and deceived by Satan, yet
                                          fully responsible for their sins.   

REV 12:10  Then I heard a loud            [Now have come] – The casting of the
voice in heaven say: “Now have come      devil to the earth is part of the
the salvation and the power and the      last events that have to take place
kingdom of our God, and the              in order to return the earth and all
authority of his Christ. For the          creation to the peaceful rule of the
accuser of our brothers, who              Lord Jesus Christ.
accuses them before our God day and
night, has been hurled down.              [accuser] – For thousands of years
                                          of mankind’s existence on earth, the
                                          devil has been accusing us before God
                                          similar to the accusation that Job
                                          only loved God because of what God
                                          could do for him (Job 1:9-11). 

REV 12:11  They overcame him by the      [They overcame him] – These are the
blood of the Lamb and by the word        accused of Satan.  The devil tries
of their testimony; they did not          to deny God glory by pointing out the
love their lives so much as to            weaknesses of the flesh of God’s own.
shrink from death.                        But because of the blood of the Lamb
                                          and their testimony they died rather
                                          than ever deny their Savior.  Thus,
                                          Satan is again proved a liar.

REV 12:12  Therefore rejoice, you        [rejoice…heavens] – The evil one
heavens and you who dwell in them!        is grounded and must now carry out
But woe to the earth and the sea,        his wicked deeds from the earth and
because the devil has gone down to        and sea.  The heavens rejoice, which
you! He is filled with fury,              would include the Holy Angels that
because he knows that his time is        transit the heavenlies as they carry
short.”                                  out the will of God.

                                          [knows that his time is short] – The
                                          devil understands history and the
                                          revealed plan of God and thus could
                                          see that “his days are numbered” (see
                                          MAT 8:29). 

                                          [filled with fury] – Satan is very
                                          aware that he is beaten and all hopes
                                          of overthrowing the Trinity have
                                          faded, and thus he is extremely angry
                                          at God and His people.  Since Satan
                                          cannot destroy God, he now turns his
                                          full wrath on the Apple of God’s Eye

REV 12:13  When the dragon saw that      [pursued the woman] – Israel REV 12:1
he had been hurled to the earth, he
pursued the woman who had given
birth to the male child. 

REV 12:14  The woman was given the        [woman was given] – Israel is unable
two wings of a great eagle, so that      to withstand the attack of Satan, so
she might fly to the place prepared      God comes to her aid.
for her in the desert, where she
would be taken care of for a time,        [two wings of a great eagle] – A
times and half a time, out of the        symbol of the fact that God moved
serpent’s reach.                          the remnant of Israel that loves
                                          Jesus to safety in the desert.  The
                                          idea in the verse is that the people
                                          of Israel were literally flown to
                                          safety.  It has been noted by some
                                          that the phrase “two wings of a great
                                          eagle” could refer to two Airlift
                                          Wings (60-80 Transport Aircraft) of
                                          the country represented by a Great
                                          Eagle–America.  This would be a very
                                          plausible way of moving the numbers
                                          involved here. 

                                          [time, times, half a time] – Means
                                          one plus two plus one half, thus
                                          three and one half, the same period
                                          as found in REV 12:6.

REV 12:15  Then from his mouth the        [spewed water like a river] – The
serpent spewed water like a river,        place of safety in the desert must
to overtake the woman and sweep her      be relatively close to a large body
away with the torrent.                    of water of some type, for Satan
                                          tries to drown out God’s saved people
                                          by releasing millions of gallons of
                                          water trying to cause flash flooding.

REV 12:16  But the earth helped the      [earth…opening its mouth] – Jesus
woman by opening its mouth and            commands the earth to split open and
swallowing the river that the            swallow the “devil-made river” which
dragon had spewed out of his mouth.      protects Israel’s saved remnant.

REV 12:17  Then the dragon was            [dragon was enraged] – With each new
enraged at the woman and went off        defeat Satan becomes more enraged. 
to make war against the rest of her      He now turns to attack all Christians
offspring–those who obey God’s          wherever he can find them. 
commandments and hold to the
testimony of Jesus. 

Tony Capoccia
Box 130
Shreveport, LA 71110
Modem (318) 949-1456
300/1200/2400/9600 Baud

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