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
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
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
[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
[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.
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