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Keys to Revelation - Chapter 12

Written by: Capoccia, Tony    Posted on: 05/12/2003

Category: Bible Studies

Source: CCN

                        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 Publishers.

          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                                           Israel.

                                          [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. born.                                            [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                                           Crucifixion.

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                                           --Israel. 

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                                       &n

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