At the close of Chapter 10, John was told to prophesy about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings. Chapter 11 began this prophecy which now continues into Chapter 12. Now we will learn more about Israel, Jesus, Satan, the archangel Michael, and the inhabitants of the earth.
Verse 1 – Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
The symbol in this first sign takes us back to the Old Testament to one of the dreams of Joseph (Genesis 37:9-11). Joseph’s father Jacob interpreted the dream like this: the sun represented himself (Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel), the moon represented his wife (Rachel), and the crown of twelve stars represented their twelve children (the 12 tribes of Israel). This family was the beginning of the nation of Israel.
The sun, moon, and the twelve stars are all associated with this woman in this chapter. She is clothed with the sun, symbol of Israel; the moon under her feet, Rachael; and a crown of garland of twelve stars, the 12 tribes of Israel. This woman represents Israel, not the Church.
Verse 2 – Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain gave birth.
Before Christ’s birth, Israel was a captive nation to the Roman Empire. She had to submit to Roman leaders, pay Roman taxes, and obey Roman laws. She was a nation in travail. Before the Messiah was born, Israel had to go through many afflictions and judgments, birth pains.
The woman, then has to symbolize Israel because Christ was born of the seed of Israel.
Verse 3 – And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diamonds on his head.
The word “dragon” in classical Greek means “serpent.” This second sign in heaven is an enormous red dragon which is Satan (explained more in 12:9). He is great because of his great power, red, since he has killed multitudes; and a dragon due to his fierce nature.
He has seven heads, symbols of world governments; ten horns, powerful kings; and seven diamonds or crowns on his head representing seven divisions controlled by the ten powerful kings.
These seven heads will symbolize the seven Gentile world governments that Satan has led since the beginning of creation. He will also have ten horns, symbolizing the ten kings that will reign with him during the entire Tribulation Period.
These ten kings will rise to power. The Antichrist will come on the scene in a unified European Community.
The Antichrist will subdue three of those ten kings so that their power will ultimately be concentrated into seven crowns (or seven divisions) of the last world government.
A one world government controlled by Satan, will make what Adolf Hitler did during WWII look like a Sunday picnic.
Verse 4 – His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
These stars are angels that fell to earth. Satan’s mutiny was a tremendous rebellion against God, which involved millions of angels. Satan tried to stop the “seed of the woman” by Herod massacring innocent babies.
Verse 5 – And she bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.
No doubt that the Child born is Jesus, the Anointed One. Her Child was caught up, the ascension of Christ following His death and resurrection.
Notice that Jesus will not rule the nations with love but with a “rod of iron.” When Christ returns, those whom rebelled will be crushed with an iron scepter.
Verse 6 – Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Here is the gap between the “Sixty-ninth” and “Seventieth Weeks” of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks.” John jumps over this “gap:” from the Ascension of Christ to the casting out of Satan because he is not dealing in these Tribulation chapters with the Church, but with Israel, and wishes to continue without a break.
Here is further evidence that the “Woman” is not the virgin Mary, for she does not flee into Egypt , but into the wilderness, neither does she flee with her child, for He was caught up to the Throne of God; neither does she flee for her child’s protection, but her own.
Now, we are at the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation Period. 1,260 days (three and one half years) have past. Now there are 1,260 more days before Christ’s Second Coming.
In Matthew 24:15, 16, Jesus taught that the Temple would be defiled by an image of the Antichrist. He told those who live in Judea to flee into the mountains when that happens.
The woman, Israel, will flee into the wilderness to a place that has already been prepared for her by God.
Most prophecy experts believe the area in the Jordan desert is called Petra. Petra is an abandon city that was carved into the rocks of the mountains centuries ago. It only has one entrance, so this will be a perfect place for the Jews to hide and barricade themselves in. They will hide there 1, 260 days, the last half of the Tribulation Period.
The War in Heaven
Verse 7 – And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
Verse 8 – but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
Most Christians think this took place a long time ago, not so. Because this is mentioned immediately after the woman fleeing into the wilderness, this is still referring to the mid-point of the Tribulation Period. We know this because of the following verses.
As soon as Israel flees, a great war will erupt in heaven. The archangel will fight against Satan and his angels, but Satan will lose. They will all be cast out of heaven.
At mid-point of the Tribulation is when the Antichrist makes his move to control the earth Simultaneously, Satan makes his move to control heaven.
Verse 9 – So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
When Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven and can no longer accuse the brethren, his concentration will be totally focused on the “woman”, Israel.
Verse 10 – Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Today, Satan is the accuser of believers. He parades before the throne of God day and night pointing out the sins of God’s people. However, Christ is there too, defending us. Once Satan is cast out of heaven he will never be allowed in again, but woe to the inhabitants of the earth.
Verse 11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to death.
Believers will have the power to overcome Satan during the Tribulation Period by: (1) trusting in the blood of the Lamb, because through the blood, atonement was made for our sins; (2) testifying to our faith, because if we acknowledge Jesus before men, he will acknowledge us before God; and (3) not fearing death, because a physical death is far better than an eternity in hell.
Verse 12 – “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
For those of you with a little age on you, can you ever remember a time when people were so blatant with their sin, even in the house of God? There is no shame anymore of the disgusting things people do. Well, during this Tribulation Period, for those who choose to live through it, it will be 100 times worse.
Verse 13 – Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.
Verse 14 – But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Just as the Woman and the Dragon are symbols, Israel and Satan, so are the “Eagle’s Wings.” This pertains to a rapid and safe flight of Israel into the wilderness, where she will be nourished and kept safe for three and one half years.
This provision and protection of Israel during this time, will be supernatural as in the days of Moses when they were in the wilderness. God fed them with manna, a quail, provided water, and did not allow their clothes or sandals to wear out!
Verse 15 – So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.
Some do not take this verse literally and mean it to refer to a great army that goes after Israel when she flees. However, I see no reason to not take it at face value for what is says. John knows what an army was and is, so if he wanted to say “army” he would have. “Water” is water!
Verse 16 – But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Creation is ultimately a witness for righteousness and truth. God is in full control of the earth and its fullness there of, so the earth opens and the flood disappears before it can reach God’s people. God swallowed the armies of Egypt when they were pursuing the Israelites after leaving Egypt, so why can’t He do it again?
Verse 17 – And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Unable to get to he woman (Israel), the devil (the dragon) turns aside to wage war against the Gentile saints. The Gentiles are called the rest of her offspring because they are Christs’ other sheep that are not in the Jewish fold.