I. Video Data.
Who is the child mentioned in Revelation 12?John Ankerberg Show From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and Dr. Mark Hitchcock.
II. Introduction. Dr. Orville J. Nave (D.D., LL.D.;1841-1917) Nave’s Study Bible.
In this twelfth chapter of Revelation, we will consider the following flow of details: (1) A woman clothed with sun travails. (3) A great dragon stands ready to devour her child. (5) Being delivered, and the child caught up to God, the woman flees into the wilderness. (7) Michael and his angels overcome the dragon. (13) The dragon, cast down into the earth, persecutes the woman.
III. Outline. Dr. Harold L. Wilmington (D. MIn.;1932-2018) The Outline Bible, 1999.
John sees an interplay between a woman and a dragon, symbolizing the nation of Israel and Satan.
I. Satan’s Former Hatred For God And His People (12:1-5).
A. Satan’s persecution of God’s nation (12:1-2).
B. Satan’s persecution of God’s Son (12:4b, 5b).
a. The birth of Jesus (12:4a. 5a).
b. The ascension of Jesus (12:5c).
II. Satan’s Future Hatred For God And His People (12:6-18).
A. The woman in the wilderness (12:6, 13-18): The woman here is the nation of Israel.
1. Israel will be persecuted by Satan during the Great Tribulation (12:13, 15, 17-18).
2. Israel will be protected by God during the Great Tribulation (12:6, 14, 16).
B. The war in the heavens (12:7-12): Some believe this will occur in the middle of the Great Tribulation.
1. The results (12:7-9).
a, The defeat of Satan (12:7-8): Michael the archangel will defeat him.
b. The dismissal of Satan (12:9): He will be cast down to the earth.
2. The reaction (12:10-12).
a. Satan will be filled with wrath (12:10b, 12c).
b. Saints will be filled with joy (12:10a, 11-12a).
c. Sinners will be filled with fear (12:12b).
IV. Scripture Text. Revelation 12. New American Standard Bible (NASB 1995). Pasted from Bible Gateway.
The Woman, Israel
1 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.
The Red Dragon, Satan
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
The Male Child, Christ
5 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. 6 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.
The Angel, Michael
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12 For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.; 1925-2016) Ryrie Study Bible, 1986.
1. 12:1. “a woman.” She represents Israel, who gave Christ to the world (v 5) and who will be persecuted during the Tribulation (v 13).
2. 12:3. “a great red dragon.” Satan (v 9).
3. 12:4. “a third of the stars of heaven.” This may refer to Satan’s past rebellion against God (Ezek 28:13); if so it suggests that a third of the angels joined Satan and were cast out of heaven with him. Or, the reference may be to a meteor shower judgment on the earth.
4. 12:5. The earthly life and death of Christ are not mentioned, only His birth and ascension.
5. 12:6. “one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” The last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation will see intense persecution of Israel. Details are given in verse 13-17. No mention is made of the many hundreds of years between the Ascension (v 5) and the future Tribulation (v 6). See Daniel 9:27; Matt 24:14, 21; 1 Thes 4:17.
6. 12:7. “Michael …. the dragon.” This likely will occur at the midpoint of the Tribulation. Michael is the only angel designated an archangel in the Bible (Jude 9).
7. 12:9-11. Notice two of Satan’s activities in these verses: to deceive the world and to accuse the brethren. The believer’s defense against Satan is: (1) to bank on the merits of Christ: (2) to be active in witnessing, and: (3) to be willing to make any sacrifice, including death (v 11).
8. 12:9. Several judgments have, and will be passed on Satan: (1) his removal from guarding the throne of God (Ezek 28:14, 16 ); (2) the prophecy in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:15); (3) his defeat at the Cross (John 12:31); (4) his being barred from heaven (here in v 9); (5) his confinement in the abyss (20:3); and (6) his torment in the lake of fire forever (20:10).
9. 12:14. Persecuted Israel will flee quickly as if on “wings” to an unspecified place in the “wilderness” where she will have protection and care.
10. 12:15-16 . In an attempt to dislodge the Jews, Satan will bring a flood. God then will cause the earth to open and swallow the water.
11. 12:17. Satan will then attack those who did not flee to the place of asylum.
A. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D.; 1910-2002) Revelation Commentary, 1974
1. 12:1. The woman symbolized Israel, as indicated by Genesis 37:9-11, where the sun and moon referred to Jacob and Rachel, Joseph’s parents. The stars in the woman’s crown clearly related to the 12 sons of Jacob, and identified the woman as Israel, fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant. J.B. Smith cites Isaiah 60:1-3, 20, as proof that the sun relates to Israel’s future glory (A Revelation of Jesus Christ, p 182).
2. 12:4. The casting down of a third of the stars out of the sky seemed to imply the satanic power which extended to the heavens and the earth. Satan was seen here to extend his power over those who opposed him spiritually or politically.
B. Dr. Robert L. Thomas (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017) Revelation Commentary, 1992.
1. 12:2. This is the figure of Israel as a travailing woman, as occurs so often in the OT (Isa 13:8, 21:3, 26:17-18, and others). Just as a woman feels the pains of childbirth, so did the nation in preparation for the coming of Christ. The cause of these pains, at least in part, is the persecution of the nation inspired by Satan in an attempt to stop the birth and destroy this people of God. Israel was in travail at the time of Christ’s first coming.
2. 12:3. Establishing the identity of the dragon as Satan is not difficult because of explicit statements of who he is in 12:9 and 20:2.
C. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. M., Th. D.; 1915-2014) Things To Come, 1958, pp 215, 296.
12:5. This verse can only refer to Christ, the one whose right it is to rule. The Psalmist confirms this interpretation in Psalm 2:9, which is admittedly Messianic. The one from whom Christ came can only be Israel.
12:7-17. The dragon is seen to have seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads (Rev 12:3), which are the same as the beast possesses in chapters thirteen through seventeen. It is plainly stated in 13:2 that this individual derives his authority from Satan. This shows us that Satan is seeking a governmental authority over the woman’s “remnant” (12:7), which authority rightly belongs to Christ Himself.
VII. Additional Examination. Revelation 12:4. Remember the importance of “context.” Consider, also, the above 12:4 comments of Drs. Walvoord and Ryrie.
A. Robert H. Mounce, (Th. M., Ph. D., December 30, 1921 – January 24, 2019), The Book Of Revelation, The New International Commentary On The New Testament, 1977. “The cataclysmic action emphasizes the tremendous size and awesome power of the dragon. That he casts down a third part of the stars indicates no more than a great number. John is not teaching a theology of fallen angels, but reporting a great pageant enacted in the heavens.
B. Kendell H. Easley (M. Div., Ph. D., (1949 – ) Holman New Testament Commentary – Revelation, 1998. “The seven heads suggest complete wisdom; the seven crowns point to blasphemous kingly claims; the ten horns mean power. (Daniel had a vision of a powerful single-headed, ten-horned beast (Dan 7:7, 20). Who is this sky-dragon? He, too, exists throughout the ages of time. Verse 9 will identify him as the devil. As God sees him throughout the ages, he is a vile dragon. In verse 4, John sees an illustration of his power: with a single mighty swish his tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky. “
C. Charles L. Feinberg (Th. B., Th. M., Th., D., Ph. D., 1909-1995). Liberty Commentary Bible, 1994. “The tail symbolizes delusive power (cf. Isa 9:15), which Satan uses to accomplish the moral ruin of those in the highest position. But, he is not successful with all, only a third. Upon whom was the venom of Satan poured out? The answer is clear; the woman’s child, as soon as it was born (cf. Mt 2 with Gen 3:15). Herod was merely a tool of Satan’s power, but he was nevertheless responsible.
VIII. My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.
IX. My Websites To Follow.
https://untotheleastofthese.home.blog/ Equipping The Saints Web Site
https://thechurchoftheopendoor.wordpress.com/ Israel Web Site
https://success2693.wordpress.com/ Israel, History And Prophecy