Who is the woman described in Revelation 12?
Who is the child mentioned in Revelation 12?
A. Dr. C.I. Scofield (D. D.; 1843-1921) Scofield Study Bible (1909, 1917, 1937, 1945, 1984, 1998, 2002, 2006, Editor, C.I. Scofield, Editorial Revision 1967 Committee Members: Charles L. Feinberg, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., John F. Walvoord, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D.)
Prominent Personages. 12:1-2, The woman, Israel, gives birth to the male child, Christ. 12:3-4, The red dragon: Satan. 12:5-6, The male child: Christ. 12:7-12, The archangel: Michael. 12: 13-17, Jewish remnant assaulted by Satan.
B. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D.; 1910-2002) Revelation Commentary.
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.
C. Dr. Robert L. Thomas (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017) Revelation Commentary.
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.
D. 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.
III. Scripture Text. Revelation Chapter 12. NASB. Pasted from Bible Gateway
IV. Verse Examination.
Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.; 1925-2016) Ryrie Study Bible.
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.
V. 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.
VI. Additional Thought. There has been discussion as it relates to the rapture of the church (born again believers of Christ) occurring during the Feast Of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25; Num 29:1-6); relating it to the rapture passages of John 14:1- 6; 1 Cor 15:50-54, 1 Thes 4:13-18; Tit 2:13, and equating it to Matt 24:31. We will discuss that matter now. It is important to remember that the Feast of Trumpets took place around the fall of each year. The blowing of a trumpet signaled the beginning of the civil new year (Ryrie Study Bible, Lev 23:24 note). For the Israelites, the blowing of the horn represented God calling to His people to prepare for a holy assembly (Moody Bible Commentary, Rev 23:23-25 note). Notice that the Feast of Trumpets relates to Jews, and not to Gentiles, or to the church being caught up in the Rapture. We will continue.
A. In this Chapter, the conversation revolves around Israel, who is the main conversation piece of all of Biblical prophecy. From the beginning of Revelation Chapter 6, through the end of the Book, no mention is ever made of the Church.
B. Ryrie Study Bible. It is from the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, that the Jews are told that the Tribulation is focused on the nation of Israel (Jer 30:7). It is from the Jewish prophet, Daniel, that the Jews are told that the Tribulation will come after the Anti-Christ makes a covenant with Israel (Dan 9:27), and that the Anti-Christ will break that covenant mid way through the Tribulation. It is from the Jewish prophet, Isaiah, that the Jews are told of the judgments of the tribulation period, and blessings of the millennial age (Isa 24:1). It is from the Jewish prophet Daniel that the Jews are told of the second coming Christ to earth, in that He will have dominion over the world (Dan 9:13-14).
C. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come. Re: Matt 24:31: p 196: Since every passage dealing with the tribulation relates to God’s program for Israel, that the scope of the Tribulation prevents the church from participating in it. p 197: Since the Father never sees the church, except in Christ, perfected in Him, this period can have no reference to the church, for the true church does not need to be tested to see if her faith is genuine. p 282: The Lord is indicating that the regathering of Israel (Matt 24:31), the next event, will be the judging of Israel on the earth to determine who will go into the kingdom. (MT 24:31…THE REGATHERING OF ISRAEL). p 425: In Matt there is no resurrection before the judgment, but only a gathering of His elect (Matt 24:31). (The elect is Israel “Deu 14:2, mine).
D. John F. Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible. p 36: The Feast of Trumpets anticipates the future regathering of Israel (Lev 23:23-25). p 39: God promised to restore His people when they turn to Him in repentance and submission (Deu 30:1-10). In Matt 24:30, Matthew was not talking about the Rapture of the church, which is described in totally different language (1 Thes 4:16). When Christ comes to earth He will send out His angels to assemble the elect (Israel; Deu 14:2) “And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Matt 24:31). Mark described the same event as the assembling of the elect both from earth and heaven (Mk 13:27).
E. Eugene H. Merrill, Ph. D. The New American Commentary, Deuteronomy. The Lord would undertake His work of restoration. From the ends of the earth He would bring back those whom He had banished in Judgment (Deu 30:3; 4:27-31). (Deu 30:2-4).
F. MacArthur Study Bible. The Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah (Num 29:1-6). Fulfilled in Israel’s regathering by Christ (Matt 24:31). Matt 24:31 note: All the elect from heaven and earth are gathered and assembled before Christ, ushering in the millennial reign of Christ.
G. Neither the Church, nor the Rapture, was known to Jewish prophets, therefore both were “mysteries” until the time in which they were revealed in the New Testament. Consider the following verses:
1. 1 Cor 15:51, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed.” Ryrie Note. The rapture of the church described in verses 51-58 was a “mystery,” unknown in the OT but now revealed. “we will not all sleep.” I.e., not all die (1 Thes 4:15). Some will be alive when the Lord returns, but all will be “changed.”
2. Eph 5:32. “This ‘mystery’ is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
H. The term “immiency” is key to a proper understanding of the Rapture, which means that the Rapture can happen at any time of the day, week, month, or year. Consider the following verses that show that the Rapture is not confined to the fall months of the year.
1. John 14:2-3, “2 I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be. (Note. Jesus was talking to Jews, If he had a plan to return on a feast day, this would have been the perfect occasion for such a discussion).
2. 1 Thes 4:16-17, “16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (Note. Paul explained the rapture without making any mention of a time of the Rapture).
3. 1 Cor 15: 52, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (Paul makes no statement of a time for the rapture.).
4. Tit 2:13, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Note: The early church was looking for the appearance of the Lord in the rapture, and not for a particular time of year.
I. Early Christians were not given a course of study in the Old Testament. The message of the New Testament was, “Christ and Him crucified.
1. 1 Cor 1:23, “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness”
2. 2 Cor 2:2, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
J. As the early church spread out beyond the borders of Israel, some of those who spread the message of Christ were Gentile, and some were Jew. Their purpose in teaching of Christ was of Him, and of Him crucified. Those early missionaries had no reason to teach the feasts of Israel, or anything else of the Old Testament. A good example of the witness of these early disciples was that of Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
K. The rapture of the church will take place only after “the fullness of the Gentiles comes in” (Rom 11:25), i.e., the full number of Gentiles who will be saved (Ryrie Study Bible), and not based on any other standard.
L. The Old Testament prophets spoke to Jews about things that they knew about, such as the Tribulation and Kingdom Age (Millennium), i.e., Isa 24-27. Chs 24-27 deal with judgment and blessing in the last days, the time of God’s final victory over the forces of evil (NASB Study Bible). The end times is a subject that is based on spoken prophecy from God, to Jewish Prophets, to Jewish people. The Rapture is not a matter of prophecy, and relates only to born again believers in Christ. The Tribulation is a matter of prophecy, and relates only to Jews (and Gentiles) who are not born again believers in Christ. The Kingdom Age (Millennium) is a matter of prophecy and relates to the earthly Kingdom that Christ will establish and oversee for 1,000 years, with only born again believers in Christ (John 3:3, Jew and Gentile) being the subjects of Christ (Isa 2:1-4; Zech 14:1-5 9). Old Testament Jews “watched” for the prophecies to be fulfilled, based on the teachings and fulfillment of those teachings of the Jewish prophets. New Testament believers in Christ “wait” for our Lord’s return, without any particular season of the year having to come into view. If the rapture of the church was supposed to occur on the Feast of Trumpets, such a fact would have been clearly stated in Scripture, and would have been taught by Old Testament Jewish prophets, and by New Testament Apostles, neither of which happened.
Dr. Orville J. Nave, Nave’s Study Bible, 1978 (D.D., LL. D., 1841-1917). Orville J. Nave (Editor). Anna Seamans Nave (Editor).
In this twelfth chapter of Revelation, we considered 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.
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 Website
https://thechurchoftheopendoor.wordpress.com/ Israel Website
https://success2693.wordpress.com/ Israel, History And Prophecy