A pregnant woman appears. Satan will kill her child. She flees into the desert. In heaven, a civil war erupts. Michael casts out Satan and his demons. [UPDATED]
VERSE 1. A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
A great sign. The Greek word for “great” is hsêmeion. It indeed means “great.”
a woman. Many Catholics say the image of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” fulfills the prophecy in this chapter. However …
sun … moon. In the Book of Genesis, these represent Jacob and Rachel:
Genesis 37:9-10. He dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed yet another dream: and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.” 10 He told it to his father and to his brothers. His father rebuked him, and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves down to you to the earth?”
a crown of twelve stars. These probably represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
She cried out in pain. Some Catholics say Mary’s delivery of Jesus Christ was painless.
Their rationale is that pain during childbirth is a implication of sin, but Mary and Jesus were sinless.
However, this verse says the woman’s delivery was marked by pain. So if it refers to Mary and Jesus, Mary was not spared the pain of childbirth.
VERSE 3. Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns.
a great red dragon. The dragon is identified as Satan in verse 9, below.
The Book of Revelation uses this expression nine times as a designation for Satan.
VERSE 4. His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
one third of the stars of the sky. This might imply satanic power over the heavens and the earth.
devour her child. Satan is desperate to destroy the infant Jesus Christ.
VERSE 5. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.
a male child. This is Jesus Christ.
caught up to God. After his earthly ministry was complete, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven.
VERSE 6. The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days.
woman fled into the wilderness. This seems to be about Mary (and Joseph and Jesus) fleeing into Egypt.
In that desert hideout, God provided for them, in ways probably as miraculously as he did for the children of Israel in the desert, or for the Prophet Elijah in the Wadi Cherith.
one thousand two hundred sixty days. The time period was 1,260 days, or 3.5 years. If this passage is about the flight to Egypt, perhaps this indicates that they were in Egypt for 3.5 years.
A similar event is described in verse 14 below.
VERSE 7. There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war.
There was war in the sky. This a civil war in the angelic realm.
Michael and his angels made war . Michael the Archangel leads the God-fearing angels into combat.
Daniel 10:21. But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth. There is no one who holds with me against these, but Michael your prince.
Jude 1:9. But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!”
on the dragon. The war is against Satan and his fallen angels who are demons. Lucifer the highest angel rebels against God Almighty. He leads a third of the angels into sin and civil war.
They didn’t prevail. Michael and the good angels win the battle.
VERSE 9. The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
thrown down to the earth. Michael throws Satan and the renegade angels out of heaven.
Isaiah 14:12. How you have fallen from heaven, shining one, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low!
Ezekiel 28:17. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty. You have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I have cast you to the ground. I have laid you before kings, that they may see you.
Luke 10:18. He said to them, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven.
Revelation 12:9. The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
VERSE 10. I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ has come; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
acccuser. The word “Satan” means “accuser” in Hebrew. Satan is the accuser.
Ezra 4:6. In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Mark 15:3. The chief priests accused him of many things.
Revelation 12:10. I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ has come; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
of our brothers. Many of us know somebody who constantly accuses other people for the things that go wrong in their own life.
What they are dong is blaming. Scapegoating. Such a person can be referred to as the accuser.
accuses them … day and night. The accuser is never finished. Satan accuses day and night. It never stops.
VERSE 11. They overcame him because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.
They overcame him. Those who are victorious in the sight of God are victorious for three reasons.
because of the Lamb’s blood. They depend upon the blood of Jesus. They are not their own Saviors. They do not earn their own salvation.
because of the word of their testimony. They speak the truth of Jesus Christ. They represent his Gospel, and not their own.
They didn’t love their life, even to death. They do not fear death. Martyrdom is a welcome culmination of a life spent in service to Jesus Christ.
VERSE 12. Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time.”
the devil. Sometimes people refer to Satan as “the evil one.”
having great wrath. The evil one is marked by anger. He is always raging out.
VERSE 13. When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.
VERSE 14. Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Two wings … were given to the woman. This probably means that the woman was given supernatural help, rather than the wings of an airplane.
that she might fly into the wilderness. Perhaps this is the place referred to in verse 6 above, calling it a desert.
her place. Some suggest this hiding place might be Petra, the fortress capital of the Nabateans in Edom, south of the Dead Sea.
VERSE 15. The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream.
like a river. It was a flood! In ancient days, a flood from God swept away the wicked people.
But in this verse, a flood from the Evil One tries to sweep away the godly.
VERSE 16. The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth.
the earth helped the woman. The planet itself arises like a sentient being to defend this godly woman.
VERSE 17. The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep God’s commandments and hold Jesus’ testimony.
the rest of her offspring. If this verse is speaking of Mary, then this verse does not fit the popular notion of Mary as having no other children but Jesus.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.