This new vision reveals to us the churchís great struggle and it is depicted as a battle between Satan and God and Jesus Christ, the Savior of the elect.† We will witness the establishment of Godís reign and the conquering of Satan as well as the fruitless struggle of Satan against Godís kingdom.
Once again John calls this vision a sign indicating to us that what follows should not be taken literally but figuratively.† The woman John sees represents the church of Christ.
Isaiah 50:1† This is what the LORD says: "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce with which I sent her away? Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
Isaiah 54:4 Ė 6 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5For your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God.
John 3:28, 29 You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him. 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Ephesians 5:31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church."
II Corinthians 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
Throughout Scripture, the church is represented by a woman and a bride to Christ, her head.
In Johnís vision she is clothed with the sun, which is a sign of glory, the moon under her feet indicates her prevailing dominance, and the crown of twelve stars on her head indicates her victory.† There are 12 stars in her crown representing the number 3, the number of the Divine, multiplied by the number 4, the number of man or creation in which the completeness of the victory and reign of the church is represented.† The church, therefore, is blessed with honor and majesty.
Numbers 24:17 Ė 19 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. 18Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. 19A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city."
Isaiah 60:20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 17:2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
I Corinthians 15:41 Ė 44 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
The woman portrays the church of Christ on earth destined for glory and this vision comforts the church that her Bridegroom will come for her on the clouds of heaven.† She is not out of danger and her struggle to stay alive has just begun, but we are assured that she will prevail.
Matthew 16:17, 18† Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.† 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
In this verse the very essence of the church of Christ is depicted.† She had to give birth, so to speak, to the Messiah.† The Messiah had to come forth from mankind so that the Savior could be fully man since no other could suffer the wrath of God on behalf of mankind but a man. In the genealogy of Jesus, it is clear that Jesus descended from Adam, thus, a true child of the church.†
Many Israelites believed that the Messiah will come for earthly gain and they sought Him in all the wrong places.† Some of the prophecies that the Messiah will be from the lineage of Jacob and David are listed below:
II Samuel 7:8, 12, 13† "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 12When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."
Psalm 132:11 The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: "One of your own descendants I will place on your throneÖ"
Isaiah 11:1 - 3 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD-3and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.
Jeremiah 23:5, 6 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
Micah 5:2, 3 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. 3Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites."
John 7:41, 42† Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee. 42Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"
Johnís vision in chapter 12 clears up any confusion that there might have been about the Messiah.† If they considered the prophecies of Hosea
Hosea 2:23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one.' I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'
Romans 9:25, 26 As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one, 26and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God'"
they would have realized that the Messiah could not be sent to save all of Israel and that the Ďgentilesí are part of the promise.† When Christ announced himself to be the expected Messiah and that they ought to read the Scriptures to ascertain that He is who He says He is, many Jews immediately realized that the Person about whom the prophets wrote were standing before their very eyes.
Matthew 16:15† "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."
John 2:23† Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.
John 4:39† Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."
John 10:42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.
Acts 4:4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
Acts 13:48† When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Acts 17:12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Acts 21:20† When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law."
These revelations of the mysteries, held up in the Old Testament, make understanding the gospel much easier for us.† Johnís vision explains to us the relationship between the church and the Messiah, Jesus as to his humanity.† It was necessary that the One who would die for the sins of the world be a man, coming forth from mankind.† To establish his identity Ė so hat He may never be confused with someone who might masquerade as the Christ misleading the church Ė his origins, lineage, the exact place from where he would come, and exactly how he would redeem the church, were prophesied from the beginning.
This sign is the opposite of the first sign.† The dragon is Satan, the serpent.
Deuteronomy 32:32, 33 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness. 33Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras.
Isaiah 27:1† In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Revelation 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
As Rev 12:1 showed us the church on earth in her glory, verse 2 illustrated the struggle in which she would be engaged regarding her Messianic expectation and hope.† Verse 3 identifies to us her enemy.† His red color is a sign of the innocent blood he spilt and the seven heads represent the seat of deceit and craftiness.† The ten horns represent his power.†
Satan has control over many worldly places in which he reigns with his evil abounding.† One may only think about Sodom and Gomorrah, and Haman in the time of Esther.†
Esther 1:4† For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.
Esther 5:11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials.
Daniel 4:30 He said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"
Luke 4:5, 6† The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world, 6and he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want toÖ"
Satan is depicted in Johnís sign as the ruler with vast power and the intent of destroying the church forever.† He failed to tempt Christ into giving up his quest for the lives of the elect, so he now goes after the elect directly.† After all, he is the prince of the world; not to be taken lightly.† He is a serious threat.
Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.
Ephesians 2:1, 2† As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
II Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
II Corinthians 2:10, 11 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake. II Corinthians 2:11 In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
But he will be conquered.†
John 12:31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
John 14:30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.
John 16:11 And in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned
And we will be protected against any onslaught from him.
John 10:28, 27 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.† 27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
John 17:26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.
Romans 8:35 Ė 39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.
The number seven represents Satanís ability to masquerade as a false Christ.† The following passages prove that this sign is about Satan and that his warfare would be that of deceit, lies, counterfeit gospels, and continuous efforts to mislead the elect; just as he tried to mislead Christ.
Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.
Mark 13:6 Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many.
John 10:27, 28 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
II Thessalonians 2:9 Ė 11 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders 10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.† 11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
II Corinthians 11:12 Ė 15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about 13for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.† 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.† 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
The number 10 used in terms of the horns means that Satanís onslaught would be complete, a final battle to the end.† He would not recover from this battle. The serpentís head would finally be crushed.
The stars in Johnís visionary sign refer to angels that will be swept down with Satan.† How do we know that?† Scripture gives us many instances where the words stars and angels were used synonymously.
Jude 1:13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Revelation 8:10† The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.
Revelation 9:1† The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
Furthermore, we see later in this chapter, when Satan loses his battle against the Micheal and the angels, that he and all his angels were hurled to the earth.
Only a third of the fallen angels have been hurled to the ground in this passage, which is still a minority meaning that their destruction is not yet complete.† They inhabit the earth to work their evil among the people to see if they could mislead the elect.
II Corinthians 11:12 Ė 15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
II Peter 2:1 Ė 3, 17 - 19 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
It is no wonder that Satan was so eager to get to the newborn Child, it is the promised Messiah that is about to be born.† He was warned that this day would comeÖ the first time in the Garden of Eden after he mislead our First Parents.† In Genesis 3:15 God told Satan that there will be an end to his rule and that he will be destroyed.
I John 3:7, 8† Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
The struggle of the church depicted in the sign of a woman and a dragon relates to the struggle of the church in the New Testament era and will continue until Christís return.†
There are a number of key concepts that one should bear in mind when considering this apparently strange way of redeeming the elect.† We see a woman giving birth to a child who would become her bridegroom.† Considered in human terms, it would cause one to think it to be a crime or an error in Scripture.† But if we consider it in the realm of the gospel and that these are visions and signs, then it becomes clear that what we see here is the manifestation of Godís divine justice.† This aspect alone confused the Old Testament rabbis to miscalculate who the Messiah would be.† The New Testament is a crucial fulfillment of these prophecies and Johnís visions are perfectly in alignment with the prophecies, resolving issues that still baffle scholars of the Jewish Bible.† It is of these mysteries that Scripture speaks in,
I Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
Godís justice demanded that his wrath be borne by someone who is of the same species as the one who sinned.† Christ had to be man because it is man that sinned.
I Corinthians 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
Godís justice demanded that death will be the only penalty suitable for the sinner. So, the one who saves man must also be capable of dying.† If Christ remained a Spirit, how would that be effected?
Godís justice demanded that a real person be held responsible, not a being created out of nothing.† The same human nature that sinned must die.
Godís truth required it because the Holy Spirit moved the prophets to prophecy that things would happen this way.
Godís promise for our comfort required that someone should die for our sins who would be capable of making the sacrifice.
The one who dies for our sins must be a faithful high priest who would be able to intercede for us with the Father.
The Savior had to be a perfectly righteous man because if he had sins his life would be spent dying for his own sins and then there would be no further merit remaining for us.† Or if he would spend his life for us, there would be no further merit remaining for himself.
It was necessary, therefore, that the person who dies for mankind must be a real man and a descendant of Adam, able to fulfill the law and able to endure the punishment that would ensure Godís satisfaction.† This child, about to come forth from the ranks of the church and, hence, of the same flesh and blood as Adam, who sinned, fulfilled the law by perfect obedience and fulfilled the law by suffering the ultimate punishment.
The woman bears a child and the dragon does everything in his power to consume her child.† The conflict between the woman and the dragon dominates the drama of this chapter, which begins with the dragon already waiting for the birth of her child.† It closes with the dragonís frustrated attempts to destroy her and the rest of her children.†
In verses 1-4 the first of two visions are illustrated in which the central character and the preparation for the battle are described.† In verse 5 the battle is described from an earthly perspective and flashes by quickly with the sequel, the womanís flight into the wilderness, appearing in verse 6.†
The second vision gives us a heavenly perspective on the battle followed by a heavenly commentary on its significance.† Then, again, the womanís flight to the wilderness for protection is portrayed in greater detail.† Twice the dragon is defeated in battle and twice we see his frustration in trying to destroy the woman, the Old Testament church.