The Woman, Israel
1And a great sign [warning of an ominous and frightening future event] appeared in heaven: a [a]woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was with child (the Messiah) and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
The Red Dragon, Satan
3 Then another sign [of warning] was seen in heaven: behold, a great fiery red dragon (Satan) with [b]seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns (diadems). 4 And his tail swept [across the sky] and dragged away a third of the stars of heaven and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of 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 destined to rule (shepherd) all the nations with a rod of iron; and her Child was [c]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 she would be nourished there for a thousand two hundred and sixty days (forty-two months; three and one-half years).
The Angel, Michael
7 And war broke out in heaven, Michael [the archangel] and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were not strong enough and did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the age-old serpent who is called the [d]devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited 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 (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the [e]accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them [in the presence of God]. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you in great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time [remaining]!”
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given 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 (three and one-half years), away from the presence of the serpent (Satan). 15 And the serpent hurled 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 swallowed up the river which the dragon had hurled out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went off to wage war on the rest of her children (seed), those who keep and obey the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus [holding firmly to it and bearing witness to Him].
- Revelation 12:1 The woman represents the nation of Israel. The sun refers to Jacob (also called Israel, the name divinely bestowed on Jacob at Peniel Gen 32:28), and the moon to Rachel, while the twelve stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel, originating with the sons of Jacob and Rachel (Gen 37:9-11).
- Revelation 12:3 The seven heads and ten horns correspond to the heads and horns of the beast in 17:3 ff, and to those of the beast in Dan 7:7 ff as well. Daniel’s description reveals that the ten horns are ten kings who temporarily reign with the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (cf 17:12).
- Revelation 12:5 This refers to the ascension of Christ to heaven following His death and resurrection.
- Revelation 12:9 The Greek for devil is diabolos, which is actually a translation of Satan, a Hebrew word meaning “adversary” or “accuser.” The Greek word additionally carries with it the concept of “slanderer.” See note v 10.
- Revelation 12:10 This is the activity of Satan from which he has earned his name (see note v 9). The activity is most clearly seen in Job 1-2 and in Zech 3.