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Chapter Twelve

Commentary by Tom Brown


12 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

a woman. Though Mary was the woman to give birth to Christ, this woman is symbolic, as are all the symbols in Revelation.

Sun…moon…stars. Joseph, the son of Israel, had a dream where his father (the sun), his mother (the moon) and the stars (his brothers) all bowed down to him. So these three heavenly bodies speak of the nation of Israel.

2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

She was pregnant. Israel had in her womb the Messiah.

3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.

red dragon. Red speaks of anger (someone’s face turns red when angry) and dragon is simply a very large serpent. He is identified as Satan (v 9).

with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. The numbers seven and ten speaks of completion.

4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.

third of the stars. A reference is the fall of the angels. (v 7).

The dragon stood in front of the woman. The devil is acting like a midwife. 

5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

a male child. This should be obvious: he is Jesus Christ.

her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Refers to the ascension of Christ and the importance of his throne. The primary purpose of the book is to show how Christ rules through us.

6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

The woman fled into the desert. Israel has been kept safe.

she might be taken care. Israel needs help to survive. She can’t survive on her own.

7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.


8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.


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.

that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan. Clear proof that the dragon is the devil or another name for him, Satan.

He was hurled to the earth. Satan’s war will be with those on earth.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,

and the authority of his Christ.

For the accuser of our brothers,

who accuses them before our God day and night,

has been hurled down.

Now have come. Salvation and power is not something just for the future, but it belongs to us now.

Salvation…power…kingdom. As you look back on the book, you see the first vision was “Lamb in the throne” (salvation), the second “The Rider on a white horse” (power), and “144,000 and 200 million” followers (kingdom).

accuser of our brothers. This is Satan’s number one work—to make us feel guilty over our past.

11 They overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. There are always two sides to every victory over Satan: “the blood” which is God’s work and “word of their testimony” which is man’s work. Don’t expect God to do his part if you do not do your part.

12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens

and you who dwell in them!

But woe to the earth and the sea,

because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury,

because he knows that his time is short."

because he knows that his time is short. Whenever time is running out, a person becomes angrier and impatient and will go to extremes to get the work done.

13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

he pursued the woman. In early church history we find little governmental persecution of the believers; most of the persecution of the Roman powers was leveled against the Jews.

14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.

two wings of a great eagle. Apocryphal books often use animals to depict nations. It is interested to note that America’s symbol is the bald eagle and that America is Israel’s greatest support.  Is this a coincidence or prophecy fulfilled? I believe it is prophecy fulfilled.

15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.

the serpent spewed water like a river. Water is nourishment. Israel will be attacked the Bible through false teachings.

16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

swallowing the river. God promises to protect Israel from false teachers.

17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring — those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

rest of her offspring. The church is the Israel of God. We are the primary target of Satan’s attacks today.

Previous  Chapter Thirteen

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