Revelation Chapter 12
Before studying this chapter, we need to remember where we are in the book of Revelation.
At this point the true believing church is already in heaven as represented by the elders that were seen there in chapter 4. This is assuming the church is raptured before the tribulation begins called the pre-tribulation view of the rapture which I lean toward without getting dogmatic and assuming I'm right and everyone that sees differently is wrong.
Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
We see here that clearly the woman is symbolic of some person or group of people. It is clear from scripture that this symbolic woman represents the nation of Israel. Some believe it is the church or Mary. I have to go along with the nation of Israel because of Joseph's dream:
Genesis 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
Gen 37:10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
Later we will see this same woman flee into the wilderness after her child is taken up to heaven and Mary did not do that. Her and Joseph fled to Egypt but they took the child with them. The church is not confined to the nation of Israel so I doubt that any of these symbols represent the church. Jacob in rebuking Joseph in Genesis 37, seemed to understand that sun represented him, the moon, Joseph's mother and the stars represented the other brothers. Jacob later was named Israel by God so we see the woman pictured here in Revelation as representative of the nation of Israel.
So we have her crown of 12 stars which has to represent either the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles. Since the tribulation period mainly concerns Israel, the 12 stars appears to represent the tribes of Israel.
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Next we will read about the man-child. The man-child is symbolic of Jesus and also something else. Jesus did not come from the church so the woman could not be the church for the church didn't exist until after Jesus came. Jesus did come from Israel though.
This could possibly be symbolic of Jesus in a sense that another group will be taken up and escape Satanís attempt to destroy them just as he attempted to destroy Jesus. We know also that this symbolic child does not die but is taken up to Godís throne similar to a rapture. We know that Jesus didnít die as a child but did die later so I believe the man-child is also symbolic of another group of people.
I don't recall Mary going through all this at the birth of Christ but the nation of Israel has always went through what is similar to birth pains. In 1948 when Israel became a nation again there were so many enemies that desired to devour and kill her just as soon as she began. Yet we know that no one was caught up to the throne until we see the 144000 sealed Jews caught up in chapter 14. It may be that the man child is the 144,000 out of all tribes that were previously sealed to be protected from the plagues but later they were taken to heaven similar to the rapture to escape the rest of the wrath of God yet to come.
Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
The dragon no doubt represents Satan and the third of the angels that followed him. It is similar to his trying to devour the Christ child as soon as He is born. But we know that Jesus Christ was never caught up to heaven without first dying for sins. Notice the seven heads and ten horns. I want to try to explain those.
The seven heads are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. The 10 horns are 10 kingdoms of latter day revised Rome. This is explained more detail in later chapters. All those above mentioned nations have been persecutors of Israel at one time or another. This same area where those kingdoms existed is the same area where the anti-christ rules and makes a seven year covenant with Israel in which he breaks in the middle of the tribulation and turns on them. That is why many of them have to flee to the wilderness.
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Most people believe this is Jesus Christ since Jesus is to return and rule with a rod of iron or with the authority that was given Him by God. We must remember though that many are going to rule with Him. So this child does resemble Christ in every way and I think it is Christ in one sense but it also is someone else or another group of people that also rule with a rod of iron. Other groups are the church and the 144000 sealed Jews. Some believe this man-child to be the church in the same sense as the church is the body of Christ. This is another reason some believe the rapture of the church is symbolized here and happens under the sixth seal.
I believe this man-child is the 144000 Jews because they are seen in heaven with Jesus in chapter 14. These are described as being the first fruits unto God. We know the Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection and the church was not the 144000 so we know that this must mean that these are the first fruits of national Israel that came to Christ during the tribulation period.
There are a few others that also shares that opinion that the 144000 Jews are the man-child that rules with the rod of iron along with Jesus Christ. It would seem that they were raptured and did not die and were not killed by the anti-christ. We see that child is caught up to God and His throne. Although Jesus was caught up at one time, it was not until He first became an adult and died for our sins.
This man-child was caught up to the throne without dying. They were first sealed to go through the trumpet judgments but were caught up in a rapture just before the vial judgments. We will discuss this when we get to chapter 14 but I have included a few scriptures about this:
Rev 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
Rev 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
Rev 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Rev 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
There are some that believe the church is also raptured here just after the sixth seal. Now if the rapture of these Jews and the church happened all at once, this would cause some confusion because we saw the great multitude from all kindreds tongues and nations just after we saw the 144000 sealed to go through the tribulation. So if the rapture occurred there, looks like He would have taken the Jews too but it is clear that they stayed until chapter 14 after the seven trumpets and before the vial judgments.
If the rapture of the church happens at the same time that the Jews are taken after the seventh trumpet, then why do we only see 144000 standing with Jesus in chapter 14. To me all other teachings on when the rapture occurs leads to too many questions. Not all the church is martyred. Some have already died but died natural deaths and no one group of people are mentioned after the tribulation starts that refer to people who died natural deaths or who was taken in a rapture except the 144000 Jews. To me that means the church is already there and the tribulation has to do with Israel.
This woman has got to have something to do with the nation of Israel. Any other explanation makes no sense. The church is not mentioned after the 3rd chapter at all. Even if Jesus was the man-child, the woman could not be the church for Jesus did not come from the church but from Israel. The book is so fascination to study and one in which we keep learning more every time we read it.
That man-child could be the first fruits of Israel or the first ones that were saved, born again by the spirit of God at the beginning of the tribulation. I think now of the thousands of Messianic believers that exist now and are increasing by leaps and bounds. Messianic believers are Jews who have accepted Jesus Christ. If the fact that the church is raptured before the tribulation begins, the Messianic believers would have been raptured at that time also so they could not be the ones mentioned here that are part of the man-child if the man-child is Israelis. If the 144 thousand that were sealed in chapter 7 is the man-child, then it is a group that is saved after the rapture of the church and saved in the area of the nation of Israel because of being called the first fruits to God and the lamb in Revelation chapter 14.
This is another argument for the pre-trib rapture theory in fact because if the church was still on the earth when the 144 thousand were sealed, why God didnít allow the church to be sealed too. It is clear that the church is not the 12 tribes of Israel. To teach that we are the lost tribes or spiritual Jews would add so much confusion that we could never understand Revelation. We might excuse that thinking before 1948 when there was no nation of Israel but we can't ignore Israel now.
From chapter 4 on there is no sign of any rapture of live people described by Paul unless it would be the 144 thousand who were sealed to escape the plagues first but seen in heaven with Jesus in chapter 14. So where would this rapture occur if it occurred after chapter 4? The church has to be gone by this time from all the earth unless sad to say, the church would have become so apostate that there is no church to rapture and only Jews were taken.
1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I know the church was persecuted severely after the death of Christ and His resurrection. That is probably why so many believe the woman here is the church and the child is Christ. I do have to disagree with this though for if the child was Christ, He did not come from the church, He is the foundation of the church. Another persecuted group of people who suffered far worse than the church are Jews.
The whole purpose of the tribulation is to bring Israel back to God and bring judgment upon those that persecute God's people whether those people be Gentile believers or Jewish believers. I believe the woman pictured in this chapter is Israel. So much bible prophecy is misunderstood because we get Israel and the church mixed up so much. The church is pictured wrong by so many. It is not a big organization or institution. The church is a group of called out ones who have repented or turned from sin and who have believed in Jesus as the Messiah sent from God to save us from sin. A better word would be congregation because we tend to think of a church as a building or institution. Called out believers could mean Jews or Gentiles. There is no separation when we think of it in that way. The minute we use the word church our minds exclude Jews and we think of an institutionalized group of Gentiles. We are incorrect in that thinking for the word originally means called out ones.
First fruits are always mentioned in connection with Israel not the church. Chapter 14 describes these as first fruits.
Rev 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
For three and one half years Israel flees into the wilderness from the armies of the anti-christ. This woman cannot be the church for the church is not in the land of Israel where this takes place and does not flee into any wilderness. There would be no way to get the all the church into Israel for this to take place anyway.
Here are the words of Daniel concerning what many believe is the anti-christ that is to come. The land of Edom may be the place where the woman flees for protection.
Matthew 24 describes this time for Israel very clearly.
Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
This is when the anti-christ breaks the covenant with Israel and begins to desire to kill them. This is when they flee into the wilderness.
Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:
Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Gentile believers would not have any qualms about fleeing on a Sabbath day so we see these scriptures refer to the Jews who are fleeing the armies of the anti-christ.
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
The elect here are Jewish elect, not the Gentile church.
Mat 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Again these elect here spoken of are Jews not Gentiles. In saying that, Iím not saying that false Christs or deceivers will not be in other places other than Israel and will not try to deceive the church because they certainly will come and have come before this seven year tribulation period.
Daniel here is speaking of the anti-chirst.
Dan 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
There is a place in the wilderness in the land that was once Esau or Edom that some believe Israel will flee to from the armies of the anti-christ. This place is called Petra where there are many dwelling places carved out from stone. It can house about a million and Ĺ people. It is all prepared for Israel. Iíve heard of people going in and placing bibles in that place who know of this prophecy.
These scriptures are written to help us see the salvation and the judgment of God and they should encourage us to be faithful to Him. We may see through a glass darkly and not understand every word of this prophecy but it needs to be read and discussed. We must realize that Jesus is returning. He has a plan for all who are faithful to Him and evil will be destroyed. We can speculate on how, when and where but we know He is coming at the appointed time when God gives Him the nod and says to Him itís time to return. We should be looking forward to His return.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
We see here that Satan is cast out of heaven and is on the earth in full force. He is here now but his power is limited. During the tribulation period, he will not be allowed back into heaven but is cast to the earth.
I do realize that some think that this refers to when he originally rebelled against God and was cast out taking a 3rd of the angels. That did literally happen but he still had access to heaven as we see in the book of Job.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
This is the final casting out of Satan to the earth that is why there is a "woe" associated with it.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
At this present time Satan who is the accuser of the brethren is always looking for every fault and tries to trip us up and ruin our testimony. If we are saved, he is before the throne accusing us every time we mess up. He is always trying to mess us up and ruin our relationship with God.
We need to be very careful not to be used by Satan as one who accuses our brothers and sisters in the Lord. In saying that though, that doesn't mean we accept false doctrine without question. We must be people of the truth who stand for the faith once delivered to the saints as the book of Jude speaks about. Whether we believe in pre-trib rapture, mid-trib or post trib, that doesn't make us false brethren or false teachers. If we say there is another way to be saved and make heaven other than through Jesus Christ, that does make us false teachers.
Whether we keep the Jewish feasts or we do not, do not make any difference in our salvation but if we worship idols or love this present world so much it causes our love for Christ to wax lukewarm; that is cause for concern.
Some of us may believe in strict dress codes if we claim to be believers in Jesus. That is no cause of being judgmental because we can't see the heart. However, if we live in open fornication or adultery, while claiming to be a spirit filled believer; that is cause for great alarm.
Yet above all these things we must walk in love and compassion preferring to help a wayward brother or sister rather than cast them down.
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This is the test of all true believers. They loved not their earthly lives, comfort, possessions or popularity but choose rather to suffer the affliction caused by believing in Jesus Christ even if it meant to be put to death for their faith. We need to build ourselves up in the faith so that we too can overcome by the blood of Jesus and not love our lives on the earth. In other words do not love the world and those of the world so much that it comes between you and God or it causes you to sin against God. Just because some go in the rapture and escape the latter day tribulation does not mean that all will escape some form of tribulation or persecution. Most pre-trib rapture believers do not teach that, but are accused of teaching that they will escape persecution but its not so.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
The armies of the anti-christ try to overtake the rest of Israel after the man-child is caught up. The devil is very angry.
We see the eagle mentioned and some believe the United States help Israel flee this anti-christ. The symbol of the United States is an eagle. If that is so, it is good to hear but Iím not going to say for sure. First of all, after the rapture of the church, the United States would have to renounce all their liberal beliefs like abortion and sexual immorality and get to the state where they are willing to help Israel. So far it seems as if the United States is turning their backs on Israel.
At this present time we see that the whole world is turning against Israel. Many want them to give up land for peace but yet we don't see the United States willing to give their land back to the Indians or other nations giving their land back to any previous occupants.
We see from the book of Daniel that the anti-christ fights many wars before gaining supreme power. That is why he is hindered from destroying all Israel before Christ comes. It is only the final end where he defeats all nations and they gather together to fight at the battle of Armageddon when Jesus comes to defeat him, that we see the anti-christ ruling the nations. Yet some scholoars claim his power is limited to the old Roman Empire territory only.
It is also believed by some bible theologians that the two witnesses will be the ones who lead these into the wilderness when they flee from the anti-christ.
Rev 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
We see here that after the woman flees into the wilderness chased by the armies of the anti-christ that God stops the armies by a allowing the earth to open up and swallow them. So we see here that many of Israel fled to the wilderness but a remnant remains behind and become believers. The dragon then goes after the ones remaining. This may include Gentile believers but it is probably the remnant of Israel who keep the commandments of God. This shows how fast salvation occurs. Once we have believed and our sins are washed away it is just as if we never sinned. Here we see people described as those that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. A nation born in one day. I believe if they had of been saved before this time, they would have been raptured with the 144000.
We see from chapter 12 of Revelation the whole mystery of anti-Semitism. We saw a nation born in one day physically in 1948. Now we see a nation born again in one day during the tribulation period. Praise the Lord. Except a man be born again He cannot see the kingdom of God. Israel was born again physically than they will be spiritually. In 1948 we saw Ezekielís prophecy of the dry bones resurrected literally coming to pass. We will see this again when they are born again by Godís spirit. We will see the prophecy in Joel which tells of a latter day outpouring of the spirit when ďYour sons and daughters will prophecy.Ē This was fulfilled in part in the book of Acts and begun again in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It will be fulfilled in full during the tribulation period. Weíve only seen part of this latter day outpouring of Godís spirit.
We also see this whole thing prophesied in Daniel chapter 12
Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
We know there is 1000 years between the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the wicked but Daniel sees them as one event similar to how the Old Testament pictures the coming of Christ as one event but we know that it is not one event. So let us not limit the rapture and resurrection to one event. We saw some resurrected just after Jesus was resurrected so why couldnít God rapture the church before the tribulation and the 144000 Jews in the middle of the tribulation? The two witnesses also are resurrected at a different time than the church and the 144000.
So we see from this that many in Israel will be coming to Christ for this is the purpose of the tribulation. There may be Gentile believers still existing on the earth at this time but the main purpose of this time of Jacob's trouble is to get Israel to wake up and see that the Messiah their ancestor's rejected is the Christ and is the one who the prophets of old foretold was to come and save His people from their sins.
Here are the words of our beloved Paul:
Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
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