Main point summary
Satan's wars against God only to be defeated. His plans are frustrated at every turn: Unable to touch the Messiah, he attacks the throne of God. Unable to accomplish this, he attacks the woman. Unable to harm the woman, he turns to her offspring.
And a great sign appeared in heaven:
a woman e clothed with f the sun, with f the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was pregnant
and g was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
And another sign appeared in heaven:
behold, a great h red dragon, i with seven heads and j ten horns, and on his heads k seven diadems.
His tail swept down l a third of the stars of heaven
and m cast them to the earth.
And the dragon stood
before the woman who was about to give birth,
so that when she bore her child n he might devour it.
She gave birth to a male child,
o one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,
but her child was p caught up to God and to his throne,
and the woman fled into the wilderness,
where she has a place prepared by God,
in which she is to be nourished for q 1,260 days.
Now war arose in heaven,
r Michael and s his angels fighting against the dragon.
And the dragon and his angels fought back,
but he was defeated,
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
And t the great dragon was thrown down,
u that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, v the deceiver of the whole world—
w he was thrown down to the earth,
and his angels were thrown down with him.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now x the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come,
for the accuser of our brothers 1 has been thrown down,
y who accuses them day and night before our God.
And z they have conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for a they loved not their lives b even unto death.
Therefore, c rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!
But d woe to you, O earth and sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great wrath,
because e he knows that his time is short!”
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth,
he pursued f the woman who had given birth to the male child.
But the woman was given the two g wings of the great eagle
so that she might fly from the serpent h into the wilderness,
to the place where she is to be nourished i for a time, and times, and half a time.
The serpent poured water j like a river out of his mouth after the woman,
to sweep her away with a flood.
But the earth came to the help of the woman,
and the earth opened its mouth
and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
Then the dragon became furious with the woman
and went off k to make war on the rest of l her offspring,
m on those who keep the commandments of God
and hold to n the testimony of Jesus.
And he stood 1 on the sand of the sea.
Notes (Rev 12)
Main point Summary: Satan's wars against God only to be defeated. His plans are frustrated at every turn: Unable to touch the Messiah, he attacks the throne of God. Unable to accomplish this, he attacks the woman. Unable to harm the woman, he turns to her offspring. Section division: v1-6 - the woman and the dragon introduced v7-12 - War in heaven; the dragon expelled v13-18 - The dragon's rage on earth; the dragon prepares the next horrific stage of his evil. Study outline: 1. Chronology of the text. Where are the time gaps in this passage? The vision is not told in chronological order, and it skips around. Though most of the passage looks ahead for future fulfillment, notably, there are some scenes that are in the past (v4, v5, v13). 2. Identity of the woman. Who/what is represented by the symbol of the woman? The allusion to Gen 37 in v1 strongly suggest that the woman is the nation of Israel, from whom the messiah came. We see here that God is determined to preserve his chosen nation, even through the tribulation period to come. What is the significance of this? Why does the nation of Israel matter to God? What does it matter to us? 3. The fall(s) of Satan. In verse 4, we have a reference to Satan's initial fall. In verses 7-9, we have a vision of a war in Heaven that is still yet future (it happens at the mid point of the tribulation). We know that there is still yet the 1000 year binding of Satan and his ultimate demise of being cast into the lake of fire in Rev 20. Also there is a reference to Satan's fall in Luke 10:18. Also, John 12:31, John 16:11. How should we view these multiple falls of Satan? In what sense is Satan's defeat at Calvary involved in this passage? 4. OT allusions. The flight into the wilderness; the wings of eagles; the water/earth swallowing up. Some of the details are actually parodies of the original Exodus. What is the significance of the Exodus allusions? Are there other flights into the wilderness that you can think of? (Elijah) Also note the use of Psalm 2 in v5. Also the use of Daniel throughout the passage. 5. Practical points. These are events that are in the future, and if truth be told, we will not directly participate in them. How does this passage speak to us today?