The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. - Revelation 12:1-6
Who is the woman? She is Israel. Who is the Child? The Child is Jesus. Who is the dragon? It is Satan. The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel. This demonstrates the spiritual war that has been going on since Satan's fall. He has done his best to try to destroy God's redemptive plan, the birth of Jesus Christ on earth by a virgin woman. The death of Jesus, the Son of God, pure, holy, sinless, and our Savior, who rose from the grave defeating death and sin's chains. The 7 heads on the dragon represent the 7 kingdoms of the earth. The 10 horns are 10 rulers and the 7 diadems on his heads represent the power and authority over the kingdoms of the world. The dragon's tail sweeping 1/3 of the stars of heaven and throwing them to earth represent 1/3 of the angels who chose to go with Satan. The dragon (Satan) standing before the woman (Israel) who was giving birth to Jesus represents king Herod who desired to kill the Savior of the world, motivated by Satan. Jesus will rule the nations with an iron rod during the 1,000 year reign. The verse regarding Jesus being caught up to God and His throne represents Jesus dying for our sins and being raised again then going by to heaven to intercede on our behalf until the rapture. Israel fleeing into the wilderness, "represents a place of spiritual refuge and protection from Satan. Because God aided the woman's escape into the wilderness, we can be sure that He offers security to all true believers. Satan always attacks God's people, but God keeps them spiritually secure. Some will experience physical harm, but all will be protected from spiritual harm. God will not let Satan take the soul's of God's true followers." (Life Application Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., pg. 2348). The 1,260 days (3 1/2 years or 42 months) Israel is protected in the wilderness refers to the amount of time Satan is given authority to rule and the holy city is trampled. Note Revelation 11:3 "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” and Revelation 13:4-5 "So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months."
Satan Thrown Out of Heaven
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” - Revelation 12:7-12
According to the Life Application Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., "Satan means "accuser" (12:10)." (pg. 2348). Satan loves to accuse us before God, however in this passage, Satan is permanently cast out of heaven along with his angels (demons) and he is no longer able to accuse us before God. This is a great moment for Christians! Heaven celebrates and rejoices at this great moment. However, those still living on earth will now be dealing with a devil who knows his time is short lived and is filled with wrath and all things evil. "One of the reasons god allows Satan to work evil and bring temptation is so that those who pretend to be Christ's followers will be weeded out from Christ's true believers. Knowing that the last great confrontation with Jesus is near, Satan is desperately trying to recruit as great an enemy force as possible for this final battle." (pg. 2349)
The Woman Persecuted
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. - Revelation 12:13-17
Remember the woman is Israel, so when Satan sees that he is thrown out of heaven forever, he persecutes Israel, God's chosen people and first born. However, Israel is given 2 wings "of a great eagle" to fly to the safety and protection God provides for her in the wilderness. Notice the many attempts the devil tries to destroy God's people, but God always protects His children. When the devil tries to cause a flood to wipe Israel out, God opens the earth to swallow up the flood, protecting Israel. This enrages Satan and he goes after Israel to make war with all Christians "and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring" (vs. 17b). The rest of Israel's offspring are the gentiles who are saved.
Are you ready? If Jesus Christ came back today, would you go to Heaven with the Church or would you be left on the earth to go through the Great Tribulation? If Jesus Christ came back today, would your loved ones, family, friends go with you to Heaven or would they be left on this earth? This is the time to make sure you are ready for eternity and to witness to those you love and to those you meet so they will not have to go through eternal torment, but will live in eternal glory where God wipes away all tears and we live in perfect, sinless, holy beauty face to face with Jesus Christ forever.
Life Application Study Bible by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.,