Section: Chapter Eleven - Daniel 9:24 Completed [Trumpet Judgment 7]
TWELVE - THE BEGINNING
(1) And (2) the temple of
God which is in heaven was opened; and (3) the ark of His covenant appeared
in His temple, and (4) there were flashes of lightning and sounds and
peals of thunder and an earthquake, and a great hailstorm.
1. The placement of Revelation
11:19 has caused no little debate. Is it the summary of chapter 11
or the introduction of chapter 12? Or is it a transition from chapter
11 to chapter 12? The reader must keep in mind that the chapter divisions
are contrived by men. Therefore, discretion is in order. The key to
understanding the placement of this verse is the reference to the
temple and the ark. Both symbolize the manifest presence of God among
2. The temple of God which
is in heaven was opened = indicates that God has come forth from His
dwelling-place. An opened door indicates either entrance or exit.
Here it indicates exit. With the reversion of earth to Gods
direct rule, He will destroy those who have ruined the people of the
earth. Future wrath (the bowls) will be executed from the temple of
3. The ark of His covenant
appeared in His temple = indicates the localized presence of God.
Where the ark is, there either is blessings or curses (1 Sam 5-6).
God is about to pour out curses upon the wicked earth-dwellers.
4. There were flashes
= indicates the imminent outbreak of Gods wrath. At each point,
just prior to the outpouring of Gods wrath, there are heavenly
disturbances to indicate the outbreak of Gods wrath (Rev 6:12-17;
8:1-5; 11:19). Some are tempted because of this recurring pattern
to see recapitulation throughout the Revelation. They see an overlap
between, the seals, trumpets and bowls. However, this conclusion is
simplistic and is built upon an exaggeration of textual generalities
to the exclusion of textual details. The trumpets and the bowls do
have common straits, but the differences are major.
(1) A great sign appeared
in heaven: (2) a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under here
feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and (3) she was with
child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
1. A great sign appeared
in heaven = is problematic. First, no grammatical connection is indicated
between verse one and Revelation 11:19. Second, John does not identify
the literal referent of the woman who is described in symbolical
The relationship between
Revelation 11:19 and 12:1 is a logical one. Having been instructed
to prophesy against "many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings,"
John gives three reasons for Gods prophetic program against
the living wicked earth-dwellers (peoples, nations, and tongues).
First, they dishonored his house of worship. Second, they abused His
holy city. The third reason involves the persecution of the righteous
by the wicked. The fourth reason John must prophesy again concerns
the kings. Thus, in Revelation 12-13, the prophecy turns against the
kings. John will focus on the kings who led the nations against
the interests of God. The living wicked earth-dwellers refused to
worship God, but chose to worship the Dragon and his beast-king who
are Gods temporal enemies. The final outbreak of Gods
wrath is justified against the living wicked earth-dwellers and their
kings because they are guilty.
In true apocalyptic fashion,
John does not state any details explicitly that would give the wicked
grounds to further persecute the people of God. Given the outcome,
it would not be wise to trumpet too loudly the ultimate victory of
the righteous over the wicked. Apocalyptic literature allows the prophet
of God to trumpet loudly the ultimate victory of God and His people
in a way that the wicked miss the obvious. Therefore, the woman and
the child will not be explicitly identified. However, those who know
Scripture will find the correct interpretation, easily.
A great sign signals
a requirement for the reader to put on special glasses to see beyond
the apocalyptic language. The literal event depicted is not the theologically
significant event intended. The sign has deeper significance.
There are three signs: (1) the woman who gives birth to a special
child (Rev 12:1-2); (2) the Dragon who seeks to destroy the special
child at birth (Rev 12:3-13:18); and (3) the seven angels who destroy
the Dragon and his kingdoms (Rev 15-19).
The verb appeared
is often used in the Old Testament to introduce an appearance of God
(Gen 12:7); an appearance of an angel (Exod 3:2); and a prophetic
vision (Dan 8:1). All three events are depicted in Revelation 12-20.
First, a prophetic vision is given of a woman who bears a special
child who will rule the nations (Rev 12:1-2). Then an angelic being
is introduced who seeks to devour the special child to prevent his
rule over the earth (Rev 12:3-13:18). Finally, God appears to put
down the rebellion of the Dragon (Rev 15-20).
2. A woman clothed with
the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve
stars = identifies what the first great sign is. The identity of the
woman is not explicitly stated, which is consistent with the nature
of apocalyptic genre. However, John gives more than enough information
to make her identity known.
First, the woman has cosmic
significance. She is clothed with the sun. She stands upon the moon.
She wears a crown of twelve stars. Genesis 37:9-10 records that Joseph
had a dream similar to the first vision of Revelation 12. The dream
indicated that "the sun (Jacob) and the moon (Rachel) and eleven
stars (Josephs brothers) were bowing down" to Joseph. Jacob
the father of Joseph states, "What is this dream that you have
had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow
ourselves down before you to the ground?" The woman is exalted
among the sun, moon and stars.
Second, the woman gives
birth to a significant child. A child "who is to rule all the
nations with a rod of iron." This is a direct allusion to Psalms
2:9, which indicates that this child is a king, a Son of God. Third,
God divinely protects the woman for three and a half years from the
Dragon. These three facts make the womans identity clear. She
can be none other than the unsaved remnant of Jews divinely elected
by God to survive the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
Israel (the nation) is
clearly not all divinely protected during the time of distress (Rev
7:1-8; Dan 12:1). Therefore, "the woman" cannot be every
single member of the twelve tribes of Israel. Messianic Jews will
be taken in the Rapture and will not need divine protection for three
and a half years. Similarly, messianic Jews (in the historical sense)
did not exist before the birth of Christ. Therefore, they could not
have given birth to the Son. That leaves the unsaved remnant of Jews
present in every generation. Depending on the emphasis, a list of
the twelve tribes of Israel may or may not contain Levi, Joseph, Manasseh
and Ephraim. Thus, the twelve stars on the womans head represent
the twelve original tribes, minus Manasseh and Ephraim. The moon is
Rachel, the mother of Judah who anchors the family as Jacobs
first wife. The sun is Jacob who covers the twelve tribes.
The remnant of Israel is
that elect group of Jews who experience Gods mercy in every
generation. Thus, the remnant is the woman who ultimately gave birth
to the Son who will rule the world as prophesied by Jacob in Genesis
3. She was with child;
and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth = bring
us to the point of delivery. Conception and pregnancy is not in focus.
This indicates that the authors interest in this story is summary
(1) Then another sign appeared
in heaven: and behold, (2) a great red dragon (3) having seven heads
and ten horns, and (4) on his heads were seven diadems.
1. Then another sign appeared
in heaven = is the second of three great signs that provide the structure
of Revelation 12-19. This sign features the antagonistthe composite
dragon (seven satanically inspired kingdoms and ten kings) whose primary
agenda will be the prevention of the temporal reign of the Son.
2. A great red dragon =
is the focus of this second sign. Unlike the woman and the child who
will remain without explicit identification. The great red dragon
will be specifically identified. The Greek term drakon can
be used to translate two Hebrew words. The first is the Hebrew word
for Leviathan (Job 40:25) and the second is sea-monster (Exod 7:9-12).
However, the context is clear that a literal monster is not intended.
Rather, the great red dragon represents hostile kings and kingdoms
that seek to prevent the rule of the womans Son on earth. This
is a composite dragon (seven kingdoms and ten kings) versus the dragon
What does the great red
The great red dragon from
heaven (Rev 12:3), the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1), and the scarlet
beast (Rev 17:3) are described as having "heads, horns, and crowns."
However, there are differences between the great red dragon, the beast,
and the scarlet beast:
heads / ten horns / seven crowns
away 1/3 of the stars
before Woman to devour child
heads / ten horns / ten crowns
leopard / bear / lion
head fatally wounded
worships the beast
great things / blasphemies
with the Saints
authority over the earth
world worships him
is the number of his name
out of the bottomless pit
heads / ten horns
the great harlot
heads / mountains / kings
is yet to come
is of the seven kings
receives the kingdom
world marvels at him.
Each is presented as both
a composite and a singular entity. Revelation 12 is confusing because
the great red dragon from heaven is the personification of the dragon
(Satan). The relationship between the two is such that to speak of
one is to speak of the other.
3. Having seven heads and
ten horns = is the specific composition of the great red dragon. Daniel
7 is helpful at this point concerning the interpretation of the heads
and horns. It must be kept in mind that John is describing the composite
Daniel indicates that a
beast with ten horns would figure prominently in the eschatological
end when the Son of Man comes. In Daniel 7, the ten horns represent
ten kings (Dan 7:24) who rule at the same time. In Daniel 7, a beast
can represent a kingdom or the king that rules over that kingdom.
A horn can represent a king (Dan 7:24) or a kingdom (Dan 8:22). John
sees a dragon with seven heads. The heads represent kingdoms.
The composite red dragon also has ten horns. In both Daniel
and the Revelation, horns can represent kings or the authority of
kings. However, with regards to the composite dragon, the horns represent
kings without kingdoms. This is why unlike the ten horns of the beast
from the sea the ten horns of the dragon do not have crowns.
4. On his heads were seven
diadems = indicates the authority of royalty. The composite dragon
has seven heads because seven kingdoms had the primary satanically
inspired intent to prevent the temporal reign of the Son. It is critical
that the readers recognize this important detail. There are only seven
kingdoms that constitute the satanically inspired conspiracy to destroy
the Man-Child. All seven existed before the birth of the Child. Once
the Child is born and caught up to heaven, the strategy to destroy
Him at birth ends. The seven kingdoms of the composite dragon are
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece and Rome.
The composite dragon pictures
Satans attempt to prevent the reign of the Son by using seven
beast kingdoms: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Midia, Persia, Greece and
Rome. Each of these empires ruled the entire known world. Behind their
world dominance was Satan with his agenda to prevent the temporal
reign of the Son.
(1) And his tail swept away
a third of the stars of heaven and (2) threw them to the earth. (3)
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, (4)
so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
1. And his tail swept away
a third of the stars of heaven = suggests a very powerful dragon.
Continuing his figurative description of the composite great red dragon,
John indicates that the dragon caused a third of the stars of heaven
to be thrown down to earth. This suggests a supernatural element to
this beast. Who or what the stars are is not explicitly defined.
2. Threw them to the earth
= has been interpreted by some to suggest that this refers to the
fall of Satan and one-third of the angelic host. However, this conclusion
is not supported by the text.
3. And the dragon stood
before the woman who was about to give birth = focuses the primary
objective of the composite great red dragon. Given that the child
is caught up to heaven, we are safe to assume that the composite dragon
is standing on the earth.
4. So that when she gave
birth he might devour her child = indicates the purpose of the composite
great red dragons actions. Why the dragon seeks the death of
the child is not indicated yet. There is clearly more to this story
than is told because the dragon, as such, could devour both the child
and the mother. Why must he wait until the child is born? It is important
to understand that the composite great red dragon exists before the
birth of the child. The heads must wait for the birth of the child
before they can destroy it.
Each dragon inspired empire
attempted to destroy the Male-Son. This satanically inspired strategy
dates back to the very beginning of Scripture. Genesis 3:15 indicates
a struggle between the serpent and the woman. The womans seed
eventually will crush the head of the serpent. To prevent the seed
from His ordained destiny, the serpent has attempt to destroy the
(1) And she gave birth to
a son, a male, (2) who is to rule all the nations with a rod
of iron; and (3) her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
1. And she gave birth to
a son, a male child = is interesting. The text says literally, a
male son, which appears redundant and unnecessary. One cannot
have a son without it being a male. The point seems to be that this
is a special son.
2. Who is to rule all the
nations with a rod of iron = gives the purpose of this special child.
That the composite great red dragon seeks to kill the child has already
alerted the reader that this child is special. The indication that
this child "is to rule the nations" explains why this child
is the object of the dragons attention. All authority will be
subject to this child and those who resist will meet destruction.
The nations seek to prevent the Son from reigning over the earth by
killing him at birth.
This child will rule the
all nations with a rod of iron. This is an allusion to Psalms
2:9. This is the second allusion to this passage in the Revelation.
The first occurred in Revelation 2:27. There, overcomers are promised
the authority to rule over the nations. The One making the promise
is The Son of God. To rule with a rod of iron represents a
strict demand of obedience. This ruler will not allow any rebellious
or disobedience on the part of His kingdom constituents.
All the nations
as a biblical phrase has a long history throughout Scripture. It appears
more than sixty times in the Old Testament. It occurs five times in
the Revelation (12:5; 14:8; 15:4; 18:3, 23). The phrase may or may
not include the Jews, but it always represents all the Gentiles nations
of the known world. These nations will be under the control of the
Son. This explains why the composite dragon satanically inspired by
the dragon (Satan) will seek to keep the Son from His destiny. This
Son will replace the dragon as king of the earth and will demand the
submission of all earthly authority to Himself.
3. Her child was caught
up to God and to His throne = explains how the child escaped the death
trap of the composite great red dragon. The "was caught up"
is the same verb used to describe what will happen to the "dead
in Christ" and those living when He comes in the air (1Thess
4:16). Since the great red dragon was in wait to kill the Son, the
language communicates urgencyto snatch away. The fact that this
child is caught up to God and to His throne heightens the significance
of the child. Gods throne throughout the Revelation indications
the place of absolute power and authority. It is the central focus
Some argue that this text
should only be applied to Jesus in a secondary sense, since Jesus
did in fact die on earth. The fact that this child is caught up to
heaven (presumably) immediately after birth argues against a primary
application to Christ, some would say. However, John is not given
a strictly literal interpretation of the events connected with the
birth, ministry and death of Christ. Rather, he is focusing on the
satanic system that culminates in the eschaton with the worst persecution
of Gods people the world will ever know, which justifies Gods
wrath that follows.
Some would reject the interpretation
that a time gap exists between Revelation 12:5 and 6. They do so at
the expense of a literal face value interpretation of the text. The
catching up of the Son and the protective custody of the woman that
follows must involve some gap in time. Only by spiritualizing the
text or playing down the textual details, while emphasizing textual
generalities can one escape this conclusion. The woman has a future
that is insured by God.
(1) Then the woman fled into
the wilderness (2) where she had a place prepared by God, (3) so that
there she would be nourished (4) for one thousand two hundred and sixty
1. Then the woman fled
into the wilderness = indicates that the safety of the Son in heaven
is followed by the safety of the woman in the wilderness. This confirms
that the Son was caught up from the earth. The wilderness has
a rich tradition as a place of safety from trouble as well as a place
of temptation and testing. Unlike Jesus who went to the wilderness
to be tempted and Israel who went to the wilderness to be tested,
the woman flees to the wilderness to be "saved." First,
she will be saved physically and then spiritually, as with Elijah
whom God protected and fed in the wilderness for three and a half
years (1 Kings 17:1-7; 19:3-4).
2. Where she had a place
prepared by God = explains why the woman flees into the wilderness.
We are not told how the woman knows that God has a place prepared
for her. The notion of a prepared place is reminiscent of John 14:2-3.
3. So that there she would
be nourished = indicates a result of the prepared place. Not only
will the woman receive protection, but she will also receive nourishment
(food and water) to sustain her life during the time of protective
4. For one thousand two
hundred and sixty days = is the exact amount of time the beast (Antichrist)
is given authority to persecute the woman and her offspring (Rev 12:13-17).
The woman (the remnant) will be protected from the persecution of
the beast (Antichrist).
(1) And there was war in
heaven, (2) Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon (Satan).
The dragon (Satan) and his angels waged war, and (3) they were not strong
enough, and (4) there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
1. And there was war in
heaven = appears at first glance to be an intrusion into the narration
of the woman and her Sons miraculous rescue from the composite
great red dragon. However, when the reader understands that Revelation
12:1-6 focuses on the composite dragon (empire) and Revelation 12:7
and following focuses on the singular dragon (Satan) the problem is
solved. The resumption of the womans rescue in Revelation 12:13
also underscores this point. The text indicates a war started
in heaven. A war usually consists of more than one battle. So here,
for the war will begin in heaven with a decisive battle that will
finish on earth at Armageddon.
This war is a cleansing
war. First heaven will be cleansed of Satan. Then the earth will be
cleansed of all evil doersSatan and followers.
2. Michael and his angels
waging war with the dragon (Satan) = defines the combatants of the
battle in heaven. It is important that the reader understands that
the Greek supports the conclusion that Michael initiates this battle.
Once the Son is caught up to heaven all hope is lost that the composite
dragon will devour the child. The battle is not the result of the
great red dragon pursuing the child to heaven.
The importance of Michael
to the eschatological end times cannot be over-stated. His voice will
be heard at the Rapture (1 Thess 4:16). His actions will initiate
the final unparalleled persecution of Israel (Dan 12:1). He initiates
the battle that ignites the final conflict prior to the coming of
the Son to rule all the nations (Rev 12:7). There is every possibility
that he is the restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. The former three
passages mentioned all deal with the beginning of the forty-two months;
time, times and half a time; and, one thousand two hundred and sixty
days, which mark the eschatological period just prior to the Lords
return at Armageddon.
3. They were not strong
enough = pertains to Satan. That is, he and his angels were not strong
enough to prevent Michael and his angels from carrying out their orders
to cast Satan out of highest heavens.
4. There was no longer
a place found for them in heaven = that is, they no longer had a purpose
in highest heaven. This suggests that a very important point in the
history of mankind has indeed come about. Satan no longer has a purpose
in the highest heaven.
(1) And the great dragon
was thrown down, (2) the serpent of old who is called the devil and
Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth,
and (3) his angels were thrown down with him.
1. And the great dragon
was thrown down = summarizes the outcome of the battle in heaven.
Notice Satan is not the great red dragon. John has changed the referent
at this point. This undoubtedly must have been the original order
to Michael and his angels. At this point, we are not told where he
is thrown down to.
2. The serpent of old =
begins a detailed identification of the dragon. This is necessary
to distinguish him from the composite dragon of Revelation 12:1-6.
The serpent is known as the deceiver of Eve (2 Cor 11:3, Gen 3:1).
However, the serpent has never been explicitly identified as Satan.
Two clauses will further
explain exactly who this serpent is: First, he is described as he
"who is called the devil and Satan." The devil is his Greek
name. Satan is his Hebrew name. Second, the serpent is identified
as he "who deceives the whole world." Deception is the major
tool of Satan especially in connection with end times. Jesus warned
believers, "See to it that no one misleads you (Matt 24:4)."
The apostle Paul warned believers, "Let no one in any way deceive
you (2 Thess 2:3a)." Both warnings occur in the context of end
3. His angels were thrown
down with him = makes clear that Satan is not allowed in heaven once
it is purged. All the fallen ranks of the satanic order are limited
to earth for a short time (three and a half years).
(1) Then I heard a loud voice
in heaven, saying, (2) "Now the salvation, and the power, and the
kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, (3) for
the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, (4) he who accuses
them before our God day and night. (5) And they overcame him (6) because
of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
1. Then I heard a loud
voice in heaven, saying = as before, the speaker who proclaims loudly
in heaven information relative to a previous event is not explicitly
2. Now the salvation, and
the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ
have come = begins this praisefest. God and His Messiah are praised
because of the historic importance of Satans expulsion from
heaven to the earth. The cleansing of heaven of satanic influence
is the first step in the final process that will bring about the actualization
of Gods physical reign on the earth.
Salvation is not
spoken of in a spiritual sense, but physical. God is praised because
of His victory over Satan that brings about the cleansing of the heavens.
Power (dunamis) of God in contrast to the weakness of
Satan brings praise of Gods power. The kingdom (reign)
of our God is the third attribute praised in light of Satans
explosion from heaven. In our western mindset, kingdom is generally
associated with a geographical domain. However, closer to the biblical
sense is the idea of "reign" or "exercise of power
The authority of His
Christ have come is the final element of this praisefest. This
is the only place in the Revelation to speak of the authority of Christ.
After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus declared, "All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." The expulsion of
Satan from heaven will be an overt expression of the Lords authority
over heaven. The expulsion of Satan from the earth will be an overt
expression of the Lords authority over earth.
Some argue that this proclamation
is in contradiction with the similar proclamation in Revelation 11:15.
This, they argue, adds support to their claim that the book of Revelation
either recapitulates or speaks of events as completed before they
actually occur (proleptical). However, such conclusions overlook the
obvious. The proclamation in Revelation 11:15 concerns Gods
reign on earth. The proclamation in Revelation 12:10 concerns Gods
reign in heaven. God has always reigned in heaven. Therefore, in what
sense has His reign in heaven come?
3. For the accuser of our
brethren has been thrown down = explains another reason for the praisefest
in heaven and the sense in which Gods reign in heaven has come.
Accuser is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word satan,
which is transliterated in English. This explains why Satan no longer
had a place (purpose) in heaven. Therefore, he was thrown down. There
is a problem here. The phrase our brethren suggests that the
loud voice in heaven are peers with those accused by Satan. It is
clear that those accused by Satan are human for they face death. However,
the issue is resolved when once it is understood that the loud voice
in heaven must be human as well. There is nothing about the voice
or what is said that would limit it to an angelic host. In other words,
it could be the voice of a man or men.
4. He who accuses them
before our God day and night = explains Satans purpose in heaven.
However, with his defeat, he lost his job. His day and night
(it means continually) job of complaining to God about the righteous
5. And they overcame him
= continues the explanation concerning why Satan is thrown down from
heaven to earth. The pronoun they refers to the brethren on
earth. The brethren conquered Satan. Three reasons are given as the
basis of their victory.
First, because of the
blood of the Lamb, they conquered Satan. The blood of the Lamb
refers to His death. Because of the death of Jesus, the brethren conquered
Satan. They believed that Jesus is Lord.
Second, because of the
word of their testimony is the second reason the brethren conquered
their accuser. Because of the word, namely their testimony to Jesus,
the brethren were victorious. The brethren defeated Satan because
they professed Jesus as Lord.
Third, [because] they
did not love their life even when faced with death is the third
reason the brethren were victorious over their accuser. Some have
taken this clause to mean that the brethren were martyrs. However,
it does not say they died, but that they were willing to die, if necessary.
They would not renege concerning the Lordship of Christ. Instead,
they resisted up to and if necessary, death. This is a wonderful testimony
to the power and grace of God in the lives of those who truly know
the Lord. The apostle Paul states, "no one speaking by the Spirit
of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus
is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3)." They
would not deny that Jesus is Lord.
(1) For this reason, rejoice,
O heavens and you who dwell in them. (2) Woe to the earth and the sea,
(3) because the devil has come down to you, (4) having great wrath,
(5) knowing that he has only a short time."
1. For this reason, rejoice,
O heavens and you who dwell in them = is a call for celebration in
heaven by her residents. The reason they are to celebrate is twofold:
(1) Satan purpose in heaven is over; and (2) the brethren on earth
render his accusations baseless.
2. Woe to the earth and
the sea = is the second of two results of Satans expulsion from
heaven. Woe indicates that a grave situation stands in the
path of those trying to reach tomorrow. As with the above statement,
both heaven and her inhabitants are to celebrate, in contrast the
earth and the sea [and those who dwell in them] are to anticipate
3. Because the devil has
come down to you = is the reason for the pronouncement of "woe."
However, it is not the fact that he has come down that is critical.
4. Having great wrath =
is the reason the earth and the sea [and those who dwell in them]
should be sober. The term wrath (thumos) is "a
state of intense anger, with the implication of passionate outbursts
anger, fury, wrath, rage (Louw-Nida, § 88.178)."
This same term is attributed to God in Revelation 15:1. The wrath
of God mentioned in Revelation 15:1 is defined by the bowl judgments
of Revelation 16-19. It is therefore easy to understand why the loud
voice in heaven warns the inhabitants of the earth and sea. Satans
outbursts of anger and rage may not equal Gods rage in intensity
and scope, but those who suffer it will be just as dead.
5. Knowing that he has
only a short time = suggests a temporal limit between the cleansing
of heaven and the cleansing of earth of satanic influence. It is the
destiny of the devil along with his expulsion from heaven and his
defeat by the sinning but victorious brethren that fuels Satans
The length of Satans
temporal limit is described as "a short time." According
to Revelation 12:14 the woman will be protected from the dragon for
time, times and half a time, which equals forty-two months or one
thousand two hundred and sixty days.
This conclusively proves
that the wrath that the followers of Christ will experience on the
earth during the "short time" of Satans anger outbursts
is not the wrath of God. The overwhelming part of the time called
"the great tribulation" is the wrath of Satan against Gods
(1) And when the dragon saw
that he was thrown down to the earth, (2) he persecuted the woman who
gave birth to the male child.
1. And when the dragon
saw that he was thrown down to the earth = speaks to the consequence
of Satans expulsion from heaven.
2. He persecuted the woman
= is the first victim of Satans wrath. However, the NASBs
translation is a bit misleading at this point. The verb to persecute
(dioko) is better translated here, to pursue after.
The dragons intent is certainly to persecute, but the woman
will be delivered before he is able to accomplish his plans. He is
pursuing the woman to persecute here.
(1) But the two wings of
the great eagle were given to the woman, (2) so that she could fly into
the wilderness to her place, (3) where she was nourished for a time
and times and half a time, (4) from the presence of the serpent.
1. But the two wings of
the great eagle were given to the woman = explains how the woman escapes
the dragon. In Revelation 12:5, we were told that the woman fled into
the wilderness, but we were not told how she fled, how she knew to
flee, or how she knew where to flee. Those details are now explained.
John states that "the two wings of the great eagle were
given to the woman." Does John suggest that the method of escape
is well-known to his readersthis is the importance of the article.
This is clearly a figure of speech. There is no literal eagle here.
However, Scripture speaks of an eagle of deliverance. The eagle metaphor
of deliverance to safety is expanded in Deuteronomy 32:10-14. In this
passage, God is compared to an eagle in His care for the Jews. However,
in Exodus 19:4 God calls Himself an eagle. It states, "You yourselves
have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles
wings, and brought you to Myself." God compares His deliverance
of the Jews from Egypt to that of an eagle who carries her babies
in safety when teaching them to fly. Closer examination of Johns
statement reveals that the woman is given "the two wings,"
which perhaps suggests the surety of the deliverance.
Notice that there is no
difference between the agenda of the composite dragon and the dragon.
The composite dragon is so identified with the dragon that one is
able to speak of them interchangeably.
2. So that she could fly
into the wilderness to her place = continues the metaphor of miraculous
deliverance. With the eagles wings, the woman is able to fly
to safety. The exact literal way God will deliver His people is not
indicated, however the eagle metaphor suggests that it will be supernatural
much like the way God delivered the children from Egypt. The Jews
walked out of Egypt under the divine protection of God. They had a
pillar of fire between them and their enemies.
3. Where she was nourished
for a time and times and half a time = is clearly an allusion to Daniel
7:25. The time reference only occurs in the books of Revelation/Daniel
and deals with the persecution of the Jewish people by the beast.
Daniel does not indicate a miraculous deliverance by God, but does
indicate that the people will survive to receive an eternal kingdom.
4. From the presence of
the serpent = is the ultimate goal of Gods miraculous deliverance
of the woman/the remnant.
(1) And the serpent poured
water like a river out of his month after the woman, (2) so that he
might cause her to be swept away with the flood.
1. And the serpent poured
water like a river out of his month after the woman = indicates Satans
response to Gods miraculous deliverance of the remnant. It also
suggests something about the way God will deliver the people. It would
make no sense to send water after the woman unless the woman is fleeing
in such a matter that water could deter her escape. However, in keeping
with the metaphor, the serpent poured water out of his month. This
is obviously a figure of speech. Literal water is not intended here.
2. So that he might cause
her to be swept away with the flood = indicates the intended outcome
of the serpents actions. Obviously, his purpose is to destroy
One cannot be dogmatic
at this point, but it would seem that John is clearly relating this
event to the most important deliverance event in the history of Israel.
The Egypt/Israel conflict and Gods special deliverance is the
single most important event for the Jewish people in Old Testament
history. God delivered the woman (Israel) by destroying the Egyptians
with a flood. Exodus 15:12 specifically says, "The earth swallowed
them (the Egyptians)." Rather, God will more than likely walk
the people out of Jerusalem under His divine protection as Israel
came out of Egypt. The serpent will send an army after the Jews, but
will not be successful because of Gods divine intervention.
(1) But the earth helped
the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which
the dragon poured out of his mouth.
1. But the earth helped
the woman = indicates the nature of the womans miraculous escape.
Like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the earth will swallow the womans
enemies (Num16:32-34). John has clearly modeled this deliverance after
the deliverance from Egypt. This will be the second time that God
used nature to defeat the enemies of the woman/Judah.
This also indicates that
the dragon will lose a major army just prior to Antichrists
reign of terror.
(1) So the dragon was enraged
with the woman, and (2) went off to make war with the rest of her children,
who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
1. So the dragon was enraged
with the woman = indicates the response of the dragon to the womans
miraculous escape and his loss of an army. Was enraged translates
the Greek verb orgizo, to be furious.
2. Went off to make war
with the rest of her children = indicates that the dragon, unable
to persecute the woman, turns his attention to her children.
This is a critically important
phrase. Who exactly are the children of the woman? The Greek literally
says, "her seed." Since "seed" is normally spoken
of in relation to a man rather than a women, this perhaps is a clue
that John is alluding to Genesis 3:15. There it is the seed of the
woman that will bruise the heel of the serpent. The apostle Paul states
in Galatians 3:16 that the seed of the woman referred to Christ.
The correct identity of
the offspring of the woman would perhaps have remained unclear, if
not for the details John offers. Two relative clauses make their identity
certain. First, the seed of the woman refers to those "who keep
the commandments of God." This phrase is clearly a defining strait
of those who are born again, i.e. Christians. It will be repeated
again in Revelation 14:12. I John 5:3 states, "For this is the
love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are
not burdensome." To keep Gods commandments is the true
mark of a believer. The second relative clause that defines the "seed"
are those "[who] hold to the testimony of Jesus." This statement
removes any doubt that believers in Jesus Christ are the offspring
of the woman that the dragon seeks to persecute.
Section: Chapter Thirteen - The Beginning of the End