Check out the audio version of this study!
Hello everyone and welcome to my study on Revelations 12: “The Women, The Dragon, and the Male Child.
In my previous post, Revelations Study part 4, I referenced the twelfth chapter of Revelations a few times, so I thought I would go more in depth with this prophecy and explain the meaning behind it. Lets get started!
Apocalyptic literature in Biblical terms is defined as a symbol or description used in scripture in order to convey an absolute truth. The twelfth chapter of Revelations uses apocalyptic literature to explain events that have previously taken place and events that will take place in the future. Even though this prophecy is described using symbols, all these events can be referenced in scripture. Remember, scripture interprets scripture.
The apostle John starts off by describing this as a “great sign.” This is a further indication that these characters are not literal themselves, but symbols that describe literal events (apocalyptic literature). Now lets look at this passage and break it down.
The Woman, Israel
12 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
Lets first focus on the woman with the crown of twelve stars. Take a look at Joseph’s dream in Gen 37:9-11.
There are some similarities here we should point out, the sun, the moon, and twelve stars (Joseph being the twelfth). In Joseph’s dream the sun represents Jacob (his father), the moon represents Rachel (his mother), and the twelve stars represents all twelve brothers which eventually became the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacobs name was changed to Israel in Gen 32:28).
So here the women with the crown of twelve stars on her head represents the nation of Israel.
Her crying out in labor pains is describing the scene at the time of Jesus’s birth. During this time Israel (Judea and Samaria) was under oppression of the Roman Empire.
The Dragon, Satan
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
If you read a little further in this passage to Rev 12:9, it actually identifies the dragon as being Satan himself. The “third of the stars of heaven,” refers to a third of the angels who rebelled with Satan (Jude 1:6).
To better understand the seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems, Daniel gives us a parallel reference in Dan 7:7-8. If you read Daniel 7 in its entirety, it speaks of four beasts which are four kingdoms that have ruled on earth. The last beast (kingdom) is the Revived Roman Empire which is what the seven heads and ten horns are referring to. The ten horns are ten kingdoms that will come about during the Tribulation Period. Three of those kingdoms will be subdued by the little horn of Daniel 7:8, which is the Anti-Christ and ruler during the Tribulation Period. The Anti-Christ will reign over the revived Roman Empire. In a future study I’ll go into more detail about the kingdoms spoken about in Daniel.
The last part of this passages says that the dragon (Satan) stood before the women (Israel) to devour her child (Christ). Herod the Great attempted to kill Jesus when he was a child (Matthew 2:16-18) but failed. Satan tried to stop Jesus multiple times during His life and when Jesus was put to death on the cross, Satan thought he had won, but he didn’t, because Jesus conquered sin, death, and Satan by his resurrection from the dead.
The Male Child, Christ
5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Verse 5 here is clearly speaking about Jesus, for he would “rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev 19:15). The child being “caught up to God” is referring to Christ’s ascending into Heaven (Acts 1:9).
For a description of verse 6 here, I’m going to copy and paste a section of my previous study “Revelations Study part 4” where I went into detail about this event.
“The women (Israel) will go to the Edomite mountain city which today is called Petra in now-a-day Jordan, about 200 miles southeast from Jerusalem. Petra is a mountain fortress built by Esau (Jacobs brother) and became the dwelling place for the entire Edomite nation. This will be the place where God will send His people (the Jews) to protect them for 1,260 days (3.5 years), which will be the for the last half of the Tribulation Period. God will protect a remnant of His people from the wrath of the Anti-Christ and fulfill his promise that He made to them.”
For a description of the rest of Revelations 12, please see my study on Revelations Study part 4 “The Halfway Point of the Tribulation Period”
I hope all of you enjoyed this study and now have a better understand of these events.
Please email me if you have any questions regarding the information I just shared. You can find my contact information under the “contact” tab on my homepage.
And always remember, why is it important to study Bible prophecy? Because never have we been closer than today..