In our study of Revelation chapter twelve, we look at Satan's coming battle for control of heaven and his pursuit of God's people.
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Now a great sign was seen in heaven - a woman clothed with the sun, under her feet the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
Now, John tells us of a sign that he sees in heaven and it is a woman. There are those who say that this is an actual woman and that it is the Virgin Mary but this is not so. John says that it is a sign (not an actual woman) and we see the same description in Genesis 37:9. There Joseph has a dream with the same description and it refers to Israel and not an actual woman.
She was pregnant and about to give birth, and she screamed in the agony of labor.
Many have used this verse to once again say that the woman is Mary but, if you realize that the woman is Israel, you can see that this verse speaks to the fact that Yeshua was a Jew. After a four hundred year silence ("pregnant"), the promised child was born.
Another sign was seen in heaven there was a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns.
Another sign appears which is a dragon and we shall see later that this dragon is identified as Satan. This verse has been misused to give the image that Satan is a horribly ugly creature but he is not. He, in fact, is described elsewhere as one of the most beautiful of angels and in fact was what we would call the music minister in heaven. We have all seen the pictures of a little red creature running around with a pitchfork but that is not the true picture of Satan. The seven heads indicate seven empires that serve the purposes of Satan. These seven empires have ten kings as represented by the ten horns and we see that on each of the heads was a crown which is a symbol of a kingdom.
Its tail swept a third of the stars out of heaven and threw them down to the earth. It stood in front of the woman about to give birth, so that it might devour the child the moment it was born.
John sees the sign in heaven of Satan and his fall as this speaks of the third of the angels that followed him. Satan opposed the birth of Yeshua as he knew that it would seal his doom.
She gave birth to a son, a male child, the one who will rule all the nations with a staff of iron. But her child was snatched up to God and his throne;
This verse tells of the birth and resurrection of Yeshua Messiah. We are also reminded that he will rule all nations and it is coming soon.
and she fled into the desert, where she has a place prepared by God so that she can be taken care of for 1,260 days.
This verse speaks to a time to come when Israel will be taken to a special place where God will protect them from Satan. This will last for the second half of this great tribulation period. There are those that have taught that this was talking about how Joseph, Mary, and Yeshua fled from King Herod into Egypt but as we have seen Mary is not the woman in this verse. (John said it was a sign.)
Next there was a battle in heaven - Mikha'el and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
Satan still has access to heaven (as we see in the book of Job) and he still wants to take the place of God. This verse speaks of a coming battle where Satan attempts to take over heaven.
But it was not strong enough to win, so that there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown out, that ancient serpent, also known as the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
Satan will lose the battle and will be banished to the earth with the angels that had joined him in the rebellion. The people that are left on the earth will be fooled by him and led away from the truth of God.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now have come God's victory, power and kingship, and the authority of his Messiah; because the Accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night before God, has been thrown out!
Now the kingdom of God is declared in heaven. There is rejoicing as Satan has been cast out for the final time by the authority of Yeshua Messiah.
"They defeated him because of the Lamb's blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life.
How was the battle won over sin and Satan? The answer is in this verse as we see that it was by the blood of Yeshua Messiah. When we come to Christ, there should be a desire to share your testimony. There should also be a willingness to do so even at the risk of your life. As Christians, we can be assured that we pass from this life and into the very presence of God.
"Therefore, rejoice, heaven and you who live there! But woe to you, land and sea, for the Adversary has come down to you, and he is very angry, because he knows that his time is short!"
Heaven rejoices as Satan and his demons are cast down but there is trouble ahead for the people of earth. At this point, Satan knows that he has very little time left until he is judged. Imagine playing a game and knowing that, no matter what you do, in the end you will lose. That is how it is with the devil and it makes him furious.
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male child.
There is and has been pursuit and persecution of the Jewish people since the time that they left slavery in Egypt. It is going to get worse as we see that Satan is going to chase them one last time.
But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where she is taken care of for a season and two seasons and half a season, away from the serpent's presence.
Satan begins to pursue the Jews but God provides them with great speed as the eagle is a symbol of speed throughout the Bible. God has prepared a place for his people where they will be protected from Satan. They will be taken care of for 1260 days. There are those that say this verse was fulfilled when Israel became a nation but that is not what is being spoken of here.
The serpent spewed water like a river out of its mouth after the woman, in order to sweep her away in the flood; but the land came to her rescue - it opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon had spewed out of its mouth.
Satan couldn't catch God's people and so he tried to overtake them and drown them. The earth itself intervened on behalf of them and swallowed up the water.
The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey God's commands and bear witness to Yeshua.
Satan could not touch Israel and that really made him mad. Then, he turns that anger on the Gentile believers.