AD The woman gives birth to a male child who is threatened by a dragonidentified as the Devil and Satanwho intends to devour the child as soon as he is born. The dragon attacks the woman, who is given wings to escape and then attacks her again with a flood of water from his mouth, which is subsequently swallowed by the earth. The Woman of the Apocalypse is widely identified as the Virgin Mary.
This interpretation is held by some commentators of the ancient Church as well as in the medieval and modern Catholic Church. This view does not negate the alternative interpretation of the Woman representing the Churchas in modern Catholic dogma, Mary is herself considered both the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church.
Some Catholic commentaries, such as Thomas Haydock 's Catholic Bible Commentaryallow for the interpretation of the woman as either the Church or Mary. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah Rev and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon Rev13—17 ; cf.
Is ; ; Jer In Reformed theology and traditions which are averse to Marian venerationthe interpretation of the Woman represents the church. The text describes "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" The woman is pregnant and about to give birth, "travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered" Then there is "a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads" who is about to "devour her child as soon as it was born" But her child is "caught up unto God"and the woman herself is "fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Then there is a description of " War in Heaven " of the angels against the dragon, and "the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
The woman is again mentioned inas she is persecuted by the dragon, and "two wings of a great eagle" are given to her to escape The dragon attacks her by "water as a flood" emerging from his mouthbut the flood is swallowed up by the earthso the dragon went "to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" Ancient witnesses to the Marian interpretation include St.
Epiphanius Tychonius  who heavily influenced St. Augustinethe unknown author of the History of Joseph the Carpenter Quodvultdeus a disciple of St. AugustineCassiodorus Complexiones in Apocalypsi, written c. The woman's "male child" is a reference to Jesus Revelationsince he is destined to "rule all nations with a rod of iron" Revelation The dragon trying to devour the woman's child at the moment of his birth Revelation is a reference to Herod the Great 's attempt to kill the infant Jesus Matthew Through his death and resurrection and Ascension, Jesus "was snatched up to God and to his throne" Revelation In the interpretation of Pius Xthe birth is not that of Jesus but "surely ours," i.
Alternatively, extreme pain in childbirth is seen as a result of the fall by many and the woman has extreme pain in child birth which may cause some tension with a sinless Mary interpretation of the text is an issue to consider.Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! A description of the church of Christ and of Satan, under the figures of a woman and of a great red dragon.
She was clothed with the sun, justified, sanctified, and shining by union with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The moon was under her feet; she was superior to the reflected and feebler light of the revelation made by Moses. Having on her head a crown of twelve stars; the doctrine of the gospel, preached by the twelve apostles, is a crown of glory to all true believers. As in pain to bring forth a holy family; desirous that the conviction of sinners might end in their conversion.
A dragon is a known emblem of Satan, and his chief agents, or those who govern for him on earth, at that time the pagan empire of Rome, the city built upon seven hills. As having ten horns, divided into ten kingdoms.
Having seven crowns, representing seven forms of government. As drawing with his tail a third part of the stars in heaven, and casting them down to the earth; persecuting and seducing the ministers and teachers.
As watchful to crush the Christian religion; but in spite of the opposition of enemies, the church brought forth a manly issue of true and faithful professors, in whom Christ was truly formed anew; even the mystery of Christ, that Son of God who should rule the nations, and in whose right his members partake the same glory.
This blessed offspring was protected of God. The seat of this war was in heaven; in the church of Christ, the kingdom of heaven on earth.
The parties were Christ, the great Angel of the covenant, and his faithful followers; and Satan and his instruments. The strength of the church is in having the Lord Jesus for the Captain of their salvation. Pagan idolatry, which was the worship of devils, was cast out of the empire by the spreading of Christianity.
The salvation and strength of the church, are only to be ascribed to the King and Head of the church. The conquered enemy hates the presence of God, yet he is willing to appear there, to accuse the people of God.
Let us take heed that we give him no cause to accuse us; and that, when we have sinned, we go before the Lord, condemn ourselves, and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate. The servants of God overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, as the cause.
By the word of their testimony: the powerful preaching of the gospel is mighty, through God, to pull down strong holds. By their courage and patience in sufferings: they loved not their lives so well but they could lay them down in Christ's cause. These were the warriors and the weapons by which Christianity overthrew the power of pagan idolatry; and if Christians had continued to fight with these weapons, and such as these, their victories would have been more numerous and glorious, and the effects more lasting.
The redeemed overcame by a simple reliance on the blood of Christ, as the only ground of their hopes. In this we must be like them.Download audio.
Revelation 12:1-17 Exploring the Passage
Download sermon. I think we are all sufficiently aware of the fact that Christmas has been commercialized in our culture and that sentiment founded on everything from winter scenery to family reunions has for most Americans replaced its great theological and redemptive meaning.
Far too few Americans even know what the word incarnation means! Our culture has managed to reduce virtually everything of great meaning to either commercial enterprise or treacly emotion.
And it is our duty as Christians to refuse to succumb to the temptation to do likewise and fight to preserve the history that alone explains the existence of Christmas in the first place, the history even the bare echo of which still makes Christmas far and away the most important holiday of the year. To encourage you to that end, I have chosen for my first Advent sermon this year a text not usually preached at Christmas but one that very definitely defines its importance.
In this chapter John explains the origin of the persecution of the church and its tribulations in the world. As before in this book John pulls back to survey the entire course of history.
We have already had intimations of this in the earlier chapters of Revelation, but this is the first time John lays out in a systematic way the struggle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the Evil One. In the previous chapter, for example, the struggle was between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God. But here in chapter 12 we are reminded that the kingdom of the world is in fact more profoundly the kingdom of Satan, whom Paul identifies as the prince of this world.
The persecution and the tribulation s of the church are the manifestation in history of a spiritual battle that has been underway from the beginning of the world. Later we will read that this woman is persecuted and flees into the wilderness and in v. All in all, it seems clear to me that the woman is the church, the Israel of God.
The twelve stars on her head represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes also represented the church in Revelation chapter 7. A number of times in the OT Israel is said to be the mother of the people of God, even in travail as about to give birth. In the New Testament also the church is said to be the mother of believers Gal. Mary was only the greatest in a long line of women who brought forth deliverers for the people of God all of whom, in their way, leading to the Messiah himself, the Deliverer of Israel.
Woman of the Apocalypse
The ancient church, as it were, was laboring to give birth to the Messiah. He tells us in v. The use of the image of a dragon or sea monster as the embodiment of evil is a commonplace in the OT. You remember the references to Leviathan, Rahab, and Behemoth in the prophets and Job. The seven heads and seven crowns and the 10 horns are all intended to suggest great power and majesty.
As a description, of course, like so much else in the Book of Revelation, it is all highly imaginative of course. We are not supposed to try to figure out how ten horns fit on seven heads! This mad frenzy to destroy the seed of the woman has been the story of the world from the very beginning.
Satan tried to kill the seed at the flood, again by having Sarah twice taken into the harem of a heathen king, again by having all the male children of Israel killed by the midwives in Egypt, again by driving Saul to hurl a spear at David and then to hunt him down to murder him, again to prompt the wicked Queen Athaliah to destroy all the royal seed of the House of Judah 2 Chron.
But, beaten there, Satan has not surrendered and is still seeking to destroy the Messiah and his seed. Such sudden switches in perspective are characteristic of Revelation. Think of the wilderness as life in this world, whether the life of an individual Christian or the life of the church as a whole, in 42 units of time and you have the idea of the three and a half years, 42 because it is life in the wilderness, in the desert as we will see.
Think of it rather as the counterpart of the events that occur on earth, the events related in vv. The victory of the kingdom of God did not occur in angelic combat but at the cross and the empty tomb and then in the faithful life of the saints as we will read in v. Whether in heaven or on earth it is the same warfare, the one a manifestation of the other.
Now, in vv. The identification here of Satan as the accuser of the brethren is further indication that the angelic battle of vv.
Here the same contest is depicted, not as a battle between groups of angels, but as a courtroom drama pitting two lawyers against one another, with Michael perhaps understood as the advocate of the people of God as he is in some Jewish writings of the period.
And their faith proves its genuineness in their willingness to die for it! A cornered enemy with nothing to lose can be a desperate and dangerous foe.Question: "What does Revelation chapter 12 mean? Note the similarity between this description and the description that Joseph gave of his father Jacob Israel and his mother and their children Genesis The twelve stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. So the woman in Revelation 12 is Israel. Additional evidence for this interpretation is that Revelation speaks of the woman being with child and giving birth.
While it is true that Mary gave birth to Jesus, it is also true that Jesus, the son of David from the tribe of Judah, came from Israel. In a sense, Israel gave birth—or brought forth—Christ Jesus. Halfway through the Tribulation period, the Beast the Antichrist will set an image of himself up in the temple that will be built in Jerusalem. This is the abomination that Jesus spoke of in Matthew and Mark When the Beast does this, he breaks the peace pact he had made with Israel, and the nation has to flee for safety—possibly to Petra also see Matthew 24; Daniel This escape of the Jews is pictured as the woman fleeing into the wilderness.
Revelation speaks of how the devil will make war against Israel, trying to destroy her Satan knows his time is short, relatively speaking—see Revelation It also reveals that God will protect Israel in the wilderness.
Advocates of this interpretation make a number of observations about the woman:. First, in the OT, the imagery of the sun, moon, and stars refers to the nation of Israel. Fourth, the Woman is protected in the wilderness for 1, days. This iteration of 3. Clearly, this time span of three and a half years must be important to the author. This seems to fit with half of the seven years, where the Antichrist will be in power Dan.
Fifth, Daniel 12 predicted that Michael would rise up at this time to protect Israel—not the Church Dan. Sixth, Jesus is said to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
Advocates of this interpretation argue that the woman is referred to in the singular Rev. If the nation of Israel or the Church were really in view, then why is this woman just a singular person? Of course, critics of this view make a number of counter arguments to this interpretation:.
This time frame, which is mentioned five times in the text Rev. Third, when was Mary persecuted so intensely? Roman Catholic interpreters usually identify this with Mary seeing Jesus crucified in front of her. Fourth, Roman Catholics believe that Mary was a perpetual virgin—not giving birth to more children.
While the Bible affirms that Mary had more children Mt. While NT scholars disagree with this view,  we should see how this doctrine would preclude Mary from being the woman in Revelation 12 from a Roman Catholic perspective.
Amillennial and historical premillennial interpreters argue that the woman here is the church. Advocates of this interpretation argue that the NT authors call the Church a woman 2 Cor. However, this expression is also directed at Jesus specifically Rev. Moreover, this interpretation puts the amillennial interpreter in the awkward position of believing that the Church gave birth to Christ! Can we really hold to such a view?
Surely this puts the cart before the horse! To avoid this difficulty, some amillennial and historical premillennial interpreters state that the male-child is actually the church that gave birth to more believers in Christ v. However, this would negate the earlier argument that the Church is referred to as a woman.
That is, here, the Church would be referred to as a man i. For the reasons listed above, this author holds to the first view that the Woman is Israel, giving birth to the Messiah, and showing back up in the final tribulation at the end of human history.
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. But the most natural inference from Matthew is that Joseph and Mary had other children after Jesus was born, and adelphos only very rarely means anything in Koine Greek other than a physical or spiritual sibling. See footnote on page Gaebelein Ed.
He's just a mild-mannered Christian guy living in exile when—pow!
John is told to write down everything God shows him, and boy is God going to show him some strange things. First, John sees a vision of Heaven. There he meets God and Jesus and all sorts of other angels, elders, and weird six-winged creatures that inhabit the heavenly realms.
After a brief how-do-you-do, John sees Jesus come forward in the form of a seven-eyed lamb and open seven seals.
Each of the seals lets loose God's fury on the Earth. We're talking rivers of blood, plagues of locusts, giant hailstones, twenty more seasons of Jersey Shore. The last seal unleashes seven angelic trumpeters, which in turn unleashes seven bowls of God's judgment. Yep, God really has a thing for sevens… and pouring down his wrath on non-believers. Rivers of blood not freaking you out enough?
While all this is happening, John sees some pretty hideous creatures lurking around. A giant red dragon, a beast with seven heads, and another beast who also happens to love the number John is told that these baddies have been busy convincing the people of Earth to worship them instead of God.
They also like to kill Christians and just generally be evil.
Things are not going to go well for them. After God sends all the plagues to Earth and loads of people die eek! They get thrown in the Lake of Fire… along with all their followers who refuse to worship God. As for all the faithful Christians who stayed strong and kept faith in Jesus, they get to go to a splendid city in the sky where the streets are paved with gold and diamonds and nothing bad ever happens to anyone ever again.
It's all sunshine and lollipops and the eternal light of God. The hour is at hand, so repent, y'all. Don't say that a seven-eyed lamb didn't warn you. Study Guide. Previous Next. Book of Revelation Summary The book opens with our narrator, John. Introduction The book opens with a pretty big claim: what you're about to read is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
So, yeah. Start paying attention. It was all revealed to a man named John.David L. The Book of Revelation remains a closed book for many. When it is opened, it is found to be full of startling, and some times frightening, images and symbols. Number seven is the key which unlocks the meaning of the Book of Revelation. The whole book is build on a framework of the number seven. See also — Fulfilled prophecy in the Book of Daniel — ; 7; 8. Paradise lost, paradise regained —— Revelation Genesis 3.
The Antichrist —— Revelation ; Ezekiel The times of the Gentiles —— Revelation — Daniel The great tribulation —— Revelation Deuteronomy The second coming of Jesus —— Revelation Zechariah The new heaven and earth —— Revelation Isaiah Many prophecies in the Bible have two points of reference. They refer to their own day and they point forward to a future fulfillment.
The prophecies in the Book of Revelation refer both to their own time, probably the times of persecution under Domitian, AD and to the events at the end of time. See Luke Every prediction has shown the fallibility, the inaccuracy, and the presumptuousness of human beings. Others say that God will give no signs, and that nobody knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return.
Jesus will return when he is least expected. See Matthew Theof Rev 7 and Revelation 1. Revelation 4. Revelation 5. Revelation 6. Revelation 7. Revelation Why Prophecy? Feeds: Posts Comments. Number Seven Number seven is the key which unlocks the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Like this: Like Loading