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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Revelation 12

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

The Child and The Great Red Dragon
- Revelation Twelve
-

Revelation twelve is a dividing line in the book of Revelation. The picture in this chapter takes us back to Genesis 3:15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." The seed of a woman was in a struggle with Satan. Satan was ready to devour the child. Here we do not see the battles. Those are pictured in the Gospels.

The woman in this story is the whole family of God or the true Israel of God for all times. "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." (Ephesians 3:15) God"s people are in a war against Satan. There is also war in heaven, a struggle between the powers of heaven and the great red dragon. (Revelation 12:7-9) Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, in behalf of the people of God.

A shout of victory is heard because of the blood of the Lamb. "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Revelation 12:10-12)

Satan, through his lies, works to destroy the church but victory belongs to the faithful people of God.


Verses 1-3

A woman and a great red dragon - Revelation 12:1-3 : Who is this woman? The woman is the true Israel of God. "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:1)

The woman includes the Old Testament Israel, because through them the Messiah was born. The nation of Israel was laboring to bring forth a godly seed. "And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth." (Malachi 2:15) The woman is the Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church. Later in the chapter Christians are indicated as children of the woman.

Those may look upon the people of God on earth as lowly, persecuted, and hated people. God, from the heavenly viewpoint, sees His people through radiant glory--Arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her and a crown with twelve stars upon her head. God"s covenant people will see victory. "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16) The Devil is a looser man, but the faithful of God always win!

Who is the child that is brought forth? The only logical conclusion is that He is Jesus. He is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Revelation 19:15)

In contrast with the woman and her child is the great red dragon. This can only be Satan. He is pictured with: (1) Seven heads--authority or world dominion, (2) Ten horns--complete destructive power, and (3) Seven crowns--symbolizing a ruler and not victory. This can only be the one first pictured in Genesis 3:15.


Verses 4-6

The child and the dragon - Revelation 12:4-6 : The great red dragon was so cunning that at his fall he took with him a third of the angels of heaven. He even did his best to destroy the child that was born. However, the child lived to become the Lamb of God. Satan could do nothing as Jesus is caught up into heaven. The Devil then turns to destroy the woman but God also has a place of protection for her.

In spite of all that the Devil did the woman brought forth a man-child. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) The picture in Revelation twelve is not just that of the birth of Jesus, but also His death, resurrection and ascension.

Just as Israel of old was fed, preserved and protected in the wilderness, just so God"s spiritual Israel would be preserved and protected by God in her own wilderness. God had prepared this place for His people for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. This time-period represents the entire Christian dispensation.


Verses 7-12

War in heaven - Revelation 12:7-12 : Michael and his angels fought against the Devil and his angels. The Devil had once been in heaven in the presence of God. (Job 1:1-22; Job 2:1-13) Now there is joy in heaven because he is cast out. Now the Devil can be overcome.

God"s people overcome by the blood of Christ. It is not by their merit at all. They overcome by the word of His testimony. The only ones going to heaven are those who personally live by God"s word and teach it to others. They overcome by loving God more than they love their own lives. They will be faithful even if it means death!


Verses 13-17

War on the earth - Revelation 12:13-17 : The war on earth had to do with the persecution of the church by man and the protection of the church by God. God"s people were given strength--two wings of the great eagle. They were in a place of nourishment. The three and one half years is the entire Christian age. God protects preserves and loves His people.

During all this time the Devil is still trying to win. He dumps rives of water upon God"s people in the form of ungodliness, destruction and wickedness. The destructive lies of Satan are just another attempt to destroy the church. "In this chapter, Satan, the great enemy of mankind, depicted here as the dragon, has been introduced; but he will appear repeatedly in several different guises in the subsequent chapters of this prophecy."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-12.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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