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Revelation 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-17

Chapter 12

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head [the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head] a crown of twelve stars ( Revelation 12:1 ):

The identity of the woman is found in Genesis as we read of the dream of Joseph, how the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to him and so the same figure here. We have the identity of the woman as the nation of Israel, those twelve tribes that came out of Jacob.

And she being great with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered ( Revelation 12:2 ).

So she was ready to give birth to the child.

You see the purposes of God for the nation of Israel was that they were to bring the Messiah into the world. He was to be of the seed of Abraham and of the seed of David. And so God was working with this nation preparing them as the instrument, the nation, by which His Son would come into the world. God had to choose some nation, so He chose the nation of Israel. And that is why they are the chosen people. Chosen for what? Chosen to be the instrument, the people, through which God would bring His Son into the world.

Now, the tragic thing is that when God used them for this purpose, then they rejected His Son that He sent. But they had rejected the prophets before they had rejected His Son. In fact, Jesus got them quite angry one time with a parable that he gave of a certain man who went away to a far country and left his fields in the charge of his servants. And he sent back a servant that he might collect the fruit from the field, but they beat the servant, mistreated him. So he sent other servants. They beat them and mistreated them. He said, "I will send my own son. Surely they will respect him." And when they saw his son coming, they said, "Here is the heir. Let's kill him." He said, "What will the master do when he comes?" They said, "He will utterly wipe them out." The Lord said, "That is right." But it was a parable really against the Jews who had persecuted the prophets. "Which of the prophets have you not slain? Have you not persecuted?" Stephen said ( Acts 7:52 ).

And so God chose this nation to bring forth the Messiah.

And [the nation] being with child, travailing in birth, and paining to be delivered. And there appeared [a second wonder in heaven] another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [Satan], having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born ( Revelation 12:2-4 ).

So, the two wonders, the woman Israel ready to bring forth the Messiah, the Christ, and Satan ready to destroy it as soon as it was born.

You remember Herod, when the wisemen came to him and inquired where the king was to be born. Herod inquired of the Bible teachers. They said "Bethlehem". So Herod directed them to Bethlehem, but he said, "When you have found the child, come back and tell me about it, so I can come and worship him also." Herod was paranoid. He was fearful that someone was going to take his throne. He killed his wife. He killed his sons. In fact, they used to say it was safer to be Herod's pig than it is to be his son. He's paranoid. He felt people were plotting, trying to take his throne.

So when he heard that the king had been born, he was threatened. So he asked the wisemen to come back and tell me, but he intended to go and kill the child. And when the wisemen didn't come back, he then ordered that all the baby boys in Bethlehem area be killed that were two years and under. The dragon was ready to devour the child as soon as it was born.

Now, here an interesting thing with Satan. The stars of heaven, angels are often referred to as stars and this would indicate that when Satan rebelled, a third of the angels rebelled with him. That is why that I believe that there were probably three angels created in the highest order of angelic being, called the archangel. They were of the cherubim class of angels, but three special, and that was Gabriel, Lucifer and Michael. And that they each probably had under their authority a third of the angelic host. And those that were under Lucifer's authority, when he rebelled against God, joined in his rebellion. With his tail he drew a third part of the stars of heaven.

Now when this happened, we don't know. Where in prehistory this took place, we don't know. Before the world existed, no doubt, this rebellion took place of these angels. Prior to his rebellion, Satan was a perfect model. Ezekiel says he was perfect in wisdom, perfect in beauty, perfect in all of his ways, until the day that iniquity was found in him ( Ezekiel 28:17 ).

Isaiah fourteen tells us that pride filled his heart. He said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven. I will sit in the congregation of the sides of the north. I will ascend above the clouds. I will be like the most High. I will be like God. And yet, art thou cast down"( Isaiah 14:14 ). There will come a time that you will see Satan one day, and you will be amazed. You'll say, "Is that the critter that caused us so much trouble?" Isaiah fourteen tells us that.

So, there appeared this other wonder in heaven, this red dragon with seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns upon his head. We are reminded of the description of the antichrist who is the embodiment of Satan. His tail drawing a third part of the stars.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron ( Revelation 12:5 ):

When Jesus comes to establish His reign and kingdom, He will rule the world with a rod of iron.

and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne ( Revelation 12:5 ).

And that is where He is right now. Jesus has been caught up into heaven. He ascended into heaven. Luke records it in his gospel, as do other gospels. And He is there now sitting on His throne waiting for the Father to put all things in subjection unto Him. So the woman brought forth the child, he was caught up to God and to His throne.

So we move into the future.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and [sixty days] ( Revelation 12:6 ).

They asked Jesus what will be the sign of His coming, the end of the world. And Jesus began to give them the signs of His coming and of the end of the world. And He said, "Now when you see the abomination that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, the abomination of desolation, then flee to the wilderness. If you are on your housetop, don't even bother to get your coat going through. Get out of there as quick as you can. If you're out in the field, don't even go home. Split. Get down to the wilderness"( Matthew 24:15 ).

The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet; what is it? When the temple is rebuilt and the worship reestablished, after three and a half years, or three and a half years into the seven-year cycle, or in the midst of the seven-year cycle. Not three and a half years after the temple has been built and worship reestablished. That will happen. It may be just a very short time after worship is established. It could take them three years to rebuild it. The antichrist will come to Jerusalem and he will go into the Holy of Holies of this rebuilt temple and there he will proclaim that he is god and he will demand that they worship him as god. This is the abomination of desolation that Daniel speaks about.

Now Jesus said, "When you see this abomination of Desolation spoken about by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, let him who reads understand." That is what it is all about. The antichrist coming to the temple, stopping the worship, standing in the Holy of Holies proclaiming himself to be god, at that point Jesus said to flee and don't stop for anything. Get out of there.

So, the woman flees to the wilderness that she should be taken care of, the place prepared of God, that they should feed her for a thousand, two hundred and sixty days or through the last three and a half years of the seven-year cycle.

Now this wilderness place is probably the Rock City of Petra, south and east of Dead Sea. For Isaiah in the sixteenth chapter, God says to Moab, which is present day Jordan, "Open up your borders and receive My people. Shelter them in Petra until the tribulation is complete." So, until the indignation be over passed; "indignation" is the Old Testament word for the Great Tribulation. So they will flee to the Rock City of Petra where God will take care of them for three and a half years.

Now, how could God take care of them there? Well, He took care of them for forty years in the wilderness before. He fed them manna. He could feed them manna again. God has no problem feeding people. He fed Elijah with ravens. Ravens brought his food. So, God will take care of them for three and a half years.

Now there was then war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels ( Revelation 12:7 ),

So, you see the dragon also has angels. The third part, so he has a great force of angels.

And they prevailed not [the dragon and his angels]; neither was their place found any more in heaven ( Revelation 12:8 ).

Now at the present time, Satan does have access to heaven. And he goes up there just to harass us before God. "Look at that fellow down there. He is supposed to be your servant. Did you see what he did last week?" No good. Accusing you before God. What a rascal.

We have a picture of it in the book of Job. The sons of God were presenting themselves to God and Satan also came with them and God said to Satan, "Where have you been?"

"I have been going up and down throughout the earth, to and fro through it."

"Hey, have you seen my servant Job? Have you considered my servant Job? He is a good man. He loves Me and hates evil."

"I seen that character. And I have also seen how you have blessed him. You have given that guy everything anybody could want. Who wouldn't serve you when you are blessed like that, you'd be a fool not to serve You. Let me take away those things that you have given him and he will curse You to Your face."

He accused Job of being a mercenary, serving God for the profit.

God said, "All right, go ahead, but don't touch him. Strip him if you want."

So, Satan began to strip Job until he wiped him out completely. Financially he was totally wiped out. And Job fell on his face and worshiped God and said, "I came into the world naked, looks like I am going out that way. The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." In all these things Job did not curse God or charge God foolishly.

So, the sons of God again were presenting themselves to God, and Satan came with them and God said, "Where have you been?" And he said, "Going around the earth, up and down, to and fro through it".

"Hey, have you considered My servant Job? He is a good man. In spite of all that you did, he maintained his integrity."

"Oh yeah, but You wouldn't let me touch him. Let me touch him? Skin for skin, all a man has will he give for his life."

God said, "All right you can afflict him, but don't kill him."

The limitation that God placed upon him. Job was afflicted with boils. He was covered and had to lie in the ashes. His wife saw his miserable condition and said, "Honey, why don't you just curse God and die?" Horrible. His friends came and they couldn't understand his plight. They began to accuse him falsely of all kinds of secret sins.

But Satan was accusing the brethren. That is what he is doing up there. He does have access into heaven, but here shortly he is going to get kicked out. Michael and his angels are going to fight against him and going to prevail against him and he is going to be cast out.

that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world ( Revelation 12:9 ):

And what a deceiver he is.

Now because man does not want the truth, God allows man to be deceived. God allows deception. You don't want to believe the truth, then don't. God will allow you to believe some crazy hair brain tale if you want too. If you don't want to believe that God created the earth. You don't want to believe that God created you. You don't want to believe that God designed your eyes in such a glorious way, the optic nerves and the whole system of sight. You don't want to believe that that is creation. Then all right, believe in wild yarn. That a worm coming out of the ooze got burned on the forehead with the sun-wasn't really the forehead then, just the upper part of the anatomy-and it formed a freckle, mutations, and over the process of millions of years this freckle formed into an eye with all the intricate aspects of an eye. The nerves transmitting the message of the vibrations into the brain able to interpret it, the movement and so forth. Marvelous. Yarn story that deluded men, called scientists believe. You tell that to your kids they won't believe it. So, if a person doesn't believe the truth, God let's them believe a lie as preposterous as the lie may be.

"Because they served the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever more, God gave them over to reprobate minds" ( Romans 1:25 , Romans 1:28 ). They believe the lie rather than the truth. You don't want to retain God in your mind; God will give you over to a reprobate mind. You don't want to believe the truth; God will let you believe a lie. We read that the antichrist is going to bring a strong delusion on the people that those who did not want to believe the truth, and they will believe the great lie of the antichrist.

Jesus said, "I came in My Father's name and you didn't receive Me. Another is going to come in his own name, him you will receive"( John 5:43 ). You don't want to receive the truth, then you will receive the lie of the deceiver who has deceived the world. Make sure you haven't been deceived by Satan. Make sure that Satan hasn't deceived you in turning you away from God and the truth and the love of God that He has for you in Christ.

he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him [and heaven now being rid of this creature]. 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 ( Revelation 12:9-10 ).

He is continually accusing us.

And they overcame him [the brethren being accused] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death ( Revelation 12:11 ).

So, we have victory over Satan through the blood of Jesus Christ. The fact that we have been redeemed, purchased. "I am a debtor," Paul said, "not to live any longer after the flesh, not to the flesh to live after it, but to the Spirit." "Know ye not that you are a temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you. You have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and Spirit which are His. You are not your own. You have been bought with a price" ( 1 Corinthians 6:19 ). The old nature, the old life was worthless. It is dead. We count it dead. We reckon it to be dead that we might live this new life after Christ in the Spirit. Our testimony is that of redemption through the blood of Jesus, the new life, the new nature that we have in Him. So, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the testimony of that redemption, we overcome Satan.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. [Satan has been cast out.] Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea. for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows he has but a short time ( Revelation 12:12 ).

In just about three and a half years he is going to get chained and placed in the abusso, so he is angry and upset. He has been defeated and he is going to take it out upon those that live upon the earth at that time.

Now, when the dragon saw that he was cast onto the earth, he persecuted the woman or Israel. So, Israel again is going to be facing a time of persecution. These people who have gone through historically such tremendous persecution, the inquisition in Spain, the slaughter by Hitler and now the persecution in Russia, these people have had such a tremendous share of persecution. There are people who hate them that don't even know why they hate them. Anti-Semitism is an evil, wicked thing, but it is so prevalent. The tragedy is that they have yet more persecution to go through. Satan is going to seek to persecute the woman which brought forth the man child.

And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time ( Revelation 12:13-14 ),

Time is a year. Times-two years, and half a time would be, of course, a half-year, so three and a half years; one thousand, two hundred and sixty-two days from the face of the serpent.

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood (that is an army) after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth ( Revelation 12:15-16 ).

So the army that pursues after Israel will be destroyed as the earth opens up.

During the time of Moses when Korah came and said that you have taken too much on yourself making your brother the one who offers sacrifices, we are Levites and have just as much right as does Aaron, and Moses took the rods and set them before the Lord. And then the next day after Aaron's rod had budded said; "Okay, Korah, you and your buddies stand out there. If God is in this thing let the earth open up and swallow you guys whole right down into the pit." And the earth opened up and Korah and his buddies went on down. So, here again the earth will open up.

Actually this great rift of which they call the Jordan Valley, of which the Dead Sea is a part, and of course the city of Petra on the other side, this great rift they believe was caused by a tremendous earthquake, seismic movement and all, and of course it is the greatest rift in the world. The Dead Sea is thirteen hundred feet below sea level and it is called the Great African Rift. It goes from Syria down into Africa. So, it is a place of historic, cataclysmic earthquakes and fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So again, even as Mount St. Helen's laid dormant for one hundred and thirty-seven years and then suddenly popped, this area is just going to open up and close up again, and the army that is pursuing Israel will be swallowed.

And the dragon was angry with the woman, and he went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ ( Revelation 12:17 ).

So, chapter twelve deals with these interesting little vignettes into aspects of the past and future.

As we get into chapter thirteen next week, we get into the antichrist and we will get some historic background on him, as we take a look at this man, who I believe to be alive in the world today. And I believe that he is about ready to take over, but the only thing that is keeping him from taking over is the presence of the church. But I believe the earth is ready for him and ready to receive him and that he is ready to establish his kingdom, his reign over the earth. And that he probably is already involved in world politics. I don't know who he is. I am not even going to guess who he is. But I do believe that we are at that time, that he does exist and probably is actively involved in world politics and will be taking over as soon as the church is gone.

We'll be dealing with that next week as we get into chapter thirteen.

May the Lord be with you and give you a beautiful week. May you enjoy His presence and His fellowship as you walk with Him. May the Spirit of God give you strength and power in your inner man. May He help you to begin to comprehend how much God does love you, how much God cares for each one of you. May you come to a new rich love relationship with Jesus Christ where your heart burns with passion for Him and for the things of the spirit. May you be enriched in His fullness. May the Lord watch over and keep you in Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/revelation-12.html. 2014.
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