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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Revelation 12

Verse 1

SEVEN PERSONAGES IN REVIEW Revelation 12:1 to Revelation 13:18.

1) "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven," (kai semeion mega ophthe an to ourano) "and a great sign was seen (beheld) in the heaven," where the throne of God is. This introduces three great wonders or signs from heaven; 1) Israel, God’s wife; 2) the Great red Dragon, the Devil, and 3) the Great Whore, mother of false religions of Christiandom, Revelation 12:1; Revelation 12:3; Revelation 15:1.

2) "A woman clothed with the sun," (gune peribeblemene ton helion) "a woman having been clothed, robed, or dressed around with the sun," adorned with the chief light of the universe, object of God’s divine love through whom the true light was to come.

3) "And the moon under her feet," (kai he selene hupokato ton podon autes) "and the moon was underneath her feet," Israel in divine service and obedience to God, like the moon, was a reflection of the light of God, the Messiah, the Light of the World.

4) "And upon her head," (kai epi tes kephales) "and upon the head of her (there was)," authority of rulership and queenly administration of Israel rested here.

5) "A crown of twelve stars," (stephanos asteron dodeka) "a twelve star crown," a crown made of twelve stars, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, Revelation 7:4-8.

Verse 2

1) "And she being with child," (kai en gastri echousa) and in the womb she, holding a child, being pregnant." The "she" refers to the woman (Israel), John 16:21; Mary, the person of Israel’s long desire, brought forth the man child, Luke 1:80.

2) "Cried," (kai krazei) "she cried aloud." Isaiah described this apparent event, Isaiah 66:7-10, extending from the birth of Christ to His return to earth to restore Israel to her former glory, Luke 1:30-34.

3) "Travailing in birth," (odinousa) "suffering birth pains," prediction of her pain and travail in captivity in Babylon were made in Micah 4:10 as Simeon and Anna and Zecharias had long hoped for and waited Israel’s deliverer, Luke 1:67-80; Luke 2:25-38.

4) "And pained to be delivered," (kai basanizonnen tekein) "and being distressed (pained) to be delivered, to give birth to the child." In Babylon, Israel pained to be delivered of the man child, but the delivery was not merely to be from Babylonian captivity but also to eternal death and sin, by the one to be brought forth in Bethlehem of Judea in natural birth, Luke 2:4-11; Galatians 4:4-5; and from the grave to assure deliverance to believers from death, hell, and the grave, Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28; Hebrews 2:14-15.

Verse 3

1) "And there appeared another wonder in heaven," (kai ophthe allo semeion en to ourano) "and there was seen (yet) another sign in heaven," a wonder symbol or sign, of something that was and was yet to be.

2) "And behold a great red dragon," (kai idou drakon megas purros) "and behold a great red (fiery-like) dragon; the chief, ruler, inflamed-leader of fallen angels, of demons or demon spirits, the Devil himself, Revelation 12:4; Revelation 12:7; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:13; Revelation 12:16-17; Revelation 13:2; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:11; Revelation 20:2; Judges 1:6; Revelation 20:10.

3) "Having seven heads and ten horns," (echon kephalas hepta kai kepata deka) "having or bearing seven heads and ten horns." He became (took upon him the form) of the scarlet beast on whom the great whore was to ride, Revelation 17:3-7. The seven heads and the ten horns signify complete Satanic domination and control of all Gentile world powers.

4) "And seven crown upon his heads," (kai epi tas kephalas autou hepta diademata) "and there were upon the (seven) heads seven diadems." Seven crowns or diadems signify the complete, kingly administrative Gentile rulership and domination of world governments that shall be in the power of this dragon beast, the antichrist, perhaps devil incarnated, John 5:43; Revelation 13:15-18.

Verse 4

1) "And his tail drew," (kai he oura autou surei) "and his tail draws," like a magnet from his (the dragon) tail, tailing or following him with allegiance in his "crown, diadem, rule of rebellion." This seems to refer to the origin of Satan, the Dragon, and demon spirits, fallen angels that followed him to his rebellion, first personified as the king of Tyrus, Ezekiel 28:14-19; Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18; Judges 1:6.

2) "The third part of the stars of heaven," (to triton ton asteron tou ouranou) "the third (part) of the stars of heaven," the bright ones, who forgot to obey God, presumed to rebel against him, Matthew 25:41; Psalms 9:17; Judges 1:6; Daniel 8:10.

3) "And did cast them to the earth," (kai ebalen autous eis ten gen) "and cast them (down) into the earth." This happened when Satan was cast down to the earth, Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:18; Judges 1:6.

4) "And the dragon stood before the woman," (kai ho drakon hesteken enopion tes gunaikos) "and The dragon stood before (confronted) the woman," the woman Israel; John beholds an heavenly panoramic view of Satan’s effort to destroy the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Deliverer.

5) "Which was ready to be delivered," (tes mellouses tekein) "who is being about to bear, to give birth." Satan stood before Israel to pose asa willing servant to aid her in locating the newborn Deliverer in Bethlehem.

6) "For to devour her child as soon as it was born," (hina hotan teke to teknon autes kataphage) "in order that as soon as she gave birth to the child he might devour it," as soon as possible. This seems to have been personified in the wicked king Herod’s desire and conniving to kill the child, Jesus, Matthew 2:1-15; Matthew 2:19-23; Hosea 11:1.

Verse 5

1) "And she brought forth a man child," (kai eteken huion arsen) "and she bore (gave birth to) a male son." The "she" was Israel, of the tribe of Judah, of the family of David, of the city of Bethlehem, when the fullness of the time was come, Luke 1:26-35; Luke 2:1-11; Galatians 4:4-5.

2) "Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron," (hos mellei poimainein panta ta ethne en hrabdo sidera) "who is about to shepherd (feed and care for) all the nations with an iron staff," a strong hand of rulership and able provisions, as long promised, Psalms 2:9; Isaiah 2:1-5; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 19:15; Isaiah 65:21-24.

3) "And her child was caught up," (kai heerpasthe to teknon autes) "and her child was seized," suddenly taken, raptured into heaven, Luke 24:51; Acts 1:8-11; 1 Timothy 3:16.

4) "Unto God, and to this throne," (pros ton theon kai pros ton thronon autou) "To God and to His central throne," in heaven, Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2.

Verse 6

1) "And the woman fled into the wilderness," (aki he gune ephugen eis ten emeron) "And the woman fled into the desert (desolate place)," v. 14, thought or considered to be Petra, where the 144,000 of Israel who are sealed against death shall go into hiding into refuge for 42 months at the last half of the great tribulation or week of Jacob’s trouble, Daniel 9:27; Hebrews 7:14.

2) "Where she hath a place," (hopou echei ekei topon) where she holds there a place," both prophesied and prepared of the Lord for her final refuge in the time of Jacob’s trouble, Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 12:1.

3) "Prepared of God," (hetoimasmenon apo tou theou) "having been (that has been) prepared from and of God; these appear to be the true people of God from Israel, for whom God has prepared a safe refuge in the storm-height of his indignation upon the wicked of the earth, Revelation 12:14.

4) "That they should feed her there," (hina ekei trephosin aute) "in order that out there they might nourish her," the "they" who feed Israel in the pink-rock city of Petra are God’s angelic protecting and providing ministers, Hebrews 1:14; Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 26:20.

5) "A thousand two hundred and threescore days," (hemeras chilias diakosias heksekonta) "Twelve hundred and sixty days," Revelation 12:14, while those of unbelieving natural Israel, who held to formal worship only are tormented during the (1260) days, forty two months, three and a half years, or a time, times, and an half time, Revelation 12:14-17; Revelation 7:4; Daniel 12:7; Daniel 12:10-13. A variant of time of six weeks of days as related by Daniel seems to embrace time for cleansing of the temple or rebellion over the man of sin’s takeover.

Verse 7

1) "And there was war in heaven," (kai egeneto polemos en to ourano) "and there occurred (developed or became) a was in heaven." This was in the presence of and before the central throne of God.

2) "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon”

(ho Michael kai hoi angeloi autou) "Michael and his angels," the angels of his jurisdiction (polemesai meta tou drakontos) "entered into warfare (battle) with the dragon," the Serpent, the Devil. Michael is revealed to be God’s chief defensive archangel who defends God’s properties, causes, and people against the Devil, Daniel 10:11; Daniel 10:21; Judges 1:9.

3) "And the dragon fought and his angels," (kai ho drakon epolemesen kai hoi angeloi autou) "and the dragon warred, fought, or battled, and his angels," with those, that is against those, of Michael and his angels. This passage certifies that the Dragon (the Devil) owns, has slave control over his angels or demon spirits who battle with him against God, Michael, and his host of angelic defenders of holy people and causes, Matthew 24:41; Judges 1:6; Revelation 9:11.

Verse 8

1) "And prevailed not," (kai ouk ischusen) "And they did no t prevail," in heaven. The "they" who prevailed not, who did not succeed in battle, was the dragon and his angels, demon spirits, even as he prevailed not in his rebellion against God, Isaiah 14:12-16; Ezekiel 28:11-19.

2) "Neither was their place found," (oude topoes heurethe auton) "Nor was there even a place (location, place to abide, to stay) found," to be thereafter found, Revelation 12:10. Though Satan (as Lucifer) and his angels rebelled against God, were cast out of heaven to the earth, and placed under chains (restraints) to the day of judgment, it appears that their area of present activity exists over the earth and to the throne of God, where Jesus sits as Priest, interceding, Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; Judges 1:6; Revelation 12:10.

3) "Any more in heaven," (eti en to ourano) "Anymore (at all) in the heaven," as there had been granted to them permission previously to approach the throne of God and bring accusations and derogatory charges against the people of God, Job 1:6-12; Revelation 12:10.

Verse 9

1) "And the great dragon was cast out," (kai eblethe ho drakon ho megas) "and the great dragon was thrown (cast or tossed), by divine power, out of heaven." God’s chief antagonist, Satan, Revelation 20:2; Revelation 20:7; Revelation 20:10.

2) "That old serpent," (ho ophis ho archaios) "the ancient or old serpent," whose approach to man began in Eden, with ulterior and destructive motives, and has continued on earth and before the throne of God the same way, Genesis 3:1.

3) "Called the Devil, and Satan," (ho kaloumenos diaboloskai ho satanos) "who is called (referred to as) the Devil and Satan," Genesis 3:1; Genesis 3:4; Revelation 20:2; Revelation 20:10.

4) "Which deceiveth the whole world," (ho planon ten oikoumenen holen) "who continually deceives or deludes the whole inhabited earth," seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8-9; Job 1:7; Job 2:2.

5) "He was cast out into the earth," (eblethe eisten gen) "that one, it was he who was cast out into the earth," as when he first rebelled against God, as described below, Luke 10:18; Judges 1:6.

6) "And his angels were cast out with him," (kai hoi angeloi met’ autou eblethesan) "and his angels with him were (also) cast or tossed out (down) into the earth," to do his bidding, as his demon-puppets, as they were in their origin, Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-16.

Verse 10

1) "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven," (kai ekousa phonen megale en to ourano legousan) "and I heard a megaphone-like voice in heaven advising," declaring, where the first wonder was heard and seen, Revelation 12:1.

2) "Now is come salvation," (arti egeneto he soteria) now (at this moment) is come deliverance," salvation, from incessant accusations by the Devil and demon spirits at the throne of God against the saved of the earth, requiring the continual advocacy and intercession of Christ for the redeemed, Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2.

3) "And strength, and the kingdom of our God," (kai he dunamis kai basileia tou theou hemon) “even the dynamic power and kingdom of our God." The redeemed in heaven here rejoiced to see the imminent coming of Christ’s kingdom, the millennium, on earth.

4) "And the power of his Christ," (kai he eksousia tou christou autou) "and the administrative kingdom authority of the Christ," of the anointed one, Luke 1:32; Luke 1:34; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

5) "For the accuser of our brethren is cast down," (hoti eblethe ho kategor ton adelphon humon) "because the accuser of our brethren was cast (is cast) down or out from heaven," out from our midst. The saved in heaven rejoiced that their brethren yet living on the earth would no longer be accused by demon angels.

6) "Which accused them before our God day and night," (ho kategoron autous enopion tou theou hemeras kai nuktos) "the one who accuseth them continually, in the presence of our God, day and night," as he and his horde of accusers and insinuators had done from ancient times, Job 1:6-9; Job 2:2.

Verse 11

1) "And they overcame him," (kai autoi enikesan auton) and they overcame (they conquered) him," those accused by Satan before God, against whom Satan brought accusations in the presence of God. They kept on serving God on earth in spite of Satan’s testings on earth and accusations against them to God, Revelation 3:21.

2) "By the blood of the Lamb," (Idia to haima tou arniou) "because of the blood of the Lamb," not because of natural birth, piety, morality, good works, baptism, or other religious ceremonies or deeds, but by, through and because of the blood of the Lamb, faith in which and in whom brought them victory, Romans 3:25; Revelation 5:9-10.

3) "And by the word of their testimony," (kai dia ton logon tes marturias auton) "and (through) because of the word of their testimony or their witness," Malachi 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 11:4-5.

4) "And they loved not their lives," (kai ouk egapesan ten psuchen auton) "and they loved not their life," did not love, in priority their own lives, their own necks, more than Christ, His word, His church, and His work, Mark 8:34-38; Matthew 16:24-27.

5) "Unto the death," (achri thanatou) "even to (until) death,” Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 12

1) "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens," (dia toute euphrainesthe ouranoi) "on account of this be ye glad, 0 heavens," or inhabitants of the heavens where there is joy forevermore, Psalms 16:11; Isaiah 61:7.

2) "And ye that dwell in them," (kai hoi en autois skenountes) "even all those dwelling in them," the redeemed of the ages and the hosts of Michael and Gabriel’s angels, as when the lost are saved, Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10; Luke 15:32.

3) "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!" (ouai ten gen kai ten thalassan) "but woe to the land (earth) and to the sea." For wherever Satan prowls there is death, sorrow, and devastation, Revelation 8:13; Revelation 11:10; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 5:8-9.

4) "For the devil is come down to you," (hoti katebe ho diabolos pros humas) "because the Devil (came down) wast thrown down to you all," at the conclusion of his defeat in the war he instigated in heaven, Revelation 12:7-10; Luke 10:18.

5) "Having great wrath," (echon thumon megan) "having, holding, or filled with, that is containing, great wrath," possessing furious anger, Daniel 7:2; Daniel 7:7.

6) "Because he knoweth that he hath but a short time," (eidos hoti olion kairon echei) "perceiving, recognizing or convinced that he has (remaining) a small or short season for his earthly operation," Revelation 10:6; Matthew 18:28-29. Only about forty-two (42) more months, Revelation 12:14, or a time, times, and an half time or 1260 days, until he is overcome in the final battle of Armageddon on earth, bound, and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, Revelation 20:2-3.

Verse 13

1) "And when the dragon saw," (kai hote eiden ho drakon) "and when the dragon perceived (recognized," or realized that he had been defeated in his battle against Michael and his angels in heaven, Revelation 12:7-12.

2) "That he was cast unto the earth," (hoti eblethe eis ten gen) "that he was thrown out into the earth," out of heaven, where he had so long had access, bringing derogatory charges against God’s children on earth; his limit of activity and that of his host of angel-demons was thereafter restricted to the earth, Revelation 12:9-12.

3) "He persecuted the woman," (edioksen ten gunaika) "he pursued (to harass) or persecute the woman," Israel (natural Israel), the receiver of the Law and administrator of the Old Testament, Romans 3:1-2; defeated in heaven in his accusation against the saved, the Devil attempted to annihilate the people Israel, over whom Jesus was to reign, to bring peace on earth, Luke 1:32-35.

4) "Which brought forth the man child," (heteis eteken ton arsena) "who bore (gave birth to) the male, the son child, Christ Jesus," as long promised by prophets and fulfilled in the "fulness of time," Isaiah 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:6-8; Micah 7:15; Luke 2:4-7; Galatians 4:4-5.

Verse 14

1) "And to the woman were given " (kai edothesan te gunaikai) "and there were given to the woman "to Israel, to God’s wife in divorcement, Jeremiah 3:11-14; Jeremiah 20-23. Israel, like a sweetheart, was "graven upon God’s hand," not to be forgotten, Isaiah 49:16.

2) "Two wings of a great eagle," (hai duo pteruges tou aetou tou megalou) "the two wings of the great eagle," power to soar above and away from earthly danger incited by the wrath of the Devil.

3) "That she might fly into the wilderness," (hina petetai eis ten eremon) "in order that she might fly into the desert, wilderness, or uninhabited place," prepared for her. This place is believed to be the pink-rock city of Petra located at the southeast end of the Dead Sea, Revelation 12:6; Isaiah 26:20.

4) "Into her place," (eis ton topon autes) "yet fly into her place," the place having been prepared and preserved for her, thought to be Petra. This Israel is the true spiritual Israel of natural descent, the 144,000 who were sealed against death, Revelation 7:3-4.

5) "Where she is nourished," (hopou trephetai ekei) where she is nourished, fed, cared for out there," as Israel was in the wilderness, Exodus 16:35, until God’s wrath, over rebellious Israel and the wicked of the earth under Satan, is passed by as it once did in Egypt, Exodus 12:22-23; Psalms 54:7; Isaiah 26:20.

6) "For a time and times, and half a time," (kairon kai kairous kai hemisu kairou) "for a season, two seasons, and half a season," as relates to Israel’s 70th week, three and one half years, Daniel 7:25; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 12:1; Daniel 12:6-13.

7) "From the face of the serpent," (apo prosopou tou opheos) "from face to face presence or encounter of the serpent," the devil, from his harm, Hebrews 13:5; Hebrews 7:25.

Verse 15

1) "And the serpent cast out of his mouth," (kai ebalen ho ophis ek tou stomatos autou) "and the serpent cast out of his mouth," spewed forth, originating from his mouth, like a volcanic eruption of threatened destruction.

2) "Water as a flood after the woman," (opisa tes gunaikos hudor as potamon) "behind the (fleeing) woman (Israel) water (a stream) like a river," a flood of threat stirring horror, with threats of annihilation, like a flood with a view to the destruction of the hundred and forty four thousand (144,000) redeemed from natural Israel who were sealed against death, Revelation 7:3-4; Revelation 14:1-5.

3) "That he might cause her to be carried away of the flood," (hina aute potampphoreton poiese) "in order that he might cause her to be washed away, drowned, by the river he might make," an apparent symbol of total destruction seems to have been threatened to Israel (the 144,000) who were sealed against death, much like the Noahic flood God sent over all the earth or the drowning of the army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, Genesis 7:11-23; Exodus 14:27-30.

Verse 16

1) "And the earth helped the woman," (kai eboethesan he gete gunaiki) "and the earth helped, assisted, cared for the woman," Israel, by preparing her a safe refuge in the wilderness or desert place for 42 months, Revelation 12:6.

2) "And the earth opened her mouth," (kai enoiksen he ge to stoma autes) "and the earth (land- opened its mouth," the earth was separated. This, it is believed, alludes or refers to the great cleft in the stone-mountain hiding place where God had prepared for Israel a safety from Satan’s wrath, in Petra, Isaiah 26:20.

3) "And swallowed up the flood," (kai katepien to potamon) "and it swallowed up or (down) the river of water from the dragon’s mouth." The term "flood" seems to suggest every form of destruction which the Devil will seek to hurl against true Israel, the sealed ones against death, Revelation 7:3-4; Revelation 14:1-5.

4) "Which the dragon cast out of his mouth," (hon ebalen ho drakon ek tou stomatos autou) "which the dragon (that old serpent) cast or spewed forth out of his mouth," at the woman Israel, Revelation 12:15. His bellowing threats came to naught against the sealed of Israel as he was defeated in his efforts, then turned back to reek havoc for the remainder of the Tribulation the Great upon both the apostate remnant of natural Israel and on heathen, religious Gentile nations.

Verse 17

1) "And the dragon was wroth with the woman," (kai orgisthe ho drakon epi te gunaiki) "and the dragon serpent was enraged with the woman," Israel , who escaped his rage by fleeing to and hiding in her place in the desert or wilderness, perhaps in the rock-city Petra, Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14; Isaiah 26:20.

2) "And went to make war," (kai apelthen poiesai polemon) "and went away (from) her," the 144,000 he had driven into the wilderness or desert to their hiding place for 42 months. He turned from her to reek war upon the remnant of apostate natural Israel, Daniel 9:27.

3) "With the remnant of her seed," (meta ton loipon tou spermatos autes) "with the rest, loitering, remainder of her seed (family seed-line)," of natural Israel who had not been sealed against death, in the sealing of the 144,000, who evidently had been saved while making morning and evening sacrifices and oblations for the previous 42 months, Daniel 9:26-27; Revelation 7:3-8.

4) "Which keep the commandments of God," (ton terounton tas entolas tou theou) "those keeping or guarding the commandments of God," in a cold, lifeless form, but having yet rejected the Messiah, unsaved, like the pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees of our Lord’s day, Matthew 5:20; Romans 10:14; Luke 18:11-12.

5) "And have the testimony of Jesus Christ," (kai echonton ten marturian iesou) "and having or holding in charge the witness or testimony of Jesus." Let it be recalled that the primary purpose of the 70th week of Jacob’s trouble is a time when God is primarily dealing in judgment against Israel for her rejection of Jesus Christ, of whom the law (of which they were custodians) spoke in word and in ceremony and sacrifice; Galatians 3:19-24; Romans 3:1-2; Romans 11:1-2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Revelation 12". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/revelation-12.html. 1985.