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Bible Commentaries

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books
Revelation 12

 

 

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Verse 1-2

This woman apparently stands for the faithful remnant of God"s people in Israel. (Micah 4:10-13; Micah 5:1-3) Since she represents the faithful, it is appropriate that faithful Christians be viewed as her seed. (verse 17) She is clothed in beauty with a crown on her head with twelve stars, which may well represent the faithful angels of the twelve tribes. Of course, the remnant had to be preserved so the promised seed could be born.


Verses 3-5

Verse 9 tells us the dragon is Satan. The seven heads could represent wisdom, vitality or, as in the case of the woman in scarlet, mountains. (Revelation 17:9) The ten horns could be power of kings. (Revelation 17:12) These crowns are the crowns of kings and not the victory crowns of the saints, the woman in white or Christ. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 14:14) His swinging tail drags down stars out of heaven, which would certainly show his power. It may also refer to Satan"s leading good angels astray in rebellion against God. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6) Hailey also notes a parallel with Daniel"s vision, in which the stars that were cast down were part of the holy host of people. (Daniel 8:10; Daniel 8:24) Certainly, Satan tried to destroy Jesus just as soon as he was delivered from Mary"s womb. (Matthew 2:1-23) However, the text here portrays Christ as being caught up right after he was born. (verse 5) We conclude Christ"s life, from the Divine perspective in the Revelation particularly, is but a moment. Thus, all the efforts of Satan to stop Jesus while he was on earth must be in view. The dragon may have thought the battle won at the cross, but God raised him and took him up to rule on his throne, thus the victory goes to Christ. (Compare Acts 2:22-36) The rod of iron is mentioned in Psalms 2:9 as something Jesus would use to defeat his enemies. (Also Revelation 2:27)


Verse 6

Since Jesus is now ascended, the woman must here symbolize the church, who would be God"s faithful at that time. When fleshly Israel was delivered from Egypt, she went to the wilderness to worship, receive the law and take a God-guided journey to the promised land. Spiritual Israel worships God today, follows his law and journeys toward heaven. They were fed with manna and protected from their enemies by the Lord, just as we receive Divine care and protection. (Matthew 6:24-34; Romans 8:28-39) We should also note that some of them fell, which should serve to warn us. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) The text says "they" will care for the woman, thus indicating God and Christ together. (verse 5; Matthew 28:18-20) Her time period in the wilderness is the same as the testimony of the two witnesses. (Revelation 11:3) If we were correct in saying they were the Word and the church, this could stand for the whole Christian age since Christ"s word will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35) However, here it more particularly applies to the short or broken period of time God will allow the church to be trampled. (Revelation 11:2-3)


Verses 7-9

If the details of this vision are chronological, then the devil stormed heaven after the great defeat he suffered at Christ"s resurrection. Michael, the archangel, called in Jude 1:9, and his angels oppose them in battle. Satan and his forces are defeated and thrown down to earth. There was no place in heaven for him to hide, indeed all heaven was now secured against him.


Verse 10-11

Michael and his angels won because Jesus had already won. How reassuring to know the same blood is available to us in our battle with Satan and he cannot defeat us as long as that blood is ours. Christ truly was given all authority after he overcame death. (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Peter 3:21-22) All of this is announced by a "loud voice," which may describe the voice of one being or a large group speaking as one. The latter seems best since the voice says, "our brethren."


Verse 12

Satan is now defeated in the heavens, so there is rejoicing there. Twice beaten and knowing he has a limited time to work, Satan will turn his attentions to earth. He will vent his anger while he can and do as much damage as he can.


Verse 13

Since he could not defeat Christ on earth or in heaven, Satan naturally turns his attentions to the righteous who brought Him forth.


Verse 14

This description of the deliverance of the righteous reminds us of other faithful ones who were delivered. (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:9-14; Isaiah 40:31) Time (1), times (2) and a half time is equal to 42 months or 1260 days.


Verse 15-16

Satan now tries to overthrow the faithful with a flood of evil. Since it comes out of his mouth, it may be this describes lies he uses to defeat the righteous. (Compare Genesis 3:1-5; John 8:44) The earth opening its mouth to swallow the flood describes God"s providential care for those who are his. The third battle is lost.


Verse 17

The rest of the woman"s seed would be individual Christians. We need to beware of Satan because he is like a lion looking for the weak, young or stray. (1 Peter 5:8)

 


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Bibliography Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-12.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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