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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Revelation 12

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

Christ and The Dragon. Chapters 12-14. (Genesis 3:15)

This is the fourth parallel section, and we again return to the First Coming of Christ. "And I will place hostility between you and the woman and between your children [IDARO] and her children [IDARO]; he will crush your head, and you will strike at his heel." [ Genesis 3:15. Zamenhof]


Verse 1

Then a great mysterious sight appeared in the sky. In the vision, the woman is symbolic of God's people in both the Old and New testaments. At the right time, Jesus is born of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law (Galatians 4:4). There is a continuity between the Jewish church and the church of Christ (see Hebrews 9:15). Revelation 12:1-6 form one central idea - God's act in history! The sun: the New Testament [the Christian system]. The moon: The Old Testament [the Law]. Twelve stars: the twelve apostles. To give birth: The Incarnation [Christ taking human form]. The pains and suffering: compare Isaiah 66:5-12.


Verse 3

Another mysterious sight appeared in the sky. In the vision, the huge red dragon is Satan. The seven heads, ten horns, and the crowns are a lot like those of the beast in Revelation 17. [Compare notes there. These can be understood as symbolic of the Roman Empire, but Satan uses all the governments of the world against Christ and his church.]


Verse 4

With his tall. Symbolic of the great power this dragon has! [See Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:10-13.] In order to eat her child. Matthew 2 helps us understand this. Satan, acting through Herod, has the male children of the Bethlehem area, two years old and under, killed. But Christ lives on, in Egypt. [Satan tries in every generation to destroy God's people, but he is unable to do it!]


Verse 5

Then the woman gave birth. The whole earthly life of Jesus. Who will rule. Compare Luke 19:27. But the child was snatched away. Christ being taken up to heaven to sit on his throne. See Revelation 5:7; Philippians 2:9.


Verse 6

The woman fled to the desert. Symbolic of the fact that Satan cannot destroy God's people 1,260 days. See note on Revelation 11:2.


Verse 7

Then war broke out in heaven. The central idea of Revelation 12:7-12 is that Christ's atonement [God's act in Christ to set men free] frustrates the Devil. Note that Michael and his angels do the attacking. The dragon is defeated and expelled from heaven. See notes on Revelation 20:1-3.


Verse 10

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying. The picture John has seen in Revelation 12:7-9 is now explained by what he hears. Satan has been "thrown out of heaven" in the sense that he has lost his place as the "accuser of our brothers." Compare Romans 8:33-34. Now God's salvation has come! This is the first effect of Christ's atonement.


Verse 11

Our brothers won the victory! This is the second effect. The blood of the Lamb, and the Truth of the Good News, permit escape from the "law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-4).


Verse 12

For the Devil has come down. This is the third effect. Satan is filled with rage because time is running out and he has already lost the fight! He wants to do as much harm as he can, before he is thrown into the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:10).


Verse 13

He began to pursue the woman. Revelation 12:13-17 form the third "picture." The central idea is that the Devil will now direct his fury against the messianic community.


Verse 14

To fly to her place in the desert. Symbolic of divine protection. That Isaiah, the Lord gives his people such strength that they can be faithful even to the point of death! Three and a half years. See note on Revelation 11:2.


Verse 15

The serpent poured out a flood of water. Symbolic of words and language. Here it means: Lies, false doctrines, false ideologies. These are all things which hinder the spread of the Good News.


Verse 16

But the earth helped the woman. Symbolic of the great masses of people. Even though Satan is able to use them against the church, they also defeat Satan's purpose by "swallowing up" the "water" from his mouth.


Verse 17

Against the rest of her descendants. Satan makes his attack against individual Christians, hoping to "pick them off one by one." See note on Acts 6:13-14. Christians are to know that during this Gospel Age which stretches from Pentecost until the Second Coming, both good and bad will come to God's people. Satan will send persecution and lies against the messianic community, and against each Christian. But God's special help prevents the Devil from attacking the church directly and destroying it! Satan is to be allowed one last all-out effort to destroy the church (Revelation 20:7-10), and this may parallel the persecution of the first century. But we already know the outcome! Satan has already lost! And the Second Coming will put a stop to his final effort. [Some think a period of explosive growth will take place in the church of Christ at the exact same time that Satan is permitted to make his last effort. History shows that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church."]

18. And the dragon stood on the seashore. This introduces the next chapter, as Satan produces agents to do his work. Since he himself cannot attack the church directly, he raises up anti-christian powers [human agencies] through whom he works indirectly.

The Devil produces agents to do his work. First is the beast from the sea. Second, the beast from the earth. The first beast is horrible to look at. The second looks harmless, which makes it the more dangerous of the two. A third agent is identified in Revelation 14:8, Great Babylon the Prostitute.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-12.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, August 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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