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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Revelation 12

 

 

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Verse 1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

This episode (Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1-18; Revelation 14:1-20; Revelation 15:1-8) details the persecution of Israel and the elect by the beast, summarily noticed in Revelation 11:7-10, and the triumph of the faithful and torment of the unfaithful. So also Revelation 16:1-21; Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 18:1-24; Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15 detail the judgment on the beast, etc., summarily noticed in Revelation 11:13; Revelation 11:18. The beast (Revelation 12:3, etc.) is shown to be the instrument in the hand of a greater power of darkness, Satan. The period of Revelation 11:1-19 is that also in which the events of Revelation 12:1-17; Revelation 13:1-18 take place, namely, 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14; Revelation 13:5 : cf. Revelation 11:2-3).

Wonder , [ semeion (Greek #4592)] - 'sign:' significant of momentous truths. In heaven - not merely the sky, but the heaven just mentioned, Revelation 11:19 : cf. Revelation 12:7-9.

Woman clothed with the sun ... moon under her feet - Israel first, then the Gentile Church: clothed with Christ, 'the Sun of righteousness.' "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun" (Song of Solomon 6:10). Clothed with the Sun, the Church is bearer of divine light in the world. So the seven churches (i:e., the Church universal, the woman) are represented as light-bearing candlesticks, (Revelation 1:1-20.) The moon, though above the sea and earth, is connected with them, and is earthly: sea, earth, and moon represent the worldly element, in opposition to the kingdom of God-heaven, the sun. The moon cannot change darkness into day: she represents the world-religion in relation to the supernatural world. The Church has the moon under her feet; but the stars, heavenly lights, on her head. Satan directs his efforts against the stars, the angels of the churches, hereafter to shine forever (Revelation 1:20). Or, the twelve stars are Israel's twelve tribes (Auberlen).

The allusions to Israel accord with this (cf. Revelation 11:19). The ark, lost at the Babylonian captivity, and never since found, is seen in the 'temple of God opened in heaven,' signifying that God enters again into covenant with His ancient people. The woman cannot mean, literally, the virgin mother of Jesus; for she did not flee into the wilderness and stay there for 1,260 days, while the dragon persecuted the remnant of her seed (Revelation 12:13-17) (DeBurgh). The sun, moon, and twelve stars, symbolize Jacob, Leah, or Rachel, and the twelve patriarchs, i:e., THE JEWISH CHURCH: secondarily, THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL, of which Christ is ideally the Son, as 'seed of the woman;' having under her feet, in subordination, the ever-changing moon, with its borrowed light, the Jewish dispensation, now in a position of inferiority and become "worldly" (Hebrews 9:1), though supporting the woman (the moon symbolizes also the changeful things of this world): having on her head the crown of twelve stars, the twelve apostles, related closely to Israel's twelve tribes. The Church, in passing over into the Gentile world, is:

(1) persecuted;

(2) then seduced, as paganism reacts on her.

This is the key to the symbolic woman, beast, harlot, and false prophet. Woman and beast form the same contrast as the Son of man and the beasts in Daniel. As the Son of man comes from heaven, so the woman is seen in heaven (Revelation 12:1). The two beasts arise respectively out of the sea (cf. Daniel 7:3) and the earth (Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:11): their origin is not of heaven, but of earth earthy. Daniel beholds the heavenly Bridegroom coming visibly to reign. John sees the woman, the Bride, whose calling is heavenly, in the world, before the Lord's coming again. The characteristic of woman, in contradistinction to man, is being subject; surrendering herself, as receptive. This is man's relation to God, to be subject to, and receive from, God. Autonomy reverses man's relation to God. Woman-like receptivity constitutes faith. By it the individual becomes a child of God: the children collectively (humanity, so far as it yields itself to God) are "the woman." Christ, the Son of the woman, is (Revelation 12:5) emphatically "the MAN-child" [ huios (Greek #5207) arreen (Greek #730), 'male-child']. Though born of a woman, and so 'Son of man,' under the law, for man's sake, He is also, as male-child, the Son of God, so HUSBAND of the Church. All who have their life in themselves severed from Him, the source of life, standing in their own strength, sink to the level of senseless beasts. The woman designates the kingdom of God; the beast, the kingdom of the world. The woman, of whom Jesus was born, represents the Old Testament congregation; the woman's travail-pains (Revelation 12:2), Old Testament believers' longings for the promised Redeemer. Compare Isaiah 9:6. As new Jerusalem ('the woman,' or "wife," Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9-12), with its twelve gates, is the transfigured Church, so the woman with the twelve stars is the Church militant.


Verse 2

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

Pained - `tormented' [ basanizomenee (Greek #928)]. DeBurgh explains this, the bringing in of the first-begotten into the world AGAIN, when Israel shall at last welcome Him, and 'the man-child shall rule all nations with the rod of iron.' But there is a contrast between the painful travailing of the woman and Christ's second coming to the Jewish Church. Isaiah 66:7-8, "Before she travailed, she brought forth ... a MAN-CHILD" - i:e., without travail-pangs, she receives (at His second advent), as born to her, Messiah and a numerous seed.


Verse 3

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Appeared - `was seen.'

Wonder - `sign.'

Red. So A 'Aleph ('), Vulgate [ purros (Greek #4450)]; but B C, Coptic [ puros (Greek #4442)], 'of fire.' The colour implies the dragon's fiery rage as a murderer from the beginning. His representative, the beast, corresponds, having seven heads and ten horns, (the number of horns on the fourth beast, Daniel 7:1-28.) But in Revelation 13:1, ten crowns are on the ten horns (for, before the end, the fourth empire is divided into ten kingdoms); here, seven crowns [`diadems,' not stefanoi (Greek #4735), 'wreaths'] are upon his seven heads. In Daniel 7:1-28, the anti-Christian powers, up to Christ's second coming, are represented by four beasts, having among them seven heads - i:e., the first, second, and fourth beasts having one head each; the third, four heads. His universal dominion as prince of this fallen world is implied by the seven diadems (contrast the 'many diadems on Christ's head,' Revelation 19:12, when coming to destroy him and his), caricaturing the seven spirits of God. His worldly instruments of power are the ten horns, ten being the world-number. The ten horns, among which subsequently arose the little horn, seem earlier in the fourth kingdom; and the little horn, which plucks up three, the temporal papacy. The ten crowned horns, which receive power with the beast, are at the close of the fourth kingdom. The little horn 'wears out the saints' for "a time, and times, and the dividing of time;" but the beast's reign with the ten kings is but "one hour" (cf. Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:20-22; Daniel 7:24-26, with Revelation 17:12-13; Revelation 17:16-17). 'The judgment takes away the little horn's dominion, consumes and destroys it unto the end' by a lengthened process; but 'the beast is (summarily) slain, and his body given to the burning flame' (cf. Revelation 19:20-21). It marks his self-contradictions that he and the beast bear both seven (the divine) and ten (the world-number).


Verse 4

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, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Drew - present, 'drags down.' His dragging down the stars with his tail (lashed back and forward in fury), implies his persuading to apostatize, and become earthy, those angels and once eminent human teachers who formerly were heavenly (cf. Revelation 12:1; Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 1:20). Elliott makes Licinius, who upheld paganism ruling in the East, a third of the empire, to answer to the "third part of the stars," under Satan's influence, and Constantine, the Christian emperor, to be the man-child caught up to the imperial throne, which, as son of the Church, he held as the Lord's throne. But Satan did not draw Licinius and the third of the empire from the stars of heaven to the earth.

Stood - `stands' [ hesteeken (Greek #2476)].

Ready to be delivered - `about to bring forth.'

For to devour ... - `that when she brought forth he might devour her child.' So his agent Pharaoh (a name common to all the Egyptian kings, meaning crocodile, like the dragon, and an Egyptian idol) was ready to devour Israel's males at the nation's birth. The antitypical Israel, Jesus, when born, was sought for destruction by Herod, who killed all the males at Bethlehem.


Verse 5

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Man-child - `a son, a male.' Compare notes, Revelation 12:1-2.

Rule , [ poimainein (Greek #4165)] - 'tend as a shepherd' (note, Revelation 2:27).

Rod of iron - for long-continued obstinacy, until they submitted themselves to obedience (Bengel): Psalms 2:9, which proves the Lord Jesus to be meant. Any interpretation which ignores this must be wrong. The male son's birth cannot be the Christian state triumphing over paganism under Constantine, which was not a divine child of the woman, but had many worldly elements. The ascending of the witnesses to heaven (Revelation 11:12) answers to Christ's own ascension, "caught up unto God, and unto His throne:" also His ruling the nations with a rod of iron is to be shared in by believers. What took place primarily in the Divine Son of the woman shall take place in those who are one with Him, the sealed of Israel (Revelation 7:1-17), and the elect of all nations, to be translated and to reign with Him over the earth at His appearing.


Verse 6

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 threescore days.

Woman fled. Mary's flight with Jesus into Egypt is a type.

Where she hath. So C, Vulgate; but 'Aleph (') A B add, 'there.'

A place - that portion of the world which received Christianity professedly, mainly the fourth kingdom, having its seat in modern Babylon, Rome, implying that all the pagan would not be Christianized in the present order of things.

Prepared of God , [ apo (Greek #575)] - 'from:' 'on the part of God.' Not by human caprice, but by the fore-determined counsel of God, the woman, the Church, fled into the wilderness.

They should feed her - `nourish her.' Indefinite for 'she should be fed.' The pagan world, the wilderness, could not nourish her, but only afford an outward shelter. Here, as in Daniel 4:26, the third person plural refers to the heavenly powers, who minister from God nourishment to the Church. As Israel had its time of first bridal love, on first going out of Egypt into the wilderness, so the Church's wilderness-time of first love was the apostolic age, when separate from the Egypt of this world, having no city here, but seeking one to come; having only a place in the wilderness prepared of God (Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14). The harlot takes the world-city as her own, as Cain the first builder of a city, whereas the believing patriarchs lived in tents. Then apostate Israel was the harlot (Isaiah 1:21), and the young Christian Church the woman; soon spiritual fornication crept in, and the Church (Revelation 17:1-18) is no longer the woman, but the harlot, the great Babylon, which, however, has in it hidden the true people of God (Revelation 18:4).

The deeper the Church penetrated into pagandom, the more herself became pagan. Instead of overcoming, she was overcome by the world (Auberlen). The woman is 'the one inseparable Church of the Old and New Testament' (Hengstenberg), the stock of the Christian Church being Israel (Christ and His apostles being Jews), on which Gentile believers have been grafted, and into which Israel, on her conversion, shall be grafted, as into her own olive tree (Romans 11:17-24). During the church-historic period, or 'times of the Gentiles,' wherein 'Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles,' there is no believing Jewish Church; therefore, only the Christian Church can be "the woman." There is meant, however, secondarily, the preservation of the Jews during this church-historic period, that Israel, once "the woman," and of whom the man-child was born, may become so again at the close of the Gentile times, and stand at the head of the two elections, literal and spiritual Israel, the church elected from Jews and Gentiles without distinction. Ezekiel 20:35-36, "I will bring you into the wilderness of the people (peoples), and there will I plead with you ... like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of Egypt" (note there): not a wilderness locally, but spiritually a state of discipline and trial among Gentile "peoples," during the long Gentile times, and finally consummated in the last unparalleled trouble under Antichrist, in which the sealed remnant (Revelation 7:1-17) who constitute "the woman," are nevertheless preserved "from the face of the serpent" (Revelation 12:14).

Thousand two hundred and threescore days - anticipatory of Revelation 14:1-20, where the persecution which caused her to flee is mentioned in its place: Revelation 13:1-18 gives the details. It is unlikely that Revelation should pass from Christ's birth to the last Antichrist, without notice of the long intervening church-historical period. Still, the history of Gentile nations in the Old Testament is only noticed in connection with Jewish history; in the New Testament, it is accordingly to be expected that the history of the world-nations should be noticed only in connection with that of the literal or the spiritual Israel, the Church. Probably the 1,260 days, representing this long interval, are RECAPITULATED on a shorter scale analogically during Antichrist's short reign. They are equivalent to three and a half years, which, as half of the divine seven, symbolize the world's seeming victory over the Church. As they include the times of Jerusalem's being trodden of the Gentiles, they must be much longer than 1,260 years, for above five and a half centuries more than 1,260 years have elapsed since Jerusalem fell.


Verse 7

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

In Job 1:1-22; Job 2:1-13, Satan presents himself among the sons of God, before God in heaven, as accuser of the saints; again, in Zechariah 3:1-2. But at Christ's coming as our Redeemer, he fell from heaven, especially when Christ suffered, rose, and ascended to heaven. Christ appearing before God as our Advocate (Hebrews 9:24), Satan, the accusing adversary, could no longer appear against us, but was cast out judicially (Romans 8:33-34). He and his angels range through the air and the earth, during the interval between the ascension and the second advent, about to be cast hence also, and bound in hell. That "heaven" here does not mean the air, but the abode of angels, appears from 1 Kings 22:19-22; Revelation 12:9-10; Revelation 12:12.

There was , [ egeneto (Greek #1096)] - 'there came to pass.'

War in heaven - a seeming contradiction in terms, yet true! Contrast the blessed result of Christ's triumph, Luke 19:38, "peace in heaven." Colossians 1:20, "to reconcile all things ... whether ... in earth, or ... in heaven."

Michael and his angels ... the dragon ... and his angels. It was fitting that as the rebellion arose from unfaithful angels and their leader, so they should be overcome by faithful angels and their archangel, in heaven. On earth they are fittingly to be overcome, as represented by the beast and false prophet, by the Son of man and His human saints (Revelation 19:14-21). The conflict on earth, as in Daniel 10:1-21, has its correspondent conflict of angels in heaven. Michael is peculiarly the prince, angel, of Israel. The conflict in heaven, though judicially decided already against Satan from the time of Christ's ascension, receives its completion in the judgment to be executed by the angels who cast out Satan. From Christ's ascension he has no standing-ground against the believing elect. Luke 10:18, "I beheld (in the earnest of the future fulfillment given in the demons' subjection to the disciples) Satan as lightning fall from heaven." As Michael fought with Satan about the body of the mediator of the old covenant (Jude 1:9), so now the Mediator of the new covenant, by offering His sinless body in sacrifice, arms Michael with power to complete the victory. That Satan is not yet finally, but only judicially, cast out of heaven, appears from Ephesians 6:12, "spiritual wickedness in high (heavenly) places." This is the primary church-historical sense. Through Israel's unbelief, in the ulterior sense, Satan the accuser has ground against the elect nation. At the eve of her restoration, his standing-ground in heaven against her shall be taken from him, 'the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem' rebuking and casting him from heaven forever by Michael. In Zechariah 3:1-9, similarly, Joshua the high priest represents Israel, and Satan, standing at God's right hand as adversary, resists Israel's justification. Not until then fully (Revelation 12:10, "Now," etc.) shall ALL things be reconciled unto Christ IN HEAVEN (Colossians 1:20), and there shall be peace in heaven (Luke 19:38).

Against. 'Aleph (') A B C read, 'with.'


Verse 8

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

Prevailed not. So 'Aleph (') B C, Vulgate; but A, Coptic, read, 'He prevailed not.'

Neither. 'Aleph (') A B C read, 'not even' [ oude (Greek #3761)]: a climax. Not only did they not prevail, but not even their place was found anymore in heaven. There are four gradations in Satan's ever deeper downfall:

(1) He is deprived of his heavenly excellency, though having still access to heaven as man's accuser, up to Christ's ascension. As heaven was not fully yet opened to man (John 3:13), so it was not yet shut against Satan. The old dispensation could not overcome him.

(2) From Christ to the millennium, he is judicially cast out as accuser of the elect, and shortly before the millennium loses his standing against Israel, and has expulsion fully executed on him and his by Michael. His rage on earth becomes the greater, his power being concentrated on it, toward the end, when "he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12).

(3) He is bound during the millennium (Revelation 20:1-3).

(4) Having been loosed for a while, he is cast forever into the lake of fire.


Verse 9

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

That old serpent - (Genesis 3:1; Genesis 3:4.) As destroyer, he is a "roaring lion:" as deceiver, a "serpent."

Devil - Greek for 'accuser,' 'slanderer.'

Satan - Hebrew for adversary, especially in a court of justice. The twofold designation marks the twofold objects of his accusations and temptations-the elect, Gentiles and Jews.

World , [ oikoumeneen (Greek #3625)] - 'habitable world.'


Verse 10

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.

Now. Now that Satan is cast out of heaven. Primarily at Jesus' resurrection and ascension: Jesus' rise is Satan's fall. Matthew 28:18, "All power [ exousia (Greek #1849), 'authority,' as here] is given unto me in heaven and in earth:" connected with Revelation 12:5, "her child was caught up unto God and to His throne." In the ulterior sense, just before Christ's coming, when Israel shall be restored as mother-church of Christendom, Satan, who resisted her restoration on the ground of her unworthiness, is cast out by Michael, (note, Revelation 12:7). This is preliminary to the glorious event similarly expressed (Revelation 11:15), "The kingdom of this world is become (the very word here [ egeneto (Greek #1096)], 'is come') our Lord's and His Christ's:" Israel resuming her place.

Salvation ... - `the salvation (namely, fully, finally, Hebrews 9:28 : cf. Luke 3:6; hence, not until now do the blessed raise the fullest hallelujah for salvation to the Lamb, Revelation 7:10; Revelation 19:1), the power [ dunamis (Greek #1411)], and the authority [ exousia (Greek #1849): legitimate] of His Christ.

Accused them before our God day and night - hence, the need that the oppressed Church, God's own elect (the widow, Luke 18:1-7, continually coming, so as even to weary the unjust judge), should cry day and night unto Him.


Verse 11

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.

They - in particular; emphatic, 'they alone.'

Overcame - (Romans 8:33-34; Romans 8:37; Romans 16:20.)

Him - (1 John 2:14-15.) It is the same victory over Satan and the world which John's gospel describes in the life of Jesus, his letter in each believer's life, and his apocalypse in the life of the Church.

By , [ dia (Greek #1223) to (Greek #3588) haima (Greek #129): accusative, not genitive, as "by" would require: cf. Hebrews 9:12] - 'on account of (on the ground of) the blood of the Lamb:' by virtue of its having been shed. Had it not been shed, Satan's accusations would have been unanswerable: that blood meets every charge. Schottgen mentions the Rabbinical tradition that Satan accuses men all days of the year, except the day of atonement. Tittmann less probably takes [ dia (Greek #1223)] out of regard to: the blood of the Lamb induced them to undertake the contest for the sake of it.

By (on account of) the word of their testimony. On the ground of their faithful testimony they are constituted victors. It evinced their victory. Hereby they confess themselves worshippers of the slain Lamb, and overcome the beast, Satan's representative: an anticipation of Revelation 15:2 (cf. Revelation 13:15-16).

Unto , [ achri (Greek #891)] - 'even as far as.' They carried their not-love of life as far as even unto death.


Verse 12

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.

Therefore - because Satan is cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:9).

Dwell - `tabernacle.' Not only angels and souls of the just with God, but also the faithful militant on earth, who already in spirit 'tabernacle in heaven,' having their home and citizenship there, rejoice that Satan is cast out of their home. 'Tabernacle' marks that, though still on earth, they in spirit are hidden "in the secret of God's tabernacle" (Psalms 27:5). They belong not to the world, and therefore exult in judgment having been passed on the prince of this world.

The inhabiters of. So Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B C omit. The words, probably, came from Revelation 8:13.

Is come down - rather [ katebee (Greek #2597)], 'is gone down:' John regarding heaven as his standing-point, whence he looks down on the earth.

Unto you - earth and sea, with your inhabiters: those who lean upon, and essentially belong to, earth (contrast John 3:7, margin, with John 3:31; John 8:23; Philippians 3:19, end; 1 John 4:5) and its sea-like politics (Isaiah 57:20). Furious at his expulsion from heaven, knowing his time on earth is short until he be cast down lower, when Christ shall set up His kingdom (Revelation 20:1-2), Satan concentrates all his power to destroy as many souls as he can. Though no longer able to accuse the elect in heaven, he can tempt and persecute on earth. The more light becomes victorious, the more violent become the powers of darkness; at the last crisis, Antichrist will manifest himself with an intensity of iniquity greater than ever.

Short time - `season' [ kairon (Greek #2540)]: opportunity for assaults.


Verse 13

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

Resuming from Revelation 12:6 the thread of discourse, interrupted by the episode, Revelation 12:7-12 (the ground in the invisible world of the corresponding conflict between light and darkness on earth): this verse accounts for her flight into the wilderness (Revelation 12:6).


Verse 14

And to the woman were 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, from the face of the serpent.

Were given - by God's appointment, not human chances (Acts 9:11).

Two - `the two wings of the great eagle.' Alluding to Exodus 19:4 : therefore the Old Testament Church, as well as the New, is included in "the woman." All believers (Isaiah 40:30-31). The great eagle is the world-power; in Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 17:7, Babylon and Egypt; in early church-history Rome, whose standard was the eagle, turned by God's providence from being hostile into a protector of the Christian Church. As "wings" express remote parts, the two wings may here mean the east and west divisions of the Roman empire.

Wilderness - the land of the Gentiles; in contrast to Canaan, the pleasant and glorious land. God dwells there; demons (the rulers of the pagan world, 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20), in the wilderness. Hence, Babylon is called the desert of the sea, Isaiah 21:1-10 (referred to in Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2). Heathendom, being without God, is essentially a desolate wilderness (Jeremiah 17:6). Thus, the woman's flight into the wilderness is the passing of the kingdom of God from the Jews to the Gentiles (typified by Mary's flight with her child from Judea into Egypt). The eagle-flight is from Egypt into the wilderness. Egypt here is virtually (Revelation 11:8) Jerusalem become spiritually so by crucifying our Lord (Hebrews 13:13-14). Out of her the New Testament Church flees, as the Old out of the literal Egypt; and as the true Church subsequently is to flee out of Babylon (the woman become an harlot, the Church apostate) (Auberlen).

Her place - the seat of the then world-empire, Rome. Acts describes the Church's passing from Jerusalem to Rome. The Roman protection was the eagle-wing which shielded Paul, the instrument of this transmigration, from Jewish opponents stirring up the pagan mobs. By degrees the Church gained "her place" until, under Constantine, the empire became Christian. Still, this church-historical period is regarded as a wilderness-time, wherein she is in part protected, in part oppressed, by the world-power, until just before the end of the world-power's enmity under Satan shall break out against her worse than ever. As Israel was in the wilderness forty years, and had forty-two stages in her journey, so the Church for forty-two months, three and a half times [seasons, used for years in Hellenistic Greek (Moeris, the Atticist), kairous (Greek #2540)], or 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6) between the overthrow of Jerusalem and Christ's coming again, shall be a wilderness-sojourner before she reaches her millennial rest (answering to Canaan). Besides this church-historical fulfillment, there may be an ulterior narrower fulfillment in the restoration of Israel to Palestine, Antichrist for seven times (short periods analogical to the longer) having power there, for three and a half times keeping covenant with the Jews, then breaking it in the midst of the week, and the mass fleeing by a second exodus into the wilderness, while a remnant remains exposed to fearful persecution (the "144,000 sealed of Israel," Revelation 7:7, and Revelation 14:1, standing with the Lamb, after the conflict is over, on mount Zion: "the first-fruits" of a large company to be gathered to Him) (DeBurgh). These details are conjectural: cf. the parallel, Daniel 7:25. In Daniel 12:1; Daniel 12:7, the subject is Israel's calamity. That several times do not necessarily mean seven years, in which each day is a year, i:e., 2,520 years, appears from Nebuchadnezzar, seven times (Daniel 4:23), answering to Antichrist, the beast's duration.


Verse 15

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

Flood - `river,' (cf. Exodus 2:3; Matthew 2:20; especially Exodus 14:1-31.) The flood is the Germanic tribes which, pouring on Rome, threatened Christianity. But the earth helped the woman, by swallowing up the flood: earth, contradistinguished from water, is the world consolidated. The German masses were brought under the influence of Roman civilization and Christianity (Auberlen). It includes, generally, the help given by earthly powers (those least likely, led by God's overruling Providence) to the Church against persecutions and heresies by which she has been at various times assailed.


Verse 16

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 17

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Wroth with - `at.'

Went - `away.'

The remnant of her seed - distinct in some sense from the woman. Satan's first effort was to root out the Christian Church as a visible profession of Christianity. Foiled in this, he wars (Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:7) against the invisible Church, "those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus" (A B C omit "Christ"). These are "the remnant," or rest of her seed, as distinguished from her seed, "the man-child" (Revelation 12:5), and from mere professors. The Church in her beauty (Israel at the head of Christendom, one perfect Church) is not to be manifested until Christ comes: so we now await the manifestation of the sons of God. Unable to destroy the Church as a whole, Satan directs his enmity against true Christians, the elect remnant; the others he leaves unmolested.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-12.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, August 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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