The Woman and the Man Child
By J. R. Lawendowski
In Revelation chapter 12, we have one of the "paranthetical"
chapters describing in detail the personages and events of the Tribulation.
There is continual debate over the identities of the figures discussed. Again,
remaining true to a literal format using Scripture to interpret Scripture we can
easily identify the persons, places and events.
Proper identification is of course drawn from all of Scripture to include within the chapter itself.
Rev 12:1 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:
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
The first clue in identifying the woman and who she represents can be found in v.5. In v.5 we see that the woman is bringing forth a man child who "was to rule all nations with a rod of iron". We know who this is that will rule with a rod of iron from the messianic prophecies (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; Rev 19:15). This man child in v.5 is none other than Jesus Christ. Now, since we know who the child of the woman is we also know who the woman is...Israel. If you look at Genesis 37:9-10 we see in a dream of Joseph imagery very similar to the imagery given here. In Genesis it represents the 12 tribes of Israel. Further, this verse in conjunction with v.17 points even further back to a messianic passage in Genesis...Gen 3:15. Further, in the OT Israel is figuratively described as a travailing woman ( Is 26;17-18; Jer 4:31; 13:21; Mic 4:10; 5:3).
Rev 12:3 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.
Rev 12:4 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.
We all know who the red dragon is, there is no secret there...we also know from this passage that when he fell from grace he took a third of the angels in heaven with him. Also from v.4 we know that from the time of Christ's birth satan was trying to take him out, first by Herod's decree to kill all the males (Matt 2:13), we also know that once Christ started His ministry satan tried to destroy Him by tempting Him...it all failed. It also provides some important imagery for further discussion regarding the 7 heads and 10 horns etc.
Rev 12:5 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.
Again, see the discussion of v.1-2 for this, but the man child is Christ, NOT the church.
Rev 12:6 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.
This passage aligns nicely with the events Christ Himself talked about in Matt 24:15-16; Mark 13:14 confirming the events in Dan 9:27...at the abomination of desolation (at the midst of the week, 3.5 years into the Tribulation...with 3.5 years or 1260 days to go). At that point the remnant of Israel (a large portion of those in Jerusalem) will flee to the desert and God will protect them until Christ returns. We see David talking about this in Psalm 27.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 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.
Rev 12:10 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.
Rev 12:11 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.
At this point in time...right now...as we speak...satan has access to the throne of God (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7). He is the accuser (Rev 12:10). At some point, the Archangel Michael will stand up (Dan 12:1) for Israel, not the church, Israel. Some things of note here, some will try to identify the restrainer of 2 Thess 2 as Michael...but there are some issues with that identification, among them is that the restrainer is singular and the restrainer Himself withholds evil...something Michael cannot apparently do by himself as we see in this passage. It takes Michael and his angels to fight the dragon and his angels. The restrainer is more powerful than Michael alone.
Basically, at this point (about the middle of the Tribulation) Satan gets tossed out on his behind and no longer has access to heaven....the result? Rev 12:12-13.
Rev 12:12 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. Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
This aligns with the description of the antichrist indwelt by satan for the second half of the Tribulation. He knows his time is short (3.5 years) and he's going to try his best to wipe out not only the remnant of Israel but also the Tribulation Saints (Rev13:7).
Rev 12:14 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.
Rev 12:15 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.
Rev 12:16 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.
Rev 12:17 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.
Finally we see the effect of satan's war against the protected remnant of Israel...it's fruitless. Taking this literally it seems that God will directly intervene to protect Israel's remnant as they flee to the desert (to the place prepared by God... Rev 12:6 and also Ps 27). The antichrist, indwelt by satan, will then turn his fury towards the remnant of Israel throughout the world, and the tribulation saints.
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