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 Revelation Chapter 12

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 12   Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:09 pm


The Sun-Clothed Woman

Rev. 12:1, 2, 5a, 6, 13-16

In these passages a complete revelation of the woman, as to her identification, motherhood, persecution, flight and protection, is given. These subjects in conjunction with other scriptures will now be taken up in their logical order.

The Identification of the Woman

"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. 12:1).

The word “appeared” would be better translated “was seen,” for the Greek word horao,meaning “to perceive with the eyes,” is used of bodily sight, and with special reference to the object looked at. The word “wonder” is from the Greek semeion, which means “a sign,” and should be translated in every passage where it is used. It has regard to the significance of the work wrought, whether in itself, or in the reason, object, design and teaching intended to be conveyed by it. Wonder should never be used. “There was seen a great sign in heaven” is the idea conveyed. The symbol was seen in heaven by John but what was symbolized by the woman is in the earth, as is proved by the following:

1. The manchild will be caught up to heaven at its deliverance and such could not be true if the woman were in heaven, Rev. 12:5
2. The woman will flee into the wilderness which is on earth, Rev. 12:6.
3. When the dragon is cast to the earth he will persecute the woman, Rev. 12:13.
4. The earth will help the woman and swallow the flood that is cast out of the dragon's mouth to devour her. This could not be said of her if she were in heaven, Rev. 12:15-16.

The woman is a symbol and we must deal with her as a symbol and clearly differentiate between her and the thing she symbolizes.
This woman symbolizes, we firmly believe, National Israel. By this term we mean all the Israelites who will be back in Palestine during the Seventieth Week and form the nation at the time, Joel 3; Zech. 9:10-16; 12:4-14; 13:8-9; 14:1-21; Mt. 24:15-26; Dan. 9:27. The Jews in all other lands will remain as they are today and will not be gathered back to their land until the second advent, Isa. 11:11-12; Ezek. 37:1-28; Mt. 24:31. Reasons why the woman symbolizes National Israel are:

1. Israel is often mentioned in the Old Testament as a married woman, Isa. 54:1-6; Jer. 3:1-14. The whole book of Hosea is devoted to show the marriage of Israel and God, her backslidings in playing the whore and leaving God, and her future humiliation and brokenness in the wilderness and return to her husband, Hos. 2:14-23; Rom. 11; Acts 15:13-18. Israel here is symbolized by a married woman to show the actions of the nation during the middle of the Week and on to the coming of Christ.
2. The Bible recognizes only three classes of people in the world today: the Church, the Jews, and the Gentiles, 1 Cor. 10:32. At the time this woman travails, in the middle of the Week, the Church will have been removed from the earth leaving only the last two classes. The woman must be Jews who have left the nations and returned to their own land to await their Messiah, as we shall see.
3. If the sun, moon and twelve stars mean anything they can only symbolize the same as was seen in the dream of Joseph in Gen. 37:9-11, namely, the twelve tribal heads and their parents. Here the whole twelve tribes are seen in national restoration, in the symbol of the woman.
4. Israel is the only one dealt with in Scripture that could fulfill the statements concerning the woman.

The Travail of the Woman

"And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. . . . And she brought forth a man child” (Rev. 12:2, 5a).

The word “travailing” is from the Greek odino which is used here and in Gal. 4:19, 27; Mt. 24:8; Mk. 13:8 and means “to experience the pains of the parturition,” whether literally or figuratively. Here it is used in a figurative sense, for the woman is a symbol, and therefore, cannot travail literally. The Greek word for “pained” means “tormented” and is so translated in Rev. 9:5; 11:10; 14:10; 20:10. This helps us to understand that the travail and pain of Israel in the whole Seventieth Week is caused by the same sort of punishment she has always undergone under Gentile rule.
The travails of Israel have been numerous in her past history, as is clearly revealed in her bondage's and deliverance's, which began with Israel in Egypt and in the period of the judges and kings. They have continued, more or less, and will finally culminate in the worst period of travail she has ever known, Dan. 12:1; Mt. 24:15-26. There is to be a future continued travail of Israel in the tribulation Week with a two fold result:

1. The deliverance of the manchild in the middle of the Week, Rev. 12:2-5; Jer. 30:6-9; Dan. 12:1; Isa. 66:7-8. This will be the result of the terrible anguish and sorrow of Israel in the middle of the Week, because the Antichrist, with whom she has made a seven-year covenant as a guarantee of her protection from the great whore and the ten kings of the Revised Rome, will have broken this covenant and determined to completely destroy her. At this time of travail the manchild is to be delivered, because that company is not deserving of the great tribulation, which will follow immediately. Antichrist will be defeated in his purpose of destroying Israel at this time by the “tidings out of the north and east” Dan. 11:44-45; i.e., the northern and eastern European and Asiatic nations will league together against Antichrist to put a stop to his superhuman successes in his conquests. This will keep him occupied during the last three and one-half years of the Week, after he has gained the whole ten kingdoms, and thus cause him to let Israel alone for the time being or until he conquers his new enemies. Then, all nations which he has conquered in both parts of the Week, as well as other cooperative nations in the rest of the world (Rev. 16:13-16), will be gathered against Israel to destroy them as he attended to do in the middle of the Week, then Christ suddenly comes to save Israel, Zech. 14. The result of the travail of Israel at this time will be that God will undertake the catching up of the manchild. After that He will supernaturally protect the woman in the wilderness and the remnant in Palestine by occupying the attention of the Antichrist through the threatenings of the northern and eastern nations as mentioned above.
2. The deliverance of the woman herself at the end of the Week when the Antichrist with many nations tries to destroy Israel, Isa. 66:7-8; Mic. 5:3; Zech. 12:10-14:21; Joel 3:1-21. The result of this travail will be the conversion of Israel and the defeat of the Antichrist by the return of Christ to the earth with the saints and angels to exalt Israel and set up His own Kingdom, Rom. 11:26-27; Rev. 19:11-20:6; 2 Thes. 1:7-10.

The Persecution, Flight and Protection of the Woman

"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 . . . And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. 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. 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. 12:6, 13-16).

The result of the war in heaven will be the casting out of Satan and his angels on earth. “When the dragon saw (actually realized) that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, which brought forth the manchild.” The dragons first purpose will be to destroy the manchild “as soon as it was born,” Rev. 12:4. Having failed in this because of the catching up of the manchild, he will next turn on the woman who brings forth the manchild, and will bitterly persecute her by causing the Antichrist to break his covenant with Israel. The dragon will give his “power, throne and great authority” to the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-2) and they together will make war on Israel. The Jews will realize that the only way of escape is fleeing into some country that is not under the control of the Antichrist, Mt. 24:15-24; Dan. 11:40-45. This persecution will cause Israel to flee into the wilderness. She will be aided by God in her flight as symbolized by the “two wings of an eagle,” which will be given her “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. 12:14. Cf. Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11,12.
The word “might” indicates that those in Israel who care to flee may do so, but not that all will flee into the wilderness from Judea, for a remnant will be left, Rev. 12:17. “Her purpose will be to flee from the face of the serpent.” There is to be such a place of security and she will know of it. Who but God could preserve a place for her and lead her to it under such conditions?
When the dragon learns that the woman is fleeing he will cast out of his mouth water “as a flood” to swallow the woman, but the earth will help her and open its mouth and swallow the flood, thus permitting the woman to escape the dragon. Now a symbolic dragon cannot cast out of his mouth a literal flood nor can a symbol be swallowed up by a literal flood. The dragon is symbolic of Satan, the woman of Israel, and the flood of the armies of the dragon and Antichrist, who will pursue after the fleeing Israelites to destroy them. The earth will open its mouth and swallow these armies as it did the company in Num. 16:29-35. Armies are often symbolized by floods, Jer. 46:7-8; 47:2-3; Dan. 9:26-27; 11:21-22, 26.

Besides the different symbols in this chapter, there are other things that are literal, such as the heaven, earth, nations, God and His throne, flight of the woman, wilderness, 1,260 days, war in heaven, Michael, Satan, angels, ect. The few symbols in the chapter symbolize literal persons and their actions. No symbol does away with realities. It pictures realities, enriches the language and thought of the Bible, and makes the meaning more beautiful in the light of other literal passages on the same subject. In Isa. 16:1-5 we have the first prophesy of importance concerning the flight of the woman. She will flee to the rock-hewn city of Sela or Petra, as it was called by the Romans. It is in Mount Seir, near Mount Hor, in the land of Edom and Moab. In Dan. 11:36-45 reveals that at the time of the conquests of the Antichrist “many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom and Moab, and chief of the children of Ammon.”

The Manchild

"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" (Rev. 12:5).

We believe the manchild symbolizes the 144,000 Jews who are the “firstfruits” to God from Israel, after the rapture of all Jews of the Church and the Old Testament saints.

The reasons are:

1. We know that the woman represents Israel. Since this is true, it follows that Israel cannot bring forth a company of Gentiles. She is sure to bring forth a company of her own nationality, the Jews. The manchild then can only represent a company of Jews out of Israel to be caught up during the seventh trumpet.
2. The manchild represents a company of living saints only, for the woman will travail and bring forth the complete manchild in the middle of the week. She cannot bring forth a partly dead and partly living child at this time. The dragon (Satan) will stand before the woman (Israel) to devour her child (144,000) as soon as it is born, but the child (144,000) will be immediately “caught up to God and His Throne.” This shows the manchild represents a company of living people only, who will still be in natural bodies sealed by God which supernatural protection against Satan and the Antichrist. Rev. 7 and 14.
3. The destiny of the 144,000 shows them to be the manchild. They will appear “before the throne” in heaven and “before the four beasts and the elders” who are before the throne. It is expressly stated that they will be redeemed “from the earth” and “from among men.” They, therefore, cannot be earthly people who will go through the last three and one-half years of the tribulation, and who will form the nucleus around which the twelve tribes will be gathered in the Millennium. The fact that they will be in heaven between the seventh trumpet and the first vial shows that they will have been caught up. When, if not as the manchild in the middle of the Week? The three messenger angels immediately following the vision of the 144,000 in heaven, will proclaim their messages from the middle of the Week onward. So it stands to reason the vision will be fulfilled in the place it is given, which is immediately after the catching up of the manchild under the seventh trumpet, and before the vials and the ministry of the messenger angels.

The Dragon, War in Heaven, and the Remnant

The Dragon

"And there appeared another wonder (sign) in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 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" (Rev. 12:3-4).

The word “dragon” is used thirteen times and only in Revelation. It is a symbol of Satan, the chief adversary of God, Rev. 12:9. This is the first time he is mentioned in Revelation. We must distinguish between the symbol and the thing symbolized, as in all other symbols. The “great red dragon” is a fitting symbol of Satan in his role as the relentless persecutor and murderer of multitudes of unfortunate people, Jhn. 8:44. In Job 41 and Isa. 27:1 he is portrayed as “leviathan, the piercing serpent . . . That crooked serpent . . . the dragon that is in the sea.”
The seven heads and ten horns symbolizes the same seven world kingdoms as the seven heads and ten horns on the beast out of the sea in Rev. 13:1-4; 17:1-18, and all have been or will be used by God in His purpose in Judging Israel from the beginning of her history to Christ's coming. They are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the ten kingdoms of Revised Rome, as we shall see in our study of Rev. 17. The heads being crowned shows that Satan has reigned and will reign over these seven kingdoms. He has tried to destroy Israel under the first six kingdoms and will try to do so under the seventh, or Revised Rome, but he will meet defeat by God as on all previous occasions.
The beast out of the sea will have his ten horns crowned, but not his seven heads, showing that he is to new in existence and that he has not lived through the length of these seven empires, but will come in the future and conquer the ten horns or the seventh kingdom, reign over it and become the last kingdom before Christ's coming. So we see Israel is the woman as she has existed all through the length of these seven kingdoms along with the Gentile nations.

This symbol (dragon) is also seen in heaven and is represented as drawing one-third of the stars from heaven and casting them to earth. The stars have reference to the angels of God, and the casting down refers to one-third of God's angels who fell with Satan, as recorded in Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-17; Lk. 10:18.These “stars” are called “his angels” in Rev. 12:7-12. In the New Testament both men and angels are called stars, Rev. 1:20; 9:1; 20:1-3.
“The dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered (literally, 'is about to bring forth,' showing that the manchild is delivered in the middle of the Week, and therefore, cannot possibly refer to the historical ascension of Christ), for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” The dragon will try first to destroy the manchild before he turns on the woman.

Actions of the Dragon

The first thing he does is to league with the Antichrist and give him his power, throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:1-4), and then they will both turn on the manchild and the woman by this action Satan will continue his age-long animosity toward Israel. He will make war on her and she will flee into Edom and Moab with the armies of the dragon and the Antichrist after her. God will intervene and the pursuing armies will be swallowed by the earth. This will aggravate the dragon and he will come back to war with the remnant of her seed, or the remaining Jews who do not flee into the wilderness. But God will intervene again and stir up enemies in the North and East of the kingdoms of the Old Roman Empire, who at this point has not submitted to the Antichrist, who will keep the Antichrist occupied in war for the last three and one-half years. However, he will finally conquer them about the end of the Week and lead them against Jerusalem, as he intended to do in the middle of the Week. Then he will meet defeat at the hands of Christ who will come at that time to deliver Israel and to set up His earthly kingdom. Satan will be in full cooperation with the Antichrist and back his every move in the destruction of men throughout the last three and one-half years and, at the end, will inspire the nations to fight against Christ, Rev. 16:13-16. At Armageddon he will be taken and thrown into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years to deceive the nations no more until the 1,000 years are fulfilled. Then he is to be loosed for a little season to deceive the nations again, leading them in rebellion against God. They will try again to destroy the Holy City and the saints, but fire will come down out of heaven and will devour his armies. He will then be taken and cast into the Lake of Fire where he will be tormented for ever and ever, Rev. 20:1-10. This will end Satan's career on earth as the enemy of God and man.

The War in Heaven

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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. 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. 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. 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. 12:7-12).

The heavens are peopled with multitudes of spirit beings of different orders and kinds, such as seraphim (Isa. 6:1-Cool, cherubim (Ezek. 1:4-25; 10:1-22), living creatures (Rev. 4:6-Cool, spirit horses and chariot drivers (2 Ki. 2:11-13; 6:13-17; Zech. 1:8-11; 6:1-8; Rev. 19:11-14), common angels (Heb. 1-2), archangels (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-17; Jude 9), ect. Principalities, powers, age rulers of darkness, wicked spirits, demons, unclean spirits, thrones, dominions, fallen angels, spirits in prison, etc., are also mentioned which require acknowledgment of many other kinds of spirit beings than are mentioned in a definite way in Scripture, Eph. 6:11-18; Col. 1:15-18; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7; 1 Pet. 3:18-20; 1 Tim. 4:1; Psm. 89:6; Job 1-2; 38:1-7; etc. These beings are apportioned into three classes:

1. God's subjects, Heb. 1-2.
2. Satan's angels who are loose with him, Rev. 12:7-12.
3. Fallen angels who are bound in Tartarus, 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7.

This war in heaven will be the last desperate struggle between spirit beings in the heavenlies for and against the majesty and kingdom of God. It will be the culmination of the struggle in heaven between God and Satan. It first began when Lucifer attempted to exalt his kingdom above the angels of God and dethrone God from His universal kingdom over all other kingdoms in the universe. In his rebellion against God and in his ascension into heaven and above the clouds from the earth (Isa. 14:12-14) he was cast out of heaven back down to the ground and was dethroned. Although deprived of his kingdom and exalted position he was not deprived of the power which was his by nature and gift, for he still has great power in the heavenlies and over the earth that was usurped from Adam, Eph. 2:2; 6:12; Jhn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Mt. 4:1-11. He still has access to heaven and accuses the saints before God day and night, Job 1-2; Rev. 12:10-12; Zech. 3:1.

Facts Concerning War in Heaven, Rev. 12:7-12

1. There is to be a war in the middle of the Week, Rev. 12:7.
2. The place of the war will be heaven, Rev. 12:7.
3. The combatants will be Michael, the archangel, in command of the angels of God, arrayed against Lucifer, the archangel, in command of his angels that fell with him when he sinned and was dethroned. How angels fight has not been explained to us, but surely this will be a real combat. How an angel could wrestle with Jacob; how angels could take hold of Lot and family and pull them out of the city of Sodom; how an angel could have a sword drawn and meet Joshua in the plains of Jericho; how one angel with a sword could slay 185,000 Assyrians in one night; how angels observe us in all we do; how they protect us from material harm; how they separate people at the judgment of the nations; how they eat like physical men; how they gather Israel back; how they fight with Christ at Armageddon against physical men and do many other things, as plainly stated in Scripture, is not clearly revealed, but the facts are that they do them and that is enough for us to understand. This, to my mind, proves that angels have bodies that are of material substance, but in an incorruptible, immortal, indestructible and glorified spiritual state, something like the body of Christ after the resurrection and like our bodies after they will have been glorified. Did not men handle the body of Christ after the resurrection, while at the same time it could appear and disappear at will? The same then can be said of the angels, else they could not fight against one another as here stated.
4. The result of the battle will be that the Devil and his angels will be thrust down to the earth never to have access to heaven again, Rev. 12:8,9.
5. A voice from heaven will cry the following because of the defeat of Satan:
(1) To God he will state, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ,” Rev. 12:10. Cf. 11;15.
(2) To the saints on earth he will state that “the accuser of our brethren (this voice is one of a redeemed man, for he classes himself with other redeemed) is cast down which accused them before our God day and night,” Rev. 12:10. This gives the reason for Satan's present access to God, Job 1-2. Next, he states the method of overcoming Satan. It is the same used to overcome him while on earth as well as in heaven, that is, “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” and loving “not their lives unto death,” Rev. 12:11. These overcomers are not those of the Church, for they have all been raptured, but are those of the Jews and Gentiles who have been saved since the rapture of the Church in Rev. 4:1.
(3) To the inhabitants of heaven he will cry, “Rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them” because of the casting out of Satan, Rev. 12:12.
(4) To the inhabitants of the earth he will say “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 he hath but a short time,” Rev. 12:12. This third woe will no doubt affect men in a physical way as much as the first two woes, Rev. 9:1-21. This seems to be required by Rev. 8:13; 12:12. He will vent his wrath on the woman, remnant, and many other classes of people during the last three and one-half years. His wrath will be great, for he knows he will have but a short time.

The Remnant of the Woman

"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" (Rev. 12:17).

We have already discussed the remnant in connection with the woman and manchild so little needs to be said here. The remnant is not a personage or a symbol, but literally some Jews who will be saved after the rapture of the manchild (144,000) and who do not flee into the wilderness when the woman (Israel) or main body of Israel does. In nearly all previous invasions of Judea and Jerusalem there has been a remnant left and the same is true at the future time in the middle of the Week when the dragon and Antichrist determine to destroy Israel. The word “remnant” in Scripture is never used of the Church or Gentiles, but contrarily, always of Israel, Isa. 1:9; 10:20; 11:16; Joel 2:32; Micah 2:12; 5:3-9; Zech. 8:6-12; Rom. 11; ect. The remnant was not saved at the time of the manchild (144,000 Jews) were translated, or those of the remnant would have been translated also (Dan. 12:1), but they get saved after the 144,000 Jews are caught up and during the flight of Israel into the wilderness. Hence they are saved by the time the dragon wars on them after he fails to destroy Israel that flees.
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