Revelation 12 is a great Bible prophecy chapter to study and I urge any Christian to read it and study it and ask God to reveal His truth through it. It reveals the great battle for the true remnant church of God, between good and evil, between satan and Christ, and also reveals important information about the end times. Let's delve into this intriguing chapter.
Revelation 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.' ... We start with a heavenly scene of this woman. Now from the Word of God, we can know with confidence what a woman in Bible prophecy represents.
2 Corinthians 11:2 ...'For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.'
Ephesians 5:23 ...'For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.'
Revelation 19:7 ...'Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.'
Jeremiah 6:2 ...'I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.'
So we can see from the start that the prophecy of Revelation 12 is concerned with the church of God. We know that this is the true church because the woman is dressed with the sun. The light of God is shining through her. Jesus is the 'light of the world' and this church has Jesus at the centre. If you take a look at the woman in Revelation 17, you will see a stark difference, as that woman represents the apostate church. Also you will notice that this woman in Revelation 12 is standing on the moon and has a crown of 12 stars. The moon reflects the light of the sun. If Jesus is the light (Malachi 4:2; John 8:12) then it is His Word in the Bible that reflects that light. So this true church stands on the Word of God and holds on to the truth of His Word. Stars in Bible prophecy represent angels, or messengers. The number 12 is significant because we had the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles. These were God's chosen messengers to the world. So this woman represents the true church of God throughout history, and she also represents the remnant church during these end times, who are God's chosen faithful messengers, taking His truth and the end times prophecy message to the world.
One of the lessons here is that we, the true church of God, have inherited from literal Israel the position of the descendants of Jacob, as the messengers of God. See the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel for the truth about this.
Revelation 12:2-5 ...'And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 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. 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. 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.'
Many Christians contend here that this woman could not be the church who gave birth to Jesus, because it was Jesus who started the church, so how could the church give birth to Jesus? Well, what is a church? It is simply a 'body' of believers who obey and serve God. So God has had a body (church) of believers right throughout history, including old testament times, and it was through this body of believers that Christ came. Look at what it says in Genesis 3:15 ...'And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'
Notice that God, when speaking to the serpent (satan), says HER seed, and thou shalt bruise HIS heel, meaning Christ. This woman can be none other than the true church of God, and the child can be none other than Christ. We now have the dragon standing before the woman to kill the child. Verse 9 of Revelation 12 confirms that the dragon is satan. The heads and crowns of this dragon represents the earthly powers and kingdoms by which he does his bidding. Satan used the kingdom of Rome, with king Herod to try and kill Jesus when He was born, but as we know he was unsuccessful. Notice that the dragon drew a third of the 'stars' from heaven. As we said earlier, stars represent angels or messengers in Bible prophecy (Revelation 1:20). But these as you can see are the 'stars of heaven'. So these are actual angels, that satan drew from heaven. They are the evil angels that followed him. A third of the heavenly angels is a massive number. So satan has millions upon millions of angels following him and doing his bidding on earth (see Revelation 5:11 to work out a rough calculation of how many angels).
Let's just confirm who this 'man child' is. A man does not represent God's people in Bible prophecy as we have already seen, it is a woman. Satan tried to have Him killed when He was born (satan tried to kill Jesus when He was born). He was to rule all nations with a rod of iron (Jesus is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, see Revelation 2:27 and Revelation 19:15). He was caught up to God and His throne (Jesus was caught up to heaven after His resurrection and sat at His Father's throne, see Revelation 3:21 and 1 Peter 3:22).
This 'man child' can be no other than Christ Himself
Was satan always evil? I mean, did God actually create an EVIL being? ... Ezekiel 28:14-15 ...'Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.' ... No, at the start of his life he was perfect, UNTIL iniquity was found in him. How did he sin against God? ... Isaiah 14:12-14 ...'How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.' ... Pride! He wanted to take God's place and rule the heavens. But a created being could never take the place of the Creator. Satan started to accuse God of the way He ruled the universe and convinced a third of the heavenly angels that he would do a better job than God and that they didn't need to keep His law. This sin of 'pride' is unfortunately a snare to most people in this world, including Christians.
Revelation 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.' ... Going along the sequence of events, satan first tries to stop Jesus from fulfilling His role as Saviour of the world, but he fails to do this. Unable to stop Jesus being the prophesied Messiah, satan now turns his attention to the remnant church of God. How does he do this? Well, this time period is interesting, in that it equates to 1260 years. How do we get to that? A thousand two hundred and threescore days = 1260 days. But in bible prophecy a day equals a year, see Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34. So this time period is 1260 literal years. Do we have a time period in history, where the church flees from persecution? Yes! Between 538AD and 1798 the Roman Catholic Church persecuted millions upon millions of Christians and the church of God fled into the wilderness to escape.
Revelation 12:7-9 ...'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.' ... We now go back to the war in Heaven, which is after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Please note that Revelation 12 is not in chronological order. Is Michael the archangel Jesus? Well, think about it, is the war of good and evil between satan and an angel of God? No, the war is between satan and Jesus. Look at how Michael is described in Daniel 12:1 ...'And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.' ... Who is the Great Prince that stands for us in heaven? This surely is Jesus. When was this war in heaven between satan and Jesus? Take a look at the following verses in Revelation 12:
Revelation 12:10-12 ...'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.'
Now is come the salvation. When was this? At the cross of Jesus, we were saved from our sins. You see, satan continued to have access to heaven before Jesus died for us, as it says in the verse above, he accused us before God day and night. Now God could have destroyed satan as soon as he sinned, but if He did that, then all the other angels and unfallen worlds in the universe might have had doubts about God's government. Satan must have cast some doubt in their minds, so rather than destroy satan straight away, God allowed him to carry out his plan and in that way God would prove to the universe that satan was wrong. At the death of Christ, satan was proven to be a murderer ... John 8:44 ...'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.' ... The whole universe could see just exactly what satan had become and after the death of Jesus, satan knew that the only way he could gain control of God's kingdom was by force. So satan attacks the heavenly kingdom and Jesus and His angels defend it, and cast satan and his angels out of heaven for good.
'And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.' ... These are powerful words from Revelation 12 and they describe the true church of God. Who are they? They are the ones who trust in the blood of Jesus. They are the ones who, by the word of their testimony, show that their lives were totally devoted to God. They are the ones who would rather give up their lives than compromise their faith. These are the true end time saints of God.
The heavens can now rejoice, because satan has been cast out, but woe to the earth because he has come down with great wrath knowing that his time is short.
Revelation 12:13-16 ...'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.'
The two wings of a great eagle that the church is given is symbolic of God's care ... Exodus 19:4 ...'Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.'
So God, by providential care, kept a true remnant church who held on to the truth of His Word and God did not allow satan to completely blot out the truth with his lies. Satan first tried to extinguish God's people by death, through the Roman Catholic Church during the 1260 years between 538 and 1798. But he failed to totally destroy the church of God, as God took care of His own and kept a remnant alive and satan saw that God's true church was actually growing out of persecution. Out of this persecution came the protestant reformation and satan then realizing he could not destroy them all, decided the only way to counter the reformation, was to dilute it's teachings of using scripture alone, 'sola scripture'. The water out of the dragon's mouth represents the false doctrines and a 'watering down' of the truth. But the earth helped the true church, when the new land of America was discovered and the church fled to this new world, where the truth could advance, away from these false teachings of Rome.
There is a remnant who still hold to the truth of God's Word
Revelation 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.'
This is the last end times struggle between satan and the remnant church of God. After realizing he hasn't wiped out all of God's people and that there are still some who hold on to the undiluted truth of God's Word, satan is now angry with the remnant church of God and 'goes away' to make war with the her. The fact that it says remnant, shows that there are only a few in comparison, that are truly God's people. And how are they distinguished? They keep God's Commandments, the Ten Commandments, including the Bible sabbath day, and they have the faith of Jesus. Not only do they show the same kind of faith that Jesus showed, but this also has another meaning. It says in Revelation 19:10 ...'And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' ... The testimony of Jesus is THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. So this end times remnant church also have the spirit of prophecy, because they have been given great light concerning Bible prophecy.
What church is the remnant church of God? This church preaches the importance of the ten commandments (ALL TEN) and keeps them. This church has an understanding of Bible prophecy and preaches about it. This church follows in Christ Jesus' footsteps and seeks to live according to the truth of His Word. This church is the SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH. Does that mean all who are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church are God's true people? No, because there are many within the SDA church who do NOT live according to the faith they proclaim. What we are saying here is that the SDA church is the ONLY church which teaches the "everlasting gospel" as spoken of in Revelation 14. Being a member does not save you as only Christ Jesus can save you. But God did setup this church to be His end time church to take the three angels messages to the world.
Please see God Restores the Sanctuary for more evidence of this.
These are the very end times we are living in. If you are a true child of God and you are keeping His Commandments and the faith of Jesus, then satan will come after you. But do not fear, God will be with you, and even if we have to give our lives for being part of the remnant church of God, then lift up your head and give your life in honour and glory for Christ who died for you. This life is but a short existence anyway, so stay focused on the eternal reward that is to come. Jesus Christ will return soon, I pray that you will give your all in serving Him. Stay rooted on the truth of His Word in the Bible, and in the darkest times to come, keep your heart and mind on the day you will meet your Saviour and King, Christ Jesus!