Revelation 12 The Woman, the Child & the Dragon

Home >  Full Study List >  Revelation 12 The Woman, the Child & the Dragon

Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Revelation Chapter 12:1-6 The Woman, the Child & the Dragon 

by I Gordon

Bible study lesson Revelation 12 - The woman, the child and the dragonWell, we have made the halfway mark of our series through Revelation. Eleven chapters down, eleven to go. Of course, should the Lord choose to return and cut it short, that's fine with me. Well more than fine. I'm more than happy to just watch the rest of it play out from the heavenly grandstand! But we have a really important1, pivotal chapter before us today. Last time was the temple, the witnesses and the beast. Revelation 12 is the woman, the child and the dragon. It all sounds a bit like a C.S Lewis novel I know, but, actually, the Bible got in first by a few thousand years. This chapter presents a story of the woman, the child and the dragon that reaches as far back as the garden of Eden and stretches as far forward as to the end of the Tribulation. We are going to examine this historic and prophetic story today but let me first just note how we will do this. The Western mind often reads a passage like this and looks for a single fulfillment. The eastern or Jewish mind would approach it differently using a 'midrashic' approach. That is, they would 'enquire into' the text and see that it has repeated fulfillments throughout history leading up to its ultimate conclusion. That is how we'll explore this passage today. Think of it as God telling this story from outside of time, which He is, and thus able to see any event in history like it is the present. He sees the big picture using a very wide lens all the way from the start of this story in the garden to its crescendo at the return of Jesus Christ. Now there is too much in this chapter for one message so today we will explore the first 6 verses of Revelation 12 focusing on:     

  • The identify of the cast of characters - allowing scripture to interpret scripture
  • The scene before us of the woman in the pains of childbirth - exploring the prophecies of this throughout scripture
  • The everlasting hatred and ancient conflict between the dragon and the woman
  • The application for our own lives - what can we take from this for today?

The Identify of the Cast

Rev 12:1-6  A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  (2)  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.  (3)  Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.  (4)  His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.  (5)  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (6) The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

So as mentioned, this chapter speaks of a conflict that is as old as mankind itself. And you and I just so happen to live in the days where it is about to find its ultimate fulfillment. We see that John saw a great sign in heaven involving a woman, a child and a dragon. The word 'great' here is 'megas' so we are speaking of a mega-sign here!2 I want to start by identifying the cast members in this conflict. So... how hard can that be you ask? Well it shouldn't be, but people interpreting this chapter have muddied the waters coming up with a few different options unfortunately. But when you let scripture interpret scripture the answer is quite clear. 

The woman

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.  (2)  She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

So firstly, who is this woman? There are four prominent women in the book of Revelation - Jezebel in Rev 2:20 (a type of the false Church), this woman in chapter 12, the harlot of Revelation 17 and the bride of Christ mentioned in Revelation 19:7. Two are false and two are true. Some, especially Catholics, have said this woman in Revelation 12 represents Mary. Others think it is the church. That last one is interesting, and more than a little problematic, because if it was the bride of Christ... well, she's pregnant before being married to Jesus! Um, no... not good and not right! When you let scripture interpret scripture we see that the picture of a woman clothed with the sun and twelve stars on her head takes us back to Joseph's dream. Can you remember the dream that Joseph had which got him into all sorts of trouble? We read:

Gen 37:9-10 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." (10) He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?"

Scripturally, this woman clothed with the sun should be identified with Israel, according to Joseph's dream (Gen 37:9-11).  In that dream, the sun represents Jacob, the moon represents Joseph's mother Rachel, and the eleven stars are the sons of Israel which bow down to Joseph.  In this sign with twelve stars, Joseph is now "among" the other tribes of Israel. In other Old Testament passages, Israel (or Zion or Jerusalem) is often represented as a woman (Isa 54:1-6, Jer 3:20, Eze 16:8-14, and Hos 2:19-20).
David Guzik

To this we could add that Israel is pictured often in scripture as a mother in the pains of child-birth. We will explore these passages later in this study. Tony Garland, in his commentary on Revelation, identifies the woman as Israel, but also reminds us of the allusions to other women in Bible history which is worth noting. He writes:

As we shall see as we proceed through the chapter, the woman is best understood as representing Israel, but with elements which reflect the role of Mary and which stretch back all the way to Eve and the promise of a redeemer (Gen 3:15)
Tony Garland

The dragon

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.  (4)  His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.

The dragon is mentioned 13 times in Revelation and this is the easy one to interpret for it is defined for us in Revelation 12:9 which states 'The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.' This is an important verse because it ties the dragon of Revelation with the ancient serpent from the garden, identifying them both as one being - Satan, the adversary. The picture of the dragon here in Revelation is one with seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads point to Satan's initial state of perfection in wisdom as described in Ezek 28:12. In later verses, when speaking of the beast, the seven heads will also point to the seven kingdoms that have ruled and dominated this planet throughout history, under the enabling of the 'god of this world'. Now each of the dragon's heads had a crown speaking of Satan's rule as over this world. As mentioned, scripture says he is 'the god of this world' (2 Cor 4:4). Jesus called him the 'ruler of this world' (John 14.30). And his ten horns speak of power and ultimately points to the final kingdom where ten kings shall rule (Dan 7:7,24, Rev 17:12) and from which Satan's man, the Antichrist, shall emerge (Dan 7:7-8).  

The child 

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

The child is first and foremost Jesus. The description given of this child is that he will rule the nations with a rod of iron. This is a quote from Psalm 2:7-9 about the promised Messiah. We also see this same phrase in Rev 19:15 when Jesus returns where it says: 'From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.' He is the One that the woman, Israel, brought forth who shall rule all nations. As the famous prophecy states: 'For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.' (Isa 9:6). But there is a small 'but' here. As we move on we'll see that not everything fits perfectly just with Jesus alone and there are aspects of this story with the child that point to another as well. We shall see there is a 'midrashic' repeated pattern here with the body of Christ, and possibly even the 144,000 as well. The Church is also promised to rule with a 'rod of iron' earlier in Revelation 2:26-27. And as Jesus ascended into heaven, so His body, the church, shall also be caught up to heaven. Well loved Bible teacher H.A Ironside expresses this view:

Undoubtedly He (Jesus Christ) is primarily the man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron and the special object of Satan’s malignity. But we have already seen, in Revelation 2:26-28, that when He reigns He will not reign alone for His promise to the faithful overcomers in the church period is: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.” Is there then any incongruity in understanding the man-child to represent both Christ Jesus our Lord and His church? Surely not, for He is the Head of the body, the church, which is the fullness, or completion, of Himself. So the title “The Christ” is applied to both Head and body viewed as one in 1 Corinthians 12:12 where we read, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ”; literally it reads, “the Christ.” We may then, on the authority of Scripture itself, safely affirm that the man-child represents the one new Man who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron-Christ, the Head, and the church, His body.
H.A Ironside

The Ancient Prophecies - The Woman and her pains of childbirth

Rev 12:2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Having identified the cast, let's look at the scene. It is one of conflict and seemingly impending doom... but for the power and protection of God. We see that the woman is pregnant and in the pain of childbirth. As mentioned earlier, both the picture of labor pains and childbirth are a common prophetic motif in scripture and give great insight into the passage before us in Revelation. So it is worth spending some time on this to explore, in scriptural order, the prophecies around the pains of childbirth to get an extended view of this panoramic picture before us.  

Labor Pain Verses
1. The original pointer to the pains of childbirth
Gen 3:15-16 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (16) To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
This original passage concerning the pains of childbirth speaks of a reality that most women can unfortunately attest to! But it also points to a wider prophetic picture where through pain, the woman will bring forth the child that will crush the head of the serpent. We'll discuss this more in 'the ancient conflict' below.
2. Israel's struggles and own efforts produce nothing
Isa 26:17-18 As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O LORD. (18) We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth...
In this passage Israel remembers her history of pain and suffering, likening it to birth pains. And yet she realizes that she didn't bring forth anything. Only wind. There was no salvation and no Savior. This is likely portraying the thoughts of the remnant of Israel as they go through the tribulation period. It is a realization that their own efforts produced nothing3. But it will lead to another realization that Yeshua is their Messiah, leading to the bringing forth of the man-child once again at Jesus' return!  
3. Israel's two births - before and after birth pains
Isa 66:7-9 Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. (8) Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. (9) Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.
This is a very interesting passage. Isaiah spoke of a time when the woman would give birth to a son BEFORE going into labor. This was a prophetic pointer to the first coming of Jesus. But in the same passage Isaiah also spoke of a second birth, this time to children, plural, AFTER labor and birth pains. This points to the salvation and spiritual rebirth of Israel at the end of the tribulation.
4. The day of Jacob's trouble
Jer 30:6-7 Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale? (7) Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.
The coming day of Jacob's trouble, the Great Tribulation, is likened to a woman in labor. And these labor pains are ones that even the men of Israel will be experiencing! It is a graphic image, with all faces turned pale, depicting how bad this coming day will be for Israel. But, thankfully, there is a 'but' - 'But he shall be saved out of it'. 
5. Israel abandoned until the time of birth
Mic 5:2-3 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (3) Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth...
Again, this is a very interesting passage. Verse 2 is a well known prophecy that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem and this was fulfilled by Jesus. But then it says that Israel will be abandoned until the time that she who is in labor gives birth! This is saying that Israel will be sidelined by God until their spiritual rebirth at the end of the tribulation when, looking to and upon their Messiah Jesus, 'all Israel will be saved'.
6. The last days will see birth pains upon the world
Mat 24:7-8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (8) All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Jesus spoke of the signs of the last days as being birth pains for this world. There is a birth happening and someone is coming... but before that can occur there will be increasingly painful and frequent pains upon this earth. Have you noticed these labor pains increasing?
7. Creation and the believer currently experience pains
Rom 8:22-23 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (23) Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Creation itself is seen as currently groaning in the pains of childbirth. It desperately wants to be set free into its liberty and see the sons of God revealed. And believers also currently groan within, longing for the redemption and glorification of our bodies. Does that describe you?
8. Unbelievers will experience labor pains
1Th 5:3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
The world, during the day of the Lord, will experience labor pains. This ties in with what Jesus said in Mat 24:8 although here the emphasis is on how quickly and unexpectedly it will overtake them.
9. The sign and final fulfillment
Rev 12:1-2 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. (2) She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
Revelation 12 gives the last passage in the Bible about birth pains which is fulfilled with Israel, the woman. She is the one who brought forth the Messiah and from where the Church originated. And she will ultimately bring forth her remnant of believing Jews that will cry out to Yeshua in their national, spiritual, rebirth. A rebirth that will see the return of Israel's greatest Son!


Now, that is quite a few scriptures with a few more still to come. So let's take a quick break. We'll call it intermission. Time for a 'who am I?'

Who am I?

A good part of my life was characterized by failure. I was born into a poor family and when I was seven, my family lost their home so I had to work to support them. At age nine my mother died. Despite only having two years of format education I taught myself to read borrowing books from my neighbors. At twenty two, I lost my job as a store clerk. I then applied for law school but was rejected because of a lack of education. So I started teaching myself law through reading books. At twenty six my business partner died leaving me a huge debt that took seventeen years to pay off. At twenty eight my fiancé died leaving me heartbroken. At twenty nine I had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. At age thirty one I sought to be the Speaker of the state legislator but was defeated. At age thirty three I sought to be the elector but was defeated. At thirty six, I ran for Congress and lost. At age thirty nine I ran for Congress again and this time, I won! Two years later I sought re-election... and lost. At age forty six I ran for the United States Senate and lost. At forty eight I sought the vice presidential nomination for my party and lost. At fifty I ran for the United States Senate again and lost. Yet despite all this I did not give up and at age fifty two I was elected President of the United States of America. 

Who am I?4

This person had amazing perseverance and just never gave up despite repeated failures. But even he has nothing on this next character who, despite thousands of years of defeat, and a fatal blow at the cross, still never gives up. But not in a good sense. Enter the dragon... 

The Ancient Conflict - The Dragon's attack on the Promised Line

Rev 12:3-4 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.  (4)  His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.

The second character standing out in this scene is the dragon and it is fair to say he is not your cartoon like friendly, happy dragon. Since Satan's original fall, a war has ensued. This war made its way to earth where he has done all he can to destroy that which God created and loves. As well as sweeping one third of the stars out of heaven, a picture of the fallen angels that foolishly followed Satan in his rebellion against God, we see an ancient hatred of the woman. In fact, what the dragon specifically desires is to kill the child that the woman will bring forth. As mentioned earlier, this ancient conflict goes back to the first recorded prophecy in the Bible. You see, at that time God spoke directly to the serpent/Satan and gave him a prophecy that laid out his eventual downfall. God said: 

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you (the serpent, Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

So straight after the fall, God specifically told Satan, that dragon, that his head would be crushed as he bites the heel of the woman's offspring. How would that make you feel if you were Satan? How would you react? You would do all you could to prevent this from happening. And thus began an endless Satanic war to stop, through any means possible, the promised child from being born. So how did this play out you ask? Well consider the enemy's influence in the following attempts to stop the promised line and child:

  • To begin with we see that the first child born on this planet, Cain, murders the second one born, Abel. Why? Because Abel had received God's approval and Cain hadn't. (Gen 4:1-8) 
  • Later in the time of Noah, we see Satan's hand again as fallen angels, called the 'sons of God', corrupt the human race by mating with human women bringing forth a hybrid offspring called the Nephilim. So bad and widespread is this corruption that God judges the world, wiping it out through a flood and begins again through the family of Noah. (Gen. 6:1-8); 
  • We also see various attacks on the promised line. Having prophesied that the Messiah will come through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jacob finds himself having to flee from the hand of his brother Esau who seeks to kill him for taking his birthright (Gen 27:41)
  • Later with God's chosen people Israel down in Egypt, Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, attempts to kill all male Hebrews as soon as they are born (Ex 1:16, 22; Acts 7:19)
  • When an evil spirit came upon king Saul he attempted multiple times to kill David, through whom the promised Messiah had to come. 
  • Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah attempted to kill all the royal heirs of Judah. Only Josiah remained who was hidden in the temple for 6 years! This was a Satanic attempt to destroy David's line and prevent the coming of 'the Son of David'. (2 Chr 22:10-12)
  • You no doubt remember the wicked Haman, inspired by Satan no doubt, who attempted to wipe out all of the Jews through a royal decree (Est 3:6). 
  • When we get to the New Testament we see that after Herod heard that the King of the Jews had been born, he attempted to kill all the male children under 2 years old in Bethlehem and surrounding regions. (Mat 2:16). Thus another Satanic attempt at preventing the promised child!  
  • When Jesus began His ministry, in His home town of Nazareth, they attempted to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff (Luke 4:28-29) 
  • And of course Satan entered into Judas to betray Jesus and get Him crucified. One final attempt to get rid of the promised child, not even knowing that the death of this Promised Child would drive the nails into his own downfall! Yes the Serpent would strike the heel of the Messiah. But in doing so his own head would be crushed! Praise God!

Now having been outwitted and defeated at every attempt to stop the coming of the promised child, you would think that Satan would just admit defeat, pack his bags and go home right? Well, you wouldn't if you know how corrupted this fallen angel is. And so what is left? He has been defeated by the child. Does he have any cards left to play? What is left is the woman, Israel. He has one last all-or-nothing move left which will play out in the tribulation and will be the focus of the next message.

The catching up of the male-child - past and future

Rev 12:5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

There is another aspect to this story worth exploring. Scripture tells us that the male-child, who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, was caught up to God and His throne. We know that Jesus ascended back into heaven, back to His Father and His throne. So there is 'a' fulfillment here. But like I said at the start, not everything fits with this ascension leading many to believe that there is another fulfilment being pictured here as well. That is, this 'catching up' has more than one fulfillment. The implication when reading Revelation 12:4-5 is that the child was taken into heaven to protect him from the dragon that seeks to devour him. This is not a picture of Jesus following His resurrection who, as the Son of God, was in no harm or need of protection from Satan. The second point to note is that the word for the child being 'caught up' is 'harpazo' from which we get our well known word 'rapture'. It speaks of a sudden and quick snatching away, which again doesn't accurately portray Jesus' ascension into heaven in the view of His disciples. 

This has lead many to believe that there is another fulfillment of this passage at play with the body of Christ5. We, as believers, as co-heirs with Christ. are given the promise to rule with a rod of iron as mentioned earlier (Revelation 2:26-27). And we shall be 'caught up' to heaven to be with Him who is our Savior, Lord and God (1 Thes 4:17-18). So there is both a past and future fulfillment of this verse. 

The woman has to flee

Rev 12:6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Our final verse for today takes us into the future where the dragon's hatred of the woman will soon play out and come to a conclusion in the tribulation period. We've already looked at the dragon's attempts at stopping the promised child throughout history. Having failed this angry dragon will focus on the woman. In the mid-point of the tribulation, the woman, Israel, will have to flee and be hidden by God for 3 1/2 years. She will be protected in a place prepared by God... if she obeys and flees. But I'm sure you can understand that leaving their land will not be easy. The Jews have a life-long connection to their land. Since World War II they have always said 'never again' and have fought with all they have for both their homeland and their very existence. They would rather die than lose their land. And yet, according to Jesus' own instruction and command, at the middle of the Tribulation, when they see the 'abomination of desolation', they will have to flee for their lives (Matt 24:15-21). Those that obey, will live. We shall say more about this in the next message as this will be a main focus of the last part of this chapter in Revelation 12. 

Conclusion & Application

So I'm sure you will agree that there is a lot in these 6 verses! We've seen that scripture does a good job of interpreting scripture and the themes of this chapter extend right throughout the entire Bible. So as we conclude, what is the take-away and application for our own lives? Here are three quick points.

Revelation 12 Application for believers
  1. Revelation 12 is a reminder of the intense battle we are in.
    We've seen that the Dragon has 7 heads, speaking of complete wisdom. Our enemy is vastly intelligent. So much so that he was able to convince 1/3 of the angels to follow him and rebel against God. He should never be underestimated. He knows you. He knows your weaknesses. And he likes to try to exploit those weaknesses. The more you allow the Lord to live and work through you, the more of a target you will become. We have also seen that the child that is raptured up seems to be escaping the grasp of the dragon. So this points to the days leading up to the rapture of the Church, that we shall see an increased the hatred and persecution of believers from the dragon. So never underestimate the battle that goes on around you. But we also remember this - greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world. And while your enemy knows you and your weaknesses, if you know God's word then you are also aware of his ways for 'we are not ignorant of his schemes' as scripture says (2 Cor 2:11). Also remember that if 1/3 of the angels fell then 2/3 didn't! That means the fallen angels are outnumbered 2 - 1. Remember that when you are fearful next.
  2. Revelation 12 is a reminder of the incredible plan we are part of.
    We've seen that this plan of God with the woman, the child and the dragon goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. It has been playing out for thousands of years, and even more amazing is the fact that it is coming to its conclusion. How amazing is that!?! What a time to be alive! You may have a mundane 9-5 job and lead a quiet life. But if you are a believer you are part of an incredible plan of God! And as we look around us we can see all the signs and players positioning themselves. We can see this amazing plan of God come to fruition. This leads us to the 3rd and final point...
  3. Revelation 12 is a reminder of the amazing future that we have.
    The child is caught up to the throne of God. That happened to Jesus and that is the future for the believer. That is our hope. Just as Jesus ascended up into heaven, so shall His body, the Church. So this reminds us that the dragon will fail. He failed with Jesus, He has failed with the Church and he will fail with the woman. That is he will fail in all his efforts in stopping the remnant of Israel from believing in, and calling upon, the Lord Jesus to come again. And what does it say about that child? Not only is He caught up to the very throne of God Himself, but He shall 'rule all the nations with a rod of iron'. That is true of Jesus Christ. Amazingly, it is also true of the Church. That is the future for believers. Believer, you haven't seen anything yet! Currently the kingdoms of this world are in the hands of this angry dragon. And we see that clear enough from the direction that this world is heading, do we not? But soon, Christ and His body shall reign. And if you are to reign with Him then, follow Him all the more now!

So this is just part one of the story which will continue in the next message where we'll explore how this all plays out when there is a war in heaven and this dragon is cast down to the earth. 

Until then... God Bless.


  1. I think I may say without exaggeration that I have read or carefully examined several hundred books purporting to expound the Revelation. I have learned to view this twelfth chapter as the crucial test in regard to the correct prophetic outline. If the interpreters are wrong as to the woman and the man-child, it necessarily follows that they will be wrong as to many things connected with them.
    H.A. Ironside

  2. There are many online that believe our generation saw this sign play out in the heavens. Our text says that John was given a 'mega' sign 'in heaven'. The word for heaven here is 'ouranós' meaning 'Heaven, sky, air'. It is used of both the heavens above the earth (where the birds fly or further out to the sun, moon and stars) as well as the heavenly abode of God. As mentioned there are many students of prophecy, especially online, that believe that the sign of the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head was seen in an astrological alignment on September 23 2017 in our solar system constellation of Virgo (the virgin woman). Leading up to this date, some thought/hoped this was the rapture... and were obviously disappointed. Others said that it is only the sign and not the event which would come sometime later. Some believe that it is a 7-year warning sign (which would end in September 2024) such as what God gave to Joseph to prepare him for a 7 year famine (Genesis 41:25-32). Time will tell if this was a sign from God and what it all means. I don't like to be dogmatic on such things although I do find them interesting. It does seem to be a unique alignment that portrays the sign presented to us in Revelation 12:1. It also had the king planet, Jupiter, in the womb area of the Virgo constellation for 9 months as a picture of the woman giving birth to the King. From what I have read the only other similar alignment occurred nearly 6000 years ago in 3915 BC. On the other hand Revelation 12 speaks of another sign saying 'Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads' and while some have tried to find a fulfillment for this, they are very weak in my opinion. If the first sign was seen in the heavens above us then so must the second. If there was a genuine sign of the red dragon in the heavens that fulfilled Revelation 12:3 then I would hop off the fence! : ) Until then it is something to explore and ponder, realizing that we see things dimly at times. If you want to explore more, here is a fairly recent discussion (from a positive aspect) on this Sep 23 2017 alignment that was on Prophecy Watchers:

  3. And this verse should be contrasted with God's reply later in Isaiah where He asks them to...

    Isa 54:1 "Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman," says the LORD.

  4. This is of course the amazing US President, Abraham Lincoln.

  5. Pastor Ray Stedman writes on this:

    But there arises a problem here in understanding this because the ascension of Jesus, as recorded at the end of the Gospels and in the opening of Acts, was not in order that he might escape harm from his enemies on earth. The resurrected Lord was far beyond his enemies' reach by that time -- they could do him no harm. So there is no need for Jesus to ascend into heaven in order to escape the wrath of the dragon. But -- and here is where it gets a bit tricky -- there is an aspect of our Lord which found deliverance from danger by being snatched away into heaven. How many of you have guessed what it is? It is the church, of course. All through the New Testament the church and the Lord are regarded as one. Remember when Saul was converted on the Damascus Road Jesus appeared and said to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Acts 9:4). Paul was actually persecuting the church, but Jesus said, "That is me!" In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, "The body of Christ is a unit. It is made up of many parts but it is one body -- ," (1 Corinthians 12:12 a NIV). And then he added this significant phrase: " -- so also is Christ," (1 Corinthians 12:12b KJV). The church and the Lord are together the body of Christ. So the whole history of the church is involved here, including the rapture. It is interesting that the term used here for the child is that he was snatched up to God. That is the very term that is used for the rapture of the church. It is the Great Snatch! That is what the young people used to call it in the Body Life times of the '60s -- the Great Snatch, the rapture of the church, to occur before the dragon begins his persecuting work.
    Ray Stedman

Related Series Posts