PrefaceThe book of Revelation is one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. Not so much because the chapters are so difficult to discern, but because so many people are caught up in private interpretations, and the parroting of the unsound doctrines that they've heard. But the true interpretation of Revelation will be found in the scriptures, not out in the world. Interpretations belong to God (Gen. 40:8, 41:16), not man.
In this series of studies on Revelation, we will examine these chapters in the "light" of God's Word to determine what He means by the symbolism that is found there. Because in the end, this is all that really matters. Everything else besides Biblical interpretation is "private" interpretation or speculation, and is profitable for nothing. It is God's Word that is profitable for doctrine and instruction in Righteousness. In this study we will go over Revelation chapter 12 verse by verse and let God's Word define God's Word. In the words of the age old adage, "The Bible is it's own interpreter." Truly, Words to live by.
...and may the Lord give us all the wisdom to discern the truth of His Word.
Revelation Chapter 12
by Tony Warren
- "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:"
The woman in this chapter symbolizes the Congregation of God (Covenant Israel). The symbolism in this chapter is of what took place with her both before Messiah came, and then after His ascension to the Throne after the cross. The congregation of God is often symbolized as a woman who is betrothed to God. The heaven here is symbolizing the Kingdom of Heaven where the congregation dwells.
We should understand that from the very beginning of creation God instituted the Sun, Moon, and the stars as the heavenly lights of the world. We read in:
- "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made stars also,
- And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth"
- "Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the Moon and the stars for a light by night..."
The Sun, moon and stars were set in the heavens to be the light of the world and that's the picture that they are portraying in Revelation chapter 12. This woman is clothed with the light of the world, and that light of the world she is clothed with is Christ!
- "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I Am the Light of the World: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life."
- "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy".
The Sun that this woman is clothed in is symbolic of the righteousness of Christ. He is the Sun, the light of the World. He is whom we (the Congregation) are clothed with that the nakedness of sin (Rev 3:18) does not appear. This picture God is painting here is that the congregation Israel is clothed in the light of the Sun which is the righteousness of Christ. This is not a literal woman, not the literal sun on her (as if it could be), and this is not the literal heavens. It's all symbolism to show us God's magnificent Salvation plan for His bride, the Woman. The Sun that she is clothed in is Christ, and it is that she not walk in darkness. He is the Light of the world, and His righteousness is the robe this woman wears.
- "...And His countenance was as The Sun shineth in His strength."
- "But unto you that fear My name shall The Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.."
This is the Righteousness of the Sun clothing this Woman in the Kingdom. The congregation Israel being clothed with the Sun is symbolizing the children of God (Israel) are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Sin is often pictured as nakedness in scripture (Revelation 3:17-18), but when we are clothed in the light of Christ, then we walk not in darkness because we are clothed in this righteousness of Christ. Our sins are then all covered! That is the clothing for the sin of the Congregation.
The moon under her feet is again symbolic of the light. Here it is illustrating the light directing her steps so she sees where she is going that she'll not stumble in darkness. The moon is the reflected light from the Sun to guide us in darkness.
- "Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
- But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him".
The moon is the light of the night (remember Genesis). It is the light reflected from the day (Sun, Christ) that we can see in darkness. As we read in John 8:12, he who followed Christ shall not walk in darkness. That's the same signification as the moon being under her feet. The Moon is the ordinance of the light for the night (Jeremiah 31:35) so that we walk not in darkness. Again we see this principle illustrated in verses such as:
- "O House of Jacob, come ye, and let us WALK in the LIGHT of the Lord."
- "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path."
the moon under her feet is this Lamp unto her feet ands light for the path. It's the light of the Sun illuminating her path at night, guiding the congregation's steps when things look darkest.
And stars were likewise instituted as the ordinances of the night given to light the darkness (Jeremiah 31:35). The 12 stars are indicative of the messengers or servants of this congregation Israel. Children of God are as stars because when Christ dwell within them they take on the responsibility to bring the light of the Lord to the World. i.e., they are vessels or messengers carrying that light in darkness. We are in Christ, and He is in us, therefore we are lesser lights to light the earth. This is why stars are used in scripture to symbolize the servants or messengers of the Lord. for example we can see this signified in Revelation 1:20 as God "reveals" to us the "mystery" of this symbolism of the stars. There we read:
- "the mystery of the seven stars which thou saw in My right hand, and the seven Golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the messengers of the seven Churches, and the seven candlesticks which thou saw, are the seven Churches".
Here God has unambiguously revealed to us the "symbolism" of what the Candlesticks represented, and what the stars represented. The Candlesticks signified the Churches, and the stars signified the messengers of the Churches. And so once again there is no need to speculate or guess what it symbolizes. God tells us plainly!
These 12 stars are representing the messengers of the congregation of Israel. The number 12 in scripture often specifically identifies with the lord's congregation. The 12 tribes which represented the Old Covenant with Israel, and the 12 Apostles representing the New Covenant with israel. They all symbolize the same thing. That these are the messengers or Servants of God in the Kingdom of heaven.
The 12 Stars are arranged as a Crown to illustrate that they are Kings and they reign. Crowns in scripture are symbolic of a kingdom or reign. They are her crown, a Kingdom of Priests because they are in Christ. This is just as God said of the Old Testament Congregation,
- "..And ye shall be unto Me, a Kingdom of priests, and a Holy nation."
Note (not coincidentally) that God says the same thing of the New Testament Congregation,
1st Peter 2:9
- "But ye are a Chosen generation, a Kingly Priesthood, an Holy Nation.."
These things aren't incidental, God is equating the old Covenant congregation of God, and the New Covenant congregation of God. They have the same promises and agreement because both Covenants are with the same Israel. In the New Covenant side of the cross, it has been confirmed, or strengthened (Hebrews 9:16-17) and made new in Christ's blood. The Covenant is with this woman. Her messengers are her crown in Christ, Kings (rev 5:9-10) and Priests unto God.
Of course the "type" was set long ago when Israel's son Joseph had a dream, and he dreamed that his 11 brothers (or tribes of his father Israel) were symbolized by eleven stars. You see, God is alerting us that the stars represent the Children of Israel (Genesis 37:9-10). God Interprets these things for us as He knows what He is doing even when we do not. These 12 stars a crown of the woman symbolize "The Children of Israel" in Christ.
And so this first verse tells us that this woman (Covenant Israel) is clothed with the righteousness or light of Christ, and that Christ by that light guides her steps or lights her path. And that the messengers as little lights of Christ, reign in Christ as Kings and Priests unto God. This woman in Heaven symbolizes the congregation of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- "And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."
Why this language of this woman with child? It is because the Christ Child was prophesied to come out of Israel (Isaiah 49:1-9) and thus the "symbolic" language that He is Born of this woman Israel. In other words, Covenant Israel gave birth to our Lord and Saviour because the Promise had to be fulfilled "as it was written". He is the Seed of this woman who was prophesied to come. from the very beginning was the Prophesy established.
Christ is that Seed of the woman prophesied from the beginning to bruise the head of satan that old serpent. So Christ had to come forth from the congregation Israel, as the seed of this woman.
- "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".
When it speaks of her "travailing in birth", it is talking about the pains that the congregation was going through at the time before Christ was born. Israel was in a state of trouble. Her paths were crooked (meaning that they weren't taking the straight and narrow), and the prophets and priests were all gone out of the way. We read that the Kingdom of heaven suffered violence until John and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12). John prophesied of making the crooked straight and prepared the way for the Lord. This is a time of great Apostasy and trouble in Israel and they pained to be delivered (Jeremiah 4:31). This Child's birth is the Only thing that could deliver her so that her joy could be fulfilled. ..more on that later.
- "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red Dragon, having seven heads and 10 horns, and seven crowns upon his heads."
The Dragon [drakon], meaning a serpent of sight (as if something to gaze or wonder after) is symbolic of Satan (verse 9 confirms this). Heads in scripture are symbolic of authority. The seven heads we read are seven kingdoms. Seven because it represents the totality of His rule. The numbers 7, 70, 700, or 7000 often illustrate the totality of whatever is in view (See number 7 study). We can see this for example in the 7 days making up the week. It's the totality or completeness of the days therein. i.e., after 7 days, the week is complete! That is the totality of the week.
These 7 heads of the dragon illustrates the totality of satan's authority throughout time, and the seven Crowns again emphasize his rule during that time. Satan is the prince of this world and crowns are what goes on the heads of princes or rulers of kingdoms. And Horns in the Bible symbolize power. for example,
- "Arise and thresh O daughter of Zion, for i will make thy Horn iron, and i will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces many people.."
- "and I saw him come close unto the ram and he was moved with Choler against him, and smote the Ram and brake his two horns, and there was no power in the ram to stand.."
This verse tells us that the Horns were the Symbolism of His power, and when the horns were broken, he had no more Power. i.e., Horns=Power and Strength. Even in our day an animal's power and strength is often symbolized by his horn. The 10 horns of the Dragon symbolize Satan's power and strength as he rules in the latter time that these 10 kings come in the future. The 10 horns identify "that" time of Satan's power. It's commented on in Revelation chapter 17 verse 10. There it tells us that this power to "RULE" had not come yet (when Revelation was written), but they would rule with power for a short time near the End of the world (1 hour to judge the Harlot - see the Revelation 17 study). This power of the dragon would not come until near the end of the world, and would only last a short season. The number 10 symbolizes the fullness of this time of power (within the totality of Satan's rule).
And so this third verse is a symbolic picture of that Serpent of sight Satan, as he has authority to rule throughout time (7), and as he is given power to rule (10) for a short period of time near the end of the world.
- "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."
Satan's tail is used as a synonym for false prophets who come to hurt and deceive the Children of God. The tail is the deception from the head. It is what follows the authority of the head and does it's bidding.
- "And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail, and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath.."
To be the head is to be above, as the authority or he who rules, and to be the tail is to be beneath, or under someone's power or authority. I'm sure you've heard the expression, "the tail waving the head". That is a phrase illustrating things are backwards. As the head should be the authority over the tail. Likewise, in this symbolism the tail is those under the authority of satan who do his bidding. i.e., they follow the authority of the head. For example, look at Revelation chapter 9 where it speaks about the bottomless pit being opened and the plague of locusts that had "tails" like scorpions coming forth:
- "And had TAILS like unto SCORPIONS, and there were stings in their tails: and their POWER was to hurt men five months."
This is symbolic language to indicate that they are the emissaries of Satan. The tail to "signify" they are under the Authority of the serpent or scorpion. Satan is symbolized in scripture as the scorpion and the Serpent, and likewise those who are of satan. Again, note later on in that same chapter of Revelation we read of the horsemen who had been bound, and were loosed from Euphrates:
- "for their POWER is in their mouth, and in their TAILS: for their TAILS were like unto SERPENTS, and had heads, and with them they do hurt."
Again, we see the symbolism of power of the tail to hurt people, this time, not as of a scorpion, but as a serpent. You see they "both" represent the people who come under the power and authority of Satan. Both the Scorpion, and the Serpent are symbolic of Satan. The servants of Satan come with his power to hurt, and that's the symbolism of the tail of the Dragon casting down the stars of the Kingdom of heaven. Satan works out his power to Hurt men through his false prophets under his authority as the head. They are the tail.
In Revelation 12 the illustration is that Satan was attacking and bringing down the Congregation of Israel with great violence and warfare, casting Israel's Messengers down. This is what is recorded in:
- "and from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force".
This is the violence in view. This is the Woman in the Kingdom of Heaven having her stars cast down to the earth. Satan is the accuser of the Brethren. That's what Isaiah 40:1 means when speaking of the Coming of Jesus, saying, "Comfort ye Jerusalem, that her warfare is accomplished, the Voice of him that crieth in the Wilderness!" In other words, when John came, he heralded the news that the warfare, the violence in the Kingdom would be completed, because Christ would bring Peace to Jerusalem. The Violence that the Kingdom suffered because of Satan will come to an end!
This time of trouble and violence in the kingdom is what this verse four of Revelation 12 is illustrating. Satan's tail was casting the stars of the Congregation down with great violence. They are truly like Scorpions, Vipers, or Serpents making the straight crooked and the plain rough. It is they who caused the travail of this woman, Israel. They are the tail of the Dragon.
- "Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
- The ancient and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the TAIL."
Here the Honorable of the congregation is the head (the Authority) and those prophets under that authority teach lies, therefore shall both be cut off! The tail is illustrative of false prophets under authority of some head. Likewise the tail of the dragon that cast the 3rd part of the stars to the ground are false prophets under Authority of satan, with violence casting the messengers of the congregation down.
One third were cast down because the fraction 1/3 in scripture represents those that are brought through the Fire and Cleansed. In other words, the Saints. For example, when Zechariah talks about the shepherd (Christ), and the sheep being scattered, we read:
- "And it shall come to pass that in all the land saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein.
- And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name, and I will hear them, I will say it is My people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God".
The third part represents those whom the Lord will save by purifying them and removing their sins. The messengers were being held captive by Satan in his prison house and by force he held them as slaves in bondage, accusing them by their sin. the symbolism is that they had no power to stand before him. We readily understand as He had the rulers of the congregation, the priests, scribes, and Pharisees in subjection or servitude to him. Satan was deceiving the nations and working mightily to cast down the congregation, but this nation pains to be delivered from this bondage. To put it in simple terms, there was a great apostasy going on when Jesus came. A lot of people going to the temple, but in vain because they were ruled by the unrighteous Priests who were the tail. Christ called them Children of the Devil whose will they would do. Christ came to Free Israel that they would no longer be hurt by the tail of the scorpion, whose sting is of death. God gives us a magnificent Spiritual picture of this power over death He came to bring when He sent the 70 out. They returned excited with the power they had received. Read and consider wisely:
- "And Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
- Behold, I give unto you power to tred on Serpents and Scorpions, and over all the power of the Enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Some misguided souls look at this verse, and verses like Mark 16:18, and think that Jesus is telling us He gives us power not to be hurt by literal serpents, snakes or scorpions. That is "not" the Power of the enemy to hurt. The Power of the enemy to hurt is Satan working through false Prophets, and that is what Jesus came to set us free from that we can never be hurt by it again. Likewise in Mark 16 where Jesus says the sign will follow believers that if they pick up a serpent, it won't hurt them, some misguided souls go around trying to handle snakes because they "miss the Point." Symbolism! Satan is that "serpent" who cannot hurt us, not a literal snake. That is not what God had in mind. It was a picture of Satan who no longer has power to deceive the true Believer, because Christ went to the Cross. It says it right there in revelation 12:9 that old "serpent" called the devil, and satan. In this also the symbolism of the Serpent not harming us is revealed. It's Satan, not a literal snake.
So this is the symbolism of the dragon (Satan) standing before the woman who is in travail (Tribulation/Trouble), waiting for her Man Child to be born so that he might try and destroy Him. Did Satan try to Destroy the manchild as soon as it was born? Indeed he did! Remember, Satan is a Spirit. He works through men, as their authority or head (i.e., they are the tail). An example would be as he worked through Herod to try and kill the Man Child Jesus as soon as He was born. But the wise men, being forewarned in a dream by God, went back another way and did not tell him the whereabouts of Christ. And this Jesus, the Man Child, was taken into Egypt as soon as He was born to escape Herod (under authority of Satan) who attempted to destroy the manchild. There was a Great Weeping and Mourning heard, because Satan in trying to kill the man Child, slaughtered many Children (Matthew 2:14-18). And this is exactly what Revelation 12 is symbolizing.
The point is, Satan sought to kill the Man Child as soon as it was born, but God thwarted him. You see, this is the marvelous symbolism that God uses in Revelation, and it's interpretation is in scripture and not in the imaginations of men. Again, it's the only real way to find the truth of the symbolism of the woman Israel travailing in birth. In order for us to know the true interpretation of that, we don't go to Pastor Bob, or Dr. IHavea Ph.D., or the Pope, or our Church teachers, we go to the Scriptures. That is where the truth is. Anything anyone says, has to be in subjection to the scripture. When we look "carefully" for the travailing woman in scripture, we see Jesus Himself gives us clear and wonderful insight into her, and who this Man Child is. Speaking to the Children of Israel about His having to go to the cross and then ascend to heaven that they would be delivered, He elucidates:
- "Verily verily I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament. But the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
- A Woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the Child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a Man is born into the world."
There is revealed the mystery of the MAN CHILD and the Woman travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered, by Christ Himself! No need for any speculation or guessing. There is the mystery revealed of the travail of the woman. There is revealed exactly who the Woman is and all aspects of the symbolism. The manchild is Christ. The Woman is the Congregation Israel. The travail is the agony this woman has to go through before her deliverance. She has to endure trial, and evil, and stand idle as Christ is crucified. This is great sorrow for Israel. You see, though this woman Israel, brought forth this Man Child, it is the Man Child who "truly" delivers this woman in birth. That's why in this verse Jesus Himself is equating this woman as Israel and His going to the cross and ascending to heaven to send the Holy spirit, as this Woman being delivered.
....and he that hath ears to hear, let him hear!
There can be no question when we study those verses carefully. He is equating Himself with the Man Child, and Israel as the woman whose joy would be full when He goes to His father. Sound Biblical validation that the Israel in view is the Church. For "they" are the Israel who will rejoice at the resurrection, and who were delivered by His going to the cross. So Verse 4 of Revelation 12 is telling us that Satan stood before this travailing woman to try and destroy Christ as soon as he was born. And Christ lets us know (If we follow scripture) that the woman is Israel His body, and He is the man child who will bring her joy by His deliverance! AMEN!
- "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."
The language of "rule all nations with a rod of Iron" confirms this Man Child is Christ. This matches the language of Christ coming in revelation 19:15 where out of his mouth goes a sword, and He shall rule them with a Rod of Iron. It's taken from Psalms Chapter 2, and the prophesy of the coming of Christ. There is no real question but this Man Child was Christ. The Rod of "RULE" is of Iron to symbolize that He Rules in strength. His Kingdom is a strong Kingdom and His rule is the Word of God! It's absolute! And He was caught up to God and His throne. That again is exactly what happened to Jesus after the Cross, and what He meant when He said that the travailing woman would have joy after she was delivered of the man child. He was caught up to God and is at His right hand, and His throne.
- "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."
After Christ ascends to Heaven to the throne of God, the Dragon (Satan) wants to destroy this woman, but she is given two wings of a great eagle (Symbolizing the care and protection of the Lord God) and she flies into the wilderness where she has a place prepared for her where God "feeds" and nourishes her there for 1260 days. The 1260 days is symbolical time. It equates to time, times, and a half (see verse 14). That is to say, the entire time that this congregation of the Lord has a testimony to give in the wilderness of the world. She is nourished from the face of the serpent. In other words, Satan cannot come near to harm her. He has been bound or restrained by the cross of Christ that He cannot harm The woman (the children of God) and they can go forth with the true gospel that many are Saved. The Lord provides bread for the Church for the time that she is fed in the wilderness, which is symbolically typed as 1260 days. It's not literally 1260 days (3 1/2 years) but spiritually it is.
This is intimately identified with when The Lord God freed Israel from bondage to Egypt and they had to spend time in the wilderness before they entered into their promised land. This woman, the Church, must spend time in the wilderness (Commemorated by the week of the Feast of Tabernacles) after she is freed from bondage to sin before she can enter the promised land. But God will protect her and keep her from harm. That is what the language of giving her two wings of an Eagle symbolize. God did the exact same thing for Israel as He brought them out of Egypt.
- "Ye have seen what I did unto the the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto Myself."
Likewise, God is bringing us unto Himself, and bearing us up on Eagles wings. This is not coincidence, it is because the Church/Congregation "IS" the Israel of God that was freed from bondage to Satan at the Cross! She always was, and always will be. She was freed from satan, and the power of death he brought, and she is protected from the face of the serpent by God. Satan can't harm her for he is bound from doing so (matthew 12:29). That's the symbolism of her given eagles wings to fly into the wilderness and be nourished from the face of Satan for this time. The 1260 days in the wilderness is symbolic of the journey of the Church from the time she is freed from Bondage, to the time that her witness or testimony is finished (Revelation. 11:3, 7). Then the 1260 days she has been FED of God will have been accomplished. Revelation 11 speaks of it as the time the Testimony of the two Witnesses (Candlesticks, Prophets, Olive Trees) is finished. This is the time after 1260 days when the testimony of the Church is finished. Then there will be a short time of famine and tribulation as satan is loosed from the bottomless pit. And then Christ will return.
The connection here is that as Israel was freed from bondage to Egypt, and spent time in the wilderness before it could enter into the promised land, so also when Christ freed us (The Israel of God) from bondage to Satan, we also spend time in the wilderness of the world before entering into the promised land. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates this wilderness journey. "One Week" is the celebration of the wilderness journey. It's the Length of the New Covenant with Israel which was confirmed (strengthened) by Messiah, the Prince (Daniel 9). This woman is fed in the wilderness for time, times and a half (3 1/2), but that is not her time in the wilderness. It's only the time that she is fed from the face of Satan. Which means, the rest of her time she is not fed away from the face of the serpent. That's the second half of the week, time, times and a dividing of time (3 1/2). When Satan is loosed to bring tribulation to the Church (Daniel 7:25). There is an abomination that leads to desolation, Famine (of the Word of God) as Satan rules for a short time in the temple of God as if he was God (see the 2nd Thessalonians 2 Study). And this lasts until the Return of Christ. That will be the end of the 1 (Final) week spoken of in Daniel chapter 9. This is the entire period of the New Covenant/Testament with Israel. It's symbolically one week. It is no coincidence that Christ the Israel of God preached 3 1/2 years before He was crucified, and the Church Israel is spoken of as having a testimony lasting 1260 days (3 1/2 years, Rev 11:3,7) before she is killed. The Church and Christ are intimately identified together as we are the Body of Christ and He dwells within us. The Cross was when the woman Israel was freed from bondage and was comforted and protected on Eagle's wings, and fed of God from the face of the serpent (half a week, of the final week of the 70 weeks [of years] of daniel chapter 9) and have famine and Satan wear out the saints and have tribulation 42 months (3 1/2 years, last half of the week) before Christ returns and the Judgment sits. These are Spiritual times, for no man knows the day nor the hour of the Lord's return.
- "and there was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels."
Michael is a signification for Christ. This word is of Hebrew origin and is [miykael], meaning "whom or he, is surely God". It's taken from three root words, [miy] meaning whom or he, [kiy] meaning surely or assuredly, and ['el], meaning God. [miykael] or Michael is Christ who assuredly is God. He is called the Arch (Chief or Head) Messenger because He is the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) who was prophesied to come.
- "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts".
He is not an Angel, but a Messenger. The words translated angel and messenger are the exact same words. Christ and His messengers fought, and the Devil and His messengers fought, and Satan and his messengers were defeated by the cross of Christ. Christ strengthened the Covenant by His death (Heb. 9:17).
So often many lose sight of the fact that Revelation is using symbolic language all throughout this chapter. Sun, Moon, Stars, and they being in heaven are all Symbolic of something else, not the Literal heaven, a woman, the sun, or stars. That is quite obvious! The warfare was a Spiritual warfare. When Isaiah says Jerusalem's warfare was accomplished or finished, it wasn't talking about literal war with clubs, swords or literal fighting. It is a warfare infinitely more important. We see this pictured gloriously as Jesus sends the 70 out 2 by 2 with the gospel, and they returned saying Satan couldn't harm them, (ye shall take up serpents) and even the spirits were subject to them. Christ the arch or chief Messenger (not angel) gave his messengers this Power, a prelude to what power they would have because of the cross. Their battle gear was the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That was what they fought with. And their victory was assured only in Christ! Listen and hear what Jesus tells His messengers as He sends them out two by two.
- "He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.
Jesus is illustrating that if they fight you, they fight Him, and if they fight Him, they fight against God. i.e., he is telling them they are messengers representing God and any enmity against them is then enmity against God! they are God's army. It Continues in verse 17:
- And the 70 returned again with joy, saying, LORD, even the DEVILS are SUBJECT unto us through THY name.
Satan had no power to stand against them by the faith that would be secured by the Cross of Christ. It was by the Power of Christ that the devils were subject to the Messengers of the lord. Christ, the Chief Messenger Michael who assuredly is God, was the reason that they could not stand against these messengers. The 70 Christ sent out rejoiced at this, and note "carefully" in the next verse, Christ's response to their Joy of their Victory over devils:
- And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven."
Satan hadn't literally fallen out of the sky (heaven) Christ is signifying that he has been prevented from harming anyone in the Kingdom (Heaven). And that falling is exactly what the next verses of Revelation chapter 12 is referring to. That Satan now had no power over the army of God, and the kingdom of Heaven would go forth to the world because of it. Satan spiritually is cast out of it, and the bondage wherewith he held men would be broken by the Cross. the accuser would not be able to cast down the stars to the earth. This miracle of the 70 was a picture of what the finished work of Christ would do for the Church. It would destroy (bring Him down/Idle) Satan (Hebrews 2:14) so that the saints could be free from his bondage whereby he held death over them. Christ could now build His Church and the gates of Hell could not prevail over it as Satan is defeated, cast out, and bound that the Lord could free his prisoners or captives and build His Church. The same picture of Joy as the Woman being delivered of the man Child which Jesus talked about. It is a victory by the blood of the lamb as the Kingdom suffered violence, but Christ would bring it peace and Safety.
- "..that through death, He might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is the devil,
- and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage".
That Greek word "destroy" there is [katargeo] and means to make idle or inactive down. To literally make vanish or void. We know Satan was not destroyed in the classic sense of the word as he still goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1st Peter 5:8), but the Kingdom of God is come and has been delivered from bondage to Him and secured from harm by that old serpent because of the Blood of the cross. In the symbolic sense of Revelation, Satan was cast out of heaven (the kingdom) making it secure. The Kingdom which suffered violence is delivered. Satan was the accuser of the brethren by sin, because he held them in bondage with the fear of death hanging over them. But Christ delivered us from that bondage by paying the wages of sin (death) and thus cast the accuser out. By the power of Christ is he conquered and as lightning fell from heaven. When Jesus told the 70 that He saw Satan as lightning (God's judgment) fall from heaven, this is what he was talking about. He saw the Victory of the cross that would destroy satan, cast him out of the Kingdom and thus keep the messengers of He who assuredly is God from harm. The scorpions and serpents were signifying Satan and all power of this enemy.
- "And prevailed not; neither was their place found anymore 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 messengers were cast out with him."
When Christ sent the 70 (the number 70 was representing the fullness or totality of the church) out to witness two by two, and when they returned He said He saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18), this is what Revelation 12 is symbolizing. The accuser is cast out! There is no longer a fear of death as the law does not condemn us, and he no longer has power in the Church. Michael and His Messengers fought against Satan and his messengers by the work of the cross. Ultimately through Christ's death, Satan was cast out and the Lord's army gained the Victory. They go forth Conquering and to conquer, because Christ went forth Conquering and to Conquer and they were risen in Him. They go forth in battle, and overcome not of themselves, but by the blood of Christ. Devils are subject to them through Christ's Power of the cross.
Christ gave us the power to overcome Satan by the Cross alone, and this assured that nothing Satan could do could harm us. He can Kill us, have us stoned to death, or fed to the Lions, but ultimately, he has lost and has no power in the Kingdom because his accusations mean nothing because of the work of Christ. He cannot harm us in any way, and certainly not by false Gospel. Again,
- "...I beheld Satan as Lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give you power to tred on SERPENTS and SCORPIONS, and over all power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Some people want to go out in the desert and handle literal snakes, or think that they can drink literal poison (mark 16). But that's not what is in view. When Mark 16 says we can pick up serpents and not be harmed, and when this verse says we can tred on serpents and scorpions and not be hurt, what is in view is Satan. He is the Serpent that cannot harm us, not a literal snake in the grass. He is the scorpion whose sting in his tail cannot harm us. This is Symbolic language, not a literal promise that you can't be poisoned or killed by a snake!
This is the symbolism of God's Word, and unless we start listening to God's Word, we're not going to know which way is up as far as interpretation. We will leave ourselves open for any type of deception. But when you get it from the Bible, by the Holy Spirit that tells you it's true, you know that you are on the right track. It was Christ who cast Satan from heaven, and it's through Christ that we have the power over serpents, scorpions, Poisonous drinks. Poisons from the lips of Satan's false Prophets.
And how did these Messengers of Michael overcome Satan and his messengers? We need not speculate, we get it directly from the scriptures there. And scripture tells us:
- "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 the brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
The accuser of the brethren is sin. Satan is the essence, the embodiment of sin. But at the cross Michael (Christ) cast down the accuser by purging us from sin, and destroying (making idle or void) Satan who held this fear of death over us (Hebrews. 2:14). we read, Now has come Salvation and Strength! At the Cross! Christ strengthened or confirmed the Covenant in His Blood at the cross (Hebrews 9:17). That is when Satan was cast down. That is when Salvation came. Who did it? Christ! He is Michael, the Chief Messenger of that Covenant. This verse tells us how the victory was achieved. Now is Come the Kingdom..
Consider wisely the signification of what Jesus told the people when He cast out Satan from a man and said the Kingdom had come. It was an illustration that This "indeed" was the Messenger of the Covenant promised, and indeed the Kingdom Had come, and He indeed would bind satan and deliver those held captive by Him. Consider wisely:
- "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
- And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
- But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then The Kingdom of God is come unto you.
- Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
- He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad".
That tells it all. The strong man is satan, He who came to spoil (take by right of conquest) his house is christ, but note God says First he (Christ) had to bind Satan. Then he could spoil or take his possessions. That's what Christ did to satan by the Cross. Bound him, made him void, destroyed him that he could deliver his captivity and set them free from bondage. And Matthew 12:30 goes right on in the same vein of those with Christ and against him. Either his army fighting with Him, or those fighting against Him. we note also Christ says "if" he by God casts out Satan, then the Kingdom of God has come unto you. Again, just as we read in Revelation chapter 12. Now is come the Kingdom and Salvation because "the accuser of the brethren", Satan, is cast down. He is bound that he cannot hurt us. This is the same picture God is painting here in matthew 12.
The Kingdom has now come, it is within us as Christ is within us (luke 17:12) and Satan is cast out (just as jesus cast the Devil out in matthew 12 and said all these things). Satan has no power in "THIS" Kingdom because he was defeated by Christ's death and it's a more perfect Kingdom. Not of this world, but a spiritual Kingdom with us (Christ's messengers) as those with power over Satan.
- "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."
The Church, the Messengers of Michael overcame Satan how? By the Blood of Christ, and by the WORD of their testimony, and they loved not their lives even unto death. ..EVEN UNTO DEATH!
Study these verses carefully and you will see that it seamlessly moves from Michael defeating Satan to Christ defeating Satan, and from Michael's messengers prevailing, to Christ's messengers prevailing. The reason is because Michael is the Christ, and He is the one who cast Satan (and his messengers) from the Kingdom therefore believers in Him prevail. The fallen messengers with satan are those who were cut off at the cross. Christ, The Son of the Living God defeated Satan and his messengers, and they both were cast out of the kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom given to another (see matthew 8:10-12 carefully). Those who Jesus said were of their father the Devil and his will they would do, are the messengers of the Dragon. And those whom Jesus referred to in matthew saying that the Children of the Kingdom would be cast out, are those who fought with Satan against Him. That is the kingdom which suffereth violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12). these are the messengers cast out with satan. They are the blinded of Israel. They are the fallen messengers of the Old Covenant who are blinded except for the remnant. This is the Spiritual battle fought at the cross. Satan fought and lost, and his house was spoiled. Christ said, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate when referring to these messengers. And as for satan their accuser, he no longer can accuse the brethren because they are no longer of his household, under the bondage of sin. Christ cast Satan out of the Kingdom of God and made it so we could be set free from captivity there. Consider:
- or else how can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first Bind the strong man? and then He will spoil his goods".
Israel did not understand that they were in bondage, in servitude to sin by being under satan's captivity. they looked at themselves as free. They understood not that the only way that they would abide in the House of God forever, is to abide in the son of God who abides forever.
- "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
- They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
- Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
- And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
- If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
When Christ bound satan so he could spoil the captivity, he cast out satan from the Kingdom of heaven and set men free. As he said, if he cast out by God, the Kingdom of God had come. Christ did cast out devils by the Spirit of God, and so the kingdom of God had indeed come unto them. And He was the one who spoiled (took by right of conquest) the property of Satan. Those goods were you and I who the accuser Satan held in bondage and as servants to sin. But note> that Jesus tells them in matthew 12, First Satan had to be bound! i.e., Satan was bound at the cross in order that Christ could spoil his house. By the cross is devils cast out and the accuser can no longer make accusation of us because of sin. For sin has been washed away in His blood. Because of the work of Christ sin has been paid for that now is come Salvation and the kingdom of our God! Without the accuser being in it as the kingdom is within us! Sin cannot condemn us anymore. No serpent can strike us anymore, nor hurt us anymore. We overcame him by the blood of the lamb. That is the marvelous symbolism here in revelation twelve verse eleven.
- "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe unto 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."
The earth and sea is symbolic of the world. Just as Ships are symbolic of the Church in the world or as when Jesus said, I will make you fishers of men. The fish were men in the sea 9world). Our Job as Christians is to go fishing for them. By no stretch of the imagination was God talking about literal fish or sea creatures when He said "Woe unto the inhibitors of the sea". Again, the inhabitors of the sea is a symbolic term for peoples of the world. The Devil is cast out of the Kingdom of heaven, and he has great wrath, and it's woe unto those messengers cast out with him to inhabit the sea/earth (world). For they have been "cut off" and will perish in the earth and in the sea. Though Satan is bound for the kingdom of Heaven's sake, for the world, he goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1st peter 5:8). 2/3 have been cut off, 1/3rd has been brought through the fire and purified. Satan knows the time is short. The wrath of satan is revealed in those cut off to inhabit the earth. Woe unto those people, for they will die in their sins. This symbolism can be seen in passages such as Matthew chapter 8 as Jesus comes upon "2" men possessed with devils and heals them (They are illustrative of the church before we are saved). And we read:
- "And, behold, they cried out, saying, what have we to do with thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
- and there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding. So the Devils besought Him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
- and He said unto them, Go, and when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine; and behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters."
A careful demonstration of what happens when Satan is cast out. It's Glorious for the two men who are set free, but it's woe to those of the swine of the earth who he is allowed to go into. Swine and Dogs are symbolic of those opposed to the gospel, as in the scripture, "Cast not your pearls before swine". Woe unto these, because Satan inhabits them with wrath, and they perish in the sea. And Note that the devils say to Jesus in Matthew 8:29, "Have you come to torment us before the time?" You see, they know what time it is. This is what Revelation 12:12 is illustrating when it says Satan knows that he hath but a short time, and it's woe to the inhabitors of the sea.
- "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man child."
The Woman is the Israel of God, the Children of God. Before the cross, mainly blood descendants of Abraham, after the cross, the Israel of God is made up of Jews and Gentiles alike. Gentiles have been grafted into Covenant (not national) Israel). This is the Covenant Israel of God, out of whom the Man Child came. And she is persecuted by Satan. For Satan is at enmity with Covenant Israel! Satan working through men persecute the Church of Christ because he is it's adversary.
- "and the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, times, and a half, from the face of the serpent."
The wings symbolize the protection of God. The Wilderness is typifying the world (a spiritual desert) where the delivered Church spends it's journey until they reach the promised land. This wilderness is her place where the Church must first tabernacle before it enters the promised land (see the Feast of Tabernacles Study). The wings she is given symbolize the Care, Protection, and Security that God established for His Church. The woman is now protected on eagles wings "in the world" where is her place until Christ's return. This is God using symbolism to put forth many Spiritual truths. And note, it is an exact parallel with the nation Israel when she was freed from bondage to Egypt. Israel then had to go through a wilderness journey before she could enter the promised land. Likewise here in Revelation 12 this woman must spend time in the wilderness after she is delivered of the man child before she enters the Promised land. Just as the "type" or [skia] shadow which preceded her. And the Lord will bring this Woman unto Himself, just as He brought the nation Israel unto Himself. By no stretch of the imagination would we think that any of these things are coincidences. And yet there are some who try very hard to convince themselves it is not parallel, nor a type. But you would really have to be trying very hard not to see this truth illustrated here. The Wings that the Woman is given in Revelation 12 corresponds to the wings God has "always" provided for Israel to bring her securely unto Himself. For example, God said to Moses of the bringing out of Israel..
- "Ye have seen What I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on Eagle's Wings, and brought you unto MYSELF."
This is how God always cares for His Children. When He brought Israel out of bondage, He protected her on eagle's wings. The same thing in Revelation 12 when He brought this woman, the Church, out of bondage to spiritual Egypt. He provided those same eagles wings for her protection and security in the wilderness. God isn't playing word games here, He wants us to know that Israel of old was a "type" of the Israel of God who He would deliver by the Messiah at the cross. The Woman is the bride of Christ. God gathered her in Peace and safety under his eagles' wings. Those wings symbolize His protection. She is safe! That's the wilderness journey the woman (The Israel of God) must go through. God calls the place that Christ was crucified (Rev 11:8) spiritually "Egypt" because spiritually, it is Egypt (1st Cor. 2:13). It was by "His death" at that cross that He brought the Children of Israel out of this House of Bondage. The historical deliverance of Israel from Egypt was a shadow of the true deliverance of Israel by Christ. All those cleansed by His blood, whether Jewish or Gentile have part in the promise of the New Covenant with Israel. Which is what Hebrews 2:14 is pointing out. This was Israel's deliverance from Bondage. God is giving us a marvelous picture of it.
The woman is fed by the bread or manna which is the WORD OF GOD, just as Israel of old was fed in the wilderness by the manna from heaven (the type). Christ is our manna from heaven. the time, times, and a half are a spiritual signification of the midst of the seven or week, or feast of tabernacles. Spiritually 3 and 1/2 or until 1260 days when the beast shall be loosed (this time illustrated again in rev. 11).
- "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."
Note that this flood (River) comes from the mouth of Satan. In other words, it is his WORDS that he uses to try and hurt the woman. False teachers and false prophesy like a fast flowing river to deluge and carry the church away. This is Satan's mission, it has always been Satan's plan, for he is the adversary of the Church, and anything of God!
- "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."
Again, the earth and sea are the world. The world swallows up the false teachings that come out of Satan's mouth like a flood. Instead of the river of lies taking the woman away (as Satan wanted) the people of the world swallow it up. They are deceived of Satan and they come with him to make war with the Saints. Revelation 20 tells us that after Satan is loosed, he musters the nations from the four corners of the world to come up against the camp of the Saints. This is what is in view. The earth swallows the false deceiving lies of Satan, and with him go to make war with the Saints. The world becomes more wicked as Satan deceives them. Are we in that time today? The world grows more wicked by the hour it seems. The true believers (the woman) will not swallow this flood, but the people of the world do and they hasten the time of the lord's return and the consummation in the promised land.
- "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."
Satan is enraged or wroth with the woman because she is of God. He goes to make war with the remnant of her seed. Her seed is Christ! The remnant of her seed are all those left after Satan's fall. Namely, the 1/3 who were not cut off but brought through the fire. This is the remnant Chosen by Grace. Satan makes war with those who keep God's word faithfully, and whose testimony is faithful.
Revelation chapter 11 talks about the Church who testifies the same 1260 days (the "2" Candlesticks, Olive Trees, Prophets, Witnesses) and who keep the testimony of Christ and says the is loosed and makes war with them. it's the same symbolism. the Church in the wilderness 1260 days or time, times and a half, until her testimony is finished and Satan is loosed.
NOTE: Makes war with them (scripture says) ONLY after their testimony is finished, only after the 1260 days (synonymous with time, times and a half - Rev. 12:6, 14) are accomplished as in Revelation 11:7. Only then will the beast overcome the Church and "spiritually" kill the Witnesses. That is not an insignificant point!
This is the remnant of the woman's seed whom satan will war with. These are those who have the testimony of Christ. This will take place after the 1260 days (spiritually speaking). The Churches are made Apostate by the beast. It's as if the 2 witnesses (Where two are gathered together in My name, there am I in the MIDST of them; -Mat.18:20) are dead because the Word which is the Life, is no longer in the Churches. When a Church goes Apostate Christ is taken out of the Midst, and it is as a dead church. That's what revelation chapter 11 speaks about. The gospel truth is silenced in the Churches and no one cares that it is no longer preached. When Revelation 11 says they rejoiced when the Lord's witnesses were killed, this is the picture in view. they rejoiced because the truth torments those who don't want to hear it. They are delighted that it's no longer in the Churches because they are deceived that they are true Christians. The last 3 and 1/2 (time, times and a half) is what takes place after they are killed. It's the 3 and 1/2 days that they lie in the street, no one caring to bury them signifies that when the gospel witness is silenced, no one cares that it's dead. It's what's spoken of in:
- "And he shall speak great words against the most high, and shall wear out the saints of the most high, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.
- But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."
Satan comes through men speaking great words against God in His Temple. This is abomination that will leaves it desolate. They will wear out the Saints who are given into his hand. In other words, he looks like he has triumphed. People are glad that they don't have to deal with the true Word of God in the Churches anymore. They are happy there is liberal thinking in the churches. They rejoice that those who quote scripture are dead (symbolically) and they don't care about them. That's the symbolic language of Revelation 11 of people seeing their dead bodies 3 and 1/2 days and not burying them. When you love someone and they die, you bury them. But these don't love the truth, they don't care that it's gone. They rejoice that it's gone. They are DECEIVED by the beast, but after 3 and 1/2 days, these believers rise up and come out of this Church, as the spirit of life from God enters them (see revelation 11 study).
The first half of the week is what is happening to the Church the the time, times and a half or 1260 days. They are building the Holy Temple. We are "LIVING" stones in this Holy Temple. The last half of the week is what happens after their testimony is complete. Often a chart helps us see things from a better perspective. Messiah the prince came to confirm (Strengthen) the Covenant by his death. (Hebrews 9:15,16,17)THE --------- The New Covenant Period --------- THE CROSS CONSUMMATION | ----------- Covenant confirmed 1 week ----------- | | With Israel by Messiah the Prince | | (The Wilderness Journey!) | | | | | | | ------3 1/2 years------|------ 3 1/2 years------ | | Rev.12:14 | Dan.7:25 | | Time, Times and 1 half | Time, Times and div. | | Woman fed in Wilderness | Candlesticks Dead | | Symbolically 1260 | symbolically 42 months | | | | | | 1260 1290 1335 Covenant strengthened Testimony Abomination The (Confirmed) Finished! of Desola. Inheritance -Hebrews 9:17 Midst of Week!The overview of revelation Chapter 12 is of the Church Israel as christ comes and delivers her to the assault on her by satan and his minions. She is typed as a woman bringing to birth and fed in the wilderness while the time of her testimony is nigh. It starts from before the cross, illustrates the birth of her deliverer, his work, the wilderness journey, to Satan's final attempt to conquer the remnant of her seed. It's a symbolical picture of the New Covenant with Israel confirmed by Jesus Christ.
Peace,Feel free to duplicate, display or distribute this publication to anyone who would like a copy, as long as the above copyright notice remains intact and there are no changes made to the article. This publication can be distributed only in it's original form, unedited, and without cost.
Copyright ©1994 Tony Warren
For other studies free for the Receiving, Visit our web Site
The Mountain Retreat! http://www.mountainretreatorg.net
Created 6/8/94 / Last Modified 4/1/00
The Mountain Retreat / firstname.lastname@example.org