Revelation 12:1-17 Part 2


1)    Then a great sign in the heaven was made visible: a woman sun-clothed, the moon underneath her feet, a crown of twelve stars on her head,

2)    having in her belly, crying out travailing and pained to bring forth.

3)    Then another sign in the heaven was made visible: and lo, a great fiery dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on its heads seven diadems,

4)    and its tail draws the third of the stars of the heaven and cast them into the earth.  And the dragon stands before the woman who is about to bring forth, that when she brings forth it might devour the child.

5)    And she did bring forth a son, a male who intends to rule all the nations by means of a rod of iron; and her child was hastened away to God and to His throne.

6)    But the woman did flee into the wilderness where she has a place having been prepared there of God, that there they may feed her a thousand two hundred and sixty days.

7)    And fighting was in the heaven, Michael with His messengers to fight the dragon; and the dragon (and its messengers) fought,

8)    but it did not prevail, a place no longer found for them in the heaven;

9)    and the great dragon, that old serpent (the whole world’s deceiver) called diabolos and ‘o Satanas, was cast into the earth and its messengers cast with it.

10) And I heard a great sound in the heaven declaring ‘now the salvation and the might and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ did come to be, for the accuser of our brothers that accuses them before our God day and night was cast;

11) for they did overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their life even unto death.

12) Because of this rejoice, heavens and you who dwell in them; woe the land and the sea for the devil did go down to you having great wrath, knowing that it has little time.’

13) And when the dragon beheld that it had been cast into the earth it did pursue the woman whoso brought forth the male;

14) and the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman so that she could fly into the wilderness into her place away from the presence of the serpent where she is fed there a time, times and a half time.

15) And the serpent did cast water from its mouth as flood after the woman that it might bring about her carrying away,

16) and the earth did run to the aid of the woman; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast from its mouth.

17) And the dragon was enraged regarding the woman and did go forth to make war with the rest of her seed, that is those keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.


Now, here in the last days (and please remember the Lord’s words at the beginning of this letter: “the time is near”, because you could get all mixed up if you forget that).  Here in the last days (which is the last days of the temple’s existence, the last days of Jerusalem’s existence, the last days of Israel’s existence), which is the one that opposes those holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping the commandments of God?

John writes “Satanas” here in the text; Satanas is the one that opposes them.

All of this is to happen “quickly”.  In the “last days” Israel comes to its final end; and our Lord’s covenant is now inclusive of all the Gentile nations.  And there are those who are “holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping the commandments of God”.  And there is one that opposes them.

There has been an “exodus” from Israel much like the exodus from Egypt.  The exodus from Israel into the Gentile nations is the elect of God from the twelve tribes of Jacob.

But the one “opposing” them; the one accusing them, the one inciting and provoking their suffering, the one instigating their persecution… is Satanas.

And there are large numbers of similar creatures that follow this one as their leader.  And since we need to know something about Satan, I’m going to take the occasion here to familiarize ourselves with what the Bible says about this creature.  This will be good preparation for the text.

And as we hear “its” name and review the Biblical data, please note that I’m trying my very best to avoid using masculine pronouns!  That’s hard to do, given fundamentalism’s “intimacy” with ‘o Satanas.  As you’ll see shortly, in certain circumstances the translators couldn’t avoid using gender-related pronouns; we’ll be reading those as they are written.

But this is a “creature” of God; and it has no procreative capability.  There is no male or female “gender” as we use language to write the name.  We can only translate it.  The name “Satan” is indeclinable.  The neuter gender is used much of the time in the original texts; other times the language bears the masculine.  But just realize that there is no “sex” to the creature.  It is not masculine; it is not feminine; it is not neuter. 

So just forgive me and call it to my attention if you hear me use “who” or “him” or “his”.  Besides, this creature is almost always referred to by God in His Word as a “beast” of some sort. 

Now.  Although at one time it was a member (no wings, now) it was a member of God’s glory cloud/sanctuary, flashing forth from the mouth of God to do His will.  That changed.

Now the clear impression that we receive from the written Word is that God perceives this creature as unlovely in every conceivable way.  From the viewpoint of God in His sanctuary, it is not beautiful.  Instead, it is referred to in God’s Word as hideous and grotesque; and in referring to it by name, the language (as you’ll soon see) could sometimes be listed in the category of “profanity”.

After all, in the last days this creature was making life very difficult for all of those newborns who had been baptized into the body of the risen and glorified Christ.

Pentecost had occurred (30AD); and so our Lord’s Church was almost forty years old as John writes the things that he saw and heard.  The tens of thousands of His elect from the house of Jacob had “loaded up” the little Churches in the nations; and they were all under intense pressure (satanically provoked), sustaining persecution from judaists and from Rome.

And those who remained in Jerusalem and Judea until the last were fleeing (as Jesus had commanded and prophesied) (fleeing) the Roman armies that had already laid waste all the rest of Israel, and were now surrounding the city for what would turn out to be a three-and-a-half-year siege.  And the whole world would seem to be disintegrating.

The apostle Paul even advised young Christian men and women not to be married during these days; for marriage for a young couple was going to get very difficult, especially should there be a pregnancy or babies to care for.  For extreme hardship and persecution and pain and suffering and turmoil were in store as this dragon destroyed a nation and tormented the Lord’s Church with the objective of interrupting and cutting off the covenant promises of the Savior of the world.

But as we continue to make our preparations for the second half of The Revelation, let’s go now to some Scripture passages and learn what we can about the creature.  Here first is our Lord speaking directly to some of Israel’s leadership, as recorded in John’s Gospel, chapter eight:


42) Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn't come on My own, but He sent Me.

43) Why don't you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word.

44) You are of your father the devil (diabolos), and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

45) Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

46) Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don't you believe Me?

47) The one who is from God listens to God's words. This is why you don't hear, because you are not from God."


Diabolos; the murderer; the liar; the father of liars.

Then, in Paul’s first letter to Timothy we hear of some warnings about the operation of diabolos here in the last days.  This comes at the beginning of chapter three:


1)    Faithful is the saying:  If a man seeks the office of an elder, he desires a good work.

2)    However the elder must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3)    no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money;

4)    one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5)    (for if a man doesn’t know how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the assembly of God?)

6)    not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7)    Moreover he must have good testimony from those who are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


And from Jude’s short letter to all the Churches in advance of our Lord’s Parousia, we read this:


3)    Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.

4)    For there are certain men crept in privily (even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation), ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

5)    Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though you know all these things from before, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that didn’t believe.

6)    And angel/messengers that kept not their own principality, but did forsake their proper place, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

7)    Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, having in like manner with these, given themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

8)    Yet in like manner these also defile the flesh in their wandering minds, and demean dominion, and rail at dignities.


We see here from Jude that the messengers that rebelled are covenantally bound in darkness unto their final judgment.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t “useful” in God’s providence; but that God keeps them in their own character, which is “darkness”.


Now.  Having seen some instances in which the Gospels and the letters of the apostles refer to this devious creature, I’ll give you a number of “titles” in the Bible that I think capture the nature and character of Satan fairly well.  The “names” by which it is represented bear testimony to its character (which is “darkness”).

Here’s the apostle Paul again, this time writing to the Christians in Corinth – the second letter, chapter six.  And he provides the Church there with a “name” – a “title” for the one who is the exact opposite of the Christ.  Listen:


14) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?  Or what fellowship has light with darkness (which is the character of Satan).

15) What accord has Christ with belial?  Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?

16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God;


“Belial” is the designation given to the “worthless one”, the one that epitomizes that which is worthless; an opposite of The One Who is of supreme worth.  The character of “belial” is darkness; the character of The Christ is “light”.

In Matthew chapter nine, Jesus is going about reversing the terrible condition of the people, a condition brought about by the false shepherds of the sheep.  And He encounters a man who is demon-oppressed; and he is “mute”…. he couldn’t speak.  Listen to it:


32) As they were going away, lo, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.

33) And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel."

34) But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons."


So, here the pharisees of Israel called Satan “the prince of demons”.  The term “prince” means the “leader” – the “ruler”.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we heard all that John saw and heard as recorded in Revelation nine.  Listen to that once again:


“Then the fifth messenger trumpeted, and I saw a star having fallen from the heaven into the land, and the key of the shaft of the abyss was given to it.

And the shaft of the abyss was opened, and smoke as smoke from a great furnace arose out of the shaft, and the sun and the atmosphere was darkened by the smoke from the shaft.

Then locusts came forth into the land from the smoke; and power was given to them the same as the capabilities the scorpions of the land have.

And it was said to them that they should do no harm to the grass of the land nor any green plant nor any tree, but only the men having no seal of God on their foreheads.

And it was given to them that they not kill them but that they should be tormented five months, and their torment as the scorpion torments when it has stung a man.

Then the men will seek the death in these days and will not find it; they will long to die, but the death flees from them.

The appearances of the locusts like horses having been made ready into battle; upon their heads as crowns like gold; their faces as men’s faces;

they had hair as women’s hair; their teeth were as lions’;

they had breastplates as iron breastplates; the sound of their wings as chariot sound from many horses running into battle;

they have tails and stings like scorpions, their ability to harm the men five months in their tails.

For their ruler they have the messenger of the abyss, the Hebrew name: Abaddon, the Hellenic name being Apollyon.”


So in Revelation nine it’s the “messenger of the abyss” which is called Abaddon (Hebrew: destroyer) and Apollyon (Greek: destroyer); the worthless one, the prince of the demons, whose work is that of destruction (as is evidenced by what was done to Israel when all the demons were released for a time from the abyss).

 In Matthew chapter twelve we hear the name Beelzebul. Formerly the name was Beelzebub, but listen to Matthew’s text:


“But when they heard, the Pharisees said, ‘This fellow isn’t casting out demons except by Beelzeboul chief of the demons.’

But knowing their thoughts He said to them, ‘Every kingdom, when it is divided against itself, is brought to ruin; and every city or house, when it is divided against itself, will not stand.

And if Satan is casting out Satan, he has been divided against himself!  How, then, shall his kingdom stand?

And if I, by Beelzeboul, cast out demons, your sons – by whom are they casting them out?  For this they shall be your judges!

But if, by the Spirit of God, I am casting out demons, then the Kingdom of God has advanced upon you.

How is anyone able to enter into the house of the strong and snatch away his goods unless first he bind the strong?  And then he shall thoroughly snatch away his goods.’”


Those in the older Scripture had heard of, and they spoke of, Beelzebub (which is a combination of “baal”, an idol god, and “zebub” – the flies.  So the chief, or prince, of demons was known as “lord of the flies”.  However, Matthew writes “beelzeboul” in the conversation between Jesus and the pharisees.   The pharisees accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of beelzeboul!  And I’m using the rules of pulpit decorum here when I say that beelzeboul means lord of the “dung”.  It wouldn’t be genteel in this setting to use the word that best fits the text.

I would understand from this, that beelzeboul, lord of the flies and the dung, the prince of the demons, the destroyer, is the ruler of this age and prince of this world order - the one that rules over all opposition to our Lord’s coming Kingdom in the last days.

“This age” (quote-unquote) “this age”, and “this world order” are terms in the Bible that stand for the entire realm of Gentile demon possession while, at the same time, Israel filled up its sin against God and His covenant salvation – all provoked by the “prince of demons” – beelzeboul.

And Jesus Christ was born into this age and this world order; and He has brought in a “new age” in which His elect from the house of Jacob are “freed” from the demons; and in which the ruler and prince of the demons in the Gentile nations is “bound”.  Satanas no longer has free reign in the nations as Word and Spirit invade its house and take its goods.

Satan is ruler of this age and prince of this world order (in the last days); that is, he is the dung god - the one who rules over the demons; not the one that rules over the world, but the one that rules the demons of the world order!  Opposition to the Lord’s kingdom; interrupting the blood line; cutting off the covenant continuity; and provoking a beastly world tyrant to destroy Israel – all the while deceived by God into doing what it does, in order that His mighty Providence for the salvation of the world takes place as covenantally decreed!

And please understand that this is what John sees in the heaven from the perspective of the sanctuary.  And it is all in the context of the last days.  And note carefully that our present context is not in view here!  Everything we’re hearing from John’s letter was taking place nineteen hundred and forty some-odd years ago.  For, as Jesus Himself said to John, all of this is to take place quickly, for the time is near.

And remember that all the apostolic letters to the Churches were written post-resurrection, post-Pentecost, and pre-Parousia.  And we have the apostles writing to the Christians in the nations about this creature.

Here’s the apostle Peter in the fifth chapter of his first letter:


6)    Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;

7)    casting all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.

8)    Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, walks about as a roaring lion, seeking who he might swallow;

9)    stand steadfast in your faith against it, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world.

10) And the God of all grace, who called you unto His eternal glory in Christ, after that you have suffered a little while, shall Himself perfect, establish, strengthen you.

11) To Him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


Peter says “our adversary the devil.”  Diabolos is the one that opposes the people of God.  It is this creature that has brought all the war and turmoil and unrest and suffering being endured by the Lord’s people here in the last days.  And please note that Peter says that diabolos is seeking those who it might “swallow” – the very word used in our text in Revelation twelve.

This is the “dragon” that was cast from heaven as the text tells us, while Genesis 3:15 tells us that the Christ of God will crush the “serpent”… same creature! 

Now.  1st John chapter three.  This is the same apostle, now, who heard and saw all these things in the heaven just before the last days Parousia of our Lord.  It is the first of his three letters to the Churches, written around the same time as The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  It’s difficult to tell whether his letters were written before or after the Revelation; but certainly close to the same time.  Anyway, listen carefully as I read a very strict translation… one without all of the flourishes of “dynamic equivalence”; chapter three beginning at verse four:


4)    Every one who is doing the sin, the lawlessness also he does do, for the sin is the lawlessness,

5)    and you have known that He was manifest that our sins He may take away; and sin is not in Him.

6)    Every one who continues in Him does not sin; every one who is sinning has not seen Him or known Him.

7)    Little children, let no one lead you astray; he who is doing the righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

8)    He who is doing the sin, he is of the devil, because from the beginning the devil does sin; for this was the Son of God manifest, that He may break up the works of the devil;

9)    every one who has been begotten of God does not sin, because His seed does remain in Him; for He is not able to sin, because He has been begotten of God.

10) In this are the children of God and the children of the devil manifest; every one who is not doing righteousness and not loving his brother is not of God….


And finally in Revelation 20 we hear this from John.


1)    And I saw a messenger coming down out of heaven having the key of the abyss and a great chain in His hand.

2)    And He laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is diabolos and Satanas, and bound him for a thousand years,

3)    and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years should be fulfilled: after this he must be loosed for a little time.


In that passage we see once again the “binding” and “loosing” which we’ve spent so much time on in the past; and it always refers to a covenantal binding and loosing.  More about that later on.

But in considering the Biblically revealed character of this creature, think of it as a beast that is imitated by others in beastly demeanor (for it is their covenantal father), and as the worthless one, the prince of demons, the destroyer, the lord of the flies and the dung, the adversary, the one who was cast from the heaven, the crushed serpent and the dragon bound in the abyss.

All of this is God’s perspective; and it’s all cast in the “last days”.  We’ll begin to address the text itself next Lord’s Day.  But today we recall our Lord’s words to His disciples… that we should “remember” Him and all that He has done; for he had to suffer and shed His blood, and be raised the third day.  And then He had to “go away” in order that Holy Spirit might be poured out over His entire “body” – the new humanity in Christ.

That’s why the sign and seal of the covenant is wine and bread – signifying His blood and His body.