Revelation 12:1-17 Part 3

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.


We’ve now had two hours of preparatory work in advance of addressing the text here in chapter twelve.  That’s an hour a week!  And since it’s hard for most of us to remember what we did in any given hour yesterday, a very short reminder of what we’ve heard so far would help.

In the first hour we reviewed our hermeneutic approach to the text; and we were prompted regarding the perspective that we must adopt when approaching it.  And, of course, that perspective is the one from the throne-room/sanctuary of God in the heaven.

Then, in order to help shape the discourse toward that perspective, we considered the confrontation between Jesus and the Gadarene demoniacs; for Jesus had turned His back to the idolatrous, judaist nation and sent the demons of the Gentile nations into the deep.  And note must be taken of the clear distinction that our Lord did make: He called the judaists “sons of the devil”, and yet He cleansed the Gentile city of devils… a most remarkable event that aids our preparation for the second half of The Revelation.

Then, lastly, we saw that God had focused on the Person of the Christ in the first half of the book.  But with the same perspective regarding the “last days”, He now focuses more on The Lord’s new Holy Temple – His Body – The Church (after all, this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ).  Having ascended to The Right, The Christ then sent Holy Spirit, baptizing the entirety of His Body at Pentecost.  That event was the definitive “anointing” of the new humanity In Him.

We re-affirm our faith in that event each time we repeat the Nicene Creed, don’t we?  For it is one body, one catholic Church, and one baptism.

So the sanctuary perspective of all-that-takes-place in the “last days” sets sight now on that body of His begotten Son; united to the Christ in Holy Baptism; set aside and incorporated into His new humanity; marked, sealed and rescued from the wrath to come; elect, loved and sanctified; and scattered into the nations during which time they will all suffer the opposition of the fiery “dragon” – the serpent of old.

So (just to re-cap that for you), the later chapters of the Revelation will have to do with the same last-days as the earlier chapters; but the latter part will have more to do with that “body” that has been adopted into His new Humanity.  (We’ll come back to that over and over.)

And then last Lord’s Day we turned our attention to the Biblical data concerning this beast-creature: Satanas is its name.

And in considering the Biblically revealed character of this creature, we are to think of it as a beast; one that is imitated by others in beastly demeanor (for it is their covenantal father); and we are to view it as God does: the one that was cast from the heaven, the worthless one, the prince of demons, the destroyer, the lord of the flies and the dung, the adversary, the crushed serpent, and the dragon that opposes the covenantal decree for the salvation of the world; and that opposes any expansion of the Lord’s Kingdom; and that opposes the Lord’s people – the Church of Jesus Christ, His new humanity.

It is the one that incites judaists to persecute God’s elect remnant – the “exodus” from Israel; it is the one that provokes the world power to torment, and then utterly destroy, Israel and Jerusalem and the temple (in an attempt to cut off the covenant); it is the one that foments the hatred of Jesus Christ and His elect people; it is the one that instigates the assault on, and abuse of, the Lord’s Church.

And while we’re here I’ll just mention that this creature (and its hoard of demons) has no capability to occupy your person – your mind and your heart – should you belong to The Christ.  It can only instigate and provoke “externally”.  It is not ubiquitous; it can’t read your mind; it doesn’t know your heart; it only reacts to its own observation.

Last Lord’s Day, you remember, we mentioned the letters from Jesus to the Churches in chapters two and three (which were sent along with this complete Revelation).  He told those in the Churches not to despair in all their suffering, for what was happening here in the last days was what was prophesied of old.  And they were to anticipate it and remain faithful through it all; for the time was near.  Satan’s provocations were for the purpose of stopping, or interrupting, the expansion of the Lord’s Kingdom into the nations where Satan has had “free reign” since Adam.

So, with that preparation, together with what we’ll do here next (just for a couple of minutes), we are better able to devote ourselves to what is revealed here – beginning chapter twelve.

Next, though, we have to “frame” the text properly and navigate the positioning of the chapters and headings.  As usual, the ones who separated the chapters and verses lend to some confusion.  Although it makes it easier to find things in the Bible, the numbering of chapters often serves to complicate continuity.

What I mean by that, is that not only is chapter twelve cut off way too quickly, but it also begins too late!  I think I mentioned to you before, that chapter thirteen (what is designated chapter thirteen) just flows directly from the end of twelve.  There’s really no break in the narrative.  We’ll try to preserve that continuity when we get there.

However, chapter twelve begins with the appearances (signs) of the woman and the dragon (God-conceived “signs” for John to see and write to the Churches for their understanding).  But the transition (the slight re-casting of God’s perspective from the Person of the Christ to His Body – the Church) takes place in the last five verses of chapter eleven.

Even though the sounding of the seventh trumpeter comes in order after the six former ones (which is probably why the numbering of the chapters was done the way it appears), the last one (the last trump) is the event that “heralds” the transition (from God’s point of view).  So it should be the beginning of chapter twelve. And we need to hear that again before we proceed.  Here it is:


15) Then the seventh messenger trumpeted; and there were great sounds in the heaven saying, ‘the kingdom of the world of our Lord and of His Christ did come to be, and He will reign into the ages of the ages.’

16) Then the twenty-four elders that sit before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshipped God

17) saying, ‘we thank you Lord God the Almighty the IS and the WAS, for you have assumed Your mighty power and did prevail;

18) and the nations were enraged.  But Your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be brought to trial and to give the reward to your servants the prophets and the holy ones and the ones fearing Your Name, the menial and the great, and to destroy those who are corrupting the land.’

19) Then the Holy Place of God in the heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant in His Holy Place was revealed; and there were lightnings and sounds and thunders and shaking and great hail.


“Then a great sign in the heaven was made visible…” (verse one of chapter twelve).

So it’s the seventh, and last, trump that marks the transition, you see.  And what did John hear before the seventh trumpeter sounded?  Chapter ten verse seven.  Here it is:


“… in the days when the sound of the seventh messenger is to be trumpeted, the mystery of God would be fully accomplished as announced to His Own servants the prophets.”


The seventh messenger trumpeted at the end of chapter eleven; so the mystery of God (from Daniel’s prophecy) is fully accomplished (i.e. the covenant extended to all the nations; and the salvation of the world).  And it also (the seventh trumpet also) heralds the noticeable shift of God’s focus to our Lord’s new Holy Temple – the Holy Spirit anointed and baptized Body of Christ… His Church in the nations.

We are to hear and see all that John hears and sees; and it will include and recount the last days, as our God perceives it; and it will be with a slightly different focus.  And, as we’ll see, the language therefore will diverge a bit from what we’ve seen heretofore.

But it is the same “last days”; and it is the same “mystery of God”; and it is the same exodus of the Lord’s people from the nation that’s about to be terminated in the horrific wrath of God.

Now.  Let’s proceed with verse one:  “Then a great sign in the heaven was made visible….”  Note that John says that it was a “great” sign!  And that it was “in the heaven”, and it was “made visible”; all indicating that the great sign originated in the sanctuary of God (i.e. from God Himself in order that John could see it, and that he could describe it to the Churches).

This is also true of the sign of the great dragon.  It, too, (the sign) originated by our Lord in His sanctuary in order that John could see it and describe it to the Churches.  But we’ll come to that sign later.

So there are two signs provided John in the heaven.  But what is a sign?  What we’re going to do with the rest of our time this morning is explore the Scripture so we can learn God’s language and God’s usage of the word “sign”.  It is an extremely significant word all through the Bible; and we must learn it – not simply because it’s used so flippantly most of the time, but so we can be built up and strengthened in God’s Word; and also that we can defend the faith as we carry on with our great commission.

So let’s begin.


1)    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2)    And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,

3)    and God said, Let there be light: and there was light;

4)    and God saw the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.

5)    And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6)    And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7)    So God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.  And so it was.

8)    And God called the firmament heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9)    And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10) And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters He called seas: and God saw that it was good.

11) And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit all after their kind wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and so it was.

12) And the earth did bring forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God saw that it was good.

13) And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons and days and years:

15) and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and so it was.


“Let them be for “signs”….  Moses had heard God say all of these things while in the glory cloud on Mt Sinai.  So, while he learned directly from the voice of God, Moses was there amongst it all, including all the lights!  And the new nation of Israel was described to him in like fashion!  And God reveals the lights of the created firmament as “signs” (Genesis one).

Then we see a “sign” of the covenant that God made with all His creation.  It’s in Genesis chapter nine, right after the flood:


11) I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."

12) And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

13) I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.


Then there is a sign of the “cutting off”…..the circumcision of Abraham and all his house.  Remember, circumcision was a sign of the covenant:


9)    And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.

10) This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

11) You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

12) He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,

13) both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.


No more shall the earth be “cut off” in the flood; but there shall be a “cutting off”; and circumcision was the “sign” of God’s covenantal “cutting off” on the cross of The Christ, for He did not come to judge the creation, but to save it!

Then we see a “sign” to Moses as he’s sent to Pharaoh.  And that sign is his serving God on Sinai in the glory cloud.  Listen to it from Exodus chapter three:

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."


11) But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"

12) He said, "For I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain."


Then, as Moses is sent to a recalcitrant Pharaoh with all of the plagues, God calls them “signs”!  The plagues upon Egypt at the Exodus are signs!  Here in our text of the Revelation we are reminded not only of the “lights” of Israel being extinguished, but we see the plagues in Israel (in every way similar to the plagues in Egypt) as our Lord’s elect people “exodus” the land into the nations.

Now, as you might expect, the very next event at which the Scripture includes a “sign” from God is Passover – the first one – Exodus chapter twelve.

After the instructions about the lamb that was to be chosen for the meal, we read this, beginning at verse seven:


7)    Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

8)    They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.

9)    Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.

10) And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.

11) In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is Yahveh’s Passover.

12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Yahveh.

13) The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

14) This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahveh throughout your generations as a statute.


“The blood shall be a sign to you….”  And what was the elect of the house of Jacob to do when they saw the blood of the Christ on the cross?  Have your sandals on and your staffs in your hands, for it is the last days; and there is about to be an “exodus” from Israel!

Are we getting the idea yet that the common, every day use of the phrase “a sign from God” has nothing whatever to do with God’s Word?  No wonder the Scripture invokes the wrath of God when folks look for, and ask for, “signs”.

But let’s go further.  There were a series of signs given to the nation while Israel dwelt in the desert.  One of which was the Sabbath, for it was a “sign” that God would “sanctify” His people.  (To “sanctify” means to set apart.)  And that’s exactly what our Lord did at His resurrection on the “first” day of the week.  The Sabbath in God’s Law-word “signified” the sanctification of God’s elect in the resurrection of The Christ.

Another “sign” while Israel was in the desert had to do with false worship.  The deaths of two hundred and fifty men for making their own “censers” and worshiping in places other than the tabernacle… that was the “sign” of Yahveh… the deaths!

And there were others; many of the occurrences were reminders to the people; for Yahveh had shown “signs”, and He had done wonders in their sight.

It’s a shame that we have to skip so many signs through the Scripture; but just know that God showed so many to Israel.  One that we can’t skip is in First Samuel chapter ten as Samuel anoints David as King; for, as Samuel said, David’s anointing was the “sign” of the Prince of Yahveh’s heritage.

Neither can we overlook all of the signs of Yahveh through the prophets!  And one of the many “must-reads” for studying The Revelation is Isaiah chapter seven.  Here’s verse fourteen:

Therefore Yahveh Himself will give you a sign… “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”

This verse is preached and sung everywhere in Christendom (especially around Christmas), but rarely is the context ever mentioned!

The fact is that when Yahveh spoke this “sign”, King Ahaz and his administration was shaken to the core upon hearing the threat from Syria to invade.  The sign – the birth of Immanuel (God-With- Us) to a virgin – marked the imminent and complete destruction of Israel and the salvation of a remnant of Jacob!  Ahaz’s fear of the Syrian king was nothing in comparison to that which Israel should be fearing… which was the birth of Immanuel!

Although we have no time to review the “signs” of the prophets, please note that they, themselves, are called signs of Yahveh.  What they were required to say to Israel, and what they were required to do in the sight of Israel, made the prophets themselves “signs” of Yahveh.

But in order for us to finish this this morning, we have to go now to “the last days” – the seventy years that began with the virgin birth of Immanuel.  Listen now at Matthew chapter twelve and verse thirty-eight:


38) Then some of the Scribes and Pharisees responded to Him saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.”

39) But answering He said to them, “A generation wicked and adulterous eagerly searches for a sign; and a sign shall not be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

40) For just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea beast for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

41) Ninevite men will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it!  Because they changed their minds at the proclamation of Jonah; and, lo, a greater Jonah is here.

42) Queen of the South will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, lo, a greater Solomon is here.


Jonah, Himself, was a sign of Yahveh!  Jesus isn’t referring to a special sign that accompanied Jonah, or a special work that Jonah did – He says that Jonah is the sign!  The sign – of Jonah! - the whole historical event which the one word – Jonah – represents.  He is the sign.

The demand here for a sign to see means that a sign would have to be furnished by Jesus in order for Him to receive judaist acknowledgment as the Messiah!  The verb “to see” is in the emphatic position in this sentence, so the last half of the verse would read, “Teacher, we want from You a sign to see.”

In other words, there was to be an open, cosmic authorization from God which would then be verified by the Scribes; and then they would pronounce yea or nay on Jesus’ Messiahship!

But Jesus says to them that they had already received the sign of Yahveh; it is the sign of Jonah.


“And Ninevite men will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it!  Because they changed their minds at the proclamation of Jonah….”


The lesser Jonah appears in a Gentile city and preaches, and the whole city repents!  But the Greater Jonah comes to establish the Kingdom, and the covenanted nation rejects Him!

The sinful Hebrew prophet who ran from God’s commission, and was spewed out of the belly of the beast, finally submits to preaching the Words from God, and a huge city of pagans rush to fear God and mourn their sin!  And they repent with fasting and in sackcloth and ashes.  But when the Perfect Prophet, the Word of God made Flesh, shows up to preach the Word of the Kingdom, the very nation with whom the Word of God had been entrusted despised Him!

When the “sign of Yahveh” walked through the streets of Nineveh preaching God’s Word, the foulest of Gentile pagans turned from their sin!  But when the Archetype preached “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” Israel turned haughty, and they were contemptuous of Him.

When the “lesser” Jonah preached, the people who were not His people, and who knew of no Covenant, obeyed.  But when the “greater” Jonah preached, the people who had received the Covenant through Abraham scorned Him and considered Him despicable!

So Jesus says that in the “Day of Yahveh” the words and deeds of these men of Nineveh will be a condemnation on this generation of judaists!

Now, since we’ve been through the text of Matthew chapter twenty-four numbers of times, the request of Jesus’ disciples for the “sign” of His Parousia should be easily recalled; so we won’t overdo the obvious.

But here in The Revelation of Jesus Christ to all of those who are baptized into His new Humanity (the located lost sheep of the house of Jacob, marked, sealed and rescued from the flood to come and scattered among the Gentiles in the nations), there come two signs in the heaven.

In this time of great, world-wide turmoil and horrific persecution, with the nation of their heritage about to become a wilderness, the Lord’s newborns are shown “signs” of Yahveh – as were their forefathers.  The signs are described to the Churches by the one who was there and saw them – John.

And all of Christ’s baptized and adopted siblings were to be comforted by the signs; for their Lord’s mighty Providence was at work as all the creatures in the heaven and upon the earth were under His authority.

And they were to remember all the signs of Yahveh previously revealed in the Scripture.  They were all visual signs; they were vested with great power; they were means of confirmation; they provided assurance and trust; they served to nurture hope (or anticipation); and they all required an obligation – faithfulness.

Now in the New Heavens and the New Earth, the Church is provided with two “signs” of the covenant.  The two remind us of all the signs of Yahveh; and they remind us that our Lord is the “fullness” of all the signs, for He is the One to Whom they pointed.

We need no additional signs other than the two appointed by Him.

Baptism is the covenant sign of His people having been united to Him in His Humanity.  That’s why the sign is received only once.

Communion is the covenant sign of our preservation in His Humanity.  And that’s why the sign is received “often”.

They are visual signs; they are vested with great power; they are means of confirmation; they provide assurance and promote trust; they serve to nurture hope (anticipation); and they require an obligation – faithfulness.

Next Lord’s Day the first of the two signs of Yahveh to the Churches: the “sun-clothed woman”.