Revelation 12:1-17 Part 7

REVELATION 12:1-17 Part 7



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 have two specific references in the letters of the apostles, letting the Churches know what exactly happened with regard to the one-third of the angel-messengers in the heaven.  The first is from the apostle Peter in his second letter.  And a little later when they received John’s Revelation, the Churches would have already known this by way of the apostle Peter.  Here it is at verse four:


4)    For if God spared not the messengers that sinned but, having cast them to the abyss (He) has delivered them to chains of darkness [to be] kept for judgment;

9)    so the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of trial, and to keep the unjust to be punished in the day of judgment;


Then from the very short letter of Jude to all the Churches, we read this at verses five and six:


5)    now, I want to remind you, your already knowing this, that the Lord Who rescued a people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe;

6)    also the messengers that did not stay in their own positions, but did leave their proper dwelling, He has kept under darkness in everlasting bonds, to a judgment of a great day….


In both of these letters, the one from Peter, and then the one from Jude, the assurance of all the newborns in the nations is built up in the midst of a tumultuous time near the end of the last days.  And they both (both letters) sound the trumpet of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His authority over all these creatures.

They (the creatures) were cast from the heaven into the abyss.  In Yahveh’s perception, it was the incitement of the beast that took them down.  In all its subtle deception, it swept them away from their proper places and positions in the glory cloud/sanctuary of God.

And they are all cast to the abyss and bound in darkness unto the day of judgment; and they are purposefully used in our Lord’s covenantal decree for the salvation of the world.  Yahveh’s “sign” of the beast pictures them as having been swept out of the glory cloud by the tail of the serpent dragon.

The sign is to remind all of God’s chosen people scattered among the nations that this is the same beast that Yahveh revealed at the creation; it is to remind them that this is the same beast that He revealed at the exodus; and it is to remind them that this is the same beast behind the four beast-nations of Daniel’s prophecy.

And John specifically names this beast in verse nine; it is the dragon, the serpent of old, the whole world’s deceiver; it is diabolos – devil; it is ‘o satanas – the satan.

Now, as we heard earlier, God sees all of this in its entirety.  And the sign of the dragon is exactly that.  It is “the whole”.  And the apostle John describes it as such; and he describes it for the Churches in the most purposeful way – as inspired by God the Spirit.  It is the “sign” of God’s perception of His creation and its history.

The “heart” of the whole matter of this sign of the devil and its existence and purpose is our Lord’s comfort and assurance to the Churches – to His newborns in the nations, all the nations (at the time of this writing) the dominion of the fourth beast of Daniel’s prophecy - Rome. 

That’s what the sign of the “great” dragon is all about; comfort to the Church in the last days. All of it is about the Church… the “daughter of Zion”.  It has been brought forth in great pain and travail; it is now in a perilous time; and it now under horrific conditions.  And the sign of the dragon is the sign of Yahveh to the Church that, through it all, it is right in the center of our Lord’s covenantal providence.  It is loved.

In pain; in travail it is birthed in blood from between the legs of the daughter of Zion; it is baptized on the eighth day; it is “wrapped in swaddling-clothes and removed to a place where it is safe from the wrath of Yahveh to come (which will be administered by the fourth beast – behind which is the “great” beast).

The newborn has been “brought forth” – birthed – a new humanity in The Christ Who, Himself, was brought forth in midst of great peril!

As John describes the sign of Yahveh for the “newborn’s” assurance, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is now to be comforted and strengthened in the perilous history of their Lord’s appearance!  His being “brought forth” before them was a history-long, providential event in midst of incredible menace by the dragon – the serpent of old.

In order for you to see the “whole” (as God sees it, and as God “signed” it), let’s simplify that a bit and view it from a couple of different perspectives; and then we’ll expand it again.  This is critical, you see, to the remainder of the Revelation.  And it is critical to your understanding of the Church; and therefore it is essential to your assurance and to your anticipation of our Lord’s promises.

Should you be viewing this from the perspective of the Churches in the nations (which is the way this sign begins) then you know that you’ve been birthed out of Israel into the nations as a newborn in Christ.  And the dragon-beast will provoke you in every way possible to turn you from the Savior.

However, should you be viewing this from the perspective of the creation itself and its history, you will know that the dragon provoked the entire world order, all through history, against the appearance of the Seed – the Savior of the world.

And that’s what we mean when we say that Yahveh’s perception is of the “whole”.  The sign of the dragon – Yahveh’s sign – is of the whole.

As the Churches’ birth, so our Lord’s birth.  As the Church was birthed in menace of the beast, so our Lord was birthed in menace of the beast.  Even as our Lord was brought forth, so His Church is brought forth.

Now.  Our explanation and expansion of all of this is the substance of our time this morning, because now we have to see that the comfort of the Daughter of Zion depends on her understanding of the providential appearance of her Savior in the history-long menace of the serpent of old – the devil.

The sign is sent to the Church; it is for the Church; it is about the Church; it is for the comfort and assurance of the Church.  And now John’s description of the sign turns to the providential care of all the events in history in order that the Churches’ Savior would appear.


Verse four: “… 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.”


Directly after the satan and a third of the messenger/angels of the glory cloud are cast from the Presence of God, John describes the “great” beast as continually standing before the woman with the intent of devouring the child (a male) when it is brought forth.  This is the “sign”, you see.  The beast knows the decree that there will come the Savior of the world – and His new humanity In Him.

The dragon in the sign has one goal at the beginning: to “abort” the coming Christ of God.

The newborns in the Churches are to remember, to know, all that was providentially secured for them – from the beginning!  The beast was prepared to do whatever necessary to abort this birth!

Yet, just as the coming appearance of the Savior was providentially secured against the beast all through history, so the Church, the newborn Daughter of Zion, is secure against the beast as it endures all its persecution and suffering.

So the sign of Yahveh in the heaven, described and sent by John to the Churches, is about the Church.  It is the Daughter of Zion – the newborn that overcomes by the blood of the Lamb (verse eleven); and the Church is reminded, in Yahveh’s view of the whole, of the entire history of the creation during which the birth of the coming Savior of the World was prophesied and providentially preserved from the abortion attempts of the beast.

Therefore, the newborn, having been reminded of all of that, is to see its own birth in the same light!  It has been providentially “brought forth” in pain and travail.  Its very existence is of the Christ of God – IN Christ.  And its loving care is OF Him.  For HE, before them, was at the center of this beast’s attention.

And, to take that one step further, the newborn’s existence has always been IN HIM, since it is of HIS humanity, and since it is of-the-essence of the covenantal decree from the beginning!

So, the last half of verse four and all of verse five of the sign is for the purpose of comforting the Church – the newborn daughter – with the providential care given to the coming birth of its Savior.

Now, as you might expect, the entire cosmos and its history anticipates its Savior.  As the apostle Paul writes to the Churches that are right in the belly of the fourth beast of ancient history – the city of Rome – this is how he strengthens the Lord’s people there (Romans eight):


18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.

19) For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

20) For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope

21) that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children (newborns) of God.

22) For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.

23) And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.


In the same birthing language as with the Daughter of Zion, Paul writes of the pangs and travails of the whole creation as it hopes for, anticipates, its deliverance (loosing) from the bonds of corruption; for it will, indeed, be a “new birth” for the cosmos and its history in the day of redemption.

And as Israel comes to be, its whole history anticipates, and prophesies, Messiah.  Of course it would be very time-consuming to go through that entire history and mention each and every attempt by the dragon-serpent to cut off the covenantal decree and abort the birth of the Savior of the World and His Church; for the beast never abandoned that intent, so it was a constant.

Somebody should write a world history with that in view.  Oh, wait!  Moses and the prophets already did that!

And since that’s the case, we can at least go through the history and see some of the foremost manifestations of the devil’s provocations against the decree, and the torment of the seed, in order that it might stop (cut off) the appearance (birth) of the Christ.

The Churches which are to receive this Revelation are to remember all of this; and they are to rejoice – in that they too were birthed in pain and travail, and that they are now, just as the Savior was, objects of the devil’s fury; but that this beast is under the authority of the risen and ascended Lord.

The devil is bound in its own darkness; it does only what it is permitted to do (and I use the word “permitted” in the strictest theological sense); it’s “house” is being stripped of its goods; it is deceived into doing what it does; it has a decreed “termination point”; and all its activity is for the purpose of manifesting the Lord’s newborns!

For four or five thousand years of creation history, it did its worst to abort the birth of God-man – the male child.  But at-the appointed-time He was made manifest!

And, now, for the Church, the sign of the dragon is shown to the Church; for the daughter of Zion is made manifest in its Lord.  And the beast will, once again, do its worst to incite another world dominion to quash the Church… or even to abort just one of His newborns.

The Church, by this sign, is to remember those millennia of creation history, and Israel’s history, and be strengthened in the providential care in which she was “brought forth”.

So we, too, two thousand years later, must recall that history; for we are the “seed” of the daughter of Zion; and we, too, will be strengthened in it.  And although we can in no way be “boastful” in it (since it is all of grace), we must “delight” in being manifest as newborns in Christ – keeping His Commandments and holding the testimony of Jesus (verse seventeen).

So, before we celebrate (at the table) all that our Lord has done for us let’s spend the last few minutes of our time in reviewing some of those historic occurrences in which the dragon attempted to devour the child.

And let’s see, first, that the conflict between the dragon and the Christ is decreed by Yahveh from the beginning!  Here it is from Genesis three at verse fifteen:


“… I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; and he crushes your head, and you bruise his heel.”


Please note that Moses’ direct quote from Yahveh uses the masculine gender – He.  The “seed” of the woman is a male; and He crushes the head of the serpent dragon.

Later, when the apostle is writing to the Church that’s in the belly of the fourth beast – Rome, Paul explains to them that the “Seed” that is anticipated from the beginning is Jesus Christ and all His newborns in Him.

Also see that the “conflict” between the serpent/dragon and the Seed is, for the most part, misunderstood.  As I said, the direct quote from Yahveh is a decree!  It isn’t a “forecast” of what might occur; neither is it a “permission”.  But it is a decree.  So it should be perfectly obvious as to Who is in complete authority here.

And therefore the conflict is not warfare between two parties who are struggling for supremacy!  As you already know, that misappropriation of the text of Scripture with regard to the serpent’s place and power has led many to some seriously bad conclusions and practices.

But the so-called “conflict” has to do with the devil’s attempt, all through history, to devour the child – the “Seed”, the Christ and His new humanity in Him.

And since it is decreed by Yahveh, the attempts not only always fail, but they are all purposefully used by Yahveh to manifest the Seed for His Own glory – to manifest those In Him!  And that’s what the “sign” to the Churches is for, here in our text.  Christ and His Church have invaded the great beast’s domain; and the fourth beast-empire is, at the writing of this text, at the height of its prominence!   It’s the one Daniel described as the ferocious one with the teeth of iron and ten horns!  And the Churches desperately needed the assurance and comfort that comes with this sign!

We, too, need to know it; for we are in a time in which there is, once again, satanic incitement against the Christ and His Church – both nationally and globally.  And make no mistake!  That’s exactly what this is!  So this great sign of the woman, and the sign of the great dragon, is for our comfort and assurance as well; for we are the “seed” of the daughter of Zion – newborns in Him (as were they).

And who are we that we should be free of the persecution that He suffered – and that the firstfruits – the daughter of Zion – suffered?  Who are we that we should not be manifest through satanic provocation?!  Everything that we know indicates that we should expect it rather than beg to be free of it!  Everything we know indicates that we should anticipate it rather than recoil and cringe and tremble at every approach of it – at every appearance of it!

Our Lord told the Judaists, “you are of your father the devil”!  The seed of the devil are always being incited against the seed of the woman.  It’s a constant; it doesn’t give up… it has no other choice!  So we ought to expect it!

Now, we have another sign of all of this, don’t we?  As the great sign of the woman, and the sign of the dragon – so the Lord’s Table is a sign; one that the Church celebrates often for its comfort and assurance.

More about that shortly.  But another attempt by the dragon to cut off the covenant seed was the murder of Abel by his brother Cain.  (Remember – the serpent is the original murderer and liar.)  And at the direction of Yahveh, here’s what Moses wrote (Genesis chapter four at verse twenty five):

Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, "God has appointed for me another seed in place of Abel….”


That’s what the name “Seth” means in Hebrew – “appointed one”.  That’s why he was named Seth, for he was the appointed “seed” in place of Abel.

The devil/dragon’s next attack on the covenant seed was the corruption of the line of Seth.  Within ten generations from Adam, virtually his entire descendancy had been corrupted; and humanity was only doing what was good in its own eyes… that is, except for one righteous man and his family.

The satan/dragon’s rage at the decree, and its intense attack on the seed, was so great that the entire world was destroyed.  But it was a total failure; for Yahveh preserved the seed within a single family on the ark.

The dragon again tried to cut off the covenant seed in its attacks on Abraham and his family.  On two occasions the beast attempted to have Sarah raped by a heathen king… once in Genesis twelve and the second time in Genesis twenty.  Then it tried again with Rebekah as recorded in Genesis twenty-six.

The dragon’s hatred for the seed is manifest once again by the enmity between the “two seeds” – Jacob and Esau – a struggle between two peoples that actually began in the womb!  Listen to it from Genesis twenty-five:


“…Isaac entreated Yahveh about his wife, because she was barren; and Yahveh was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

22) And the children struggled within her. And she said, If it be so, why am I thus (if it’s right, why is this happening)?  And she went to inquire of Yahveh.

23) And Yahveh said to her, ‘Two peoples are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels (from inside you). And the one people shall be stronger than the other people. And the elder shall serve the younger.

24) And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25) And the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment. And they called his name Esau.

26) And after that came forth his brother, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel. And his name was called Jacob.


So, you see, the struggle for the twelve tribes of Jacob (Israel) included conflict between the “seeds” even in the womb of Rebekah!  And then later on we see the satanic attempt to obstruct the seed when Jacob’s own father – Isaac – planned to cheat Jacob out of his appointed inheritance (Genesis twenty seven).

Then later in Egypt, the dragon tried to destroy the seed by having all the male babies killed (Exodus one).  And about five hundred years later, Saul’s entire kingdom was used to try to find and kill David (who’s son was also his Lord).

And later a wicked queen tried to destroy the royal seed of the house of Judah (Second Chronicles twenty two).  And the evil prime minister of Persia would have destroyed all the Jews in captivity had it not been for Esther (chapters three through nine).

And we see the satanic provocations all the way from the exodus to the exile in the idolatrous sacrifices of Israel’s children to false gods (an attempt to eliminate the seed).

We’ll take up verse five and its direct references to Isaiah sixty six and Psalm two next Lord’s Day as everything from the birth of the Christ to His ascension to the throne are shown to the Churches in the sign.  And then, in verse six, the flight of the woman – the Daughter of Zion – (the flight) into the wilderness where she is safe from the destruction to come as the fourth beast of the dragon is incited to destroy all of Israel.

But the incitements to cut off the seed are dramatically portrayed in the text of Scripture at the birth of the Christ, as the Edomite descendant of Esau, king Herod of Judea, ordered all male babies in Bethlehem to be slaughtered (Matthew two), (Esau, the seed of the devil, still struggling to get the inheritance back from Jacob).

And of course our Lord was subjected to demonic incitement, persecution and oppression of an intense nature – even unto death on the cross; the dragon thinking that, even though it had failed on every occasion for four thousand years, it had finally won.  Rather than being “behind” all the time (nipping at His heel), by a frontal attack it had actually crushed the “seed” rather than being crushed by the Seed of the woman.

But the crucifixion was a trick.  And at His resurrection our Lord was “caught up to the throne” (verse five).

All of this is the history (at least some portions of it) recalled to the Churches by the sign of the dragon.  It is for the comfort and encouragement of the Lord’s people; for the enraged dragon is under the authority of the risen and enthroned Christ.

The woman has given birth to the firstfruits; know that the “seed” has been persecuted from the beginning.  But all of the Lord’s newborns are manifest in it all.  Be composed; be in repose amidst it all.  Keep His commandments; hold the testimony of Jesus.

And now… another sign.  As often as you do this, remember; remember Him; recall it all.  It is the sign of the covenant; and the Truth is “sealed” with the stamp of the King.  His body was given in order that you might have a new humanity; and His blood was shed as the surety for this covenant.

Remember……….  Remember.