Revelation 12:1-17 Part 9


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.



In our first eight hours in this chapter we’ve touched on so much of what John has seen and described for the Church that we will be able now to move more swiftly through the text.  We certainly don’t want to overlook anything though, for this “sign” continues in chapter thirteen; and it is so important for our understanding of the remainder of The Revelation.

But our Lord and His apostles have found every last one of the lost sheep… twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Jacob (the appointed one of the two twins struggling in the womb of Rebekah). 

There has been an “exodus” from Zion.  The remnant that Yahveh kept for Himself has been saved (rescued).  The “Daughter” has been brought forth.  She has been birthed out of Zion into the wilderness where she is protected from the wrath of the Lamb (soon to come) as the “great beast” and its seed (the beast-nation) are tricked into destroying the great harlot.

And she is fed there in the wilderness nations as God fed Israel in the desert after the first exodus, and as the ravens were sent to feed Elijah in the wilderness “that there they may feed her a thousand two hundred and sixty days” (verse six) – that’s three and half years.

The “Seed of the Woman” has been born – and His lost sheep “rebirthed” in Him.  And He has ascended the throne (having been “hastened away to God).  And He reigns over all from the heaven with the scepter of iron (which is the eternal standard of the Lord of Hosts).

And the devils and beasts are under His authority.  They accomplish the original decree of enmity for the purpose of glorifying the Father and manifesting the newborns.

And by the blood of the Lamb God’s elect-from-the-tribes-of-Jacob are re-birthed into the new humanity of the Christ; and they suffer no wrath of the Lamb, for they have been “brought forth” and scattered into the nations.  And they keep the commandments of God, and they hold the testimony of Jesus.

Along with our Lord’s apostles and the three thousand added at Pentecost, these are the “firstfruits”.  They are the “remnant” of the tribes of Jacob.  They are the “daughter” birthed out of Zion.

And from their “holding the testimony of Jesus” there are now many newborns in all the nations; and we, too, are safe from the wrath of the Lamb. 

However, the enmity is there… the conflict….

It was decreed in the garden.

We know that the seed of the devil is continually provoked by the devil into furious hatred of the seed of the woman.  That “serpent-of-old” has no choice but to continue that conflict.  The history of the world reflects that decree.

And we know that there is another decree!  It is the decree for the salvation of the world.  The Savior’s work isn’t yet complete; but the history of the world also reflects His work.  Although yet incomplete, we rest and repose in the promise.  Even though the devil is provoking its own kind against the Christ and His newborns, we have the promise of the salvation of the world and the defeat of death and our resurrection.

That pretty much sums up what we’ve seen in the text so far, but we still have some important detail to look at in the sign.

But before we proceed with the remainder of the chapter, I want to address the “conflict” for a couple of minutes; for if there is one point that is most critical for you to remember as you go about your Christ-commanded-business as a “disciple-maker” (I said “if” there is one that’s most critical…), then it is this one.

It is a core tenet of Biblical Theology (and therefore of the Reformed Faith) that I learned through Dr. Bahnsen’s apologetics lectures at seminary (at this point in time about thirty seven years ago), and one which has been of the very essence of my study of apologetics ever since.  It is one (of many) that I can’t do without (for it is at the very “root” of a Biblical thought-process); and it’s one that you can’t do without if you expect to do the work required of you by our Lord (i.e. the work of making disciples).

It’s something that you already know, so it won’t be necessary that I develop it to any extent.  But I do want to re-introduce it to you with a passage of Scripture that we read last Lord’s Day – one that has so much relevance to this text in The Revelation, especially with regard to the conflict (the enmity) that exists by decree of Yahveh between the seed of the devil and the seed of the woman.

And that passage is Psalm two.  Since it has been read and sung here so many times (and since we read it again here last week), you already know it; so I’ll only read a couple of verses for you.  Here are verses two and three:


2)    Kings of the earth set themselves, and princes have been united together against Yahveh and against His Messiah:

3)    ’Let us throw off Their cords’ (they say), ‘and cast from us Their thick bands.'


(and please notice, once again, the plural pronouns.  It is Their cords – Their bands.  They’re referring to Yahveh and His Anointed One)….


Note first that this Psalm was inspired of God the Spirit, and it goes on from there to quote Yahveh and His Messiah.  Second, it is written before the great beast raises up the four beast-nations to cut off the covenant seed (Yahveh’s Anointed); therefore it is a prophetic Psalm.  Third, the seed of the devil, at the provocation of the devil, wishes to be “separated” from the One True God and His Messiah (the One Who is both one and many) and they wish to establish their own dominion.  And, fourth, the seed of the devil aggressively pursues that end (the end of being free of its connection to its Creator God) in that they “set themselves” against Yahveh and His Messiah.  And the seed of the serpent does that as a result of the instigation and provocation of this serpent (the sign of which is here in our Revelation text).

Now.  The one point of Biblical apologetics that is so important for you to remember (and practice, by the way!) is the fact that all men (which includes all women and children, of course) (all men) are created in the image of the One Who created them, and they all know it!  They all (every one of them) know their Creator.

That’s so clear in the Psalm, isn’t it?  The kings of the earth know the One from Whom they wish to be separated; they know that they are “connected” to the One Who made them; and they know the Savior of the World (Who is “to come” there in the Psalm; and Who has already come in our time).  It’s clear that they “know”; for the plural pronouns are there, as they say: “let us cut the cords and bands by which we are attached to them”!!!

They know these things because they are in His image (they’re in His likeness), and because the entire creation declares His power and His glory!  And, you see, there would be no enmity if that weren’t the case!  If they didn’t know Him, there would be no enmity… no conflict!

 And if they didn’t know Him, they wouldn’t strive to be separated from Him in order to proceed to their own cause. 

And if they didn’t know Him, and they didn’t wish to cut the cords that connect them, there would be no history-long attempt to terminate the covenant!  There would be no history-long attempt to take dominion of the earth from Him!  If they didn’t know Him, there would be no attempt to replace Him with an idol of their own making!  If they didn’t know Him, there would be no idolatry!

So, the issue that arises (as a result of our acute awareness of this Biblical/Theological fact) is that we know who they are and what they are and what their enmity is all about; we know what the conflict is; and we know that they are intellectual and spiritual schizophrenics, because they crave to be separated from what they know to be true.  The hatred/enmity is there because they know it to be true!

They dispute with the King because they know Him; they compete for the dominion; they contest for the covenant that they know to be true….

The serpent is at enmity with Yahveh and His Messiah because it knows them; the seed of the serpent is at enmity with the seed of the woman because they know Yahveh and His Messiah!  “Knowing Yahveh and His Messiah” is the immediate source of the enmity!!  Like their ancestor Esau, they struggle for the inheritance!

And one has to be deranged, irrational and schizoid to separate one’s self from, and set one’s self against, what he knows to be true.  Just how demented is that?  Why would one wish his whole life to be in constant conflict with the One Who he knows to be the true God of the heaven and the earth?

His whole life is schizophrenic!  He’s constantly conflicted!  He tears himself in two by his own rejection of what he knows; and because of that his life is a mess!  And until such time as he may be re-birthed into The Christ, he foments conflict against the Christ and His dominion and His salvation of the world.

And that’s what the apostle Paul calls (in Romans chapter one) “dead in sin”.

Well, that’s the foundational point for the Biblical/Theological engagement with the world order – apologetics; and you must not be moved off of that foundation; for once you’ve been maneuvered away from it, you’ve denied The Faith and abdicated the dominion of the Christ and His people. 

By the provocation of the devil, many of its “seed” have become very adept at the maneuvering process – by subtlety, by mis-direction, by diversion, by accusation; but you must be as subtle as the serpent by not falling for any of that, but by staying on target!  For the serpent and its seed absolutely hates being confronted by that which it already knows to be true.

In verses seven through nine (as we look at this history-long enmity issue from God’s perspective in the sign), it looks as if the sign changes abruptly.  That’s not the case.  The scene is shown to John in order to reflect upon the woman’s flight into the wilderness (in verse six).

Why does the sign show the woman having fled into the wilderness?  Because there was fighting in the heaven; and the satan was cast to the earth (and all its minions with it).  So the woman had to flee the enmity to preserve the seed.  And all through history that was the case; we’ve already reviewed many of those instances.  And Yahveh has always protected her and fed her in those places.

It’s also interesting to note here, that it is not “war” in the heaven (as translated in some cases).  The way John describes the sign, “satanas”, a messenger/creature of God in the Glory Cloud, left its proper place (enticing others to do so), considering itself to be “as God”.  And that Archangel Michael (One Who really IS “As God”), the Commander of all the creatures in the heaven, is the “aggressor” here; the text is clear.  He instigated a “prosecution” of this creature and all that it had enticed, and “cast” them from God’s sanctuary/throne-room!

The insolence involved in departing one’s proper, created place in God’s domain, and thinking more highly than it should, deserves only to be cast from the Presence of God and His glory.

And it was the work of the second Person of Triune God, in His appearance as Commander of all the creatures – Micha-El – (One-As-God) – to “litigate” the condemnation of this creature, ban it from the sanctuary-Presence of the Father, and cast it to the earth.

You see, it wasn’t much of a “fight”… no fisticuffs, no wrestling, no AK47s or missiles.  It was the appearance of the Second Person of Triune God and two-thirds of the creatures of the heaven;  and, on the other side, one-third of the creatures of the heaven.  The litigation was the weight of the witness evidence against the shameless impertinence of an idolatrous creature.  It was an accuser, and a deceiver and liar.  And the evidence was overwhelming.  No contest.

It was rebuked; and it was cast to the earth where it continued to be under the authority of the Commander In Chief of all the creatures, and where its treachery is used against it for the glory of God and for the manifestation of the Christ and His people.

The Seed of the Woman was born; and He did shed His blood for all His people.  And nothing can separate them from the love of God.

The blood of the Lamb (verse eleven)!

That’s the subject of the great “sound” that John now hears from the sign of Yahveh (verses ten through twelve).  The sound is heard in the sign, you see.

The blood of the Lamb, the Overcomer, is that by which the devil is overcome.  Woe the land and the sea – Israel and the nations – for the devil has been cast; it knows its time is limited; the enmity has been decreed.  Its wrath is mighty in that it has been rebuked by Yahveh before the host of the heaven and cast out.

By accusation; by provocation; by instigation; by deception it stirs its own seed against the Seed of the Woman:  But, you see, all those in union with the Christ of God “overcome” the devil by the blood of the Lamb.  They’ve been made as white as snow by red blood; they are the newborns in Christ, birthed anew in blood; and because of that they overcome… even unto death.

The sign of Yahveh then turns to the dragon’s attack on the woman, and her seed, in verses thirteen through seventeen.

Once again let me caution you that this is a sign of Yahveh; and it is His sign of the whole (as He views it).  Isolating a single event or a specific entity is Biblically inappropriate and unwise… unless, of course, the language requires it.

And it does, indeed, require it at the end of verse seventeen; for the sign does include the Church.  “The rest of her seed” is the language there.  And it falls within a limited time frame, which is three and a half years.

In the sign, at verse thirteen, the dragon has been thoroughly humiliated by God the Son in His appearance to John as Archangel-Commander of the host of the heaven.  The pre-incarnate Christ of God has overcome the lies and accusations and deceptions of this creature, and He has indicted it in the sanctuary of Almighty God the Father and before all the other messenger-creatures in the glory cloud.

And adding to its embarrassment and shame, it is cast from the Presence of God and all its peers.

Furious at this degradation to which it’s been submitted, it begins immediately to attack the woman and her seed.  Right from the beginning, in the garden, and all through creation history, it attacks the woman; for the woman “brings forth” the male Child.

It’s the humiliation, you see.  The pre-incarnate God the Son has humiliated it.  And the history of the world incorporates and embraces the dragon’s unceasing obsession with vengeance!

We could spend a week or two – or three – on the subject of man thinking “too highly” and being humiliated, and then seeking vengeance for his being humiliated.  But that’s a diversion; it’s not the subject matter of the text… so we can’t do that.

Just remember that herein lies the “root” of it all.  The enmity decreed by God between the dragon and the woman – the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman – (the enmity) is vengeance toward the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church for the humiliation it suffered.

Now.  Verse fourteen and the “wings of the eagle” as the woman flies to the wilderness to be protected and fed.  I have a couple of passages of Scripture to read for you; for, once again, we have to pay attention to the language of God.  The “sign of Yahveh” has specific language in it, and it calls us to have the “language precision” of Biblical Theology in order to understand His perspective.  This is HIS sign; and we can’t just ignore it or make something up.

So, let’s listen carefully to the words of Moses, as he wrote in the Exodus, chapter nineteen:


1)    In the third month after the children of Israel were brought forth (birthing language) out of the land of Egypt, the same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

2)    And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness (the woman fleeing into the wilderness); and there Israel encamped before the mount.

3)    And Moses went up unto God, and Yahveh called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

4)    You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

5)    Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine.

6)    And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel.

7)    And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahveh commanded him.

8)    And all the people answered together, and said, ‘all that Yahveh has spoken we will do (Israel submitted to the covenant). And Moses reported the words of the people unto Yahveh.


When the apostle John was taken up into the heaven, he described, in chapter four, all that he saw.  And of the four awe-inspiring creatures beneath the Presence of the Lord of Hosts, one he describes as having the appearance of a great “flying eagle”.

So, some of the first words of Yahveh to Moses at Sinai (even before he was given the details of the four cherubim at the corners of the ark of the covenant) refer to this magnificent creature of God and its role in Israel’s birth out of Egypt!  And here in verse fourteen, the sign of Yahveh reminds the Churches of this very event, and the cherub’s continued activity at the direction of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Later on, the apostle Peter refers to this Exodus passage in his first letter to the Churches in chapter two, as he writes:


9)    But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

10) who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God who had not obtained mercy - but now have obtained mercy.


The apostle recites to the Churches the very words of Yahveh at Sinai.  The Church is a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s Own possession; and one which our Lord continues to bear aloft on the wings of the flying eagle.

Back to Moses now; at the end of his life, Moses writes of how Yahveh saved His people in the wilderness.  Listen to it from chapter thirty two of The Deuteronomy:


1)    Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

2)    My doctrine shall drop as the rain; My speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.

3)    For I will proclaim the name “Yahveh”; ascribe greatness unto our God.

4)    The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he.

5)    They have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children. It is their blemish. They are a perverse and crooked generation.

6)    Do you thus requite Yahveh, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he your father who has bought you? He has made you and established you.

7)    Remember the days of old.  Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you.

8)    When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.

9)    For Yahveh’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He compassed him about; he cared for him; He kept him as the apple of his eye.

11) As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that hovers over her young, He spread abroad his wings, he took them, He bore them on his pinions.


Once again the “flying eagle” bearing the seed of the woman – Israel – into the wilderness.  Only, this time Moses writes the words of Yahveh that refer us all the way back to the creation itself.  There are two key words in the passage:  “waste”, and “hover”.

These two words are found nowhere else in Moses except in Genesis one verse two.

The word “waste” describes the uninhabitable condition of the earth as God brings it to be by the Word of His Power (The Word being second Person of Trinity).  And the word “hover” is God’s word for the activity of third Person of Trinity as He moves in creative power over the face of the deep.

Language precision is our duty; for God isn’t careless with His Word.  And Moses writes the Word of God for a specific reason there at the end of his days.  And that was that the “bringing forth” of the woman – Israel – was a creation event.

And the sign of Yahveh to the apostle John refers to these passages in order to present these things to the Church for its comfort and assurance; for the old order of things has reached its fullness in Jesus Christ and His people.

The birth of the male Child (Holy Spirit having “hovered” over the virgin), and His ascension to the throne with all His elect IN HIM, is the definitive re-creation.  The covenant has reached its fullness and newness; a people has been “brought forth” – re-birthed – in Him; there is a new “Holy Temple”, a new “Jerusalem”, and a new “Israel”.

As in the history of Israel having been birthed out of Egypt, when God preserved her in all her afflictions, providing her with a paradise in the midst of wilderness, so He will now nourish and cherish the “Daughter of Zion” brought forth in the blood of the Lamb.  And she will dwell in the shadow of His wings – the wings of the great flying eagle.

Please note (before we finish this morning) that the woman’s flight into the wilderness isn’t in any way an “abandonment” by the Lord.  It’s not a sign of a lost battle.  Rather it’s a sign of her being carried on eagle’s wings above the waters, and to her place, where she can be protected and nourished during a period of great tribulation.  And the sign of Yahveh refers directly to the three and a half years seen by Daniel in chapters seven and twelve of his prophecy.  Luke refers to that period as the “great tribulation” and the “abomination of desolation”.

In verse fifteen and sixteen the sign of Yahveh continues its reference to the Exodus from Egypt as the seed of the serpent traps the seed of the woman at water’s edge.  The dragon sends her a water-flood and commands her to be washed down the Nile; then comes out with a host to ambush her at the sea.  But she was born on the pinions of the eagle/cherub as the “land” is seen as rising up and swallowing the flood.  It “drank up” the flood which spewed from the mouth of the dragon.

It’s Yahveh’s “sign”, you see.  It’s His perspective of the “whole”.

In the last verse of the chapter (and please remember that this continues in chapter thirteen) (in the last verse), having been impeded and stymied in all its furious efforts to destroy the woman (and therefore the child; and therefore the Church), the dragon now turns its great rage toward “the rest” of the woman’s seed – the Church (which has invaded its house).

It has been brought forth; the rest of the seed has been brought forth (an exodus) into the wilderness in order to save her from the impending wrath to come.  And the dragon turns its attention to her in the nations.  With terrible pursuit of her by judaists; and under constant persecution from the fourth beast – Rome; the Church came under ruthless oppression.

But, as John writes, the “rest of the seed of the woman” will be manifest in the afflictions brought upon her by the seed of the serpent; for they keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.  They “overcome” by the blood of the Lamb.