by Pastor Mike Taylor
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” (Revelation 12:1-3)
In the last four parts of this study of Revelation, our Savior has revealed to us the history of the church leading down from Pentecost until the coming of our Lord for His Church and beyond. We have read and understand that from chapter 6 when Jesus opens the first seal while standing before the ABBA Father in heaven, with the saints of God that are seated on thrones and the angelic host giving God glory, each seal has given us a futurist view of the judgment that befalls the earth dwellers that are still on this planet and the judgment that rains down upon them.
We have seen the first four seals reveal the use of mankind as the hammer to bring death and destruction over the entire earth, leading into Divine judgment and the unleashing of demonic forces designed for nothing else, but to enact vengeance on a God rejecting world, and the only source of salvation, found in Jesus Christ our Lord. We have come to the chapter that I have spoken of in past messages, that divides the Tribulation from the coming Great Tribulation, as now the Abomination who Causeth desolation will be revealed quickly in the next chapters. But here God focuses our attention on the actors in this spiritual drama that is being playing out in the physical world.
Many believe that this chapter appears to somehow be out of place, but here God reveals what His plan is for the people who are His chosen from ancient times and God will purge them as silver is refined in the fire.
3 “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:3-6)
But let us work our way through this chapter and see what God is trying to reveal to us for the coming time known as “Jacob’s Trouble”.
SIGN OF A WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN
Looking at the first verses that begins this chapter..we know that in Genesis, Jacob clearly understood that he was the sun, his wife was the moon, and his twelve children were the stars, as Joseph had a dream.
8 “And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” (Genesis 37:8-11)
This is the root of the nation of Israel. In Revelation, these symbols are used for two reasons. One is to signify the root of the woman portrayed there, that she is Israel: the sun, moon, & stars—Jacob, Rachel, and the twelve sons. But the sun, moon, and stars also have a secondary meaning: to indicate glory. She is a glorious woman—one that can be associated with the glorious things in the heaven—the sun, moon, and stars. Note this allusion to glory because, as God is looking at Israel at this time—that is, in the prophetic sense, in the time within the prophecies—Israel is glorious. Israel’s beginning was glorious—glorious as the heavenly bodies. Israel’s end will be just as glorious, because of the promise made to the fathers of Israel, not because of anything they have done, but because of God’s Holy Name and His promises to Israel. God fulfills His Word.
Some denominations erroneously try to paint this as the church, but that is replacement theology and as Paul told us in Romans:
17 “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:17-25)
Here the apostle Paul reveals that Israel has been set aside till the “fullness of the Gentiles be come in”, then the focus of God’s attention will be turned completely on the redemption of Israel. She has not been replaced by anybody or by any Church, or the Bride of Christ. God’s Holy Spirit has been working with the church for nigh 2000 years and when the body of Christ is completed, then Israel will be brought to bear and as Paul told us in the same chapter.
26 “ And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:26-29)
The Roman Catholic Church tries to make it appear that his is Mary and she is pictured here as the “Queen of Heaven“. It is common in Roman Catholic art to represent Mary as standing on a crescent moon with twelve stars around her head. As this cannot be, as the woman is revealed to be in pain, which is a sign of the persecution that Israel faced during the Roman occupation and oppression. v. 2 of this chapter.
I make no apology when I say that Replacement Theology is a lie of the adversary, designed to those who believe such a lie, to forsake Israel and her rightful place according to the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not for their sake, but for God’s Holy Name, as God keeps His promises.
The woman has been identified as Israel, even if others try to distort who she really is, and as the first player in this future drama that is part of the coming tribulation. Then we have the next player in this drama in the next verses.
3” And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”(Revelation 12:3-4)
Clearly,this is a sign of old “slewfoot” that in ancient times, even before mankind, drew a third of the angelic host in rebellion against God and was cast to the earth in judgment for his rebellion.
Satan is pictured as a great red dragon who has tirelessly waged war against the children of Israel in an effort to usurp the plan of God and prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy at the Garden of Eden: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) Here the prophecy of the coming Messiah was proclaimed by God, and Satan has attempted to thwart God’s plan from the very beginning. He hates mankind as they were made in the glory and image of God and given dominion over the earth, instead of giving it to Satan, (Lucifer in the beginning) and his pride just could not stand it.
The adversary stands before the woman waiting to devour her child upon it being born. Of course, this is not literally a dragon, but a symbol of the nature of this fallen cherub who was once an ark angel. His description “symbolically suggests his fierce power and murderous nature . . . a picture of the fullness of evil in all its hideous strength. Seven diadems on his heads: This dragon had great power (seven heads and ten horns) and claimed royal authority (seven diadems). The crowns represent his presumptive claims of royal authority against the true King. He wants to be considered a king.
From the similar description given in 13:1 and the parallel references in Daniel 7:7-8, it is clear that the revived Roman Empire is in view . . . The seven heads and ten horns refer to the original ten kingdoms of which three were subdued by the little horn of Daniel 7:8, who is to be identified with the world ruler of the great tribulation who reigns over this revived Roman Empire.
WHO IS THE CHILD THAT IS BORN?
There have been various interpretations of who this child being born in verse 4. From reading the passage in a literal sense, we know that Israel was the nation that produced the Messiah, so is this Jesus who the adversary is waiting to devour? We know that when Jesus was born, that Herod made an evil attempt to have the infant Jesus killed, thereby slaying every male child of two years and younger, as the wise men came to a house and gave gifts to a child, not an infant, so Jesus was about two years old when Herod destroyed the Hebrew babies that were born in Bethlehem at this time.
I also have heard interpretations that this is the heavenly Jerusalem as well as Israel, noted by this woman and gives birth to the Church, as she has been “in utero” as Jesus said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, but we must be “born again”…When the church was formed at Pentecost, she was not “born” but she was conceived and as a woman carries a baby to term of approximately 9 months. So has the True Church of the Living God, we have been growing as a body of Christ for the last two thousand years. If this is speaking of a dual prophecy of the church and of Christ, we are part of Christ, as we are His body, and He is the head of the Church. Some believe this is a reference to the church being born and raptured to the throne room of God. Which would be a connection between this verse and the beginning of chapter 4 when the 24 elders are seen in the throne room of God. Satan wishes to destroy the church, just as much as he wanted to destroy the child Jesus and had murdered many innocent children in the process.
“She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
Clearly this is a description of our Lord and Savior,as a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: Clearly, this refers to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He rules the world with a rod of iron (Psalm 2 and Revelation 19:15).
But coming back to the duality of this prophecy, the Church is also designed to rule the nations, right along with Jesus Christ. We will be His Kings and Priest and each of us will be given a portion of that rule. As Jesus was caught up to God the Father by ascending to His right Hand, so we will also be caught up to the throne room of God at the rapture of the church, to reign and rule with Jesus Christ for a 1000 years. This was confirmed in chapter 5 of this apocalyptic book.
9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Do you see the parallel here? It is a duality of prophecy that pertains to Jesus Christ, but could also pertain to the Church that is born from the New Jerusalem that we are abiding in Her Womb at the present waiting to be born. I believe John is speaking of both.
ISRAEL, THE WOMAN FLEES BEFORE THE DRAGON
6 “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”(Revelation 12:6-9)
Another duality of prophecy is spoken of in these verses, as this has happened to Israel before in 70 AD, when the Temple was destroyed by General Titus who later was to become emperor of Rome. The time of the destruction of the nation of Israel began approximately in 66 AD, and continued until about 72 AD with the Temple being destroyed during that time. The historian Eusebius wrote about these dreadful events. He wrote around AD325, amazingly close to those events, and with the extensive records of Josephus to draw upon. He wrote:
“For the Jews after the ascension of our Savior, in addition to their crime against Him, had been devising as many plots as they could against his apostles. First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was beheaded, and finally James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Savior, died in the manner already described. But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them, Go and make disciples of all the nations in my name.
But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come there from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men.
But the number of calamities which everywhere fell upon the nation at that time; the extreme misfortunes to which the inhabitants of Judea were especially subjected, the thousands of men, as well as women and children, that perished by the sword, by famine, and by other forms of death innumerable—all these things, as well as the many great sieges which were carried on against the cities of Judea, and the excessive sufferings endured by those that fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail, and how at last the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets, Daniel 9:27 stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple which was now awaiting its total and final destruction by fire — all these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history written by Josephus.”
Here in this passage we see the exact thing happening again, as the woman, Israel comprised of those who believe the message of the Gospel, (possibly from the two witnesses, or the 144,000 Jewish evangelist who proclaim what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24) 15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
7 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)
This whole chapter of Matthew 24 is directed squarely as a warning to Israel, and also repeated here in Revelation chapter 12. A remnant of Israel will see the abomination that causeth desolation, that Jesus warned of and will believe the Gospel, and take warning and flee to the mountain fortress of Petra in the Jordanian wilderness. Many make the mistake to interpret this chapter written to the Church, but the focus is obviously Israel, as Jesus was speaking of Jews in the future, as He spoke to Jews in the present time.
The Church will not flee to the Jordanian wilderness, or worry about a Sabbath day’s journey, or wonder how to flee in winter, as it gets cold even in Israel as it does in the Midwest. Jesus warned the Jewish people, that when they see the Abomination that causeth desolation, to run for the hills, and run for their lives, as this evil last dictator will attempt to destroy them all.
In this passage of verse 9, Satan and His demons are cast out of heaven where they have had the ability to come and go from heaven to the earth. Now they are imprisoned on the earth, and Satan know he has but a short time and he becomes frantic and seeks anyway he can devise to destroy Israel and make God out a liar. But a remnant of those of Jewish ancestry have escaped to Petra and Satan will pursue them.
All of heaven shouts with joy as they know that Satan and the evil committed on the earth is destined to end very shortly.
10” And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:10-11)
The accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down: Satan’s work of accusing only ends here, when he is cast out from his access to heaven. Remember the story of Job? Today, we have (and need) an intercessor and advocate (Hebrews 7:25 and 1st John 2:1)
Verse 11 remembers the many martyrs for the cause of Christ down through the ages, at the hands of the Roman Empire and the “holy Roman Empire” (sic), as there was nothing holy about her. This continues even today all over the world, into the Middle East, Africa, China, and other nations of the far east, and even to Europe. It has not reached America just yet, but it may before this is all over. Christians will be killed world wide that do not take the coming “Mark of the Beast” and especially anyone who is Jewish.
THE EARTH HELPS THE WOMAN
13 “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” (Revelation 12:13-16)
What are we to make of these set of verses? The woman runs for her very life, or the lives of every Jewish person who escapes to the mountain fortress of Petra, much as they did in 70 AD. You see metaphor after metaphor, of a great eagle that takes her into the wilderness and she is nourished for a time, times and half a time. This would be 3.5 years, which would be the sum total of the Great Tribulation. She will be sustained and nourished by Divine intervention. And this verse that says that the earth opened her mouth and swallowed some flood that the dragon cast out of his mouth. ??
Eagle’s Wings are an emblem from the Exodus deliverance (Exodus 19:4), another way of connecting these people with Israel.
Some have wondered if the reference to the two wings of a great eagle do not in fact describe a great military transport plane used to evacuate people in an emergency situation. That is a theory, but however they are swiftly taken, God will provide.
This passage also describes God’s ultimate protection of Israel from the fury of Satan and his antichrist in the great tribulation.
As it says in Isaiah 59:19 , “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
Why does Satan attack the Jewish people? As it looks like they are the ones who are fleeing, and those who Jesus mentioned that they should flee, hoping that it wasn’t on a Sabbath, or women who give suck, or the cold of winter that prevents them from traveling at a fast pace. This is a question for all history, not only for the Great Tribulation. The reason is because from the time of Abraham, Israel holds a critical role in God’s plan of redemption. First, it was in bringing forth the Messiah and Redeemer. Then, it was in the fulfillment of His plan, because Jesus promised that the Jewish people would exist and welcome Him when He returns in glory to this world (Matthew 23:39). If Satan succeeds in destroying the Jewish people, then God’s eternal plan is in some way thwarted.
As mentioned, some try to make those who flee into the Petra fortress as Jews and the Church that is somehow still here, but note what is said in verse 17.
17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)
But if the woman represents all the people of God (the church and faithful Israel), then who are the rest of her offspring described in verse 17? It is best to see her as Israel in general or Messianic Jews in particular.
SATAN COMES AGAINST SECULAR JEWS
Satan has been defeated in the ability to harm those who belong to God and he comes after a remnant of her seed. What seed? Those who have not been able to escape, or that didn’t believe the two witnesses and their preaching. It was as it was in 70 AD, and history is repeating itself.
I have preached for some time, that the Tribulation is designed for two things only.
- the refinement of Israel is as silver in a hot furnace to remove the impurities within her and prepare her to receive her Messiah (Malachi 3:3)…our Messiah that saved a people who were not His people, but Israel are His people, and God will fight for them, as we will see in future chapters.
- God will destroy all rebellion on this earth and wiping it totally clean of all unrighteousness and lawlessness, making this earth to become again like the Garden of Eden for a 1000 years before He finally creates a New Heaven and a new earth.
I want each of you to see the commonality of events that presents itself in this chapter and every chapter that God reveals to those who seek His Truth found in this revelation. God will destroy all mankind on this earth who don’t accept His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Along with it, the Anti-Christ will be hunting down all who do not worship him or take his mark. Even if you are not Jewish (as they will be marked for extermination), you will be hunted down because you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior,and my friend, it will cost you your life in martyrdom, and the suffering of your family and friends, whatever is left to be family or friends. Otherwise, you will succumb to the coming Mark of the Beast and be doomed for all eternity, as it is spoken of in Revelation chapter 14, v. 9-11.
Revelation is a continued warning to all who will listen that a time is coming that no one wants to live or go through if they only knew what the time will produce for all who are still here. As mentioned numerous times, the Church is being judged now, and we “are not appointed to wrath”, so to place the church in the middle of being refined or martyrdom is to say that the blood of Jesus was just not quite good enough to save us utterly. That doctrine is found in Catholic purgatory and is not found in the Bible anywhere.
I throw you a life line, His name is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who will keep you from this coming time and He wants to save all men, not willing that any should perish. Will you accept this free gift of His mercy and grace found in his death, burial and resurrection? It is oh, so simple a child can do it. There are many places that speak of this act of faith, but there are two passages that brought me as a child to the knowledge of my need for a Savior and I understood it as a child, then you can too.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
See? I told you it was simple…believe in your heart the above verses, repent, and ask Jesus to come into your life as Lord and your example of how to live. Then confess to others, your family, your friends, or your co-workers, and you shall be saved…it’s that simple…Make that decision for Jesus Christ this side of the Tribulation, while you still can..
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation through faith in Jesus. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly, listening ear, email me at [email protected], or visit me online for more biblical messages of Jesus Christ as Lord. God bless you all…