|A passage that is
often misunderstood is Revelation 12. The passage actually
describes the ascension of Jesus and his Kingdom
Authority. This chapter of Revelation marks the
beginning of a new cycle in the book of Revelation. To get later
events in perspective, this section goes right back to the
A great and wondrous sign appeared in
heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her
feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant
and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then
another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with
seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His
tail swept down a third of the stars out of the sky and flung
them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who
was about to give birth so that he might devour her child the
moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who
will rule the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was
snatched up to God and his throne (Rev 12:1-5).
In this vision the dragon represents Satan
or the devil (v. 9). In Joseph's dream, the sun and the twelve
stars represented Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons, so the
woman is the nation of Israel (Gen 37:9,10).
Jesus is the male child, who was born of
an Israelite woman in the nation of Israel. The stars that fell
from the sky are the angels that fell with Satan to become his
demonic servants. Satan tried to use Herod to destroy Jesus at the
time of his birth, but God kept him safe. The devil also tried to destroy
Jesus on the cross, but he was raised to life, and "snatched
up to God and to his throne." This is a picture of the
ascension. Jesus is the one "who will rule the nations with
an iron sceptre", as his Kingdom is established on the earth.
When Jesus arrived in heaven, Satan's
power was totally
And there was war in heaven. Michael
and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and
his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they
lost their place in heaven (Rev 12:7,8).
Satan and his angels were thrown out
because they had lost their "place in heaven". This is
the war in heaven that John saw. Satan only had authority in
heaven as an "accuser" (v. 10) He came to power through
the sin of Adam. Those who sin place themselves under Satan's
authority, because he has the right to accuse them before God in
heaven. If he can justly accuse people of sin, he has legitimate
power over them. Because all have sinned, he had a great deal of
authority and a "place in heaven".
Jesus' death paid the penalty for sin, so
Satan can no longer accuse God's people.
They overcame him by the blood of the
Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:11).
If Christians are accused by Satan, they
can testify to the fact that their sins are covered by Jesus'
blood. Satan has lost his place in heaven, because he no longer
has any right to be there.
The accuser of our brothers, who
accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled
down (Rev 12:10).
He now has to work on the earth. He can
only maintain his power by deceiving the people of the earth and
preventing them from seeing what Jesus has done (v. 12). He has
gone to work on the earth in a great fury, but even there his time
There is great rejoicing in heaven,
because Jesus has inaugurated his Kingdom. His will is done
perfectly in heaven.
Now have come the salvation and the
power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his
Christ..... Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell
in them (Rev 12:10,12).
Satan's power and authority have been
destroyed. The way has been opened for the people of God to
establish his Kingdom on the earth. Because Satan has been
defeated he goes off to try and destroy the nation of Israel.
Revelation 12:13-16 describes the fate of Israel after the
ministry of Jesus.
When the dragon saw that he had been
hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth
to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a
great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for
her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a
time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then
from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to
overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But
the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing
the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Satan tries to destroy Israel. This
explains the ferocity of the destruction of Israel in AD 70.
However, the Jews were not all killed and many were sent into
exile. Being away from Jerusalem was like being in "a
desert", but it also proved to be a hiding place for them.
The wings of the eagle represent the Roman empire that sent the
nation of Israel into exile (the desert). The Jews were spread
throughout the world, so Satan has been unable to destroy them,
because God intended that they be kept safe.
Israel is to be hidden in exile "out
of the serpent's reach", for a "time,
times and half a time". This is the length of the times
of the Gentiles, when Jerusalem is trampled by them.
This season will end with the fullness of the Jews: when they
return to their land and are converted (Luke 21:24). This is now
When Satan found that he could not destroy
Israel, he went off to persecute the church.
Then the dragon was enraged at the
woman and went off to make war against the rest of her
offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the
testimony of Jesus (Rev 12:17).
Persecution of the church began, as Satan
tried to destroy those who obeyed Godís word and gave testimony
to Jesus. This persecution has continued right down through the