Note: Here again is an overview for the benefit of John and all future readers, and as mentioned earlier these overviews are interspersed with details in other Chapters. In this Chapter, the overview runs from the birth of the 12 tribes of Israel to the end of the persecution of the Jews, and the acceptance of Jesus, by the “Overcomers”.
V.1 And there was seen a great sign in Heaven; a (a)woman clothed with the (a)sun, and the (a)moon under her feet, and on her (b)head a crown of (a)twelve stars.
(a) "A Woman"; the only way to interpret this remarkable vision is to use Scripture to interpret itself. Because of the other main elements of the verse, i.e. "sun", "moon", "stars"; the only other reference to such is Gen. 37:9-11. In that reference the sun is Jacob, moon mother, 11 stars eleven brothers, therefore Joseph making 12. Interestingly in the Genesis record, Joseph's dream was prior to God's deliverance of the embryo Nation (family of Jacob) from famine, and its later emergence as a Nation in the Exodus!
Here in this verse, clearly, Jehovah Zebaoth, who is True, Consistent and ever Loving; is showing also imminent delivery of Israel again, this time to a state of peace, reassurance, and true position as a future Bride (Zech.), (Isa. 54:5-7), (49) (61) (62) & (Rev. 21:9-12).
(b) "Head a crown of twelve stars"; in this vision of John's the Nation is no longer embryonic, but a full grown woman, with a crown of twelve stars. The stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel, and the woman the Nation (Isa. 54) & (Isa. 54:6), which of course points to whom the "Bride of Christ" is: Israel!
V.2 And she being with child cried out, (a)travailing in birth, and toiling to be delivered.
V.3 And there appeared another sign in Heaven; and behold, a (b)great red dragon, having (c)7 heads, and 10 horns, and 7 crowns on his heads.
(a) "Travailed"; see notes in V.4 below.
(b) "Great red Dragon" is Satan. He here is threatening with annihilation the whole of the Jewish Nation (children of Israel), which he has been attempting since Abraham; see next verse. That effect is continual, all the time in the whole Earth. We know from Prophecy Satan will attempt to annihilate Israel at the time of the ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ which will be his most severe effort ever attempted.
Charles Welch discusses this in his book ‘This Prophecy’, and he theorises that the ‘Rapture’ references of 1Cor. 15:51 and 1Thess. 4:15-17 refer to the Jews of the Acts period and latterly Revelation, which may or may not have veracity. What is certain is that Christ Himself will stop Satan’s attempt, at its greatest effort; Dan. 7:25 Rev. 13 and 17, and corresponding verses.
(c) "7 heads", etc.; denotes universal Earthly power (Comp. App. 10 & 197: 6), the meaning derived originally from the division and hierarchy of the Roman Empire and its latter organisation of the “Holy Roman Empire”, morphing into the “Holy Roman Church”; the lower limbs of Dan. 2. These changes are under the auspices of “man’s Earthly rule”; which does not change until Rev. 1:10 due to Satan’s present acknowledged position as “prince of the power of the air”; “god of this world”, acknowledge by Christ and Paul; 2Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30 & 16:11.
These “heads, horns and crowns”, are all underpinned and empowered by the “Dragon”, who is Satan! It is therefore an ominous, threatening and deadly beast; which controls the Earth until the return of Christ Jesus (Rev. 19:11-16)!
V.4 And his tail dragged the (a)third part of the stars of Heaven, and cast them to the Earth: and the Dragon (b)is standing before the woman which is about to bring forth, in order to eat up her (c)child as soon as it was born.
(a) Satan, since his original fall, has persuaded to his cause many angelic creation which are numbered in Scripture (see V.9) as a third of all the angels of Heaven, which have done and are doing his bidding. The exact timing of his fall was when Satan as a son (created) of God rebelled against his Creator, and claimed equality, (Ezk. 28:12-19).
Satan is a well-kept secret. Although known of from Scripture he is not taken seriously by people, and is even regarded as a sort of joke, or figure of Halloween imagery. Almost, if not all of the world's misery is attributable to him, even though Almighty God usually gets the blame from humans. Almost everybody at some time has blamed The Almighty for some misfortune, which in fact should be laid at the door of Satan, or human fallen nature, or both. There is no more powerful entity on Earth at the present time than Satan, (except for the Holy Spirit).
Our Lord Himself acknowledged Satan as the prince of this world (John 12:31), (John 14:30) & (John 16:11). The Apostle Paul writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, called Satan, "the prince of the power of the air", (Eph. 2:2). These and many other Bible references show the power that is at present Satan's, and people will find to their cost that he is real, and behind all of the evil events, trends and control of humans that Paul wrote about so vividly and accurately to Timothy 2000 years ago, (2Tim. 3).
(b) The A.V. says "stood"; but the correction "is standing", and will continue to do so until he is broken "by no human hand", (Dan. 8:25) and then bound in the bottomless pit.
(c) "Child"; this is Jesus the Christ (anointed), who is at present at the Right Hand of the Majesty, in Heaven, awaiting the time that His enemies are made His footstool towards the end of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:7); and the help given to the suffering Jews will be via Christ's Spirit as described in Chp. 11:4; and elsewhere.
Only Christ can be with Jehovah God on His throne after He became the first fruit in resurrection. Only He has the sanctity to be with the Father. On the contrary the Jews who are at the present still "Lo-Ammi", (not My people) are yet to see, accept and mourn Christ whom they pierced (Zech. 12:10), only then will their cleansing begin, and together with the righteous resurrected Jews, form the reborn, new, Nation of Israel, the eventual (Jeshurun = upright) (the ideal Israel).
There is a curious verse (Isa. 66:7) which seems to say that a child (Nation) will be born before the normal travail of labour. However; the "before" (Str. 2962) is probably mistranslated in the A.V., and should read "delayed", "suspended", "not yet", "none-occurrence". The meaning being that the Nation being brought to being is suspended! That prophecy foreshadows the rejection of Christ by Israel, and therefore their own rejected ("Lo-Ammi"), state for 2000 years. After the Zech. 12:10 experience, the rest of Isa. 66 applies and is wonderful for Israel and other peoples of God. That a Nation is being brought forth cannot be disputed, as in the following verse (Isa. 66.8), Zion is travailed! Verses 7 & 8 therefore seem to contradict, except for the above explanation, and a filling full of the prophecy. It is supremely significant, that as soon as Antichrist breaks his peace agreement with Israel, (2nd ½ of 70th week Dan.) Chapter 11 of Rev. and its events start, which correspond with Isa. 66:8, "for as soon as Zion travaileth, she brought forth her sons (children)". This is the birth of the new Nation of Israel. The one that will have such Earthly blessing in the 1000 years of Jehovah / Christ's reign on Earth, whose borders will be as the promise made to Abraham by Jehovah (Gen. 12:2-3), (Gen. 15:18), (Jer. 32:37-42), (Jer. 33:14-16), (Jer. 33:25-26), (Ezk. 11:17-20), (Ezk. 34) & (Ezk. 47:15-21), and many other references throughout Scripture. The birth of this Nation is one of the great events in the plan of Jehovah Zebaoth on Earth, and will be greeted with great joy in Heaven and Earth, as it corresponds with the praise of the Heavenly hosts for the vanquishing of the Evil One on Earth (Rev. 19:1), which was prophesied in Psalm 104:35.
V.5 And (a)she brought forth (b)a son, a male, (c)who is about to (d)rule all the Nations with an iron staff: (e)and her child was caught away unto God, and to His throne.
(a) “She", (see V.1) the Nation of Israel, of the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
(b) "A son, a male"; the original Greek has these empathic words. It is emphasised; there is no mistaking the gender of the child (male), which has important implications for the Satanically inspired workings worldwide attempting the reversal of the Almighty's order in Creation and design and purpose, bringing the female to the fore "to take the male position". This child is The Christ of V.4, (see note).
(c) "Who is about"; i.e. about to start His rule. The Greek gives this explicit meaning, whereas the Authorised uses the word "was", which diminishes the importance and imminence of what is about to take place, and was so translated to conform to Church of England and Roman teaching. The AV also with the use of "was", implies past tense, or failure, which is not the case.
(d) "Rule all the Nations with an iron staff"; Christ to rule with an iron staff. The fact is all the Nations on Earth will be thus ruled. The "iron staff", shows clearly that it will be very firm, fair, and just. In fact justice will be redefined (or returned to its original God given meaning) from the present humanly and Satanically conspired mess of compromise, vested interest, cowardice and evil intent, to the absolute Jehovah / Christ standard, which will usher onto the Earth the peace and security which mankind of goodwill has always desired. At the present time, the fallen state of mankind, aided and enforced by Satan and his demons is bringing complete ruin on the Earth. In the yet future state of this verse, Satan and demons will be consigned to 1000 years of imprisonment in the bottomless pit (Zech. 13:2) & (Rev. 20:1-3).
(e) See 4(c ) above.
V.6 And (a)the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a (b)place prepared of God, that (c)they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days (1260).
(a) "Woman"; i.e. Israel (as above).
(b) "Place prepared of God"; this statement also mitigates against those that teach that the "child", of V.2 is Israel; as here, this uniquely prepared refuge is for the fleeing Israel, (Matt. 24:15-22).
(c) "They"; maybe spiritual servants of Jehovah Zebaoth on Earth, or human beings, who feed (sustain) this remnant for exactly 3½ Jewish years (i.e. 360 days = 1 Jewish year). If human beings, they may be some of those referred to by Christ, when He judges the Nations (Matt. 25:32-46) at the beginning of Millennial. The Almighty is here again demonstrating His will to sustain His people, as He did in the wanderings of Israel for 40 years, prior to entering the Promised Land! This period corresponds with that of the ministry of the "two witnesses", and also our Lord warned the "lost sheep", to flee to this area (wilderness) (Matt. 24:15-22). Some teach that the flight destination is Petra; which may be the case!
V.7 And there came to be (a)war in the Heaven: (b)Michael and his angels going forth to war with the (c)Dragon; who resisted with his angels.
(a) "War in the Heaven"; this Scripturally clearly is a first occurrence, and the force used is described as "war", to convey to human minds the meaning.
(b) "Michael"; is the special angel (archangel) of the Jews, (Dan. 10:13-21), and as such is championing the Jewish cause on behalf of Jehovah.
(c) "Dragon"; i.e. Satan and his angels.
V.8 And (a)prevailed not, neither was their (b)place found any more in Heaven.
(a) Michael wins the war in Heaven, and for the first time, in many Ages since Satan's rebellion against God, (see V.4 and notes) he and his followers are no longer located in that Heavenly realm.
(b) It is remarkable that Satan was ever allowed "place", in Heaven after his rebellion. However, from Job and elsewhere it is clear that in the Will of God he has. This is certainly linked to the Salvation plan of Jehovah Zebaoth, (see V.12); and is shown in (see: Satan's Contest with God).
V.9 And the (a)great Dragon was cast down, the Ancient serpent, called the Devil (slanderer) and Satan (adversary) the one deceiving the whole world; he was cast out into the Earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(a) Until this moment described, Satan had place in Heaven, despite his rebellion against God, his evil, and his constant attempts to subvert Heavenly Creation to his side. Also, he constantly attempts to accuse, discredit and latterly destroy Israel. In the book of Job, Satan is shown to be free to patrol the Earth, and with the permit of God, do his best to destroy faith in God on Earth. In V.8, he no longer has free access to God, is cast to Earth, and as we see in Revelation, regarding Israel (and many God revering people) is allowed a short time of open direct tyranny, with no attempt at pretence in the 3½ years of Israel's extreme persecution (see V.12).
V.10 And I heard a (a)great voice saying in Heaven, "Now is come the Salvation, and the Power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the Power of His Christ: for (b)the accuser of (a)our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
(a) This great voice in Heaven is probably collective as it refers to “our brethren", later in the verse. As to whom the voices belong to also hinges on the same words, (see note next verse).
(b) "The accuser"; Satan.
V.11 And they (a)overcame him (b)by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life unto death.
(a) "Overcame"; here again is the great emphasis of this time. These people mainly Jews and some Gentiles (Rev. 7:9-17) are the "Overcomers", of earlier reference. Many are already in Heaven, mostly by persecution (Rev. 6:9-11), but may also include the Body of Christ (the true Church as opposed to Christendom), which in many opinions has at this stage been translated (1Cor. 15:51- 52). There can be no doubt that the Overcomers are brethren to the Body, but not of it (Rev. 7:15), and therefore their voices possibly included in that "great voice", of V.10, in great joy. An interesting possible implication in Revelation regarding the "Overcomers", is that at their death, they appear to go straight to Heaven, whereas Christians in this Age must await the translation (1Thess. 4:13-17), which certainly is prior to this period (1Thess. 1:10), all of which is "the harvest", of which our Lord was the "first fruits", (1Cor. 15:20-23).
(b) "By the blood of the Lamb"; (Rev. 7:14).
V.12 Therefore (a)rejoice ye Heavens, and ye that dwell in them. (b)Woe to the ones dwelling on the Earth, and in the sea, because the devil is come down to you having (c)great anger, knowing he has only a little time.
(a) The inhabitants of Heaven, exhorted to rejoice. Clearly Satan had for many Ages caused great trouble, strife, conflict and much turmoil, beyond our ability to understand, whilst allowed to retain a "place", in Heaven. It is also clear that his success persuaded a third of all angels to follow him, which underlines the fact of "free will" of the angels!
His presence is a constant source of pernicious, on-going divisive action in Heaven. Even though Heaven's Creation know who their Creator is, Satan still has much success in converting angelic creation to his side. One of the many major differences between mankind and angels, is humans will deny the existence of God Almighty, and also Satan. It is implicit that one element is common to both Earthly and Heavenly Creation, free will! It is therefore easy to understand that Heavenly Creation rejoices at the expulsion of such an adversary, after so long in their midst, and also in the knowledge that Satan's efforts will be short on Earth.
The question often asked by many over the years, is how could Almighty God allow Satan to exist after such rebellion, and even to be in His presence, to have place in Heaven; and patrol Earth (Job 1 and 2). The answer undoubtedly lies in The Perfect Plan of Redemption, that only God could conceive, wherein the Perfect Love of God would allow Satan to perform to his vile worst in Heaven as well as Earth after the Overthrow, all of which is observed by Heavenly Creation (Eph. 3:10).
Some argue that such a protracted process is wasteful, painful, and suffers great loss of life and environment. That is to miss the main point. It is of course easily possible for Almighty God to eliminate Satan. To do so however prematurely would not allow Creation to see the depth of sin that Satan will eventually stoop to, or the forbearance of Almighty God!
Conversely, the Almighty will be seen by all Creation to take the burden and result on Himself, in the form of Christ Jesus (Col. 1:20). It is thereafter the response to Christ's death and suffering (in the place of all accepting humankind) which is the key to every individual's eternal destiny, on Earth and also in Heaven, in this Age, and eternity!
The main thrust for Satan's pernicious attention had been Heaven's occupants and the tribes of Israel. Abraham was chosen by God. He was called "the friend of God", Ex. 33:11, 2Chr. 20:7, Isa. 41:8 & Jms. 2:23, because his heart was against the idolatry of his father, and the Nation Ur, which derived from Babylon!
After Paul's declaration (Acts 28:25-28), all the world's Nations became the subject of Satan's attention; which showed in the Wisdom of Jehovah Zebaoth, that the failure of Satan at The Cross and the failure of Israel to accept Christ (Acts 28:26-28), increased the eventual harvest for Christ / Jehovah.
Most people on Earth are fixated with their flesh life, which is natural enough. However, because of the events of Eden, see: Eve and Adam they are not content, and can only find rest, peace and understanding in Him, albeit in simple sincere trust, which people find hard to give, unless they encounter Christ, personally; and that can only happen if the person undertakes a sincere and heartfelt search for Him in the Bible! (See: Free will (Predestination).
Because all the efforts of Satan are eventually self-defeating, and will be seen as such by Heavenly and Earthly Creation, the Almighty in Christ will vanquish Satan, but not until Heaven and Earth have been reminded that Satan stands for deceit, destruction, suffering and death, (Rev.20:3, 20:7-10), as opposed to the Love, Peace, Justice and Righteousness of Jehovah/Christ. After that reminder, Satan and his followers will be consigned to doom (Rev. 20:10). All that remains for individuals at the present time (i.e. this Age) is to trust in God's work, in Christ Jesus. The timing of the above is in the hands of the Father only (Matt. 24:36), and His timing is perfect (Matt. 5:48). The perfect timing of God the Father means that Satan is defeated by Perfect Love (a concept totally alien to mankind); which means that Satan is defeated by Love, which is God (1John 4:8-16)!
Had Satan been destroyed at the time of his rebellion, none of the above could have come into play and such action by the Almighty would have been seen by Creation as dictatorial, and His plan of Love could not unfold to fruition. As the plan now unfolds, God will indeed be seen as Ultimate Love.
(b) The dire warning to Earth's and sea's inhabitants, prior to the last woe auger terrible events for them.
(c) Satan's Heavenly banishment leaves him with less room for manoeuvre, and activity. His success in Heaven has clearly been great, but the worthiness of The Lamb, allowed the releasing of the 7th seal, triggering the banishment in the timing of Jehovah Zebaoth. Satan had recruited / converted angelic help for many reasons, all of which are to attempt to thwart the plan of Salvation of God Almighty and to magnify himself. The first example in this present Creation produced the Scripture recorded result of Nephilim, (Gen. 6) which had it succeeded would have brought to nothing the promise of God in Eden (Gen. 3:15), however, God intervened at the crucial stage to rid Earth of Nephilim, and save the pure line of Noah, and preserve His Prophecies and promises. Although Nephilim re-appeared after Noah; their numbers were so reduced by Saul and David that they could not populate the world to thwart God’s Planning!
The situation on Earth at the time of Satan's Heavenly expulsion is dire for the Jews, as the "man of sin", has broken his Covenant with Israel after 3½ years, and is imposing a brutal regime. This man often called "Antichrist", is now newly empowered by Satan, now located in Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-13), which interestingly is the location that the Babylonian priesthood removed to at the fall of Babylon many centuries earlier. Satan must still attempt to achieve the goal of stopping the promises of Jehovah Zebaoth regarding His people Israel from coming to fruition. He now releases his full wrath onto the ancient people of God, Israel.
V.13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down unto the Earth, he (a)persecuted the (b)woman which brought forth the (c)male child.
V.14 And to the (b)woman were given the (d)two wings of a great eagle, that she may 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.
(a) See previous verses of this Chapter.
(b) See V.1, V.5 & V.6.
(c) See V.5.
(d) See V.6, "two wings of a great eagle"; a great and powerful bird, which soars to great heights and inaccessible places. This would imply supernatural help from Jehovah Adon, to secure the flight of His remnant people Israel, to secure their safety, nourishment, etc., for the 3½ years duration;"from the face (VENOM, THREAT AND DEATH) of the serpent (Satan)".
V.15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a (a)river after the (b)woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
V.16 And the Earth helped the woman, and the Earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river which the Dragon cast out of his mouth.
V.17 And the Dragon was (c)wroth with the woman, and went to war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the (d)commandments of God, holding the testimony of Jesus.
(a) "River"; hordes of people etc., in the form of military action against the woman etc., as seen in following Chapters.
(b) "Woman"; Israel, see V.6.
(c) The anger of Satan, now confined to Earth, and only now able to take action against the followers of God on Earth.
(d) Those who have come to know Christ and hold their testimony (Rev. Chapters 2 and 3).
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