"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Twelve OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To note the primary force behind the persecution that was about to come upon the early Christians 2) To appreciate why the persecution of the early church was so intense SUMMARY With this chapter we learn that Satan was the primary force behind the persecution that was about to befall God's people. We are told of his failed attempt to prevent the male Child from being born and assuming His rightful place of authority as ruler of the nations (1-6). An effort to usurp that authority by waging war in heaven is thwarted, resulting in the devil and his angels being cast to earth. That prompts a loud voice in heaven to proclaim that salvation, strength, the kingdom of God and the power of His Christ has come. Because the accuser (i.e., the devil) has been cast down, those in heaven who overcame by the blood of Jesus and their testimony, and who did not love their lives to the death, could rejoice. But woe is proclaimed to those on the earth, because now the devil has come down to them and he knows his time is short (7-12). At first the dragon's efforts are directed toward the woman who gave birth to the child. However, she is given wings to fly to her place in the wilderness where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time (1,260 days, cf. v.6). Even the earth helped the woman, so enraging the dragon that he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, identified as those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (13-17). While the identities of the male child and the dragon are rather evident, who is the woman and the rest of her offspring? I suggest the woman represents the spirit of faithfulness in God's messianic community (perhaps best exemplified by Mary) who kept covenant with God. Called "the daughter of Zion" in prophecy (cf. Mic 4:10; 5:2ff; Isa 66:7ff), she produced not only Christ, but His disciples as well (her offspring, 12:17). Like the temple of God representing the inner spirit of the church which cannot be harmed (cf. 11:1), the spirit of faithfulness cannot be destroyed by Satan. But just as the holy city being trod under foot for forty-months represented the outward persecution of the church (cf. 11:2), so the devil would persecute the woman's offspring (i.e., the disciples who were still on the earth). Thus the chapter reveals why a period of great tribulation was about to come upon Christians (cf. 2:10). Satan was frustrated by being thwarted at every turn. Cast down to the earth, he would attempt to destroy the disciples of Jesus. The instruments he would use are introduced in the next chapter. OUTLINE I. THE WOMAN, THE CHILD, AND THE DRAGON (1-6) A. THE WOMAN WITH CHILD (1-2) 1. A great sign appeared in heaven, in which a woman is clothed: a. With the sun b. With the moon under her feet c. A garland of twelve stars on her head 2. Being with child, she cried out in labor and pain to give birth B. THE DRAGON READY TO DEVOUR THE CHILD (3-4) 1. Another great sign appeared in heaven: a great, fiery red dragon a. With seven heads, ten horns, seven diadems on the heads b. With a tail which threw a third of the stars of heaven to the earth 2. Standing before the woman, ready to devour the child as soon as it is born C. THE OUTCOME OF THE CHILD AND THE WOMAN (5-6) 1. The male child is born a. Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron b. Who was caught up to God and His throne 2. The woman fled into the wilderness a. Where she has a place prepared by God b. Where she is fed for 1,260 days II. SATAN THROWN OUT OF HEAVEN (7-12) A. A WAR IN HEAVEN (7-9) 1. Between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels 2. The dragon and his angels did not prevail a. No place was found for them in heaven any longer b. The dragon and his angels were cast to the earth c. The dragon identified 1) That serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan 2) Who deceives the whole world B. A LOUD VOICE IN HEAVEN (10-12) 1. Proclaiming victory for Christ and His brethren a. Salvation, strength, the kingdom of God, and the power of Christ have come 1) For the accuser of the brethren has been cast down 2) Who had accused them before God day and night b. How the brethren had overcome the accuser: 1) By the blood of the Lamb 2) By the word of their testimony 3) They did not love their lives to the death 2. A call to rejoice, along with a warning a. For those in heaven, rejoice! b. For the inhabitants of the earth and sea, woe! 1) For the devil has come down to them having great wrath 2) Knowing that he has only a short time III. THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO PERSECUTE THE WOMAN (13-17) A. THE DRAGON'S ATTEMPT TO PERSECUTE THE WOMAN (13-16) 1. Cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child 2. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle a. That she might fly into the wilderness to her place b. Where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time c. Safe from the presence of the serpent 3. The serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman a. Hoping to cause her to be carried away b. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing up the flood B. THE DRAGON'S INTENT TO PERSECUTE HER OFFSPRING (17) 1. Enraged with the woman he cannot reach, the dragon goes to make war with the rest of her offspring 2. The rest of her offspring identified: a. Those who keep the commandments of God b. Those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) What are the main points of this chapter? 2) What great sign appeared in heaven? (1-2) 3) What other sign then appeared in heaven (3-4) 4) What child was born? What happened to the child? (5) 5) What happened to the woman? (6) 6) What happened in heaven? Who did not prevail? (7-8) 7) Who was this dragon? What was done with him and his angels? (9) 8) What did a loud voice proclaim in heaven about Christ and the dragon? (10) 9) How had the brethren overcome the dragon? (11) 10) What are those who dwell in heaven told? (12) 11) Why was woe proclaimed to the inhabitants of the earth and sea? (12) 12) Cast down to the earth, who did the dragon persecute next? (13) 13) What was given the woman? Why? (14) 14) How long was she nourished? (14) 15) How did the serpent try to persecute the woman? Who helped her? (15-16) 16) Enraged by his inability to persecute the woman, who did the dragon go to make war with next? (17)