The Woman Clothed with the Sun
1Then an astonishing miracle-sign appeared in heaven. I saw a woman # 12:1 The church is figuratively spoken of as a woman. The description of her “clothed with . . . the sun, and the moon [powers of darkness] . . . under her feet” points to the victorious church about to give birth to a company of believers who will do the great works of Jesus and spread the brilliance of his glory throughout the earth. The overcoming bride of Christ is also seen as a woman “clothed with the sun.” See Gen. 37:9–10; Song. 6:10. clothed with the brilliance of the sun, and the moon was under her feet. She was wearing on her head a victor’s crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in labor pains, in the agony of giving birth. # 12:2 There are a number of possible interpretations explaining this astonishing miracle-sign. Some view the woman giving birth to be Israel, others the Virgin Mary. But it is a woman in heaven who is clothed with the sun (often a symbol of Christ) and the moon (often a symbol of occultic power) under her feet. This would mean the heavenly woman is a picture of the virgin bride of Christ emerging in the last days in radiant victory.
3Consider this: another astonishing miracle-sign appeared in heaven! I saw a huge, fiery-red dragon with ten horns and seven heads, # 12:3 See Dan. 7:7. A reference symbolizing the ferocious, cruel, and wicked power of the devil. each wearing a royal crown. He was wearing seven royal crowns. 4The dragon’s massive tail # 12:4 See Isa. 9:15. swept across the sky and dragged away a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon crouched before the woman who was about to give birth—poised to devour the baby the moment it was born.
5She gave birth to a man-child who is about to rule and shepherd every nation with an iron scepter, # 12:5 See Pss. 2:7–9; 110:1–2. and her son was caught up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the wilderness, where God had already prepared a safe place for her, and there they nourished her for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
The Dragon Defeated
7Then a terrible war broke out in heaven. Michael # 12:7 The name Michael means “one who is like God.” and his angels fought against the great dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back. 8But the dragon did not have the power to win and they could not regain their place in heaven. 9So the great dragon was thrown down once and for all. He was the serpent, the ancient snake called the devil, # 12:9 Or “lying slanderer.” and Satan, # 12:9 Or “Adversary.” who deceives the whole earth. He was cast down into the earth and his angels along with him.
10Then I heard a triumphant voice in heaven proclaiming:
“Now salvation and power are set in place,
and the kingdom reign of our God
and the ruling authority of his Anointed One
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accused them
day and night before our God,
has now been defeated—cast out once and for all!
11They conquered him completely
through the blood of the Lamb
and the powerful word of his testimony. # 12:11 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the word of their testimony.” It is the faithful testimony of Jesus that has the power to destroy the works of the devil.
They triumphed because they did not love and cling
to their own lives, even when faced with death.
12So rejoice, you heavens,
and every heavenly being!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you
with great fury, because he knows
his time is short.”
The Dragon Fights the Woman
13Now, when the dragon realized that he had been cast down to the earth, he set off in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the man-child. # 12:13 The man-child is a company of believers who have overcome the dragon. They are the symbolic 144,000 victorious ones. See Rom. 8:17; 1 Cor. 4:8; 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12. 14But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman so that she could fly and escape into the wilderness to her own special place, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, away from the face of the dragon.
15Then the dragon spewed from his mouth a raging river of water to sweep her away with the flood. 16But the earth came to the rescue of the woman and at once opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
17Then the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to make war # 12:17 See Eph. 6:10–12. against the remnant of her offspring who follow the commands of God and have the testimony of Jesus. # 12:17 That is, they have the character and nature of Jesus. It is the power of the faithful testimony of Jesus (not ours) that has power to overcome the devil. 18And the dragon took his stand # 12:18 Or “And I stood.” on the sand of the seashore.