The woman and the great red snake
1A very surprising thing appeared in the sky. I saw a woman who was wearing the sun like clothes. The moon was under her feet. A crown of 12 stars was on her head. 2She was soon going to have a baby. She screamed because the pain hurt her very much.
3Then another surprising thing appeared in the sky. It was a very big red dragon. It had 7 heads and 10 horns. There was a crown on each head. 4Its tail hit a third of the stars in the sky and it threw them down on the earth. Then the dragon stood in front of the woman who was soon giving birth to the baby. He was waiting there to eat her child as soon as he was born. 5The woman gave birth to a son. He was a man who would rule all the countries of the world with an iron stick and with great power. Then someone quickly took her child away. He went up to God and to his throne. 6The woman ran away into the wilderness. God had prepared a special place to keep her safe there for 1260 days.
7Then a war started in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his army of angels fought back. #12:7 The Bible tells us that the angel Michael is a powerful angel. He is a leader of God's angels. See Jude 1:9 and Daniel 9:13; 12:1.
8But the dragon and his army were not strong enough to win. They lost their place in heaven. 9Michael and his angels threw the great dragon out of heaven. That dragon is really called the Devil or Satan. He is the snake who has been there since long ago. He always tells lies so that the whole world believes wrong things. They threw him and all his angels down to the earth. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven that said:
‘Now God has saved his people from Satan's power!
God has shown his great power as King.
His special Messiah has shown his authority.
Satan said bad things against our people.
All day and all night he has continued to say bad things against believers.
But now they have thrown him out of heaven.
11But our brothers and sisters fought against him and they won.
They trusted the Lamb who died as a sacrifice.
They continued to say that God's message is really true.
They were ready to die as God's servants.
12So be happy, everyone who lives in heaven!
But the earth and the sea will have bad trouble.
The Devil has come down to you now.
He is very angry.
He knows that he has only a short time to hurt people.’
13The dragon knew that they had thrown him down to the earth. So, he ran after the woman who had given birth to the baby boy. He wanted to hurt her. 14But the woman received two wings, like the wings of a very big eagle. Then she could fly to the place in the wilderness that God had prepared for her. In that place God would keep her safe from the big snake. God would take care of her there for a time, times and half a time. #12:14 ‘A time, times and half a time’ may mean 3.5 years. This is the same as 1260 days. See Revelation 11:3; 12:6. It is also the same as 42 months. See Revelation 11:2; 13:5. See also Daniel 12:7.
15Then the dragon poured lots of water out of his mouth like a river. He wanted the river of water to carry the woman away. 16But a big hole opened in the ground. Then the river that poured from the dragon's mouth went down into the hole. That helped the woman to go free. 17As a result, the dragon was very angry with the woman. So he went away to fight a war against her other children and grandchildren. Those are the people who obey God's rules. They continue to trust Jesus and to speak his message. #12:17 The ‘woman’ is like a picture of God's people. In verses 1-5, perhaps she is Israel's people, and the boy that is born is Jesus. In verses 6 and 13-17, she is like all the Christians on the earth. The Devil is the enemy of all Christians.
18After that, the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.