Revelation Chapter 12

THE PRIMARY PROBLEM (Revelation 12:1-17)


(1) In this chapter, we have the beginning of the second main section of the conflict in the Book of Revelation. This section will cover chapters 12-22. It tells the same story as the first main section (chapters 4-11), but instead of the emphasis being on the “Conquering Christ” as it was in the first section, the emphasis here is on the “Victorious Church.” In the first main section, the emphasis seems to be on the wrath of the Lamb on the wicked (Rev. 6:16-17), but in this second section the emphasis is on Christ protecting His bride from her enemies.

(2) As we begin this second section in chapter twelve, we are shown what the real problem is, and what it has always been. This chapter reveals that Satan is the principle cause of the persecution of believers in all ages and the main one responsible for the persecution facing the churches in the first century to whom John was writing. Therefore, our title for this chapter is “The Primary Problem.”


I. THE WOMAN (12:1-6)

(1) Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. The woman stands for the people of God—the faithful in Israel. Her position and appearance symbolically describe her exalted state. Her being with child shows that she is responsible for Christ being in the world and finally exalted into heaven. The woman here is not “Mary” but simply symbolizes the faithful believers in Israel of which Mary was a part. In other words, God used His faithful people—which are represented by the “woman”—to bring Christ into the world so that He could save the world.

(2) And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. The dragon is the devil. He is “great” because of his power. The fact that he cast a third part of the stars to the earth serves to stress his power and influence. He is “red” possibly because of his murderous character (John 8:44) as well as his thirst for the blood of God’s people. His seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns serve to further emphasize his great authority, power and ability to rule. The fact that he wanted to “devour” the woman’s Child shows that the main object of the devil’s rage is against Christ and His people. (See also 1 Peter 5:8).

(3) She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. This “Child” that was “caught up to God” serves to emphasize that Christ is the reason for the devil persecuting the church. It is Satan’s hatred of the “Child” and His mission to save man that causes him to want to destroy the woman (believers). The fact that Jesus would be resurrected, caught up to God and rule with a “rod of iron” was exactly what David taught about Him in the second Psalm (Ps. 2:7-9).

II. THE WAR (12:7-12)

(1) And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought…This spiritual war that apparently was started by Satan in heaven has continued ever since it began. John seeing the vision here serves to emphasize that the battle is still raging. Therefore Satan sought to stop the “woman” (people of God) from bringing Jesus into the world because of his pride, rebellious attitude, and hatred (Ezek. 28:12-17). He wanted to prevent God from accomplishing His eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ (Eph. 3:10-11). But Jesus was born and ascended to the throne and the attempts of Satan to accuse those who believe in the “Man Child” will always fail. This war that John now sees also serves to assure Christians that the cause of the “woman” will triumph over the devil and his angels. The victory pictured here stresses the victory of the cause of Christ over the forces of evil. Just as in the beginning of the first main section of Revelation (ch. 4) we are shown who is on the throne and who is in control, here we are shown at the beginning of the second section (ch. 12) that the forces of Satan will not overcome the woman and the cause for which Christ died. This seems to be a picture of an actual war that took place in heaven that occurred before or just after the creation of man in which Satan led a third of the angels in rebellion against God. John sees a vision of that “original war” in order to illustrate that the war is still going on and that just as God defeated Satan in the beginning, so He will do in the present conflict that they were facing involving the church and the devil. Satan and his angels did sin against God (see 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6). Therefore, “hell” is prepared for the “devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). Allowing John to see a vision of the original war with Satan would serve a three-fold purpose: First, it would show mankind where the devil came from, and hence the real cause of our spiritual problems. Second, it would serve to verify the reason Satan is relentless in efforts to destroy the people of God and the cause for which Christ died. And third, it would assure the readers of John’s day (as well as all believers of all time) that as Satan could not overcome God in the beginning, so he cannot destroy God’s purpose in any present or future conflict.

(2) For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. This may refer to the fact that Satan knew if he could not destroy the church with the powerful agents he was using in the first century (both political and religious) then he would never be able to destroy her with any force—and he did not have long to do it (Rev. 6:9-11). If he failed with his most powerful weapons that are later identified as Rome and “Babylon” then he wouldn’t be able to succeed with any force and he knew that he only had a “short time!” On the other hand, this may mean that, viewed in light of eternity, Satan knows he only has a “short time” in which to destroy the church. Either way he cannot win, but will always try.

III. THE WINGS (12:13-17)

(1) Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. When Satan saw that he was defeated in his effort to stop the “Child” of the woman from accomplishing His mission, he was full of wrath and began to persecute the woman (people of God) and the rest of her seed (converts), with a great flood of persecution.

(2) But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. In the vision, John saw the woman given two wings of an eagle or help she needed in order to avoid destruction from the serpent (see Exodus 19:4). There in the wilderness, she is nourished and protected from the serpent’s effort to totally destroy her. This is a time of persecution under consideration which occurred during a certain period in the first century referred to as “time and time and half a time” or three and one half years.

CONCLUSION: This chapter begins the second main section of the Book of Revelation as far as the conflict is concerned (Rev. 12-22). In this section, the emphasis is on the Victorious Church. As we begin this second section we are shown the “Primary Problem” behind the persecution of the church—which is the devil. In this chapter, we saw a woman who brought forth a Male-Child, but there was a great red dragon which was ready to devour her Child as soon as it was born. He was not successful, however, and the Child was caught up to God and His throne. Afterward, there was a war in heaven in which Satan was defeated and cast out, which illustrates why Satan is so relentless in persecuting the people of God. Even though he was cast out and defeated, he persecuted the woman (people of God), but she was given two wings of an eagle and therefore escaped his efforts to destroy her by persecution. In the next chapter, we will see the agents that Satan uses in his efforts to destroy the church.

Wayne Dunaway

Wife Beating and Divorce

A good friend sent the following question.

“If a husband is beating his wife, does she have permission to divorce him?  And if she does, what does the Bible say about her re-marrying?”

My answer:

1. Yes! A husband who “beats” his wife is violating the covenant to be a companion (Malachi 2:14) as well as numerous other commands regarding the “one flesh” relationship. Read Ephesians 5:23-32. When Paul was asked whether or not a Christian should divorce an “unbelieving mate,” he said, “And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.” The opposite of that is also true. If he is “not willing” to live with her then she can “divorce” him. In my judgment a husband who “beats” his wife is one who is “not willing” to live with her in peace and God has called us to “peace” (1 Cor. 7:15). Most everyone agrees that she could “separate” and “get out of danger,” and, if that is case, she could surely make the separation permanent (divorce) if she had no hope of him changing. We all believe that they need to go to counseling and do all they can to make the marriage work, but sometimes that is not possible. A wife in that predicament is in a marriage that is already “put asunder” according to the Bible definition (one flesh/one family unit) and all she would be actually doing by “formally divorcing him” would simply be recognizing that fact and making it legal. Sometimes people violate the marriage covenant by “cheating,” but others violate the covenant by “beating.” Either way, God never designed marriage for abusive “mistreating.”

In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus said a husband is to “be joined” to his wife…but that does not give him the right to physically abuse her. When a “marriage” turns into a continual “boxing match” or a “beat down” that marriage is over in most cases…regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. And for anyone to believe and/or teach that Jesus demands for a wife to stay in that kind of abusive situation is absurd!

And if she does, what does the Bible say about her re-marrying?”

1. I believe that she can remarry. In 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 the Bible clearly teaches than anyone who is “loosed from” (divorced from) a mate “does not sin” by getting married. As far as I know it is not a sin for a person who is “divorced” to marry. It is a sin to “divorce a faithful mate” in order to marry someone else, or cause one to divorce in order to marry — which is what Jesus was dealing with in Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:1-9. But if a wife is “loosed from” (divorced) from a husband because he violated the marriage covenant by “beating her” then I believe she has every right to marry someone else. A woman like this, who has obviously already suffered enough physical abuse, does not need to suffer more by being told that she must live the rest of her life in celibacy simply because she made a mistake and married a wife beater.

As you can tell, I am not part of the pro-divorce group who says that the remarried must divorce again. Some are, and they have to live with that, but not me! God bless!

Hope this helps! Let me know…if you need more info.


Special note: Here a section on my book (Just As I Am..) from page 76 & 77 about marital abuse.

One of the first things we learn about marriage from the Law of Moses is that marriage is not a license to mistreat and abuse a marriage partner.We are partners, not prisoners. We are companions, not captives. Even slaves who married their owners were not to be abused or mistreated in the marriage relationship. This is one of the first things that Moses taught concerning marriage immediately after recording the Ten Commandments:

If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money (Ex. 21:10-11).

4.  Observe that the husband was not to diminish or withhold or deprive (NIV) his wife (even if he took another wife) of three things. He could not starve her or fail to provide clothing (necessities of life) for her or deny her “marriage rights.” Marriage rights would include sexual companionship. If he failed to provide these three things she could go out free without paying money to be free.

Just because a person is married does not mean that they must put up with abuse. The idea of having to stay with a mate no matter how they treat you is not taught in the Old Testament or the New. We understand that marriage is for life—but not if it endangers your life. Surely God does not expect us to remain in wedlock with a mate who keeps us in a headlock. I know that some fathers and mothers would say, “If he beats my daughter, I will kill him.” But the obvious implication from this statement is that God would rather us kill him than for her to divorce him, which is surely not true.

Marriage was designed for mutual habitation, not for brutal intimidation. For one to teach that God demands a wife/husband to remain in an abusive marriage relationship is itself abusive. It is an indisputable fact that marriage is not an indissoluble act and never has been. Moses did not say it and Jesus did not teach it. Sometimes the only sensible and scriptural recourse is a quick and permanent divorce from an abusive partner.

Wayne Dunaway

Matthew Chapters 24 – 25

Matthew Chapters 24-25

A summary of the events leading up to and including what Jesus taught in these two chapters would include the following.

1. He enters Jerusalem for the last time (Mt. 21:1-11). On this occasion He predicts its destruction. (See Luke 19:41-44).
2. He drove the money changers out of the temple because they had made His “house” a “den of thieves.” (Mt. 21:12-13).
3. He cursed the “barren fig tree” which represented the hypocritical Jewish Nation and illustrates their destruction. (Mt. 21:17-19).
4. He taught the parable about the “wicked vinedressers” (Mt. 21:33-45) which represented the leaders of the Jewish Nation (Mt. 21:45) and He predicted the destruction of their kingdom (Mt. 21:40-45).
5. He pronounces a series of “woes” on the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, deceit, wickedness and rejection (Mt. 23:1-31). He tells Jerusalem that they would “fill up” their sin to the limit (Mt. 23:32-35), their house would be left “desolate” (Mt. 23:37-38), and that all of this would come upon “this generation” (Mt. 23:36) referring to the “generation” that lived when He was on earth.
6. Next, he predicts the complete destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and therefore the “end” of the Old Testament Jewish system. (Mt. 24:1-34). He gave the “time” (Mt. 24:34) and the “sign” (Mt. 24:15; Lk. 21:20) when the temple and nation would be destroyed. His answer to their question led Him to discuss another subject pertaining to another “coming” and another “end.” So we might say that in answering their question concerning the destruction of the temple Jesus discusses two comingsand two ends of two worlds.

a. First, in Matthew 24:1-34 He predicts His “coming” in judgment on Jerusalem and the “end” of the Jewish Old Testament world/age (Heb. 9:26). “All these things” that Jesus predicted up to this point (Mt. 24:34) were to come on that “generation” (Mt. 24:34). The word “generation” refers to the “generation” that lived when He was on earth as it did throughout the book of Matthew. (See Matthew 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:34).
b. Then in Matthew 24:35 the subject changes. Here He refers to the “passing away” of “heaven and earth” and beginning in Matthew 24:36ff He begins to speak about His second coming at the end of time for all mankind and He continued this discussion throughout the rest of chapter 24 and continued the same discussion in chapter 25. (Mt. 24:36-25:46).

Wayne Dunaway