BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 16, Day 2: Revelation 12:1-6

Summary of passage:  A pregnant woman appeared wearing the sun with the moon at her feet and crown of 12 stars on her head.  A red dragon appeared in heaven with 7 heads, 10 horns, and 7 crowns.  His tail swept 1/3 of the stars out of the sky upon the earth.  The woman birthed a male child who was taken by God to his throne before the dragon could eat him.  The woman fled to the desert to be cared for by God for 1,260 days.


3)  Pregnant woman–nation of Israel;  Dragon–devil;  a son–Jesus

4a)  Genesis 3:1-15:  The devil is more crafty than anything other wild animal God made.  He deceives people.  God curses the devil who will eat dust all the days of his life.  He will send a mediator (Jesus) to crush him.

John 8:44:  The devil was a murderer from the beginning and a liar.  He is the father of lies and speaks in different languages.

1 Peter 5:8:  The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

b)  Satan perverts human nature and encourages sin.  God does not intervene.  Romans 1 says man gives in to lusts and engage in same-sex activities.  They have a depraved mind, filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, God-hatred, insolent, arrogant, and boastful.  They invent more ways to do evil.  They disobey their parents.  They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.

Timothy says people will be lovers of themselves and money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, and lovers of pleasure.

Romans 8 says a person’s only hope is Jesus to be free from sin and death.

5a)  It snatched the child up to heaven before the dragon could devour it and it sent the mother to a prepared place in the desert so God could care for her for 1,260 days.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same way.  Sheltered me.  Prepared a place for me in heaven.  Cared for me and my family.  Been the refuge He promises to be when times are tough.

Conclusions:  You knew 5b was coming.  Again, straight-forward.  No meat.  See End Notes for the meat.

End Notes:  This is the first of 7 signs, called mega or great in Greek.  We are going to see 7 figures of the Tribulation as well, 3 are introduced here.  They are:

· The woman, representing Israel
· The dragon, representing Satan
· The man-child, referring to Jesus
· The angel Michael, head of the angelic host
· The offspring of the woman, representing Gentiles who come to faith in the Tribulation
· The beast out of the sea, representing the antichrist
· The beast out of the earth, representing the false prophet who promotes the antichrist

Who is the woman?  Since this is a sign, scholars don’t expect this woman to appear on earth.  Scholars define biblical signs as an extraordinary spectacle or event that points beyond itself.   She’s a symbol who has been given authority (moon under her feet and crown of 12 stars).

We have seen Jezebel in Revelation 2:20 representing false teaching.  We will see a Great Harlot in Revelation 17:2 pertaining to false religion and the Bride in Revelation 19:7-8 for the church.

Catholics see this woman as Mary.  Art often depicts Mary as standing on a crescent moon with 12 stars around her head.

Some say she represents the believing Messianic community

Some scholars say, however, this woman is Israel.  In Joseph’s dream (Genesis 37:9-11), the sun represented Jacob, the moon represented Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and the eleven stars were the sons of Israel which bowed down to Joseph.  In this sign Joseph is the twelfth star since at the time Joseph was just a boy with no sons yet.

In other Old Testament passages, Israel (or Zion or Jerusalem) is often represented as a woman (Isaiah 54:1-6, Jeremiah 3:20, Ezekiel 16:8-14, and Hosea 2:19-20).

The woman has to be either Mary or Israel since she gave birth to Jesus.  It can’t be the church since Jesus gave birth to the church (Matthew 16:18).  The rest of Revelation 12 will show this is Israel.

Historically, the woman has been viewed as Mary since the Catholic church dominated the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  It has only been recently viewed in a wider sense.  Good article HERE debating who she is.

Some scholars say the pain represents the Roman occupation of Israel during the first century AD.  I say it’s the pain of childbirth woman was cursed with from the Garden (Genesis 3:16).

We have seen this imagery used before when Micah uses it to describe Israel carted off by Babylon to captivity (Micah 4:9-10).  He continues in 5:2-4 to say Israel will suffer to purify the people and allow the remnant to emerge.

Who is the dragon?  The dragon, another sign, represents power (7 heads & 10 horns) and authority (7 crowns).  7 represents completeness so complete power and authority.  The Greek word for crowns (diadema) is only used in the book of Revelation.  It is different than the crowns the woman wears in verse 1 (stephanos).  The crown is permanent victory whereas the diadema is simply power and authority.

The dragon appears in every major civilization in their myths.  Up until the end of the Renaissance and even into the Industrial Revolution, people believed in dragons.

In the Old Testament, we see dragons as symbols of enemies of God or Israel (Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 27:1; Ezekiel 29:3).

Some scholars say the dragon is the Roman empire and cite Revelation 13:1 and Daniel 7:7-8: 2.  However, in verse 9, he’s revealed to be Satan along with Revelation 20:2.

The dragon is evil, plain and simple.

Many believe the 1/3 of the stars flung to earth is 1/3 of Satan’s angels flung to earth in light of the next few verses (Revelation 12:7, 9).  Some say they’re nations or kings.

The dragon has tried before to devour the child.  The devil used Herod (Matthew 2:16-18) to kill the first-borns.  The devil tried himself (John 8:58 & Mark 4:35-41).  Esther saved her people when Haman tried to exterminate the Jews (Esther 3:6).

Who is the child?  We know Jesus rules with an iron scepter (Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 19:15).

Again, we see 1,260 days (or 3 1/2 years), which is the time of the Great Tribulation.  Verse 5 shows the ascension of Jesus and this time frame in verse 6.  We are in-between both.

This passage foreshadows the Great Tribulation.  Those who believe believers will be spared from the Tribulation (mid-tribulationists) point to this passage.  At the end, 1/3 of God’s people (the remnant) will go into hiding (or be raptured) for 3 1/2 years and emerge at the end to heaven on earth.  Post -tribulationists use this passage as well to say Christians will still face the tribulation before the rapture.

THE BIG PICTURE:  We see the birth of Jesus as calm and soothing as a baby in a manger worshiped by three magi.  Smiling animals are in the manger and a star leads the way.  Here, John is saying, “No!”  We see Jesus’ birth how the devil did: a battle for earthly authority with a dragon waiting to eat a newborn baby.  Here, on earth, God and Satan fight for control.  We see this in the choices we make.  However, in the supernatural universe, there is a war going on constantly.  Here, in Revelation 12 and throughout the rest of the book, we will see the final outcome of that battle being told.  And, of course, God wins!

Just for Fun:  Cool pictures of Woman and Dragon HERE and HERE

Images of Mary with stars and moon:  This one is an altar image in Germany HERE  This one is in Strasbourg Cathedral HERE  Papal Mitre HERE

Great article of history of Mary in art world.  She was the most painted woman in art until the eighteenth century.  She was painted by every major artist up until then.  HERE