As from early 2017, many Christians and especially scholars and watchmen of end time prophecies, were very excited about an arrangement of celestial bodies that was going to occur on 23 September 2017. Many even took their excitement as far as predicting that the rapture of the Church would have taken place on that date. According to various Internet sources, the heavens themselves would have been a tableau of Revelation 12:1-2. What very few actually knew, was the fact that this very same sky scene has also been seen at 4 other occasion during the past 1 000 years, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056.
“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. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.”
On 23 September 2017 the sun was in the zodiac constellation Virgo — “a woman clothed with the sun.” The moon was at the feet of Virgo — “with the moon under her feet.” The ‘nine’ stars of the zodiac constellation Leo, plus three planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars), were at the head of Virgo — “on her head a crown of 12 stars”. The planet Jupiter was in the center of Virgo, and, as the weeks pass after September 23, Jupiter would have exited Virgo to the east, past her feet, so to speak.
The simplest way to understand Revelation 12-14 is to see them built around the six main characters. There are a woman, a dragon, a male child, the archangel Michael, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. The saved remnant may be considered as a seventh.
The first four of these characters are described in Revelation 12 and the latter two in Revelation 13-14.
The first fall of Lucifer
As a name for the devil, the more common meaning in English, “Lucifer” is the rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12 given in the King James Version. This Bible version took the word from the Latin Vulgate, which translated הֵילֵל by the Latin word lucifer (uncapitilized), meaning “the morning star,” “the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”.
The story of Lucifer’s first fall is described in two key Old Testament chapters, namely Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.
The first ten verses of Ezekiel 28 deals with the prince of Tyre (who was condemned for claiming to be a god though he was just a man). The historic ruler, or prince of Tyre was probably a tool of Satan, and even indwelt by him.
Then the discussion moves from the prince to the king of Tyre, starting in verse 11 and on through verse 19. Lucifer now becomes the focus of discussion.
Ezekiel 28:12b-15 describes Lucifer before the fall.
“You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.”
It tells us that he was a created being and left the creative hand of God in a perfect state. He remained perfect in his ways until iniquity was found in him.
In Ezekiel 28:17 we see how the sin of self-generated pride corrupted him and contributed to his fall, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.” Lucifer apparently became so impressed with his own beauty, intelligence, power, and position that he began to desire for himself the honour and glory that belonged to God alone.
Apparently, this represents the actual beginning of sin in the universe, preceding the fall of the human Adam by an indeterminate time. Sin originated in the free will of Lucifer in which he chose to rebel against the Creator.
He was rightfully judged by God, “I threw you to the earth” (Ezekiel 28:18). However, other Scripture clearly indicate that Satan maintained this access even after his fall (Job 1:6-12 and Zechariah 3:1-2). But, Ezekiel 28:18 indicates that Satan was absolutely and completely cast out of God’s heavenly government and his place of authority (Luke 10:18).
Isaiah 14:12-17 is another Old Testament passage that may refer to the fall of Lucifer, although some scholars see no reference whatsoever to Lucifer in this passage. It is argued that the being mentioned in this verse is referred to as a man (Isaiah 14:16) and compared with other kings on the earth (Isaiah 14:18).
Isaiah 14:12 nevertheless says, “How you have fallen from heaven.” The description of this being is also beyond humanness and hence, could not refer to a mere mortal man.
There is a third view that seems preferable to both these views. This view sees Isaiah 14:12-17 as having a dual reference. It may be that Isaiah 14:4-11 deals with an actual king of Babylon. Then, in Isaiah 14:12-17, we find a dual reference that includes not only the king of Babylon but a typological description of Lucifer as well.
The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon
“And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and a moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And she was with child and she cried out being in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God so that there she might be nourished for one thousand, two hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 12:1-6)
Since the fall of Lucifer, the “son of the morning,” he became Satan the devil and the archenemy of God. There has been a constant war going on throughout the universe between Satan and his demons and God and His angels. The earth has become the featured center for most of the battles.
When Satan fell, he dragged a third of the angels into the warfare with him and he deceived Adam and Eve, dragging the human race into the war as well. This war against God will finally culminate in the end of time when Jesus Christ defeats him and his demons once and for all and casts them in to the pit.
The conflict reaches its climax in the time of the Great Tribulation. Satan will amass his greatest efforts against God, against Christ and against believers. There will be war and tribulation all over the universe like never before, nor will ever be thereafter.
Revelation 12:1-5 take us back to the beginning, back to Eden and even before that in heaven. It contains a very brief comment on the fall of Satan and the effect thereof on man in the fall of man.
Satan hates God and does everything he possibly can to thwart God’s purposes. First, he attempted to destroy the paradise of heaven and led a mutiny against God among the angels. Then he attempted to destroy the paradise of earth and led a mutiny against God among men. One of his greatest desires is also to destroy God’s plan for the eternal rule and reign of Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 12:1 we meet a woman, “And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars and she was with child and she cried out being in labor and in pain to give birth.”
This is the first of seven signs mentioned in the last half of the book of Revelation. A sign means something is occurring that points to something else. When we see a sign in prophetic literature, it is something symbolic of a reality. So when we see a woman appearing in heaven, the woman is not to illustrate a literal woman, but is symbolic of some other reality.
First of all, it is important to note that there are four symbolic women in Revelation.
– The first one is in Revelation 2:20. She is given the name Jezebel and she symbolizes sinful, wicked paganism. She is representative of those who teach people to commit adultery.
– The second woman is the one in the sign in heaven in Revelation 12.
– The third woman is found in Revelation 17. She is a scarlet woman, a whore or a harlot and she represents the apostate church.
– The fourth woman is called the wife of the Lamb, and she represents the church in Revelation 19:7.
This second woman in Revelation 12:1 represents Israel. Israel is frequently depicted as the wife of God throughout the Old Testament. Although she is a disloyal, unfaithful and adulterous wife, in the end God will bring her back to faithfulness.
Some have suggested that the woman here in Revelation 12 represents the church, but nowhere in the Bible is the church ever referred to as a woman of a wife, and especially not one giving birth. When the church is spoken of in feminine terms, it is always being called a bride. The church does not become a wife until the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19. 2 Corinthians 11:2 says, the church is a bride waiting for the marriage.
The seventieth week of Daniel in Daniel 9 relates to Israel and God has made an irrevocable promise to Israel to give them a kingdom. We read about Israel’s salvation in Zechariah 12-14 and in Romans 11. God’s plans through all of redemptive history have at their very heart the nation Israel.
Satan hates Israel and the Jews most of all nations. If he could have managed to destroy Israel, he would have wiped out God’s entire plan.
The woman is clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Genesis 37:9 has an almost identical description. The passage deals with the life of Joseph. He was in some ways the beginning of the nation of Israel. Although the covenant was initially given to Abraham, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and his son Joseph was one of the first real offsprings of Israel.
We read about one of Joseph’s dreams as from Genesis 37:9 , “Now he had another dream and related it to his brothers and said, `Lo, I have had still another dream and behold the sun and the moon and the eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ And he related it to his father and to his brothers and his father rebuked him and said to him, `What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?’ And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept this saying in mind.”
Later on Joseph became a leader in the land of Egypt and eventually his entire family bowed to him. The sun represents Jacob, the moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars bowing down represent his eleven brothers.
The sign in Revelation 12 may vary a little bit but has much the same imagery. Now we see twelve stars, but the twelfth back in Genesis 37 was Joseph himself. The twelve stars now crown the head of the woman. The sun and the moon is under her feet.
The fact that the woman is clothed with the sun speaks of the glory, brilliance and dignity of a redeemed Israel that is going to be lifted up and exalted in the end. The moon under her feet could also refer to nothing more than exaltation, or could relate to Israel’s covenant relationship, since the moon was so central in the cycle of their worship. They worshiped in their yearly cycle through a series of new moons and feasts, festivals and Sabbaths were associated with them.
The crown of twelve stars on her head is a kind of garland or a crown associated with suffering and struggle. The twelve stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Israel, the woman, was prefigured in the life of Joseph. Joseph and Israel were sold to Gentiles, enslaved in captivity, buried among the nations, yet prominent, preserved, delivered, saved, given authority and given a kingdom.
Revelation 12:2 says, “Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.” Israel is now depicted as a woman about to give birth and she is in pain. This is a very familiar imagery in the Old Testament, as seen in Isaiah 26, 54 and 66, Hosea 13 and Micah 4 and 5.
The pain can be associated with Israel’s suffering for centuries and their longing for their Messiah. They long for the “Child” that would eventually come and destroy Satan and his allies and would bring the promised kingdom.
We meet the dragon in Revelation 12:3-4, “And another sign appeared in heaven and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on his head were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”
Satan is not a real dragon but a fallen angel and a spirit being. He is called a dragon thirteen times in the book of Revelation. The term dragon fits into the category of the Hebrew language where you get the word Leviathan, sea monster, a massive creature more awesome than a snake or a serpent. In ancient times a dragon was associated with the sea.
His red colour represents him as fierce, cruel, vicious, and deadly, but it also speaks of bloodshed. The dragon is identified as Satan as seen in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan.”
The description of the dragon says he has seven heads and ten horns and on his seven heads are seven diadems or royal crowns.
We will learn more about this description, later on in Revelation 17:9 where it says, “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings, five have fallen, one is and the other has not yet come and when he comes he must remain a little while, and the beast which was and is not is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven and goes to destruction.”
In short, the seven kings represent seven worldly kingdoms, all the way to the end. Satan reigns over all of them. We also find the ten horns in Revelation 17:12, “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings.” Horns represent strength and power. Daniel 7 describes the final form of world rule in an imagery of ten kings. Daniel 7:24 says, “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise.” Satan is thus represented as dominating the world.
Daniel 8:24 also talks about the final form Satan’s rule will take on, “Destroying to an extraordinary degree, and he will destroy mighty men and the holy people.” He has always been after God’s people. First of all Israel, and certainly in the end time the church as well.
Satan stole, killed and destroyed right from the beginning. 1 John 3:12 reminds us of Cain who killed Abel when he says, “Not as Cain who was of the evil one, and slew his brother.” In Genesis 6, he sent his demons in some bizarre cohabitation with women to produce an unredeemable race that God then had to drown in the Flood.
Satan tried to take Israel captive and to eliminate ten tribes. Though the captives from the north never returned, representatives from all ten tribes had filtered into the south and so all twelve tribes are still intact. He tried to destroy the Jews through pagan kings and God used judges to deliver them. The dragon tried to get Saul to murder David and end all messianic hope through the line of David and he could not succeed. Haman became Satan’s tool to attempt genocide, but the nation was saved by Esther and Haman was executed on his own gallows.
His desire was always to exterminate the woman, the line of Messiah in one way or another. He was never successful but Israel went through much pain because of his efforts.
Revelation 12:4 says that his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. It symbolizes third of the angels, which amounts to millions of them. He also uses these demonic angels, as well as his earthly agents, the ungodly from the nations, against Israel.
Revelation 12:4 continues by saying, “The dragon stood before the woman just waiting, who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.” He had all these efforts to try to wipe out the line, but could not succeed, so then he wanted to destroy the child, Jesus Christ.
Herod was the agent of Satan trying to wipe out the Messiah, before He could accomplish His work. In Matthew 2:13 we read, “Herod’s going to search for the child to destroy Him. So they took the child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt and there was a place there for them to remain until Herod died. When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the Magi, he became enraged and sent and slew all the male children in Bethlehem, all its environs from two years old and under according to the time which he had ascertained from the Magi.”
In modern days, the woman was and is still being attacked, even after the child is born. One of the worst events was when Hitler massacred almost six million Jews during the Holocaust. Today, Muslim Arabs would do anything to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth.
The male child
“She gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” (Revelation 12:5)
This refers to the birth of the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. In Isaiah 7:14 we find a prophecy about the birth, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Jesus was a Jew, the Son of Abraham, from the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of David.
This child will rule all the nations with a rod of iron, as we also see in Psalm 2. This will come to pass in Revelation 19, when Christ returns.
In the last part of Revelation 12:5 it says, “Her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” This of course refers to the ascension of Christ. Satan could not stop Him from being born or from accomplishing redemption. Christ is therefore exalted to the right hand of the Father as our perfect Saviour. Neither would Satan be able to stop the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Sadly, many Christians such as the Amillennials are denying this kingdom, thereby almost exalting Satan.
From eternity past to the Great Tribulation
From Revelation 12:1-5 to Revelation 12:6, we move from eternity past and the fall of Satan all the way to the end of the Tribulation. It says, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
“Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 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. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:13-17)
Satan will be going after the woman during the time of the Tribulation, but God is going to hide her. This is exactly what was spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:21, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Many from Israel will be fleeing out of the land when the Antichrist desecrates the Holy of Holies, sets himself up as God and starts the slaughter against the Jews. The “wilderness” always used to be Moab, Ammon and Edom, just east over the Jordan River, across the Dead Sea, as indicated in Daniel 11, Isaiah 16 and Isaiah 26.
Most scholars believe that the Jews will be hiding in a place the prophet Isaiah called Sela or Petra. It is the city of the dead in Edom, that can only be entered through an opening fit for one individual at a time. Inside you find a massive city carved out of the rock walls.
God will nourish them and it is probably here where many Jews would be saved right up until the end. Revelation 12:14 says, “ 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. ”
This indicates that there might be some special flights taking them way off to where they will hide.
Satan Thrown Out of Heaven … again
“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon and the dragon and his angels waged war. And they were not strong enough and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, `Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. For this reason rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you having great wrath knowing that he has only a short time.’” (Revelation 12:7-12)
Even until today, Satan has never been in hell and he is not some kind of ruler or “king” of hell as many Christians might think. Subsequent to the tribulation, Revelation 20 tells us that he will be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, after which he will be released for a short while and then be thrown into the lake of fire without any judgement hearing. As a matter of fact, he is going to be the lowest being in hell and be assigned the most horrible punishment of any creature ever made.
It may come as a surprise to many Christians, but currently, Satan still spends most of his time, in heaven. Revelation 12:10 says that he is there day and night, accusing Christians before the throne of God about their unworthiness. He knows perfectly well how to interpret the Bible because he was the covering cherub, Lucifer, before his fall. He is there to tell God of our sins and failures, trying to convince God that He ought to let us go to hell. He wants to capture us for his own dominion of darkness. Ultimately, he wants to show God that he can destroy salvation and takes us out of God’s hands.
Furthermore, he and his demons are continuously waging war against Michael and the holy angels. Satan has been identified as the prince of the power of the air and the god of this world, engaged in controlling world systems of religion and government.
He wants to bring about the unification of the whole world under his rulership and prevent Christ from coming back to establish His kingdom, both millennially on the earth and eternally in the new heavens and the new earth.
This battle continues on a supernatural level between the angels and on the earth on all moral, ideological, theological, and philosophical levels. This war is going to reach its climax in the Tribulation, after the church has been raptured.
In Revelation 12:9 the great dragon and his demonic angels are thrown down from heaven to earth for a second time. The arrival of Satan and all of his fallen minions are going to cause absolute destruction the earth.
Satan is actually already a defeated foe as he was destroyed at the cross and through the resurrection of Christ. The fact of his defeat occurred at the cross, the actual execution or sentencing is yet to happen. Romans 16:20 says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Even though he was defeated at the cross, he is still alive, 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be sober and vigilant because the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 John 5:18:19 says the whole world lies in his lap.
The Archangel Michael
War in heaven is playing off in Revelation 12:7-9. “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon and the dragon and his angels waged war and they were not strong enough and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Revelation 12:7 happens right at the beginning of the tribulation. However, this war started with the first fall of Lucifer, it has been going on throughout the ages and still continues into the Tribulation. That is why Satan is also known as the prince of the power of the air. Ephesians 6:12 calls his demon hordes spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies.
Hebrews 1:14 says the angels are sent to be ministers of the people of God. Satan wants to thwart the angelic ministry. Also when God dispatched holy angels to assist Israel in the Old Testament, he interfered. We also see how the work of the angels is attacked in the modern day churches as part of Satan’s plan to develop a false one-world religion. In Matthew 13, Jesus said, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”
The grammar and the structure of the Greek lends to the conclusion that Satan started the event in Revelation 12:7. John MacArthur makes this very interesting point that this event might have be triggered by the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture takes place prior to the seven-year Tribulation and in Revelation, the church is represented in heaven by the twenty-four elders. They are taken from earth in the twinkling of an eye and go through the domain of the air, passing through the kingdom of darkness. Satan and his demons could just as well be aroused to hinder the believers from reaching into heaven.
Michael is always associated with war and conflict. He is not a messenger angel but a warrior. A good example is in Daniel 10, where the angel who was stuck for twenty-one days from delivering his message, is assisted by Michael to overcome the demon that controlled the prince of Persia. He assisted because he wanted to send this other angel on the way to Daniel. He was concerned about God’s people Israel of whom Daniel represents.
According to Daniel 12 Michael will be standing guard over the Jews during the time of the Tribulation. Daniel 12:1 says, “At that time Michael the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people will arise.”
In Jude 9 we read, “ Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Now remember that Moses was never allowed to enter the promised land. He could only look at it from where he was standing in Moab, where he also died. Apparently he died alone and God then sent Michael because the devil wanted Moses’ body.
In Jude 9, Michael is called the archangel. Interesting to note that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 it is said that during the rapture, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice the archangel.” It is therefore not impossible that Michael would be confronting Satan and his demons if they try to thwart the Rapture. This could then trigger the war in heaven in Revelation 12. Matthew 25:41 also mentions that Satan and his angels were waging war.
Michael and the holy angels win the battle, and Satan and all of his hosts are casted out of heaven down to earth. Revelation 12:8 says, “No longer was any place found for them in heaven.” This is the end of the time of Satan as prince of the power of the air.
In Revelation 12:10 we read, “I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, `Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come for the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night.”
Periodically throughout the book of Revelation heaven there is praising because of what is happening. This time they are praising because Satan is thrown out. Michael and his holy angels in the power of God are triumphant. Satan can no longer accuse the redeemed before the throne of God because he no longer has access.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:11-12)
They do not only rejoice over what happened in heaven, but also over what is happening on earth. When Satan tries to destroy and slaughter all of the believers as well as the nation of Israel, he is defeated. They overcame Satan because of the blood of the Lamb. Their sins were covered and no accusation would stand against the suffering saints of the Great Tribulation or against any believer in any age.
Secondly, they were faithful and devoted to Christ even in a world engulfed by demons and cursed by God, and their testimony never wavered. This is the idea of an ongoing testimony.
The Tribulation saints did not love their life even to death. In Matthew 24:13 Jesus said that those that are enduring to the end will be saved.
Revelation 12:12 ends with a warning because Satan has come down with great wrath knowing that he has only a short time left to steal, kill and destroy.