Revelation 12 is Prophecy. All prophecy is written to and is about Israel – the people, the nation, and the land of God – the “apple of His eye,” Zechariah 2:7-8. As you read, notice the rich Hebraic nature of Revelation and the other apocalyptic books (Joel, Daniel, Zechariah, etc.). All Scripture is for us so that we can study and draw close to God. But most Scripture outside of Paul’s epistles is to Israel, not to or about Church Age believers.
In apocalyptic literature the central theme of the vision is crucial, but the literalness of the presentation, the details and the images are dramatic, symbolic, fictional (see SPECIAL TOPIC: APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE). It is our curiosity and western thinking that motivates our detailed, logical, doctrinal formulations of these symbolic texts. Be careful of pushing the details; apocalyptic literature is often true theology presented in an imaginative framework. It is true, but symbolically presented!
Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International
We study the Word so that we can gain an intimate knowledge, and intimate understand of our God. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV),“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And in 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) he assures us,“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
There are over nine hundred illusions to and direct quotations from the Old Testament in Revelation. Yet, suddenly, when we come to this book modern-day expositors toss all the rich Hebraic and historic biblical symbolism right “out the window.” For example, in this chapter’s very first verse many make the woman to be the Church and the twelve stars the apostles.
- Revelation 12:1 (KJV) “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:”
Understanding symbolism is critical for proper understanding of God’s Word. Faithful an idolatrous religious systems are often portrayed as a woman (Isaiah 54:1; Revelation 17:1; 19:7). In this verse the woman is symbolic of Israel, who gave birth to Jesus Christ her messiah and king. The “sun” is Jacob, the progenitor of Israel. The “moon,” Jacob’s wife. The twelve stars are the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel.
- Genesis 37:9-10 (KJV) “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”
Often in Scripture (observing CONTEXT) these symbols represent religious and civil polity. Prophetically speaking, heaven is the realm of governance (secular or religious); the sun is the symbol of the highest authority; the moon, who has not its own light, is symbolic of derived or lesser authority; the stars are symbolic of subordinate authority. These symbols are consistent throughout Scripture.
NOTE: In the introduction to the 1611 King James Bible Queen Elizabeth is referred to as the “bright Occidental Star” and King James as, “Your Majesty, as of the Sun in its strength . . .”
- Revelation 12:2 (KJV) “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”
The nation of Israel was in tremendous trials (travail) under Roman authority when Israel gave birth to her Messiah, Jesus Christ.
- Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
In verse 3 the “great red dragon” is introduced”
- Revelation 12:3 (KJV) “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”
- Revelation 13:1 (KJV) “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
This is the same beast from Isaiah 27:1, Daniel 7, and Revelation 13:3; 17:3, 7, 12, 16. It represents Satan’s religious and secular power as this devil works his evil upon the earth through the agency of mankind. In verse 9 the dragon is identified as Satan himself.
Our focus here is the first part of verse 4 and verses 7-9. Who did the dragon’s tail cast to the earth? Was it a third of the angels as we are taught? Or is their another, more reasonable explanation”
- And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth . . . and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4 KJV)
As always, what is the CONTEXT? This chapter is NOT referring back to before Genesis when God created the earth and life upon it. It is NOT discussing when Satan fell and his legions with him. Revelation 12 is concerning the nation of Israel under Roman rule, the birth of Messiah, and the dispersion of the nation until Christ’s second advent. With that context in mind, then who are the third of the stars swept to the earth? They must be religious and secular entities in Israel at its fall – stars in their heaven. Observe the symbolism! Otherwise, Verses 7 – 9 make no sense. Did Satan cast out the fallen angels or did Michael? And here, in these verses, the dragon’s forces are called angels, NOT stars.
- 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9 KJV)
The dragon’s tail is his power. It swept across the political and religious heaven like a leviathan to destroy the princes and peoples of Israel. By force of his earthly armies, he threw down one-third of the potentates, princes, and authorities under his domain. As is evident from verse 1, stars represent princes, especially those of Israel – these stars are NOT “fallen angels” as so commonly taught today.
The basis of the misunderstanding of stars for angels is Revelation 1:20,
- “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”?
Expositors of chapter 12 immediately refer back to this verse as proof text that stars are angels. However, as the Strong’s Greek Dictionary states, angel: a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication, a pastor. In Revelation 1:20 John is told to write a book and send it to the seven Churches. In the forward to each of the seven letters, John is told to write to the angel of each church. Doesn’t it make sense that John is writing to the pastor or bishop of each church and not to angels?
“It could be that every local church has a “guardian angel” who oversees and protects that congregation. Even if that is the case, a better interpretation of the “messengers” of Revelation 1 is that they are the pastors or bishops of the seven churches, symbolized by the lampstands. A pastor is God’s “messenger” to the church in that he is responsible to faithfully preach God’s Word to them.” GotQuestins
How frightening it must have been for Satan when Mary conceived and gave birth to the Son of God.
- Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Standing by to devour her child (Revelation 12:4) and thus the Christ, he had king Herod send troops to Bethlehem and murder all the male children under the age of two (Matthew 2:16). How discriminate do you think they were in judging the age and sex of then children?
Prophetically, heaven or the heavens is the realm of political and religious governance; The sun is the ultimate authority, the emperor-pope-antichrist. The moon is subordinate authority reigning over the stars-the princes of the earth, be they secular or religious. And angels? Consider the Context!
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!
Hell – Abyss – Hadies
Hell – Tartaroo
Why a virgin birth? Obviously, Jesus is the Son of God Himself. Jesus cannot receive the throne through his mother’s line but can trace His heritage as a son of David back through her. He can receive the scepter through His stepfather’s line but Joseph himself cannot due to sin and a curse on his line by God in Jeremiah 22:30. God removed the curse by adoption. Jesus, son of Joseph, is free from the curse and can rise to receive the scepter. This is also why Joseph had to die before Jesus; so that Jesus could be the rightful heir to the throne of His father David, “Hosanna in the Highest!”