In the previous chapters, John was shown the events of the Seven Trumpets. In the next three chapters, the Revelation will provide more details concerning these same events beginning with a symbolic description of the Attack on Jerusalem, which was described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. Rev. 12:1
The symbolic account of the future Attack on Jerusalem begins with a picture of the nation of Israel, who is described as a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. This same description of Israel is found in the Old Testament where the original family of Israel is likewise described as the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars.
Then he (Joseph) had yet another dream, and informed his brothers of it, and said, “Behold, I have had yet another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” He also told it to his father (Jacob) as well as to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Am I and your mother and your brothers actually going to come to bow down to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Gen. 37:9-11
Next, we read that the woman cried out in pain as she labored in childbirth.
She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Rev. 12:2
The above passage gives a description of the travails that Israel experienced in the period leading up to the birth of the Messiah, which history tells us included a civil war and the subjugation of the nation to the Roman Empire. Having been given the above description of the woman, John next saw an enormous red dragon.
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Rev. 12:3
In order to understand the symbolism that is used to describe the enormous red dragon, we must search the Scriptures where we find that the dragon represents Satan, who is also called the devil.
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him Rev. 12:9
The seven heads of the dragon represent seven kings or seven kingdoms.
“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Rev. 17:9-10
The ten horns of the dragon are ten kings who will be given authority (crowns) along with the Beast.
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. Rev. 17:12-13
When put together, the above passages describe future events when Satan will empower ten nations that will be governed by seven kings as pictured by the seven crowns resting on their seven heads. These are the same ten nations that the Beast will lead in the Attack on Jerusalem when the Two Witnesses will be killed. We will read more about the ten nations and seven kings in later chapters.
After describing Satan in terms of a dragon, the narrative continues to use symbolism to describe how the dragon defeated a third of the angels in the heavens.
Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Rev. 12:4-5
In this account, we read how the dragon swept a third of the angels out of the sky in order to position himself in front of the woman so that he could devour the child (Jesus) the moment he was born. From the historical account, we know that the above is an explanation of how Satan gained control of the heavens over Israel in order to position himself to kill the Messiah. Satan’s victory in the heavenly war was followed by the conquering of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, in 63 B.C., by the Roman Empire, which was Satan’s instrument for killing the Messiah. Accordingly, we read in the Gospels how the Roman governor, Herod, ordered the killing of all males in Bethlehem that were aged two years or younger.
Having been given the above account of the past dealings of the dragon and the woman, the narrative makes use of the same symbolism to switch to the future Attack on Jerusalem when the Remnant from Israel will flee to the wilderness.
The woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Rev. 12:6
In this passage, the narrative switches from the birth of the Messiah to the future Attack on Jerusalem when the Remnant from Israel will flee to the wilderness where she will be taken care of for 1,260 days or 3 ½ years. As with the account of the birth of Christ, the future Attack on Jerusalem will be preceded by a war in heaven involving Michael and his angels versus the dragon and his angels.
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Rev. 12:7-9
Unlike the previous battle when the dragon was able to caste a third of the angels out of the sky, in this battle, Satan will be defeated and hurled to the earth as described earlier in the events of the Second and Third Trumpets.
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. Rev. 8:8-11
In these verses, the huge mountain all ablaze is a description of the kingdom of Satan consisting of his angels, and the great star falling from the sky is another description of how Satan will be hurled to the earth. The defeat of Satan will be announced by a voice in heaven who will proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God and the authority of the Messiah.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Rev. 12:10-12
In the following passages, the above events are repeated, with the added description of the earthquake that will occur when the dragon attempts to pursue the fleeing Remnant from Israel.
When the dragon (Satan) saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman (Israel) who had given birth to the male child (Jesus). The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ years), out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river (a gentile army) , to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth (an earthquake) and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Rev. 12:13-16
In this description of the Attack on Jerusalem, the woman (Israel) is described as fleeing into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, which is another account of how a Remnant from Israel will flee from Jerusalem in order to escape from the attack. When we read that the woman will be taken care of for 1,260 days (3 ½ years), it tells us that the Remnant that flees to the wilderness will be kept safe from the Dragon for 3 ½ years.
These same events are described in the following prophecy of Zechariah, who also wrote of the earthquake that will provide a way of escape for the Fleeing Remnant.
“A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.” Zech. 14:1-5
Anyone who is familiar with the Old Testament will recognize the similarities between these events and the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. In the Exodus, it was the armies of Pharaoh who pursued the escaping children of Israel and it was the sea that was divided and made a way of escape for the Israelites. Once Israel had passed through the sea, the waters swallowed up Pharaoh’s army. When the future Attack on Jerusalem takes place, Israel will once again be pursued by an army but this time, it will be the earth that is divided in an earthquake and that will swallow up the chasing armies of the Beast. Following these events, the Great Tribulation will begin.
Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
When the dragon is hurled to the earth and the Remnant from Israel escapes from his grasp, the devil will be filled with furry and he will go off to wage a war against those who keep God’s commands and hold fast to their testimony of Jesus, which is a description of the Great Tribulation that will follow the Attack on Jerusalem.
Order of Events of the Last Days
Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out (3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
The Great Tribulation
The Wrath of God is Poured Out (6th. Seal)
– The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
– The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
– The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm (7th. Trumpet)
Silence in Heaven (7th. Seal)
 Matt. 2:16
 None of the wars that have taken place in Israel have included an earthquake that split the Mount of Olives in two. From this, we know that the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the Revelation, is a future event.