Revelation 12

Up to this point in the Revelation, John has recorded what he saw and heard in the events of the opening of the Seven Seals and the sounding of the Seven Trumpets. In the previous chapter, and continuing in this chapter, John will be given more details concerning the Attack on Jerusalem, which was first shown to John in the events of the Fourth Trumpet. The fact that the Revelation spends several chapters on this one event, alone, speaks to the major role that the Attack on Jerusalem will play in the Order of Events of the Last Days and the importance of the holy city. In this account of the attack, the Revelation begins with a description of Israel.

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

In this verse, Israel is portrayed as the woman, who is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. This same description 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

The above description of Israel from the pages of the Old Testament forms the context for how we are to interpret the passage in the Revelation where the same symbolism is used. This also true of the following verse, which we previously read in Chapter 8, and that make use of the same descriptive language to describe how a third of the people will be killed during the Attack on Jerusalem.

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. Rev. 8:12

Based on the previous Scriptures, we can say that when we read that a third of the sun, moon, and stars will be struck, it is a description of how a third of Israel will be killed during the Attack on Jerusalem. During the attack, smoke from the burning fires will cover up the literal stars in the sky so that a third of the day and third of the night will be without light.

After describing Israel as the woman, the birth of Christ is described terms of the woman being pregnant and about to give birth.

She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Rev. 12:2


The above passage is a description of the events that took place in Israel just before the birth of the Messiah, which included the subjugation of the nation of Israel to the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. This event was particularly painful to the people of Israel, as they had recently won their independence from the much larger Greek empire, which had imposed its culture on the Jews by force and desecrated their Temple. After gaining their freedom from the Greeks, Israel enjoyed a period of relative independence, which was interrupted when a civil war broke out over the selection of the high priest that pitted two waring groups against each other. When one of the sides was defeated and effectively expelled from the city, they misguidedly appealed for help from Rome and the nearby Roman armies that were led by general Pompey, who promptly invaded Jerusalem on their behalf and incorporated Judea as a client kingdom of the Roman Republic. Thus, Israel found herself subjugated to the Roman Empire in the period leading up to the birth of Christ.

Although the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans could be credited solely to human events, in the following passages, we will read of the heavenly events that were the actual cause of Israel’s pains beginning with the description of 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 identify who the dragon represents, we must skip further down in this chapter where we find that the dragon is 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 introduction of the dragon, (Satan) into the account of the woman who was in pain, brings us to the topic of the relationship between the events that take place in the spiritual realm and those that take place on earth. In this regard, we have already read of the Four Angels who will given the power to harm the land, the sea, and the trees as described in the events of the First Three Trumpets. In that case, we read how the Two Witnesses will call down the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees but that it will be the Four Angels who will actually cause the plagues to occur. This also brings up the point that their exists between the Heaven of God’s Throne and the skies above the earth, a heavenly realm, which is the domain of the angels, where they conduct wars and oversee events on earth. With these facts in mind, we are ready to continue the interpretation of the dragon with the seven heads, and the ten horns and seven crowns resting on each head. To begin with, we find in the Revelation that the the seven heads of the dragon represent seven hills or kings.

“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

As first explained in Chapter 8, rocks, stones, boulders, and mountains are often used in the Scriptures to describe kings and the scope of their kingdoms. In this case, when the seven heads are said to represent seven hills, it tells us that the seven heads represent seven kingdoms or nations that will be governed by seven kings.

In addition, we read that the ten horns of the dragon represent 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

In this passage we learn that the Beast will be accompanied by ten kings who will be given authority along with the Beast. As we read in the previous chapter, the Beast is a future ruler, better known as the antichrist, who will come up from the Abyss and will kill the Two Witnesses during the Attack on Jerusalem. Accordingly, the ten kings who will be given authority along with the Beast, are the ten nations that will be led by the Beast and that will conquer Jerusalem as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.

From the above interpretation, we are left with the conclusion that the Beast will lead seven kings or kingdoms (heads or hills), which in turn will be governed by ten kings (horns), but that only seven of the ten kings will have authority (crowns) over their nations. This strange fact is further explained by the prophet Daniel, who also spoke of the ten nations that will be governed by seven kings.

The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. Dan. 7:24-25

From Daniel, we again learn that the ten horns, spoken of in the Revelation, represent ten kings. In addition, Daniel tells us that from among the ten kings, another king will arise who will speak against the Most High and will oppress his holy people, which is a description of the future antichrist, or Beast. Daniel further explains how this king will subdue three kings, and bring them under his rule, which explains why, in the Revelation, we read that the ten heads (nations) empowered will have only seven horns (kings) with seven crowns. In other words, although their will originally be ten kings over ten nations that will follow the Beast, at some point in their history, the Beast will subdue three of the ten kings, and will become the de facto ruler over their nations. Thus, there will be ten nations but only seven kings, as the Beast will direct his own nation, as well as three other countries that will come under his dominion. Having been given the above description of the dragon, we are next told of the war that will take place in the heavens when a third of the stars (angels) will be swept out of the sky before the woman (Israel) is able to give birth.

Its (the dragon’s) 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

From these passages we are given an account of the heavenly warfare that took place prior to the birth of the Messiah, which is described as the dragon sweeping a third of the angels out of the sky. When we read that a third of the angels will be swept by the dragons tail, we are being told that a third of the angles will be defeated. As a result of this war in the middle heaven, the dragon (Satan) is next described as standing in front of the woman so that he could devour the child (Jesus) the moment he was born. This takes us back to the events we just described concerning the general Pompey who conquered Israel and the city of Jerusalem, in 63 B.C. From the above description of the dragon we come to understand that by defeating a third of the angels in Heaven, Satan was able to control events on earth, namely the events leading up to the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans. In this way, Rome was in position to serve as Satan’s intended instrument for killing the Messiah, which is described as the dragon standing over the woman who was about to give birth. 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.[1]

Having been given the above account of the past dealings of the dragon and the woman, the narrative makes use of these same symbolic descriptions to describe the future Attack on Jerusalem when the dragon will once again attack the city.

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 attack on the city that took place prior to 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.[2] 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.
Rev. 12:17


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

1. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
2. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
3. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
4. The Hour of Trial when the Inhabitants of the Earth will be Tested
– A third of the earth is burned up (1st. Trumpet)
– A third of the sea turns to blood (2nd. Trumpet)
– A third of the waters turn bitter (3rd Trumpet)
5. The Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
6. The Great Tribulation when the Full Number of Brothers and Sisters will be Killed
7. 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 1,000 Year Reign of Christ on Earth (7th. Trumpet)
8. The Silence in Heaven (7th. Seal)

 Footnotes:

[1] Matt. 2:16

[2] 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.

Revelation Chapter 11
Revelation Chapter 13

Questions and comments may be sent to: RevelationStudyGuide@gmail.com
Bryan Coray is the author of Keep Watch: The Order of Events of the Last Days, available on Amazon.