Revelation 12

The Woman and the Dragon

In the previous chapters, the events of the Seven Trumpets, were shown to John, including the events of the Fourth Trumpet when the Beast (the antichrist) will Attack Jerusalem and kill the Two Witnesses. In this chapter, the events of the Fourth Trumpet are re-described through the characters of the woman, the dragon, and the Beast. Before describing these events, the identities of the woman and the dragon were revealed to John through the account of the birth of Christ, where we learn that the woman represents Israel and the dragon represents Satan.
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. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 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. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Rev. 12:1-6

In the above passages, Israel is depicted as the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. This is a symbolic description of Sara and Jacob (the sun and the moon), and their twelve sons who became the Twelve Tribes of Israel. As previously discussed, this same description of Israel is found in the Old Testament where the original family of Israel is also described as the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars.[1] The dragon who stands over the woman is a symbolic reference to Satan who incited king Herod to kill all the male infants in Bethlehem following the birth of Christ.[2] The son, who is snatched up to heaven, is an obvious reference to Christ who was resurrected following His crucifixion, and who will rule the nations with an iron scepter. 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 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 throughout the entire 3 ½ year period of the Great Tribulation that will follow the Attack on Jerusalem.

After giving the above account, the Revelation re-tells the events of the Attack on Jerusalem using the characters of the woman and the dragon whose identities we now know.

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… 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 (flee to the mountains), 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 (Satan)spewed water like a river (Gentile armies), 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.  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. 12:7-17

In this account of the Attack on Jerusalem, we read how Satan and his angels will be defeated in the War in Heaven and hurled to the earth. These are the same events that were shown to John in the sounding of the Second and Third Trumpets, which portrayed the defeat of Satan and his angels as the huge mountain that was hurled into the sea, and the great star that fell from the sky. Following the War in Heaven, Satan will entice the Beast (the antichrist) to lead an Attack on Jerusalem and to pursue the Fleeing Remnant, which is described as the serpent (Satan) sending a river (gentile army) to pursue the woman (Israel). When the armies of the serpent attempt to overtake the Fleeing Remnant, they will be destroyed when the earth opens its mouth and swallows the river, which is a description of how the earth will be split open and will swallow the pursing armies. After escaping from the chasing armies of the dragon, the Remnant that flees into the wilderness will be kept out of Satan’s reach for a time (1 year), times (2 years) and half a time (1/2 year), which equals 3 ½ years. During the 3 ½ years that the Fleeing Remnant will be kept hidden in the wilderness, Satan will wage a war against those who keep God’s command and hold fast their testimony about Jesus, which is another description of the Great Tribulation.

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. These same events were described by the prophet Zechariah who foretold how an earthquake would split the Mount of Olives in two in order to 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

In the account of the woman and the dragon, we see how the wrath of Satan will be poured out on God’s people after he suffers a series of defeats, beginning with the War in Heaven when Satan and his angels will be hurled to the earth. After being hurled to the earth, Satan will be filled with rage and will entice the Beast (the antichrist) to attack Jerusalem. When the Remnant escapes into the wilderness and the armies of the Beast are swallowed up by the earth, Satan will be filled with even more furry and will react by waging a war against those who keep God’s commands and hold fast to their testimony of Jesus in the events of the Great Tribulation. In this way, the Great Tribulation will come as a result of the Wrath of Satan whose angels will be defeated in the War in Heaven, and whose earthly armies will be destroyed when they pursue the Remnant of Israel into the wilderness.

Order of Events of the Last Days

1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge
(5th. Seal) – The 144,000 are sealed
     – 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)
3. The Great Tribulation – the full number of God’s people are killed
     – The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
     – The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm – the Battle of Armageddon (6th. Seal, 7th. Trumpet)
5. Silence in Heaven
– the defeat of God’s enemies (7th. Seal)
6. The Reign of Christ on Earth

[1] Gen. 37:1-11

[2] Rev. 12:9, Matt. 2:16

[3] Earlier, we stated that the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the Revelation, is a future event   and is not a description of the attack on Jerusalem that took place in 70 A.D. This is confirmed when we read that during the Attack on Jerusalem, the Fleeing Remnant will be saved by an earthquake that will split the Mount of Olives in two. None of the wars that have taken place in Israel since this prophecy, including the attack of 70 A.D., have included this event, which tells us that the Attack on Jerusalem has yet to occur.

Revelation Chapter 11
Revelation Chapter 13

Questions and comments may be sent to: