Revelation Chapter 12
Verse 1.. 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: Verse 2.. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. Verse 3.. 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.
Chapter 12 gives a summary of all things. We see the nation of Israel. The woman is found in Genesis as we read about the dream of Joseph. Genesis 37:9. So the nation of Israel being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. Then in verse 3, another wonder. A great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns reminiscent of the beast from chapter 13 waiting to devour the child (Jesus) as soon as it was born. Satan put forth his best effort to destroy the child. You remember how Herod was paranoid and felt that people were plotting and trying to take his throne. He heard that the king had been born. He asked the wise men to return and tell him all about the king so that he might go and worship him. When they didn't return he ordered all the baby boys in the Bethlehem area that were two years old and under to be killed.
Verse 4.. 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. Verse 5.. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.
So, the man child (Jesus), who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: was caught up to God and to his throne. This is where Jesus is right now. He is patiently waiting to take possession of that which he has redeemed.
Now we take a big leap into the future.
Verse 6.. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.
Verse 6 finds us right in the middle of the tribulation period. "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" or three and a half years. Remember what Jesus says to the Jews in Matthew 24:15-22. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. So Israel is to flee into the wilderness where she will be supernaturally protected by God for three and a half years during the second half of the tribulation period.
Verse 7.. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, Verse 8.. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. Verse 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. Verse 10.. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Verse 11.. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
At the same time that Israel receives God's supernatural protection, there is war in heaven. The great dragon is cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world. He is cast out into the earth, and his angels are cast out with him.
Verse 13.. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]. Verse 14.. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. So again we see that Israel is supernaturally protected. Time, times, and half a time is 3 1/2 years.
Verse 15.. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. Verse 16.. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. So the enemies of Israel pursue her but the earth opens up and takes them down. Remember how Israel was supernaturally delivered from her enemies during the exodus from Egypt?
Verse 17: And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So Satan is thwarted in his efforts to destroy Israel. But he does succeed in making war against those that have the testimony of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 13:7 we read that it is given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.