The Woman and the Beast

17 Oct

Revelation 12 KJV

12:1-2 The Bible portrays the great controversy between Christ and Satan in terms of three characters: the Dragon, the Woman, and the Man Child. They are first introduced in Eden where the dragon won an initial engagement with the woman. Bitter conflict ensues between the serpent and the woman, between his seed, and her seed. Ultimate victory comes through a single Seed of the woman, who crushes the serpent’s head, at the same time suffering a deadly bite to the heel. Genesis 3:15. Chapter 12 of Revelation portrays the whole sweet of the drama from its origin in heaven, to Satan’s attack on Jesus, through the persecutions of the Dark Ages, until the final conflict at the time of the end.

Throughout the Bible a pure “woman” is a symbol of God’s true church while a harlot represents a corrupt church. Hosea 1:2; Ezekiel 16; 2 Corinthians 11:2.


She is said to be “clothed with the sun,” the glory of the gospel of Christ, and have “the moon under her feet,” the reflected glory of Christ as foreshadowed in the Old Testament sanctuary services and rituals. John 8:12; Colossians 2:11-17. The “crown of twelve stars” represents the twelve apostles. The woman who gives birth to Messiah represents the true church through its entire history—from Adam and the Jewish nation to the Christian Church.


12:3-6 The “great red dragon” is identified in verse 9 as Satan. However, he routinely uses others to persecute, deceive and destroy. Genesis 3:1-13. The “seven heads of ten horns and seven crowns” represents the nations or governments which Satan has used to persecute God’s people. See also Daniel 7:7; Revelation 13:1-5; 17:3, 7-12. In verse 4 we see an attempt to destroy Jesus at His birth, and can identify Pagan Rome in the person of King Herod as the agency Satan is working through. Matthew 2:13-18. In verse 6 the dragon forces the woman to flee into the wilderness for 1,260 years, the time when Papal Rome is in power persecuting God’s faithful church. Even though he uses others as his agents, the dragon is Satan.

The dragon casts a “third part of the stars to heaven…to the earth.” This represents the angels who joined Lucifer in his rebellion, and were cast out of Heaven with him. Revelation 12:7-9.

To “rule all nations with a rod of iron” references Psalm 2:9. This means that Christ will be victorious over His enemies. After His resurrection He was “caught up unto God.”

12:7-9 Here we are brought back in time to the very beginning of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan when Lucifer, the foremost angel in Heaven, fostered rebellion and was expelled. Now he fights against Christ by attacking His people, His truth and His character. 1 Peter 5:8.

It is said that Satan “deceiveth the whole world.” Satan has effectively substituted truth with lies on many points including: the character of God, creation, His law, the Sabbath, the state of the dead and the way of salvation, to name just a few. Huge numbers of people, including many Christians, have been deceived into believing and supporting these lies. The only way to keep from being deceived is to have a firm grounding in Bible truth and a solid relationship with Jesus. The popularity and widespread acceptance of a doctrine does not mean that it is true.


12:10-12 The event of the death, resurrection, and enthronement of Jesus constitutes the decisive battle of the great controversy. It was at the cross that Satan was defeated (John 12:31-32; Luke 10:17-19). The proclamation goes forth: “Now the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down.”

Satan is the “accuser of the brethren.” Zechariah 3:1. He presents to us and to God every sin, mistake and character flaw as a reason that we should belong to him as his rightful prey, but “the blood of the lamb” “cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7. His “blood,” His strength and righteousness and sacrifice, joined to the “word of their testimony,” is powerful to overcome Satan. Our personal knowledge and love of Jesus binds us to Christ and His saving power. Our advocate says to Satan, “The Lord rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” Zechariah 3:2.

Christ’s faithful people “loved not their lives unto the death.” They would rather die than dishonor Him. They love Jesus more than the trivial pleasures to be gleaned from a few decades of mortal existence. With Jesus as their Shepherd they do not fear the devil’s “great wrath.”


12:13-17 All heaven rejoices over the great victory. But the dragon now vents his wrath on his remaining earthly target, the woman. Whenever Christians remain true to Christ and will not be turned or compromise their beliefs, Satan’s anger is aroused and he excited persecution against them. The church was forced to flee to the uninhabited “wilderness: for “a time, and times, and a half a time,” the 1,260 year period of Papal domination. Millions of Christians were martyred during this time because they chose to obey the Bible instead of the decrees of Popes and church councils. The mountains of Europe and the wilds of Africa and Asia became their refuge, and the new land of America seemed divinely ordained as a stronghold of religious freedom.

At the end of time, shortly before Christ returns, the dragon will inspire his agents to make “war” on the “remnant,” those who have remained true and not apostasized. This remnant is said to “keep the commandments of God.”  They are not trying to earn their way to heaven, but they keep them because they love their Creator and Savior. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. The Holy Spirit living in them brings them into harmony with God’s law and with His character. As Jesus says through His prophet, “’I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.’” Psalm 40:8.

Jesus gives His “testimony” through His prophets. In the end of times the gift of prophecy will still be active in the remnant church. Acts 2:17; Revelation 19:10; 22:9.


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