© 2011, 2012 Craig C. White
Revelation chapter 12 verse by verse
The fall of Satan, the rise of the Antichrist, the rejoicing of the Church in heaven, the persecution of Israel, and the escape of Jewish Christians
By Craig C. White
Euphoria or Grief, which would you prefer? Every person chooses between the two. In Revelation chapter 12 God throws Satan out of heaven. That event divides salvation, and rejoicing in heaven from wrath, and grief on earth. This passage covers the events leading up to Satan’s fall. It may seem cryptic at first but with a little understanding we can decipher it. This chapter is not about Church age believers but it is about the nation of Israel. It is particularly about the Jews living in Jerusalem and the surrounding region of Judea during their great tribulation.
Revelation 12:1 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:
Israel is pictured here. The LORD is her light (Isa 60:19-20); she is crowned with twelve sons, the tribes of Israel.
Remember Joseph’s dream? The twelve stars are the twelve sons of Jacob whom God named Israel. There are only eleven stars in Joseph’s dream because Joseph himself is the twelfth star (or son).
Gen 37:9-10 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
Revelation 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
The child is Jesus Christ; God in human flesh; the child given to the world by way of Israel (Isa 7:14). Jesus was born at his due time; Christ also died in due time (Rom 5:6).
Revelation 12:3 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.
The dragon is Satan; the god of this world. The seven heads are the seven gentile world empires of world history; Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, Roman, plus the final gentile world empire yet to come. Ten horns are ten kings that rule that final world empire (Dan 7:24). Satan is the influence behind world empires. He wants to be worshiped as the god of this world (Isa 14:12-14).
Revelation 12:4a And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth:
One third of the angels in heaven follow Satan. He will throw them to the earth with him. The following verses refer to Antiochus Epiphanies the king of the Seleucid dynasty of the Grecian Empire. It may also more directly apply to the Antichrist and Satan at the time of the devil’s fall.
Dan 8:9-11 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
Revelation 12:4b and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Satan influenced Herod, the king of Judea to kill all male children around Bethlehem that were less than two years of age in order to eliminate the messiah (Mat 2:16).
Revelation 12:5 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.
Jesus was born through the nation of Israel. His destiny is to rule all the earth from Jerusalem forever (Isa 9:6-7). After Christ’s resurrection he was taken up to heaven to sit at the right hand of God until his return (Mar 16:19).
Revelation 12:6 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.
During the second half of the seven year long Tribulation period (called Jerusalem’s great tribulation in Matthew 24:21) the people of Judea (which is the region around Jerusalem) will flee to the mountains where God will sustain them for three and a half years (Mat 24:15-16, Luke 21:21-22). I think that this place is on the east side of the Jordan River near Jericho and Mt. Nebo, where Israel entered the land after the exodus. It is also the place where ravens fed Elijah as he hid (1Ki 17:3).
Revelation 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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.
There will be a war in heaven and Satan and his angels (devils) will be thrown out. This war may be going on right now. We will know officially that the war in heaven is over and that Satan has been cast to the earth when we see the Antichrist sitting in the temple in Jerusalem (2Thes 2:4). But allow me to warn you that Satan’s fall may be apparent well before the Antichrist sits in the temple. Luke chapter 10:18 says, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Satan is tossed out of heaven and then gives the Antichrist influence on earth.
Revelation 12:10 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.
The casting out of Satan marks the beginning of God’s great judgment of the rebellious. It marks the beginning of God’s final dominion on earth. Only the seven year tribulation period precedes the day that Jesus Christ takes his thrown in Jerusalem. Today Satan accuses believers of sin in front of God in heaven. Soon Satan will be cast out of heaven for good. According to 2 Thessalonians 2 Satan is cast out of heaven before the Antichrist is revealed as he sits in the temple. Satan empowers the Antichrist on earth. Satan’s removal from heaven is called “the falling away”.
Revelation 12:11 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 this point in Revelation chapter 12 Satan has just been cast out of heaven. He can no longer stand before God to accuse Christians of disobedience. Folks, I think that the previous verse refers to Church age believers that have been taken up into heaven at the Rapture. So the Rapture occurs either before or at the time that Satan falls from heaven. In the next verse the inhabitants of heaven rejoice when Satan is cast out of heaven. I think that the Church age believers in Jesus Christ are in heaven when Satan is cast out. The only way that a person can be with God in heaven is to trust in Jesus Christ’s blood sacrifice as payment for their sins (John 1:29).
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
The Church will rejoice in heaven while people on earth will be subject to the wrath of Satan and the judgment of God during the seven year long Tribulation period (Mat 24:21).
Revelation 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
After Satan is cast out of heaven, Satan and the Antichrist will persecute the nation of Israel. This is known as the seven year long Tribulation period. In the middle of this seven year period the Antichrist will launch a surprise attack on Jerusalem and Judea. The second half of the Tribulation period is called Jerusalem’s great tribulation in Matthew 24:21. Jerusalem will suffer greater anguish than they ever have at any time throughout history. Jerusalem’s great tribulation is also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7.
Revelation 12:14 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.
The term “wings of a great eagle” probably has nothing to do with the United States. It means that God is helping the Jews to escape. God carried the Jews on eagles wings when they escaped Egypt (Exodus 19:4).
Jesus warned the people of Judea to keep watch for the Antichrist as he comes to attack Jerusalem. When they see him coming they are to flee to the mountains to the east of Jerusalem. Isaiah 16:3-5 says that the Jews who flee Judea will take refuge in the province of Moab in Jordan. Today there is a significant refugee camp in the town of Kerak, Jordan. Kerak is in the Moab province of Jordan. Perhaps the Jews who flee Judea will live in refugee camps in Kerak. These Judean refugees will be cared for for three and one half years.
Mat 24:15-16 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:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Luke 21:20-22 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Jesus may have been referring to the same warning that Jeremiah gave in the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 6:1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.
OK now let’s think about what has happened so far. Satan has fallen from heaven to the earth. Christians have been taken up into safety in heaven while Satan and the Antichrist cause a lot of trouble on earth. The Antichrist has suddenly attacked Jerusalem and Judea, but some of the Jews have escaped to Jordan.
Some of the Jews have fled to the mountains! That means that some of the Jews have believed Jesus Christ’s warning! That means that there are believing Jews in Israel after the Rapture of the Church and during the Tribulation period.
Revelation 12:15 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. 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.
I think that the verse above is describing the army of the Antichrist as they pursue the fleeing Jews. The armies are somehow stopped by the earth. Perhaps by an earthquake or an opening fault line. God drowned Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea when Israel escaped Egypt. Perhaps God will drown the Antichrist’s army in the Jordan River.
Revelation 12:17 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.
I’m not exactly sure who this verse refers to but this verse is probably not referring to Church age Christians. Instead it could be referring to the Jewish refugees that have fled away from southern Israel in order to escape the Antichrist’s invading army. These refugees will live in Jordan for three and one half years but at the end of that time several nations will attack them (Psalm 83). These Jewish refugees have believed the warning that Jesus gave them in the New Testament. They have fled into the wilderness. On the other hand Revelation 12:17 may refer to Jewish believers who have believed in Jesus but who haven’t escaped out of the land of Israel.
By the way Psalm 83 is the plea of the Judean refugees for God’s help. After living in Jordan for three and one half years their enemies are about to attack them again.