“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: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Revelation 12:1, 2
Here we see a pure woman, which is a symbol of God’s true people. She is ‘clothed with the sun’; she has on Christ’s robe of righteousness. The ‘moon is under her feet’; she is standing on the promises of the Old Testament, which reflect the light of Jesus. ‘Upon her head a crown of twelve stars’; the twelve apostles of the New Testament.
She was expecting a baby. Down through the ages, the true people of God looked for the coming of Jesus, and longed for this to happen. He was the ‘Desire of Ages’; the ‘Desire of Women’. Old Testament mothers longed to be the one chosen to bear the Messiah.
“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. 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.” Revelation 12:3, 4
Here is an interesting symbol showing that Satan took one third of the angels of heaven, and cast them down with himself, when he fell into sin. It shows us that Satan was just waiting for Jesus to come to earth, so he could try and devour Him.
“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.” Revelation 12:5
We can be so glad that the old dragon, Satan, was not able to eat up Jesus. Jesus defeated Satan, and now shares the throne of the universe. The Dragon also is a symbol of the power of Rome, which Satan worked through to try and kill Jesus, even when He was just a baby. This chapter goes back and forth between what the Pure Woman is doing, and what the Cruel Dragon is doing.
1260 DAY/ YEARS
“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.” Revelation 12:6
Here again we see the 1260 year prophecy. This is so important for us to understand, that Jesus repeated it in the prophecies of Daniel and John, seven different times. This is the terrible time that millions of true believers died for their faith during the Dark Ages of Rome’s persecution. When Satan worked through the power of Rome, it is also called the ‘dragon’ and the ‘serpent’.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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.” Revelation 12:7-9.
These verses take us back to the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven, and tell how he was cast out by ‘Michael’, [meaning ‘Who is like God?’] and the scriptures indicate that this is Jesus, when shown in His conflicts with Satan. It also tells us what happened, after Satan had done all he could to hurt and attack Jesus, when He was here on earth, and how he actually got the wicked church leaders, to use the dragon power of Rome to kill Him.
The loyal angels were amazed when they saw the terrible cruelty of Satan in how he treated Jesus. He was proven to be wicked in their eyes forever more. Never again would any of them believe Satan’s lies about God. They had seen what Satan’s ideas really were made of.
“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. 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.” Revelation 12:10, 11
These are further thoughts about the final victory of Jesus over Satan. Did you know that when you, or anybody that claims to be a Christian, does selfish, sinful deeds, Satan accuses them to the holy angels and to Jesus? Yes, he says things like: “See there is John or Sue, and they claim to belong to You, and just look how they act. It didn’t do You any good to die for them. They are selfish and sinful and should be destroyed.”
But over in Zechariah 3, we see a story of what Jesus does for His faithful, repenting people. He washes away their past sins with His blood, and He gives them His own clean robe of righteousness. He tells Satan, “I died for Sue and John. I paid with My blood for the sins they did. They are sorry for their sins and have chosen to let Me take those sins away out of their lives, and to be like Me.”
That is how the redeemed overcome Satan, ‘by the blood of the Lamb’. The word of their testimony means they are not ashamed to talk about what Jesus has done for them, and they stand true to His Word.
’They loved not their lives unto the death’. ‘The Death’, here means a martyr’s death. This means that though these people liked to live as much as any of us do, they would not deny Jesus to save their lives. When the judges and church leaders yelled at them, ‘Will you stop believing in the Bible and obey us?’ They said; “No, we will be faithful to the Bible”.
Jesus’ power is what can overcome sin in our lives and His power gives us the courage to stand for the truth; even to ‘the Death’.
“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. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” Revelation 12:12, 13.
We truly live in the days when the ‘devil has great wrath’, because he knows that his time is getting shorter every day. His only delight is in cruelty, and seeking to deceive and persecute anyone who truly belongs to Jesus, and seeks to keep His commandments.
“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. 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. 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.” Revelation 12:14-16
Here we see more details, and another of the 1260 year prophecies. It shows how the True Church had to hide in the wilderness, while the false power ruled the world from Rome. The ‘serpent’, this wicked power, cast out water like a flood to destroy the woman. Time after time huge armies were sent to attack the true believers where they hid in the little-known places of the world, in mountains, and wilderness areas. The ‘floods’ that came out of the serpent’s ‘mouth’ also refer to laws and decrees, poured out from the Roman powers against these true Bible believers.
This is how the ‘earth helped’ her by swallowing up the floods of water; it meant that the wilderness areas allowed at least some of the true people of God to manage to survive the persecution. Also it refers to the opening up of the mostly unpopulated Americas at that time, where many persecuted people were able to flee away from the Roman power, and be safe to practice their true Bible faith. How thrilling to see all this history written down before any of it had happened.
“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.” Revelation 12:17
Ever since Satan failed to get Jesus to disobey God’s laws when He was on this earth, he has been shown to be a liar and a murderer. All of heaven and the unfallen worlds are fully convinced that his charges against God’s government are false. They are not fooled by him any more.
But the battle is still going on here; because humans are still fooled by Satan’s lies, and most of them still want to follow him, and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Satan has ‘great wrath’, because he knows his days are numbered by the same Holy Power that said to Belshazzar, ‘thou art numbered and found wanting’.
Even so, he wants to destroy as many people as he possibly can. Why doesn’t he just quit? Well, for one thing, he can’t; his own sinful, selfish heart drives him on and on in wickedness and cruelty. His hatred of Jesus and God’s Law, also causes him to seek to hurt the dear Savior by getting people to reject the Plan of Salvation provided for them at such cost. He has ‘great wrath’ against everybody in the world, but especially against a certain group, he is ‘wroth’ super-mad. Who are they?
They are the ‘remnant’ of the pure woman’s seed; ‘Those who keep the Commandments and have the Faith of Jesus’. Down through the ages there have always been at least a small group, somewhere, of true and faithful ones clinging to precious truth from the pure Word of God; clinging to the precious Law of God; clinging to their dear Savior’s promises; trusting in the power of His Blood for victory over every sin. Led by the Holy ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ on and on they have come down the bloodstained path of history.
Paul describes them; “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:37-40
In the last days the ‘remnant’; the last tattered remains of these faithful ones; will stand against the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. They will be like those who went before them. They will cling to the inspired Word of God. They will trust in the promises and Blood of Jesus. They will stand for truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it costs their lives. And they will win by the Blood of the Lamb!
“They are coming this way.” he said,—the angel who kept the gate,—
“They enter the city here. Would you see their cohorts? Wait.
Within is a great feast spread, and the air with music stirs;
For the King himself shall sit this day with the banqueters.”
The heroes of earth. For these, in their march up the aisles of palm,
I would wait: from within came forth the surge of a swelling psalm.
At thought of the nearing hosts, I shrank in awesome dread—
Chief captains and mighty men, who should pass with their martial tread.
Then, slowly, out of the mists up the way whence I looked to see,
With glory along their crests, and light on their panoply,
The warriors, splendor-shod, with whose names Time’s annals ring –
Came a bank of pilgrims; worn as from years of journeying.
Slowly, with halting steps, they come; their unsandaled feet–
Are bruised by jagged stones, are scorched by the desert’s heat;
Their faces are white, and lined with vigil and patient pain;
Their forms are beaten and marred by the storm and the hurricane;
But the stronger uphold the week—and their leader upholds a cross.
Impatient, I look away down the slopes where the palm plumes toss;
Impatient, I turn to him, the angel who keeps the gate,—
“But the heroes? Where are they, for whom you bade me wait?”
For answer, the gate swings wide, and dawn streams out on the night;
And that way-worn band pass through, their raiment white as the light.
For answer, I hear a voice from the heart of the halos say,
While the veiled angel bows: “Earth’s heroes? These are they.”
Emma Herrick Weed.