WEB (Revelation 12:1-4) 1 A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was with child. She cried out in pain, laboring to give birth. 3 Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns. 4 His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
This woman is clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and has a crown of 12 stars. The number 12 occurs more frequently in Scripture as an organizational form that is complete, as the 12 tribes of God’s covenant people and the 12 apostles of Jesus.
Clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of stars has the meaning of continuous illumination. This light has the meaning of the support of God and the Lamb:
WEB (Revelation 21:23) 23 The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
This woman represents the Jerusalem above, the heavenly Jerusalem, the heavenly mother:
WEB (Galatians 4:21-26) 21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. 23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
WEB (Hebrews 12:22-24) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels,…
The heavenly Jerusalem turns out to be a heavenly city and includes an organization of angels with their tasks.
Some tasks of angels:
The transfer of the law of Moses (Acts 7:53) (Galatians 3:19)
An angel defeated the army of the Assyrians, one hundred eighty-five thousand men (2 Kings 19:35)
Angels protect us (Psalm 34:7) (Psalm 91:11-12)
Angels provide an escape from prison (Acts 5:19-20)
An angel strengthened Jesus (Luke 22:42-43)
Angels bring messages, as to Zacharias (Luke 1:5-20), to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25), to Mary Magdalene (Luke 24:4,5)
Angels make war (Revelation 12:7)
Angels have a leader, an archangel (Jude 9)
Angels can function as monarchs (Daniel 10:13,20-21)
Angels accompany Jesus at his second coming (Matthew 16:27) (Matthew 25:31) (Matthew 24:31)
Not all angels are loyal to the woman, the heavenly Jerusalem.
There is an angel with supporters who rather opposes the woman.
This angel is in Rev. 12:3 depicted as a fiery colored dragon, who wants to destroy the newborn child. Rev.12:9 shows, that this “fiery colored dragon” is Satan.
The heavenly woman is pregnant and has birth pangs. In the scriptures we can read in Isaiah 26:17-21, that birth pangs are the beginning of radical events:
WEB (Isaiah 26:17-19) 17 Like as a woman with child, who draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before you, Yahweh. 18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not worked any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead.
The heavenly woman underwent such birth pangs when the birth of the ‘symbolic’ child presented itself:
WEB (Revelation 12:5-9) 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days. 7 There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. 8 They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
The dragon, Satan, is after losing the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7,8) thrown down to the earth, together with his angels.
According to Revelation 12:5, the male child is ‘caught up to God and to his throne’. The child is fully protected by God, who takes care.
The war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and overcame him:
WEB (Revelation 12:7-10) 7 There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. 8 They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
The name Michael means: Who is like God.
In the Scriptures, Michael is the only angel who is called an archangel:
WEB (Jude 1:9) 9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!”
In Daniel, Michael is named one of the chief princes:
WEB (Daniel 10:13,21) 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but, behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me: and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
21 But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none who holds with me against these, but Michael your prince.”
Whether there are other archangels in heaven, Scripture does not say, but the description “one of the chief princes” suggests this may be the case. (Vine’s Dictionary)
Some believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael, but according to Ephesians 1:20-21, Jesus was raised above all princes, including heavenly princes:
KJV (Ephesians 1:20-21) 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word ‘principality’ in Ephesians 1:21 is a translation of ‘arche’, which is the prefix of archangel:
… cp. Also Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16, where the word translated “principalities” is arche, the prefix archangel. “* [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp.. 142.]…..
That Jesus shouts with a voice like an archangel is no conclusive evidence that Jesus is the archangel Michael:
WEB (1 Thessalonians 4:16) 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first,
This proof is also not provided by the fact, that they both perform a war. In both Revelation 12:7, where is written that Michael and his angels are fighting, as in Revelation 19:11-14, where is written that ‘the one on the white horse’ is in war and his name is ‘The Word of God’, so Jesus (See John 1:1). Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan), but Jesus on the white horse performs a war in justice, a judgment against the kings of the earth and their armies. (Revelation 19:11,19)
Revelation 12:10 speaks of the blessing / salvation of our God, the power of our God, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority or power of his Christ:
WEB (Revelation 12:10-11) 10 I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 They overcame him because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.
This verse is thus about the salvation of men, the first fruits as first, the powerful intervention of God and the beginning of God’s kingdom with Jesus as King. Because Satan is thrown down to the earth, the promised kingdom can finally start functioning. The 144,000 saints overcome Satan by unconditional faith in the blood of the Lamb, by believing that this blood was also shed for them and by the continued testimony about Jesus under life-threatening conditions.
This ‘symbolic’ newborn child can be nothing else as the newborn New Jerusalem, the heavenly city whose foundation stones are the apostles and Jesus the chief corner stone. (Ephesians 2:19-20) (1 Peter 2:6) (Revelation 21:14)
The 144,000 saints are represented as ‘pillars’ in the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 3:12) That they have the opportunity to reign as kings and priests with Jesus, that is the reward for these saints.
The promised Kingdom will commence:
WEB (2 Peter 3:13) 13 But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwells righteousness.
The beginning of this new heavenly organisation, the New Jerusalem, is also the explanation for the severe birth pangs of the heavenly woman. (Revelation 12:2)
That the newborn child is a son, called a male child (Rev. 12:5) indicates, that this new organization is powerful.
After the dragon – Satan – was thrown down to the earth, he first persecutes the heavenly woman who has also tasks on earth. He is furious:
WEB (Revelation 12:12-17) 12 Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time.” 13 When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. 16 The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. 17 The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep God’s commandments and hold Jesus’ testimony.
Protected by the earth means, in this case, protection by Satan’s world system of governments and idolatry. (See the article “world powers 5. The great fiery-colored dragon“)
Then Satan persecutes “the remaining seed” of the woman.(Rev. 12:17). This seed are “the children of the kingdom”, who obey the commandments of God and have made testimony about Jesus, to the death (Op.12: 11):
WEB (Matthew 13:37-39) 37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel are the children of the evil one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
The children of the kingdom “are the elected saints, who – like the angels – are sons of God:
WEB (Romans 8:14-15) 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. 15 For you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba ! Father!”
The prosecution of the remaining seed means the prosecution of the still living saints.
What says the Scripture furthermore about the child?
This male child will rule all nations with an iron rod. (Revelation 12:5)
This ‘ruling with an iron rod’ refers to the way of reigning, that will be far-reaching:
WEB (Revelation 2:26-27) 26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations. 27 He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father:
WEB (Revelation 19:13-15) 13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God.” 14 The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. 15 Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.
Until the end time, this ruling with a rod of iron will take place, the treading of the wine-press of the wrath of God.
Read more at: 6. Revelation, the false prophet