The Woman, Child, Dragon, . . . Page 1 of 5 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
( 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)

Commentary on the Book of Revelation
By: Tom Lowe Date: 8/12/16

Lesson: IV .A.1: The Woman, Child, Dragon, and Rest of the Woman’s Offspring (12:1-17)

Revelation 12:1-17 (KJV)

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:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7 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.
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.
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.
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.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
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.
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.
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.


This book of revelation is one of the most wonderful in all the Word of God, and the chapter before us is one of the most picturesque in the book. It is the great “sign” chapter. The word “wonder” in verses 1 and 3 is “semeion,” translated “sign” in the Revised Version, and used here for the first time in the Revelation. There are two “wonders” (or signs) in this chapter, the first being a “great wonder” and the second called “another wonder.”

This is a chapter of “great things.” Take note of “a great wonder” (verse one), “a great red dragon” (verse 3), “great wrath” (verse 12), and “two wings of a great eagle” (verse 14). We can be assured that the Holy Spirit’s use of the word “great” is discriminatory. Chapter 12 has to do with the woman, the war, and the woe. One theme of this chapter is Satan’s ruling passion—to exterminate the Jews.

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:

In his vision, the apostle sees “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.” Our study will show that she represents Israel. Not everyone agrees with me, but I’ll give you several other theories and you can decide whether you agree with me or one of the others.

First, the Roman Catholic Church has made the woman to be the “Virgin Mary.” That theory can be discredited because there is not a shred of evidence that the body of Mary ever ascended into Heaven. Moreover, it is utterly ridiculous to show Mary in Heaven, about to deliver her child, after the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. This is not a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Second, there are those among Protestants who tell us that the woman symbolizes the “Church.” Now it is a part of scripture symbolism to speak of the Church as a woman (see 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelation 19:7). But we do not read far into our chapter before discovering that the woman gave birth to a child, and that the child was the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we know that the Church did not give birth to Christ, but rather Christ founded His Church (see Matthew 16:18). If we just keep our bearings here and not lose our heads, we know that this is the Great Tribulation Period and that the church has already gone to heaven. This woman does not represent the Church.

Third, there is the blasphemous teaching of “Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy,” who was conceited enough to claim that this woman of Revelation represented herself. She added that the “man child” that she brought forth is Christian Science; that the “dragon” is “mortal mind” (whatever that is) attempting to destroy her new religion. I like how one theologian responded to her statement, he said that with such a theory “I need not take up the time of sane people.”

Most expositors have seen clearly that this woman represents “Israel,” and I concur with this view (see verse 2). She is the people of God, who as Israel in the Old Testament did produce the Messiah and as the Church and New Israel is now the persecuted “offspring.”

Notice the very extraordinary manner in which this woman (the “great wonder”) is clothed. She is wearing the “sun,” which means she’s reflecting the power of God—and for a footstool she uses the “moon” (“the moon under her feet”), which indicates that she is the nation God has marked as special. For her hat she wears a “crown studded with twelve stars” that corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel. She is a mother-to-be, and her delivery is eminent. Her labor pains represent the struggles that were a part of the life of Israel. This woman is not actually in Heaven—but upon the earth. The sign is in the Heavens, but the birth takes place right here on this earth.

The “crown” on the woman’s “head” signifies royal dignity—but why the stars in the crown? Without a doubt the “stars” point back to Joseph’s dream in which the future Glory of the twelve tribes is set forth.

“Twelve stars”. . . The number 12 used here and in several other passages in Revelation, denotes an administrative rule in the hands of men. Israel is earthy with earthly promises, and every promise made to Abraham will be fulfilled to the letter and every minute detail—even to the possessing of the land promised to his seed.

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

The woman is dealing with the pain of childbirth and is almost ready to deliver her baby. The mother-to-be is Israel—but who is this man-child about to be born . . . this child whom Satan is ready to devour? It we compare Scripture with Scripture and spiritual things with spiritual; I see no reason why we should not see plainly who the “child” is.

He is to “rule all nations with a rod of iron.” Who could that be other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God? We, the Church, will reign with Him, but He will be King of kings and Lord of lords. He will rule with “a rod of iron” and we will reign with Him as He sets on the throne of David. (Read Psalm 2 in its entirety.) Jesus has been the object of the devil’s hatred since He was promised, in Genesis 3:15—“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” There is a trail of blood from Genesis to the cross—a trail of blood left by those whom Satan destroyed in his all-out attempt to stop the Seed of the woman. But praise God, Jesus fulfilled every demand of God the Father, He paid sin’s debt in full. He conquered death, hell and the grave. He arose, He appeared to men, He ascended back to the Father, and He is coming again in power and great Glory. Jesus will personally supervise putting Satan into the lake of fire, where he will be tormented with fire and brimstone forever and ever.

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