Part 026 – The Woman, Dragon and Man-Child (Rev.12:1-17) – continued

The Book of REVELATION

A Study

Part 026

The Woman, Dragon and Man-Child (Rev.12:1-17) – continued 

Understanding the metaphors

As we have clearly seen in the previous part (Part 025) of this study, we need not go by our own imagination as to understand that which God is depicting through the use of metaphors. The texts, the contexts and related Scripture elsewhere will always shed light on the matter, revealing how the metaphors should be understood.

The Woman

The “woman” can easily be identified through a number of means. The “woman” in association with the sun, the moon, and the stars takes us back to Joseph’s second dream in Gen.37:9, 10. The typology and the symbolism of this dream has to do with Christ and Israel ― Israel subject to Christ during the Messianic Era, restored to a position above all other nations in fulfillment of Gen.12:1-3; Gen.22:16-18; etc. Israel in Rev.12:1, unlike in Gen.37:9, is seen clothed with the sun ― symbolizing that Israel will be the main governing power on the earth; the moon under her feet ― symbolizing that all Gentile nations will be subject to Israel (Psa.110:1, 2; Rev.6:12-17); a crown of twelve stars upon her head ― crown, stars and the number twelve, all together symbolizing governmental perfection. The woman is further seen “travailing in birth” and following the birth of the man child, is seen fleeing into the wilderness where she has “a place prepared of God” where she is divinely cared for and protected for one thousand two hundred and sixty days/a time and times and half a time which is the last 3½ years of the Tribulation (Rev.12:2, 4, 6, 14). This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught in His Mount Olivet Discourse (Matt.24:15-22; Mark 13:14-19; Luke 21:20-24), which as well has to do with Israel during the last half of the Tribulation. Thus the identity of the woman is seen at every turn.

The Dragon

The “dragon” in verses 3 and 4 is identified as the Devil, Satan in the subsequent commentary within the same chapter (v.9). In Revelation chapter six, at the beginning of the Tribulation, the Beast was seen riding forth on a white horse, “conquering and to conquer” (Rev.6:2). He, at that time, was also seen wearing a “crown” described through the use of the Greek word stephanos because his aspirations were worldwide dominion. Then in chapter twelve, at the middle of the Tribulation, he is seen wearing the diadem which he had sought. Note in verse three that all seven heads of the Beast are crowned (see also Rev.13:1 and Rev.17:9-13) and here the Greek word used for “crown” is diadema and not stephanos, because, by this time the Beast will have achieved the power which he sought 3½ years earlier. This man’s kingdom is seen so closely aligned with Satan, that the dragon himself is depicted as having the seven diadems on his heads and ten horns (Rev.12:3). This is how inseparable Satan is seen aligned with the final form of Gentile world power. And Satan will give to this man, controlling the final form of Gentile world power, “his power, his throne and great authority” (Rev.13:2).

The Man Child

Most commentators identify the “man child” as Christ, because He was brought forth by Israel, is destined to rule the nations (Psa.2:6-9) and as well carried up (not caught up) to the same place (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). Some commentators associate the man child with Christians/believers, because we, as well, will be caught up to heaven (1Thess.4:16) and rule the nations (Gal.3:29; Rev.2:26, 27). But, after all said and done, bear in mind that the “woman” and the “dragon” are identified within the chapter; and the same should be expected concerning the identity of the “man child” as well.

Firstly, let us compare the identification of all the three metaphors. The “woman” is not a literal woman, but a nation, the nation of Israel. Then the “dragon” is not a literal dragon but a person, Satan. Correspondingly, the “man child” cannot be a literal man child, and so it cannot refer to Christ. Any thought that the “man child” is Christ, is further nullified by the context on both sides of the text. Note the timing of the birth of the man child in verses 4 and 5. The man child’s birth occurs after Satan and his angels have been cast out from their abode in the heavenly places, which places this birth just before or at the middle of the Tribulation; and it occurs immediately before Israel flees into the wilderness at the full end of the 1,260 days covering the first half of the Tribulation (v.6). Also the birth of the man child will occur either very near or at the time when the two witnesses in chapter eleven are slain, which is also at the full end of the first 1,260 days of the Tribulation. Also see what is said about the man child in Revelation chapter twelve: the man child is seen following the woman fleeing “into the wilderness” (v.14) as “the rest (or remnant) of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (v.17). This is also seen in verse 13 of the previous chapter. That stated about “the rest (or remnant)” in Rev.12:17 would clearly identify them with the 144,000 in chapters seven and fourteen.

The birth and identity of the man child

Let us see what is said about “the remnant” in Rev.11:13: In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest (the remnant) were afraid, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The “great earthquake” referred here could only be the same as what we have seen in Rev.6:12, but with additional details and commentary (Please see Part 013 of this series); the shaking of powers in connection with God’s judgment coming upon the kingdom of the Beast. “The same hour” is evidently, not a sixty-minute period but a longer period surrounding the resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses. Chapter twelve then describes this “great shaking” through relating details concerning the war in heaven (verses 4, 7-9) and details concerning the woman being driven from her capital city and land. Powers being shaken has to do with the incumbent ruler, Satan and his angels being cast out of the heavens onto the earth, and the crowned woman being driven from her city and land. Then we see that a tenth part of the city is fallen and seven thousand are slain. Ten and seven are numbers showing completeness – pointing to the complete destruction of the city, and the complete uprooting of the Jewish people (Dan.9:26; Luke 21:24; Rev.11:2). It will be during this time in the last half of the Tribulation that Satan, through the Beast, will launch his final and most intense attack against the Jewish people, seeking their utter destruction once for all. It is at the beginning of this second half of Tribulation that the woman will give birth to the man child, referred as the remnant in Rev.11:13 & 12:17. It is no wonder that they are terrified at this time and they have to be momentarily removed from the earth if they are to survive and fulfill the purpose for which they are brought forth (Rev.12:17).

Israel’s birth pangs – first fruits & main harvest

In the Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts of the Olivet Discourse, we see the mention of “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt.24:8; Mark 13:8) and also the subsequent “preaching of the gospel unto all nations” (Matt.24:14; Mark 13:10). The “beginning of sorrows” or “Israel’s travail” mentioned in Matthew and Mark and in Rev.12:2 results in the birth of the man child, who will in the second half of the Tribulation proclaim the gospel of the kingdom throughout all the Gentile nations. Travail & birth pangs are also seen in connection with the birth of the nation itself during the latter part of the Tribulation (Isa.66:7, 8; Micah 4:9-5:15). In this respect, the whole of the Tribulation will be a time of travail (birth pangs) for Israel, with the first fruits of the nation being brought forth in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev.14:3-7), to be followed by the birth of the whole nation in the main harvest at the end of the Tribulation. As the first fruits of the nation will carry the gospel to the Gentile nations worldwide during the last half of the Tribulation, the entire nation, once brought forth, will carry the message to the Gentile nations worldwide during the Messianic Era which follows.