Studies In The Book of Revelation
Chapter Twelve
By Jonathan Mitchell

1. Next a great sign was seen within the atmosphere (or: sky; or: heaven): a Woman having been clothed (cast around) with the sun, and the moon down under her feet, and a wreath of twelve stars upon her head.

2. And being pregnant (continuously having or holding within the womb), she is constantly crying (or: repeatedly uttering a cry), travailing with birth-pangs, and being progressively tested and tried in the labor pains (or: experiencing the touchstone) to bring forth (= to bear a child).

3. Then another sign was seen within the atmosphere (or: sky; heaven): and consider this!, a great fiery-colored dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven bands (diadems; kingly ornaments) upon its seven heads.

4. And its tail is progressively dragging the third of the stars of the sky (or: heaven), and casts (it cast; it threw) them into the earth (or: onto the Land, or, ground). And the dragon stood (had made a stand) before (or: in the presence of) the Woman – the one being about to bring forth (= to give birth) – to the end that whenever she may bring forth, it may devour (eat down; consume) her child.

5. And so she brought forth a Son, an adult man (or: male; masculine one) Who is about to continuously shepherd all the multitudes (ethnic groups; nations) in the sphere of and with relying on the use of an iron staff (or: rod). And her child was snatched away (seized and carried off by force) toward God and to His throne.

6. Then the Woman fled (or: takes flight) into the wilderness (or: desert; desolate place) where she continuously has there a prepared place from God (or: a place having been made ready, from God), to the end that THEY may continuously nourish her there one thousand two hundred sixty days.

7. Next a war (or: battle) was birthed (broke out; came to be; arose) within the atmosphere (or: sky; or: heaven): the One, Michael [the One in God's likeness], and His agents [went] to war (or: to battle) with the dragon. And the dragon did battle (or: at once battles; = fought back), as well as his agents,

8. and yet they were not strong (or: had no strength), neither was their place (or: position) any longer found within the atmosphere (or: heaven; [note: a symbol of a position of authority, control and dominion]).

9. And so thrown (or: hurled; cast; tossed) is (or: was) the great dragon, the serpent from the very beginning (or: the original, or ancient, serpent) – the one being continuously called devil (one who thrusts something through [folks]; slanderer; false accuser; separator; one who casts something throughout the midst [to cause division]) and satan (the adversary; the opponent; the one who stands in opposition; the counter-worker), the one continuously causing the whole inhabited area of the earth to wander (or: that which causes straying; the one continually deceiving). It was (or: is) hurled (thrown; cast; tossed) into the earth (or: Land), and its agents were (or: are) thrown (cast; tossed) with it.

10. Then I heard a great (or: loud) voice within the atmosphere (or: sky; or: heaven) repeatedly saying, "At the present moment (or: Just now) the deliverance (the return to the original state and condition; the rescue; the health and wholeness; salvation), and the authority, and the kingdom (or: reign) of our God was (or: is) birthed (comes into existence; came to be), also the authority of His Anointed (or: His Christ; His anointed one), because our brothers' accuser (the accuser of our fellow believers) was cast down (and: is hurled down) – the one that was or is by habit repeatedly accusing them before (or: in the sight and presence of) our God, day and night.” [note: this phrase logically indicates that the location is on earth, where there is day and night]

11. And they at once overcame (or: at some point overcome; conquer) him because of the blood of the little Lamb, and (or: even) because of the word (or: message; Word; Logos) of their witness (evidence; testimony) – and they love not (or: did not love) their soul (soul-life; inner self; personhood) even to (or: until) death.

12. Because of this, you atmospheres (or: heavens) – and the folks continuously tabernacaling (or: normally living in a tent; presently encamping) within the midst of them – must continuously make yourselves glad (keep or develop a good frame of mind; rejoice). Woe to (or: Alas for; A tragedy into) the Land (or: earth) and the sea, because the devil (slanderer; separator; opposer; the one who thrusts-through) is (or: was) cast down to you, having great anger (swelling emotion; rushing passion), knowing that he continues having a little season (a small suitable place; a limited circumstance; a brief fitting situation).

13. And when (at the time that) the dragon suddenly saw (or: sees; perceived; observes) that it is thrown (was cast, thrust) into the earth (or: Land), it pursued (pursues, presses forward, runs swiftly to catch) the woman who brought forth (= gave birth to) the Man (or: male).

14. Then two wings of the Great Eagle (or: Vulture) were given to the Woman (or: are given for the Woman), to the end that she may progressively fly into the wilderness (desert; uninhabited region) – into her place – where (in which place) she is there continuously nourished a season, and seasons, and half a season [Dan. 7:25; 12:7], away from the serpent's face (= its presence and ability to observe).

15. Next the serpent cast (or: spews) water, as a river (or: stream), from out of its mouth, behind the Woman (at the Woman's back; after the Woman) to the end that it may cause her to be carried away by the river (i.e., by its current).

16. So then the Land (or: ground; earth) ran to the aid of (or: runs and helps) the Woman, and the Land (ground; earth) at once opened (or: opens) up her mouth and swallowed (or: swallows; gulps down) the river which the dragon cast (or: casts) out of its mouth.

17. And so the dragon was enraged (is angered; swells with agitation of soul) upon the Woman and went away (or: goes off) to make war (do battle) with the remaining ones (the rest; those left) of her seed (= offspring) – those continuously keeping (guarding; observing) God's implanted goals (impartations of the finished product within; inward directives) and continuously holding the testimony of Jesus (or: having the evidence about and having the character of Jesus).

18. [other MSS: And it was placed (set; made to stand) upon the sand of the sea.]

This fourth vision is called a "great sign." The question is, who does this woman represent? The 12 stars is our first clue. This number 12 relates to the twelve tribes of Israel, and is also seen with Jesus choosing twelve disciples. From this, many have seen the woman as a figure of Israel, and her child as representing Jesus, the Christ.

The wreath is a figure of one who has overcome, and thus we have a picture of Israel, who in the O.T. was figured as a woman, Yahweh's bride, in a heavenly position and having overcome. Yet also, in ch. 3:12 Christ tells his called-out that God will write upon the overcomer the name "The New Jerusalem," which is the Bride, the Lamb's Wife (ch. 21:9-10). So we can see a continuation from O.T. to the new covenant, the olive tree of the old with the engrafted branches of the new, the wife of the old and the bride of the new: foreshadow and fulfillment.

So what about the moon under her feet? Having something under one's feet is usually a figure of having conquered that thing (cf Rom. 16:20; also Josh. 10:24-26, "Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings..."). Thus we have another witness that this woman represents the overcomers. As to the moon, Gen. 1:16 tells us, accordingly God proceeded to make the two great lights, the greater light as a ruler of the day, and the lesser light as a ruler of the night; likewise the stars" (Watts). The night represents darkness where one cannot see well. Christ was the Light that came to shine in the darkness; He brought the new Day. So here, I suggest that the moon represented the old covenant and the Law, which the overcomer now has under her feet, having overcome death and the night through Christ. She is clothed with the sun, the Light of the new Day, the righteousness of God. This figure would correspond to the bright white garments of the overcomer.

In Gen. 37:9-10, in reference to Joseph's dream, Jacob interprets the figure of the moon as Joseph's mother, so his mother bowing down to him would say that she was at, or under, his feet. Jacob objected to this. But here, we see the woman (the body of Christ, an antitype of Joseph as a ruler) with old covenant Israel (her mother) under her feet as she rules with Christ. This is the Jerusalem which is above (Gal. 4:22-31). The Jerusalem that "[then was]" is under her feet.

In Joseph's dream the sun represented the father. Here, again, is the woman clothed with the glory, covering and righteousness of the Father. From Gen. 1:16 we see that she is clothed with the garments of the Ruler of the Day. Mal. 4:2 gives another understanding, "But the Sun of Righteousness will shine forth to you with restoration on His wings, and you shall be brought out and sport like a bullock from the stall and tread down the wicked, for they will be dust under your feet..." (Fenton). Ps. 104:2 tells us that God covers Himself with light as a garment. So here we see a picture of the glorified called-out community.

In vs. 2 she is described as pregnant, and is continuously crying and travailing with birth-pangs in order to bring forth, to bear her child. During this season she is also being tried and tested (experiencing the touchstone to determine her "metal;" [note: this word is used elsewhere, but translated "torment" in the KJV, e.g., Lu. 16:28]). She has been intimate with God, her Husband, and has received His seed. This child is the "Seed of the Woman" spoken of in Gen. 3:15; He is also Abraham's seed – the corporate Heir, according to Promise (Gal. 3:16). Note that in verses 6 & 11 we see the manchild referred to as the plural "they," the many-membered Christ.

In Isa. 51:1 we see Israel as a mother; in Isa. 54:1 she is pictured as barren; in Isa. 66:8 it says, "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her sons" (NAS).

Consider the parallels of this picture in ch. 12 to similar ones in Mica 4:8-13, "And as for you, Tower of the Flock, Hill of the Daughter of Zion, to you it will come – even the former dominion will come: the kingdom pertaining to the daughter of Jerusalem. Now why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, or has your counselor perished, that agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth? Writhe and labor to give birth, Daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth, for now you will GO OUT of the City, DWELL IN THE FIELD, and go to Babylon. There you will be rescued (or: delivered), there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.... But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His purpose;.... Arise and thresh, Daughter of Zion, for your horn I will make iron and your hoofs I will make bronze..." (NAS, modified).

Here in 12:6 we see that the woman takes flight "into the wilderness," similar to Zion going out of the city into the field. The wilderness is a place of testing: as with Jesus for 40 days, and Israel for 40 years. As with Israel, she too is nourished in the place of testing.

Moving on to vs. 3 & 4 we see another sign inserted into this "great sign." Here is a picture of the adversary of God's chosen, of His bride and of His anointed. This dragon is specifically identified in vs. 9, "the serpent from the very beginning – the one being called devil (division causer and one who thrusts through folks) and satan (adversary; opponent), the one constantly causing the whole habitable area of the earth to wander and stray." The insertion of "serpent from the beginning" causes the reader's mind to go back to Eden, the Garden, and the temptation of the Woman. So here we are seeing the end of the story, the Seed of the Woman, the Manchild, with the serpent finally being cast out of the Garden, or "heaven." So here satan, loses its authority.

Note that in vs. 3 this dragon has the appearance and color of fire: it is the counterfeit of God, Who is Fire. But what of the 7 heads? Is there a correlation here to the 7 churches, the places of satan's home and seat of operation (see ch. 2 & 3)? It has always been the institutional church that has tried to kill what God was producing, just like Jerusalem was the one that killed all His prophets. The organized religion of Christianity has indeed been a dragon to humanity – and one that has been totally divided (figured by the 7 heads), ruling in complete division. We will look at its offspring, the little wild beast with 7 heads and 10 horns, in the next chapter. Then it appears again in ch. 17, only there it is being ridden by the Great Prostitute (figure of Jerusalem in the 1st century; of the institutional church in the following centuries to this day). In 17 the horns and heads are explained: the 7 heads are seven mountains, a figure of kingdoms, (vs. 9), and vs. 12 specifies that the 10 horns are 10 kings. We will discuss this later, but I suggest that this dragon in ch. 12 is the spirit and power behind the wild beast of ch's. 13 & 17.

Whether the movement of the tail (vs. 4) is purposely directed, or just the result of the dragon's movement, the outcome is the casting down of 1/3 of the stars from heaven into the earth. Are these stars the agents of the churches (ch. 1:16, 20)? Phil. 2:15, 16, tells us "that you may become blameless and artless, children of God (= folks with God's character), flawless in the midst of a generation crooked and perverse – among whom you are continuously shining as luminaries in the world – constantly holding on Life's Word..." And Dan. 12:3, "And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitudes as stars..." (Young) God compared Abraham's future seed to the stars, in Gen. 15:5; 22:17, and Moses says, "Jehovah your God has multiplied you, and lo, you folks are today as the stars of the heavens, for multitude" (Deut. 1:10).

Recall again Joseph’s dream in Gen.; the stars represented his brothers, who later became tribes of Israel. It could be that this primordial spirit casts down 1/3 of "spiritual Israel" from their place of being "seated together in heavenly places," which would be like their not abiding in the Vine (John 15), or, like "certain ones of the branches" that were broken out of the olive tree in Rom. 11:17. But most closely, this scene with the dragon calls to mind Daniel's vision of the he-goat and its little horn (Dan. 8:5-12) where this little horn "exerts [itself] unto the host of the heavens and causes the fall to the earth of the host, and of the stars, and tramples on them" (Young, updated).

But the dragon had another purpose, for it "stood (or: had made a stand) before the Woman... to the end that whenever she would bring forth, it may devour her child." This recalls Peter's word about the one who thrusts-through folks (the devil) your adversary going about as a lion seeking whom it may devour. Its purpose is to destroy God's Seed – both that Word sown within us, and the folks who compose God's Israel. Note that when it fails with the manchild (vs. 5), fails with the Woman (vs. 15-16), it then goes away after the remaining ones of her seed (vs. 17). And consider that while the dragon and its agents, along with 1/3 of the "stars," are thrown out of heaven (the place of leadership; the realm of spirit) and into the earth, the Woman and 2/3 of the stars remain in the heavens, with the moon under their feet.

The sign of vs. 5 points back to the birth of the Head, Jesus, and also points ahead to the birth of the rest of His Body, the body of Christ, for They are One. That it is mentioned that He is "a masculine one" shows that He has the qualities and characteristics of an adult male. Thus, this does not refer to the birth of the baby Jesus, but to His being placed as a Son and declared so by His Father (Matt. 3:17) at His Jordan baptism. Being declared a Son meant that He had the authority of His Father. This answers to this corporate "man-child" being caught up towards God and "towards His throne (figure for a place of authority)." Ascending to a throne in a kingdom was the counterpart of being placed as a son in a Jewish family.

As to the word "snatched away" in this verse, it is the same Greek word used in 2 Cor. 12:2, 4, and 1 Thes. 4:17. It is used of Philip in Acts 8:39 and of the Lord in John 6:15. It is also used of OUR ministry to others in Jude 23, "in fear snatching them out of the fire." All of these instances happen here on our earth, or in our atmosphere/heaven.

Please take note of the work of this SON: to continuously SHEPHERD ALL the ethnic multitudes (people groups; nations) with an iron staff. This is the reward given to "the one continuously overcoming" in ch. 2:26, 27, as we saw earlier.

In vs. 6 we see that the Woman takes flight into the wilderness into her prepared place. THEY (Christ and His corporate body – those snatched away in spirit to the place of authority) nourish their mother there for 1260 days. This is the identical time period of the ministry of the 2 witnesses of ch. 11. It is also the same as the 42 months during which the Holy City (Jerusalem) is being tread under foot by the non-Jews (nations; multitudes). I suggest that this is another picture, showing a different aspect of the ministry of God's sons to His bride, His people. Note also vs. 11, that they did not and do not love themselves (their souls; their inner lives) even to death. Just as Jesus overcame through death and resurrection, thus also do these (recall the resurrection of the 2 witnesses in ch. 11:11-12).

What about vs. 7-10? When does, or did, this happen?
Here we saw war in heaven between Michael and His agents and the dragon and its agents, and the latter were thrown into the earth, with no place for them any longer within the heaven (or: atmosphere). The in vs. 10 the voice says "At the present moment (or: just now) the deliverance (or: salvation), and the authority, and the kingdom of our God is (or: was) birthed and comes into existence – also the authority of His Anointed – because our brothers' accuser is (or: was) cast down..." Recall that the accuser did this "day and night" – signifying that this is here on earth, the place where there is day and night.

Let's consider some different interpretation of this. Malcolm Smith suggest that this happened at the resurrection of Jesus (due to the completed work of Christ): the heavens rejoiced, the church is now seated in heavenly places, and the devil has lost its authority.

Ray Prinzing says, "We note that this 'war in heaven' is not spoken of until the manchild has been caught up to the throne, and begins to rule.... and now there is a further 'revelation of Jesus Christ,' as He is revealed in the triumph of HIS OVERCOMERS.... When the overcomers rise to take their place in His throne, it signifies that this processing is complete – they are fully born of God [1 John 3:9], their nature is HIS, their image is HIS, their holiness is HIS [Eph. 1:6-7; 2 Cor. 5:21]. And now there is naught that can accuse them – they have become ONE in the standard of His righteousness. No place is found any more for the accuser."

I suggest that there is a principle portrayed in vs. 7-10. It is that when one is caught up into the heavenlies, to the place of God's authority, that one is then able, "at that present moment," to cast the dragon from out of the heavenlies (realm of spirit) within himself, into the earth realm and take dominion over it within his own being. It is this personal catching up of his spirit into union with God's Spirit that empowers him to overcome the serpent within himself or others, along with other spirits of its kind, to the end that they no longer have strength, and there is no longer a place found for them within the individual's atmosphere (heaven; realm of spirit). The war within the individual is Christ (the One in God's likeness) and His powers overcoming on our behalf. This is symbolized by the figure of Michael and His agents (vs. 7).

There will be a time when this will happen in fullness for the corporate body of sons, but even in the "in part" state in which we now walk, I suggest that there are areas, figurative "cities" within the kingdom within us, in which we can see "satan, as lightning, falling out of heaven" (Lu. 10:18), even as "the seventy returned rejoicing. 'Lord,' they said, 'even the demons obey us at your Name'" (vs. 17). Had satan, with this experience of the seventy, been completely cast out of every realm of heaven? No, only from out of the individuals over whom the seventy exercised the Lord's authority at that time. We see a similar picture given by Paul in Rom. 16:20, where he prophesied that the community in Rome would soon crush satan under their feet. All creation is groaning for the fullness of this to happen (Rom. 8:21). Until then, our brothers' accuser is in the presence of God (within us, as elsewhere) continuously accusing us until it is overcome.

Vs. 11, where we see that they did not love their souls, is a fulfillment of Matt. 16:24-26, denying the self and taking up the cross – destroying the soul for His sake. Because of this (vs. 12), we who are tabernacling within the atmosphere of the heavens – including those realms of heaven within us where these things have happened – can rejoice and make ourselves glad in the Lord while keeping and developing A GOOD FRAME OF MIND. But there is yet a woe to our lower realm, our land, or earth, because the adversary has been cast into this area of our life, and comes "down toward [us], having great swelling emotion and rushing passion." So we should not be surprised to at times find ourselves in the grip of such inner feelings – until Christ within has our "earth" swallow up what is cast forth to envelope us as we go into a wilderness time. But we should take courage, for it has but a little season (or a small situation or suitable place and occasion) within which to work. Its end is sure.

Viewing this passage historically, we can see that the Judaizers chased after the called-out communities, trying to overwhelm them with works of the Law, from circumcision to keeping the Sabbath to celebrating the feasts (as well as keeping days, observing months, etc.). The "Woman," Christ's bride continued to be forced to flee into the wilderness, outside of what came to be the institutional church, but the "earth" (the secular community) was found to be more loving and accepting than the dragon-riding woman of ch. 17. From the individual application, when the spirit is caught up to Christ's authority, it feeds and helps the soul through the dry periods.

Vs. 14 show us that the called-out person and community is given the ability to enter the heavens, to fly (given wings of the Great Eagle, which is the figure of Christ, the Anointing, that face or aspect of the "living being" – what Paul Tillich calls the new being). At this stage of God's dealings with His people, we are taken to a place away from the serpent's face – and remember where satan's throne and dwelling place it: Pergamos (ch. 2:13), a part of the corporate institutional church. She (figure of those in Christ) is separated in this wilderness for the same time period specified in chapters 11, 12 and 13: 3 and ½ years, or a season, seasons, and half a season. It is the figurative time period of the ministry of God's sons – both to her, and to those dwelling in "Sodom and Egypt" (ch. 11:3-8). But keep in mind that this is a place and a time of nourishment and learning His ways.

Numbers are significant in this book. It could have said that she was given "the wings of the Great Eagle," and we would have understood that a bird has two wings. The two wings are a reference to the two witnesses, as two is the number of witness in Scripture – Yahweh's witnesses (Acts. 1:8). This ministering body gives the Woman the gift of flying above adversarial circumstances in her life.

Isa. 40:31 is a familiar vs., "But those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles..." (NWT). The NEB renders it, "but those who look to the Lord will win new strength, the will grow wings like eagles." Young reads, "But those expecting Jehovah pass [to] power, they raise up the pinion as eagles..." And the Tanakh says, "... shall renew their strength as eagles grow new plumes." These are varied renderings of a picture which expressed the truth in the prior vs. (29) of that context, that "He gives vigor to the weary, new strength to the exhausted" – a comforting promise. But these figures also suggest the ascending to a higher realm – one where there is nourishment for the spirit.

This sign in ch. 12 brings an echo of Ex. 19:4, "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, when I bore you on vultures' wings and brought you to Myself" (CVOT). The idea of deliverance is easily seen here. Another echo is from Ps. 91:4, "With His pinions shall He overshadow you, and under His wings you take refuge; a large shield and encircling-guard is His faithfulness" (CVOT).

In our picture here in 12, we see that she can continuously, or repeatedly fly (Greek present tense): this is not just some future event. When God births something new in us, this pattern will usually be followed and we will need to fly away from the serpent's face. Those who are a community where the serpent resides will always want to devour your child. Not also that she flies "into her place." This calls to mind the words of Jesus to His disciples in John 14:

2. "Within My Father's house (or: household) are many abodes (staying places; dwelling places; homes; rooms). Now if not, I would at once tell you folks, because I am progressively passing (or: traveling) along to prepare and make ready a place in you (or: for you; with you folks).

3. "Even if I should journey on and prepare (make suitable, fit and appropriate) a place (or: a spot; a position; a role) in you folks (or: with you; for you), I am now presently (or: progressively; repeatedly; habitually) coming again, and then, I will take you folks in My arms and receive you to Myself (directing you toward Myself), to the end that where I, Myself, am (or: exist) you men also can be (or: may continuously and ongoingly exist).

Let's consider for a moment that the 1260 days of vs. 6 is called "a season, and seasons, and half a season in vs. 14. Thus, this period of persecutions is for "seasons." It was for this same timer period that Jerusalem was to be given to the nations for them to tread upon her (ch. 11:2). Luke 21:24 speaks of this situation, "... and Jerusalem will be trodden down by [the] nations (or, by multitudes) until [the] SEASONS of [the] nations may be fulfilled." Was this "seasons of the nations (gentiles; non-Jews)" the period of three and ½ years that lead up to AD 70, a season of the Romans who destroyed the Jews as a nation and as a religion? With the return of Christ in judgment upon the Jews (through the agency of the Romans), breaking out some of the branches of the olive tree (Israel), what was left was the olive tree (the believers from the Jews), with the wild olive branches grafted into it, which came to be termed "the called-out community," the "little flock" to whom He gave the kingdom (Lu. 12:32).

Vs. 15 describes the serpent's next move – its pursuit of the Woman. This must be just before she takes flight as shown in vs. 14, otherwise, if she were flying above the earth, how could a flood be a threat to her. So here, in 15, she is yet earth-bound. But what is this river that the serpent casts out of its mouth? I suggest that it was a stream of words which were spoken "behind her back." The institutional church of today (also the location of satan's headquarters) is noted for talking about others within the church, or, in "other" churches. This is the work of the serpent, and its intent is to do damage to those of whom it speaks. In contrast, from out of Christ's true followers is to flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). But the world (including the church world) uses words to try to carry people away, or to cast them out, instead of bringing life and healing – and washing their feet. They want to put an end to those who they think are in error, or are what they consider to be a cult [see Gary Amirault's work, "Cults Calling Cults, Cults"]. So as you flee to the place God has prepared for you in the wilderness, know that the enemy will throw out a river of words against you, to try to carry or flush you away. It has always been this way.

But the land (or: earth) runs to the aid of the fleeing Woman. It opens its mouth and swallows the river which the dragon casts out of its mouth. What does this mean? In the OT the land was a figure for Israel, God's true people. Perhaps here this is a figure of God's true children who absorb all this talk to keep it from spreading, and run to the aid of this persecuted Woman. It can also be a figure of the "earth realm" and those who dwell there, and this is a picture of the many ways in which humanity has helped God's people despite how various "organizations" have persecuted them.

On a personal level, our "flesh" sometimes absorbs and swallows up what the enemy may try to cast against our soul – what is termed our "defense mechanisms." The symbol of an overwhelming flood is common in the OT.

Ps. 42:7, "All your waves and your billows have gone over me."
Ps. 32:6, "the rush of great waters" shall not come near the Psalmist.
Ps. 124:4, "Then the water had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul."
Isa. 43:2, "When you pass through the waters I [will be] with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you..."

This figure can be of persecution, or just of hard time.

This scene ends (vs. 17) with the dragon breaking off the pursuit of the Woman (the Bride) and turning its efforts against the remaining ones of her seed (those who are truly born from above, but who are not yet matured or caught up to God's throne – they are yet in the "earth realm," the realm of the flesh, and are subject to the enemy's attacks). The Woman and the Manchild are now beyond the reach of the dragon, but the others will follow them "in their own orders" (1 Cor. 15:23).

The first application of the message of this vision would have been for the early church. With the vision being written prior to the destruction of the Jewish society, I suggest that the Dragon (figure of an adversarial spirit) of this vision used first the Jews to pursue the called-out communities, and to persecute her seed. Following the destruction of the Jewish nation, it moved to using the Romans, under Nero, e.g., and thus do we see the little animal (the little wild beast), in the next chapter, having a form (being conformed to the image of its "lord") similar to the Dragon: 7 heads and 10 horns.

Bruce Metzger (in "Breaking the Code") says, in reference to the connection of chapters. 11 & 12, "Chapter 11 of the book of Rev. concludes with references to judging the dead, rewarding the servants of God, and opening God's temple in heaven. Although this scenario would make a fitting end of the book, John... returns to an earlier stage and, so to speak, begins all over again. Ch. 12 can be characterized as a flashback..." He also notes, in reference to vs. 7, "... Michael fighting the dragon is symbolic, representing the real victory won by the atoning death of Christ and the preaching of the gospel."

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