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. (Revelation 12:7-8)
The seventh trumpet has sounded, but before we see the judgments that follow, John gives us another behind-the-scenes look at events from a heavenly perspective. Chronologically, the seventh trumpet sounds at the final half of the remaining three-and-one-half years of what is known as the “Great Tribulation.” This, of course, is based on my understanding of the sequence of events, and I could certainly be wrong about that. One thing for certain is that those who have placed their trust in Christ will be witnesses to these events, like John, from a heavenly perspective. Before the seven-year Tribulation begins, the Church, i.e., those who have truly placed their faith and trust in Christ for salvation, will be “snatched up abruptly” (raptured) out of the world and taken to join Jesus in the air and dwell with Him forever.
In my opinion, one of the purposes of Revelation is for the instruction of the Tribulation saints. As they live in the midst of the judgments coming on the earth, they will, by the study of this book, understand the coming events and be able to closely predict the moment that Christ returns to earth. Surely someone will remind me that “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36), and I would agree to a point. At the time Jesus spoke these words, He spoke from a self-limited human perspective of events far in the future. Surely, in His ascended state, He knows now. As for the Church, we have no idea when Jesus will call us up to be with Him. However, as we examine world events against end-times prophecy, we can surmise that His return is near. But, what does “near” mean? “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). However, Tribulation saints will know that when Antichrist (“the beast”) confirms the covenant with Israel, seven years remain for Christ to return. By closely examining the book, they will also be able to predict the sequence of events that are ahead for them because they are clearly outlined in the Book of Revelation.
So, before continuing with the coming judgments, John pauses briefly to provide insight into the cause of all that is taking place. “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” (Revelation 12:1). On September 23, 2017 a conjunction of the constellations Virgo and Leo along with the planets, Venus, Mercury, Mars with Jupiter in the “womb” of Virgo, excited many prophecy students with the prospect of the Rapture. According to these “stargazers,” this particular conjunction was a once-in-a-7000-year event, which perfectly fits biblical chronology. It also fits John’s vision almost perfectly. Because of its position in the sky, it could not be seen in the nighttime sky because it was “clothed with the sun.” Also, the “new moon,” which could not be seen was at Virgo’s feet. Leo, along with the planets, Venus, Mercury, and Mars crowned Virgo with “twelve stars.” Jupiter (the “King Planet”) wandered around Virgo’s womb until it exited later in the year from between Virgo’s feet as if being born. At the same time, the constellation Draco, the dragon, was poised at Virgo’s feet as if ready to devour the birth.
For those eager for the Rapture, this was “the sign.” They argued rightly that God created the stars to be “for signs, and for seasons” (Genesis 1:14), that being “signals or omens” and “appointed times.” As we can testify, the Rapture did not take place and many other students of end-times prophecies criticized the “stargazers” for creating such an unwarranted stir. However, just because the Rapture did not take place does not negate the fact that the conjunction did indeed take place, and it did in fact “signal” those that are watching to keep looking into Scripture. Nor does it negate the possibility that this was indeed what John saw. John reports what he saw as factual, not as symbolic.
That said, John’s vision does have biblical and historical significance. John saw a woman clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet and with a crown of twelve stars on her head. We see this same image in Genesis where Joseph describes his dream. “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me” (Genesis 37:9). In this case, the sun is Jacob (Israel), the moon is Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and the eleven stars (in this case) were Joseph’s brothers. From the Genesis account, we can surmise that the woman that John sees is the nation of Israel with her 12 tribes. “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered” (Revelation 12:2). The “child” we conclude is Jesus Christ who came forth from the nation of Israel. We see this later on in this narrative.
“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). The dragon’s identity is revealed later in this chapter. It is the dragon that gives Antichrist (the beast) his power. The dragon is none other than Satan himself. He is described as having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns, which is a description of the Antichrist’s kingdom. The “third part of the stars of heaven” that he sweeps up with his tail refers to the fallen angels that follow him. We see angels called stars in the Book of Job when God says, “Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:6-7, emphasis mine). Considering the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, we recognize that the “morning stars” and “the sons of God” are the same. These are angels. Throughout Scripture, God is known as the LORD God of hosts, i.e., armies. Often this refers to the armies of men, but in other instances, it refers to angelic armies. “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts” (Psalm 148:2, emphasis mine). Of these, Satan takes a third.
The dragon stands before the woman waiting to devour the child that is to be born. From the beginning of Creation Satan has attempted to thwart God’s divine plan. First, at the Garden of Eden when he caused the fall of man. God promised, “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” (Genesis 3:15, emphasis mine). That “woman” carried a twofold meaning. The birth of Christ came through the virgin Mary, but the other was the nation of Israel of which Mary was part. Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus failed at the cross when, after three days, Jesus rose from the grave. Now, the only option left for Satan is to destroy the nation of Israel so that God cannot fulfill His promise to restore the nation.
“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. 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 12:5-6). Jesus, born of the woman, came, died, rose again, and “was caught up into God, and to his throne.”  Later we learn that He will indeed “rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” Meanwhile, history records that the dragon continues to pursue the woman in an attempt to prevent the Lord’s return. However, God has protected and preserved Israel to this very day.
The 1260 days (3 ½ years) refers to the final half of the Tribulation that begins when “the beast” stands in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God. At this time, many Jews will recognize him for who he is and flee Jerusalem and Israel and go into hiding to a place God has prepared for their protection. Many scholars speculate that this place is Petra in Jordan. Wherever it is, God will protect them until Christ returns.
John then describes an angelic battle in heaven where God’s angels, led by Michael, fight against Satan (the dragon) and his angels. God’s armies defeat Satan and his armies “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 12:9). Up until this time, Satan has maintained full access before God’s throne. We see this in the Book of Job where Satan goes before God to report on the activities on earth. We see in the next verse that he is “the accuser of the brethren” before the throne of God. However, now he has lost that privilege and this enrages him. Guess on who he will vent his rage?
“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). Those who “overcome” Satan are those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb by grace through faith. Throughout history, Christians have preferred death rather than deny Christ. This was true in the past, it is true now, and even during the time of the Tribulation, those who have placed their faith in Christ will accept physical death knowing that through Christ they have eternal life. The Apostle Paul said it like this: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
“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” (Revelation 12:12). The devil is not happy and he is going to take it out on earth dwellers. Chronologically, this probably takes place at the midpoint of the Tribulation where he takes possession of Antichrist. More on that later.
The remaining verses in this chapter describe Satan’s persecution of “believing” Israel. Antisemitism has existed ever since the Jews were scattered throughout the earth after A.D. 70. However, as God promised, God has regathered them to their own land. He has a plan for their redemption and Satan now has little time to stop that plan.
“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. 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 12:14-17, emphasis mine).
However, God’s plan will not be thwarted. God will succeed and Satan’s reign on earth will end forever. The time is drawing near. The pieces of the end-times puzzle are falling into place and Christ’s return is closer now than at any time in history. Reader, are you prepared to meet Him? If not, check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 “The Rapture”; “In the Twinkling of an Eye”
 Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4