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Revelation 12

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The study Index page.

     Again. This study is verse by verse, IMAGE by Image, IDEA by Idea, and concept by concept. Which means it is a Marathon.
     We are using sources that John the Apostle and those mentioned as the recipients of the letter, the Seven Churches and other First Century Christians, the majority of which were Jews, would / should / could have been familiar with. We will also reference newer translations and versions of the book, beginning with the 1560 Geneva Bible (the bulk source for the 1611 KJV, which we also use) all the way up to much more current publications, and examinations of the text from various scholars, as well as beginning the analysis of the text from the Greek.
     It should be said here, as we are beginning with the Greek, we are going in remembering that John was writing in an 'apocalyptic' style. It seems many translations have forgotten that and 'moderated' the language.
“What cannot be cured must be endured.”
- Robert Burton (1577 - 1640), in The Anatomy of Melancholy

     We have reached the second half of the book. The tone has changed dramatically, and in places, it does become 'upsetting', and sometimes difficult to sort through as to who, or what, is doing something. Also, some of the topics now become decidedly 'adult'.
     Don't worry, we'll get through it. (all puns at no extra charge)

1 and 2
     The 1611 gets it exactly wrong, it isn't a 'great wonder' in “ourano” (heaven and the sky). It is a “semeion mega” (indication / sign great) that appears in the sky. A “gyne” (woman) who is “peribeblemene” (arrayed / clothed (the same root word occurs all over Revelation, including ch 4 and 7)) with “helios” (the sun) with “selene” (the moon) under her feet, and on her “kephales” (head) a crown of “asteron dodeka” (stars twelve). And in “gastri” (her belly / womb) she is holding (something, but it is not clearly stated what until the next sentence which is in verse 2).
     She is in “odinousa” (birth pangs/ labor) and is in “basanizomene tekein” (torment to 'bring forth' (give birth !NOW!)).
     The 'Sign in Heaven” is a reflection of Genesis 1 : 14, Joel 2 : 30, and elsewhere, such as with the Eastern Astrologers (yes, they were Astrologers, not 'kings') who came to The Nativity. The symbolism of the sun and moon are mentioned everywhere from Deuteronomy 4 to the Psalms and elsewhere.

3 and 4 “enter the dragon” (without Bruce Lee... .... sorry)
     Another sign appears, a “drakon” (mythical / fabulous serpent)...

“Thar be Dragons” tangent
     There are a lot of 'dragons' in the Bible, well... no. There's a lot of mis-translations in the 1611 KJV to put a lot of dragons in the Bible. We'll check on their 'mythical' friends and cousins, like Kukulkan, in the next chapter.
     We'll look first at an interesting verse in Psalms that seems to reflect on our current study. Psalm 91 : 13. The KJV makes the Hebrew word “we·tan·nin” into dragon when it is more of a neutral form of “wa pe ten” which is a venomous snake such as a cobra, and should be stated as serpent. This same form is seen in Isaiah 51: 9 and means serpent. And we all know who the 'serpent' was.
     Another use in Isaiah is “hat·tan·nin” works out as reptile, as in another serpent, this time in the ocean in chapter 27: 1, and the same word comes up in Ezekiel 29: 3. In Jeremiah 51 : 34 we see a related term that the KJV makes to be dragon is “kat·tan·nin” which comes through as a generic monster. A similar form is seen in Deuteronomy 32: 33 where the word is used with “ha mat” to indicate a venomous snake.
     The term in Genesis 3 is “han·na·has” is a generic form of snake, without specifying venom or anything else about it.
     We'll skip Job 30: 29. Where the 1611 talks about dragons and owls, it should be jackals and ostriches. The same in Isaiah 13 and elsewhere in the OT.
     Which brings us to Revelation, where, in usage such as in 12 : 9 and 20: 2 where the Greek says “drakonta” that is that “ophis ho archaios” “snake ancient ” it is 'correctly' rendered as 'dragon'.
     For an in depth look at dragons in general mythology, please see The Media Desk's Mystery Series article on Dragons.
End Tangent
     Back to verse 3.... the dragon is “pyrros” (red like a flame). He also has seven heads, each with a crown. But there is something else there. Per the text, “heads seven and horns ten”, that's seventy total horns. We've got some numbers to look up.
     In Daniel's epic vision in chapter 7 of his book he sees a beast with ten horns. This one is the fourth beast in the vision, and is more powerful, more violent, and generally more unpleasant than the previous three. And it has ten horns. One of these horns is the 'little horn' that does nasty things later. There is all kinds of speculation about what the little horn which is 'full of eyes' signifies, but for us, here and now, we're more interested in the full Ten. The speculation that the ten horns are the equivalent of the 'ten toes' in the earlier vision of the giant statue in Daniel 2. And we see ol' ten horn later in the Apocalypse.
     The number 10 occurs over two hundred times in Scripture, and 'tenth' is used 79 times if you are counting, and is implied in other places. It is the number of commandments, the number of the 'faithful tribes of Israel', and is the percentage of our earnings that belong to God. As such ten is often used to refer to the Authority of God.
     The seven heads and crowns are probably Earthly Kings that effectively work for the dragon, either during this period of time, or in the past. It is interesting to note that the number seven is considered complete and usually symbolizes perfection. As this is the number of the heads of the dragon, it most likely signifies that that is all the 'crowned heads' that the dragon thinks he needs.

(Point Of Clarification, our 'friend' here is clearly identified as Satan, by that term, in verse 9 of this chapter. So this dragon is a different critter than the thing coming up in chapter 13 which is labeled 'a beast'.)

     The dragon's tail “syrei” (drags by force) a third of the “asteron” (stars) that remain in “ouranou” (the sky and heaven) and throws them to Earth. We've seen this sort of reference before, in Chapter 6, and Christ mentions it as a sign bad things are happening in Mark 13.
     The dragon then “hesteken” (stands) before the woman who is in active labor, so he can “kataphage” (eat until gone) the child.

     The imagery is epic in scope. The woman is about to give birth to GOD's Messiah.
     She produces a son, a male, and the Greek uses both terms: “huion arsen”, who is “mellei” (intended) to “poimainein” (govern as a shepherd) all the “ethne” (foreign nations) with a “rhabdo sidera” (rod of iron). Upon birth the child is “herpasthe” (seized and snatched away) up to GOD and His Throne.
     The root of the 'snatched away' word is “harpazo” which we also see later in Revelation and in a famous verse in First Thessalonians 4: 17, and we looked at in depth in the feature on the "Rapture of the Church".

     The woman “ephygen” (ran away) into the “eremon” (lonely wasteland) where a “topon hetoimasmenon” (place had been prepared) for her by GOD, where she will be nourished, we don't know by who, for 1,260 days. A number of days we just saw in chapter 11.

     Now we'll address the issue we haven't mentioned in this essay: "Is 'the woman' the lady usually called The Virgin Mary?" Yes. and. No. Probably mostly 'no', and yes we will have it both ways. And that will all be explained to death in an upcoming focus feature on her. We mean, about her. yeah...
     But in short: This verse has been cited in various Catholic essays defending their position that the Virgin Mary has a special status in Heaven and cite the doctrine of her Assumption in support of this view. Protestants will maintain that she is Israel, or the tribe of Judah, or 'humanity' in general. From the text, that may or may not be true, it is more likely that the 'woman in heaven' is symbolic of... all the above. Which is more in line with the rest of the Apocalypse. As promised, we'll go into that later.

     There is a “polemos” (battle / conflict) in “ourano” (heaven AND in the sky). Greek: “Michael” (English: Michael)...

Michael's tangent
     According to Scripture, 'Mike' is the only archangel. Jude uses the word “archangelos” (superior or chief messenger) to describe him in the odd reference to a Jewish Legend about the body of Moses, verse 9. Daniel states that he is one of the “ha·ri·so·nim has·sa·rim ” (chief of the princes) and “hag·ga·do·wl has·sa·ri” (chief and great prince) in chapters 10: 13 and 12:1.
     The New Testament states that there are authorities and powers and other such positions in heaven, such as Ephesians 3, Colossians 1, First Peter 3, and a mention in Romans 8.
     Besides the references above, and a statement in 1 Thessalonians 4 about the “archangel's voice”, we'd be hard pressed to write a job description of the position. It is also worth noting that the same titles apply to the 'bad guys' who work for 'the Dragon'.
     While we're here, we'll check in with what is supposed to be another member of that union. Raphael is mentioned in Tobit 7: 15 and then in 12: 15 as one of the “seven holy angels which present the prayers of the saints”. Their number, seven, is confirmed in Revelation 8. The book of Enoch even names them: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, and Remiel.
     Gabriel is never definitively identified as such in Scripture, only that he has gone on several important missions, and stands in the presence of God. Even the Quran mentions the special work of Gabriel (as Jibril in Arabic), but never states he 'has rank', as it does with Michael / Mikal. In other Islamic texts, Raphael or Israfil, is stated to be the archangel with the trumpet at the end of time.
     The legend that Joan of Arc, the iconic French teenage warrior, had a 'relationship' with Michael the warrior angel who guided her in the 1420s, is at best, an interesting story, but that's it. See link below.
End tangent
     ... the verse clearly states that both Michael and the Dragon had command of a multitude of “angeloi” (angels) and they “polemesai / epolemesen” (do battle, fight / fight back).

8 and 9
     He “ouk” (didn't have) “ischysen” (strength or power) nor was a place found for them in heaven any more. And he was “eblethe” (thrown out).
     And the “megas ho ophis ho archaios” (great serpent ancient) who is “kaloumenos” (called) “Diabolos” and “HO Satanas” (the Satan) who “planon” (leads astray) the “oikoumenen holen” (world whole) was cast down to Earth with his angels.
     It is also interesting that given the text of these two verses, we don't know if this event is from the Current Events Desk in Revelation, or is the incident remembered by Christ when He saw the Devil fall from heaven as He mentioned in Luke 10.

10 - 12
     And John heard a “phonen megalan” (voice great) in the “ourano” (heaven) saying: Now has come “soteria” (salvation) and the “dynamis” (miraculous power) and the “basileia” (rule) of our God and the “exousia” (mastery) of “Christou” of GOD, because “eblethe ho kategor” (thrown down the accuser) of the “adelphon hemon” (brothers of us) “enopion tou Theou hemon” (before the GOD of us) day and night.
     And they “enikesan auton” (victoriously conquered him) “dia to haima tou Arniou” (by reason of the Blood of the Lamb) and by reason of “logon tes martyrias” (expression of the evidence / testimony) of them, and that they did not love their life unto death.
     Because of this “euphrainesthe” (be in a good frame of mind (Literally: “Cheer Up!”) the heavens (heaven and 'the sky' and etc) and those “skenountes” (encamped) there. Woe to the “gen” (planet) and the “thalassan” (sea) because the devil has come down to you, having “thymon megan” (outburst of passion / rage great) knowing he has but a short time.

     When the Dragon realizes that he has been thrown down he “edioxen” (pursues with intent to do harm) the woman who had just given birth.
     Far from simply being a sore loser, the bad guy knows this is probably his last best chance to change the outcome of this series of events.

     And “edothesan” (offered / given) the “dyo pteryges” (two wings) of a great eagle “sina petetai” (so that she could fly) ino the “eremon” (wilderness) into her place where she was “trephetai” (pampered, almost 'fattened') for one of those measurements of time in Revelation that really don't mean anything specific, from the “trephetai tou opheos” (front of the serpent).
     The "time, times, half a time" could be some flavor of the three and a half years that comes up all over Revelation in various ways, we see another version of it in the next chapter. Or it could be, as we've said before, a significant period of time, but not a LONG time.
     The text states that the woman was given wings, she did NOT already have them, nor does it state who gave them to her.

     The overall image is that the dragon vomits a flash flood of water toward the woman as she flees.

16 and 17
     And the “ge” (land) helped the woman by opening a “stoma” (mouth) and “katepien” (swallowed) the torrent from the Dragon.
     Somewhere there's now a cave that is an underground lake of dragon vomit. ... ... terrific

     The dragon was “orgisthe” (provoked to rage) with the woman, and he “apelthen poiesai polemon” (went to make war) against the woman, and the “loipon spermatos” (remaining offspring) who were “terounton” (guarding) “entolas” (ordinances and commands) of GOD, and that hold to the testimony of “Iesou”.
     This is the first time we've seen that name since chapter 1!
           PS: the word 'church' does not appear after chapter 3 until chapter 22.

End 12

Selected Sources for this chapter:

this is theirs, we'll do our own later:

A good look at Michael

Joan Of Arc

Craighead Caverns, The Lost Sea, largest underground lake in US.

That monster article we mentioned about dragons.... and monsters:

Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages:

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

The study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

With the assistance and cooperation of The Media Desk.