Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a women clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 And the women fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail. Nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the
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serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Here in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, this 3 ½ year time span comes up two times. Once it is mentioned in coded form, time and times and half a time (time-one year, times-two years, and half a time-1/2 a year). It’s easy to decode because in verse 6 the woman flees into the wilderness to a place prepared for her, where she is feed for 1260 days. In verse 14 again, the woman escapes to her place in the wilderness where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time. Both verses are speaking about the same event. This is important to know because in the book of Daniel the coded form is always used. Though some of today’s modern English translations do away with time and times and half a time altogether and just use 3 ½ years. Or it is footnoted to say it means 3 ½ years.
Also noteworthy is the fact that 3 ½ years using the solar calendar of 365-day years comes out to 1277 or 1278 days, not 1260 days. This is because the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation us lunar years. With 30-day months, bringing each year to an even 360 days. Five days less a year then in a solar calendar. If lunar years are used in these prophecies it comes out perfectly. If solar years were used, after 3 ½ years the time frame would be off by 17 or 18 days.
In chapter 12 we are not told what proceeds, or comes after the end of the 3 ½ years, but we are told what commences it. The woman flees into the wilderness for 1260 days because the dragon
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is pursuing her. And the dragon is pursuing and persecuting the woman and her offspring, because he was hurled to the earth after being vanquished from heaven.
This battle in the heavenlies is the determining factor. Without this encounter the dragon would not of been cast unto the earth; or realized his time was so short; or become so enraged. In other words, this defeat that sets off the dragon in a rage of wrath is what will bring about the ground swell of demonic activity which will be present at this precise time. The igniting powers that will be behind the persecutions, the martyrdoms, the tribulations and distress.
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.
Spiritual powers and principalities and their sway and role in the affairs of this world, can you calculate them? Or understand its sum? In verse 9 it says that it was that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world! How can that old serpent really have such pull, and apply such pressure as to lead astray all the earth? In chapter 13 we will see that it is the dragon that is the driving force behind the end time leader. This antichrist figure is out there openly blaspheming God and warring with the saints—but the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. It even says that those who dwell on the earth worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast. (Rev. 13.2,4). Human agents will be culpable at this time to some of the most horrifying and horrid atrocious acts, yet they will be cheered on and inspired from a demonic realm.
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The predominant theme in Revelation chapter 12 is the spiritual side to this 3 ½ year period. But what we see is not all evil in nature.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought. We also see Michael again in Daniel 12. Who will stand watch over the people of God during the time of great trouble. (12:1)
When the dragon was cast down to the earth what does it say? Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come. Special power, and strength, and salvation will come at this special time!
The woman: given wings like an eagle to fly, the earth helping her, God preparing a place for her where she is nourished—all are indications of divine and angelic intervention on behalf of the woman, and in aid to her offspring; and is a counter to the surge of evil activity. As Israel was in the desert, so the woman shall be in the wilderness: God will carry her on eagles wings; and if need be he will open up the Red Sea, and send down manna from heaven.
And the woman fled into the wilderness to her place. God is our protection, and provision, and guide. These will be Psalm 91 days: He must be the place!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord,” He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him I will trust.” He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings you shall trust…Because you have made the Lord your refuge, even the Most High your dwelling place no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread
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upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
And even if we are slain by the dragon we are still over- comers. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Footnote: It may seem curious and strange, but Satan at this time has access to heaven. At least he did in the time of Job (Job 1:6, 2:1). So he can literally be kicked out of heaven to commence the last 3 ½ years.
And finally here in this chapter, who is the woman with the garland of twelve stars on her head; who bore the male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron? The male child obviously is Jesus. Who clearly comes out of the nation of Israel. But the woman can also represent spiritual Israel. The commonwealth of all who believe. God told Abraham
No longer shall your name be called Abram but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations…and in your seed all nations of the earth shall be blessed. Gen. 17:5, 22:18
But there are some, who with religious minds, will not tolerate the tearing down of the wall of division. In their pious fortitude they are still blinded to the mystery: that Jew and Gentile could become one.
You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity…so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace. And that He might reconcile them both to God in one body…Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself
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being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Study Eph. 2:11-22, 3:3-6, Gal. 3:26-29)
The offspring of the woman are certainly Christians: who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. And who are they in verse 11, who overcome him (the dragon) by the blood of the lamb?