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The Woman and the Dragon

12 And then a great ·wonder [sign; portent; C symbolic descriptions of heavenly/spiritual realities] appeared in heaven: A woman was clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet [C indicating authority or victory; Gen. 37:9], and a crown [C a reward of victory] of twelve stars was on her head [C representing the twelve tribes of Israel; the woman is a symbol of the persecuted people of God]. She was ·pregnant [L in the womb] and cried out with [L labor] pain, because she was about to give birth [C to the Messiah]. Then another ·wonder [sign; portent; 12:1] appeared in heaven: There was a giant red dragon with seven heads [C reminiscent of the many-headed Leviathan representing evil and chaos, here representing Satan; Ps. 74:14; Is. 27:1; Dan. 7:1–9] and seven ·crowns [diadems; royal crowns] on each head. He [or It; C the Greek masculine pronoun can refer to a person or thing] also had ten horns [C symbols of strength and power; Dan. 7:7–8, 20, 24]. His tail swept a third of the stars out of ·the sky [or heaven] and ·threw [cast; hurled; Dan. 8:10] them down to the earth [C representing an early victory against God’s people; 12:1]. He stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth so he could ·eat [devour] her ·baby [child; C Jesus the Messiah] as soon as it was born. Then the woman gave birth to ·a son [L a son, a male child,] who will ·rule [or shepherd] all the nations with an iron ·rod [sceptre; 19:15; Ps. 2:9]. And her child was ·taken up [or snatched away; C probably a symbolic reference to the resurrection, where Satan’s victory was thwarted] to God and to his throne. The woman ·ran away [fled] into the ·desert [wilderness] to a place God prepared for her where she would ·be taken care of [nourished; fed] for one thousand two hundred sixty days [C equal to three and one-half years; see 11:3].

Then there was a war in heaven. Michael [C an archangel and protector of God’s people; Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But the dragon was not strong enough, and he and his angels lost their place in heaven. The ·giant [great] dragon was ·thrown down [cast; hurled] out of heaven. (He is that ·old snake [ancient serpent] called the devil or Satan [Gen. 3:1, 15], who ·tricks [deceives; leads astray] the whole world.) The dragon with his angels was ·thrown down [cast; hurled] to the earth.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying:

“The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God
    and the ·authority [power] of his ·Christ [Messiah; Anointed One] have now come [Dan. 7:14].

[L For] The accuser [C the name Satan means “Accuser” in Hebrew; Job 1:6–12; 2:1–6; Zech. 3:1–2] of our brothers and sisters,

    who accused them day and night before our God,
    has been ·thrown [cast; hurled] down.
11 And our brothers and sisters ·defeated [conquered] him
    by the blood of the ·Lamb’s death [L Lamb; C by means of Christ’s sacrificial death]
    and by the ·message they preached [L word of their witness/testimony].
[L And] They did not love their lives so much
    that they ·were afraid of [avoided] death.
12 So rejoice, you heavens
    and all who live there!
But ·it will be terrible for [L woe to] the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has come down to you!
He is filled with ·anger [wrath],
    because he knows he ·does not have much time [L has little time].”

13 When the dragon saw he had been ·thrown [cast; hurled] down to the earth, he ·hunted for [pursued; or persecuted] the woman who had given birth to the ·son [boy; L male]. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of a great ·eagle [or vulture; Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:10–11; Is. 40:31] so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the ·desert [wilderness]. There she would be ·taken care of [nourished; fed] for ·three and one-half years [L a time, times, and half a time; 11:2, 3; 13:5; Dan. 7:25; 12:7], away from the ·snake [serpent; C God will spiritually nourish his people though they are persecuted]. 15 Then the ·snake [serpent] ·poured [spewed; L threw] water out of its mouth like a river ·toward [after] the woman so the flood would ·carry [sweep] her away [C overwhelming water signifies overwhelming trouble; Ps. 18:4; 69:2]. 16 But the earth ·helped [rescued] the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that ·came [spewed; L was thrown] from the mouth of the dragon. 17 Then the dragon was ·very angry [furious; full of wrath] at the woman, and he went off to make war against ·all her other children [L the rest of her seed/offspring]—those who obey God’s commands and who ·have the message Jesus taught [or hold fast to their testimony about Jesus].

18 And the dragon[a] stood on the ·seashore [L sand of the sea; C some commentators and translations take this verse as the introduction to the episode in chapter 13].


  1. Revelation 12:18 the dragon Some Greek copies read “I.”

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