MP3: The Mighty Angels of Revelation 12
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Vic Batista: We are continuing our study of God’s mighty angels in the book of Revelation. In this particular segment, we will look at the some prophetic imagery found in Revelation 12. Angel wars!
In our last segment, we closed Revelation 11 with the Seventh Trumpet Judgment Angel blowing his trumpet which produced a great shaking. This angel was the seventh out of seven whose trumpets were blown in order to declare God’s judgments against the people of the earth.
Nathan Jones: There are 72 references to angels in the book of Revelation according to the New King James Version. Revelation is just packed with angels! In this book, God is pulling the veil off of the spiritual world in order to show the Apostle John what is going on behind the scenes. We, too, by reading can also have a view of what is going on behind the scenes involving spiritual warfare.
Most of Revelation takes place during a time period called the Tribulation. It’s the seven year time period that God has set aside to judge the people of the world to punish their sin, to bring a remnant of people to accept Jesus as Savior, and to see Jesus victorious in His return. All 21 judgments are given by God Himself through His messengers. So far in our study, 14 of these judgments have been released by God’s angels. There are seven Seal Judgments, seven Trumpet Judgments, and seven Bowl Judgments.
We are now at the Seventh Trumpet Judgment, which is the fourteenth judgment of it’s kind, because it launches the Seven Bowl Judgments. Revelation 11:19 reveals: “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
The Seventh Trumpet Judgment is not a specific judgment like the others are, but rather a bunch of cataclysms combined: lightning, noises, thunder, earthquakes and hail.
The Temple of God is also opened. This is the only reference in the New Testament to seeing the Ark of the Covenant. Now, whether what’s being described in verse 19 is the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant brought up to Heaven, or the Old Testament Ark was merely a symbol that represented the real Ark of the Covenant already located in Heaven, and I think the latter is the case, we aren’t told. We are seeing Heaven open, and God is revealing Himself through His power.
We are creeping nearer to the end of the Tribulation age and the beginning of the Messianic Age when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom.
Vic Batista: Revelation 11 is a breathtaking passage just filled with amazing angelic beings and their activities in the heavens!
Revelation 11:19 sets us up for the mind-boggling scene of Revelation 12. Of course, we are sequentially moving along the Tribulation timeline, for after following the Seal and Trumpet Judgments, we are just about to get into the Seven Bowl Judgments. But, there are some chapters like this one which give us a little bit of a pause in the releasing of God’s judgments. In Chapter 12 there is still a lot of activity concerning God’s angels, but there’s a different scenario happening than releasing judgments.
Nathan Jones: Up to this point, God has been through His angels pouring out His judgments upon the people of the earth. With Revelation 12, we will now learn more about the players. In chapter 12 we are going to learn about the most famous angel of them all — Lucifer. Then we will get into chapter 13 which will describe more of what he will be doing. So, we are moving from events to characters.
The Woman and Her Child
Nathan Jones: We are waylaid by Revelation 12 before we get into the Seven Bowl Judgments. God pauses the narrative in order for us to learn about the Enemy of Mankind, the ultimate angel who in the beginning started a rebellion against God and has caused so much of the suffering in the world for thousands of years. We are about to learn about the most insidious angel of them all — Satan himself.
Vic Batista: The opening verses of Revelation 12 present the reader with many pictures and images. A lot of seemingly incomprehensible things are going on in this chapter, and so it can be easy for the reader to get lost. Don’t fear, for each of these images have a specific meaning and a biblical reference from mainly the Old Testament, though there are a few from the New Testament.
Nathan Jones: To understand Revelation 12, you really have to know your Bible, because there are all these symbols whose meanings are found elsewhere in Scriptures. Nobody has to make up a meaning, for we know what these images really are from other references in the Bible. The problem for most readers is that they have to know ahead of time what these symbols mean in order to understand most of Revelation.
Vic Batista: Let’s read Revelation 12:1-6 and see exactly what’s going on with this powerful passage.
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 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. 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. Then the woman 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.”
Nathan, what’s up with this giant woman?
Nathan Jones: A giant woman? I don’t think that’s the interpretation the Bible is going for, but good try!
Vic Batista: Well, she reminds me of the Mighty Angel of Revelation 10. He was so massive that he had one foot in the ocean and one on the land. So what exactly is the imagery that we are looking at here?
Nathan Jones: We have to go to the story of Joseph all the way back in Genesis 37. Joseph had a dream. He dreamed that his mother and father were the sun and the moon, and his brothers were twelve stars. They all bowed down and worshiped Joseph. The timing of this was the infancy of the Jewish people before Israel was a nation.
What the Woman in Revelation 12 is referring to isn’t a woman, per say, but in actuality is the nation of Israel. We know the Woman is Israel because chapter 12 goes on to say that she gave birth to a male child who would rule all nations. We know the Messiah will rule all the nations one day, and He will do so with a rod of iron, which is a term frequently used in the Bible to say that Jesus’ rule will be absolute and there will be no challenge to it. We know that the Jewish people — Israel — gave birth to the Child. It’s indisputable that the Messiah came from the Jewish people. Jesus was born a Jew.
With the story of the Woman, we are actually getting not just one time period in history, but a part of a number of years of history all rolled into one. Israel’s 12 sons made a nation and centuries later she gave birth to the Messiah.
Nathan Jones: Now we come to a frightening dragon who desires to destroy the Child. This dragon is the description of Satan. Whether Satan’s true form actually looks like a fiery-red dragon, and there are references that his angelic form was dragon-like, remains uncertain.
The Dragon is quite impressive looking, too, when you look at the details here. He has seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems or crowns on his head. Now, whether Satan actually has seven heads and ten horns is unlikely, though there are other passages in the Bible that explain the seven heads as seven empires and that the ten horns are the final Ten Kings over the earth once the earth is divided into ten regions with the Antichrist ruling over them. So, the Dragon is more a representation of what Satan rules over. He is ruler over this earth until Jesus returns.
The Dragon wanted to destroy Jesus Christ by “devouring” Him through King Herod when he was a child, and later by the Romans at the cross. But, as hard as Satan tries, he has never had any success. Jesus was crucified by Satan’s plotting, but Jesus surprised everyone by beating death through His resurrection, being “caught up to God and His throne” as verse 5 describes.
In Revelation 12:6 we read that the Woman — Israel — will flee into the wilderness. She will have a place prepared for her by God, and there she shall be protected for 3.5 years. This time period is the second half of the Tribulation.
Vic Batista: So, again, this Woman is a representation of Israel. And Satan — the Dragon — is always trying to destroy the Child and the saving work of God through Christ before He began His life. Satan’s desire to cut off God’s work before it began was true in the book of Exodus with the Israelites in slavery, it was true in the book of Matthew at the birth of Jesus when Herod tried to kill Him, and it is going to be true in the end times when the armies of the world will unite under the Antichrist to prevent Christ’s ascension to the Millennial throne.
Nathan Jones: The reference to the Dragon reminds me of Smaug from The Hobbit book and movie series. How interesting about all the folklore concerning dragons hiding out in caverns filled with jewels, money, and wealth, and how the riches stick to their bodies. Even at one point in a Hobbit movie Smaug becomes covered in gold. We are told in Ezekiel 28:13 that Satan was actually covered in jewels. He was the most magnificent out of all the angels ever made. The verse reads:
“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. the workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.”
Satan in his original form was the most mighty of angels. Ezekiel 28 says he was full of wisdom and he was perfect in beauty. He was originally called Lucifer, which means “light-bearer.” As Lucifer the light-bearer his job was to guard the throne of God. Likely Lucifer was more in the role of honor guard, as obviously nothing can attack God.
Satan was the greatest and most powerful angel. As a matter of fact, the Archangel Michael wouldn’t even attack Satan because Satan is more powerful than all the other angels, though Satan is nowhere nearly as powerful as God Himself. Satan is a created being. He’s got limitations. He is not omnipresent. He doesn’t know everything. Sure, Satan is to be feared and even respected in a way because he is the most powerful of all the created beings ever made, but unlike God, Satan has limits.
Vic Batista: As Christian, when we pray, we pray in Jesus’ name. We are not going to go toe-to-toe against Satan as some pastors teach. It is sad to say that some people are going around out there chasing down Satan. We are warned not to do that. Instead, we just need to pray and know that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Christians also don’t have to fear Satan like we are powerless.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! Satan is obviously the most powerful creature in the world. He is behind all the evil empires and nations, politicians, leaders, and governments right now. Satan is a force to be reckoned with, and we cannot fight him on our own. Even Michael would not take Satan on one-on-one. Still, Christians need to know that we are the winning side. We’re on Jesus Christ’s side, and Satan is just no match compared to Jesus Christ.
I think that this description of the Dragon is in part why Revelation gets into this topic. We know that Satan is behind the evil of world affairs, and so Revelation wants to give us more behind-the-scenes details. And, Jesus also wants to let us know the players involved and that Satan eventually will lead himself to his own destruction. Even though there are terrible events that will happen during the Tribulation, especially with the persecution of the Jews and those who come to know Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation whom we call the Tribulation Saints, they will suffer greatly at the hand of Satan. But, Jesus wins in the end!
In the twenty-fifth segment of our series “The Mighty Angels of Revelation,” a fiery-red dragon will be thrown out of Heaven.