Revelation 12:4
His tail swept a third of the stars from the sky, tossing them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, ready to devour her child as soon as she gave birth.
SignsR. Green Revelation 12:1-6
Social Christhood and Social FiendhoodD. Thomas Revelation 12:1-6
The Dragon Foiled and the Church PreservedJ. Bailey, Ph. D.Revelation 12:3-4
The Great WarJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Revelation 12:3-4

It has been wisely said, "The Revelation of St. John gives no regularly progressive disclosure of the future, advancing in unbroken series from beginning to end; but it falls into a number of groups, which, indeed, supplement each other, every successive vision giving some other aspect of the future, but which are still formally complete in themselves, each proceeding from a beginning to an end." We have but just heard the accents of the shout of final triumph. Now we are thrown back again to scenes of strife, and conflict - the prevailing condition until the end cometh. This section is preparative. The agents in the great strife are set before us in symbolical form - "signs." The things signified it behoves us to seek to know.

I. THE FIRST IS THE SIGN OF "A WOMAN ARRAYED WITH THE SUN, AND THE MOON UNDER HER FEET, AND UPON HER HEAD A CROWN OF TWELVE STARS." In this we are to see a symbolical representation of the Zion of God - the Church; not the Christian in contradiction to the Jewish; but the true Israel of God - under the Old and perpetuated in New Testament times. Not an unfamiliar figure of both Old and New Testaments to represent the Church as a woman, whether a bride or a mother (Isaiah 54:5, 6; Revelation 21:2, 9). Is the sun that glory of God which now lightens the holy city; and the moon the previous, the lesser light which ruled the comparative night before the morning star appeared? The crown of the Church is ever the twelve tribes supplanted by the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

II. THE SECOND SIGN IS THE MAN CHILD BORN OF THE WOMAN. Christ in his human nature, born of that Church which for so long before his coming endured the pangs of travail. From the bosom of the people of God, Christ according to the flesh came. This is he of whom it is declared, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me... thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron."

III. THE THIRD SYMBOL OR SIGN IS "A GREAT RED DRAGON, HAVING SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS, AND ON HIS HEADS SEVEN DIADEMS." The interpretation of this is given explicitly in ver. 9. The seven heads may fitly represent the multiplied worldly powers which the evil one brings against Christ and his Church, and in the ten horns may be hidden a reference to that great world power which, in the days of St. John, sought, as the agent of Satan, to destroy the Church of Christ. The whole scene is expressive of the great powers which from the beginning wage war with the Lamb.

IV. A FOURTH SIGN IS FOUND IN THE ATTITUDE OF THE RED DRAGON BEFORE THIS WOMAN, SEEKING TO DESTROY HER CHILD, But the Divine care defends him, and the woman flees into the wilderness - "a place prepared," and that "they may nourish her." Let the whole for our instruction resolve itself into a teaching concerning:

1. The habitual antagonism of the great powers of evil to him who is the Church's Lord and Son. The whole book portrays the strife between the great antagonistic powers - light and darkness, sin and holiness, Christ and Satan - "the proper factors of history." This vision is, for us, one of warning and admonition. We learn the conditions on which we hold life. Our hearts are the battleground, and for dominion over them the two forces contend. Our duty is plain.

2. The Divine care for the Church. The "wilderness" is not a place of danger, but of safety. The city, with its corruption, is the deadly place. True, the wilderness affords not luxury; but luxury is danger. In the wilderness the Church is fed and nourished. God has prepared the conditions of safety for his Church during the times of the great strife which is afterwards to be detailed. Then let the lowly disciple have both faith and hope. The Lord will defend him in the day of battle, and will nourish him unto eternal life. - R. G.

A great red dragon.
A contest here is waging which enlists and engages the mightiest powers that exist. It is the great and far-reaching conflict between good and evil, between truth and falsehood, between right and usurpation, between the kingdom of God and the empire of Satan, between heaven and hell — the great war of a divided universe, coming to final issue upon this little world of ours! It is largely silent and invisible. Though raging round us every hour, we perceive so little of it, that many doubt its reality. But its very hiddenness is evidence of its awful greatness. The little broils and disputes of a neighbourhood are loud, and thrust themselves on every ear, because they are confined to a level and limit within easy observation and comprehension; but this conflict we can only know by Divine revelation, because it encompasses so much of eternity, and pertains to spiritual potencies under and behind the outward ongoing of things. But, whether conscious of it or not, such a mighty strife exists, and we ourselves are all parties to it, and combatants in it. If not of the glorious woman, we are of the seven-headed and ten-horned dragon, at war with her, her seed, and her God.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Ever since wrong commenced, there has been a bitter antagonism between it and right. Though varying with varied circumstances, all moral wrong and all falsehood have their deep origin in selfishness. This monster-evil displays itself in ten thousand ways, but in essence it is always the same, the substitute of man's individual will for the will of God. Every new unfolding of truth and goodness from heaven finds the state of society previously formed by selfishness and mystery ready to assail it, and if possible to destroy. Thus was it when the Lord Himself came upon the earth. He ushered into the world new doctrines of love and light. The serpent, then, in His case, stood ready to devour, and at length nailed Him to the Cross, crying, "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" The great dragon is, then, a pretended religion, which is, however, nothing but disguised selfishness. Let us look at each of these features in detail. The serpent, as being the form on earth which corresponds to self-love in its disorderly state, when we call it selfishness, is felt to be truly so instinctively by us all, and is so used throughout the Divine Word. The great business of all religion is to conquer this serpent in every one of us. Unless selfishness is overcome, there can be no progress made. We cannot of ourselves destroy our serpents, but the Lord will give us power to do so. He says (Luke 10:19). By the help of Him, then, who conquered all the efforts of the powers of darkness, and sanctified His own human nature that He might give us power to purify ours, we can obtain the victory over self-love in all its unhappy forms. From being proud we can become truly humble; from being hard and stern we can become gentle and considerate; from being cold and stately we can become warm and happy. We can tread on the serpent of self-love and the scorpion of malignant falsehood, and deprive them of that life by which all things die around them, and fill their places with that heavenly life which is the source of every blessedness. The great and terrible figure before us, then, is indicative of a system which, though prepared to soar, and having much power and much adornment, yet is deeply grounded in selfishness, and would be ready with all its might to oppose the new Church and its heavenly doctrines. It was a serpent, but a serpent with wings — a dragon. Wings are the means by which birds soar, and they correspond to those general truths by means of which men's thoughts soar. But the wings of the dragon are false principles of religion, by which there is an imitation of truth, but only an imitation. There is a flying upwards, but it is only the flying of a serpent. That is to say, it is a system of pretended truth respecting God, and heaven and eternal things, but altogether, in its interior character, selfish. It would be constructed with great ingenuity and skill, indicated by its having seven heads. It would have much power of persuasiveness and apparent truth intimated by its ten horns, and would make a great display of heavenly wisdom, misapplied. The heads are seven, to signify, as that number ever does, completeness, and a relation to holy things; but as they are heads of the dragon, they represent that completed, but perverted, ingenuity by which a false religion satisfies its deluded adherents. Horns are the emblems of power. Horned animals push, and exert their power by means of their horns. The crowns, or diadems, as the Greek word more properly expresses, are literally fillets or bands for the head, beautified with precious stones. They represent, therefore, a display of numerous heavenly truths of considerable brilliancy, for these are spiritual precious stones, but decorating principles inwardly false, nothing but dragon's heads. Every religion lives by its real or supposed power of meeting the demands of the soul for inward peace and everlasting happiness. True religion is genuine, pure, healthful, and wears the glorious beauties of heavenly knowledge gracefully. False religion is inwardly corrupt, but decorates herself with many heavenly excellences to charm by outward show, and to hide its interior iniquity. Such, then, is the system before us; secretly the same selfishness which has been the groundwork in every age of all the misery which has afflicted the whole world; but having an apparent air of great intelligence, great plausibility, great power, and an abundant use of the holy truths of the Word, ready, however, to oppose the Lord's bride, the New Jerusalem, and devour her manly and genuine doctrine. Selfishness has decorated itself with the appearance of religion, but by its fruits we may know it. It can fly abroad, and show itself as soaring to heaven, but it is only a flying serpent.

(J. Bailey, Ph. D.)

John, Michael
Birth, Born, Child, Devour, Dragon, Drew, Flung, Front, Moment, Sky, Stars, Stood, Swept, Tail, Third, Threw
1. A woman clothed with the sun travails.
4. The great red dragon stands before her, ready to devour her child;
6. when she is delivered she flees into the desert.
7. Michael and his angels fight with the dragon, and prevail.
13. The dragon, being cast down into the earth, persecutes the woman.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 12:4

     1657   numbers, fractions
     4121   Satan, enemy of God
     4272   sky
     5564   suffering, of Christ
     8787   opposition, to God

Revelation 12:1-5

     8729   enemies, of Christ

Revelation 12:3-4

     4627   creatures

Revelation 12:3-9

     4654   horn

Prevailing Prayer.
Text.--The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.--James v. 16. THE last lecture referred principally to the confession of sin. To-night my remarks will be chiefly confined to the subject of intercession, or prayer. There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God. The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. When I speak of moving God, I do not mean that God's mind is changed by prayer, or that his
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Third
refers to Exodus. The promise is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it" (ii. 17). It is in this third Epistle, which refers to the wilderness period and Balaam's counsel, that we have a special reference to the manna, the wilderness sustenance, of which Exodus contains the record. "Bread from Heaven" and "Angels' food" (Ps. lxxviii. 24,25) are set over against the lusts of the
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Glory of Jesus and Mary.
Before entering upon the contemplation of the excellent glory which surrounds the blessed in heaven, we must endeavor to form a correct idea of God's grace, which enabled them to perform the great and noble actions we are now to consider. They were all, except Jesus and Mary, conceived in sin, and, therefore, subject to the same temptations that daily assail us. They never could have triumphed and reached the supernatural glory which now surrounds them, had they been left to their own natural strength,
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

The Work of Christ.
The great work which the Lord Jesus Christ, God's well beloved Son, came to do was to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. This finished work of the cross is the basis of His present work and His future work. What mind can estimate the value and preciousness of that work in which the Holy One offered Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God! He procured redemption by His death on the cross. In His present work and much more in the future work, He works out this great redemption
A. C. Gaebelein—The Work Of Christ

A Discourse of the House and Forest of Lebanon
OF THE HOUSE OF THE FOREST OF LEBANON. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. That part of Palestine in which the celebrated mountains of Lebanon are situated, is the border country adjoining Syria, having Sidon for its seaport, and Land, nearly adjoining the city of Damascus, on the north. This metropolitan city of Syria, and capital of the kingdom of Damascus, was strongly fortified; and during the border conflicts it served as a cover to the Assyrian army. Bunyan, with great reason, supposes that, to keep
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Voluntary Suffering
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. T hat which often passes amongst men for resolution, and the proof of a noble, courageous spirit, is, in reality, the effect of a weak and little mind. At least, it is chiefly owing to the presence of certain circumstances, which have a greater influence upon the conduct, than any inherent principle. Thus may persons who appear to set death and danger at defiance in the hour
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Fourth vision "In Heaven"
H^4, chap. xii. 1-12. A Great Sign. We now come, not only to the great central subject of the whole Book, but to the central pair of the seven Visions, and to the actual literary centre of the Book. All this shows us that we are on the threshold of an important part of Scripture which relates to the actual Revelation or Unveiling of the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole section (chaps. xii.--) is not only Episodal in subject and Parenthetical in form, but is a good example of historical,
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Apostles To-Day?
"Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are ye not my work in the Lord?"--1 Cor. ix. 1. We may not take leave of the apostolate without a last look at the circle of its members. It is a closed circle; and every effort to reopen it tends to efface a characteristic of the New Covenant. And yet the effort is being made again and again. We see it in Rome's apostolic succession; in the Ethical view gradually effacing the boundary-line between the apostles and believers;
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Protevangelium.
As the mission of Christ was rendered necessary by the fall of man, so the first dark intimation of Him was given immediately after the fall. It is found in the sentence of punishment which was passed upon the tempter. Gen. iii. 14, 15. A correct understanding of it, however, can be obtained only after we have ascertained who the tempter was. It is, in the first place, unquestionable that a real serpent was engaged in the temptation; so that the opinion of those who maintain that the serpent is only
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

A Discourse of Mercifulness
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 These verses, like the stairs of Solomon's temple, cause our ascent to the holy of holies. We are now mounting up a step higher. Blessed are the merciful . . '. There was never more need to preach of mercifulness than in these unmerciful times wherein we live. It is reported in the life of Chrysostom that he preached much on this subject of mercifulness, and for his much pressing Christians to mercy, he was called of many, the alms-preacher,
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The rule of obedience being the moral law, comprehended in the Ten Commandments, the next question is: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments? The sum of the Ten Commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.' Deut 6: 5. The duty called for is love, yea, the strength of love, with all
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness.
^A Matt. IV. 1-11; ^B Mark I. 12, 13; ^C Luke IV. 1-13. ^c 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, ^b 12 And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth ^c and ^a 1 Then [Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
'If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' - Col 1:23. Intending next Lord's day to enter upon the work of catechising, it will not be amiss to give you a preliminary discourse, to show you how needful it is for Christians to be well instructed in the grounds of religion. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith. II. The best way for Christians to be settled is to be well grounded. I. It is the duty of Christians
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Its Meaning
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

An Appendix to the Beatitudes
His commandments are not grievous 1 John 5:3 You have seen what Christ calls for poverty of spirit, pureness of heart, meekness, mercifulness, cheerfulness in suffering persecution, etc. Now that none may hesitate or be troubled at these commands of Christ, I thought good (as a closure to the former discourse) to take off the surmises and prejudices in men's spirits by this sweet, mollifying Scripture, His commandments are not grievous.' The censuring world objects against religion that it is difficult
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

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