1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
NOTE: "I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman." Jeremiah 6:2. "for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2Cor. 11:2. The woman is the Christian Church.
2. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
NOTE: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: ...The Prince of Peace." "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 9:6; 7:14. "Immanuel" means God dwelling with us.
3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
NOTE: This dragon represents Satan's kingdom, Rome. The seven heads are the first seven kings of Satan's Roman Empire. When Rome began, it had exactly seven kings before it became a republic in 509 B.C. This is represented by the crowns on the heads.
753-716 B.C. Romulus
716-672 B.C. Numa Pompilius
672-640 B.C. Tullus Hostilius
640-616 B.C. Ancus Marcius
616-578 B.C. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus
578-534 B.C. Servius Tullius
534-509 B.C. Lucius Tarquinius Superbus
509-30 B.C. Republic
4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
NOTE: "for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." Matt. 2:13. Satan was using Herod, a ruler for Rome, to try to kill Jesus.
5. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
NOTE: "this same Jesus, which is taken up form you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11.
Note.-- "'A woman,' the true church. A corrupt woman is used to represent an apostate or corrupt church. Eze. 23:2-4; Rev. 17:3-6,15,18. By parity of reasoning, a pure woman, as in this instance, would represent the true church.
"'The sun,' the light and glory of the gospel dispensation.
"'The moon,' the Mosaic dispensation. As the moon shines with a borrowed light derived from the sun, so the former dispensation shone with a light borrowed from the present. There they had the type and shadow; here we have the antitype and substance.
"'A crown of twelve stars,' the twelve apostles.
"'A great red dragon,' pagan Rome.... Rome, in the person of Herod, attempted to destroy Jesus Christ, when he sent forth and destroyed all the children of Bethlehem from two years old and under. The child that was born to the expectant desires of a waiting and watching church, was our adorable Redeemer, who is soon to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Herod could not destroy Him; the combined powers of earth and hell could not overcome Him; and though held for a time under the dominion of the grave, He rent its cruel bands, opened a way of life for mankind, and was caught up to God and to His throne, or ascended up to heaven in the sight of His disciples, leaving to them, by the words of the angel, this sweetest of all promises, that like as He was taken away from them, so He would come again."-- "Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation," by U. Smith.
6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Note.-- Satan sought to destroy the infant Saviour, and later effected the crucifixion of Christ, under the Roman imperial power. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Satan's wrath turned anew against the church, which had to flee into the wilderness. Now the prophecy reaches the long period of papal supremacy, the 1,260 years, when the true church was much in hiding to escape from the desolating power of Rome.
7. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Note.-- These verses seem to be thrown in here by way of explaining the animus of the dragon, Satan, against the man child. They had met before, for this man child was not only the Son of man, but he was also the Son of God, and as commander of the heavenly hosts, had expelled Satan from heaven.
10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
NOTE: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" 1 Peter 5:8.
13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
NOTE: See note on Daniel 7:25 for explanation of time, times, and half a time.
15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
NOTE: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." Isaiah 59:19. The enemy is the flood.
16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Note.-- The church passed through the long period of "a time and times and the dividing of time,"-- the 1,260 years of Daniel 7:25, the period of papal supremacy. The time of this persecution was cut short, as Christ foretold to the disciples (Matt. 24:22), else the children of God must literally have been "worn out." Some of the nations broke away from Rome, the Reformation arose, and an era of discovery opened new lands as a refuge for the persecuted. So "the earth helped the woman" (the church), and the period of persecution was cut short. The new era of greater civil and religious liberty was ushered in, and the churches of the Reformation arose.
17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Note.-- The "remnant" church, in the last days, is distinguished as keeping "the commandments of God." The power of apostasy has "thought" to change the law of God. Dan. 7:25. The spirit of "that lawless one" (2 Thess. 2:8) is all abroad in the world. Men have set aside the law of the Most High. But before the end, God will have a "remnant," spread through all the world, following the example of Christ and the teaching of the New Testament in keeping "the commandments of God," in spite of all the warfare of Satan against the law of God. To join with that company every believer in Christ is invited today by this message of the book of Revelation. It is not an invitation to follow any humanly devised way, but to follow Jesus Christ, who left "us an example, that ye should follow His steps." 1 Peter 2:21. The Bible and the Bible only the rule of life, Christ and Christ only our example and the way of life-- that is the platform of the remnant church.