Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

CHAPTER TWELVE:
THE GREAT OPPRESSION AND THE WOMAN’S SEED

[“Children and War”]
Key Word: Woman
Theme Verse: 17

A SECOND LOOK AT THE GREAT OPPRESSION

#288. Chapter twelve of the Apocalypse allows us to rewind the film as it were and put down a second layer of information over chapter eleven, still within the context of the Seventh Trump’s Third Woe. This time a Woman and a Dragon are introduced all within the chronological confines of Daniel’s “time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:18-22), or 1,260 days.

Revelation 12:1-2 – A Celestial Woman

RV12:1 And a great sign was seen557 in the Celestialum: a Woman558 [Isaiah 54:1] was enwrapped by the sun and the moon was beneath her feet. Upon her head a crown of 12 stars559 and she was pregnant.560
557 A great sign was seen: This is the only occurrence of the phrase “Great sign”. The word “seen” here is not the usual EIDON but OPSTHE.
558 Woman: Beginning with Genesis 3:15, compare Isaiah chapters 54-60 with Galatians chapter 4 for studies on this “woman.” Since Jerusalem was always compared to a woman and mother, it seems fair to state this Woman is the Holy City of Celestial Jerusalem. [Revelation 11:2, 3] This indicates we have returned to a second overlay on the subject of the Saint’s Great Oppression. This Woman’s great competitor has always been the Harlot Religion, Babylon the Great.
559 Upon her head a crown of 12 stars: These heavenly bodies echo Genesis 37:9. The Woman is celestial or heavenly and not part of the earth. Some of her children, however, are on earth, as we shall see.
560 She was pregnant: Compare Isaiah 54:1-15.
RV12:2 She is crying out in birth pains,561 tormented to give birth. [Isaiah 66:8]
561 She is crying out in birth pains: During the Nazarene’s agonies on earth.

Revelation 12:3-4 – A Dragon and a Son

RV12:3 And another sign was seen in the Celestialum: Look! a great fiery-red Dragon.562 It had 7 heads with 7 diadems, and 10 horns. [Daniel 7:7, 20]
562 A great fiery-red Dragon: This “dragon” is interpreted to be Satan. The 10 “horns” are the same as those Daniel 7:7, 20. The 7 Heads are crowned. Does this mean this is a foreview of the Beast as one corporate entity ad its potential; or, is this the state of the Beast at this moment? These are the Dragon’s 7 Heads and not those of the wild Sea Beast.
RV12:4 The Dragon’s tail was dragging a third of the heavenly stars.563 The Dragon threw the stars into the earth. [Daniel 8:10] The Dragon stood right before the Woman, the one about to give birth, so that when she did give birth, the Dragon might devour her Child. [Genesis 3:15]
563 Dragging a third of the heavenly stars: Likely those angelic stars the Devil misleads. (Genesis 6:1-3; Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13; Jude 6) The hurling of the stars to the earth is similar to Daniel 8:9-13.

Revelation 12:5-6 – A Raptured Son

RV12:5 And the Woman gave birth to a Son.564 [Genesis 3:15] Her Son is about to shepherd all the nations with a staff of iron.565 [Psalm 2:6-9] And her Child was snatched away towards The God566 [Daniel 7:13] and toward His Throne.567 [Daniel 7:13; Psalm 110:1]
564 The Woman gave birth to a Son: This Woman is the heavenly and holy Jerusalem, God’s Woman of celestial beings. The birthing of this Son occurred within the context of Romans 1.4. (Psalm 2:7; Luke 1:32; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5) As “the seed of the woman” the Messiah was to be “bruised” by the Serpent. (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20) The Gospels record attempts of Satan to “devour” this Son. The whole phrase is from Psalm 2:7, 9 (Acts 13:33) and Isaiah 66:7, 8.
565 Son is about to shepherd all the nations with a staff of iron: This is from Psalm 2:9. Compare Revelation 2.27; 19:13.
566 Her Child was snatched away towards The God: The Greek rendered “snatched” is HERPASTHE and is related to HARPAGESOMETHA of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Jesus experienced this “snatching” at Acts 1:9-11 as the event of Daniel 7:13.
567 Toward His Throne: That Throne of chapters 4, 5. Compare Revelation 3:21 where Jesus is already at God’s Throne when he writes to the congregations.
RV12:6 And the Woman fled into the desolate land568 where she has a place prepared by The God so that there they may nourish her 1,260 days.569 [Daniel 7:25; 12:7]
568 The Woman fled into the desolate land: Compare Revelation 17:3. The figure of speech is drawn from the wilderness in which Israel wandered for 40 years.
569 That there they may nourish her 1,260 days: There is an echo of Israel’s experience in the Sinai wilderness here. Having given birth she is particularly in need of nourishment and strength. She is a mother and has seen her Son and her future sons maltreated and abused. This period of nourishment is 1,260 days. There seems a telescopic leap here to that period just before the Return of Christ. The time period is the same of Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5 drawn from Daniel 7:18-24; 12:7. Allowing Daniel chapter 7 to determine these prophetic events, this nourishing of the Woman in the wilderness for three and a half years must be during the Great Oppression when Satan and his demons are no longer in heaven. There is a temptation by some here to summon 7 years, but judging from Daniel chapter 7 it seems there is only one period of three and a half years.

Revelation 12:7-9 – Enmity between Serpent and Seed

RV12:7 And a war occurred in the Celestialum. [Genesis 3:15] The Michael570 [Daniel 12:1] and his angels warred with the Dragon and the Dragon and his angels warred.571
570 Michael: The same of Daniel chapter 10 and Daniel 12:1. (Jude 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) Surely Christ. For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000© on Michael in Error of the Trinity.
571 His angels warred with the Dragon and the Dragon and his angels warred: May this war of conflict continue since the return of Christ to heaven just as his Saints on earth have been battling the Devil throughout the past centuries? (Ephesians 6:12)
RV12:8 The Dragon did not prove strong enough and no place was found for them in the Celestialum. RV12:9 The great Dragon was thrown down, the Old Serpent,572 [Genesis 3:1] the one called The Devil [Matthew 4:1] and The Satan, [1 Chronicles 21:1; Job 1:6] the one making the whole inhabited earth err.573 The Dragon and his angels were thrown into the earth.574
572 The Old Serpent: Or, old serpent, an ancient serpent, serpent of primal age. (Genesis 3:1, 15)
573 The one making the whole inhabited earth err: Or, mislead, deceive, seduce. Something Satan cannot do during the Thousand Years. (Revelation 20:3)
574 The Dragon and his angels were thrown into the earth: This event occurs before the Great Oppression as the following verses indicate. (Luke 10:18; John 12:31) Though this telescopic leap from 33 CE to that future moment before the Great Oppression will not set well with some, it would appear this celestial struggle between Michael and Satan has been going on for nearly two millennia, reflected in the struggles of the Church on earth. Though many will point to world conditions in the past 80 years, this may be nothing compared to what is to occur in that future Holocaust described in chapter 13.

Revelation 12:10-12 – Victory and the Final Woe

RV12:10 And I heard a great voice in the Celestialum, saying: “Salvation has occurred!575 The Power, the Kingdom of our God, the authority of His Messiah!576 [Psalm 2:1] Because the Accuser of our brothers was thrown down, the one accusing our brothers day and night577 in the sight of The God.
575 Salvation has occurred: Perhaps a flash back to Revelation 11:12, 18. The ouster of Satan from heaven brings great peace to that celestial realm. This hymn of praise must follow the final victory after the Saints have been victorious during the Great Oppression. (Revelation 13:5, 7, 10; 15:2) The ouster of Satan from heaven marks a great milestone in God’s purpose and it calls for a theme song of praise regarding the Kingdom.
576 His Messiah: An echo again of Psalm 2:1, 6, 7.
577 The one accusing our brothers day and night: Proof that the Saints on earth are considered “brothers” [fellow citizens of heaven] by the angels, all inhabitants as it were of New Jerusalem. (Hebrews 12:24) Satan accused Job. (Job 1:8; 2:1) Evidently the Devil has been accusing the Saints throughout the last nearly two thousand years.
RV12:11 And our brothers conquered the Dragon578 by the blood of the Lamb, [Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 1:19] and by the word of their witness. They loved not their souls until death.579
578 Our brothers conquered the Dragon: The Saints have conquered indicating we are being taking back to Revelation 11:12 and the final conquest over Satan and his agents. (Revelation 13:10; 15:2) The conquest is complete. This suggests this whole hymnal praise telescopes to the finale upon the First Resurrection and Rapture. (Revelation 11:18) They conquer because of their faith in the blood of Christ. They also offered up their testimony and confession as well as fearlessly speaking with boldness about the Christ. The whole phase is unique to this verse.
579 They loved not their souls until death: Further details were foretold at Revelation 6:11 and indicated in Revelation 11:17; 13:5-13. (John 12:2)
RV12:12 Because of this, rejoice, you in the Celestialum,580 those tenting in the Celestialum. Woe for the earth and the sea!581 Because the Devil has descended toward you, having great anger,582 knowing he has only a little appointed time.”583
580 You in the Celestialum: Or, heavens. The angels dwelling in the Holy City, heavenly Jerusalem.
581 Woe for the earth and the sea: The beginning of the Third and final Woe. Compare “earth” and “sea” in chapters 8, 16.
582 Having great anger: This anger precipitates the Great Oppression.
583 Knowing he has only a little appointed time: This Satan knows. Judging from the context this “little time” or season must be before the Great Oppression of three and a half years, so it may be assumed this is the length of that short period.

Revelation 12:13-14 – Satanic Persecution

RV12:13 And when the Dragon saw that it was thrown into the earth it persecuted the Woman [Genesis 3:15] who gave birth to the male.584
584 It persecuted the Woman who gave birth to the male: The Woman is attacked by persecuting her children still on earth, the 144,000 end-time Saints. [Genesis 3:15]
RV12:14 And two wings of the great eagle585 [Exodus 19:4] were given to the Woman so that she may fly away into the desolate land,586 to her place where she is to be nourished587 away from the face of the Serpent for appointed time, appointed times, and half appointed time.588 [Daniel 7:25; 12:7]
585 Two wings of the great eagle: This may be a flash back to events following the Son’s birth. The phrase echoes Exodus 19:4.
586 Desolate land: This is likely drawn from Exodus 16:32; Psalm 78:19. Compare Isaiah 64:9, 10. Paul quotes Isaiah 64:3 at 1 Corinthians 2:9. This “desolate land” is a celestial place of isolation where the Celestial City remains free of the Devil.
587 Place where she is to be nourished: Like the Israelites in the wilderness. The first time since Eden that the Celestial City has been free of the Devil and his demons.
588 Appointed time, appointed times, and half appointed time: The period of three and a half years of Great Oppression of Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7. (Revelation 13:5-7) The same as the trampling of the Holy City’s “courtyard,” that is, the 144,000 end-time Saints on earth. The Devil cannot get at the Woman so he wars with her children still alive on earth, the end-time Saints [the 144,000 = Large Crowd].

Revelation 12:15-17 – War with the Remnant

RV12:15 And after the Woman the Serpent [Genesis 3:15] spit out of its mouth water like a river.589
589 Water like a river: There may be something of Isaiah 54:8, “in a flood of anger for a moment,” in the context of God’s Woman. God permits something, possibly that deluge of abuse of Revelation 13:6.
RV12:16 And the earth opened its mouth590 and swallowed the river.
590 The earth opened its mouth: An illusion to Numbers 16:30, 32. Compare Revelation 4:11. On “mouth” note Revelation 13:5.
RV12:17 The Dragon grew wrathful at the Woman. [Genesis 3:15] And the Dragon went off to make war591 [Daniel 7:21] with the Remnant of her seed,592 [Genesis 3:15; Daniel 7:21-25] those who observe the Commandments of The God and have the Confession of Jesus.593
591 The Dragon went off to make war: Compare the “war” of Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 11:7; 13:4-7. It seems clear there is an overlay with chapter 11.
592 The Remnant of her seed: The Woman flees toward the wilderness where there is a place prepared for 1,260 days and in her flight Satan spews a flood after her, but now he turns his attention to the Saints. The Great Oppression begins. The Woman’s “seed” on earth are the 144,000 end-time Saints.
593 Those who observe the Commandments of The God and have the Confession of Jesus: These “commandments” are likely those of John 14:15; 15:12; 1 John 3:23. Their “witness” is their confession. (Romans 10:9, 10)

#289. First, the Woman. In ancient Hebrew prophets the city of Jerusalem was often likened to a mother about to give birth. (Isaiah chapters 54-60; Galatians chapter 4) This “woman” is likely the Holy City of Revelation 11:2, the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:3. She is pregnant and ready to deliver a son. The most likely fulfillment for all of this is that moment when God’s Son was born in his resurrection and ascension back to heaven. (Romans 1:4; Hebrews 1:5; Psalm 2:6; Acts 13:33) If we view the events here to be telescoped over a long period of time that has been deliberately left obscure, then the jump from the First Century to that finale still in the future, there is no difficulty with this perspective.

#290. The Male Child is “caught away” or “snatched” from harm’s way in language very similar to that of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. Here in the Apocalypse the Greek word herpasthe is related to the harpagesometha of 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Jesus experience his own “snatching” as described in Acts 1:9-11. The Son’s birth and rule is a conflated paraphrase of Psalm 2:7, 9 and Isaiah 66:7, 8, thus the fulfillment is in harmony with Paul’s own application at Acts 13:33.

#291. The Dragon is described as having seven heads and ten horns and these will be described in greater detail in chapters thirteen and seventeen. These heads and horns may show the final development of the Dragon’s power during the march of world powers following the Flood of Noah’s day. (More on this later.) We discover that the Dragon is Satan the Devil, the original serpent in the Garden of Eden. The word “dragon” occurs only in the Apocalypse. (13 times) There is a harmonious motif in chapter twelve that is related to Genesis 3:15 where all four elements are present: a woman and her offspring; a serpent and its offspring. (Matthew 13:38; 23:33; John 8:44; Galatians 3:29; 4:6, 26, 31) Both Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12:9-12 foretells the ultimate victory over that original serpent.

#292. The Dragon wishes to devour the child but it is snatched or raptured to heaven. This could only be on that occasion recorded in Acts 1:9-11 when Jesus the Nazarene ascended to heaven to be enthroned in that celestial environment described in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 in fulfillment of Psalm 2:6 and Daniel 7:13. Failing this the Dragon tries to attack the Woman. This precipitates a heavenly war between Michael and the Dragon. The Dragon is hurled down to the earth along with his demons, and this spells a particular “woe” for the earth. When does all of this occur?

#293. The Devil knows he has a brief period of time according to Revelation 12:12, ‘knowing he has a little appointed time.’ The Greek kairon is used here just as it is in Daniel 7:25 (LXX) when the Devil’s agent, the Small Power (the wild Sea Beast of Revelation chapter 13), tries to change kairous (time) in relation to the Saints and then the time of three and a half years follows. Kairo shows up at Daniel 12:1 in connection with Michael (the same of Revelation chapter 12) just before the Great Oppression is mentioned. What would be the logical period of time Satan the Devil knows he has? Just a bit more than three and a half years. The Devil is not ignorant of the Bible and though he quotes it wrongly against the Nazarene in his desert temptations (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13) we could assume he takes an interest in such things that mention him directly.

#294. Satan may well know this from Daniel and the foretold period of three and a half years. It appears the Devil is hurled out of heaven shortly before the 1,260 days of Great Oppression on the 144,000-Saints. Indeed, it is likely his ouster from heaven and his great anger is what brings about this horrible time of persecution against all true disciples of the Nazarene. This “war” (Revelation 12:17; Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:5-7) with the Remnant is the same as that war on the Saints by the wild Sea Beast, the earthly instrument of Satan. (Revelation 13:2)

#295. How long this war in heaven takes is not stated so no firm commentary can be given on it. It may last centuries or even millenniums right up until that moment before the Great Oppression. Paul quotes Psalm 110:1 at 1 Corinthians 15:25 and infers a long struggle “among his enemies” which surely include the Devil. Often the Bible may telescope many millennia in one verse as it does in Genesis 3:15 or Daniel 7:17. On the other hand the celestial battle may occur just before the Great Oppression. If this be the case, the Devil still has access to the heavenly realms even as he did in Job’s day. (Job chapters 1, 2) If history, even recent history seem to be woeful, it is evidently nothing compared to what is going to happen in the future when Satan is cast down here to the earth to bring “woe.”

#296. The victorious Saints described in Revelation 12:11 may be the same martyrs of Revelation 6:9-11 who died in loyal service to the King. The Saints are victorious for several reasons: ‘the word of their testimony,’ like that described by Paul, ‘For if you confess with your mouth the statement that Jesus is Lord; and believe in your heart that The God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Romans 10:9) This is ‘the testimony of Jesus’ in verse 17. John himself was to write in some years after the Apocalypse, ‘Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has a God-Birth ... because everyone with a God-Birth is victorious over the world. This is the victory of the victorious over the world, our Faith.’ (1 John 5:1) Faith in the blood of the Lamb is the source of victory over Satan the Devil.

#297. Revelation 12:17 adds, ‘those observing the commandments of The God.’ Some would insist this includes the Law of Moses, however a study of the word “law” in a concordance ought to demonstrate that Nazarene Saints have ‘died regarding the Law.’ (Romans 7:2, 4) John’s letters are understood by many to have been penned after the Apocalypse. Therefore, “the commandments of God” may be found in 1 John 3: 22, 23: ‘We are observing His commandments and we are doing the things pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment that we believe in the name of His Son; and, be loving one another.’ These are the two supreme “commandments” which the Nazarene Saints always endeavor to keep.

#298. When the Dragon realizes he has been thrown down to the earth he immediately begins to “persecute” the Woman. This is likely the same as the “trampling of the Holy City for 42 months” found in the eleventh chapter, verse 2. The Woman herself is protected and nourished by God during this period of three and a half years while the Dragon centers its raging anger on the Woman’s children on earth, ‘the Remnant of her Seed,’ during this period. The question before us now is: how does the Dragon go about doing this?

#299. Now we have two chapters of the Apocalypse, the Lamb’s Small (apocalyptic) Bible, which covers the same period of time. Now we turn to the third layer of information to find out exactly how the Dragon causes this war with the 144,000-Saints during the Great Oppression and whatever agencies this “beast” uses to make things happen.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved