Three important characters emerge in the end times. Revelation 12 reveals the woman, the child, and the dragon. Take a moment and read the chapter. We’ll cover it in depth on Sunday.
The pregnant woman could be Mary, Jesus’ mother. Some say she represents Israel. Others believe she symbolizes the church. I believe she represents all three in this text. Jesus is the child who will rule all the nations. The dragon is Satan, who wants to devour the child.
Revelation 12 is the eschatological perspective on the nativity—the end-times view of Jesus’ birth. There was a heavenly war occurring as Christ Jesus was born. If Luke 2 is the handbell version of Christmas, Revelation 12 is the heavy metal version. The entire Bible is about Jesus. That may seem self-evident. But the Christmas story is more than, “There’s this baby. . .” Consider the progression of Jesus’ story in the Bible.
– Old Testament: Jesus predicted (anticipating the first coming)
– Gospels: Jesus revealed and among us
– Acts-Jude: Jesus proclaimed and explained
– Revelation: Jesus predicted (anticipating the second coming)
Revelation 12 connects the first coming of Jesus to the second coming of Jesus. In Revelation 12:4-5, Satan tried to stop the birth but couldn’t. He even took a third of heaven with him—fallen angels. But Satan was no match for Baby Jesus. A baby’s birth stopped death. But a birth does not occur without a woman.
She is clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet. She wears a crown of 12 stars. This imagery draws from Genesis 37 and the patriarch Joseph’s dream. The sun represents Jacob. The moon represents Rachel. And the twelve stars are the twelve tribes of Israel. She is in labor, crying out in agony. Israel is often represented in the Old Testament as a mother giving birth, agonizing for centuries waiting for the Messiah to be born. The woman gives birth, and Satan tries to kill the child. This desire is nothing new. He wanted Cain to kill Abel in Genesis. He wanted Pharaoh to kill Hebrew baby boys in Exodus. He wanted Haman to commit genocide against the Jews in Esther. And Satan wanted Herod to kill Jesus (and all other young males) in Matthew.
The dragon failed to kill the Messiah as a baby. Jesus accomplished His mission to redeem humanity through the cross and the empty tomb. He then ascended to the throne in heaven. Satan lost. Jesus wins. Onward to eternity!