Study of Revelation 12:1-17

Key Verse

“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” Revelation 12:17


In chapter 12 John sees the vision of the woman, the child, and the dragon. The description of the woman gives us a glimpse into God’s perspective of His covenant people as she is arrayed with magnificent beauty. With jaws wide open, the dragon eagerly awaits the child’s birth in order to devour him, but the child is immediately taken to the throne of God to rule the nations with an iron scepter.

A great battle ensues, and the dragon is cast out of the presence of God, silencing his accusations by the blood of the Lamb. In his frustrated fury the dragon pursues the woman and her offspring to destroy them. 

Scholarly Commentary

“That woman symbolizes the church. Scripture emphasizes the fact that the Church in both dispensations is one. It is one chosen people in Christ. It is one tent; one vineyard; one family – Abraham is the father of all believers whether they are circumcised or not – one olive tree; one elect race, royal priesthood, holy nation, people for God’s own possession; one beautiful bride; and in its consummation one new Jerusalem whose gates bear the names of the twelve tribes and whose foundations are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles.”38

“Second, there is the child, the seed of the woman. This mighty child is the Christ. He is the One ‘who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.’ This expression is clearly borrowed from Psalm 2:9, a messianic psalm, while Christ applies it to Himself in Revelation.”39

“As a result of Satan’s failure to kill Jesus or prevent his resurrection and exaltation, he turns his anger toward God’s messianic community. Satan is the ultimate source of persecution of God’s people, as his hatred of Christ leads to his hatred of Christ’s followers.”40

“The river of venom spewing from the serpent’s mouth represents Satan’s lies, deceit, false teaching, slander, accusations, counterfeit miracles, and persecution aimed at destroying God’s people.”41

“The battle in heaven and the hurling down of the dragon are not to be understood literally. Satan is ‘hurled down from heaven’ in this sense, namely that he has lost his place as an accuser of the brethren. Whereas Christ was born and rendered satisfaction for sin, Satan has lost every semblance of justice for his accusations against believers. True, he continues to accuse. That is his work even today. But no longer is he able to point to the unaccomplished work of the Savior. Christ’s atonement has been fully accomplished; complete satisfaction for sin had been rendered when He ascended to heaven.”42


The church can seem underwhelming and if were honest, a bit disappointing to us sometimes. Reflect on how God describes His church in this chapter and how He loves and cares for her. 

Think about the fact that your enemy no longer has any basis for accusation against you and ask for the Lord’s help to remember that when the enemy opens his mouth against you. 

Works Cited

38, 39 & 42 Hendriksen, William. More than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

40 & 41 Duvall, J. Scott. Revelation.

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