Revelation 12

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Revelation 12

The woman and the dragon
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.’ And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient snake called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

‘Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.’

13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the snake’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the snake spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 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.


Oh, did I forget to mention there was also a seven-headed dragon in Revelation? Sorry! This is one of the more vivid and symbolically rich chapters in Revelation and is basically what people expect when they read it.

John sees a labouring woman clothed with the sun and a seven-headed dragon waiting to kill her child. The woman is Israel or the people of God, the dragon is Satan and the baby is Jesus who is caught up to God - a reference to the ascension after his resurrection (Matthew 28, Acts 1), leaving the woman in the wilderness for 1260 days (1-6). The wilderness may sound forbidding but remember that after the Exodus the 40 years in the wilderness were actually a place and time of protection and provision. Regarding the 1260 days, end-time obsessives in the 13th century (Yes, they are not just a modern North American past-time) were convinced Jesus was coming back in 1260 AD. He didn’t. This number is a wilderness reference in Daniel’s prophecy about a similar duration (Daniel 12:11-12). We should take it to mean a finite time, during which God will provide and remain in control.

There is then a war in heaven where the archangel casts out Satan from heaven with finality (7-9).

After a quick hymn of praise (10-12) Satan continues to try and attack the woman but God continues to protect her.  

This chapter and the next is widely agreed to be the central and pivotal moment in the book. John paints an epic picture of a cosmic chase of evil coming after the people of God, a dragon that remains on earth pursuing God’s faithful people. But Satan is defeated in his evil mission by Jesus’ death and resurrection, but also by the words of their testimony (11).

It is the lamb who triumphed over evil, but the victory belongs to God’s people. We now enjoy freedom in Christ, an end to any accusation of the enemy, and are invited to participate in God’s kingdom and power.

The lamb established the victory, but the victory is made real and visible in the church’s witness to this truth. This means that our lives, our actions, and our speech testifies to the power of what God has done. When we share how God is at work in our lives it testifies to God’s power and will speak life to those who need to hear it.

We are invited not to ‘shrink from death’ (11) and stand firm against the evil one’s continual schemes, sharing with the world how God’s resurrection power is at work in our lives and spreading hope and encouragement to those who wonder if God is real or active.

Never underestimate the power of your testimony.

No Comments