[Rev. 12:1] ¶ Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars. [Rev. 12:2] She was pregnant and was screaming in labor pains, struggling to give birth. [Rev. 12:3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadem crowns. [Rev. 12:4] Now the dragon’s tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. [Rev. 12:5] So the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who is going to rule over all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne, [Rev. 12:6] and she fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 days.
[Rev. 12:7] ¶ Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. [Rev. 12:8] But the dragon was not strong enough to prevail, so there was no longer any place left in heaven for him and his angels. [Rev. 12:9] So that huge dragon—the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world—was thrown down to the earth, and his angels along with him.
[Rev. 12:10] Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying,
“The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
the one who accuses them day and night before our God,
has been thrown down.
[Rev. 12:11] But they overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
[Rev. 12:12] Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea
because the devil has come down to you!
He is filled with terrible anger,
for he knows that he only has a little time!”
[Rev. 12:13] ¶ Now when the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. [Rev. 12:14] But the woman was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, to the place God prepared for her, where she is taken care of—away from the presence of the serpent—for a time, times, and half a time. [Rev. 12:15] Then the serpent spouted water like a river out of his mouth after the woman in an attempt to sweep her away by a flood, [Rev. 12:16] but the earth came to her rescue; the ground opened up and swallowed the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. [Rev. 12:17] So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.
The expression “sun, moon and stars” is established with Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37. He saw the Sun, Moon and Stars bowing down to him and we are told that this represented his father Jacob (Israel), his mother, and his brothers – the earliest beginnings of Israel. Here after, when the prophets charged Israel with turning their backs on God they pick up this language and depict Israel with expressions like, “the sun no longer gives forth its light, the moon has been turned to dark, and the stars have fallen from the sky” (or parts of this expression, such as Isaiah 13:10; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:31).
John presents us with picture of the birth of Jesus and the establishment of the church. After Christ ascended, the Devil unleashed hell (so to speak) against the Church to destroy it. But John shows that God had ordained to not only preserve His Church, but to nourish His Church. Trial and persecution may appear to be the time when God has abandoned His Church, but this revelation sees it quite the opposite! It’s during difficult times that God’s presence, protection, and preservation are most enlisted. It is in these times that God’s servants are actually most nourished (vs. 14).
She was just a lowly girl. Yet she caught the attention of Heaven. She had no standing in the world of politics or government. Yet against her was mustered the entire hordes of Hell to destroy her and her Son. From obscurity to greatness. This was the story of Mary, Christ, and the Church. And yet the often untold story is the interaction of Heaven in ensuring that this story would actually be told the way it was scripted. And this could be your two-sided story as well.