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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Revelation 12



Other Authors
Verses 1-17

Revelation 12:1. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

This is that woman of whom the promise runs, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” John saw this in a vision in the heavenly places; he saw the Church of God, enthroned, made glorious, clothed with the sun, having the brightness of divine light about her, with all that is variable, changeable as “the moon under her feet, and upon her head the crown “that her Lord had given, her “ — twelve patriarchs, twelve prophets, twelve apostles, a complete number of glorious lights kindled from heaven.

Revelation 12:2. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

That child that is born of her, that seed of the woman, that shall bruise the serpent’s head is: first, Christ, and then all the first-born, of whom he is the great representative.

Revelation 12:3-4. And there appeared another wonder’ in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The spirit of evil in the heavenlies fighting with the power of light and goodness and grace, a mysterious being with great power, high intelligence, seven heads, ten horns, and having mighty influence over multitudes of men, so that there were seven crowns upon his seven heads. “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” The crocodile, which, I suppose, was the earthly figure from which John’s dream sprang, has great force in its tail; and Satan doubtless of old drew from heaven a number of its stars — -other angels fell with him. And there are times in the heavens of the church when the ministers fall; they seem to go in companies. Those who should be lights for God, are into darkness, and become teachers of heresy “He did cast them down to the earth.” They lost their brightness, they betrayed their earthly origin. “And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to he delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Remember how he sought to slay Jesus; and the like is the case of all the man-children born unto God, who will be of service in the kingdom of God. The main attack of the dragon was against the child: the main attack of the power of evil is against Christ and everything Christly. If he could destroy the gospel, he would not care about the church one whit: the woman might go if the man-child could be destroyed.

Revelation 12:5. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up ,unto God, and to his throne.

That is the brief history of the birth of Christ, and of his going from us. He “was caught up unto GOD, and to his throne.” God will take care of the great principle of truth. If it cannot have a refuge on earth, he will find it a refuge in heaven.

Revelation 12:6. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

The church of GOD was long in obscurity. You can hardly find it among the Albigenses and Waldenses. It was hidden away among the mounts. The Wycliffites, and the Lollards, and others, held fast the truth; but history scarcely records their names. The woman was in the wilderness, hidden away for many a day. “And there was war in heaven.” You are not to think of heaven as a place, but among the heavenlies. John, in a vision, saw the great contending powers of evil. He was like the prophet when he saw a mountain full of horses of fire and chariots of fire.

Revelation 12:7-8. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven.

You remember how our Lord, who is the true Michael, the only great archangel, said at the beginning of the preaching of the gospel, “I beheld Satan as lightning falling from heaven.” His power among the heavenlies is gone; he was cast out of the place called heaven; so is he now, by the preaching of the gospel, and by the death of Christ, cast down from among the heavenly influences.

Revelation 12:9. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

This was done in the olden time as a matter of fact. It is done continually, spiritually, as Christ is lifted up, and his gospel gets the victory.

Revelation 12:10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren its cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Always at it! this prince of evil pretending to goodness, and daring to bring accusations against the Holy One of God. But he is not permitted now to stand in the court; he is hurled from his high place. He used his place with a desperate pertinacity of malice, accusing the brethren day and night.

Revelation 12:11-12. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

“Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.” Let great joy be in the hearts of all spiritual beings, whether angels or men, for Satan is cast down from. among them. But the battle is not over; the scene of it is only transferred from the heavenlies to the earthly. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” We may expect him to rage more and more as the time of his destruction comes nearer and nearer. He is like a bad tenant; he will damage the house out of which he is to be ejected. But he is to be ejected, and let God be glorified for it.

Revelation 12:13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

He had changed his place, but he did not change his nature; and so he still perseveres in his attack upon God.

Revelation 12:14-15. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and halt a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

Read history and see what fierce and brutal persecutions were used like floods against the gospel of Christ.

Revelation 12:16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and wallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

It is poor help that the earth can give, and yet God has over-ruled to make it useful. The kings and the powers of this world have for their own reasons sometimes protected the church. It was so in Luther’s day. The jealousy that was felt of the influence of the Court of Rome politically tended to the preservation of Luther and those round about him, so that the gospel was not destroyed. “The earth helped the woman,” and we may expect that even those political disasters, which we often dread, will all end that way. How often has priestly arrogance been put to the blush even for political reasons! We have nothing to do with that, but still we can see how God can over-rule. It is always amiss when a woman begins to help the earth: she has nothing to do with that: let the Church leave the State alone. But sometimes it happens that in the political providence of God the earth helps the woman.

Revelation 12:17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have testimony of Jesus Christ.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman.” If ever you meet with a church of God which the devil likes, it is good for nothing; but if it is a true church of God, if it holds the truth, and if it walks in holiness, it will always be true. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed.” He had destroyed many already with that flood of persecution, and he kept on a battle with the remnant of her seed, “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Into the deep mysteries of this passage I have not attempted to go, but have simply skimmed the surface God bless the reading to us.


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Revelation 12:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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