A great and wondrous 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. (NIV)
We have seen in a previous post that the gender of a sign tells us important information. In this case, the fact that this sign is female tells us that she represents some element of humanity. This segment of humanity is clothed with the sun and has the moon under her feet. Pretty impressive. She is not your run of the mill group of people. Also, she has a crown of twelve stars on her head. A crown is a symbol of authority to rule. Stars represent angels so it is likely that she is made up of twelve groups within a single group with each of the twelve groups having an overseeing angel. We can also see that she is pregnant and is about to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His 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 he might devour her child the moment it was born. (NIV)
Notice that this sign is male. This tells us that its source is from the spirit and not from man. This dragon is a mythical beast and represents Satan as we are told in verse 9. We see that Satan sweeps a third of the stars out of the sky. The stars represent angels and we can see this too in verse 9.
The angels fall into two camps. There are God’s angels and the angels that rebelled against God and sided with Satan. Here we see that a third of the angels sided with the Devil and when Satan is cast down his angels are cast down with him.
The child that the woman is to bear is Jesus. Satan is there trying to destroy Jesus at his birth.
Matthew 2:7-8, 12-14, 16
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod.
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (NIV)
So, we see that Satan was working through King Herod and he tried to kill Jesus at his birth or soon thereafter. This is an important biblical concept. When we read the story of King Herod and his attempt to kill Jesus at his birth in Matthew, we don’t really see that Satan is actually the force working behind the scenes that is trying to kill him.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (NIV)
It is important to always keep this in mind with respect to the plan of God.
She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (NIV)
So, Satan’s attempt to kill Jesus also works through the crucifixion. Satan tried to kill him at the crucifixion, but God snatched him up to his throne in heaven. We see that the male child will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. We have seen in a previous post that the iron points to the fourth kingdom, that is, the Roman Empire and its descendants today. This reference to ruling with an iron scepter is from the second Psalm.
You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. (NIV)
Jesus doesn’t just rule them with an iron scepter but he dashes them to pieces with the fourth kingdom. Nothing in the book of Revelation or anywhere else happens apart from the plan of God. It is God’s plan to destroy any and all authority that rises up against his authority. Satan’s authority results in death and at the time of God’s choosing God will destroy all of Satan’s rule and authority in order to save those that are being destroyed by Satan.
The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. (NIV)
Back to the woman; she is seen here fleeing to the desert to a place prepared for her by God. A desert is another symbolic word and it represents a place that is not in a city, that is, it is hidden from those in charge of the human government. The woman is hidden for 1260 days, which is the same as 3 ½ prophetic years, or 42 prophetic months, or a time, times and half a time. All those time references mean the same thing. They are stated differently in order to throw off the meaning to those that should not understand.