Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
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:
2: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
[12:1,2. Chapters 12-14 are explanatory prophecies that describe some of the major personages and movements of the latter half of the Tribulation period. The woman represents Israel, and her child is Christ, the Messiah (cf. 12:5; Is. 7:14; 9:6; 66:7,8; Mic. 5:2; Rom. 9:4,5). The woman is not the church, since the church did not bring forth Christ, but rather He brought forth the church. Her identification as the persecuted Jewish saints clearly proves that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation period. The sun depicts her as God's chosen nation. The moon under her feet alludes to God's promise of dominion, and the crown of twelve stars pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. The birth pains refer to the period before the birth of Christ, when Israel was waiting for redemption by the Messiah (cf. Rom. 8:22,23).]
3: 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.
4: 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.
[12:3,4. The dragon is identified as Satan in verse 9. His red color shows his murderous character (cf. John 8:44). His seven heads and seven crowns depict the completeness and universality of his power and influence (but cf. Ps. 74:14). His ten horns show Satan's connection with the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (vv. 7, 24) and with the beast from the sea in chapter 13 of Revelation. The third part of the stars of heaven are probably the fallen angels who followed Satan in his original rebellion against God (cf. Is. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:12-16; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). At the time of the birth of Christ, Satan was ready to kill Him (cf. Matt. 2:13-18).]
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.
[12:5. The man child is Christ, destined to rule all nations as the Messiah (cf. 19:15; Ps.2:7-9). He was caught up unto God, and to his throne at His ascension into heaven (cf. Acts 1:9; 7:55).]