Revelation 12-14





A. The theme of the entire book:

The victory of Jesus and his Church over the Dragon and his helpers.

1. Chapters 1 through 11 describe the outward struggle between the church and the world.

2. Chapters 12 through 22 describe the deeper background: The conflict between the church and the world is the outward manifestation of the real conflict: the war between Christ and Satan.

B. The theme of chapters 12 through 22:

The characters which arise in opposition to Christ.

1. The vision in chapters 12 through 14 introduce these characters: The dragon; the beast out of the sea; the beast out of the earth; Babylon; the men with the mark of the beast.

2. The other visions show us what hppened to each of these antichristian forces.

Chapters 15-16: The men with the mark of the beast.

Chapters 17-19: Babylon and the two beasts.

Chapters 20-22: The dragon.

I. The Dragon and the Child.

A. The first sign in heaven: The woman.

1. Clothed with the sun.

2. The moon under her feet.

3. The crown of twelve stars.

stephanos crown of victory.

4. Pregnant and in labor.

B. The second sign in heaven: The great red dragon.

1. Seven heads.

2. Ten Horns.

3. Seven crowns.

diadema crown of ruling authority.

4. The tail.

C. The stand off.

1. The dragon's plan to destroy the child.

Satan's attacks on Jesus.

Matthew 2:13, 16 Through Herod.

Luke 4:1-13 Face to face.

Matthew 16:21-23 Through the disciples.

Luke 22:3-4. Through Judas.

2. The male child.

3. The woman in the deserted place.

D. The war in heaven 7-12.

1. The conflict is announced, predicted thousands of years in advance.

Genesis 3:1, 14-15. The conflict is announced.

Revelation 12. The nature of the conflict is revealed.

Genesis 3 Revelation 12

Serpent Dragon

Eve The Woman

Seed Jesus Christ

2. Michael and his angels, dragon and his angels.

Michael is attacking.

3. The dragon hurled down to earth.

Rev. 12:8 "and they lost thier place in heaven".

Before this time, Satan accused the people of God before God in heaven. 12:10

Job 1:6; 2:1-2. Satan accusing before God.

Demon possession increased while Jesus was on earth.

Luke 10:17-18. Jesus says He saw Satan fall.

After this time, Satan pursues the people of God here on earth, in our own back yard.

The turning point: Jesus death and resurrection.

Jesus' authority is established once and for all. 12:10

Compare 5:6-10.

The demise of Satan, the devil.

He was created good, but then rebelled (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).

-- Strike one - Knocked down a notch.

He stood before God as an accuser of God's people (Job 1:6; 2:1-2), but the Messiah comes to earth as the suffering servant.

-- Strike two - Knocked down a notch.

He attacks God's people on earth (Revelation 12), but Jesus returns as conquering king.

--Strike three - Knocked down a notch.

He is thrown into the lake of fire, his final destination. 20:10

4. The loud voice from heaven.

1) God's power is vindicated.

2) God's people are victorious.

3) Satan filled with anger.

4) Satan's accusations are replaced with Jesus' intercession. Romans 8:31-39.

5. The consequences.

Because Christ's work is completed:

1) Things changed for us human beings.

Old Testament saints can now move to God's presence (Matt. 27:51-53).

New Testament saints have the gift of the Holy Spirit and go directly to God's presence.

Phil. 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:8.

2) Things changed for Satan as well.

He is no longer our accuser before God.

Now he must attack God's people on earth.

E. The defeated Satan persues the woman. 13-16

The Church as a whole.

1. The woman represents the people of God.

The faithful remnant of Israel in the Old Testament.

The true, faithful church of the New Testament.

2. The woman is sheltered away from the face of the dragon.

prosopon pros towards ops the eyes.

V. 6 He stood before her.

V.14 "from the face of the serpent".

Yet he still tries to attack her.

F. The enraged dragon attacks the rest of her offspring.

Individual christians.

Romans 12:4-5.

1. As a group, we are the body of Christ.

The Church, the woman (chap.12), The bride (chap 21:2).

2. We are also individual, unique persons.

3. Satan pursues us on both fronts.

G. Summary and conclusion.

1. Satan tries to attack Jesus to prevent the attonement.

2. Satan attacks the church as a whole.

3. Satan attacks individual christians.

4. Ephesians 6:10-13.

II. The Two Beasts.

A. Satan gets help for his war.

1. So far, the dragon has not been very successful.

2. He stood on the sands of the sea - meaning the dragon.

A few late manuscripts say "I stood..." - meaning John.

The best understanding is "he", Satan.

3. The picture: Satan wants to wage war on the woman's offspring, but he needs help. The two beasts are his helpers.


B. The dragon and the first beast compared.


Seven heads Seven heads

10 horns 10 horns

Seven crowns 10 crowns (diadema)

1. Both have great power and authority.

C. Revelation and Daniel chapter seven compared.


The first beast:

Resembled a leopard First beast like a lion

Had feet like a bear Second beast like a bear

Had a mouth like a lion Third beast like a leopard

The Second beast: The fourth beast:

Power and authority Different, not like an animal

Miraculous powers Iron teeth - Powerful.

D. The unholy trinity: The deception of the dragon and his helpers.

1. The dragon counterfeits God and His Messiah.


Dragon: Father:

Blasphemous names - The true God

claiming divinity

Forcing and accepting worship Worthy of worship

First Beast: Jesus:

The fatal wound healed Jesus' resurrection

Accepting worship Jesus worthy of worship

Blashpemes God Gives glory to God.

Second beast: Jesus:

Two horns like a lamb The Lamb of God.

Holy Spirit:

Representative of the first beast The comforter represents Jesus

Miraculous signs The power of the Spirit in our us.

Idol worship Gives glory to God and Jesus.

The mark of the beast God's seal, Rev. 7:3; 9:4.

2. They used their great power and authority.

3. However, their main weapons are deception and falsehood.

They denounced God, and at the same time set themselves up as false gods.

They used miracles to deceive and control the people.

4. War on the saints.

E. Who will worship the beast and the dragon?

1. All except those belonging to the Lamb.

There is only one way out of this evil, false world - Jesus

F. The response of those who belong to the Lamb.

1. He who has an ear, let him hear.

This is a warning to the saints

2. Captivity and sword: Those who refuse to worship the beast will face peresecution. Be willing to accept the will of God.

3. Response of the saints: patient endurance and faithfulness.

G. Who or what do the beasts represent?

1. Everybody agrees they are symbolic.

2. Actual individuals - Human beings?

3. Governments or kingdoms?

4. The entire evil world system?

H. The beast explained (kind of). Revelation 17.

1. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.

Clearly Rome: Rome is often described at this time as sitting on seven hills.

2. The seven heads are also seven kings (kingdoms). It was common for the Bible to refer to kingdoms as kings.

Notice they are described as "fallen". Kingdoms are often described as fallen, kings are not.

3. The beast is a clear reference to Daniel 7.

Note that Babylon is used here to describe the great evil world domination that will arise in opposition to God and Jesus. Babylon was the kingdom that caused the first destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. These were important events in God's Messianic timetable as announced by the prophets.

4. There were two earlier nations (kingdoms) that were extremely important oppressors of Israel:

Egypt and Assyria.

Israel was enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years. The Passover and the exodus are both associated with Egypt and are key events in the Messianic plan.

Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and harassed Judah for many years before Assyria itself was conquered by Babylon.

Here is a possible understanding of the kings (or kingdoms):

Isaiah 52:4; Zechariah 10:10-11

(1) Egypt (1875-1445 B.C.)

(2) Assyria (1235-608 B.C.)

Daniel chapter 7

(3) Babylon (608-538 B.C.)

(4) Medo-Persia (538-425 B.C.)

(5) Greece (331-63 B.C.)

(6) Rome (63 B.C. -300 A.D.)

Revelation 17:10-11

John said: Five have fallen, one is (Rome), the other has not yet come. Possible candidates for the one that has not yet come (at the time of John):

(7) Ottoman empire, Roman Catholic Church, Holy Roman Empire and western civilization, OR all world empires throughout the last days (age of the messiah).

John says the beast himself represents an eighth king (kingdom):

(8) The final evil kingdom just before the end when Satan is loosed. Rev. 11:7-9; 16:13-21; 20:7-10.

The ten kings: symbolize all art ,education, commerce, industry. These often assist the governments in opposing the cause of Christ.

III. The 42 months (1260 days; 3 1/2 years; time, times, half a time)

A. Ahab and Elijah. 1 Kings 17, 18. [Read 16:29 - 17:1]

1. Time of great persecution of those faithful to God.

2. Special protection for God's people.

3. Time period: 3 1/2 years (Luke 4:25-26; James 5:17)

B. Daniel

1. Chapter 7: Period of control by the little "horn"

2. Chapter 12:11: The time of the abomination of desolation.

3. Foster: Antiochus Epiphanes occupied Jerusalem for about this time.

C. Daniel 9:24-27 and John's Gospel.

4. The time of Jesus' ministry on earth.

D. Revelation

1. 11:2: The time that the gentiles will trample the holy city.

2. 11:3: The time the two witnesses will prophesy.

3. 12:6,14: The time that the woman is cared for and protected from the dragon.

When does it start? After the child is caught up to heaven.

4. 13:5: The time of the authority of the beast.

E. What is it?

1. It begins with the ascension of Jesus.

2. It is a time of tribulation and suffering.


It is also a time of special protection.

3. It is followed almost immediately by the Day of Judgement.

F. The last days; the last limes; the last hour.

Acts 2:1-21 cf. Joel 2:28-32

I Peter 1:17-21

Hebrews 1:1-2

1 John 2:18

Hosea 3:1-5 cf. Romans 9:6 and Romans 11.

IV. The mark of the beast.

A. Background: In the first and second centuries, documents were often marked with a seal showing the date and the name of the emperor.

B. Is it a real, visible mark?

C. What does the number 666 symbolize?

V. Judgement Day: The tables are turned.

Introduction:(Foster) You look at the earth at the end of chapter 13 and you could be in despair. The two witnesses are killed and lay in the streets dead. The woman and her offspring are attacked by the devil. Two beasts arise who hold most of the world under their spell and persecute the followers of Jesus. Evil runs rampant in the world. What are you going to do??

You look to the other side - TO HEAVEN.

The two witnesses are resurrected and taken to Heaven.

The woman is protected by God in the wilderness.

The Lamb is not defeated, He is standing firm on Mt. Zion.

The redeemed are not destroyed, they are standing with the Lamb and singing a new song.

Heaven is the answer that turns the picture around!! And that is not all - Judgement is coming.

This chapter presents three pictures which resolve the situation which existed at the end of chapter 13. Each picture begins with the phrase

"kai eidon" "and I saw" (verses 1, 6, 14).

Who's in charge?

1. Chapter 13: The beast has center stage.

People with the mark of the beast are safe.

People with the seal of God are persecuted.

2. Chapter 14: The Lamb has center stage.

People with the seal of God are saved.

People with the mark of the beast are condemned.

A. "And I saw the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion".

1. The Lamb: Jesus

Standing: Signifying victory, power, and control.

Where does this scene take place: Earth or Heaven?

2. On Mount Zion. What is Mount Zion?

2 Samuel 5:7 Jerusalem.

Ps. 2:6: The place where the Messiah reigns.

Isaiah 35:10: Place of everlasting joy.

Hebrews 12:22-24 Heavenly Jerusalem.

Psalm 125:1 Endures forever.

Is this the heavenly or the earthly Mount Zion?

The heavenly :

a. Jesus is the Lamb (5:6)

b. The four creatures and the 24 elders are there.

c. The throne is there (4:2-3).

d. The condition of the 144,000.

Spoken in past tense as if their earthly journey was finished. In chapter 7 they are sealed to protect them while they are on the earth; now they "have been redeemed from the earth.

3. The 144,000

The seal: The Lamb's and the Father's name written on their foreheads.

The seal is a sign of ownership and protection.

The mark is a sign of permission.

Forehead is symbolic of the mind and thoughts. If we are sealed by God, our thoughts, mind are dedicated to Him.

Right hand: symbolic of actions, deeds. If the mark is on our right hand, this symbolizes that the beast is controlling actions.

The mark is the number of MAN. Man was created on the 6th day. The seventh day is the day of completion. 666 could represent failure upon failure upon failure.

New Song: New because it is describing a new condition: redeemed from the earth by the blood of the Lamb.

Only they can learn it because only they are redeemed.

Characteristics of the 144,000(v.4-5):

a. Not defiled with women, virgins.

This is symbolic: In the Old Testament, Israel was often accused of spiritual adultery (Hosea 1:1-4; 2:1-4), or described as a bride (Isaiah 61:10).

In the New Testament Christians are considered to be the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1-4).

b. Follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Matthew 4:18,19;9:9; 10:38; 16:24;

John 10:27,28; 12:26

1 Peter 2:20-23

c. Purchased from among men.

d. First fruits (special, set apart for the Lord).

James 1:17-18

e. No Lie found in their mouths.

f. Blameless (O.T. without blemish).

Jesus - 1 Peter 1:18-20

Christians - Colossians 1:21-23

The Church - Ephesians 5:25-27

These qualities apply to all who belong to Jesus. This is not a special group. The 144,000 represent all who have been saved throughout the Christian age.

B. "Then I saw another angel flying in midair"

The three angels.

1. The gospel call: Judgement is coming, so give God the glory and turn to Him.

2. The warning: The sinful system and its leaders will fall. Babylon is specifically Rome, but a broader symbolic meaning is intended here. Rome represents the evil world system.

What had Babylon done? "made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."

Rev 14:8 (NIV)

The first contrast: The followers of the beast and the followers of the lamb. Rev. 13:8; 14:4.

3. Torment for the followers of the beast.

First they drank the wine of Babylon's adulteries.

Now they drink the wine of God's judgement.

The second contrast: The wine of adultery and judgement.

What will God do?

"If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath." Rev 14:9-10(NIV)

"In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs." Ps 75:8(NIV)

V. 10 Two words for God's anger:

thumos - righteous indignation (NIV Fury).

orge - divine anger (NIV wrath).

Note that the Lamb is present and participating in the judgement.

4. Blessing to those who are faithful to Jesus.

The patient endurance of the saints will bring blessing.

The third contrast: Torment and rest.

There will be no rest for those who worship the beast. (V11)

Those who die in the Lord will have eternal rest.

Their deeds will follow them. This does not mean that our deeds lead to salvation or bring salvation. It means that our salvation will lead to good deeds. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

The purpose for good deeds:

a. Proof of faith.

b. Good results help others and influence others.

C. "And I saw before me a white cloud".

The Day of the Lord is here.

1. White cloud. Clouds are symbolic of judgement.

Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 4:13; Matthew 24:30

2. One like a son of man.

Is this Jesus? Rev. 1:13 uses the same phrase to describe a person that is unmistakably Jesus. The only argument against this being Jesus is this. Why would an angel come out to tell Jesus when to harvest? Angels don't tell Jesus what to do. I believe the one on the cloud is Jesus, and I would answer the argument this way. This is a symbolic description of judgement, and the angel coming from the temple is signifying to John and to us that the father and the Son are in perfect unity on the matter of Judgement. Picture it this way: Jesus is sitting on the clouds just as He said he would. This shows that He is ready. The father is in the temple (in Heaven) which is the dwelling place of God. The angel coming out of the temple is showing that the father is ready.

Crown of gold - stephanos - victory (not a crown of thorns).

Sharp sickle in his hand.

Told to harvest by an angel.

3. The harvest of the righteous.

Grain, wheat represents the righteous.

Matt. 3:12; 13:30; Luke 3:17

The fourth contrast: harvest of grain, harvest of grapes.

The blood of Jesus, the blood of those who do not believe.

There is no blood here, Jesus' blood has already been shed.

4. The harvest of the wicked.

An angel with a sickle.

The angel from the altar: Revelation 6:9,10 and 8:3-5.

The prayers of the saints and martyrs are answered.

The day of judgement has come.

Literally "the vine of the earth". The earth produces wickedness. The entire group of unbelievers.

The grapes represent individual unbelievers.

5. "The winepress of God's wrath" represents judgement. Isaiah 63:1-6.

Grapes are put in the wine press, but blood comes out. There is blood shed here because Jesus' blood does not cover these people.

Outside the city: So the city would not be corrupted. Jesus was crucified outside the city. Hebrews 13:10-15

6. Blood as high as the horses' bridles for 1600 stadia.

Symbolic of an inconceivable large amount of blood.

4 is the number of the earth (four corners)

4 X 4 emphasizes the entirety of the judgement - the whole earth is fully involved.

10 is the number of completeness.

10 X 10 emphasizes the absolute completeness of the judgement.

A thoroughly complete judgement of the earth.



The beast is a clear reference to the beasts of Daniel chapter seven because of the mention of the leopard, the bear, and the lion. Are Daniel and John describing some of the same kingdoms? What are the other kingdoms beyond the ones Daniel mentions?

Here is a possible explanation. Think about what kingdoms or nations dominated Israel and that part of the world since Abraham.

Remember that figures in prophesy can have dual meanings. We see the picture of a woman sitting on a beast (V.3) on many waters (V.15). The woman represents the city of Rome (V.18). The whole beast represents the Roman Empire which supports the woman. The waters represent the masses of people who are ruled by them.

The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills on which the woman sits (V.9), but they also represent seven kings (or kingdoms) (V.10).

The beast represents the Roman Empire, but it also represents the final evil kingdom which will be in power when Christ returns (V.11). The Roman Empire is a type of the empire yet to come.