Seed of the Woman

SYNOPSIS – After his expulsion from heaven, the “Dragon” began to wage war against the “seed of the Woman” – Those who hold the “testimony of Jesus” - Revelation 12:7-17.

Snake - Photo by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash
After the sounding of the seventh trumpet, John saw a “
great sign” in heaven, a woman “arrayed with the sun and the moon beneath her feet” about to give birth. The vision concluded with an enraged “Dragon” standing on the seashore, poised to summon the ten-headed “beast” to ascend from the sea to execute his “war” against the “seed of the woman.” - [Photo by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash].

The “woman” represented the people of God. Elsewhere, the number twelve is associated with the saints. She is the covenant community of God from both the Old and New Testament eras - (Revelation 7:4-8, 21:12-14).

Her labor pains symbolized the persecution of the covenant community in the era before the birth of her “Son.” The promise of Yahweh to Adam and Eve is behind the image, along with a prophecy from the book of Isaiah:
  • (Genesis 3:15-16) - “I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children.”
  • (Isaiah 7:10-14) – “ the height above...a sign, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son.”
Likewise, John saw a “great sign in the heaven, a woman…with child…and she brought forth a son.”

Next, John saw a "great red dragon" with “seven heads and ten horns” poised to “devour” the “child” as soon as the “woman” gave birth. She brought forth a “son, a male, who is going to shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron; and her child was seized toward God and his throne.” Two Old Testament passages are alluded to:
  • (Psalm 2:7-9) – “You are my Son…You will break them with a rod of iron.
  • (Isaiah 66:7) – “Zion… brought forth a male.”
To this latter clause, Revelation adds the noun “son” to link both Old Testament passages to the present verse - What was promised in the past finds fulfillment in the birth of the Woman’s “child.”

The “son” is none other than the Messiah who came from the covenant community.  The identification is made explicit when a loud voice proclaims - “Now has come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ” - (Revelation 12:10).

The attempt to destroy the “son” by the “Dragon” backfires. By resurrecting Jesus, God turned Satan’s effort on its head, and the death of the Son became his victory over the "Dragon." Upon his “birth,” the “son was seized to God and His throne” - (Revelation 1:4-5, 3:215:5-10).

The flight of the “woman” into the “wilderness” evokes images of ancient Israel’s escape from Egypt. Following the exaltation of the “son,” the covenant community began another exodus in the “Wilderness.” His victory did NOT mean the removal of God’s people from the earth. Instead, He provided protection and “nourishment…in the Wilderness” - (Revelation 12:6).

Next, John saw “war in heaven,” a pictorial representation of the “heavenly battle” being waged behind events on the earth. It manifests on the earth in the attempts by the “Dragon” to deceive and persecute the church.

The “loud voice heard in heaven” interprets the vision. Satan was defeated by the death and resurrection of the “son.” He lost his legal basis for accusing the saints before God - they have been declared “not guilty” in the heavenly court and are exempt from the “second death” - (Revelation 2:1120:6).

With the victory of the “son,” Satan’s role as “prosecutor” came to an end. His ultimate defeat was assured, but he was not yet out of the fight. With his expulsion, he assumed the role of deceiver - The one “who is deceiving the whole habitable earth” - (Job 1:92:5Zechariah 3:1-2Luke 10:18).

A voice pronounced “woe” to the earth and the sea because the Devil had come down “having great fury.” Note well - The warning is to the “earth and the sea,” not to the unrepentant “inhabitants of the earth.” In view is the Dragon’s impending attack against the “seed of the woman.”
  • (Revelation 12:13-17) – “And when the Dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he pursued the Woman who had brought forth the male. And there were given to the Woman the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly into the Wilderness to her place where she is nourished a time, times half a time from the face of the Serpent. And the Serpent cast out of his mouth water like a river after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. And the earth helped the Woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river that the Dragon cast out of his mouth. And the Dragon was angered against the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her Seed, with them who were keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.”
The “Dragon” failed to destroy the “son.” Enraged, and knowing he has only a “short time” remaining to inflict destruction, he vents his rage by persecuting the “woman,” not the unsaved "inhabitants of the earth.”

The “nourishing” of the “woman” echoes the story of Yahweh feeding Israel in the wilderness with “manna.” God sustains the “woman” through the persecuting efforts of the “Dragon.” The “two wings of the eagle” allude to Exodus when Yahweh declared to Israel, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagles' wings” - (Exodus 16:15-35, 19:3-4).
The reference to the “serpent” is a link to the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden when she was “deceived” by it. The image of the “serpent casting water like a river out of his mouth” does not refer to literal floodwaters, but to the flood of deception Satan poured out against the “woman” - (Genesis 3:13).
God intervened to thwart the assault against the “woman.” Enraged further, the “Dragon” turned his fury against the “rest of the Woman’s seedto make war with them who were keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.” “To make war with them” echoes a clause from Daniel 7:21 where the “Little Horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them.”

The description at the end of the chapter 12 forms a transition to the next vision – The “Beast ascending from the Sea,” which presents the “war” of the “Dragon” against the “seed of the woman” in detail. The “Dragon” was left standing on the seashore where he summoned the “beast from the sea” to ascend and wage “war against the saints.”

The “woman’s seed” represents the “saints,” those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.” This group is composed of the “saints” who follow the “Lamb,” consequently, they suffer persecution. They are identified with Jesus because they have his “testimony.”



Destruction of Babylon

Kings of the East