Revelation 12: 1-6
A great 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. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its 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 it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
Chapter 12 is an interesting chapter. To me it almost sounds like the account of how Satan was thrown out of heaven, then the birth of Jesus. The research doesn’t seem to agree with my interpretation so…there you have it. It only shows how much I don’t know.
My recommendation is to read the complete chapter then come back and read this interpretation I found, then go back and reread the chapter. It should make more sense then.
By the way, there are other interpretations out there but they’re very similar to this one.
In Chapter 12, Revelation takes a detour from the step-by-step approach. Instead the events describe occur over a wide variety of eras (past, present, and future). Seven important figures are described in the next few chapters. In Chapter 16, we return to a chronological order.
The woman in this chapter symbolizes Israel while the dragon is Satan and the male child is Jesus. The child being caught up to heaven refers to Jesus’s ascension to heaven.
Then John observes a war in heaven where Michael the archangel fully casts out Satan. According to this interpretation this is not the initial fall of Satan because as seen in Job, Satan still had access to heaven at times. Even though heaven rejoices at Satan being completely cast out of heaven, Satan will now take his rage out on mankind, especially Israel.
The five figures mentioned in this chapter are the woman (Israel), the seven-headed dragon (Satan), the male child (Jesus), Satan as himself, and the offspring of the woman (the people of Israel).
The next chapter introduces the last two major characters—the Antichrist and the False prophet.
Whew! There’s a lot of symbolism in this chapter so take a moment to digest it. And don’t forget to use your study Bible to help you understand it better.